(Nov) Radio Days

The end of ’12 quickly draws near……

I’ll possibly do my usual yearly round-up at some point before the end of the month so beware !

SOTA…

No activations as circumstances seem to deny me the chance to finish the year with an intended couple of trips. I note in one of the Reflectors it was mentioned that November is that ‘quiet’ month before the ‘bonus points’ are awarded from Dec to early March for ‘two point and over’ hills so let’s be honest, why do a two pt hill when in four weeks time you get a total of five points for a two point hill up to a total of 13 for a 10 pointer.

Baofeng UV 5RE

Baofeng UV 5RE

Chasing was quiet this month but first out of the block was our fellow blogger Neil 2MØNCM who did Cnoc a’Bhaile-shois which was the first hill on his Kintyre expedition and I worked Neil from just N of Kilmacolm although I did hear Neil from lower down in Port Glasgow but I guessed the higher the better. I wished Neil well as I had known of his intentions over the next 48 hours. I knew the high points of Arran would come into play for the other hills he had planned. Whilst checking the hill name I found the trig point mentioned under another name Crevelees. As expected, I missed Neil on the rest of his itiniery.

Following Neil in the log was Graeme 2MØGIL who appeared on Carleatheran which is one of the Gargunnock ‘marilyns’. Graeme’s blog post HERE. Later in the day Neil NCM appeared on Ballencleuch Law, I had listened for Neil whilst on Lurg Moor but I finally caught up with  him as I headed back home over the B788 to Kilmacolm, a quick word over the 92 km distance between us then it was off home over the Green Rd.

The following week it was a welcome back to GM land to lain WJZ who activated a snowy Ben Donich, it was good to see Iain back activating esp as he had recently came home from a warmer climate. I’d have stayed ! as an aside I did have the opportunity to head to the same country almost 50 year ago under THIS but I decided to stay, I wonder some times.

It was time for me to set up another SOTA logbook page – number 7 which is a new first as although 2011 was a busy year, 2012 has now surpassed it and considering I ‘lost’ quite a few chases due to my heading out walking at the wrong time earlier in the year. A busy year indeed.

Iain was now back with a vengeance he appeared on Beinn Chablair and to finish the month, Cruach Tairbeirt a hill surrounded by many higher hills in the Arrochar area, this time I caught Iain from the local golf course car park. The wee Baofeng handie with its dual band Nagoya 701 working fine.

The month as you can see was a very quiet one but more affected by the vagaries of weather. Rain and snow of which there was plenty of the former for the month. The average monthly rainfall in the local area is approx 3.8 inches in the month of Nov but that must have been well surpassed.

HF…

This past month was spent using the new mode I mentioned in last months Radio Days post…JT9-1.

I varied between it and the established JT65 but paid particular interest as this looked intriguing as I watched and worked into EU and NA on various bands although mostly on 30m where I seemed to find my set up slightly deaf towards NA, I checked all my settings and I guess there is some reason I cannot figure out.

I spent a bit of time in Andy K3UK’s excellent contact area…digitalradio HERE  just watching the talk of those working the mode on various bands.

JT9 trace

JT9 trace

I took a note of one session earlier in the month…

”Sitting here watching a discussion (on K3UK page ‘digitalradio’ )between a Dutch and US station working each other using JT 9.1 on the 12m band using decreasing amounts of power the signals were roughly -16 at 30w but power reduced the next over to 10w and signals dropped -3 to -19 and further on to next was 5w signal reduced to -27 but the Dutch station went as low as 500ml and was reported at -25 !! the vagaries of propagation may have affected the signals but it shows under the right conditions that QRP works and all it needs is patience and time. I wasn’t receiving either station as 12m wasn’t opened to me.”

Another time I was on 17m with two US and the Dutch station and I sent out a couple of CQ’s and was being picked up in Alabama and Georgia (two states I need for WAS). I could see the return but it would not decode so with some help from Erwin (a PA3) I adjusted my RX but sods law I never picked up the signals again. I did work the Alabama station on 10m a couple of days later.

I’ll must spend some SWL’ing in and tweak the RX settings to best.

JT 9.1 is meant for the LF and MF frequencies and although tests are being carried out at the higher (or should it be lower) end of the HF, kudos to Joe Taylor( K1JT) once again. Joe’s bio HERE

I gave out a CQ call on 30m and worked a F1 station at -24 both ways so obviously better conditions on what was a lower band than 17 which may have been affected more by localised QRM or propagation ?

I have since worked other stations using this mode on 30, 17, 15, 12 and 10m and if I could get out or stay out my bed the lower bands of 80, 60 and 40 could be worked. There is a fair bit of activity on 160m between NA and EU stations but I have no antenna capability for 160m.

JT65 trace

JT65 trace

Interesting ? yes especially as this is a narrowband data signal, JT65 has an approx maximum bandwidth of  175 hz whilst JT9-1 (there are variants of JT up to JT9-5) has a max bandwidth of 16 hz which mean more signals/QSO’s could be utilised in the allocated DATA section of each band. As a guide line WSPR (another K1JT creation) is 6 hz and PSK is 31.25 hz. I wonder if this may be a variant which will take off or another which promises so much but fades away but after using the mode I hope not.

Download page is HERE, look for the latest version, look for the file WSJT-X plus the ‘ User Guide’ and ‘Changelog’ are there as well.

A new PSK variant SIM31 has appeared so looks like a visit to try this now….You will need Google Translate for this page.

Retro…

Following on from last months post where I posted the image of the home-brewed 11m 2 element quad, this picture shows the original ‘head into the hills’ antenna set up a simple 1/2 wave ‘silver rod’, the location is slightly N of Corlic Hill (yes even in those far away days) the trig point can be made out..

1/2w vertical Corlic Hill circa 1985?

1/2w vertical Corlic Hill circa 1985?

Thanks go to Wikipedia and Peakbagger once again.

To embiggen click any image to see in full size.

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About gm7something

Very early 60's, married, three kids......overweight, unfit, folically challenged, need I go on ?
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2 Responses to (Nov) Radio Days

  1. Iain 'WJZ says:

    Is that a Saunders tent on Corlic Hill? GM-land in winter on a day like today, all that sunshine is no competition, but I’ve a bit of catching up to do on the hills 🙂

    • gm7something says:

      Tent ? it was just 30 year ago hihi.
      Quite possibly a local make, Blacks or Vango.
      I passed my half century of Corlic visits a couple of year ago. It looks like I kinda like the place.
      The views from Lomond are excellent on warmer days but I imagine with the clearer air they must be something else..
      Keep ascending those hills and giving out points !
      Happy Holidays..

      B. Mhor

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