Helicopters and more


70Cms UKAC Final

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20th place for Triple B overall and 32 out of 230 for mw which is not so bad given the antenna problems I had on some outings. Could have been much better with a bit more effort.

11th in the 144 AFS with DRRG. Who won the enthusiasm prize for putting the most contestants on the air!

Anyway that’s it for this year of contesting.

Who knows what will happen in 2017

Weekly Radio Fix

I find I need a weekly visit to the hill to sit in the Landrover and radio the night away. Mind you HF has been a bit better over the last couple of weeks with a few dxpecditions on and the Spanish Miguel Cervantes stations to chase.

The 50Mhz UKAC, for one, was incident free. The K3S worked a treat and nothing blew up.

I got moaned at for having a big signal - that I thought was the idea of it?

Anyway the scores on the doors were:

Contest      :50MHz UKAC 27 Sep
Submitted    :Tue Sep 27 23:11:27 2016 UTC
Deadline     :Tue 4-Oct-2016 23:59 UTC
Section      :AR (UKAC Restricted)
Group        :Triple B ARCG
QSOs         :143
DXCCs        :7
WWLs         :22
UK WWLs      :19
Mults        :41

Best for me so far but there were loads of high scores around

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144Mhz OoooPs,,,

Reeling from the success with the DK7 beam I set that up for the UKAC on Tuesday.

Also for the first time the K3S and the transverter. I have previously used the transverter with the KX3 bit was keen to see how the K3S performed. But it was not to be. Being power pole mad I have all the gear set up to be plugged into power poles but what I had failed to cater for was failing memory and plugged the transverter into the 24v supply for the rotator (makes it go faster)

Smoke and game over for transverting.

Luckily I had the 991 in the car so ran that on 40W. Conditions were brilliant and you will remember I keep saying that MP is no good to the east, well on Tuesday it was. Brilliant evening with 800,000 ish points.

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When I got back i took the transverter apart and it seems that there is a capacitor and resistor across the power inputs to deal with reverse polarity. Richard at MLS is getting a replacement capacitor and we will see is anything else is broke. Fingers crossed.


Field Day

Field Day was a success even if the weather was a bit iffy.

We worked 600 stations on HF with the 4 element StepIr setup. Not world beating but good contacts into China and all around the world.

I also tried out the DK7ZB designed portable beam on backpackers with the K3s and transverter running from a car battery with the battery booster. That antenna works very well. So well, in fact, I took it out on the UKAC. But that’s another story



The “portable “ hilltoppers setup.

P9040020 (1)

Considering if the wind is going to do something nasty to the StepIr. It didn’t , just blew some of the tent away.


At night it was down to the Hexbeam and the K3 to give me and Uri new entities to Iraq.

50Mhz - Pants

Yes, it’s true, the new K3S did not have a chance to prove itself as the noise level was so terrible I had a job hearing anyone. Not just me I add. Carl and Uri had the same troubles whereas others on the hill did not.


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Never mind we live to give it another go next time. And the Skookum issue is now sorted so we are totally integrated computer wise.


Battery Portable 2M

I have finally got round to putting the 9 ele portable beam for 144Mhz together. Charlie has the clamp on the 7 eye so i tried it with a quick clamp from the workshop. It didn't fall off.

I had one QSO with JOØ1 which was ok from home.

The battery worked ok as well with the booster. SO the question is will it work for a trip out up a hill. It all points to being a reasonable setup.



Ilf anyone is interested in doing the BackPakers on the SSB field Day weekend let me know.






Comedy of Errors (again)

Tuesday's UKAC went ok. There were some E's to get is into Italy for one contact and then it was back to chasing the UK squares.

Minor complications this time we hitting myself on the shin with the mallet putting the guy stakes in and falling out of the back of the truck at the end of the contest into a hedge full of nettles.

Other than that it was plain sailing …except that the KXPA100 kept cutting out. I think over heating so I am going to get a fan to sit on top of it for next time

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First RSGB Certificate


Even though I has sloped off with "the other" lot!

We had a good time though

Rat's and NFD

A great weekend working with the Drowned Rats on VHF National Filed Day


we ran 6, 4, 70 and 23 cms using the BBRC mast and my Landy



A good result with a 3rd overall and win in 70cms.

