Hi, I’m Ray. My QTH is Worthing, on the West Sussex coast. Locator IO 90 TT.
I was first licenced in the 1960s with the call, G8CUH. That was after many years of short wave listening, firing up WS No 19 sets, 52 sets, 22 sets, 18 sets, 62 sets, and a host of other army surplus gear. There was so much gear available in those heady days! I’ll soon be adding a page recalling my many early exploits, naughty and er… so look out for that. I then took the morse exam at HM Coastguard North Foreland, GNF. And I became G4NSJ. That was a happy day!
In my early teens, I’d tune around 160, 80 and 40 metres and listen to the old boys chatting about aerials. Those knowledgeable gents had been around for years and they’d learnt from experimentation and experience, and they knew what they were talking about. I leaned from them, making notes about the aerials they were discussing as well as listening intently to their musings about transmitters, receivers, ATUs and everything radio.
Now, I’m an old boy chatting about aerials, ATUs and whatever. Well, I’m not that old! What I aim to do with this web site is help newcomers to the hobby, and perhaps procure some interest from old timers. So, newcomer or old timer, I hope you find my site interesting and useful.
ON THE AIR
I’m active on two metres and I monitor the GB3WO 70cms repeater in Worthing, West Sussex. GB3BR in Brighton is back on the air so I’ll also be monitoring that one. I can also be found on the Isle of Wight repeater, GB3IW from time to time. We have a local net on the 160 metre amateur band, 1980kHz. This is where a few of us gather at various times of the day, mostly afternoons. I’m also on 10 metres where a few of us use 29.600 FM for a local chat. We use the FM calling frequency when the band is dead in the hope of someone from afar calling in. There is some sporadic E from time to time but I’m looking forward to the band really opening up!
My HF radio is a Kenwood TS570D. It’s a nice radio, when I can hear above the horrendous noise level! Unfortunately, I suffer from bad interference on the lower bands. 160 and 80 metres are usually wiped out by noise. My main HF aerial is a 130 foot doublet fed with 300 ohm ribbon. It runs from the back garden, over the house to the front garden – hence the interference from mains wiring and noise from phone lines carrying ADSL.
I’m not keen on EchoLink but it can be useful at times. For example, I can listen to myself through certain repeaters to check my signal strength into the repeater. If you have EchoLink, try searching for my callsign. If I’m listed, give me a shout.
I recently had my first CW contact in 35 years! I’ve not been on the key since the seventies so I’m brushing up on my Morse code. I’ve just acquired a new (lovely old) Morse key which I believe was the type issued to the Czech army in the early fifties. It’s easy to adjust and really nice to use. I’m now pretty good at 12 wpm so I hope to begin having regular contacts on the air before too long. 15 wpm is my goal at the moment. Oh, and I’ve just joined FISTS CW Club. A practice oscillator is useful but, if you’re just starting out with Morse code, don’t touch a key until you’re receiving 12 words per minute. There’s more about Morse code here.
2 METRES – 70CMS
This is my 2 metre – 70cms collinear aerial. It’s the Watson W50. The aerial was on a pole in the garden with the base only 14 feet above the ground. I’ve now had the redundant television aerials removed so the Watson can take pride of place on the chimney. It must be around 35 to 40 feet high now. The extra height really has made all the difference. I’m accessing repeaters which, before, I couldn’t even hear. Obviously, simplex contacts are also far better. The seagull was hanging on the wind, probably watching me! There’s more on VHF UHF aerials here.
Here I am at the site of GB3IW, the 70cms repeater on the Isle of Wight. The repeater aerial is the one on the right, on the small hill. I don’t know what the huge tower to the left is for but it’s covered in VHF and UHF folded dipoles. The view from the site is amazing. It’s virtually line of sight across the sea to Worthing, where I live. It’s no wonder I can access the repeater with a hand held in Worthing. More Isle of Wight photos here.
Talking of aerials, I’ve just ordered a 70cms 10 element beam and some RG213 coax. I’m not going to get into towers and rotators so I might stick the beam on a pole and turn it by hand. There are several repeaters to the west of my location, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall… so I might leave it pointing in that direction. Great for simplex QSOs, too. It might be interesting during lift conditions.
This is the radio I’m using with the Watson W50 aerial. It’s an Anytone model AT-778VU 2 metre and 70cms FM transceiver. I’m really impressed with this radio. Transmitter power is selectable, 5, 15 and 25 Watts, which is perfect for my needs. The radio also covers the VHF marine band… transmit and receive.
HF COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVERS
This is my Marconi CR100 communications receiver. They were popular in the 1960s but are fairly rare these days. This isn’t my original receiver from the good old days but it’s a lovely example. I spent many happy hours listening to the CCF frequencies, the trawler band, the amateur and broadcast bands and much more. The aerial I use for the CR100 is a simple wire, about 80 feet long and 30 feet high.
How about this for a communications receiver? It’s my Eddystone 910/1. I’ve had this radio for a good few years and, after a full realignment, it’s working really well. It covers what was the 500kHz marine band but not medium wave, which is a shame. Short wave coverage is 1.5 to 30 mHz.
Remember the trawler band? It covered approximately 1.7 to 3.3 Mc/s and was full of ships’ comms and coast guard stations, not to mention fishing vessels and other craft. The good news is, the trawler band is not dead. Have a tune around during the evenings and, with patience, you’ll be surprised what you’ll hear. I’ll be listing some interesting frequencies later.
Give me a shout on GB3WO if you’re within range of the repeater. I’m usually listening in my workshop during week days.
I’m working on the website at the moment so… hang on, I’m always working on the web site! Anyway, I’ll soon be adding more videos and other goodies for beginners and old timers alike.
Visit the Radio Workshop website here.
Please note: I do not repair amateur radio equipment.