Another glorious day and Olga and I took a picnic lunch up to Watch Hill. We go there not because it is a SOTA summit but because it is near home, a nice walk, not a steep climb (so Olga is happy to come with me) and one of the easiest operating sites for me to reach when I want to get away from all the electronic QRN I’m plagued with at home. Unfortunately there isn’t a picnic table up there and I haven’t yet found a way to support the MP-1 antenna on a bare hilltop. Using a right-angled PL-259 adapter and a 259 to 3/8 adapter on the back of the FT-817 only works if you have a level surface to put the radio on and no breeze. So despite taking them with me I wasn’t able to get any use out of them. No doubt a photo tripod would do the job but that is too much ironmongery for me.
I did also take the Intek H-520 Plus and a couple of BNC mounted whip antennas but although there clearly was propagation on 10m I didn’t manage to work anything. I did hear something puzzling though. After one call on 29.600 I heard what I’m sure was a native English speaking voice announced something on the lines that this was the EA????? repeater. Unfortunately I’m getting increasingly slow witted these days so I don’t remember the exact announcement nor the full call and I didn’t hear it again. 29.600 is supposed to be the 10m FM calling frequency and not a repeater output so what could it possibly have been?
Back home later in the afternoon and VHFDX.net showed that there was a big Sporadic-E opening on 6m and even 2m in Eastern Europe. I decided to try 10m which seems to be the neglected band and managed to make several contacts including a new country for me, OD5NH in Beirut, Lebanon.