RSGB RoPoCo contest

At the weekend, we took part in the RSGB RoPoCo (ROtating POst COdes) contest, which is always fun. We operated with Dave’s call, M0TAZ, from a portable location. Last year, we did really well, and we had zero errors in the log. Activity seemed a bit lower this year, but we did start 10 minutes late as Dave M0TAZ forgot to bring a key part of the equipment, the battery! We worked 47 stations in an hour and twenty minutes.

RoPoCo 2015 - Antenna

RoPoCo 2015 – After setting up the antenna, Dave has to drive home and get the battery he forgot to bring!

Its always funny when you are given odd exchanges. I remember last year we was given 001 to pass on rather than a postcode and this year was no different, with a few odd exchanges but we just passed them on as there’s not a lot you can do! We used my IC-7200 with a half wave inverted v, 11m at the centre.

RoPoCo 2015

RoPoCo 2015 – the setup inside the car.

Look forward to next year and I’m sure we Dave wont forget the battery next time :)

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Raspberry Pi as a server

I have always been a Linux fan and have owned a Raspberry Pi for some time which I use for all sorts of things. A new model was released in February, the Raspberry Pi 2 model B, so I got one. It’s quite impressive with its quad core 900MHz cpu and 1GB RAM.
Now my old model B+ was redundant, I decided to set it up as a home server to run some services that I was previously using a cheap VPS for. The server is at http://j0hn.uk and is pictured below.

The j0hn.uk Raspberry Pi server

The j0hn.uk Raspberry Pi server

The B+ has a 700 MHz (clocked to 800MHz) ARM1176JZF-S CPU, 512MB RAM and is using an 8GB micro SD for Storage. It is a very capable little machine and is running many server applications. Power is provided from an iPhone charger at present, but I am currently building a UPS for the Pi, but as of today, its been up since first boot, 26 days ago.

The Raspberry Pi is a great tool for all sorts. More info is at raspberrypi.org

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RSGB First 1.8MHz Contest – February

At the weekend, M0TAZ and myself took part in the first 1.8MHz Contest. We have taken part in these for a few years now, most notably 3 years ago in 6″ of snow, and last year getting the car bogged in the mud. We usually do quite well in the SSB only category, as most participants opt for CW or mixed.

Thankfully this year was mild, and not so muddy. The contest runs from 9PM to 1AM, and we used a top band dipole fed with 300Ω feeder. The centre of the dipole was at 60 ft (18m), and was of course 260ft (80m) long.

The big inverted V.

The big inverted V.

Using an Icom 7100 and 32w (the maximum for this part of the band) we managed to work 60 stations including England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Netherlands and Germany. Activity from the UK seemed to be low, perhaps due to the contest falling on Valentines day this year.

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Show stoppers

It’s very easy to forget something when taking your radio gear out portable. A patch lead, a microphone, a power lead etc. can all be a show stopper. Well at the weekend, we went to Dungeness, Kent and thought we would take some radio equipment and do an hour or so of HF operating in between some photography, walking and a pub meal. Anyway, yes I forgot something…
We parked in a good spot, set up an inverted vee doublet, then I went to get the ATU. Before I even looked for it, I knew I’d forgot to bring it! Oops. We needed it to use the doublet. We had a look in the bags for some coax, but there wasn’t any, so there was no option but to take the antenna down and go to the pub. Now I usually make a check list, but this time I did not. Anyway, we still had a good day at Dungeness!

Can you spot the Orion Nebula?

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Autumn Sunshine!

Saturday was a pleasant sunny day and with band conditions being in such good shape, I decided to do a few hours operating. Again, using the end fed half wave on 10m and 12m. Signals were good and it was easy to work the USA, United Arab Emirates, Puerto Rico, Madagascar, Canada, and Guatemala on 28MHz with a simple setup and 100w. Once the sun got a bit low, it did get a bit chilly though! :)

The portable setup with the Icom IC-7200

The portable setup with the Icom IC-7200

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Working a few on 10m (28MHz) with a half wave vertical

28MHz has been in good shape recently, so I wanted to go out portable and try my end fed half wave parallel tuned circuit coupler as I have not tried it on 10m before. The band was in good shape (unlike the weather) and it seemed to work well. I managed to work some good DX whilst I was there, the log can be seen below.

November 2014 10m log

I also took a little video of me working VA3AQB – Alan in Canada. The coupler seemed to work well on 10m and with a bit more bandwidth than other bands, perhaps because very little capacitance was needed. I’m enjoying making the most of the higher bands whilst they are open! John.

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