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 A question for the VHF/UHF ops here 
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Post Re: A question for the VHF/UHF ops here
Yes Tony I know there is always activity, I do regularly check beacons at least.
You know the ironic bit about beacons?
There is now tons of free available FM chat space most days, and some "amateurs" who we have all heard, still find it necessary to hold their chats, when they have them, right next to, or even within the beacon section! :lol:
You could not make it up! ;)
Tip for finding out if any 2 meter FM listeners are about after endless CQ calls and no replies, phone a mate and arrange a sked on S20, chat for 30 seconds or more.....guarantee someone will "pop up" and tell you to clear the calling channel! :lol:

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:15 am
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gw8asd wrote:
G6CSL wrote:
I remember the actual night when the Class 'B's were allowed on HF.

2m just emptied like a sink, and everybody appeared on 40m and 80m.

Everybody?

You'll have to remind me of the date, I can't remember it making a blind bit of difference to me.

Cheers

Tony


I think you may have been qrt during that period Tony? I seem to recall you were not around for a few years when I got back into VHF.
How long were you off air for?

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:06 am
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Post Re: A question for the VHF/UHF ops here
G3XSA wrote:



It would be more productive if more of those stations who only appear in competitions, spent more time on the bands outside of contests, and used their antenna arrays to work lesser stations, and encourage activity on VHF.




Totally agree.

In fact there should be a new contest rule, a contest submission of 100 contacts must be accompanied by a log that shows 100 non contest QSOs in the month before the contest.

I also agree with you other comment.

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:30 am
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I can understand that the removal of the Morse test, allowing Class B licencees to use the HF bands was a significant factor in so many deserting VHF, but then they would have not had any serious interest in VHF and above in the first place, and were only using it because that is all they were permitted to use.

What about the Class A amateurs who regularly operated om 2m and 70cm though, where have they gone. Of course many of the old G3's have gone SK, bless them, but there are still plenty of G3 and G4 stations still alive and kicking, and even more G0's.

You say that many are spread across the bands above 10m, but I have 6m and 2m which are pretty dead outside of contests, and Paul tells me that 70cm is even quieter than 2m, so that is three of the bands that are well underused. I expect 6m to come alive tonight for UKAC, and then that will be it until next month.

What hasn't helped, is that manufacturers stopped producing multi-mode VHF/UHF transceivers, instead switching production to VHF/UHF FM transceivers, and marketing them at relatively low prices, to feed the growing community of local chat simplex, and repeater users.

Maybe, with the drift away from VHF/UHF following the removal of the Morse test, creating a reduction in demand for VHF/UHF multi-modes, manufacturers saw no market for them anymore.

That said, HF/6m radios started to appear, followed by HF/VHF/UHF radios, and now even 23cms is included, but amateurs buying these radios, and listening on the ssb/cw sections of 6m, 2m, and 70cm are going to find the bands quite deserted, unless they happen to listen on a contest night. Hardly encouraging people to start using these bands, or returning to them.

Given how poor conditions are on HF at the moment. and likely to remain that way for a few years to come, maybe even heading towards another Maunder Minimum, I would have thought it a good time for people to look to VHF and up, and for those well equipped for these bands, and using them only during contests, to start using the bands more, to encourage activity, but maybe they don't want that, preferring to keep them clear for contesting.

Tony, you say that people need educating, so why don't you experienced VHF and up guys, put some effort into educating some of the "so many poor 2m stations", instead of deriding them.

I run an online amateur photography group, for people in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Essex, where I, and other experienced photographers, help and encourage the less experienced, who want to learn, and progress We don't look down on them because they have less than high-end equipment.

This was very much the case when many years ago, I first got into SSTV, and building everything from scratch. I had a lot of help and advice from two local SSTV enthusiasts.

Ah well, I guess it is what it is with the hobby now, and it can never return to what it once was. :cry:

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:15 am
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Post Re: A question for the VHF/UHF ops here
G0UWK wrote:
gw8asd wrote:
G6CSL wrote:
I remember the actual night when the Class 'B's were allowed on HF.

2m just emptied like a sink, and everybody appeared on 40m and 80m.

Everybody?

You'll have to remind me of the date, I can't remember it making a blind bit of difference to me.

Cheers

Tony


I think you may have been qrt during that period Tony? I seem to recall you were not around for a few years when I got back into VHF.
How long were you off air for?

I came back on in Jan 2001, although I never really went away completely.

A quick search and it seems the ITU removed the Morse requirement in July 2003 and that the UK regulator removed it in August.
From my log it seems I had a few - couple of dozen - HF QSO's, spread across the bands and mixed in with 6/4/2/70/23, in October and November.
In those days touring put paid to a lot of operating.
Jan 2004 is when I got into 23cm so that obviously pushed HF to one side.

