Armidale & District Amateur Radio Club
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23 Centimetre Event August 2015

A bunch of hams chiefly in the S.E Qld region are promoting radio activity on VHF-UHF and above and they have a regular event every month they call 23 on 23. This event is 23cms on the 23rd day of each month and when that date falls on a weekend, then a few of them take portable gear and head for high places and try to long distance contacts.

Having just purchased a pre loved Icom IC-910H with 100 watts on 2m, 85 watts on 70cm and 10 watts on 23cm,
I, VK4HF/VK2RP, decided to give it a try as well from a high vantage point as our region is a kilometre above sea level to start with. I needed a prominent high spot with great views and no trees to attenuate signals. Access had to be easy as I couldn't see myself hitching a herd of mountain goats to haul the equipment to the top of an escarpment. Guyra is only a half hour drive  from home for me and a hill top there is at 1422m ASL and no trees, so it fitted the bill.

It was a bright sunny morning here in Armidale and only 35k away in Guyra it was a pea souper.....

In the clouds

Then the clouds lifted and the wind became a near gale

Well I set up the 21 element yagi and hooked up the radio to a borrowed 100 watt amp for 23cms and ran up the computer to log into VK Logger to liaise with other stations looking for contacts.

Well despite a lot of antenna turning in the gale force wind, I didn't have any luck with a contact into VK4. However, Richard VK2EIK at Wollomombi put his shiny new IC-9100 into the ute and drove to a the highest point on his property and hooked up to a grid pack antenna and gave me a shout on 1296.100 and we had some pretty strong signals between us for a few contacts.

Earlier in the day I had a sms from Steve VK2SL at Walcha who wished be good luck for the event. As Richard was packing up to keep another appointment elsewhere, I had a call from Les VK2LES on 7.150 which was the HF liaison frequency for the event and he said that Steve VK2SL was calling me on 23cm. So I spun the antenna around and copied Steve's familiar voice and we enjoyed several contacts on 1296.100 USB. A straight line distance of about 90 kilometres. Well it's a start and when Steve showed me his operating conditions, I was suitably impressed at our contacts. Steve was running 10 watts from his Kenwood TS-790 into a single Bow Tie antenna that he had place on the guttering of his shack.

The 23cm station at VK2SL

VK2SL Bow Tie antenna

VK2RP Portable/Mobile setup...neat isn't it?

Well that was big surprise to work Steve VK2SL from up there and now it looks like there's three of us "stirring the ether" on 1.3Ghz. Steve and I have decided to give the Grid Pack antennas a try like Richard's and two 18dbi Grid Packs have just turned up here in "The Dale", so we'll assemble them and see how they perform.

We also have another club member "Lurking" in the background on 23cm and that's Brian VK2BLP who has been monitoring my transmissions on his SDR. Let's see if he gets the bug. Also Wayne VK2KWM in Uralla has the radio and just needs to find the time to assemble his loop yagi antenna and mount it on the pole and he'll be squirting some sigs about too.

With the way the solar activity has been on HF lately, this just might be another interesting band for us to play with. I was lucky enough to source a pre loved 100 watt amplifier for 23cm and it arrived a few days after the 23cm event and has already seen some use with testing between Armidale and Wollomombi.

23cm Amplifier at VK2RP