As with many Radio Amateur's, my interest in radio and electronics started at an early age, where I was fascinated with radio and built my own Crystal Set, although in 1990 it was a Germanium point contact diode. The OA91, if I remember correctly. This was built from a set of instructions in a science book, "Science Fun" published by Usborne which I recently found again after over 20 years. My pencil written notes a reminder of when this journey started.

This led into Citizen's Band Radio and introduction to mobile and portable operations with a group of radio enthusiasts. CB is given a lot of bad press by the Radio Amateur community, most of which is unfounded. I learnt the basics of configuring a station, antenna theory, SWR and power measurements, interference tracing and mic craft. I built a static mobile helical wound antenna and also met some good friends through the CB network, some of which have subsequently also become full licence holders. Not all CB operators have a 400w Zetagi "burner" or an SSB set, unfortunately in some Radio Amateur's minds, they all do. I did have some FM DX with confirmed QSO's with Pudsey in the UK, France, Russia and Germany with 4w FM, although these lift's were rare.

     

My first QSL Card on UK FM CB - Leeds to N. Cornwall

I started my path to Amateur Radio in 1995 when I passed my RAE with the help of an evening class at Wadebridge College in North Cornwall, run by Geoff Sharples. ( I didn't keep a record of his callsign, unfortunately)

I did not licence as M1VPN until October 2003 when I had finished university and was living somewhere I could have some permanent antenna's. My main transmission mode was phone (voice) to start with, although I attempted to learn Morse with G3AQM (SK). In 2003, the sunspot cycle was in full swing and had some good QSO's whilst only running a Solarcon A-99 vertical for 10-20m using the FC-20 Tuner on the FT-847.

A change of QTH in 2012 would result in a better location for additional antennas, the Hustler 6-BTV continued to be used for Digital modes with some success.

In 2012, when I purchased a Signalink-USB, Data modes have dominated. First PSK31 and RTTY and then onto JT65 and FT8. I continued to be on-air via data modes from 2012 to 2020.

In 2020, partly because of having time at home due to lockdown for Covid-19, saw an increase in activity on the bands and the time to do some major projects. This meant that the long awaited OCFD was finally installed, my 2,6,70 Tri-bander put up and some other projects put the station back on the air, both for data and voice. I hope to be able to continue to be back on the air now, as the improved antenna has ignited my radio passion once again and chasing those DX stations and even the odd contest.

I am still active on data modes, FT8, PSK etc, but now operating Network 105 HF Packet and use the local repeaters, GB3SW, GB3TR and GB3EW on occasion.

 

M1VPN/P at G/SC005 Selworthy Beacon SOTA Summit (2004)
(Yaesu FT-857/SOTA beam)

 

My areas of interests in the Radio hobby are many, however I enjoy learning and testing Antenna Theory, using new Digital Modes and some basic operating of FM Satellites. I have also started working on the ADALM Pluto SDR and understanding how powerful these devices are.

Current Projects include ;

  • Computer Controlled Rotator upgrade based on K3NG Arduino Controller
  • UM Bevflex 4x Install and test
  • Arduino Band Decoder and Antenna Switch
  • HF Packet Radio using AEA PK-232MBX
  • Outboard Audio Processing

I was previously a member of the Norman Lockyer Observatory Radio Group up to 2006, before I was unable to attend meetings due to work commitments. I am currently a member of Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society.

 

Updated : 3rd October 2020

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