Wednesday, 25 June 2014

EA5 - CASTELLON Activations

19.06.2014 Penya EA5/CS-018

I decided to go for an activation in the morning with the mountain bike (29er Trek Xcaliber,.. nice ride if you are into bikes). It was 1.30am local time by the time my brother in law finished giving me directions on google maps...

EA5/CS-018 Penya is rarely activated summit (I was the 2nd activation). It is about 12km and 500m up from the village. It was a nice ride up, except the point where I got the wrong turn and ended up going up the wrong track, 30min later a 100m+ elevation i decided to go back to find the right track as I did not want to hike 2-3km up a narrow trail with the bike on my shoulder. 

It was fairly hot, about 27-28C and the sun was hammering down just past mid day.
I worked about 13 stations on 20m and moved to 40m, after a few calls with no response, I turned the dial and worked EF6 - URE´s special callsign for Felipe VI King of Spain proclamation. 
Before leaving I changed the switch on the multiband EFHW to 30m and worked ON4FI.

As usual - HB1B, pk+, mini paddle & mountain tuner and multiband efhw with a 7m pole.

The most fun was riding down to the village on an old 1st class mountain pass local road. I could not help either but get a siesta after lunch as I was pretty knackered after the ride.

21.06.2014 Bartolo EA5/CS-017

We drove up to the Col de la Mola. The summit is about 2.5Km and 200m up from there. We followed the route via the masset and returned along the ridge. The views of the Mediterranean sea are fantastic from up there.

WX: Sunny, 29C. 
Gear: I used the usual gear but this time I went for a new homebrew 44´doublet, fed with an open wire parallel line (28´) and a KI6J backpacker 4:1 Guanella balun, tuned with the elecraft T1.
The doublet broadside was oriented towards the N-E so we could work EU stations.
I used a 7m sota pole to support the centre of the doublet and two pine trees to elevate the ends which ended up about 3.5m of the ground.
The antenna worked pretty well in the 3 bands used (40,30,20m), with very good reports.

We worked 35 stations in about 55min on the air.
Prefixes worked: CT, EA2, EU, DL, OM, DF, I, EA1, PA, HB9, OK, G, OE, EA4, GW, EA5, F.

Many thanks to all the Chasers for another great activation.


Bartolo Crew at the top

Views of Benicasim and Castellon de la Plana from Bartolo summit

Views from the return trail along the ridge

Espadan EA5/CS-014
WX: summer T-storms, party cloudy, 19C
It is a beautiful area and slightly cooler than up the province.
The hike is about 450m ascent and 2.7km from the Collado in the west side, that took us 58min.
It was blue sky clear when we started, but as we approached the summit we started to hear the thunders again in the distance and clouds starting to close in.
We went for a very very quick activation, 5-6 QSO. As soon as I powered up my HB1B, I heard the storm static crashes - up to S9 and very continuous. It was a tough activation and was hard work to pull the callsigns out of the noise.

I used my homebrew 44' doublet and T1 again. The summit was friendly to this type of layout.

Thanks to all the Chasers and I was sorry we could not stay longer, but the storm was closing in quickly. We went down fast very quickly (in 28min!!)

I have downloaded the app for the lightning detector, it will be handy in future activations.

Trail start
Ice storage stone building

Approaching Espadan Summit
Station: HB1B, T1, KI6J balun, pk+, mini paddle, 44' doublet

QTH at the summit

West views from Espadan: path goes along the ridge

North - West Views from Espadan Summit

Friday, 20 June 2014

Le Massif Central Activations, France

16.06.2014 - Puy Mary, F-MC-004

We were only able to do 30 & 40m due to the WX. One hr at the summit @ 1783m ASL
Wx: Cloudy with spells of sun and 15-20kph wind and 15C. (Although it was not windy at the top as the ridge provided good shelter)
Very nice drive through the valley, we left the car at Col du Pas de Peyrol. Beautiful place. 

200m vertical short walk to the top.
Antenna. 7m pole. 42ft of random wire + 42ft counterpoise. Connected directly to the elecraft T1 tuner + HB1B 4 Watts.
First time I used this new antenna. It was quiet on 40m, but on 30m was fb. Great reports. 

