Amateur Radio station GJ7JHF

Mainly 70/145/433MHz FM
Island of Jersey, Channel Islands, Great Britain
IN89xf (but mostly /M)
first version 2001-jul-28
last updated 2010-jun-25
Hi, I'm Andy, welcome / bienvenu to my amateur radio webpage. They don't get much duller than this, so if radio isn't your thing or you've the attention span of a grape please look away now.

Other pages on this site :

Internet Voice-Links : iLINK & eQSO
Locators and Grids
The Yaesu FTH-1010 handheld
The Ascom SE550
The Philips FM1200 compared to the Ascom
The Jersey 2m Repeater (2010) GB3GJ - 145.6375


I have so many hobbies and interests, and other things occupying my day, that I really don't get much time to play with Amateur Radio. I very nearly became a GJ6 but didn't quite let my friends persuade me to take the exam with them at that time, so they passed the RAE then in the early 1980s while I let the G6 callsign series finish, the G1 series came and went, and the G7 series was a third of the way through before I finally took the plunge.

I did give 50MHz a try for a while, but ended up selling the stuff, the FT-690 followed by an IC-726, and a brief spell with an FT-767 which I couldn't justify owning considering its value versus the use I got out of it. With a simple vertical antenna in the backyard of a ground-floor flat in a built up area, it was depressing hearing locals talking to stations I could only just detect, or not be even aware of. And they gave them 5 and 9 reports too! Stuff that for a game of wireless. It is obviously a game for those willing and able to put up a good beam, and find themselves fortunate enough to live in the right locations. Besides, 6 metres is a whole 2MHz of nothing for 99 percent of the time, with only the occasional opening (usually when I'm at work). There have been weeks where openings occured during the evenings, in which case I worked some stations during the first day's chaos. Everyone would be madly working as many new squares as possible. Then, by say the third day, the conditions would be very similar with a few of the same distant stations flooding in, but oddly enough most stations would be strangely silent because they'd already ticked off the relevant squares. That grew too stale for words, very quickly.

I tinkered with iLINK and eQSO for a while, but sitting at the PC just isn't the same, however much I tried to kid myself. Paying a penny a minute for often choppy contacts to other amateurs sitting at their PCs was a novelty for a while but there are so many other things to do! (which doesn't include writing webpages either, that fun and frolics occupies dreary lunch hours at work)

I have the first Jersey Foundation Morse 'Appreciation' pass slip, and had the first MJ3 callsign for a year or two, just for the sake of it. I thought it would be amusing to have a tinker with HF. I bought an Icom 718 which was adequate for the purpose, for the price, but I soon realised that HF wasn't really for me. No wonder I never really bothered with Morse. I had a few contacts on 18MHz (with a mobile whip I bought for someone to give me as a birthday present - why get stuff you don't want?!) and some on 24MHz with an old CB antenna I added some extra length to. I also found that 7MHz from the car was way too much hassle to get some sort of signal out and make myself heard with just 10W. Compared to VHF it's all an unseemly scrum of pushy so-and-sos, where my low signal just gets trampled on. Any time there's REAL DX you have to get in there quick or you don't stand a chance. Boring. Even when my callsign was magically upgraded to FULL HF access in 2003, I still didn't find HF particularly interesting. I've learnt that VHF/UHF is more my cup of tea - tropo DX is much rarer and welcome, and still refreshingly local. HF is all too much of a muchness - I haven't got the space to get out well on 40m or below (so nattering to the English is out of the question) and DX-wise the typical 20m-and-up single-hop opening just brings in the same old european countries again and again. Nice DX (more than one hop) is very low-signal stuff where a decent amount of aerial and power is almost a must for any success on SSB - or so it seems to me with my 6 x 6m garden and antenna restrictions. I still don't feel very welcome on HF without having learnt Morse, so I'll wait until attitudes have changed. I still haven't the time or inclination to operate from home, and it was all too much hassle to set things up in the car, so the radio gathered dust until I sold it to a dealer for a bit more than half what I'd paid for it. Lesson learnt! Next time, buy something smaller that has VHF/UHF bands too :o)

Until my love/hate ambivalence swings back around to being interested again, I'll stick to the greater sense of achievement of QRP FM with a 145/433MHz handheld. I prefer the sort of unusual conditions where a contact seems genuinely pleased to work me, which is partly why I bought a Yaesu FTH-1010 handheld for the FM channels around 70.45MHz in the 4m band. Four or five years later I actually WORKED someone on it!! I've now got an ex-PMR (RATS) Ascom SE550 too. Here's another page about the Philips FM1200, from when I borrowed one, which compares it to the Ascom. I can arrange to borrow a receiver for all bands AM/FM/SSB up to 1300MHz for crossband if necessary. If you believe you might be within range and you'd like to arrange to attempt contact, please email me.

For a number of good reasons I don't operate at the Main Address much, and I'm limited to loft antennas. Most operating is /M with vertical whips, at good locations on the high-up north coast, about 100m ASL. Some years I can barely justify the license fee but I aim to make more of the hobby if I make it to retirement!

