A few of us decided to have a go in the RSGB 21/28MHz contest on Sunday. We used Georges call, M1GEO and a combination of equipment from us all. I brought my 3 element 28MHz Yagi, Dave M0TAZ brought the two masts and his 21MHz 4 element Yagi, while George and his dad brought the Icom IC-7700 and generator. Fred G3SVK also came and done some CW.
UK stations can only work outside the UK and non UK stations can only work UK stations. This made it quite hard work as there was not much activity due to the bands not being in good shape, especially 10m. We could hear some beacons though, although not strong, we received a beacon in Brazil and one in Argentina. We did work some good DX however, including South Africa, Uruguay, Brazil and VP8NO in the Falkland Islands on 28MHz.
The operating table.
Still, we had fun operating outside in the October sunshine for possibly the last time this year!
We had a fun day up at Kelvedon Hatch on Sunday for the Practical Wireless 70MHz contest with fantastic weather yet again!
Dave M0TAZ was operating with his Racal PU12 mast and IC-7100 and I brought along my amplifier and Yagi for this once a year event. There was good activity although as predicted, the final hour was a bit slow going.
We were operating for the whole four hours, running 160W into an 8.24dB Yagi giving an ERP of ~1kW and we worked a total of 47 stations, of which the best DX was GM4JR at 454km. We also worked into Wales and The Netherlands.
As PW contests do not give you a QSO map, I plotted my own in Google Maps by exporting a KML file from the Minos logging software. The QSO map can be seen here.
A photo of the field can be seen below…
PW 70MHz Contest 2015 at Kelvedon Hatch
I also took some video on my phone, which can be seen below…
You can also read Dave’s article on his website. George M1GEO, Chris G8OCV, Dave M0YOL and some others also attended to play some radio so it was a good day all round!
We had some great September weather today for the 2nd 70MHz contest. We setup at the Kelvedon Hatch ‘Secret Nuclear Bunker’ as seen above, using my new 70MHz amplifier at 160w and my 4 element DK7ZB 12.5Ω Yagi.
Conditions seemed quite normal, we worked no Scotland or Ireland but our best DX (as many others) was PA4VHF at 449km. Other highlights were GJ3YHU in Jersey and M1CJN/P in the North York Moors. Total contacts was 46.
A very enjoyable day of operating and testing the new amplifier. Next week, it’s the Practical Wireless 70MHz contest, so lets hope for the same weather and some band openings perhaps? Maybe I’m asking too much 🙂
The Claimed Scores are available. Thanks to Dave M0TAZ, George M1GEO, Dave M0YOL and Chris G8OCV for help & company, and of course everyone we worked (or tried to work!).
Today, I finished a project I started over two years ago. It’s not that it took two years to build, it’s just that its taken me two years to get the parts together and build in my spare time! The upcoming 2nd 70MHz contest and PW 70MHz contest prompted me to get this finished.
Its a 300w 70MHz amplifier, using a BLF 278 MOSFET. Power supply is 50v @ 10A. The amplifier has 9dB attenuation at the PA input to bring the gain down to something usable, as without the attenuation, 2.5w input gives 300w output (21dB gain)! The input & output power, with 9dB ATT (total 12dB gain) is:
5w = 100w
7.5w = 150w
10w = 200w
15w = 300w
The amplifier uses ~7.5a @ 48v for 200w O/P, so it’s around 80% efficient. Bias is set to 750mA. The maximum power here in the UK on 70MHz is 160w, for which this amplifier requires 8w of input. Below is a picture of the inside. I will tidy up the cables at some point!
300w PA & LPF
I need a larger Bird element to measure the 300w output on the Bird 43!
On Sunday, Dave and I went to South Weald to take part in the 144MHz Backpackers Contest. We used Dave’s 9 element Tonna 6m AGL and 10w from the Icom IC-7100. The weather was perfect, blue skies and sunshine and hardly a breeze! Dave worked 51 stations and some good DX for low power, due to the big stations competing in the 144MHz Trophy contest. We managed contacts with England, Wales, Scotland, France, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands. Our best DX was DR4X at 648 KM. The QSO map can be seen below.
5th Backpackers 2015 QSO map
I brought along some 70MHz equipment, which I set up after packing away the 144MHz gear and spent about an hour on 4m working 8 stations. All in all, a good days operating in the sun!
I have added the ability to include a known velocity factor into the Slim Jim / J Pole calculator, to help with building them with 450Ω or 300Ω feeder. Also, here is a tested and reproducible Slim Jim for 70MHz (4m) made with 450Ω balanced feeder:
Selim M0XTA went to Happisburgh Lighthouse for the Lighthouse On The Air weekend 2015. He set up a 70MHz station on top of the lighthouse, using a ⅝ λ vertical. I had a listen from home and could just make out a signal in the local noise I get on 4m at home, so I decided to go out portable and give it a try.
The 70MHz slim jim on 10m pole
I set up a slim jim made from 450Ω feeder on a 10 metre fibreglass pole on a small local hill (away from the QRM) and used the Anytone AT588 with 50w on FM. There was some slow QSB, but we made the contact. He was 105 miles from me (see map). Not bad for no beams and FM!
Happisburgh Lighthouse Distance Map
I took a tiny bit of video on my phone, which is below.
Some amateur friends (that sounds odd, but you know what I mean!) were playing radio this weekend from the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker in Essex. I decided on Saturday to build a 70MHz Yagi and have a go in the 70MHz Cumulatives contest. I had some spare aluminium and wanted an antenna with good performance that wasn’t too bulky and therefore easy for portable operation. I decided to build a DK7ZB design as I have had great success with them in the past.
70MHz 4 element 12.5ohm DK7ZB Yagi
I decided on Version 1 on this page. Its a 12.5Ω design and has around 8.24dBd gain. The gain vs size is excellent, matching Yagi’s almost twice the length, except this one I can fit in the car. The compromise is the narrow bandwidth, and therefore tolerances were very small and build was rather critical. I adjusted the antenna slightly in EZNEC to suit my ½” tube. First tests with the antenna showed that it was a perfect 1.0:1 SWR at 69.5MHz and 1.7:1 at 70.2MHz. I trimmed 10mm off each element and that got it spot on 70.2MHz. We did well in the contest and a QSO map is available. We worked 40 stations in 2 hours, which I think is good for 70MHz. Our best DX was PA4VHF at 449km.
70MHz Cumulatives QSO map
Thanks to George M1GEO for allowing me to use the site and Dave M0TAZ for the use of his mast!