Fun in the Sun on 2M with a SlimJim


Took my little motorcycle out in the early spring sunshine to one of the low southern mountains in South Wales – Twmbarlwm, complete with camera gear just-in-case and my new Yaesu FT-70D, and it must be said… what a difference a SlimJim makes!

Bike on twmbarlwm

Newport Amateur Radio Society (NARS) held a special event call sign GB4NPT during March 2022, to commemorate 20 years of HRH Queen Elizabeth II granting the then town of Newport, full city status. Members of the club have been busy on many of the HF bands with RTTY, SSB and FT4/8, and in the final few days of the call sign I wanted to make an attempt to get the station activated on 2M.

Living close to the southern part of the Brecon Beacons provides ample opportunity to head out and upwards into the countryside, so last weekend I loaded up the camera gear (which I always take with me on my exploits) and my new FT-70D on my motorcycle and headed off to one of the southern most peaks located about 6 miles outside Newport, called Twmbarlwm. The peak is about 1,370′ in elevation, and on the motorcycle one can safely ride to a height of around 1,100′, ending on a pleasant very quiet farm track, so a nice takeoff height and seclusion for some 2M VHF FM activity.

I had with me my recently purchased Yaesu FT-70DE and initially called on 145.500 using the rubber duck antenna supplied with the unit. I managed to make a few QSO’s, until a friend, Richie – MW0LGE, who I had made contact with a few moments earlier using the rubber ducky suggested I try out the home brew SlimJim antenna I had also packed with me. I simply clipped the top of the limJim to the highest point I could get to on a tree just out of shot at the rear of the bike, and woah… what a world of difference that antenna made compared to the rubber duck. Richie reported a signal boost from S4/5 to S8/9 – quite incredible really, and I continued to work several more contacts over the next hour or so.

As the fine weather appeared to be holding, Richie suggested he could join me for another session the following day. No arguments with that suggestion – see future blog for an update.

It’s amazing what some lovely early spring sunshine can do to lift the spirits. I managed to combine this sunshine with several of my hobbies – photography, motorcycle and amateur radio. All I need to do now is figure out how to get one of my synthesisers and some moth traps on my motorcycle, and I am all set!

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