and other ramblings

Those who know me will probably be aware I am a little bit of a traditionalist with my radio preferences, not being a big fan of digital modes or communications (though I do now have a digital VHF/UHF transceiver for DMR) mainly preferring the use of SSB even on VHF/UHF. I've tackled the Practical Wireless QRP 2 metre contest a fair few times though with varying success, low power from Jersey being somewhat out on a limb can make getting any contacts in the log a challenge sometimes!

So it was nice to get the invite from radio club committee colleague Peter GJ8PVL in June 2022 to assist with the setting up and operating a VHF SSB station on the north coast of the island up at Le Platon using the special event callsign GB70J for the Queens platinum jubilee. We were actually up there a little too early (11am) with the activation primarily coordinating with a contest from 3pm until 4.10pm! But it was good fun to set up a decent antenna with rotator and a generator so we could run a reasonable level of power from Peter's Icom IC-7100 as well as a logging computer.

We didn't get a startling number of contacts but for those we did signals were good and very clear. as I've said, I've always had a preference for SSB and this proved just how well it works with contacts up and down the UK. Its nice to use some of the operating techniques picked up over the years as well, calling 'CQ contest' giving locator and beam heading, then contest exchange with signal report, sequential serial number and locator. The station attracted a fair bit of attention too with quite a few shack visitors with both people we know and quite a few we didn't.

Peter had set up the shack in the back of his Land-Cruiser with a makeshift table for the rig, rotator controller and laptop PC for logging, we alternated operating and logging duties which worked well.

Peter in action in the /P shack below.

So ample justification once again (as if it were needed) as to the effectiveness of SSB for contacts over any distance as well as the fun that can be had from a portable operation. The latter part of the contest fell a little flat as apparently there was a big sporadic E opening to Italy on digital mode FT8, we didn't manage to make any Es contacts on SSB unfortunately though we did 'lose' our final contest contact because of a very loud VHF SSB Italian calling right over us! Sound a bit like HF? I suppose some things you just know you can rely on! Peter says he enjoyed the outing though and as for me, like I say, I've always liked VHF SSB operating!

Below..., MJ0RZD takes up the microphone for the GB70J VHF operation.