The SWL Days!
My first experiences of Amateur Radio started with building a Radio Kit bought for Christmas when I was about 13 years old. The ‘ROAMER 7’. A super regenerator receiver which covered Short Wave and Trawler Band. We listened to G3JJM and G3XCI on Trawler Band usually on Sunday afternoons. I became interested in this so called ‘Trawler Band’ and later found out that this was in fact ‘Topband’.
Licenced since October 1971, started on Topband and 2m using AM with home made transmitter and R109 Receiver, later a Halicrafters SX24 receiver.(Those were the days….2m tuning High to Low and the BEACON on 1.900mhz!!) Photos show my early shack taken in 1970 just before I got licence with the WS38 set, R109A and home built Topband transmitter.
Taken around 1974, my shack was a brick outhouse with a leaky roof and concrete floor! Can’t believe now that I built high voltage equipment and operated it in those conditions. Health and safety wasn’t around then, just common sense! On the bottom right of the photos is my 160m transmitter and on the shelf my very first 144Mhz transmitter. ATU next it and sat on top of the Halicrafters SX24 my 144Mhz converter and big S-Meter. You can also see an old Cossor oscilloscope and Crystal Calibrator.
Later I experimented on 7ocm with Amateur Television, licenced as G6AIW/T using a NEV 405 line camera, home made QQVO-320 transmitter and several old 405 line televisions as monitors. Successful Television links across Bolton with G3ZPL (G6AIG/T) were achieved in 1973. (Was this the first ever amateur television link in Bolton?) Photos show my shack from 1978 to 1984. First one is the only photo that I have of my home built 160m /80m Transceiver with the gorgeous Eddystone 898 dial, it used a hybrid set of Plessey SL600 chips and EL84 valve PA. You can also see my 144Mhz transmitter, with the 432Mhz Tripler / Amplifier which used 2 x QQVO-320A valves. The Halicrafters SX20 receiver was modified with new S-meter and matching knobs. Photo taken about 1978.
Photo taken around 1980 with my G8AMU VHF Receiver on the left, Part built Z-Match above and Digital Frequency Counter, power meter, and 70cms varator tripler.
Photo taken in 1984 with my daughter Jacquie showing off the latest equipment. Yaesu FT101E was the hub of the station with transverters for 432Mhz, 144Mhz and 70Mhz. Now completed Z-Match, Digital Frequency Counter and a rather novel, but useful VHF / UHF Signal to Noise Ratio meter.
Main station consisted of Yaesu FT101E and home made transverters for 6m, 4m, 2m, 70cm, 23cm. Low power 10 – 25w.
HF Antenna – 60ft Longwire VHF Antennas – 6m & 4m – 2 element beam, 2m – element yagi. UHF Antennas – 70cm – 18 element Parabeam, 23cm 10/10 yagi.
Best DX contact: Worked a station in France during an opening on 23cm using a half made transverter with 30mW rf output!
The Mobile Scene
First went 2m mobile with a Pye Cambridge and a Halo, then the Sommerkamp TS-280FM – a great crystal controlled rig with 50w o/p into a 5/8 whip. Later purchased an Icom IC24E synthesized rig which served well on repeaters and 2m FM operation, 10w into 5/8 whip.
Some great contacts were made mobile on 10m in 1980 using a converted Liner 2 Transceiver, 10w o/p and a CB mobile whip. At this time the sunspot cycle was at it’s peak!Contacts with USA and USSR going to work was super! My best contact was with a station on the Panama Canal.
Later, I bought a new Icom Synthesised FM transciever with the thumbwheel switches to set the frequency. This was state of the art technology back in 1980. For the first time I was able to cover the whole of the 144Mhz band and repeaters. A nice piece of equipment.
What am I doing now…
Back on the air again after a long break, now using a Yaesu Ft450D and Yaesu FT857D all bander with 60ft longwire, half-size G5RVand MFJ-945e tuner for HF. On VHF /UHF the antennas are a dual band 144/432Mhz yagi, HB9CV yagi for 70Mhz, dipole for 50Mhz and disconne antenna for VHF / UHF FM. 21 ele Tonna for 1296Mhz