Down Under on 10m Crikey!

IMG_0340What a morning! I walked into the shack early this morning with my first cup of tea of the day when I noticed an email from Gary G0FWX saying “10m is open to VK!” What? At sunspot minimum surely not? I quickly put the cup of tea down almost spilling it all over the lap top! Turned my Hexbeam towards VK and tuned the radio to VK6, time to warm up the amplifier. Sure enough there was Kim VK6TQ in Western Australia 5/4 in my shack on 28490 KHz. A quick call to VK and I was in the log, we had a short conversation about antennas and band conditions before I let other UK operators fire their calls across to VK6.

A short while after that I also worked VK6KRC Bob near Perth, Western Australia. Thanks lads for my first 10m QSO to VK! Crikey what a morning!

Image Left - VK6KRC Antenna

15m once again today was also very busy in the run up to CQWW SSB 2009 Contest.

A Sad End RIP
I must also comment on the terrible sad news of the loss of 4 Radio Amateurs from the USA that sadly perished as their aeroplane crashed shortly after take off 250 yards off the end of the runway in Jedburg, South Carolina, about 20 miles northwest of Charleston. The plane, piloted and owned by Peter Radding, W2GJ,  carried Ed Steeble, K3IXD, Dallas Carter, W3PP, and Randy Hargenrader, K4QO. The four men were on their way to the Bahamas to operate in this weekend's CQ World Wide Phone Contest as C6APR.

They died following the hobby that they were so pasionate about. May they rest in peace.

You've been Thunderstruck

Great to see the lads from Team Thunderbox at the RSGB Convention last week. I have receieved an email from Jon 2E0DBD informing us of the next /Portable activities of Team Thunderbox.

Easter_Gathering_2008_40m_Quad_028Team Thunderbox will be setting up a portable station again between 23rd October 2009, and 31st October 2009.

We will be using the following equipment for our "Gathering" 

As always, we will be operating from Wind and Solar power. 

80m Station~Yaesu FT1000MP MKV, 200 foot Doublet, 400 Watts.

40m Station~Yaesu FT1000MP MKV, 2 Element Monoband Cubical Quad, 400 Watts.

20m Station~Yaesu FT1000MP MKV Field, 3 Element Monoband Cubical Quad, 400 Watts.

 2m Station~Kenwood TR711E, Diamond X700H, 100 Watts.

We would love to speak with as many of you as possible, if the conditions allow.

Kind Regards. Jon 2E0DBD 

Team Thunderbox

(Editors note Please note that QSL is Via the operators!!!!!!!! Not me!)

You can find more information at Team Thunderbox 

Team Thunderbox is a group of people who enjoy the lighter side of Amateur Radio. This is a video showing our most recent gathering to celebrate our 4th birthday as a group. We participate in other hobbies as well as Amateur Radio, and more information Team Thunderbox on You Tube

ZC4VJ Andy

I would like to welcome Andy Chadwick ZC4VJ to United Radio QSL Bureeau. The new QSL route for Andy is Via M0URX.
In a couple of weeks Andy will return to Sovereign Base Area of Cyprus where he will forward me the full log and some new photograhs for a new high quality QSL card to be designed and printed in a few weeks time all being well.

The ZC4VJ log has now been uploaded to the online logsearch on 09/11/09.

Flannan Isles EU-118

flannanCol, MM0NDX  a keen IOTA enthusiast, has revealed his plans to be QRV from The Flannan Isles EU-118, along with his team members Oscar Luis EA1DR, George EC2ADN, Christian EA3NT and Bjorn SM0MDG.

Only ever activated in 1989, 1995 and 2002, The Flannan Isles EU-118 are certainly a much needed IOTA. Extremely difficult to access due to North Atlantic weather systems constantly eroding the available landing site, a determined international group of IOTA & DX enthusiasts intend to activate Flannans in early / mid-June, 2010. 

The biggest threat / danger to any DX'pedition to the Flannan Isles is the Atlantic weather that can produce violent winds that can sweep through this North West Outer Hebrides area located approximately 32km west of the Island of Lewis. The sea swells that can surge across the 3,000 miles of North Atlantic Ocean hitting land at the Flanan Isles can make this a hazardous exercise.  A study of Ocean charts and weather maps determine if and when this difficult IOTA can take place. 

More information coming soon.

There is a great story about The Flannan Isles "Click Here" called The Mystery of Flannan Isles, from an incident where 3 men dissapered in December 1900.

The United Radio QSL Bureau are proud to announce that we are sponsoring this event for QSL Management. A high quality full colour QSL card will be available Via M0URX.