See you all again soon


Monster Yagi

Yes It works.

Good news is that it's front to back is great and local stations do not bother it nearly as much. Given the site is no good working to the east I was happy with the results.





Let's Try that Again

Remember when I fell off the car with the monsterYagi. That spurred me into a pneumatic solution.

Well it’s time to resurrect it for the Tuesday 144Mhz. I am also trying a different approach on the radio having been told off for having a wide signal. So the plan is to run the radio at 5 watts into the Gemini and let that do the work.

So today was test day and I have to say, apart from looking massive, it works a treat. I did some tests with UK stations and then worked five or six ON stations and some F portables who were on some sort of field day contest. Lets see if is works for the UKAC and is not too pointy.




Get Some Boost

With thoughts of getting out there in the sun the battery booster from Tim in the good old US has arrived.


It has a manual as well as auto on transmit mode and essentially boosts up to whatever you set it to. IN my case looking for 13.8v for the IC7000.

The Pic above is with it off and below on.

There is an adjustable cutoff which I have set at 10v

The picture shows it running with the 12v Lipo.




Had an outing with the new mast and the LFA on a nice sunny, but windy, evening
1 (1)

Again no GM or continent for me

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2M Trophy

well conditions for the 2M Trophy were not great radio wise or weather wise on the Saturday. Sunday, at least the weather perked up.

The 2M beams and the Hex for HF



Great food and thanks to Uri for the vintage wine challenge


We worked Japan on the Elecraft


A first time for the hex beam on the new mast and it worked fine.

See you all at the next one.


Lightweight Yagi

For all those who have asked here is the ink to the fantastic plates that Steve has had made for the Nuxcom kits.


I have had a go at making up the driven element as per the Nuxcom plans but am not happy with it as it is a bit wobbly. So I am looking again at Steve's version and am going to have a go at adapting the box with a mounting plate to beef it up a bit.

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Check it out HERE

2m UKAC May


Nice weather for once so no need to guy the mast


Not great as there were loads of stations on sitting on me. Anyway at least it was a change from last week and the tools didn't freeze onto the roof of the truck!

portable 2m beam

So having taken a poll and emailed a few people in the know I have set about building a couple of kits from Nuxcom in Germany to theDK7ZB designs.



I have some of Steve’s special boom spacers and some 8mm pip clips so that I can follow Steve’s method for quick set up.




So far the trial fit looks as if it will work fine.

There is no time to continue today so I will be back… someone famous once said.

70cms April

Last night was bit of a trial. Conditions were really flat and there was loads of QRM from local stations (I was probably doing the same) although I did get a clean bill of heath on the signal at the end of the contest when we looked at it on a pan adapter with a local station.

Here are some pics from the evening. and it is good to report that the compressor worked well and the mast was ok. Still one section does not work. Now the car engine is making a funny noise…..when will it stop!


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Power Draw

With plans of an assault on 1O73 later in the year I had been trying to work out what sort of battery to taks.

Thanks for all who sent in calculations. I had a quick test on the 991 to see what the draw was

Here on receive


Here at 10 W



and here at 50W



Landy Install

Here is a shot of the 991 in the back to the Landy ready for the 144mhz tomorrow.
The next upgrade is a Green Heron controller.



Here are the (badly) painted stabilisers to stop the car rocking on its suspension.


And a handy idea, for making sleeves to increase the diameter of tube.

In this case the HexBeam so that it will slot into the rotator on the new mast.


Cut some plastic tube to makeup the difference and split in two.

Mask the gaps and epoxy it into the scaffold tube and leave to dry overnight.

It works! I will need to drill a bolt hole to stop it rotating but that’s it.


Secret Weapon

The new Secret Weapon was tested today after all the welding. and it seems to work.


The compressor was a bit iffy but the mast seals seem to be bedding in.


operating position is a “little” cramped


Results were pretty good the little bit of extra height makes a bit of a difference. Not that much though compared to last month.

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Time for a new Mast

In looking for another option apart from falling off the top of the car I have found a secondhand Racal pneumatic mast .

It needs a bit of a clean up and one of the seals seems a bit dodgy but for way aI paid for it that is not an issue.


