Saturday, 2 July 2016

Andorra on 4m.


Jean-Jacques, ON7EQ, writes that through the help op Joan, C31US, President of URA, that on 16 June 2016 4 m band has been allocated in Andorra from 70,000 MHz to 70,200 MHz, power 10 W, all modes, on a ''non-interference basis''. Jean-Jacques will operate on 4 m during next Perseids (August 12th-14th) with call sign C37MS.

Jean-Jacques, ON7EQ.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Long time no post!!!

It has been a while since I updated the blog, mainly because I have been so busy at work, "no mun no fun", however I have been keeping an eye on the activity on 70 Mhz and it is nice to see so much activity.
I even bought myself a Spectrum Communications transverter, connected it up and unfortunately have not the time to operate it, I have not been totally off radio though, I have had a few hours now and then to spend on HF using PSK, handy if you are like me not inclined to be calling for hours to make a contact (if I had the morse I could be using that as well...).
But now I will be having a lot of free time but I will not be in this part of the world, I am heading to VE7 on monday for 5 weeks and of course they do not use 4m over that part of the world..
Below is a snapshot of the activity on 70 Mhz today, keep up the good work folks and I will be keeping an eye out on the 4m activity from the East Coast of Canada...

Sunday, 19 June 2016

My first PSK contact on 70 Mhz.

Myself and Aidan were chatting on 2m the other day and the conversation came up about PSK, I have been spending a bit of time using that mode of late and making a lot of contacts, however there seems to be no PSK activity on 4m.
So we arranged a sked and made a contact to what is my first ever PSK contact on 70 Mhz.
So here is the thing, as a test I used 70.2125 DIGI on my Yaesu FT-857D through my Spectrum Communications Transverter, so the question is as to what the correct PSK frequency should be??
Looking at the UK bandplan for 70 Mhz it shows 70.100 to 70.250, here in Ireland the band starts at 70.125 so maybe we could adopt 70.2125 as the PSK frequency???? If so I would like to call out and maybe make some more contacts using PSK31 on 70.2125. (any comments??)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Celebrating 60 years (1956-2016) of the 4 metre band (70MHz) in the United Kingdom!


Great Britain will be celebrating 60 years of 70 Mhz use by radio amateurs this year.
The special callsign of  GB4MTR will be used.
This callsign was used as a special event callsign for 28 days in 1986 in order to promote the 4m band.

Now in 2016, 30 years later, there will be another chance to work this special callsign again.
Interesting that the band was considered "under-used and underestimated" then!
The comment at the bottom reads:

"1987 - band extended to 70.00MHz & class B operation".

Meaning that it then became available to those who hadn't passed the 12wpm Morse test.
So get on the air and celebrate 60 years (1956-2016) of the 4 metre band (70MHz) in the United Kingdom!
The station will be on the air from November 2016,more information below from Selim M0XTA

"I have information and good news for everyone!
A special event station celebrating 60 years of the 4m (70MHz) band!
This special event station will be operational from the 1st November to the 28th November run by the Harlow and District Amateur Radio Society from the club house in Harlow, Essex
The official date of the anniversary Is 9th November 1956.
We will be operating from 80m right down to 70cm.
I feel the 4m band is a special and unique band because in recent years it originally went from a British only band to a European wide band + some countries outside of Europe too!
I really would like to see more activity and more people on the 4m band and of course on all VHF/UHF bands.
I hope my previous article has helped activity increases all over the UK. So far, down here in the effect.
But yes, please make our special event station known and we hope to work many stations with our Callsign.

Selim M0XTA"

Monday, 9 May 2016

CQ CQ CQ 70 Mhz SSB..

Here it is, my new addition to the shack, the Spectrum Communications TRC4-2sL Transverter… it has been a while since I have been active on 4m SSB but at long last I will get active again. I seen the transverter for sale on Facebook, I was not exactly looking out for one but this was at a good price and was the one I was looking for, input on 2m and the output on 4m… I organised buying it and picked it up at the Lough Erne Radio Rally yesterday.
There is no need for me to go into detail about the specs on this as they are well documented elsewhere on the internet and are very highly regarded..
I will be getting a 3 element beam up for SSB and the plan is just to point it into central Europe and leave it fixed there for the rest of the year.
Seeing that I will be using my Yaesu FT857D into the transverter and that I have a digital interface connected which I use on HF for PSK, I hope to have some contacts using PSK on 70 Mhz as well.
The last time I was on 70 Mhz SSB was nearly 4 years ago...  time to catch up on a bit of DX...

