introduction to G6CSY
introduction to G6CSY
It was a CVRS club member who improved my listening station by donating a BC-348 receiver [a W.W. II radio from a B-17 bomber] as well as a homebrew power supply.
Through all this listening my interest grew, and in 1980 I ended up joining the national society, the Radio Society of Great Britain [RSGB], where I got my short wave listening [SWL] 'callsign' of RS44984. I then attended evening classes in 1981 and eventually got my Class 'B' Amateur Radio license, after passing both my of my City & Guild Amateur Radio examinations. I quickly got on the air with a crystal controlled Kenwood TR-2300 2m transceiver.
Two days after getting my license I was 'stopped by the
Police'. I had set up a portable station in a field, and a
passing dog-walker reported my 'suspicious activities' to the
Police as 'a spy or something using a radio'! The Police
Constable who arrived and investigated 'my spying activities'
went away with a smile after wishing me good luck with the hobby
for the future.
Although only on the VHF bands with my Class B license at the time, as I had not done the Morse code test and so was prohibited from operating on the short wave bands, I actively listened on the H.F. bands. I could have taken a 12 w.p.m. Morse test and changed to an G4 callsign (a Class 'A' license), but I never seemed to have the time. Everything changed in the middle of 2003 though, when the Radio Authority announced that the Morse code requirement for operating on H.F. was no longer required.
So, as from September 2003, I started to be active on the H.F. bands as well. Over the following months, I expanded my station's abilities by upgrading to a modern H.F. transceiver, an Icom IC-7400.
As well as the H.F. bands, this gets me access to the 6m/50MHz and 2m/144MHz bands. The antennas for these bands are on a tilt-over lattice mast that can raise up to some 15m when needed. Here, at about 2/3rds raised, the stub mast and rotator cage is supporting a 5-ele Tonna [for 6m] and a 9-ele Tonna [for 2m].
At the same time I had to replace the much corroded vertical antenna used for H.F. listening, with something more suitable for transmitting; a 10m-40m Hy-Gain AV-14AVQ with an MK80 attachment for 80m coverage.
To get on to the WARC bands of 12m, 17m and 24m, I have added a 'polymorph wire'. Depending on the weather conditions and the height of the mast, this wire antenna varies in it's layout. At the moment it is a '8m vertical > 10m horizontal > 1m horizontal >4m horizontal > 4m end-loaded sloper' antenna. But whatever 'kit' you have in your 'shack', it all depends on the band conditions:
I am now QRV most weekends on the H.F. Bands, and on the 6m/2m bands if there is a contest taking place. During the 'magic season', I spend my mornings on the 6m band, looking for Sporadic-E contacts on CW and SSB At the moment I try to have a contact or two every weekday morning on 20m using JT65A mode. If the band conditions improve then I'll try 15m or even 10m as well. If no one is around I'll switch to one of the Phase Shift Keying [PSK] modes, such as BPSK31, BPSK63 or even QPSK.
My station activity, by band, since first licensed shows that 20m and 40m provide for the bulk of my activity. Hopefully as the Solar Cycle builds, my activity will increase on 15m and 10m.
For the first few years of my activity as G6CSY, I was confined to phone modes SSB and FM Since the availability of home computers and specialist mode software, my activity has now increased dramatically on RTTY and PSK.
As for propagation methods, the majority of contacts on HF are via the F2 layer in the atmosphere. The 6m contacts are mostly via Sporadic-E, with the 2m contacts via Tropospheric propagation.
Current G6CSY shack layout