This weekend has being very rainy, so I haven’t been able to participate in the national V-UHF contest with my usual portable setup. Instead, I have driven to the countryside just outside town and used the mobile antenna on my car to work in the contest from inside the car. This antenna is a 50cm vertical whip which is magnetically mounted on the roof of the car. Of course, due to the low gain and polarization mismatch, I am only able to work some local contacts with this antenna. In this way, I have been able to have a couple hours of fun this morning without getting wet.
As always, the map of stations worked below. My position is in red. Stations in blue where worked only in 144MHz. Stations in green where worked both in 144MHz and 432MHz.
One interesting and unexpected thing was that EA4GKQ was much stronger in 432MHz than in 144MHz. In 144MHz it was a bit difficult to copy him. In 432MHz he had a big signal, however. Apart from that, the contest went pretty much as expected with this setup.
Since I was going to be inside the car all the time, I could bring with me my FUNcube Dongle Pro+ to use it as a panadapter for the FT-817ND. Using it, I could locate activity very quickly. Also, I could see that some stations had signals which where far from clean. This is something I suspected from tuning around them with my FT-817ND in previous contests, but with an SDR, you can see it clearly in the waterfall. Below, you can see two stations with huge phase noise and one having a really wide SSB signal full of IMD.
Since I wasn’t very busy with the little local activity that I heard with my vertical antenna, I also tuned around the 2m and 70cm bands to see what I could find. It turns out that there are lots of strong FSK signals in 430MHz-432MHz. These probably come from the industrial area of Tres Cantos, which is very near. However, I get the impression that they shouldn’t transmit in this frequencies, which are outside the ISM band. I also heard what seemed to be pirate stations in FM in 435.100MHz.
I also kept an eye out for satellites. I heard SEEDS-II, UNISAT, GOMX-3, AO-73 and FO-29. Surprisingly, I couldn’t hear AO-85, even though it usually puts a very strong signal and it was on an overhead pass. It is interesting to see what this little antenna can hear. For instance, it was easy to copy some stations on FO-29.