Nothing HF then until a few days in August 2004, and, with one exception just odd HF contacts, mainly with people asking for checks.
The exception was end of 2011, when I set myself the task of getting to 150 DXCC on 10M.
The previous 7 years had produced 44 DXCC, from 87 contacts, so I was interested in how difficult the other 106 would be.
In fact it didn't take very long, just about a month, utilising time when I wasn't on the higher bands.
It took a total of 354 contacts to reach 150 DXCC.

I pop back, to HF, on odd occasions. Sometimes for a day or two, sometimes just one contact.
Last one was April this year, doing an equipment test, prior to that one in April 2014.

Who knows, I might put the 10M Moxon back up, it was removed to make room for another 4M antenna.

Cheers

Tony

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:24 am
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Well, if nothing else, at least this has got us talking about the lack of band usage above 30MHz :thumbsup:

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:43 am
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Post Re: A question for the VHF/UHF ops here
6mtr activity evening tonight.
You think the bands are quiet over there, the last two 6mtr sessions have seen just three F stations active :banghead:
Can't seem to drum up any enthusiasm for it, plenty on for the 2m sessions though.

Loosing the morse requirement I feel had long term a big difference to the vhf bands, I've certainly resorted to cw many times in the past both from home and /P
There was certainly more chance of getting a contact outside of contests in the past, even up to the mid 90's I recall evening activity up to 23 and numerous chats to G8KBQ, G3AUS, G6HV and others. Last time I was back at my folks place all I heard was beacons and had zero replies to cq's .

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:31 am
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Post Re: A question for the VHF/UHF ops here
G3XSA wrote:

What about the Class A amateurs who regularly operated om 2m and 70cm though, where have they gone. Of course many of the old G3's have gone SK, bless them, but there are still plenty of G3 and G4 stations still alive and kicking, and even more G0's.

I still work many of those I did in the 70s, even some from the 60s.
Some of them are still the most prolific when it comes to Radcom articles, giving talks, producing kits etc.

G3XSA wrote:
You say that many are spread across the bands above 10m, but I have 6m and 2m which are pretty dead outside of contests, and Paul tells me that 70cm is even quieter than 2m, so that is three of the bands that are well underused. I expect 6m to come alive tonight for UKAC, and then that will be it until next month.

70cm has become a bit of a no man's land.
I tend to go there via 2M, or sometimes via 23cm.
Some have gone down to 6M, but 4M seems to hold more interest, certainly for me.
I monitor the whole of 4M, from my remote site, almost constantly.
The growth area is 23cm, and 10GHz, to a lesser extent 13cm and 6cm.
These bands, and the higher ones still, are getting more attention than ever.
Obviously, they're not the sort of bands you go and idly chat, or call CQ, on.
It's largely experiment, on some, and precise antenna aiming, at both ends, is necessary for a contact.
As regards 2M, and 4M, there's the video experimentation that's going on using the extended sections.


G3XSA wrote:
What hasn't helped, is that manufacturers stopped producing multi-mode VHF/UHF transceivers, instead switching production to VHF/UHF FM transceivers, and marketing them at relatively low prices, to feed the growing community of local chat simplex, and repeater users.

Maybe, with the drift away from VHF/UHF following the removal of the Morse test, creating a reduction in demand for VHF/UHF multi-modes, manufacturers saw no market for them anymore.

It hasn't helped but there are plenty of transverter options around.

G3XSA wrote:
That said, HF/6m radios started to appear, followed by HF/VHF/UHF radios, and now even 23cms is included, but amateurs buying these radios, and listening on the ssb/cw sections of 6m, 2m, and 70cm are going to find the bands quite deserted, unless they happen to listen on a contest night. Hardly encouraging people to start using these bands, or returning to them.

One of the issues is the poor quality of some of these shack in a box radios.
When I'm running 100W, hearing an M6 at 53 and he gives me 20 :banghead: there's something wrong. Well, at least two things wrong!
A large part of the disappointment is down to badly engineered systems, and not investigating what is possible.

Thinking in terms of CW/SSB is limiting.
I remember overhearing a couple of guys, on SSB, complaining that 2M was dead.
SSB certainly was. Why? MS was producing spectacular results.
Dead, to you, isn't necessarily dead.

G3XSA wrote:
Given how poor conditions are on HF at the moment. and likely to remain that way for a few years to come, maybe even heading towards another Maunder Minimum, I would have thought it a good time for people to look to VHF and up, and for those well equipped for these bands, and using them only during contests, to start using the bands more, to encourage activity, but maybe they don't want that, preferring to keep them clear for contesting.

