Ham Radio

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Some of John’s favourite Ham Radio contacts:

These contacts were made using my callsigns: G6LYU (my first “B” class call prior to passing my Morse code exam. (1982-1984)
G4XEN – “A” class callsign – which I had from 1984 until 1998, then again from 2016.
EA7IT which I had in Spain from 1998-2014.

Contact by tropospheric refraction to CT3DK in Madeira from Northamptonshire. The distance of 2537 km was my best ever using this method of propagation. The world record for tropo is 4754km! … So still some way to go..


This contact with DF5LQ was made during an intense aurora (Northern Lights) and over a distance of 750km. I used 50 Watts to a 48 element Jaybeam multibeam, beaming at the ionised layer, the signal being reflected back to Germany. UHF (432 MHz)


This contact with FK8CR, Eddy Szymanski was, and is, my all time longest distance contact by any mode of propagation. This contact was made using the Oscar 10 radio ham satellite uplink on 435 MHz (70 cm) and downlink on 145 MHz (2m). This is over 16,500 km. Eddy is now a “silent key” i.e. passed away.


I used Morse code for this contact with John, KP2A, on 22nd December 1988. Distance 6534 km.
The band used was the new 6 metre band, opened up in the UK after the closing down of Band 1 television. Now TV is all going digital, it could free up some UHF bands such as 900 MHz.


Notice here that LZ1KRB in Bulgaria was only using 10 watts to a 5 element antenna on 144 MHz, to make contact on SSB (speech) on 17th June 1989.
The mode of propagation was sporadic E layer ionisation which provides very strong signal levels. 2329 km (233 km per watt!)


Another aurora borealis contact, this time my best distance via this mode with Jussi OH5LK on 8th Feb 1986.
The distance was 1927 km. He was using 300 Watts to a 4 x 15 element array. My station was 100 Watts and a single 14 element antenna.


1328 km on UHF (432 MHz) to Czechoslovakia, before it split into 2 republics. Malacky is now in the Slovak Republic.
The contact was made by taking advantage of a tropospheric duct, which bends the radio signals back towards earth, during conditions of high pressure, when a temperature inversion occurs.


South America on 6 metres, from Spain.


Great contact on 144 MHz with Peter SM2CEW using high speed morse code and a multi speed tape recorder. The contact was made using reflections from meteor trails. They only last for very short bursts so special techniques have to be employed and strict timing of transmit and receive periods.


Australia from the UK on 10MHz (short wave) using a wire antenna in the garden and Morse code. There is always something special about a contact with Australia, and this was my first direct QSO on 8th Sept 1984.


END – revised 9th May 2016

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Since 1982 John and Jane have been licenced radio amateurs holding these callsigns: John: G6LYU, G4XEN, EA7IT, Jane: G6SXU, G4XEM, EA7JK
Current calls are G4XEN and G4XEM.

EA7IT  – Croatia Telegraphy Club member #  2.872

John was most active on the 144 MHz band enjoying weak signal working. In the UK he worked plenty of “DX” (long distance contacts) never using more than 100 watts and a 14 element parabeam. Contacts were made using the following modes of propagation:
Tropospheric – occurs in stable weather, high pressure conditions when radio signals are refracted around the earth’s curvature allowing longer distance communication than the normal 150-250km in “flat” conditions.
Sporadic “E” layer – occurs mainly in summer months when patches of ionisation occur in the “E” layer about 60km above the earth’s surface, allowing sometimes fleeting contacts, although the signal levels are often very high, like a local contact.
Aurora – Occurs after an event on the Sun, when particle streams collide with  the earth’s magnetic poles, causing ionisation very high up. As the  ionisation is moving, doppler shift causes a rasping signal when using  CW (morse code) or a ghostly rough whisper when using single sideband  transmissions. Hear what this sounds like using Morse code here.
Meteor Scatter – Occurs during meteor showers when meteors strike the earth’s  atmosphere the trail ionises the E layer temporarily allowing signals to travel long distances. Special timed techniques have to be used to make this mode of communication successful, and the use of high speed morse code (at 1000 letters per minute) is helpful too. Decoding of high speed morse at my receiving station was achieved using a Uher 4 speed tape recorder.
You can listen to John’s signal – part of a contact recorded by Denis F6CRP