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Archive for 2022

Radio from the Hill – whatever the weather!!

May 26, 2022 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

Wythall Radio Club members have been taking to the hills to operate portable.  Here, John M6KET reports on a recent dxpedition to Bredon Hill – where we had 4 seasons in one day!

They’re a hardy bunch these SOTA (Summit on the Air) guys, undaunted by the weather conditions, well organised and scrambling up the hill-side like a mountain goat (GOTA?), lean muscular machines with only one aim in sight – the trig point on the  summit.

Our aim was Bredon Hill, Worcestershire – approached by the northern (and more difficult!) route.

Trailing behind like a malnourished Sherpa, I possibly delayed the arrival time by half an hour but we were soon into the swing with Chris G0EYO responding first to my rare outing with the 2 meter Handie, followed by Don, G0NES: both good signals.

This novice watched in awe as Chris G3YHF threw up the inverted V trap dipole and we were away on 40m SSB with 9 watts (Wot, no SOTA calling frequency?) and Sid, G6UT was quickly in the log from his club station in Harlow.

As the clouds gathered again, the really exciting bit followed with 2 way QRP CW QSO’s with Yann F6LAW on 40m and then with German stations on 30m.

With better weather and we might have stayed longer, but this was late May and the hail stones at our feet and the stinging nettles we dropped our coax plug into suggested hometown and we returned, more quickly and safely, by the scenic route.

A great experience and, for me, really exciting to see how a portable operation can be mounted quickly, given organisation and planning.  Something elemental too about being outside with 9 watts, a simple dipole and real QSO’s.

The radio used was a Discovery 500 and was incredibly quiet with the signals standing out beautifully from the speaker mic and no need for earphones.

Big thanks to Chris for patiently guiding this SOTA novice through the experience: I’m off now to find some batteries for the KX3 and .. work on my fitness!

PS Don’t be misled by the apparently balmy conditions in the photos – only tough hombres could have survived the hail stones and cold driving rain we experienced as the squalls blasted through!!

Easter Contest Fun at Wythall Club

May 11, 2022 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Contest, Fun, News

Wythall Radio Club’s eagerly awaited Easter Contest Results are out!!

Keeping up his excellent track record, Jim 2E0BLP is the winner of the 2m / 70cm FM Section and the G6ZDQ Shield with 800 points, well clear of Simon G4TVR in second place. 

Clive M7OCB was the leading Foundation operator in the 2m/70cm section, and third equal with Pete M5DUO.

In the All Bands/Modes section, Chris G3YHF is the winner of the G0ICJ Shield with 364 points.  Ian M0LQY was second (only 12 points short!) and Chris G0EYO in third place.

During the contest, Stuart M0SRZ, Clive M7OCB and Chris G3YHF scaled Walton Hill – a local highpoint – and activated it for SOTA (Summits on the Air) points.  

It was a lot warmer than their previous activation, and contacts were made with Club members as well as other stations.

The picture shows Clive on 2m FM using his wire J-pole slung from a 7m SOTA mast, and Chris trying to get some cw qsos on 40m using an FT817 and 40m inverted V dipole from an 8m SOTA mast.

Sadly, Jim 2E0BLP has announced that he is going to retire from serious club contest efforts.

We thank Jim for his enthusiasm over many years. 

Jim has won the Easter contest more than any other member, is a joint leader of the Christmas Contests with Kev 2E0NCO, and overall has won more club contests (11) than any other member – ever!!

The photo shows Jim receiving the Trophy for winning the Christmas Contest 2m/70cm section from Kev.

We hope Jim will continue to be on the air during future contests with his reliable signal, even if he’s not making a serious entry! 

 

Update on Wythall Radio Club Training Programme

March 23, 2022 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

We have paused our Foundation and Intermediate Training Programme due to recent RSGB syllabus changes that require major updates to our training materials.

There is an update from Chris G0EYO, our Training Coordinator, and suggestions for alternative providers on our training page (click here).

Activity Weekend Fun at Wythall Radio Club

March 02, 2022 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

Having fun with RF!’ – was how Wythall Radio Club members spent last weekend.

The Club’s Activity Weekend brought members on to the bands to operate portable, work DX, try out new antennas and modes, and get the best from their gear.

Tim M0URX kindly arranged a sked with Arthur ZL1AZM so that Club members could try some early morning antipodean DX!  If conditions were good, there was a chance that Arthur’s 3 element SteppIR (see photo) would put a good signal into G-land.  

After having to move frequency several times due to QRM, both Tim and Lee G0MTN worked Arthur.  Their beams made a difference, as other Club members with wire antennas had difficulty copying ZL and couldn’t make the trip. 

Perhaps this will be possible later in the sunspot cycle!

Meantime, Clive M7OCB and Chris G3YHF had some fun out SOTA’ing to activate Walton Hill, to the west of Birmingham (see photo). 