Conway Reef 3D20CR In the Bag!

Busy few days here at the office, the 7P8OK Direct QSL cards are arriving at the destinations around the world, while Bureau cards have been sent direct to 14 European Bureaus and to JARL for a speedy journey through the Bureau. The remaining 100 cards will be sent Via RSGB Bureau next week.

Conway Reef 3D20CRI received a box of 4,000 QSL cards from the Bureau which all had to be sorted for the G4Dxx and G4Rxx call series they were all dispatched on Friday. Which left me with 1,100 QSL cards for the callsigns that I manage, many hours of work processing the cards and I am well on my way to completing the job and I will have them sent back through the Bureau next week.

Then of course it has been a great time on HF with some excellent DX’peditions hitting the air. FT5GA Glorioso Island was a all time new one with 4 band slots at Château Beaumont on 12m, 15m, 17m, and 20m. I have listened to these guys for hours while I have been working in the shack, and all 5 of them have done such a great job from Glorioso. They have military work to do as well as the radio expedition so brilliant job lads!

Then my attention was turned to the waters of the Pacific Ocean, Conway Reef near Fiji to be precise, the team of 3D20CR were doing an incredible job, I first heard them on Friday afternoon when I got home from work for several hours their signal was 5/2 at a time when I had not expected to hear them on 20m. Saturday was a busy work day for me so it had to be Sunday when my chance was to come, I decided to get up early and watch the Formula 1 race from Japan, as the race progressed 3D20CR were getting stronger to 5/5 when I heard M0BZH work them, at this point they called for United Kingdom only on 14.220 MHz, but the pile up still kept calling again they asked only for UK I was beginning to shake and sweat, this was my best chance, with one clear call I shouted again “Mike Zero Uniform Romeo X-Ray” I un-keyed waiting to see if they had heard me, it seemed like eternity but It was no more than a fraction of a second, “M0URX 5/9” wow the feeling of a new one! It’s awesome.

This afternoon conditions to West Coast of North America were very good and Africa too on 20m with a new IOTA group on air for me AF-061 C91VM/5 on 20m. 

In the UK it is very difficult to find a way to put up a full size HF antenna that is going to get you heard in the pile ups, the “G3TXQ Broadband Hexbeam” is where UK operators are finding an antenna that reallyTim_M0URX works and I would like to wish my DX buddy MW0JZE Ant the best of luck as he goes into production soon with this antenna. I bought his prototype off him and I can’t sing his praises enough for a thoroughly professionally build quality, good luck Ant!  To find out more about MW0JZE and the Hexbeam project Click Here

Next weekend is the RSGB Convention, I will be there! So will many of my friends, its time to enjoy the presentations, and relax over many beers, yes probably too many beers and talk RADIO! If you see me, mines a Lager ok?

Thanks to Colin in Sweden for sending me the photo on the right, yes that is me on the left looking towards the camera 20 years ago in about 1989 I think. With the blue T shirt is Steve G0UIH, Ian M0KCM with the hat and Dave. We have all put on several kilos since then!

9M Activity Announced from East Malaysia

Steve 9M6DXX has updated me on forthcoming activity from East Malaysia over the next two months.

1) Steve, 9M6DXX, will operate (SSB only) as 9M8Z from Sarawak, East Malaysia (IOTA OC-088), from 22 to 26 October, including a single-operator all-band high-power unassisted entry in the CQWW DX phone contest. QSL via M0URX direct, via the bureau, LoTW, or request direct or bureau cards on-line.


2) Steve, 9M6DXX, and John, 9M6XRO, will operate from Pulau Labuan (IOTA OC-133) from 6 to 8 November (and possibly for one or two hours from 0000UTC on 9 November) as follows: 9M6DXX/P 10m - 80m on SSB only; 9M6XRO/P 10m - 160m on CW and RTTY. Stations will be using linear amplifiers to a multi-band vertical and a 160m inverted-L, both mounted very close to the ocean. We hope it will be possible to operate on 160m CW at the same time as SSB on the other bands. QSL both 9M6DXX/P and 9M6XRO/P via M0URX, either direct, via the bureau or LoTW.

For full QSL information click here


The QSL from Nicolas arrived in the post today from TN5SN DXCC Number 274 confirmed for M0URX.TN5SN


More information on the activity from Nicolas in the Republic of the Congo can be found at: TN5SN 

Smiling Faces In Lesotho

Smiling faces in Lesotho is the theme for the QSL card of 7P8OK the QSL will now be printed. Here is the design. QSL Via M0URX. For more detailed QSL information CLICK HERE!