I had a quick look on “DX Maps” to see if there is any activity but there is nothing showing there at the minute but the "Cluster" is showing a little activity…

Let’s hope it will get better.

Monday, 2 May 2016


I have just purchased one of these to add  4 meters to a rig 2 meters, I am going to use my Yaesu FT857D on 5 watts, this should give me about 25w or so on 4m.
The beauty of this is that I do not need to worry about the HF end of the radio, this I use for mostly digi modes on HF, and seeing that I do not use the VHF/UHF end of the Yaesu then the 2m to 4m transverter seemed like the answer.
So next will be to get my hands on a beam to use on 4m and get that in the air as soon as I can, and hopefully hear some activity when the band opens…
The transverter main board contains an attenuator in the transmit path and can be configured for 1-500mW or 0.5-5W drive levels and gives 300mW output. Class AB linear operation gives all mode use.   The standard product includes a linear amplifier giving panel adjustable output 5 to 25W on 4m.  All spurious and harmonic outputs better than 45dB below carrier.  Capable of withstanding long periods of transmit into bad SWR.  Receive side has panel adjustable gain 0-20dB gain and NF less than 1.5dB.   

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Latest edition in the shack Icom IC-7300

I just got a loan of a spanking new shiny Icom IC-7300 to test and review... I will be putting it through it's paces over the next week or two...
As soon as I can drag myself away from it I will do a review and post it here.... if you do not see anything in a few weeks do not panic, I will not have forgotten, it just means that I have not been able to keep my hands off it, I will probably be like a man with a new bride for a while....

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Quad band 6m/4m/2m/ and 70cm colinear

Here is a nice small home base antenna for 6m/4m/2m and 70cms, also it would be ideal for portable work:
Quad band 6m/4m/2m/ and 70cm colinear only 1.2m in length.  Great for locations where visual impact is a problem, this antenna gets you on the 4 most popular VHF bands. Supplied with antenna, radials, mast supports etc
Click on the following link for details on ordering etc: Mirfield Electronics

Thursday, 17 March 2016

EI4FMG live audio streaming.

EI4FMG has been up and running for the past few weeks now and getting plenty of use, it has been decided to stream the audio via
You can also listen to the audio by clicking on this LINK or by going to the Dundalk Amateur Radio website and clicking on the "A.L.A.R.M. link in the middle of the page, this will bring you to a second page which will let you listen live to EI4FMG.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Tweaking EI4FMG.

I was up today at the EI4FMG site having a look as to why it was not sending it's ID or giving a "K" when it received a signal.
I am not sure as to why but the computer did not log back on to the Wi-Fi on site and did not show up on echolink.
So after moving the computer to a higher shelf and restarted the computer and got it back up and running.
A length of coax has been ordered so that I can extend the Wi-Fi antenna attached to the computer to outside the compound and therefore get a better Wi-Fi connection.
Probably the best thing to do would be to connect a CAT5 cable from the router over to the gateway computer, with the hope that it does not get the same interference as before (RF down the CAT5 Cable)
The gateway is back up and running again, and I connected to Conference NASA to relay the activities of the astronauts on board the ISS. 

International Space Station Audio streaming live via EI4FMG, there may be "quiet times" where no audio is being transmitted, to listen go to EI4FMG - 70.350 Mhz FM.

So true......

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

OZ7IGY – The World's Oldest Beacon.

OZ7IGY dates back to the International Geophysical Year in 1957. From its start on 144 MHz it has been on air on more and more bands. Today OZ7IGY transmits on 28 MHz, 40 MHz, 50 MHz, 70 MHz, 144 MHz, 432 MHz, 1,3 GHz, 2,3 GHz, 3,4 GHz, 5,7 GHz, 10 GHz and 24 GHz. In the past most of the equipment was modified land mobile equipment. For the microwave bands most of the technology was dedicated radio amateur beacon designs and power amplifiers surplus. Today most of the OZ7IGY beacons use the Next Generation Beacons platform.