Tony, you say that people need educating, so why don't you experienced VHF and up guys, put some effort into educating some of the "so many poor 2m stations", instead of deriding them.

I run an online amateur photography group, for people in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Essex, where I, and other experienced photographers, help and encourage the less experienced, who want to learn, and progress We don't look down on them because they have less than high-end equipment.

This was very much the case when many years ago, I first got into SSTV, and building everything from scratch. I had a lot of help and advice from two local SSTV enthusiasts.

Ah well, I guess it is what it is with the hobby now, and it can never return to what it once was. :cry:

I think you will find that the vast majority of stations are only too willing to give help.
I'd only deride someone who has been given good advice but ignores it and still complains.

I've repeated on here, many times, that it's pretty well open house to anyone who wants to chat, look at how I do things etc.
I'm no expert and there are many better stations that are equally open to visits.
There are plenty of opportunities to learn.
The Microwave Group have Round Tables around the country where you can spend a day, or two, with talks and informal chats.
There's the Convention, this weekend, where there's a wealth of topics to choose from.
Clubs can ask for guest lecturers, either via the RSGB or direct.

I frequently post things directly related to my experiences, often getting some stupid response, but when I question the comment there's usually no reply. :rolleyes:

I have had visitors but, surprisingly, the majority are at least as experienced as me!

Back in 2010 there were postings on here, stickies at the top of the page, to give some pointers for people to read.
The info is still there.
People only have to ask a question and I, or someone else, will do our best to answer or find an answer.
It is, however, annoying to recommend a cable choice only for some fool to say "I've always used RG58 and it's fine". :lol:

Part of education is self education.
It's already been mentioned that, despite low activity, there are those who insist in having FM chats in the middle of the beacon sub band! Why?
I've had several instances of FM stations in the SSB part of the band! Why?
There are those who come on SSB, with a vertical, and sit on the calling channel because "it sounds clear to them!".
Then they get naggy, accuse you of pretending, when you try to get the DL calling CQ to QSY. :banghead:

The big difference between HF, and the higher bands, is that you can get away with almost any cobbled together HF system - I've done it when I was in digs. :lol: - but, as you get higher in frequency you have to consider things more carefully.

Cheers

Tony

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:34 am
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F4VPC wrote:
6mtr activity evening tonight.
You think the bands are quiet over there, the last two 6mtr sessions have seen just three F stations active :banghead:
Can't seem to drum up any enthusiasm for it, plenty on for the 2m sessions though.

Loosing the morse requirement I feel had long term a big difference to the vhf bands, I've certainly resorted to cw many times in the past both from home and /P
There was certainly more chance of getting a contact outside of contests in the past, even up to the mid 90's I recall evening activity up to 23 and numerous chats to G8KBQ, G3AUS, G6HV and others. Last time I was back at my folks place all I heard was beacons and had zero replies to cq's .

I don't think the French have much of a history with 6M.
Isn't it only recently they've gained most of the band?
Are they still limited in power?
Do the rules still change by prefecture? Is that the correct word?

Cheers

Tony

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:37 am
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G3XSA wrote:
Well, if nothing else, at least this has got us talking about the lack of band usage above 30MHz :thumbsup:


Dave, did you mention about the South East net on 144.210 a while back?
I can't recall if it was yourself who mentioned it, but I have a feeling it was.

I called in to them for the second night running last night and had a nice chat with M5BXB and the boys.
Two of whom are using Halo antennas. I was quite pleased working into Bexleyheath from up here as one of them I think mentioned his halo was in the loft!

They were all around the 220km mark from here. 2E0OOM was 59+ for most of the time on his yagi.
The guys on the Halo’s were quite weak but workable.
My take off south east is not ideal as I have rising ground immediately in front of my qth.

It’s nice to hear daily regular activity in the SSB portion of the band, especially over a reasonable distance.
I enjoy ragchewing as much as working dx on 2m. For me it does not have to be open or contest time to use and enjoy it.
I actually prefer it quiet, all that noise on those UKAC nights drives me mad ;)

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:26 pm
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gw8asd wrote:
G0UWK wrote:
gw8asd wrote:
G6CSL wrote:
I remember the actual night when the Class 'B's were allowed on HF.

2m just emptied like a sink, and everybody appeared on 40m and 80m.

Everybody?

You'll have to remind me of the date, I can't remember it making a blind bit of difference to me.

Cheers

Tony


I think you may have been qrt during that period Tony? I seem to recall you were not around for a few years when I got back into VHF.
How long were you off air for?

I came back on in Jan 2001, although I never really went away completely.


