G8OO Radio Blog 2018/9

To give you an update on what we have been doing - we lived in France for approximately 13 years from early 2004 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 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.

Our UK Home

When we had a firm offer on our property in France, we scoured Norfolk and were fortunate to find and purchase an old 1960’s bungalow which was in 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, as well as the village pub!

Present day 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 to relax which I did.  On my first evening I found there was 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 just 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 1½ hours of fun which led me to install my old FT1000Mp MK5 into the 2m setup space 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 2018 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. 

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.

I have recently sold my vintage 1980 Triumph T140 ES Bonneville motor bike and put the monies towards a modern SDR Flex 6600 radio (which I am still trying to find my way around).  Even though this is a beautiful radio, I still only have long wires up for 70, 80 and 160, and use the rigs ATU for all of the bands. 

This year I am hoping to put up a small tower and possibly a Hex Beam which again is limited but we do live in a conservation area and anything bigger would cause a problem.

My 60ft mobile tower and big HF 8 ele beam will have to stay in storage unless I decide to go /p.

So life goes on and I must say that retirement and living in Norfolk is extremely enjoyable and don’t see myself moving on from here.

My modes of Operating

I rarely engage in rag chewing on any mode and now favour CW followed by data as my preferred modes of operating unfortunately as my CW has never been particularly fast, so for most of my Amateur Radio life, I've favoured SSB.

More recently, I've come to realize that copying the short CW contest exchanges at 25 words per minute (WPM) and higher can be easier than slogging it out on a longer rag chew at 18 WPM.

In the last three years I've spent more time in CW and data contesting and I've really come to enjoy these events!

73’s de Alan Holdsworth g8oo --- (george 8 oscar oscar)

End: - Thursday, 03 January 2019