GPS + PI4 beacons use a 60 s mixed mode sequence (PI4, CW and carrier). Otherwise a ~40 s sequence is used (CW and carrier). Over time the remainder of the OZ7IGY beacons will be GPS locked and use the Next Generation Beacons platform too. The PI4 signal on 24 GHz is PI4-96 otherwise PI4 is used.

On 30 October 2012 the first two Next Generation Beacons were put on air. The Next Generation Beacons platform is open to others and the software can easily be adapted to other modulations and sequences. Furthermore, is the new platform frequency and time locked to GPS. Thus the frequency accuracy is better than 5 Mhz. Emanuele, IW9GDC and beacon manager of IW9GDC/B that also uses the Next Generation Beacons platform says: “… I can really say that this hardware is actually the best ever made … 4 km straight line and cannot detect any issue with the signal.”

Sunday, 31 January 2016

70 MHz Maidenhead Locator Award (MLA) program.

For the purposes of this document describing the 70 MHz Maidenhead Locator Award (MLA) program the following terms shall have the following meanings.
“Maidenhead Locator (Locator)”: means the first four characters of the six character geographic coordinate system originally devised by Dr. John Morris, G4ANB, and approved by a group of IARU R1 VHF managers at a meeting in Maidenhead, England in1980. Maidenhead locators are also referred to as QTH Locators, Grid Locators or Grid Squares.
GENERAL IRTS issues MLA certificates to amateur radio stations around the world concerning international amateur radio communications in the 4m band.
The purpose of the MLA program developed by Dave Court, EI3IO is to recognise and promote DX achievements by amateur radio operators licensed to use frequencies in the range 69 – 74 MHz, (4 metres). In general the 4m band is limited to a relatively small but growing number of countries, mainly in Region 1 (Europe, Africa and the Middle East) and Region 2 (North America) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). 4m stations are or have been active in over 50 territories in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
A second objective is to stimulate an interest in the 4m band in countries which are not authorised to transmit in the range 69 – 74 MHz, by encouraging cross-band working to frequencies in the vicinity of 50.285 MHz and 28.885 MHz, which are recognised centres of cross-band activity.
IRTS reserves the right to amend the qualification criteria for the three levels of MLA award.
Three MLA levels are available, the entry grade Half Century award, the Century award and the Double Century award are offered, based on the number of confirmed communication with stations in different Maidenhead locators by:
In band two-way working of amateur and associated experimental radio stations in the 4m band or Cross band working of amateur and associated experimental radio stations in the 4m band by two way in-band working, and for stations not authorised to use 4m, cross-band working to 4m from 6m or 10m, or a combination of cross-band and in-band working.
The awards will be designated In-Band or Cross-Band.
Qualification for a MLA is based on an examination of a log extract and accompanying certification by the IRTS Awards Manager, which certifies that the applicant has made 70 MHz QSOs with amateur stations in the required number of Maidenhead Locators. All log extracts must show the mode, must mention the 4m or 70 MHz band and if a cross-
band QSO, in addition 6m (50 MHz) or 10m (28 MHz). Furthermore, the log extract must clearly show the Maidenhead Locator claimed in its 4 or 6 character form.
Requirements for MLA Awards
For the 70 MHz MLA in-band Half Century award, communicating with stations in 50 locators is required, 75 for a cross-band award.
For the 70 MHz MLA in-band Century award, communicating with stations in 100 locators is required, 125 for a cross-band award.
For the 70 MHz MLA in-band Double Century award, communicating with stations in 200 locators are required, 250 for a cross-band award.
A Double Century Award can also be endorsed for additional locators worked in steps of 50 e.g. 250, 300, 350 etc.
It is of course possible for stations licensed to transmit in the 4m band to hold both cross-band and in-band MLA awards.
A claim for all in-band or cross-band MLA awards and additional endorsements to a Double Century award must be accompanied by a certified log extract (see below), to include date, time, frequency (in the case of a cross-band award), mode, station worked and Maidenhead locator.
All QSOs must be made with licensed amateur stations working in the authorised 4m allocation within the frequency range 69 – 74 MHz or with other stations licensed or authorised to communicate with amateur radio stations. Contacts made through repeaters or satellite transponders are not permitted for MLA credit. However Earth-moon-Earth (EME) QSOs are acceptable. In addition: All 4m operations should take place in accordance with the regulations pertaining in that jurisdiction. All stations contacted must be located on the surface of the Earth. QSOs with aeronautical mobile stations cannot be credited. Stations located in ‘wet Maidenhead Locators’ by means of stations located on off-shore platforms or maritime-mobile stations installed on boats, ships or other floating objects can be credited. All stations must be contacted from the same locator.
It is a condition of the MLA award that the person applying unreservedly agrees: To observe all pertinent regulatory requirements for amateur radio in the country or countries concerned. To observe all rules applying to the MLA award process. To accept the decisions of the IRTS awards manager.
All applications shall be made electronically. An email shall be sent to the Awards Manager ( Awards at ) which clearly indicates the category of in-band or cross-band award required (e.g. Half Century, Century, Double Century or endorsements to a Double Century award) and the number of claimed Maidenhead Locators to qualify for the award. The email address of the applicant should also accept incoming emails in case of a query. A log extract, shall be attached to the email certified as a correct extract from the claimant's log by an officer of a Radio Club or by two licensed radio amateurs. The log extract should also
include the Maidenhead Locator claimed for each QSO. The certification of the log extract may be attached to the email as a JPEG image of a scanned document.
Please address all correspondence and inquiries relating to MLA awards and all applications to the Awards Manager ( Awards at )
There are currently no charges levied for the issue of MLA awards and endorsements.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Simoco SRM9000 Programming revisited.

