Posted by: GW7AAV | October 10, 2010

Some you win

Absolutely typical! Here I am stuck in work on the night shift and my wife rings me to ask how to switch the two metre beam from horizontal to vertical. I tell her which switch to turn which way and she says there is a great lift on. Thanks Helen you made my night! Listening to her work DX over the telephone was just rubbing my nose in it.

It makes my laugh though, all that pretence that she is not really interested and then there she is, as soon as I am out of the door. It is similar on our SOTA expeditions, she says she only comes along to keep me company but the big grin on her face when she still has a pile up while I am packing up gives it away.

This morning was good but did not start that way. I got up earlier than I would have liked because I knew I would be in bed this afternoon before the night shift. When I got into the shack I saw a SOTA spot for Steve G1INK/P on 40 metres. When I powered up the rig there was nothing there not even any static so I knew something was wrong. The 80/40 metre trap dipole had broken at the feed point. 25 minutes later and I had replaced the broken section and was back on the air, still in my pyjamas. All these people who buy their wire antennas – How many weeks would you have been off the air? Oh and during that 25 minutes I worked two SOTA stations.

Back on the 80/40 dipole and the SOTA points were racking up nicely until the contest started. Good job there was fun to be had on other bands. 17 metres was bouncing and amongst others I worked Cuba and Lebanon that were new to me on that band. For those who are in to stealth antennas my 17 metre dipole is clipped to my uPVC guttering and the coaxial feeder runs up the back of the drain pipe. It is made of white heavy duty speaker cable (available from B&Q stores) that makes it even harder to spot. The figure of 8 cable is simply cut to a quarter wave and the pulled apart to make the two parts of the dipole the dipole centre in an electrical block connector and a few turns of coax suffice for the choke balun. Another ten minute antenna for under five pounds.

There was plenty more SOTA action before I decided to catch some shut eye, with the odd bit of nice DX thrown in. Looking at the sunshine, the SOTA alerts and the DX cluster did not put me in the mood to sleep but when Helen woke me to say it was time to get up and go to work I really had to drag myself from the arms of Morpheus. There was more SOTA action before I left for work on 2 metres SSB, 60 metres and then oddest of all Richard G3CWI (of SOTAbeam fame) on 15 metres. I have not worked much on 15 since I took down my vertical when Helen mowed the lawn without taking up the radials and Richard was my first ever UK contact on that band, which seemed a bit surprising.

Helen just called me back to say she had just spoken to a German station on 2 FM and that my son Adam 2W0DPI had also worked him from his house were he has a small Diamond collinear in the loft. This is Adam’s first DX contact so I bet it put a grin on his face. Helen has the beam pointing towards Europe now and is prowling the SSB portion of 2 metres. I wonder what will be in her log when I get home in the morning? I hope the band is still open and I can work something in the morning before I go to bed. I am praying for one of those big lifts that lasts for days it is something that has been a long time coming. Oh well some you win, back to the grind stone!

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