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LF: Weekend on 73kHz / Puckeridge Decca Station

To: [email protected]
Subject: LF: Weekend on 73kHz / Puckeridge Decca Station
From: "James Moritz" <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000 19:06:57 +0000
Organization: University of Hertfordshire
Reply-to: [email protected]
Sender: <[email protected]>
Dear LF Group,
Had an exciting weekend on 73kHz, with some new stations, and several nice cross-band QSOs. On Friday evening, I had a 73kHz contact with John, G4GVC, who alerted me to the fact that GW4ALG and GI3PDN were listening on the band for possible cross-band QSO's. I tried calling them, but the noise level was too high by this time. I could hear Steve on 136 though, and QSY'd to 136 to arrange a sked for the morning. On Saturday morning we had an excellent QSO, R5 in both directions. A little later, I was very pleased to work Ray, with 549 reports both ways. In the afternoon, a 73 kHz QSO with G3YXM revealed that EI0CF was also looking for cross-band contacts, and sure enough, on Sunday morning I was able to work Finbar, again R5 both ways. A little later, G3OLB popped up, and we were able to have the cross-band contact we just missed out on a few weeks before.
I also had a QSO with Lech, G3KAU for the first time on 73kHz.
Also worked G4KLF with the Hastings 'beach party' on 136kHz, but
heard nothing from them on 73kHz . I wasn't able to finish my field
strength meter in time to measure their signal, but measurements
of the receiver audio output showed them to be down 3dB on
nearby G3BDQ. DJ9IE was an excellent signal too, and was only
6dB down on G4KLF.
EI0CF is now my best DX on 73kHz using normal CW, and IK5ZPV
with QRSS, but who knows... Rugby was still silent this morning,
and the band is eerily quiet with the Decca stations gone.
However, the QRN levels are rising in the hours of darkness,
although there is relatively small amounts of static on the band
from early morning until early evening.
Yesterday evening I met up with G3GRO and G3KAU from the
Crawley club, and G3XDV, at the Decca site near Puckeridge. The
antenna is very imposing, being a self-supporting mast on top of a
small hill, surrounded by largely open country. The shack is a
copper-lined hut under the base of the mast. The design of the
antenna is quite a puzzle; the mast is insulated, and the antenna
feed is connected near the base of the mast. It has top loading
consisting of 8 steeply sloping wires reaching almost to ground
level, in a rather narrow 'umbrella' style ('rolled umbrella'?), which
seems to go against the accepted wisdom. It certainly works
though, with all those good reports from only a few watts from the
TX. Tuning up on 73kHz required a lot of head scratching, but it
worked in the end, and should be no problem at the weekend.

Cheers, Jim Moritz
73 de M0BMU

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