A while ago I reviewed the programming software for the Simoco SRM-9000. On that blog I said that I would upload the software so that it would be available to others and they can get their Simoco SRM-9000’s up and running on 4m (or 2m/70cms).

Picture of my 9030 plus control head which I use on my SRM9000 in car on 2m.

So here is a recap of that post:

To program the radios you will have to get the appropriate lead, these can be found on eBay for about £10 or so and of course the software.

You will see a few screen shots of the software screen in action. I have the whole 4m band already programmed in 70.000 to 70.500 in 12.5 KHz steps and power output is 25 Watts High and 5 watts Low. The SRM can only scan a batch of 15 Channels at a time so I have programmed in the most popular 15 Channels, also several more “batches” of 15 channels can be programmed in to cover a various Pick and Mix to suit, these “Scan Bands” can be named i.e.: Scan1, Scan2 etc. or whatever you like and when the radio is in Scan mode the Scan band required can be changed by the Channel up and down buttons.
The Memory/Call channel button I have programmed to my local net frequency which is 70.400, this puts the radio on a handy “near” middle of the band, to access channels that are not in the “SCAN” batch all I have to do is press the Channel Up/Down buttons to get to where I want to transmit. The Squelch Level can be adjusted up and down with these same buttons, or turned down and off completely if I want to hear a very weak signal.

If you need a copy of the FPP V5.01 software please feel free to download from:

This programming software will NOT run on windows 7, 8 or 10.

If you need further assistance please email me:

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

EI4FMG update.

EI4FMG is back up and running, it is giving out it’s callsign and location in CW every 10 minutes, it does not have a stable internet connection at the minute but that will be sorted out over the next while.
To see if you can hear it listen on 70.350 Mhz FM, if you want to see if you are able to access it call out your callsign for about 5 to 10 seconds, if the gateway can hear you it will respond with the letter “K” in CW. Do not forget to ensure that you have a CTCSS of 88.5hz on transmit.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Approve 70 MHz Amateur Band for Australia.

Closure of Analogue TV has removed Channel 2, including the stereo audio sub-carrier from spectrum around 70 MHz.  Also called "4 metres" for its approximate wavelength, this band is available to Amateurs in much of Europe, and parts of Africa and the Middle East.

The UK is the pioneering user of this band, where the band covers all of 70.000 to 70.500 MHz.  Many other Region 1 countries now have allocations part or most of the 69.900 to 70.500 MHz range, in some cases in several segments.

