G0VEH portable in the West Country

Tuesday 28th May
I set off from London on Tuesday at 1030 hrs, very wet slow and long journey; two hours around the M25 . Arrived at 1600 and got soaked jacking down and connecting services. [the site is close to the Devon/Dorset border and nearest town is Axminster].

Wednesday 29th May
After it stopped raining erected small vertical by the caravan, 16ft and 12ft counterpoise. Pretty useless unfortunately, very noisy on the site. Heard MM0TAZ/P from Ullapool at 55 with QSB. My aerial not good enough to work him.

Wx sunshine and showers and windy but getting warmer. Outlook is good so expect to be out on the hills over the weekend on mainly 40m.

Site is reasonably populated, it’s half term so lots of families here. Even more of the coastline has disappeared over the winter and some of the beaches are no longer accessible. Many beer festivals are advertised and if I were a drinking type it would be heaven.

Still I do enjoy a pint of real ale, and there are some very good local brews.

Friday 31st May
Very bright sunny day. Warm and at last dry. After chores I decided to go out to the /P site about a mile away. Arrived on site at about 1200 and set up a 10 x 10 DOUBLET at about 5m. Worked on 40m for some time, but conditions average. Worked plenty of UK stations but not a lot of activity.

I tried 20m but not much on the band. Trawling through the bands 15m was open and in very good condition. Worked JAs and into mid and west USA. Signals were in general strong and I got good reports. The band was very busy and there were some very big signals around.

I packed up at about 1630, needing a cup of tea and a rest. Managed to find a Little Chef that has free Wi-Fi and sent part 1 of my blog to G8DZH.

The portable set up,  from  a hilltop site, Loc IO80MS. was:

  • Icom IC706MKIIG running about 40W from a 74Ah leisure battery.
  • Aerial, 10×10 doublet at 5m.

Saturday 1st June
Bright and sunny, warm about 15°C, breezy. I had to buy some internet time from the camp site. Foray onto the camping area, about 300m from the site I’m on. It is very quiet electrically and only two campers on a huge field. I have two or three sites around the area for /P activities and all are very quiet. I will have to try VHF from them. They are certainly high enough with good take off in most directions.

Set up at about 1200 (local time) and started on 40m.  Absolutely useless. Long skip, with lots of Italians,the Balkans, Germans etc. Very few UK stations. Those I heard had severe QSB on them. Migrated to 20m and found conditions were only short skip and only Europeans heard. Persevered until 1530 and decided I was wasting my time, so closed down and went for tea.

It is very frustrating going /P only to find all the bands dead. What a change from Friday! Sea looks lovely but I bet it is very cold. It seems only the kids can stand it, not many adults bathing. Too cold even for a paddle.

This really is a lovely area of the country, and you don’t need to go far off the track to find peace and quiet, good beer and food.

I do expect to be out again /P on Sunday so conditions may well have improved.

Sunday 2nd June
Spent the afternoon at the end of the site on the large camping field. Huge field with only me on it. Trying out a V aerial, 9 x 9m on poles. Seems to work OK. Conditions again not too good. 40m strong ON/F signals inter G difficult with heavy QSB.

Had some time on 20m lots of European stations but no DX. 17 / 15m bands poor and very variable.
Site is quiet but bands noisy. Next time I come down I might bring some VHF aerials and try some DXing.

Monday will be shopping day and got to do some maintenance, i.e. clean and polish the caravan. I can’t see me doing any more radio for the rest of the time here. WX still sunny and warm hope it stays dry.

Congratulations to all those new calls.


John G0VEH (email g0veh@lefars.org.uk)

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