Sunday, 27 July 2014

MTR v2 s/n 370 SOTA DX activation debut

I finished my MTR v2 after a couple of weeks working on it, and having completed the calibration and final wiring on Saturday, we decided to put it to test on a SOTA activation.

MTR v2 - completed - weight 120gr

back side

27/07/2014 SOTA GW/MW-013 Corndon Hill
We drove for 1h 20m from home to Priest Weston.
WX was mostly sunny, 22C - a little windy at the top.

Corndon Hill

Camuflage sheep (there are three in the photo...)
It took us a while to get to the top as we climbed up from the pub and ended up going through the fieldsAfter a while, we decided to follow a track, which took us all the way around the hill to finally ascend from the East. This is what happens when you don't check the maps before leaving...The few nettle plants underneath the fern fields were a great stimuli to the blood in our legs....

QTH - close to the summit, the stones provided great shelter from the wind

Rig: MTR v2 (30-20-17m), 9V alcaline battery, mini paddle, earbuds
Antenna: Mountain Tuner, multiband EFHW (40-17m), 7m sota pole, guying kit - sloping up towards the SW.

I found that the audio on 17m and 20m was not that loud with the atmospheric noise, so it was diffult to tune the Mountain tuner by ear and resorted to use my SWR meter.

View of QTH and EFHW feedpoint
We started on 20m with MW0HDF. We worked 7 station: EA2DT, OK1DVM, LA1ENA, OK2PDT, DL3JON, N1EU & DL2DXA.
Many thanks to Barry N1EU in NY, it really made my day to cross the pond with 2Watts on 20m. The MTR seems to have great ears...(better than my HB1B, I would say based on the limited testing)
I moved to 17m and worked Richard N4EX in NC. After a few CQs unanwered, I  swept the band and heard a fair bit of DX - AA3DF, N2GWT and 4Z1TL, but did not try to work them as time was pressing and we still had to activate with Eva's callsign..

The 17m audio is not very loud, so I might implement the gain modification proposed by Richard G3CWI in the ATsprint yahoo group.

We changed to 30m and MW0HJV/P - it took a few calls - the band seemed to be dead, but after a while we worked DF5WA, HB9CUE, DJ5AV, DL1FU, then moved to 20m to work OK2PDT and HA5CQZ.
As the afternoon passed on the WX got better and had a pleasant walk back to the car, this time we made back straight to the road and back to the pub. On our arrival to B'ham we treated ourselves with some Fish & Chips from George and Helen, our favourite.

Views from the top

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

MTR v2 s/n 370 is alive

After 10 days soldering in anger ....with all the care in the world...I first powered up my MTR tonight...
After an initial panic and finding the power switch I am happy to say that it is alive...
I have seen the number 3 in the led display and heard the code via the headphones...

A good start... calibration is next...

Saturday, 19 July 2014

MTR v2 progress

I have made good progress in the last week with the MTR v2 kit from Steve Webber. I started last Sat to solder after making an inventory check and laying out all the material adequately in paper bowls.

The magnifying glass with lighting I got at Maplins and a thin and long tip for the soldering iron has made the job easy.

So far I have completed all the SMD stuff and I am half way with the Through hole bits.
In a couple of days I should begin to test, debug and calibrate it, hoping all is ok.

Here a couple of pics of my progress so far.

Looking forward to get this guy s/n 370 on the air.

QRP Saturday

 Having read in the SOTA reflector that the IARU championship contest was going on I prepared a vertical antenna with some bits I had around me to work it from the garden with great WX around.
5.5m vertical radiator and a couple of radials elevated at 4m on a 10m pole, prowhip balun, 4m of rg213 and T1 tuner.

 I set up my contest station - G11 SDR under a parasol and fired away. In a couple of hrs I managed about 50 QSOs on 15 & 20m with 5 watts output, including some DX to the States and new entities like Cyprus.

G11 Contest Station, T1 Elecraft

GSDR panadapter

Vertical antenna. 2 elevated radials, 10m pole

In the evening, I began the build of the MTR v2 and soldered the smallest ICs.

Great QRP day overall. Truly enjoyed it.