Benefits of access to the band include an improved understanding of radio propagation, including TEP (trans-equatorial propagation), and provide new challenges (opportunities) to Amateurs.  The band also has value to the emergency communications support groups within the Amateur community.

A range of equipment is available, including converted ex-commercial or ex-government radios, Japanese Ham equipment (eg: ICOM), and Chinese products, and a new European brand (Noble), along with home built transverters.

Thus we ask the ACMA makes an Amateur allocation in this band.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

EI4FMG still on test, but not for much longer..

EI4FMG on test in my Shack.
I have not posted about the 4m Gateway EI4FMG in a while, that’s because I have been having a small issue with it and it took a while and a bit of head scratching to sort it out.
The gateway works perfectly when on test in my shack, but as soon as I bring it to site it plays up and picks up a steady noise level on the interface when everything is connected up.
I brought it up to a friend’s QTH recently with a view of leaving it there on test and see how it behaves but the issue was still there, after turning off his electricity in his house and connecting a portable generator the problem was still there.
So we disconnected everything and brought it home, set it up in my shack on a dummy load and it was fine!!!! 
I reckoned it was an grounding  problem and went through it all again, took it off my power supply and put it on a temporary power supply  and the problem returned, so all I done was connect a wire from the chassis of the radio to the chassis of the computer and the noise disappeared.
So now the plan is this week to locate the gateway to a secondary testing location, it will probably only be on beacon mode for a while to ensure that it keeps performing to proper parameters.

Tait TM8110, Altai 5-7amp Power supply, EI4JR interface.
On test.
When the gateway returns to service it will be operating from a new radio, a TAIT TM-8110, running 15 watts and an Altai 5-7 amp power supply, also updated is the computer, the old one became faulty; the sound card started to play up and did not want to accept any input audio…

The interface by EI4JR will still be used, the gateway node number is still the same: 57006.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Looking back at 2015.

4 m consultation in Belgium:
Published on 12 December 2015 by Jean-Jacques ON7EQ
This to inform you that our national telecom authority (BIPT/IBPT) has launched on 4 December a public consulation regarding the possibility of expansion of our 4 m band (currenty 70.190 MHz- 70.4125 MHz) to 70,1125 MHz - 70,4125 MHz, all modes, and increase of power (25 W to 50 W), still on a secondary basis.
This in view of the fact that professional users are apparently no longer using this band segment.
As with previous similar public consultations, it can be expected that the band will be effectively be expanded within next weeks. A good thing - besides further widening the available segment for traffic - is that some planned beacon(s) could now be relocated as far as possible 'down the band' instead of somewhere in the upper segment.

Macedonia expands the 4 m allocation:
Published on 17 August 2015 by Dave EI3IO
I have received an email from the President of the IARU Member Society in Macedonia which states that the Macedonian administration (Agency for Electronnic Coommunication) has granted a request by the Radio Amateur Union of the Republic of Macedonia for further access to the 70 MHz band and has approved the following frequencies: 70.000 MHz, 70.075 MHz, 70.125 MHz an 70.275 MHz for Radio Amateur activities on a secondary basis .... date of issue 01.08.2015 and date of expiry 31.12.2016. It is not quite clear how wide these allocations are. However if we refer to the Macedonian National Plan on pages 136 - 138 you will find that the band comprises 12.5 kHz channels in accordance with CEPT Recommendation T/R 25-08.

Gibraltar issues CEPT on 4 m:
Published on 6 August 2015 by Jean-Jacques ON7EQ
I am pleased to announce that the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA) has from 5 August 2015 allowed operation on 70 MHz in ZB2 on a reciprocal basis (CEPT) and issued the first license as such to undersigned. Before, operation for visiting HAMS was only possible on 6 m and 2 m, but thanks to the efforts of the Gibraltar Amateur Radio Society (GARS), the bands have been extended to include 4 m and 70 cm. Still, the application for a temporary reciprocal license must be completed - see GRA website for more info.

IARU 70 MHz initiative:
Published on 29 July 2015 by Bo OZ2M
Dave Court, EI3IO, and Member of the IARU Region 1 Executive Committee has written a 70 MHz initiative sent to all the member societies and their respective laison officers. It addressed the latest situation concerning the 4 m band, 69,9 MHZ to 70,5 MHz.