Tony


I had a look through my log book and listed our 1st ever qso on Jan 2nd 2004 on 2m.
Back then I was living and breathing 2m but had never worked you prior to that date.
I can recall you telling someone you had been off air for quite some time.

Boy that time has flown!

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:31 pm
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Tony, I know that both you and Paul operate on 2m ssb outside of contests, which is commendable, but I fear that you are in the minority unfortunately. What you said in your last but one post is good to hear, but again, I fear your are in the minority.

As for a 'shack in a box' M3s having little or no understanding of what's required above 30MHz, that is hardly surprising. If they had adequate technical understanding, they would not still be using an M3 call.

I am using one of G4DDK's Anglian transverter kits for 2m. It didn't cost a lot, and is damn good. If however I had bought an expensive Kuhne or Elcraft transverters, I would have been bitterly disappointed finding that the only time time it was worth using, was once a month.

There is a 'cheapo' Russian transverter on the market, but from what I was told, its a case of 'you get what you pay for', and not to bother with one.

On returning to HF amateur radio after a decade or more break, it didn't take long for me to bored with the endless 'rubber stamp' contacts, with prefixes that I had worked so many times in the past. Had it been as it once was, where you could enjoy a chat about amateur radio matters, it would be good, but you (or at least me) can only stomach so many "report, name, QTH, and 73" QSO's, before it gets boring. Fine I suppose if you are new to the hobby, and chasing prefixes, and QSL cards, but I've long since done all that.

I have the feeling that 6m and 2m operation, given that in the main, its contest activity, I will eventually get bored with "59, JO****, 064" type contacts.

At the moment, I am enjoying what distances I can achieve with 45W and a loft mounted beam antenna. Unfortunately, I have to rely on contest activity to do that. I am not contest minded, and since moving to my current house, it would a be a nonsense to even consider it.

As a one time serious astro-imager, and active radio amtateur, some of you might wonder why I moved from a house in a 'dark sky' village, with a large garden to suited to antennas, and adjoining open countryside, where we had lived for 30 years.

In 2015 I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer, and underwent major surgery to remove part of my lower Bowel. It was a major 'wake up call', and living in small village where even the pub closed, the village shop having closed many years before, and a wife that doesn't drive, a move to somewhere with facilities to hand was the sensible option.

We moved just over a mile to a much larger village, that has local shops, a doctors surgery, and a dentist. Plus the fact one of our grown up children lives here. Now I am relaxed in the knowledge that if I were to 'pop my clogs', my wife would be able to cope. The garden isa fraction of the size that we had, and now having neighbours, albeit very nice ones, towers, masts, or large VHF arrays would not go down well, but I'm happy to dabble with what I can.

BTW, I'm not planning to depart any time soon mind ;)

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:22 pm
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gw8asd wrote:
F4VPC wrote:
6mtr activity evening tonight.
You think the bands are quiet over there, the last two 6mtr sessions have seen just three F stations active :banghead:
Can't seem to drum up any enthusiasm for it, plenty on for the 2m sessions though.

Loosing the morse requirement I feel had long term a big difference to the vhf bands, I've certainly resorted to cw many times in the past both from home and /P
There was certainly more chance of getting a contact outside of contests in the past, even up to the mid 90's I recall evening activity up to 23 and numerous chats to G8KBQ, G3AUS, G6HV and others. Last time I was back at my folks place all I heard was beacons and had zero replies to cq's .

I don't think the French have much of a history with 6M.
Isn't it only recently they've gained most of the band?
Are they still limited in power?
Do the rules still change by prefecture? Is that the correct word?

Cheers

Tony


Full access to 6M for all French Departments since March 2013, indeed prior to that it was very limited with some areas having QRP allowed or no allocation at all. Still not allowed for novice holders unlike the UK.

Current general limit for six is 120W which is in line with the power limit for all bands above 28MHz, HF remains at 500W.
There are high power permits available to French license holders (not F/*****) - you have to submit a technical paper and include RF Hazard measurements.

From an activity point I heard over 70 F stations in the last IARU 50MHz contest and that was on the Big Wheel, so can't understand why they are not bothered with the activity evening.

Unfortunately the talks for access to 70MHz are still ongoing, the current users are apparently continuing their opposition to an amateur allocation.
My qth is only a few miles from their version of Sandhurst and for sure their use of 70MHz is quite extensive :cry:

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:39 pm
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G3XSA wrote:
Tony, I know that both you and Paul operate on 2m ssb outside of contests, which is commendable, but I fear that you are in the minority unfortunately. What you said in your last but one post is good to hear, but again, I fear your are in the minority.

