Random Geekage

Passed my Intermediate exam a few days ago.

Privileges have been bumped up to 50 watts in most bands and I'm allowed to play about with some microwave stuff. New callsign is 2#0GJA, where the # is dependent on where in the UK I'm operating. For Scotland, I'm 2M0GJA.

Another weekend, another SOTA activation.

A nice 2 pointer up Meikle Bin, using Scott's Bandhopper dipole and pole. Managed to work a station in Germany which was pretty cool.

Me working some stations. Photo taken by Scott.

Made my first SOTA activation today.

Met up with my friend Scott (MM7CWE) and the two of us schlepped up Moncreiffe Hill in Perthshire. After throwing a tarp over a bench at the summit, I got my Xiegu G90 radio set up with the SuperAntenna set up for 40 meters and after some faff with the slider coil and the ATU, we got started. Scott set up the spot with the SOTA Spotter Android app, I called CQ SOTA a couple times and after about 30 seconds or so, we had contacts rolling in.

Xiegu G90 sitting on top of a 7.5Ah battery

SuperAntenna with a standard Scottish view

Scott underneath the tarp

Didn't get the locations of all of them sadly, however the one that sticks in my mind was a gentleman from Bristol, which is a good bit away. Pretty impressive since I wasn't pushing all that much power.

After a spot of lunch, I took down the SuperAntenna and put up a dipole that Scott has kindly given to me. We had a bit of a tune around the bands. Scott showed how to use the ATU and SWR functions on the radio. Managed to pick up someone in Italy who was doing a contest which was pretty amazing.

Safe to say I have the bug now, we are going up another hill next weekend.

Passed my Foundation Amateur Radio exam.

My freshly minted callsign is MM7KIG, hope to hear some of you on the air.

Thanks to Essex Ham for the course and to Dave Wilson, M0OBW for invigilating the remote exam.

Update 2020-11-19: I've since passed my intermediate exam

I have been swithering on getting my Foundation license for a few years now.

The one time I went to an amateur radio club meeting, the main business was that the name was not representative of the location the club was meeting at. Which you can imagine, was not that exciting.

However, I came across Julian OH8STN's videos which centre around amateur radio as a means for disaster resiliency and that has piqued my interest again. As a result, I picked up a Yaesu FT-817ND from eBay which seems like a solid bit of kit and I have been told it is a decent radio, especially for beginners to the hobby. I haven't used it much, mainly to confirm that it turns on, transmits and receives so more experimentation will need to happen.

In the meantime, it needs charged.

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