Germany back on 4 m:
Published on 29 April 2015 by Bo OZ2M
As of 29 April 2015 German hams can use, on a secondaty basis, the 4 m band again until end of 31 August 2015. The conditions are: 70,150 MHz bis 70,180 MHz, max 25 W ERP, max bandwidth 12 kHz, all modes and horizontal antennas.

Spain gets permanent allocation:
Published on 15 April 2015 by Bo OZ2M
Jose, EA7KW, writes: "The frequency band from 70.150 MHz to 70.200 MHz may be used by the amateur service on a secondary basis and the technical conditions set out in Annex I to Regulation use of public domain by amateurs , approved by Order IET / 1311/2013, 9 July." Furthermore is the allocation now permanent since 6 April 2015.

Ofcom permits up to 71,5 MHz:
Published on 3 April 2015 by Bo OZ2M
RSGB writes that Ofcom have agreed the use of 70.5 MHz to 71.5 MHz by radio amateurs for digital experimentation. Use will be permitted only via a Special Research Permit and further details of the application process will be published in due course.For information, the following conditions will apply:

Access to this part of the spectrum will be authorised under a Notice of Variation, time-limited to 12 months and available to Full Licence holders only.
Ofcom will retain the right to reallocate Amateur Radio spectrum at 70.5 – 71.5 MHz should there be a demand for this part of the spectrum from Business Radio and/or other or new services. In the event of this happening, Ofcom will not consult on this decision. However, Ofcom will provide Amateur Radio users with 12 months’ notice before such reassignment and this notice period will be publicised on the Ofcom website.
Amateur Radio use of this spectrum will be permitted on a non-protection, non-interference basis. Please note that if use is shown to cause interference, the spectrum will be removed with immediate effect
Permission will be subject to a geographical restriction and only granted for use in England, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Northern Ireland and Wales. (There is legacy use of the spectrum by the Scottish Government which precludes licensing for Amateur Radio)
Note that in a similar manner to 146-147 MHz, international coordination is likely to be required as use must be compliant with the level published in the Harmonised Calculation Method (HCM) Agreement of +6 dBuV/m.

Malta on 4 m:
Published on 16 February 2015 by Paul 9H1BT
The 70,0 MHz - 70,5 MHz band has been allocated to Amateur Radio use on secondary basis and included in the National Frequency Plan as published by the Mata Communications Authority (MCA) on 13 Feb 2015.
There are quite a few local stations interested in being active on 4 m.

Finland gets 300 kHz continuous allocation:
Published on 2 January 2015 by Bo OZ2M

Erik, OH2LAK, writes that the allocation in Finland now covers 70,0 MHz to 70,3 MHz continuously without any special permit but still as a secondary service.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Latest Shack Improvement.

I have been thinking for a while now to redesign my shack. I have 13 radios, 
1 receiver an ATU and FTL-Meter sitting in front of me.
So a friend of mine (SWL-Jarek) said he would like to make what I wanted.
I wanted 2 shelves but the bottom one needed to be raised so that I can fit in my power supply.
Below is what he made for me, I can tell you it is heavy, made of good quality counter top wood.
He put a back on it so that I cannot see the cables hanging down the back of the unit.

Shelving unit made by Jarek.
New shack layout.
It Took me several hours, much longer than I anticipated to disconnect everything and reconnect power leads and antennas, I thought I would have it done in two or three hours, but I was surprised that it so long, but then thinking about it later I built up the shack over a few years adding to it as I went along, so dismantling it and rebuilding it was never going to be easy.
Now all I have to do is spend more time in the shack and enjoy the new layout.

So here is what I have…

Top row, left to right:
1. FTL-Meter for Yaesu FT-857D.
2. Yaesu FT-857D HF/VHF/UHF Radio with LDG Z-100Plus ATU.
3. Yaesu FT-2900R 75w 2m radio.
4. Woucun KG-UV950P 10m/6m/2m and 70cms.
5. Anytone AT-588 4m radio.
6. Kenwood TK-7180 2m radio.