It is 2.6m closed


and I have yet to put up all the sections together. There are another 2 to go in this photo


12m total.

Now to design a roof mount system for it

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You've got to laugh

Here's a funny story…..

So I set out all excited for the 2m UKAC with the new 13ele (unlucky for some) LFA thinking it is going to do the business. It's a bit windy but not too bad.

Now the mast that I have is the SP7DEX one that has aluminium sections and these are marked with the limits showing you where to stop on each one. Normally I can raise 2 sections to start with so the place where you clamp it and see the marks is at eye level but with monster beam and the top wires it has to be lower so little me can clip the top wires on.

So I get the beam together. all 8 metres of it and get in on the mast. Tentatively raise the sections as the wind wants to blow it round and its so long it pokes into the road and would annoy a lorry driver a bit. So It's up to the last section and ….oh …whats that as i can't see the marks I realise that I am holding the end of an 6m pole with an 8m yagi op top of it. In a wind on top of the Disco. Great…

Now I have spent some time making the beam and the contest was about to start so wasn't going to just drop it. I tried to lower it on one end and it's fair to say that it worked. Sort of. As far as the aerial was concerned, at least. It had a reasonably easy landing in the hedge. Me on the other hand was catapulted off the roof and when I had finished falling off was suspended by my right arm from the other 4m of mast that were still attached to the car. Head torch in the puddle and no help in sight.

Anyway Martin's SAS training kicked in and I got myself off of the mast. Jacket was a write off as were some muscle bits that seem to hold your arm on. I have no idea how I cut my lip or sprained my wrist.

Anyway time was marching in so I had to take it all apart, bend the broken bits back as straight as they would go and start all over again.

How did it perform…I hear you chuckle. Well as Carl said it probably is too pointy for contesting or at least with my experience. There is a different approach needed to using a beam like this and I will have to take advice from the more experienced. I am still fed up with being blotted out by other stations and getting pushed off the frequency. So I am in my bruised state I am having second thoughts about continuing to run 2M. I love 6 and 70cms but it is too much of a bun fight in 91 on 2m for me. We shall see. Perhaps I just crawled out of bed on the wrong site this morning.


My That's a Whopper

After the first 144mhz UKAC this year I found I was being out gunned with my 7 element LFA and a quick look at the competition shows they are all using higher gain antennas. So I had a chat with Justin of Innov Antennas fame and he has sent me the dimensions for a 14 and 13 element LFA yagi.

I went for the 13 element (lucky for some) which is 8m long. I have made it in 2 bits using the innovantennas 144mhz choke balun. I have added a new section to the mast that makes it easier to out the beam up a couple of supporting lines to keep it straight. In the driveway is is ok to put up and it will probably be just the wind that might be an issue at MP.



I have managed to get 1:1.3 VSWR over the SSB band. It wants to be fully resonant at 145 but i can’t seem to change that with different reflectors and directors.


Tuning consist of standing on a ladder and tapping the LFA elements in and out with a spare bit of aluminium. I expect the VSWR to change when i get it up to its full height but can only do so much without going out with it.

It will be interesting to see how it performs.

Christmas Cumulatives

I was only able to get out on one day for the Christmas Contests and then only on 2m.

A bit of searching got me to the highest spot in Lincolnshire but that is still not all that high. There are mountains in the way for much of Wales.


Scores weren’t that great but there was a bit of DX

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Scores on the Doors

The scores are in for the 2015 UKAC 2m and 70cms legs.

2M is the most popular of the UKAC contests and BBRC did well to come 29th overall out of 117 clubs. Our pals at Bracknel came 21st so there could be some synergy there in working together with them.

I have just got going properly on 2m now from Stokenchurch and managed 13th out of 157 for the last night of the year, which I am pretty pleased with. Not to say it can’t be improved upon when i get the 9 ele working properly.

The 70cms is very new to me and we don’t have many in the club entering on this band now that Chis has hung up his contesting boots. But with his fantastic scores earlier in the year we came 40th from 86 with only half of the contests entered. I managed 11th on the December one so there is a good chance that we can improve on the overall position next year. It’s a great band as the antennas can be compact and easily erected for the two and a half hour long evening entertainment. There is no reason that a foray out with a colinear would not reap decent results. We enter in the restricted category which is 50w max and a single antenna but there are 10W categories which seem to do just as well and in which we are not represented, if any M6 operators wanted to have a go.