The 7P8OK QSL card is sponsored by United Radio QSL Bureau.
QSL Printed by ON5UR Print Service
All QSL's arrived up to 20/09/09 have now been mailed out. Bureau cards to 14 European Bureaus and JARL sent direct others will be sent to RSGB soon.

John 7P8OK back home from Lesotho

Group_2Glad to say I got back to KK on time and no hassle with my luggage either way despite the fact that my transit times between flights in Doha were 30 mins and 45 mins! Well done to Qatar Airways for that as they met me off my flights and made sure me and my baggage got on to the next one OK.

Including my short ZS6 operation I made just over the 8K QSO mark from Africa. I did all the RTTY from 7P8 as well as 90% of the Top Band operating. I was pleased to manage the first 7P8/JA QSO on 160m with JA7NI and I worked 44 countries on 160m and 107 countries on all bands.

In total the 5 ops made in excess of 27,000 contacts and scanning the DX Cluster, the comments seem generally favourable to us.

I have my photos to sort out then I will send you off some possible ones for my QSL. I had a couple of cable problems in 7P8 - my camera to USB cable and my computer to rig interface cable both failed. Both cables became really brittle in the dry cold WX which they obviously did not appreciate after being used in the Borneo climate!

We had limited dial-up internet access at the Trading Post Lodge office
The  photo above shows (l to r) Daniel/ZS6JR, Ben/7P8YI, Pista/7P8AO, Frosty/7P8CF, Laurent/7P8MM and John/7P8OK.

Right - 7P8OK John on RTTY duty.

Glad to get you in my log and also hear you working the others too. BTW I did complete the 20m SSB sked with Steve 9M6DXX and got him on 17m SSB as well. The WX has been pretty awful around KK this weekend so the BARC Lighthouse operation on the uninhabited Pulau Layangan must have been an ordeal for them. There was a thunderstorm and very heavy rain when they were due off this afternoon so I don't know how that went yet.
73 for now - John - 9M6XRO

Editor - The online logsearch for 7P8OK is now LIVE
LoTW has now been uploaded for 7P8OK and ZS6/GM3OOK.
I will now work on the QSL Requests both Direct and Bureau. Please be patient.

M0URX enjoys 10m opening

u4mirI really enjoyed the 10m openning today with Sporadic E with most of Europe in 3 hours contacts were logged with 140 stations from France, Germany to Russia where I worked a Cosmonaut (Astronaut) Alexander Volkov U4MIR I am sure that is my first QSO with an Astronaut so I feel very pleased to meet you Alex'. I was also called by JQ9DHC in Japan, but I was not able to complete the QSO as QSB was very fast. So Japan on 10m great! Thank you to all of you that I worked today.
The Sporadic E was also strong enough to work GM7TUD Jim on back scatter signals while testing the direct path turning the beam to Scotland signal was 0. Jim great to catch up after such a long time!

5B/G4MKP Terry Cyprus

G4MKP_on_holsTerry G4MKP is in Cyprus over 14/25 August. He is squeezing 2 days of business into 10. That means lots of time for cold beer, lazy days by the pool and a fair bit of time on his Elecraft K3 signing 5B/G4MKP. Terry will be QRV mornings and evenings on CW/RTTY and, if he can figure out how to do it, SSB also. CW around 7.010, 14.010, 21.010, 28.020. RTTY anywhere in the band segment.  Please listen for him and give a call.

Picture: Elecraft K3, PSU, Key, cabling, Buddipole.

QSL Direct or Via email request for a bureau QSL.
LoTW will be uploaded after the operation.

G0KYA's Propagation Report August 09

g0kya_podcastHF Propagation Podcast

A look at HF propagation conditions for August 2009, including the solar and geomagnetic data for July 2009, Sporadic E and how to work stations VQ9JC on Chagos Island and 5N0OCH in Nigeria. All this plus a band-by-band round-up of what you can work and hear.

G0KYA Steve Nichols is a journalist, specialising in technology. Steve's Blog is very informative and is a great site for learning about propagation!
Click on the left image to be directed straight to Steve's Blog.

I have enjoyed a lot of Sporadic E work over the summer on HF bands, but one thing that surprises me about especially UK Amateurs is that many assume that Sporadic E, Inter G on 20m is "Strange" or "unusual" Well NO it isn't it is just normal Summer conditions. G0KYA explains this tpye of propagation very well in his podcasts and on his blog and also his articles in several Amateur Radio journals.

M0URX - "G3TXQ Broadband Hexagonal Beam now UP!"