Middle row, left to right:
1. Signal R-532 Aircraft receiver.
2. Icom IC-F110S Programmed for 8 channels on 2m.
3. Yaesu VX-2000V Programmed for 4 channels on 2m.
4. Tait TM8110 Programmed for 4m.
5. Simoco PRM-8020 Programmed up for 4m.
6. Simoco PRM-8020 Programmed up for 70cms.

Bottom row, left to right:
1. Cleartone CM-7200 Programmed up for 4m Am/FM.
2. Simoco PRM-8041 Programmed up for 4m.
3. Simoco SRM-9030 Programmed up for 70cms.

Monday, 4 January 2016

4 Meter ECHO/IRLP Gateway EI4GCG-L.

The Galway VHF Group 4 meter Gateway is located on a high spot in the Mervue area. The 4 metre Gateway is not intended to cover any more than Galway City and surrounding areas. We are happy enough if it just covers the townlands around Galway City such as Oranmore, Headford, Furbo, Moycullen, and Claregalway. Those with good antennae may access this Gateway from further afield.

The predicted coverage from RadioMobile map reveals just perfect coverage for our needs along with some addditional areas. City wide coverage and even coverage to Athenry, Kinvara and beyond Claregalway and further out from Moycullen has been confirmed by the use of the existing APRS coverage on 2 meters from this site.

The 4 meter Gateway was built using a Kyodo commercial Low band Tranceiver. A Raspberry Pi ECHO/IRLP controller was added and the radio is fed into a 4 metre dipole located on the roof of the building. Nothing stunning or startling about this system; it is very simple. Remote control is also included if necessary to switch the Gateway off at short notice.

This is not intended to be a "DX machine" but merely an asset to bring in activity from other EchoLink or IRLP Nodes around the country or abroad. Some VHF Group members are often working elsewhere so this will provide an excellent opportunity to keep in touch locally. There was never really a plan for this to be used from a mobile operation point of view, but it would be possible. One does have to consider that to key in DTMF tones is neither conducive to good driving practice nor within the framework of the new Road Traffic Acts.

The 4 metre Gateway will be located on 70.425 with CTCSS access using 77Hz tones. Carrier access is a recipe for disaster as it is irresponsible to allow spurious opening of the squelch as so often happens. It is possible to chat away on channel without the tones switched on and the unit will not activate. If, however, somebody does access the Gateway, one can switch in the CTCSS tones and have a conversation with the operator concerned. Obviously it is better to monitor this channel without CTCSS tones switched in. This will enable local conversation on the same channel as well.

The Completed Project Prior to Installation:

The Echolink/IRLP controller is Raspberry Pi Micro-computer linked to an Echolink/IRLP controller board which handles the audio, decodes the DTMF tones and sends its I/O to the internet and associated servers. The Project is shown below and at the bottom left is the Echolink/IRLP controller board, above this to the top left is the Raspberry Pi Computer, to the top right is the temperature controller which switches in the fan if the P.A. starts to warm with excessive use and to the bottom right is the 12V to 5V converter to power the Raspberry Pi. The larger Ribbon Cable connects the Echolink board to the Rasberry Pi and the smaller Ribbon Cable connects the Audio I/O and PTT and control voltages from the Rig. The small SD card sticking out of the Raspberry Pi contains the software and commands peculiar to this Node.

Here is the front panel with rig and fan sitting on top of the box. these will be mounted on a bit of Plywood for stability before installation: The LEDs just monitor 12V, 5V and the Fan voltage. A small temperature probe fits into one of the fins of the heat-sink on the Rig and, via the controller, switches in the fan if the the temperature of the heat-sink start to warm up. This is only a precaution against those with long overs.

Below is a picture of the Kodo Tranceiver which has the power turned back to 12 watts although capable of 25 watts normally. There is only one simplex channel programmed into this tranceiver as there will be no need to change channels. The only mods required were to extract Audio from the Receiver to the Echo/IRLP Board, to inject Audio from the Echo/IRLP board, COR sense and PTT line. We chose this tranceiver as its performance and sensitivity are second to none. Note that this is NOT a Repeater but a Simplex Gateway - anyone transmitting into this locally will not be re-transmitted whilst the unit is receiving their signal. The antenna used for this project will be a Vertical Dipole. As can be seen we look after our local communications company!