Despite the strong wind, they erected a 7 meter fishing pole mast bungeed to a fence, supporting a homebrew wire collinear J-Pole for 2 meters and a 40 meter inverted V dipole. 

Using 5 watt handhelds, they had over a dozen QSOs, as far afield as Bristol and north Wales – and locally with Club member Don G0NES.  Unfortunately 40 meter ssb was wall-to-wall French contest, so the little FT817 wasn’t used. 

After an hour in the strong cold winds, it was time to pack up and head for home!

Operating on FT8 HF, Dave M0IFT, Jim 2E0BLP, Chris G0EYO, Ian M0LQY and Mike G4VPD were being heard all around the globe.

The screenshots show the reach of G0EYO’s 30 watts to a low end-fed wire on 20 and 15m (left) and G4VPD’s success with working DX on 10m (right).

 

Meanwhile, John 2E0XET/M6KET was on the key on 30m using QRP to work stations around Europe.

 

2E0BLP wins 2E0BLP in Christmas Contest!

January 27, 2022 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Contest, Fun, News

Jim 2E0BLP won the ‘Voice of the Midlands’ 2E0BLP Trophy in the Wythall Radio Club’s Christmas Contest 2021!

The Trophy was named for Jim’s longstanding involvement in Wythall Radio Club, and until recently he often topped the 2meter/70cm section of the contest.  This time, his 96 QSOs with 30 Club members over the 7 day contest knocked Kev 2E0NCO in to second place after several years at No. 1!  Miles 2E0YZW was in third place.

In the ‘all bands and modes’ section, Don G0NES made a spectacular charge to first place.  He secured this with 75 contacts with Club members and a clean sweep of the band, operating and mode bonuses.  

Don secured the maximum 450 band bonus points by working Club members on 160m, 80m, 40m, 10m, 6m, 4m, 2, 70cm and 23cm!  The 23cm qso was achieved at the last minute with a borrowed handheld, and saw Don gradually driving closer and closer to David G7IBO’s qth to bring him in to range to secure those elusive 50 extra points!

He also gained the maximum 300 bonus points with QSOs on all modes – FM, SSB, CW, FT8, Network Radio and Digital Voice – and the maximum 100 by operating portable and mobile!

David G7IBO and Chris G0EYO came second and third.

In our ‘Top Scoring Foundation Licencee’ section, Sylwia M3SSP came first in the 2 and 70 category and Clive M7OCB in the ‘all bands and modes’ section.

Some Wythall Club members braced themselves for the cold, and operated portable and mobile.  

Clive M7OCB (photo left) and Chris G3YHF spend a chilly 40 minutes at the top of Lickey Hills using handhelds and a 3 element SOTA beam.  Lee G0MTN and Sylwia M3SSP visited the site a few days later and grabbed some QSOs (photo right).

Chris G3YHF was out ‘bicycle mobile’ around Wythall on several mornings, while other members operated /M from the comfort of their cars! 

QSOs between Club members averaged over 100 per day, with over 30 members active, demonstrating the Club’s motto of ‘having fun with RF’! 

Attention now turns to a February activity weekend and the Easter Contest in April.

 

400+ Squares Worked on 6M in 2021!

January 10, 2022 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Contest, Fun, News

Over 400 squares were worked by Lee G0MTN and Mike G4VPD on 50 MHz during Wythall Radio Club’s 2021 ‘6 meters and up’ Challenge!

The map shows contacts as far apart as Japan and central America!  

Lee achieved 461 squares, just pipping Mike on 447, both making great use of FT8.

Impressive results were also achieved on the other bands.

Mike G4VPD worked 94 and 87 squares on 4 and 2 meters respectively, while Simon G4TVR achieved 18 and 12 squares on 70cms and 23 cms respectively.

Keep tuned to those higher bands during 2022 and see what can be worked!

Lots of DX in Wythall’s Annual DXCC Challenge

January 03, 2022 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Contest, Fun, News

Over 100 countries worked by Wythall Radio Club’s operators in the annual DXCC Challenge 2021!

Tim M0URX came top in the ‘full licence’ section with 148 countries – all on SSB – just ahead of Chris G0EYO, Mike G4VPD and Ian M0LQY with 141, 139 1n 135 countries, all using FT8.

On the left is the map of Tim’s contacts.

So on this occasion, snappy SSB operation got the better of FT8’s weak signal advantages!

There were impressive results in the intermediate and foundation licence sections. 

Kev 2E0NCO caught 72 countries using FT8.

Meanwhile, confirmed QRP and CW op. John M6KET worked 76 countries on the key with a maximum 10 watts to a doublet.  Nice work!

Leading scores this year were lower than in 2020.  Then, the top ‘full licence’ section score was 160 and both foundation and intermediate top scores were 100 or more.  

The difference seems to be that in 2020 leading scorers were often using multiple modes, while in 2021 they stuck to one mode.

With conditions on the higher HF bands improving, lets see what the 2022 challenge can achieve!