G0VQY's Amateur Radio Blog

What's on the mind of a UK ham radio operator?

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I started using the CB back in the early 90s after being disabled for about four years. I was living in a small flat and really had not much to do with myself rather than sit in front of the television. I remembered that for a very short period of time in the early 80s, I had got myself a CB radio which was strapped on the front of my bicycle handlebars. I think by enthusiasm for CB radio only lasted a couple of months back in 1983. However, in 1990 I once again got myself a radio and I've never looked back since. All of the friends I have now are directly related to the radio, I used to spend hours chatting away on the CB, even staying up to 3 o'clock in the morning, not sure I could do that now.

Sadly CB has died the death down here in the South West and I spend all of my time on amateur radio. I like nothing better than to have a good rag chew with the people that I meet all around the world. I often hear operators exchanging just a report with people, they are moving at a rapid pace working as many people as possible. I'm not criticising this way of operating, but I do you often hear the same people doing it over and over again, are they not interested in getting to know the people they talk to? It sounds silly I know, but I sometimes feel a little bit mean when I tell the person I am going to end the QSO and carry on calling, I just couldn't move from one person to another like a robot, that just is not my way of operating.

I find it very rewarding that I can go on the radio every day and more than likely I will contact someone I have already spoken to before. More than often we have a really good chat, just like friends do, I know I haven't met these people, some of the guys are in their 80s, even 90s, but that really doesn't seem to matter, we have this one fantastic hobby in common and that is all that matters. If you never bother to strike up a conversation for even a few minutes, you are going to miss out big time.

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The bands have been pretty slack in the last few days. However, the trusty old SteppIR hasn't let me down. There was a contest on today so I decided to give 20 m and miss, however not before working a station in Haiti, 4V1. He was working a split frequency and then kindly started calling only for UK stations so that made it a little bit easier to make the contact with him. I don't know what it is with a lot of European stations, but they don't seem to understand when someone is asking ONLY for UK stations, they continue to shout and create a lot of QRM  for the operator in Haiti, I'm not surprised he was getting frustrated and on the verge of switching off. After two calls I made a quick contact with him and he gave me a 59, he was giving me 57. I believe it was a special event station marking a year since the terrible earthquake that killed so many people out there.

I then moved down onto 17 m which was quite busy, obviously everyone else was trying to avoid the contest which was going on on the other bands. The propagation wasn't fantastic but I managed to work quite a few stations in the USA and Canada. As always, Tony, VE3AXW in Brantford Canada was 59. Mind you it's not surprising, I think use using something like five element Mono band beam on top of a 90 foot tower. Having said that, my SteppIR always works well on the WARC bands so I had absolutely no worries about getting back to him with a good signal. I worked a few guys down the East Coast and into Florida and had a good contact into Arizona before the band started really deteriorating.

Let's see what tomorrow brings us

Tagged in: 17 m band Ham radio
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