With both Echolink and IRLP it will be possible to connect to many Repeaters and Gateways around the world from a simplex tranceiver. Many foreign operators use this facility to speak to Amateurs in Co. Galway and surrounding areas. If you are abroad working or on  holiday, this will be the ideal system to keep in touch with home.

Callsign: EI4GCG

Node Access by 77Hz CTCSS Tone
Modulation Narrow FM (+/- 2.5 KHz)

The Echolink Node Number:  5422
The IRLP Node Number:       5422

EchoLink Node Call EI4GCG-L

Power  -        12 Watts
Antenna -     Dipole.
Location -    Mervue, Galway City
Locator -      IO53LG
Co-ordinates -   53.285981, -9.031202

Operating Frequency 70.425 MHz

Sunday, 3 January 2016

RSGB - Contest Committee: 70MHz UKAC.

29 Mar 16
1900-2130 (UTC)
31 May 16
1900-2130 (UTC)
30 Aug 16
1900-2130 (UTC)
29 Nov 16
2000-2230 (UTC)
RS(T), Serial Number (starting at 001 on each date) and a 6 character (e.g. IO92JL) locator
One Point per Kilometre multiplied by the sum of non UK Locator Squares worked plus 2 times G, GW, GM, GI, GD, GU and GJ Locator Squares worked (M7)
UK Contest Callsigns
Not allowed

Standard licence consitions and no antenna restrictions.
UKAC Restricted

The power output must be not more than 100W PEP (40W on 4m) at the final output stage or external amplifier connection to the antenna.
Only one antenna may be used. Stacked or bayed antennas are not allowed. 
UKAC Low Power

The power output must not exceed 10W PEP (4W on 4m) at the final output stage or external amplifier connection to the antenna.
Only one antenna may be used Stacked or bayed antenna arrays may not be used.
General Rules
General Rules for all RSGB VHF/UHF/SHF contests can be found here
Special Rules for this Contest

These contests are timed to co-incide with the last two hours of a number of European activity contests, with an extra half hour at the end to encourage intra UK activity. They take place on Tuesdays from 2000-2230 local time with 144 MHz on the 1st Tuesday of the month, 432 MHz on the 2nd Tuesday, 1.3 GHz on the 3rd Tuesday, 50 MHz and 13cms to 3cms on the 4th Tuesday (due to Primary user restrictions, the 13cm event timings differ), and 70 MHz where there is a 5th Tuesday in the month.

A UK station is required to be at one or both ends of a QSO for it to be valid.

Please submit an entry after each session in which you are active.

Scores will be normalised for each section in each session as follows.
Score for each section/session = ((number of entrants+1)-(position of entrant))*1000/(number of entrants)

The maximum number of sessions that will count towards the final individual scores will be EIGHT on all bands except 4m where it will be THREE. Only the lowest scoring entries are discarded.

Note that ALL sessions count towards you club score.

It is impossible for you to determine your best sessions without knowing everyone else's scores, so please submit your logs and scores from all sessions in which you were active and allow the adjudicator to calculate your best sessions.

Stations may change section and move location between individual activity periods.

Certificates will be awarded to the overall winners and runners-up in each section and on each band in the same way as per the general rules. No certificates will be awarded for the individual events.

a. The individual entries by a club's members to the UK activity contests which take place on each Tuesday in every month all count towards a society's overall score for the year for each UKAC. To maximise the club score, it's important for the club contest organiser to get as many members to come on for as many sessions as possible. A rolling club listing will be maintained on the Contest Committee web site for each band.

b. Stations enter the UKAC contests in the normal way, but need to choose an AFS (affiliated society) name when uploading their log. Entries to all sections of the UKAC count towards the overall club score which is the simple sum of the normalised scores of each team member operating that month.

c. Stations who enter on behalf of an affiliated society must be members of the affiliated society, but not necessarily RSGB members themselves.

d. All sessions will count towards the total club score.

Richard, G4WFR
Entry Date
Within 7 days after each activity period
Log Entry
Upload your log here
Log Generator
Transcribe your log online here
Claimed Scores
Enter your claimed score here
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