RSGB 2nd 144MHz Backpackers & Hilltoppers contests 2018

For this the second contest of the year, we were again graced with good weather, the whole of the UK seemingly covered in an area of high pressure.

High pressure covers UK

The club assembled in our usual place atop the beacon country park, and began to unpack our ageing but loyal caravan come mobile shack, and assemble the old faithful 12 element M2 Yagi

Assembly is a two man job.

Setup was unremarkable, however this time we setup our newly acquired 100W solar panel, to keep the batteries topped up, and within 45 minutes we were ready to go, so we had time for some refreshment and chat.

Caravan and Antenna setup, note the new solar panel.

Colin G6AHF, dialed round some beacons, and we had a good signal, including from the continent, and so our hopes were high.

The clock struck 10, and we began scanning along the band, but the wall of noise or electrical hash that greeted us was 5/9 ++ and for the first hour we struggled to make many contacts.

We questioned what could have changed. What was the source of this interference? We put a cover over the Solar panel to see if it was the source of the interference, and sure enough the noise dipped a little! We disconnected the solar charge unit altogether, and the noise was gone! We found the culprit.

We had tested the solar panel and more specifically the solar charge module at the shack, and it had not presented us with any problems, but here in strong sunlight, it was affecting our ability to hear. We’ll post a separate article about our findings, and our solution!

Slow but surely we marked of some new squares, but it was slow going. We didn’t hear anything from the continent, which is a shame, but the Tropospheric Ducting Forecast didn’t look great:

Tropospheric Ducting Forecast

Sharon – 2E0RGN took the mic for a bit, and managed to eek out a few more QSOs before the final gong.

We claimed 40 QSO’s and 16 multipliers, giving us a total of 107,296 points.
Our best DX was 2E0VCC/P, 346 Kms away.

Currently, we are 13th in this leg (unlucky for some) but watch this space!!

73 de G3BPK