I have installed a new antenna recently here at Château Beaumont after using the MQ36SR for the last 3 years. I wanted an antenna that gave just a bit better performance. I had heard many UK stations that had used G3TXQ Broadband Hexagonal Beam and had given it some very good reports, some say that the performance is similar to a 2 element SteppIR! A few months ago Anthony MW0JZE started to make enquiries about how to make one, and to source high quality parts to build this antenna. Anthony decided that we should make one and test it out on our IOTA vacation on the West coast of Wales, what a great idea, I said build two, one for you and one for me and we will have two stations set up at the IOTA then we can test them out for performance and for DXpedition style operating under close proximity.

With the antennas built and constructed we installed the 6m - 20m  Hexbeams 30m apart on 10m poles connecting them to 2 x Elecraft K3 Transceivers at our Island location at Ramsey Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire. From the off we were working pile ups on 20m and 15m with no interaction between the two stations. I was very impressed with the performance of the Hexbeam despite no sunspots and a SFI of just 68. We ended the 3 day operation at Ramsey with 5500 Qs in the log and worked 86 DXCC entities. This antenna would make a fantastic DXpedition antenna! It is light, easy to assemble and gives great performance!
So I was happy with its performance on a remote Island but what about if it was located in the city where I live in Coventry?

Raining again!
I was only home two days and a break in the weather found me in the garden constructing the Hexbeam. My garden is only 7m wide so it was a struggle at times but within 1 hour the antenna was ready to be installed. I called on the help of 2E0COV Vinny Hopkins to install the antenna on the 13m mast at my home. Thanks Vinny!

CQ Pacific
The following morning I couldn’t resist giving the Hex a try… I tuned to 14.217 MHz where I knew E51JD Jim is usually found, great there he was with a signal of 5/4 not strong but probably the best I had ever heard him and with one call Jim was in the log from the South Cook Islands! Brilliant! Followed that with a QSO with KH7HI in the Hawaiian Islands. Conditions since then have been very poor, however I am finding that working South America a bad direction for me is now much easier. The SWR is very low on all bands 6m through to 20m.

Many thanks to Ant MW0JZE for constructing this antenna to a very high standard of workmanship with high quality parts!

Ramsey Island QSL EU-124

The Ramsey Island MC0SHL / MW9W QSL is currently in the design stage and will be printed shortly. Here is a sneak preview!

The QSL cards will shortly be going to print. Remember to send your direct QSL to M0URX but NO Bureau cards thanks! If you need a QSL Via the Bureau please email Tim M0URX using our Contact M0URX page and I will send you the Bureau card.

The QSL card features the RSPB who own the Island and the QSL also reflect the Flora & Fauna on Ramsey Island. Not forgetting of course the G3TXQ Broadband Hexagonal Beam made by MW0JZE Anthony that performed so well for us despite no sunspots! You can also see the buildings that we occupied during the activity.
This QSL has been sponsored by the United Radio QSL Management Bureau.


7P8OK John in Lesotho

Lesotho_FlagThis week John 9M6XRO unveiled his callsign for the Lesotho expedition from July 27th to August 13th 7P8OK will be "On Air" using CW RTTY SSB. John will be in a team operating from The Trading Post Lodge in Roma, Lesotho, as part of the African DX Safaris Expedition. 

7P8OK QSL Via M0URX - QSL Direct or Via Bureau However I will not accept incoming cards Via Bureau. ALL BUREAU QSL requests must be made Via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   or Via my QSL request form in the left menu. I fully support the Bureau but incoming cards are not required for 7P8OK or 9M6XRO and we would like to reduce Bureau costs by doing this.

Log will be uploaded to Logbook of The World (LoTW) immediately after the expedition.
The Online Log Search for 7P8OK will be live after the expedition.

Please follow my instructions and your QSL will arrive in good speed!

7P8OK QSL is sponsored by United Radio QSL Bureau.

MC0SHL & MW9W logs uploaded to logsearch

5515 QSO's from MC0SHL & MW9W EU-124 Ramsey Island are now uploaded onto the online log search. The team head home after a great week on Ramsey Island. Great memories and you can see more information on the website  of Strumble Head DX & Contest Group
Team Photograph

M0URX is Out of Office

I will be away from Wednesday morning (22nd July), heading off to Ramsey Island, Wales EU-124. The team will be active as MC0SHL and MW9W in the RSGB IOTA Contest. Not that i am soliciting for QSO's prior to the contest as i am sure that is blatent advertising hehe. Anyway if you hear us on the bands our team want to hear your call so listen for us and say hello.

