My hopes were high that conditions would have improved since last month having made a couple of solid inter-G QRP contacts over the previous days on both 40m & 80m.
However these expectations were dashed soon after Mark (G0GQT) had responded at 2.50pm for Clifton following my call for members on 7.125MHz.
Mark was about to describe his experiences on his recent expedition to Lundy Island with the Virtual Radio Group, when his signal strength suddenly fell from and S8 to an S2. Mark suggested we try 7.105MHz where his local noise was less. I moved to this new QRG but soon lost Mark completely as he spiralled down in QSB. I return to the original net frequency and called for other members until 3.10pm without success. During this time however, I was called by Mark (GB2EM); a windmills on the air special event station from Elstead Mill Surrey. The signal was also very poor; not a good weekend to run a special event station.
At 3.10pm I moved to 3.690MHz after several calls Peter (G3PJB) replied. Again signals were very unstable and readability poor. Peter and I struggled to maintain a QSO with the occasional few words being lost during the swings in QSB.
It was obviously worse for Peter as his noise floor as hovering around S7.
I agreed with Peter with propagation like this and having to contend high levels of local QRM it was not surprising fewer are joining and some are abandoning the hobby.
Reflecting on these words I recounted a QSO on 40m a few days early between two newly licenced stations discussing the merits of ‘Echolink’……… “It’s wonderful, you don’t have to bother with a rig or an antenna, there is no interference and you get through every time to DX places like VK and ZL………”
Almost like using your mobile phone Eh? (No comment!).
Needless to say with the prevailing conditions, Peter and I concluded the net at 3.24pm. Ironically I was then called by Stuart (GB2TM) from Bishopstone Tide Mill, Newhaven. Stuart explained that mill was fairly unique in its use of tidal flow to provide motive power, fascinating! I wished Stuart well and relinquished the frequency to him at 3.30pm.
After the net I received an email from Mark (G0GQT) expanding on his experiences on the Island of Lundy that is posted below and the photos attached. From the pictures it is easy to see why Mark had a wonderful time on this beautifully remote island.
The callsign we were using for HF was MX0VRC.
I used my callsign /p for the 2Mtr UKAC contest on the Tuesday evening and had a superb result. I came sixth out of 169 entries, worked 17 UK squares and six non-UK squares. (This equates to my score multiplied by 40). Scoring is one point per kilometre. I made 98 qso’s and scored just over 1 Million points (best ever from home is just over 200,000). Although once it was adjudicated I finished up with just under 1 million points for the contest. For sixth place I get 970 points out of a possible 1000 for this month’s contest.
This in turn moves my league position from 35th to 29th out of well over 200 stations in the 2Mtr section. The big reason for my popularity was not only being on Lundy but also being in IO71 square which is as rare as rocking horse droppings.
Running a Trio TR751E and 85 watts (microwave mod 100w linear) 9ele Tonna on a Racal 40ft mast only up about 27ft. When the contest finished I knew I had done well but could not check claimed scores as no internet on the island and only one bar on the mobile when the wind blew in the right direction.
But I was on the ceiling for hours after the finish. What a buzz!
I also received an email from Ian (G0PDZ) who also operating a ‘windmills on the air’ station and was listening for the CC Net as he explains below:
I was at the White Mill, Sandwich, GB2WM. I did listen & call briefly shortly after 3pm on 7.125, but nothing was heard; like most of the weekend!
When members of the public ventured near, when we would evangelise about the hobby, to the background of hiss & burble of idle HF radios with no signals to activate them. Even the PSK31 screen showed an indecipherable jumble of characters that would not even cause the occasional passing youth to linger! Of course 40m did open 30mins before we closed down!
On the home front, I’m now active on 2m SSB. Taking part in UKAC & the Monday, Wednesday & Friday activity sessions, subject to other demands. I hope to get some other antenna fixings installed very soon to allow VHF & UHF FM activity & the installation of experimental wires to see if I can get on HF.
Thanks for that Ian! Hey, we may even be able to hook up on 2m SSB in future, I look forward to it!
Also Lawrie (G4FAA) was running a station at the Meopham Mill in Kent. The poor conditions took their toll resulting no contact with the net.
John (G3FNZ) also could not hear us, not through want of trying. We are ever hopeful John for an improvement next month.
Brian (G3OYU) is still sans antenna, but is making progress since his recent eye surgery.
Peter (G3RQZ) was attending a christening. Er! You didn’t miss much Peter!
Frank (G3WMR) was in Jersey with his trusty FT817 and dipole, said we would be calling and listening on 40m. I did not hear him but Mark (G0GQT) did, and they had a reasonable QSO. Oh the vagaries wireless! Well done Mark!
As an aside, today I had my Elecraft KX3 back from the service department of W&S. The engineer tells me that they re-calibrated it to be more tolerant of high ambient temperatures. Hopefully this will prevent the set locking up and allow me to switch it back on when the radio has reached temperatures approaching 40c. Unfortunately I will not be able to put this to the test as we have no immediate plans to operate the KX3 in a tropical environment.
Well that’s it folks for the May CC net, thanks to all those who struggled to join the net in vain.
Next Month’s CC Net will be on Sunday 11th June at 1500Hrs (BST) on either 7.125MHz or 3.690MHz depending on the prevailing conditions. It can only get better!
Due to our annual summer recess June’s net will be the last until October.
Catch you on the wireless!
73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.