To read my page about grids (Maidenhead/WAB) : click here

Radio in Jersey

Flat conditions barely merit switching the equipment on, it being easier to telephone the locals (and free on my phone tariff). There are some 90,000 people crammed into these 45-odd square miles, only a few dozen of which are licensed amateurs. When we were divided into Class A and Class B most seemed to be either below 30MHz happily ignoring the rest of us, or in possession of VHF equipment but inactive (or packet victims). Now that anyone who can show up to the club can be given a licence and be let loose on worldwide HF, there's even less incentive for anyone to bother monitoring hours of silence on S20. So VHF-and-up is really rather quiet except for a small handful of regulars in the after-news (GB2RS) net on Sunday mornings. The GB3GJ repeater has recently been resurrected, now on 145.6375 (used to be on 145.65 in the 1980s), so it should be interesting to see whether the saying "if you build it they will come" will apply!

I do sometimes monitor 145.5 and 433.5 on a handheld when mobile, in case anything unusual crops up. I have been known to enjoy welcoming visiting amateurs and let them know about local conditions, such as pointing them towards the club - the GJ3DVC Jersey Amateur Radio Society (located about a third of the way up the center of IN89ve, in an old WWII bunker near La Moye's large establishment). With something like a dualband FT7800 being relatively cheap these days I'd be tempted to fit one in the car, but..
a) my vehicule doesn't have much of a metal roof for a good groundplane
b) it lives under cover all day, is quite tall, there's only about 6" clearance without hitting the ceilings
c) I can't be bothered to fit and remove an antenna twice a day for my 15 minute commute
d) my commute is a stop-start one in busy narrow lanes and then busy main roads, need to concentrate
e) fitting an antenna mount properly (and what type? SO-239? 3/8"? DV?!) is way too much hassle, considering
f) I'm only in the car long enough to make it worthwhile at weekends
g) Jersey's many-valley-ed terrain makes for lousy range at VHF/UHF
h) no-one's on
j) it's easier to phone them from home anyway
k) the people I'd most enjoy chatting to are working when I'm on the road, or live in 'remote' areas out of range
l) on an island there's no-one passing through the area like you get on the mainland
m) people will still think an aerial is a CB aerial, and I don't need that kind of embarrassment
n) the Nanny State thinks I can't hold a mic while driving, despite years of incident-free practice
o) amateur rigs are still slooow at scanning. With Jersey being so deathly quiet radio-wise you really have to search for any action and I'd prefer a fast scanner that happens to transmit, if you know what I mean. Maybe one day they'll make one, but there'll be no-one left using two-way radio at all by then!
p) in my experience listening to anything while mobile is a futile exercise of choppiness, too much white noise and only getting the last two words of any transmission
.. etc. For all the trouble, I'd get more entertainment from the decent in-car MP3 stereo I still daydream about too :o)
(my list of reasons why I don't operate from home are similarly due to the possible rewards versus the effort of installing anything, lack of time, better things to do when there *is* time, extreme lazy aversion to holding a pen for logbooks and QSL-ing, mostly prefering to listen rather than talk, fear of upsetting the family or neighbours with antennas or interference, official antenna restrictions anyway, tiny 6x6m garden too, fear of attracting lightning with bits of metal sticking up in the air, etc, etc. Amateur Radio is a once-in-a-while special event for me! It still fascinates me, but I end up reading about it far more than I partake, or simply listening)
If you're reading this and can't believe what a part-timer I am, just imagine living in an island in the middle of nowhere (which it is really, for mobile VHF FM or if you're limited to small loft aerials at home). It's like being given a walkie-talkie on some very unusual channel and having no-one to talk to - it may as well be a brick.

If you do bother with a mobile install, during flat conditions a typical mobile setup may just about reach some French repeaters from the surrounding Brittany and Normandy coastal areas, and the Guernsey GB3GU repeater (20 miles to our north-west) on 433.325 at 70cm - although for best results this requires a stationary position on one of the many headlands around the island with good views to a distant horizon courtesy of an elevation of 200ft ASL (Noirmont) to 440ft ASL (Les Platons). As a comparison, the whole FM broadcast band is packed with French stations that are good quality stereo in the average car, stations from the Cherbourg tip of Normandy down to St.Malo and along the top of Brittany. From the north, UK stations from Cornwall to the Isle of Wight (and variably further east) only appear with the help of an obliging troposphere. The 100 miles or so to the UK mainland is otherwise a little bit too much to hope for. Up on UHF, because the island slopes south, many higher areas can receive reasonable French TV from Rennes, and a good lift can mean goodbye to our terrestial TV for a while thanks to co-channel interference.

Comparing a handheld or simple FM mobile setup to SSB on a nice beam is of course rather like comparing the view to the naked eye with what you can see through a telescope. I've no idea what the standard range is for those amateurs with all the gear but I still doubt it conjures up many stations to natter with, unless the propagation lifts. I certainly don't detect SSB in use on 2m very often, unless perhaps a 'lift' has brought the UK repeaters up.

