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WRTC and More


Steve Telenius-Lowe PJ4DX looks forward to WRTC 2018 and back to the RAF Centenary activities as well as bringing all the usual reader news.



Steve Telenius-Lowe PJ4DX looks forward to WRTC 2018 and back to the RAF Centenary activities as well as bringing all the usual reader news.



We were pleased to welcome Hans Blondeel Timmerman PB2T and his wife Margreet K2XYL to Bonaire in April. Hans was the IARU Region 1 President for six years and last year took over the role of Region 1 Secretary. The couple were visiting their son, who was on a work contract on the island and, as usual when amateurs visit Bonaire, we took the opportunity to meet for dinner and a chat about radio, Fig. 1. Hans was active as PJ4/PB2T, mainly on 30m CW, during his stay here.


WRTC 2018

There’s a major HF operating event in July: the World Radio Team Championship. Taking place only every four years, this is the ‘amateur radio Olympics’. Teams of two operators compete on ‘a level playing field’ using 100W transceivers and identical antennas from the same geographical area (around Wittenburg in Germany).

Unfortunately, there are no British teams competing in Germany although Olof Lundberg G0CKV and Dave Lawley G4BUO, themselves veterans of previous WRTCs, will be referees. However, everyone everywhere can participate by working as many WRTC stations as possible:

In 2002 I attended WRTC in Finland, Fig. 2, as a spectator and enjoyed the camaraderie immensely. WRTC runs concurrently with the IARU HF Championship, for 24 hours from 1200UTC on Saturday July 14th. Activity is in the 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80m bands on both SSB and CW, and stations should send a report plus ITU zone (e.g. “59 27” or “5NN 27” from the UK). IARU national society HQ stations also take part and instead send the society’s abbreviation, e.g. “59 RSGB”.


RAF Centenary

The Royal Air Force marked its centenary on April 1st and the Gibraltar Amateur Radio Society is activating ZB2RAF to commemorate the occasion. Kevin Hewitt ZB2GI says his April highlights were “Operating as ZB2RAF from the Rock – and then working ZB2RAF while in England!” Kevin made many contacts as ZB2RAF on 40 to 15m using FT8 and says that John King ZB2JK made over 300 contacts on 20m SSB, while Ernest Stagnetto ZB2FK and Derek Austin ZB2CW looked after the CW operation. ZB2RAF will continue to be active until July 10th.

Steph Foster G4XKH writes that, “RAFARS (Royal Air Force Amateur Radio Society) with the help of the Ministry of Defence have successfully applied to Ofcom for a Special Special Event NoV. Both myself and Trevor M0XOL served in the RAF, so this centenary has a nostalgic feeling for us. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for us so we intend to try and make this as memorable as possible. The Riviera ARC, as a RAFARS affiliated group, have gained permission to run the call GB100RAF on the weekend of June 23rd/24th from close to the former site of RAF Haldon near Teignmouth in Devon. We intend to run the event round the clock, subject to having sufficient manpower. Working conditions are likely to be a Kenwood TS-590S into an inverted-V antenna on top of our trailer mast, running up to full legal power. There is an official QSL card available to all who contact our station, QSL is via RAFARS HQ.”


Readers’ News

Carl Gorse 2E0HPI wrote, “I have managed to get out portable a few times this month with my knee injury [see last month’s HFH] improving.” Carl’s first trip was from the cliff tops of GFF-0012, North Yorkshire Moors. “I also visited GFF-0348 Hartlepool Foreshore using the MFJ-1979 [vertical antenna] on 20m... My last trip of the month took me on a train journey to Berwick-upon-Tweed where I operated from two GFF locations, the first being GFF-0401 Berwickshire and North Northumberland coast.” Carl made 59 contacts on 20 and 40m from this location, Fig. 3, “and then over to Berwick Head Lighthouse, reference ENG-173 and GFF-0400 River Tweed...” Here, Carl was restricted to 40m due to high winds but made a further 49 QSOs. During the month he received the Park to Park award, Fig. 4, which, he says, “took me a good while to get!” Carl has currently activated 66 parks for the World Wide Flora & Fauna activity programme.