So the overall results , that combine all the contests, are not out yet but we are sitting 31st club out of 132. Given that many of these “cubs” are contest groups with many more participants that is not bad at all.

The new year will be here soon with the first 2M on the 4th January so inspect those stockings to see if santa has brought you a 2m aerial that you need to try out.

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6M and Christmas


The Club came 17th out of 86 on the 6m UKAC this year with a great effort from GØBBB with the club call G3WIR/A coming 12th out of 266 entrants on the Restricted section and that was with 3 sessions not scored.  Well done. Scores were also posted by G8AJM, GØSKA,G8XCK and yours truly. 


Christmas Cumulatives

Just to let you know that there will be a load of activity on VHF over Christmas with the Christmas Cumualatives Contest.

These are just for fun and run from 1400 to 1600 UTC on the 26th - 29th.
Bands are 50/70/144/432 Mhz. you can do it on all or just one.

Seeing as the weather might be warm it might be worth venturing out to see how far you can get. You don’t need a beam or high power, just a radio that works on Upper SSB and the will to have fun.

I wil be portable near Lincoln in IO93 not very high but the south should be workable.  So if anyone is interested in going to my usual location on the Chilterns then let me know.  You will certainly do better than I will from where I will be.

Here is a tip for finding a site to get away from the Christmas cheer. (I’m at the mother in laws hence the relief that there is a contest that I have to do).  Take a look at a map on the computer that gives terrain and look for a road that takes you to a high point all around.   Then go to street view and virtually drive the road to check for a good clear view all round.  See if you can see anything that is a clue to it being a good location like masts.  That is a sure sign that someone also thinks it is a good location for radio.   Then find somewhere to virtually park.  That way you don't spend ages faffing about on the day. 

Aim to get there for a hour before hand to set up and test your gear.  Everyone else will be doing that so it is a great time to have a chat with others in places you might not have got to before.

You don’t have to go out.  I worked someone in Liverpool on the last one who had his beam set up in his bedroom, inside,  pointing through the open window!

Here is the 
LINK to the RSGB site and if anyone needs any help or pointers then just shout.

Last 6M of the season

Last night was the last of the 6M cumulative contests and again I went up to MP for what turned out to a a surprisingly nice moonlit night with the LF yagi.

Many stations were clearly out enjoying themselves not on the radio (how better that sitting in the cold for three hours I know not) and as a consequence there was not such high activity as in the past. There was no DX but the NI and IOM were there to be had if you picked the right time as conditions fluctuated a great deal.

I find it very interesting how conditions vary from month to month and am now starting to appreciate how they change during the contest period as well.

Here is the map.

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Where is Scotland

I am venturing off to IO94 for the next 6M UKAC. which is in Yorkshire. So my thoughts turn to the crib sheet that i use here to tell me where various squares are. Of course when you go off somewhere else all that changes.

There are no map apps that I can find to do this however if you copy this compass rose which is a .gif file so it is transparent


Get yourself a map of where you want to be as a screen shot from google or some other map on the internet.

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copy and paste the gif onto the map and move and scale it to where you are going to be.

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Simples as the markets say……

call that an aerial

So we went out on the 70cms UKAC last Tuesday and Chris very kindly lent me his Diamond beam, which worked a treat. 70 QSO’s and some DX to Germany.

It was an interesting band, especially as there are not so many operators in IO91 so you have a better chance of getting further. So if I am going to carry on with these 70cms portable ops I am going to need my own antenna. And my weapon of choice is the Loop Fed Array LFA designs from Justin - the man behind Innov Antennas.

And here it is…….


Some might say is might be getting slightly obsessive for a portable antenna or as Martin nicely put it.

“If you make it much bigger you won't need a radio just put your QSL card on the end and pass it to them”

It is 20 elements and you can see the spacing is quite a bit different when you compare it to the 15 element Diamond.

Construction follows the 2M and 6M ones earlier in the blog and below is a detail of the matching stub.



As I haven’t got a UHF analyser I don’t know how well it matches yet, so I suppose the proof will be on the next Tuesday I am up on the hill.

Give me a shout to try it out.
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