G8OO Radio Blog 2016/7

We lived in France for approximately 13 years from 2003 until our return to the UK on 30 Jan 2016. For the first 10 years of operating as F5VJK I could be found working in all of the big international contests and chasing DX, but during the last 3 years I totally lost interest in amateur radio and only occasionally went into the shack.

Once the sale of our French property was agreed, my XYL and I discussed our return to the UK.   I informed her that I had decided to give up amateur radio altogether so when we returned in February 2016 my 60ft tower and all of my radio equipment went into storage for over 12 months.

New UK Home

When the agreement to sell our French property was signed in September 2015  my XYL  and I scoured Norfolk and were fortunate to find and purchase an old 1960’s bungalow which was in a poor condition and required a total renovation. However, we decided to take on this project as it was situated in just under ½ acre and in a very quiet and beautiful village within a desirable conservation area overlooking the village green and cricket pitch.

Back to Radios.

One quiet evening, after a long hard day working on our renovations, my wife suggested that I go to a local Norfolk Amateur Radio Club meeting. Half way through the evening I found a CW class run by Roger G3LDI so I decided to sit in on it. I have not used Morse for over 25 years and Roger’s tremendous enthusiasm inspired me to think that CW could be something that could rekindle my interest in radios so I decided to join the club.   Consequently, I installed a small 2m radio in our kitchen and an old whip antenna on our chimney to listen into the local NARC Morse classes.

I became aware that NARC annually enter the RSGB CC 80m contests and I thought this could be 1 ½ hours of fun which led me to install my old FT1000Mp MK5 into the 2m setup and an HF long wire antenna which is an old 160m HF Carolina Windom Special 256 feet of wire antenna that I have used on Dx-perditions.  This was erected at 7mts agl and I accept that this setup will have a very limited performance but has lead me back into HF contesting where I enter CW competitions with the hope that this will improve my CW reading skills.

During 2017 my xyl and I completed the bungalow internal renovations but then my wife suggested that we build an additional garden room on the rear of the property to include a tumble dryer and this could also be a permanent home for my radio equipment.  Unfortunately my prediction that this would be completed by November failed due to my ongoing health problems slowing things down.

However the works should be completed by christmas 2017 followed by the external works, including a new garage and landscaping, which we predict could take up to a further 12 months.

After many years in radio my only interest is contesting and I do very little rag chewing unless it is during a CW lesson or on the air with friends.

When I have completed our garden room & shack my thoughts are that I should sell my old radios and vintage 1980 Triumph T140 ES Bonneville motor bike and put the monies towards a modern SDR radio. If only I could make my mind up which SDR best fits my requirements.

End: - Monday, 27 November 2017