Tuesday 3 November 2009

Thoughts for a new month

Well November is here and winter approaches fast. In August of this year I decided to concentrate most of my HF operating on 30 Metres (10Mhz) as this is a band I had almost totally ignored in 25 years of being a licenced amateur. I had wondered if after a few months I might have worked all the "regulars" on that band and would have difficulty makiung new contacts. Three months later and several hundred QSOs on I am still working new stations and have worked farther afield than I expected.Now I am using WSPR running 5 watts  from time to time and am amazed at how a 5watt signal from a less than ideal antenna can be heard so well.
I am making an effort at the moment to make a few PSK QSOs at the 5 watt level as well and I have had some success although there is a temptation to turn up the power if the going gets tough..
What I like about this hobby is that there are so many angles to it. From my own point of view I can chat to the locals on 2metres, work HF SSB and have voice contacts, use the data modes or simply turn on one of my receivers and tune around the bands, amateur broadcast or utilities. I have always thought it such a shame that some people take the trouble to obtain their licence and just  operate through the local VHF repeater. maybe thats something peculiar to this area but there are a number of stations you will only ever hear via a repeater. There is so much more to the hobby than that.
For the past few months I have made a conscious effort, wherever possible to have at least one QSO per day! I haven't set any specific rules about this just that it must be a direct contact, repeaters don't count! This may not sound like much (and normally I manage more contacts than that) but I think if everyone that could did this we would see much more activity. Look in a callbook if you have one? How many amateurs are in your area? How often do you hear them? Yes they could be operating CW or data where its not so easy to hear them but many are simply not active, or at least they don't transmit! I know from experience of local clubs that you will meet amateurs face to face that you never hear "on the air".
Anyway I will try and maintain my activity and I think I will stick to 30 metres for a while. When the band is quiet I do pop on to 40 or 80 and I keep an ear on the higher bands but since CQ WW a few weeks back they seem rather dead. I really should put up a monoband antenna for 10mhz. My inverted L was designed for 40 and 80 metres but it does work OK on 30. The layout of my garden means that I am unlikely to get away with another vertical for transmitting, particularly as I am planning to install an active loop for listening, but more of that another time!

The picture accompanying this entry is of one of the most used pieces of equipment in my shack the Kenwood R5000 communications receiver along with a Yaesu ATU. I have lost count of the number of receivers I have owned over the years but this is one of the better ones.

1 comment:

  1. Evening Kevin,

    I wish everyone would do what you do and try and get at least one contact a day. Sometimes 40M is like a graveyard! As you say lots of licensed amateurs but not a corresponding amount of activity on the bands. Shame really.