Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Fun on 10m and a call from the past

I checked WSPRnet.org this morning and found quite a lot of activity on 10m so I fired up the K2 and joined the fun with a 1 watt signal. By late afternoon I'd had well over 40 unique call / spotter combinations including good reports from FR1, VK6, VE and the USA.

At lunch time I switched to the K3 (which has a mic attached) to make some SSB QSOs. This was not especially productive. Several US stations running high power to multi-element beams were huge signals over here, but they had huge numbers of European stations calling them and my 100W to an attic dipole had trouble being heard over them. Actually I was only using 80W as I found going up to 100W on 10m caused my homebrew digimodes interface to disconnect itself from the computer. When I was heard, I received good reports from N2JF and NU1O. Perhaps I'd have made more contacts if I'd called CQ.

During my WSPR session I saw that my signal had been spotted by a callsign that rang a bell: G4HBA. A quick look at qrz.com confirmed that my memory was correct: G4HBA was Roger who had also been G8KRT some 35 years ago. During the long hot summer of 1976 when I was G8ILO and only allowed to use 2m and up I was home from university and using an Icom IC-202. Roger was portable from near his place of work in south east Essex and working strings of Continental stations during the endless tropo openings. As I had no antenna at the parental QTH I drove out to find him and on several days I joined Roger and made some contacts under my own call.

One evening I drove out to the site and Roger was not there, so I went to the top of the hill and started operating using my IC-202 and a small beam I made that was supported by the car door. After about half an hour it was getting dark and I noticed torches moving about and closing in on the car. Suddenly I was surrounded by police in uniform! Apparently my car interior light had been spotted from several miles away (as I was on top of a hill) and as I was right next to a radar station someone had wondered what I was up to. That was the end of my operating from that particular site, but I will always remember the amazing VHF propagation of that summer and regret that I never experience such conditions on 2m here.

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