As for a 'shack in a box' M3s having little or no understanding of what's required above 30MHz, that is hardly surprising. If they had adequate technical understanding, they would not still be using an M3 call.

I am using one of G4DDK's Anglian transverter kits for 2m. It didn't cost a lot, and is damn good. If however I had bought an expensive Kuhne or Elcraft transverters, I would have been bitterly disappointed finding that the only time time it was worth using, was once a month.

There is a 'cheapo' Russian transverter on the market, but from what I was told, its a case of 'you get what you pay for', and not to bother with one.

On returning to HF amateur radio after a decade or more break, it didn't take long for me to bored with the endless 'rubber stamp' contacts, with prefixes that I had worked so many times in the past. Had it been as it once was, where you could enjoy a chat about amateur radio matters, it would be good, but you (or at least me) can only stomach so many "report, name, QTH, and 73" QSO's, before it gets boring. Fine I suppose if you are new to the hobby, and chasing prefixes, and QSL cards, but I've long since done all that.

I have the feeling that 6m and 2m operation, given that in the main, its contest activity, I will eventually get bored with "59, JO****, 064" type contacts.

At the moment, I am enjoying what distances I can achieve with 45W and a loft mounted beam antenna. Unfortunately, I have to rely on contest activity to do that. I am not contest minded, and since moving to my current house, it would a be a nonsense to even consider it.

As a one time serious astro-imager, and active radio amtateur, some of you might wonder why I moved from a house in a 'dark sky' village, with a large garden to suited to antennas, and adjoining open countryside, where we had lived for 30 years.

In 2015 I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer, and underwent major surgery to remove part of my lower Bowel. It was a major 'wake up call', and living in small village where even the pub closed, the village shop having closed many years before, and a wife that doesn't drive, a move to somewhere with facilities to hand was the sensible option.

We moved just over a mile to a much larger village, that has local shops, a doctors surgery, and a dentist. Plus the fact one of our grown up children lives here. Now I am relaxed in the knowledge that if I were to 'pop my clogs', my wife would be able to cope. The garden isa fraction of the size that we had, and now having neighbours, albeit very nice ones, towers, masts, or large VHF arrays would not go down well, but I'm happy to dabble with what I can.

BTW, I'm not planning to depart any time soon mind ;)


Dave you perhaps didn't see this one?

Dave, did you mention about the South East net on 144.210 a while back?
I can't recall if it was yourself who mentioned it, but I have a feeling it was.

I called in to them for the second night running last night and had a nice chat with M5BXB and the boys.
Two of whom are using Halo antennas. I was quite pleased working into Bexleyheath from up here as one of them I think mentioned his halo was in the loft!

They were all around the 220km mark from here. 2E0OOM was 59+ for most of the time on his yagi.
The guys on the Halo’s were quite weak but workable.
My take off south east is not ideal as I have rising ground immediately in front of my qth.

It’s nice to hear daily regular activity in the SSB portion of the band, especially over a reasonable distance.
I enjoy ragchewing as much as working dx on 2m. For me it does not have to be open or contest time to use and enjoy it.
I actually prefer it quiet, all that noise on those UKAC nights drives me mad ;)

Rgds
Ian.

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:57 pm
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 A question for the VHF/UHF ops here 
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Post Re: A question for the VHF/UHF ops here
G0UWK wrote:
G3XSA wrote:
Well, if nothing else, at least this has got us talking about the lack of band usage above 30MHz :thumbsup:


Dave, did you mention about the South East net on 144.210 a while back?
I can't recall if it was yourself who mentioned it, but I have a feeling it was.

I called in to them for the second night running last night and had a nice chat with M5BXB and the boys.
Two of whom are using Halo antennas. I was quite pleased working into Bexleyheath from up here as one of them I think mentioned his halo was in the loft!

They were all around the 220km mark from here. 2E0OOM was 59+ for most of the time on his yagi.
The guys on the Halo’s were quite weak but workable.
My take off south east is not ideal as I have rising ground immediately in front of my qth.

It’s nice to hear daily regular activity in the SSB portion of the band, especially over a reasonable distance.
I enjoy ragchewing as much as working dx on 2m. For me it does not have to be open or contest time to use and enjoy it.
I actually prefer it quiet, all that noise on those UKAC nights drives me mad ;)

Rgds
Ian.


Sorry Ian I missed your question for some reason, put it down to a senior moment :)

No it wasn't me that mentioned that South East net on 144.210 ssb, but I do remember it being mentioned.

I have listened on the frequency, but as yet not heard anyone. Surprising really, as GB3VHF on 144.430 is a consistently good signal with me on the Halo, and a really good signal on the beam.

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Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:07 pm
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