Good tropo. lifts have allowed me to work past the other Channel Islands up to Blackpool, Holland, halfway down through France etc. When a lift occurs there is plenty of scope for playing with distant repeaters. A modest lift (seemingly almost any nice summer day) will bring up the nearby UK 2m repeaters along southern England, and a really good lift will mean that nearly every repeater channels will have some sign of life (or potential sign of life if it takes a toneburst to reveal it), and with a French repeater or two fighting for attention too. However, these days the amount of activity seems sadly lacking in this age of gaming, the internet and satellite TV - whereas in the early 1990s a good lift made the bands buzz with life. Still, a good lift brings the real enthusiasts out of the woodwork, and UK stations can often be heard on the French repeaters wondering which ones they're using.

Thankfully there's plenty of information on the internet about repeaters, the site at will tell you all about the UK repeaters, and maintains links to other sites for Foreign Repeater details. Here are some direct links to for listings of French repeaters ( VHF list, VHF map, UHF, or try here ), but I find the fun is in finding them for myself, working out the Morse callsigns and seeing if I can find a Frenchman either willing to speak Anglais or suffer my Franglais.

On 70cm, any hint of a lift makes me expect to hear certain English repeaters, and a better lift will bring in at least one repeater on nearly every one of the 16 repeater channels at 70cm, and a really good lift makes things rather tricky as transmitting a toneburst can open up several repeaters all at once! Something new to look out for is a new set of repeaters using around 430.9MHz with a +7.6 shift.

Being surrounded from the North East to the South West by La Belle France, in the summer there's also a fair chance of working F/G stations on holiday over there. Also, every once in a while a good lift to the south brings in Spanish traffic from over the Bay of Biscay. I used to receive UHF TV in colour from there sometimes (TVE) when I lived in the south of the Island with a good sea view (portable telly with 7 element settop antenna into an 'aerial booster'), no sound though because they use a different system over there.

The 70cms band is good for overseas repeaters, with F (French) and PI (Dutch) repeaters just above 430.0 MHz (+1.6 shift), other countries use our repeater pairs the other way around, and a few countries use around 439MHz with -7.6MHz shifts (i.e. the Germans). An operator hundreds of miles on the other side of a Dutch repeater will usually be rather pleased to work GJ! Some of the French UHF repeaters also have a single frequency access channel near 145.25 (a 'transponder' as they say). I'd like to see the Jersey repeater come back to life with a 4m transponder - that could generate some interest :o)

I've never heard anything from further afield than Guernsey on 23cm (1290 MHz), but then I've never used a serious antenna up there. Down on 6m (50 MHz) there are some UK repeaters apparently but I've yet to hear them. Right then, I could write loads more but if you want to pick my brains (if you can find any) you'll have to get in touch - preferably on two-way radio :o)

In summary, it's not a terrible place to be a VHF/UHF amateur, if you can wait for the right conditions. Otherwise it's just an average part of the european area of the globe and HF conditions are much the same as any G station would expect. If you're planning to visit the island, bring a 2m handheld with you at least, I hope you'll feel very welcomed.

Thanks for the contact

I tired of all that QSL stuff years ago, and now I'll only send a postcard if it's really going to mean something special to someone. Which is rare. Here are records of interesting non-local stations worked either from at home or as /mobile, ranging from average european stuff on 50MHz to 316 mile FM contacts on 433MHz direct. These 'logs' serve as some sort of confirmation and thanks for the contact.

Please click on the following links to the relevant band's log :

50 MHz / 6m
70 MHz / 4m
145 MHz / 2m
433 MHz / 70cm

I usually make notes when operating /M, but not always well... sorry to Ron G4JIE and Dave M1AMI but I think it was 1996-10-22 but who knows which band? *cringe*
(And 73 to DG3MIM who ran over from a coach party one day at Noirmont Point, to say hello!)

So if you've searched the internet for your callsign and found this page that way... thanks for the QSO :o)
If you think this is a bit of an effort, believe me I'd much rather maintain this page than faff about with QSL cards.

Ta very much

My thanks to Geoff G/GJ4ICD for some encouragement towards Amateur Radio, to Mike GJ0PDJ for assistance with my previous RSGB membership and for valiantly trying to get people to give a damn, and to Anne MJ0BJU for a last-minute provision of study material needed for the RAE. Thank-you to The Club and Dennis GJ4TXB for the Morse appreciation test. Cheers-over-the-years also to Rob T, Malcom L, Neil GJ1YOT, Steeve GJ7DNI, John GJ8RRP, and 'resting' GJ6s Kevan and Simon - all for various radiocommunication things stretching back decades ago. And thanks to Graeme M0CSH for writing iLINK, and Paul M0ZPD for eQSO!

Thanks also to for hosting the site from May 2009, when geocities was due to close down.

I can't say 'Give me a call on X MHz or PMR446 channel Y' because I'm not listening all that often - but please email me if you'd like to arrange something. Cheers! Salut!

2001-2010, Andy GJ7JHF
Email to gj7jhf at!! - please convert to a real address.
Hint - email addresses have a @ (meaning 'at') and don't end in punctuation.
(depending on the expected volume of mail, account may only be checked weekly)

My Links : Check Mail, Grid Bearing/Distance, Heavens-Above, Call Prefixes