Easter’s Monday (“Little Easter”, as it’s called in Italy) makes a perfect day for field radio. If weather is not horrible, everyone feels the need to walk, to burn extra-nourishment of the day before. So, considering sun was quite high, and temperature was not too cold (10° Celsius), I decided I’d go for some trekking. Weeks ago I noticed an hill, above the place where I live, that seemed to act as a “reflector” for VHF signals from the outside of IX1 land. So, I told myself that, if I could hear something by aiming the hill with a directional antenna, I should hear something directly when up there.
I knew I had quite an hour of walk, so I decided to go for a light equipment. Wouxun KG-UV2D and a J-pole, homemade by my elmer, IX1VKK. Once up there (following this link you can have an idea of the exact position), I started to look for signals. Time was around 9.20 UTC. The APRS channel on 144.800 MHz, that at QTH is silent (in my region there are no nodes) was alive. Too poor I had no device to attempt a decode. Then, I checked the repeaters segment of the 2 meters band. I got a CW id on 145.662,5, coming from R2a in Erba. On 145.675 I had a QSO, at 9.35 UTC, between IW1BR and IZ1TR. Latter was really clear, while former was probably getting badly to the repeater, and resulted in being hardly readable. I would upload a recording made with my mobile phone, but some “deliberate interference” was on frequency too, and I’m not here to publicize such a behaviour. Anyways, I wonder which repeater they were on. Usually, the R3 making it to Aosta Valley is IR1X, from Ligury (“Monte Beigua”), but the tone of 110.9 Hz given for it didn’t apply, and both stations are on the Verbania area, which is not really close to Ligury. I’ll try to e-mail one of the two correspondents, and will update this post if an answer should come. To end the report, the big hit of the day. On 145.537,5 MHz, at 10.00 UTC, IW1GO was in QSO with some friends. He was the only one of the group heard here, and showed a really fine signal. So, I tried to call, as IX1CKN/P. He noticed something, and asked the caller to insist, which I did, and we managed to complete a QSO! Ottavio is in Borgomanero, Novara province, locator JN45fp. Distance between his and my JN35pr is calculated in around 91 kilometers. I think that with a portable radio, 5 watts, and an omnidirectional antenna I couldn’t ask for more. I walked up to receive, and ended completing a contact (that, as always, I’m glad to share below, and the picture in the clip will give you the glance I had on the eastern side of Aosta Valley, while the featured image of this article is a frontal view on Aosta from my location). My guess on the location, radio wise, was good. All that is needed now, is to come back there with a directional (and a support for the antenna, given that keeping the J-pole by the hand was everything but comfortable) and a SSB able radio. I think that my FT-290 IIR will be a perfect companion for the next walk. Stay tuned, as I guess there is more to come!
73 de Chris!