Overall. 25min "on the air" time gave 22 QSOs. 11 DXCCs.

Station equipment
Shack: 7m sotapole attached to fence supporting 42ft wire antenna

Views of Col du Peyrol from Puy Mary

Views of Puy Griou and Plom du Cantal from Puy Mary

Puy de La Poche F/MC-016 in the morning

Firstly, many thanks to all the chasers today. There was a lot of qsb and depressed conditions. Specially to DJ9MH and G4SSH who spotted us today, ... having made a mistake with the alert times with the time difference in France.

Bands used: 40 &30m
WX: vy cloudy, cold-ish 11C and 10Kph wind. 1509m ASL. 200m vertical ascent. 4.5km round trip. Nice walk through the forest. Again the ridge provided shelter from the wind. It was a quick one as it seemed it was going to rain.
HB1B, PK+, mini paddle, mountain tuner & multiband EFHW set as inverted V on a 7m pole along the ridge N-S.

Puy du Bac - F/MC-053 in the afternoon
Bands: 30 & 20m
The SMS spot service worked fb, thanks to Andy MM0FMF for setting it up on Monday.
WX: sunny, 18C, breezy. 1200m ASL. 200m ascent , 5.1k round trip from Albepierre
Massive qsb, signals appeared and disappeared quickly. Longest shots on 20m, CU & UA6. 3000+ km
Gear: HB1B, mountain tuner, multiband EFHW,PK+, mini paddle
I used a branch of a tall pine tree at ~10m to lift the 20m of multiband efhw as inverted L pointing North.

Summary of the day 
31 QSOs, 9 on 40m, 15 on 30m & 7 on 20, 12 DXCCs
2 S2S. M0IML/P & G3RDQ/P in G/SE

Special thanks to Chris F6FTB, Tof F5UBH, Adrian F5VLY & Franz OE5FSM who provided great and friendly advice  about the French summits on the SOTA reflector.

Operating position

local hyathins

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Betterqrp backpacker baluns

The 3 backpacker baluns from betterqrp arrived a couple of weeks ago. They can be configured as:
1:1 current/choke baluns
4:1 Guanella balun
9:1 unun 

Tiny size and light, are ideal for /p. In the initial tests with the garden doublet they seem to work fb.

Great customer service from Stu who answered all my technical questions.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Revival of the great G59 SDR QRP kit

There has been a lot of activity recently on the Genesis radio group, one of the latest announcement is the revival of the G59 SDR QRP kit.

I have one of the G11 SDR QRP kits - 5bander, which was the latest released kit. These are great pieces of equipment and serious Contest rigs.
It was a lot of fun and I learnt a lot by building the kit and setting up all the digi modes software as well. These are HF+6m all-modes SDR 10W rigs. I worked all continents with WSPR and JT9/JT65 with 5 Watts.

Update: With the renewed interest, I have ordered the multiband board (160m to 6m + General RX) for my G11, which is still available.

G59 SDRs QRP kit
Yahoo Group

G11 SDR Board

Log map of my G11 in action with N1MM & Multipsk during CQ WW cw contest last November.
Antenna: Gwhip resonant EFHW 20m band at 5m height in the garden.
PWR = 5 Watts.

Yes, that line made it to VK land...


G/CE-001 Cleeve Hill SOTA activation

We activated the Cleeve Hill G/CE-001 last Sunday. WX was great, 22C and sunny.
The summit is in the middle of a golf course and the bench where we set up the QTH was about 10m from a tee.

QTH - views to the North - West

Station: HB1B, Multi band EFHW and mountain tuner, Palm mini paddle

We operated on 40, 30 & 20m bands between 14.00 and 15.00z. The conditions were depressed and was hard work to pull the signals out of the noise. We managed about 14 QSOs in 30min of operating time.
DXCCs: OK, OE, DL,  HB9, EA2, G, PA, DJ, I, EU

It was nice to meet Peter G8KDG who approached us to have a chat.

Elevated support for EFHW antenna end using walking stick

Views of famous Cheltenham Racecourse

Many Thanks to all the chasers & VY 73s.