Stations worked here over the weekend on 136kHz using normal speed CW:
PA0CC (14.04UT: gave him 579, he gave me 569), GW4ALG (18.06: 58/99, 599).
Called by DJ5DI at 07.03, my TX blew up at start of QSO!
GW4ALG (09.11: 599, 599), EI0CF (10.06: 579, 569), OH1TN (20.05: 479QRN,
Well, it was certainly an eventful weekend!
Friday started very quiet with no-one heard at all on the band during the
morning and only a few stations later, despite static levels being fairly
low. Saturday was set aside for a visit from Kevin ZL4MD who is one of the
very active LF operators in New Zealand. I decided to go on air first thing
to make sure everything was set up OK and get a few calls in the log; my
first CQ call raised DJ5DI and I had just gone back to him when there was
a flash and bang in the PA. A quick look inside through the smoke confirmed
that one of the FETs had blown up, so that was the end of any on-air demo...
Kevin arrived a little later and we spent several interesting hours swapping
notes and photos, comparing the differences and similarities between the
European and Antipodean LF scenes. I think he was a little surprised at my
tiny TX and simple antenna/ground system, so it was quite disappointing not
being able to show him how well it works. Activity was also very low, with
no EU stations on whilst we were listening, but Steve GW4ALG kindly supplied
a signal using both his loop and vertical so Kevin could get an idea of the
strength of signals on 136kHz - thanks Steve.
I got up fairly early on Sunday morning to rebuild the TX and left the RX
scanning. This was quite frustrating as there was far more activity, with
several German stations, OZ1KMR and OZ5N audible at good strength, and
contacts being made with OE and OK (although nothing heard here from either
of the latter). Interestingly only one FET had actually exploded and I could
find no obvious reasons why this time - the last two events were both
carelessness on my part, but not this one. Steve and Finbar both confirmed
the replacement was working as normal, but I am a little wary of things as I
still don't know what went wrong.
I called into the 80m net at 19.00UT, but the QRM levels were extremely high
and only 5 stations were on, including one non-LFer who just called in for a
chat! Come on guys, we need more support to get the net going. During the
net Dave G3YXM mentioned that Reino OH1TN was back on LF and said he would
look for him after the net had finished. Sure enough, by the time I had
retuned to 136kHz Dave was already in contact with Reino! Static levels were
very high, but OH1TN's signal was excellent as he has made some improvements
to his station - this looks very promising for the coming Winter season.
When Dave had finished, I called Reino myself (quite a bit off his
and was extremely pleased to make a solid QSO too..... and the FETs held
Regards John G4GVC near Leicester, IO92JP
** TX: Synth + 400W RF from modified 'G3YXM' Mosfet PA **
** RX: TS-850S with 3 x CW filters and 0.5ppm TCXO **
** Ant: Inv-L 60m long, 6m high at feed end, 12m high at far end **