More information can be found at Strumble Head DX & Contest Group

Please also listen for our other sponsored events MM0NDX/P Col will be on St Kilda weather permitting and 9M6XRO John will be operating out of Africa featuring 7P8OK Lesotho, all information is in my Blog below. You may also hear John as ZS6/GM3OOK.
I will answer all emails on my return next week.

MM0NDX/P St Kilda Archipelago – July 24 to 27, 2009

kilda_home_main_mapMM0NDX/P Col  will use GM5A during the IOTA contest.  MM0NDX/P outside the contest.
St Kilda is a much needed IOTA counter for many. Particularly Japan. It is nearly four years since the last activation.

Due to its very challenging location, the main island of Hirta (where I will be based) has an extremely difficult take-off to the North, North West and East. Infact, generally any direction!

Restrictions mean only an antenna at maximum height 30ft (10m) may be used.  A yagi type antenna is most definitely not allowed nowadays. [bird impact - there are over a million seabirds on St Kilda !].

A 1000ft sea cliff towering over Village Bay certainly won’t help matters! I shall try my best for all areas.

St Kilda Archipelago has been claimed by 35.9% IOTA participants.

  • QTH locator: IO75RT
  • Islands of Scotland Award (IOSA) OL02
  • WAB: NF19
  • SCOTIA: D123
    World Flora and Fauna Reference St. Kilda (National Nature Reserve) Ref. No GMFF-061.

Please note, I’m the sole radio operator in a group of five. Won’t be on 24/7, but will try my best!
MM0NDX/P QSL Via M0URX Log will be uploaded to my logsearch after the activity.
Col has built a website especially for this activity you can see more information at:
MM0NDX/P QSL is sponsored by United Radio QSL Bureau.

Unfortunately this expedition by Col was cancelled due to rough seas around St Kilda. Two weeks later the captain of the vessel has informed Col, that he has still not been able to get near St Kilda at any time since the proposed activity.

7P8OK Lesotho

Lesotho_FlagThis week John 9M6XRO unveiled his callsign for the Lesotho expedition from July 27th to August 13th 7P8OK will be "On Air" using CW RTTY SSB. John will be in a team operating from The Trading Post Lodge in Roma, Lesotho, as part of the African DX Safaris Expedition. 

7P8OK QSL Via M0URX - QSL Direct or Via Bureau However I will not accept incoming cards Via Bureau. ALL BUREAU QSL requests must be made Via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   or Via my QSL request form in the left menu. I fully support the Bureau but incoming cards are not required for 7P8OK or 9M6XRO and we would like to reduce Bureau costs by doing this.

Log will be uploaded to Logbook of The World (LoTW) immediately after the expedition. The Online Log Search for 7P8OK will be live after the expedition.

Please follow my instructions and your QSL will arrive in good speed!

7P8OK QSL is sponsored by United Radio QSL Bureau.

Ramsey Island IOTA EU-124 MC0SHL & MW9W

GW/IOTA EU-124 - The Strumblehead DX and Contest Group have now sealed the final permission to activate Ramsey Island (EU-124), off the West Wales coast, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds who own the island. They will be active from 18ramsey_island:00 24th July through to 14:00 27th July taking in the IOTA contest. 

We will be active using the club call MC0SHL for the whole duration of the operation, and using MW9W in the contest. They will be on all bands from 80M through to 10M SSB. There is also some 30M RTTY planned by G1VDP if the other guys allow him, with participation in the last 80M Club Championships DATA section. ramsey_island_352_tcm9-120831

We will be operational using generators as power. Radios used will consist of 2 K3's and a Yaesu FT1000MP MkV and amplifiers. Antennas will consist of 2 x Hexbeam, a windom and dipoles. Most of the activation is for the WAB award scheme as the square is semi rare and has not been activated for some time. 
The team will be on from the farm for a few days before and after using the GB0WFF for the World Flora and Fauna award see for award details, and using the MC0SHL club call and erecting a tower for Rob MW0RLJ. The island will not only count for the WAB award but will also count for the WFF award.
World Flora and Fauna Reference for Ramsey Island is GWFF-072 and for the Club house on the Pembrokeshire Coast (Farm) is GFF-015.
A special QSL card printed for both club calls, full details are on the groups website  QSL via the groups manager M0URX.
This IOTA QSL card  is sponsored by United Radio QSL Bureau.

This IOTA expedition has permission from the owners of the Island the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds


You may remember that Steve 9M6DXX was recently in New Caledonia with his wife Eva celebrating their Silver Wedding Anniversary. Here is the special QSL card out soon!
QSL-FK-G4JVGFK/G4JVG QSL is sponsored by United Radio QSL Bureau.


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