Martin Evans GW4TPG said, “I have been trying out a new logbook this week, Log4om, as recommended by Carl MW0DNF at the Blackwood Radio Society. I have been using Logger 32 and XM Log for years now, most of my DXCC tracking is done via XM because it’s simple, reliable (it’s not failed me once in 14 years!) and I can print out a list of entities bands worked that I can keep on the desk to refer to when fishing for new ones. Log4om looks good but the jury is still out because I am still at the finding out stage; it’s a very intense program so it could take some time to get my head around everything it does... All the HF bands have had more QRN than usual – most stations worked this month have been on FT8 on otherwise quiet bands as a result. No SSB worked this month, not for want of trying, and only a few on CW: I guess this is the way of things until the next sunspot cycle gets underway... Highlights of the month were working VK9X/N1YC, Fig. 5, on Christmas Island, and V31MA on 80m for a new one on the band. This was a lucky one because I just managed to sneak in as 80 was closing due to the sun coming up.”

Etienne Vrebos OS8D/ON8DN, writing from a “very wet Belgium”, spent more time on a 7500km motorcycle ride around Europe – taking in Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland (as far as the Belarus border) and southern England – than he did on the radio. Nevertheless, using his Icom IC-7851, Acom 1500 amplifier, Hexbeam and end-fed wire, when he did get on the air he worked most of the DX going, as can be seen in the band reports.

As noted earlier, Kevin ZB2GI was in the UK as well as Gibraltar in April and was active from Chatham as M0GTD. Just using a TS-570 at 100W into 5m of wire twisted around a 6m fishing pole and connected via a 9:1 balun, he made several interesting contacts with special event stations on 40m and 20m SSB: see band reports.

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“The highlight of my month,” said Victor Brand G3JNB “was sitting in the famous 2MT and 2LO Writtle hut, surrounded by historic gear, from where I got to operate their modern club rigs as GX0MRT on 20m SSB and GX1MRT on 40m CW!” To celebrate Marconi Day, Victor and his fellow Shefford club member Derek M0DLM had been taken by club vice-chairman Bryan M0BIK to the Sandford Mill Marconi Museum in Chelmsford. “The Mill is not large but is packed with masses of original equipment and has excellent mock-up marine radio shacks from the earliest days, including that of the RMS Titanic, Fig. 6. A truly memorable day!” Back at his own shack, Victor commented that, “Normally a couple of watts would suffice for Kosovo but it took 50W to eventually work the busy Z66D team on 30m. However, much to my surprise, with the same power on 20m, 80m and even on topband (160m) CW, it was doddle!” Victor also worked his first aeronautical mobile in years when he heard RZ5D/AM on 20m SSB. “I hurriedly plugged in the microphone to call Serge as he flew towards Europe at 10,000ft and just had to wait until he was over Krakow before he could read me.” Celebrating World Amateur Radio Day, Victor also worked the delightfully named Valley Swamp ARS with WU1ITU delivering a hat-trick of CW contacts on 17, 20 and 40m. The best of the rest of Victor’s log is in the band reports.

Once again, Tony Usher G4HZW used FT8 only to make his contacts during the month. On 10m Tony says he called CQ on most days and made 41 QSOs, mostly with Europe, though there were some openings to South America and, on April 13th, a nice opening to Bahrain. “I’m now up to 61 DXCCs on 10m in my quest for 100 in the 12 months up to September” See band reports. Meanwhile, on 40m, “Just a few contacts including W6OAT (first California), RW0CR and 7X2TT. Since September last year I have now worked (using FT8) a total of 88 DXCC entities on 40m with the vertical.”

Owen Williams G0PHY commented that, “After the excitement of all the DXpeditions to Africa in March things were a little quieter in April. I managed to work three new IOTAs (VA7XW/VE2 on NA-038, VE7ACN/VE2 on NA-084 and 5C5AF on AF-065) and Z66D provided a new band-slot for Kosovo on 7MHz. Most contacts were with European stations but some interesting DX was heard... I managed to work FM/F2VX on Martinique. A number of special event stations were worked including HB9GOLD (a restored gold mine in Switzerland), CS5DFG (an old frigate from the Portuguese navy in Lisbon naval base) and W5L in north-east Louisiana, commemorating the Louisiana Purchase.”

Reg Williams G0OOF says, “I see you were successful working the 3B7A DXpedition.” [anyone can check who is in logs that are uploaded to Club Log – Ed. See the link below]

“No luck from my QTH I'm sad to say. I tried for quite a few days during the afternoon and early evening, which seemed to be the best time. I heard them on 17 and 20m peaking at 55, using a 4-band vertical with homebrew conversion for 17m. As the signals were peaking it was almost at the same time they turned their attention to North America... Band conditions up and down when monitoring 20 and 17m this month with the Falkland Islands, Martinique and St Helena being my best DX... I have recently put DXATLAS on my PC, a very useful program. I succumbed to placing pin markers on prefixes I have worked. Must admit it would have been easier to do this when I started my software logging program a couple of years ago. It is now a case of trawling through the log to match prefixes with the map.”

