Wantage is a small market town nestling in the Vale of the White Horse about 22km (14 miles) SSW of the University city of Oxford. It is the birthplace of King Alfred the Great (the one that burnt the cakes!). The famous and wonderfully stylistic White Horse (shown in the QSL card above) has been carved into the chalk downs just a few miles away - nobody knows by whom or when, although it is thought to be the earliest example in the country and is thousands rather than hundreds of years old.
The main HF station comprises an ICOM IC-756PRO feeding a multiband, vertical dipole (see below) giving access to the 40 (rather poorly!), 20, 15 and 10m bands (there's also a vertical half-wave dipole for 6m). It will also load up on 12m after big, fat pigeons bounced on the top capacitive spokes! For the lower bands, a 100 foot top (31m), non-resonant doublet has been constructed from plastic covered Flexweave. It comes down as 3 inch spaced ladder line from the insulator at the feed point to an automatic matching unit at ground level (SGC-230). To reduce radiation from the feeder, about 20 turns of the coax has been put onto a 4 inch plastic drainpipe to act as a current balun before running into the house and the upstairs shack. This length was chosen so that it could be used on both 40m and 80m together with the experimental 5MHz allocation here in the UK. Another possibility to extend it's usefulness is to short out the ladder line at the base and tune it against ground. This would enable it to work satisfactorily (I hope!) on 160m. This will require a little gardening to install suitable radials etc!
A Kenwood TS570D is used for portable/mobile work. This used to be the main rig but couldn't bear to part with it! A Yaesu FT817 is used for truly portable operation and have had great sucess in France (F), Tenerife (EA8), Greece (SV8/9) and Corsica (TK) using 2-band dipoles constructed from 300 Ohm feeder.
For 2m and 70cm, a Yaesu FT726R was recently retired in favour of the Icom IC-910X together with Tonna Yagis (9-element and 19-element respectively) mounted on a rotator at about 30 feet. No antenna yet for the 23cm band! All the main rigs mentioned are normally operated with the excellent Heil Proset headphone/microphone combination with the HC-5 cartridge, often giving rise to very flattering audio reports.
A 17inch 1GHz iMac is the latest addition to the shack and over the next months, I will be hooking that into the radio equipment via a Keyspan RS232 serial adaptor.
Here is the vertical, multiband dipole antenna mounted at ground level while being tuned. Eventually (with help!), it was elevated to the roof.
It works suprisingly well, but as the sunspot cycle declines, I guess I'll have to start looking at beams.
It's slightly bent now after some horrendous gales but other than altering the resonant frequencies a small amount, it still works ok!
The shack - one floor up with the ICOM IC-756PRO in pride of place.
As you can see, I am a great fan of Tektronix equipment and have 7834 and 7633 storage 'scopes and a TM504 mainframe with many plugins including the 1.8GHz 7L12 spectrum analyser.
I normally QSL through the Bureau but if you would like a direct card, send it to the address on www.qrz.com and please enclose a self-addressed envelope and sufficient funds for return postage. I will endeavour to get it back to you by return of post.
During the month of June 2002, I used the special prefix MQ0CLH in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee. Please QSL to my normal call, M0CLH, to receive a special card for this event.
My trusty FT817 and portable dipoles accompany me on all trips abroad these days, providing hours of entertainment and the opportunity to activate the odd IOTA! Here is a list of all callsigns used (with dates). Confirmation for any of these is via the home call outlined above.
The picture opposite was taken very early one morning in Corsica. It shows the moon and mountains illuminated by the rising sun.
Dates Callsign Location QRA Other Info Home Station M0CLH Wantage,UK IO91HO WAB:SU48 IOTA:EU-005 19.09.01 F/M0CLH/P Park National de Quayras JN34KR   07.10.01 - 10.10.01 M0CLH/EA8/P Los Realejos,Tenerife Is. IL18RI IOTA:AF-004 22.04.02 - 24.04.02 F/M0CLH/P Aspe Valley,Pyranees IN92RT   01.06.02 - 30.06.02 MQ0CLH Wantage,UK IO91HO WAB:SU48 IOTA:EU-005 06.10.02 - 16.10.02 SV8/M0CLH/P Limnionas,Samos Is. KM37HQ IOTA:EU-049 03.05.03 - 08.05.03 SV8/M0CLH/P Skopelos Is. KM19UC IOTA:EU-072 24.02.04 - 29.02.04 EA8/M0CLH/P El Velo,Tenerife Is. IL18RI IOTA:AF-004 06.09.04 - 18.09.04 TK/M0CLH/P Corsica Is. JN42HD IOTA:EU-014 02.09.05 - 12.09.05 SV9/M0CLH/P Plakias, Crete Is. KM25EE IOTA:EU-015 24.12.05 - 24.12.05 EA8/M0CLH/P Los Realejos,Tenerife Is. IL18RI IOTA:AF-004
Since leaving University in 1967 with an Honours degree in Physics, I have been working in the Theory Department at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's Fusion research facility at the Culham Science Centre near Abingdon. Further information on this exciting, long-term project to meet our future energy needs can be gleaned from our home page.
I am currently the Chairman of the Culham Radio and Electronics Club at the Centre and have finally got the club callsign, G3ZEF, back onto the HF bands after many years of inactivity. A Kenwood 570D and Drake L7 linear are used into a Cushcraft MA5B beam and we are now active on 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10m on Wednesday lunchtimes 12.30-13.30 local time (UTC in winter, UTC+1 in summer) so if you hear us, please give us a call. We now have a really smart QSL card (you can see it if you look up G3ZEF on www.qrz.com).
Page Updated 13 October 2009