PMR446 DX WEEKEND
SAT 4th / SUN 5th AUGUST 2001
As featured in Radio Active Magazine
On the weekend of 4th/5th August 2001 the 1st PMR446 DX WEEKEND took place across the whole of the UK (And parts of Europe). Radio enthusiasts everywhere marched up to the highest point they could find in order to make the best PMR446 contact possible. Armed only with 500mw and a 2 inch rubber antenna what could they hope to achieve ?
On Saturday 4th August 2001, accompanied by 2 friends, I made several contacts using my trusty Goodman's Tracker from the top of our local pit heap in Blyth, Northumberland. These contacts were mainly with children and adults using the PMR446 service to keep in touch during the summer holidays. A few contacts were also made with local companies most of which were not pleased to find out that their "Private Channels" were not a private as they thought !
The weather was poor in the North East of England so our radio activities had to be cut short and our best contact was only about 6 miles. Very disappointing !
However, Sunday 5th August 2001 was a totally different story. The weather was beautiful - Bright sunshine and temperatures up to 22 Celsius in our area.
The first mission was to try for a contact from our local beach car park and sand dunes. Contact was made with several local stations including friends David and Pearl who were mobile near North Shields (Approx. 8 miles away) using a Binatone 100.
I then spoke to Jason (2G1SM) who was about 2 miles from my location. Whilst this conversation was talking place I heard a another station shouting "Break". This station turned out to be another friend, Peter (2P3TE) who was out for the day with his family on the Stanhope Moors some 29 miles away. A Good contact was made at both ends. Peter was using a Telcom TW1000 and his signal registered 2 out of 4 bars on my Goodman's signal meter. The audio was super radio 5.
The conversation lasted for about 20 minutes and by this time David had returned to Blyth and promptly marched up to the top of the local pit heap. He successfully made contact with Peter, the distance also being 29 miles. Jason joined David a few minutes later and also made contact with Peter using his Goodman's Tracker Mark 2.
I took the opportunity to jump in my car and head up to another local high spot, a garden center about 3 miles north of the town of Morpeth. The distance to this point was just a fraction over 30 miles. Again a superb contact was made with Peter who informed me that he had been talking to another station in the Newcastle area while I was mobile. We spoke for about an hour between our three locations (Garden Center, Pit Heap and Stanhope Moors).
Living in a low lying area we were all very pleased at these contacts. We just do not have the luxury of having any hills on our doorstep. Peter's location was about 2000 feet above sea level but requires a 40 mile drive to reach it. The pit heap is the highest point locally but is only about 125 feet above sea level. The garden center is about 500 feet above sea level but is 10 miles away by road and I only gained an extra mile on our contact by driving up to this point.
All in all I think that we have done very well considering our local area but I'm sure that YOU have done much better. Please let me know and I shall post your contacts on this page !
DX Weekend Contacts
Yesterday (04/08/01) myself and another operator, Alex, went to Brown Pike which
is near Coniston, Cumbria. While listening on my Alinco DJV5 handheld I heard a call on channel 8
from Ned TKM4 who was at a caravan site near St. Asaph in North Wales. I replied to him with 250mW from the Alinco and a contact was made.
Alex then heard Ned on a Telcom TW1000 and spoke to him for a bit. I changed over to a Binatone Roamaround 100 and could receive Ned at a
signal of 2 out of 4. A 2 way contact was made. Ned was using a Cobra PMR446 radio and there was no CTCSS.
Contact was also made on channel 2 with some people in Fleetwood. We had selected channel 2 for communication back to the car but every time I tried to call, these people in Fleetwood answered so I had to speak to them.
The distance to St. Asaph caravan site was worked out as 78.5 miles or
The Telcom seems to be more powerful than the Binatone and I have set the squelch lower than it used to be. My Binatone radio has not been modified in any way. Some people have been getting faulty Roamaround 100s from Argos recently, the quality of that radio is variable although mine is OK.
Simon DT595, Barrow-in-Furness
Just to confirm Simon and Alex qso in Cumbria with me (Ned T.K.M.4) on Sat 4th around 4 pm. I would agree on the distance of 78 miles. We were away in the caravan for a few days at a site just off the B5381 about 3 miles inland on fairly high ground in between ST.ASAPH and ABEGELE.
The reception I was getting off both stations was loud and clear.
Leighton (LBI) from Wales reports a total washout because of the weather on Saturday but did manage a 15 mile contact on Sunday 5th August - Well done Leighton. Don't forget that anything over 5 miles can be regarded as a good contact and 15 miles is well beyond the manufacturers quoted range !
Dave (DZ32) from Nottingham reports a 21 mile contact from a local high spot using his Telcom TW1000. His friend, Alan (AL48), also made a 14 mile contact from the same spot using his Binatone 100. As with other users they report that the Telcom performed better than the Binatone because of its lower squelch level.
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