Friday, 11 June 2010
Out in the open
I drove to Bwllch-y-Clawdd, a high spot about 30 minutes drive from where I live. This location overlooks the Rhondda Valley and the views are pretty amazing from here.
I set up the Icom 706 and Buddistick antenna, powered from my portable 20ah battery (weighs around 705Kgs!) and I was ready to go. This is a very peaceful location, for the three hours or so I was there I saw no-one else. I have operated VHF previously from this location and know that its a good site. However I had not tried HF before and I wondered if with my limited small vertical antenna I would be able to work anything. I was able to vary my output power but for the most part I was running around 30 watts.
Initial attempts were not too promising with just a marginal QSO with a mobile station on the Isle of Man on 40 metres SSB.
Switching to 10 metres I had a little more success working into Germany and Italy, one of the Italian stations was running only 900 milliwatts!
6 Metres was also open, but try as I might I could not get my antenna to a good match on 6 metres although it is supposed to work on that band.
All in all an enjoyable few hours using the radio in the fresh air. A couple of learning points too.
1) The Buddistick on its little tripod is prone to blow over in a strong breeze, I need to look into a way of weighting or anchoring the tripod better.
2) The Buddistick whilst a clever antenna can be VERY tricky to tune. I have read that the radial length is important but varying the radial length didn't seem to make much diffeence for me.
3) I could not tune the antenna on 6 metres at all. I need to look into this as I like to operate 6 when the band is open.
I do have a small MFJ ATU which I could take with me but I would like to get the antenna to match as closely as I can without an ATU, after all its just more weight in my rucksack!!