Terry Martin M0CLH reckons that, “Conditions this month dictated the use of digital modes (and I include CW in this definition) almost exclusively with the odd, rare QSO on SSB.” The best of Terry’s log is in band reports. He added, “note the occasional openings on 10m (hopefully more in the months to come). I do occasionally call CQ on an apparently empty band and am often surprised at being answered, from which one can deduce that propagation is often there but not used!”


Band Reports

Carl 2E0HPI/P worked, from various portable locations: 40m SSB: ON/PD0RWL/P and ON/PA2CVD/P (ONFF-0602, Noordheuvel). 20m SSB: LZ5QZ/P (LZFF-0403), OE6ODD/M, RW4PP, SV2RUJ/P (SOTA SV/MC-049 Palaiochori).

Martin GW4TPG reports 80m CW: V31MA. 80m FT8: N4MIT. 40m CW: ZW8T. 40m FT8: RA2FAO. 30m CW: 4U1GSC, 5P0WARD/29. 30m FT8: R7FW. 20m CW: A61Q, BA4AD, FJ/N0KV, JW2US (Bear Island), SV9/OH1VR, VK9X/N1YC (Fig. 5). 20m FT8: JY5HX. 17m CW: 3B7A, 5U7R. 17m FT8: 5V1JE, A45XR, CE2SV, CU7AA, HZ1FI, J28PJ, LU5HA, OD5/EA1CYK, TK5IH, ZB2IF, ZP9MCE. 15m CW: 3B7A. 15m FT8: FR4OO. 12m FT8: 5V1JE, XT2AW.

Etienne OS8D & ON8DN logged, on 20m SSB: 3B7A, 4L1BB, 5C5AF, 9M2YDX, EK3SA, HS0ZLV, JT1BV, KG0YL (North Dakota), UA0OK (rare Siberian oblast), VU3ARP, ZD7FT. 17m SSB: 3B7A, 7Q7EI, XW1IC.

Kevin ZB2GI, operating as ZB2RAF, worked: 40m FT8: 2E0VRM. 30m FT8: E73DN. 20m FT8: W8ATE. 17m FT8: A45XR, NM1W, PY1SX, VE1DC. 15m FT8: LW5DUS, OD5YA, PY7BC, TA4LYL, YV5DRN, ZS6AI. Kevin was also active as M0GTD and worked 40m SSB: GB2CAV (HMS Cavalier C-class destroyer), GM8OFQ (Hoy, EU-009), HB9GOLD. 20m SSB: ZB2JK, ZB2RAF.

In addition to those previously mentioned, Victor G3JNB worked: 40m CW: 3B8MM, S01WS. 30m CW: 3B8MM, FJ/N0KV. 20m CW: 9M2YDX, FJ/AI5P, V44KA, ZW8T. 17m CW: BG8NKX.

Tony G4HZW used 10m FT8 to work: A92GE, CA1LEW, CE3EPN, D41CV, GD0TEP, EU4AX, PU0FDN (Fernando de Noronha), ZP5FIA.

Owen G0PHY logged, on 40m SSB: 4U1A, Z66D. 20m SSB: 3V8CB, FM/F2VX, PJ4DX.

Reg G0OOF reports 40m SSB: OY1OF, R9LM. 20m SSB: CX1AV, PV8AL, Z61DX, ZD7FT. 17m SSB: FM/F2VX, VP8LP.

Terry M0CLH worked: 40m SSB: HB9GOLD. 40m CW: 4U1ITU. 40m FT8: 2M0JST. 30m FT8: TM3Y. 20m CW: LZ362ME, OE100SGU, VE7ACN/VE2. 20m SSB: Z66D. 20m FT8: BG3UPA, N0UR, YB5BOY. 17m CW: Z66D. 17m FT8: EA8BEV, K0HUU. 15m CW: Z66D. 15m FT8: FR4PV, K7BV, LU5HA. 12m FT8: IS0AWZ. 10m FT8: 9A3DSU, E76C, G4HZW, HA7XL, IU5IFQ, OE3ILW, S56ECR.


Signing Off

Thanks to all contributors. Please send any input for this column to [email protected] by the first of the month (July 1st for the September issue, August 1st for the October edition). I would especially welcome photographs for publication in the column. 73, Steve PJ4DX.



This article was featured in the July 2018 issue of Practical Wireless

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