Great to be back......and on top form! The last couple of years had not gone so well, culminating in a complete wash-out during 2008 VHFNFD with torrential rain and gales. We had tried to encourage some new members to join our small contest group, but that hadn't worked out either so we've now decided to stick with just the four of us.
This year was a chance to try out our new 2m station comprising a Yaesu FT-1000MP, DB6NT transverter and Beko amplifier. This gear worked perfectly, as did the new 17 element Pro Tonna antenna. The professional range of Tonnas are simply superb and even though this monster is over 6m long and weighs a ton, it was a lot easier to put up than the old array of 4 x 9 elements. Masthead pre-amp was the trusty SSB Electronics SP-2000 with the gain wound down to the 10dB minimum.
Instead of relying on my laptop for the SDV contest logging software, we now have a rack-mounted pc in T'Van along with a UPS to cover any power outages. The whole idea is to make everything as simple and quick to set-up as possible as we are all getting too old for the hassle!
6m and 70cm stations were on a budget this year and we entered the Restricted and Low Power sections respectively for those bands. Hell will freeze over before we ever enter anything other than the Open section for 2m though! 6m and 70cm gear will be revised for next time and we are already decided on a DB6NT / Beko combination for those bands as well.
Anyway.....what about the contest? Fantastic! Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and took advantage of the Sporadic E on Saturday afternoon to grab a handful of EA and CT stations. There were some good tropospheric conditions and even some ducting towards the end of the contest that enabled us to work several stations in the south west of France.
|Our usual Combe Beacon site at IO80LV|
|The 2m Pro Tonna on Soggy||Close-up of the 6m and 70cm antennas|
|Adrian G4JBH operating the 2m station||Vaughan G7AIC operating the IC-7000 on 6m and 70cm|
|Tone M3VBH DX-spotting on 2m while the boys have a break!||Of course, Teddah and his friend "Donks" have to help too!|
Squares worked during VHFNFD 2009
(click to view our log as a Word document)
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