The Station is located in Bailiff Bridge near Brighouse in the County of Yorkshire within northern England, UK.
Inverted-V cut for 40m
Inverted-L cut for 80m with optional base loading for 160m
Delta Loop cut for 20m
Co-linear for 2m and 70cm
I’m a Chartered Engineer and Chartered IT Professional, spending most of my career with Nestlé designing and implementing business systems for manufacturing and supply chain. I’m very definitely a Yorkshireman as are my children (all grown up). Since Nestlé, I founded Squirrelhouse Consulting Ltd
My Radio Story
My Grandma gave me a valve table-top receiver when I was about 9. I soon got the set hooked up with the wire coils of my cast iron bed acting as an aerial! Being curious about this bit on the dial labelled ‘amateurs’ I eventually stumbled across some locals on ‘top-band’ (160 meters).
The set shown is slightly different to mine. This is a Pilot Radio Company model 75 from Radio Workshop’s collection – well worth visiting their site.
My Pilot radio looked physically identical with the exception that it had four bands, two being short-wave. It also had valves with 12v heaters which I found I couldn’t replace and I sadly got rid of the radio when I was 13 or 14. Click here for Radio Workshop, Worthing.
G8CB (Harry Crewe at Ovenden) was probably the first amateur I heard on 160m. After realising that the disabled chap who ran the sweet shop near my Gran’s house at Illingworth had radio gear in the shop, I started chatting to him – that was G3MDW (Arthur Robinson at the Candy Cabin, Ogden). He put me in touch with Harry G8CB who encouraged me to have a go at the RAE and to join Northern Heights ARS, of which Harry was Honoury President. The Club (G2SU) was based at a Pub near Ogden, Halifax, called the Peat Pitts which was since vastly extended and is now called The Moorlands. Alan G3TQA has put together an archive website for Northern Heights ARS with historical information and photos.
A newer radio built by Eagle International was bought and a 30-40m long-wire antenna which went between my house and a neighbour. Click here for Radio Museum Info. This was my first Short Wave communications receiver which was bought around 1973 and sold the year after.
The receiver had band-spread but wasn’t the easiest to use on amateur bands without finer calibration. However I did hear DX even with my aerial being the springs of my bed!
The following year I got a ‘proper’ radio – yes, valves were still the order of the day: a seven year old Trio 9R59DS. Like the Eagle receiver, it was purchased from Jim Fish (G4MH) who owned “The Ham Shack” down Chapel Hill in Huddersfield.
The City & Guilds Amateur Radio Exam was quite a challenge at the age of 13. In those days it was a three hour written paper in mostly essay style. I failed! I did however continue listening to radio hams all over the world. A frequent visitor of Bruce Mitchell’s shop in Pellon Lane, Halifax, I built various receivers from crystal sets to my pride and joy the RSGB “Cadet” 3.5M/cs Direct Conversion receiver – it worked first time! The RF gain is pretty poor and even after a complete rebuild of the mixer/LPF stage it’s not the sharpest pencil in the box; however the buffered VFO is very stable and might someday form the basis of a QRP transmitter project.
The local hams became so familiar to me and yet I met very few in person. G6BX (Jack at Mountain, Queensbury), G3MDW (Arthur at the Candy Cabin, Ogden) and G4BIV (Frank near Elland) are sadly no longer with us. A comparative youngster at the time, G4EIE (Richard near Huddersfield) was quite interesting in his experimentation and on the basis of an explanation on the air as a SWL, I tried to build a 160m QRP transmitter he was using. My interest in amateur radio waned by the late 1970s as school exams and other teenage interests took hold.
Re-awakening of radio interest
After 20 years of peaceful slumber, my now ancient Trio valve receiver was pressed back into action briefly in 1999 after hearing that USAF preparations for raids on Iraq could be heard around 21Mhz at night. I cleaned it up thoroughly with meths and vac before daring to switch it on. Somewhat amazed, I found it still worked!
In 2003, Michael (M0APC) encouraged me and three other closet listeners (John, Pete and Derek) into taking the Foundation Licence exam in 2003 – we all passed! It’s a brilliant idea to revive the hobby and make it accessible to youngsters, who have the advantage of lots of ‘play time’ to learn. Soon afterwards we founded the Nestle Employees Radio Club in York (M0NUK).
On the air!
I equipped myself with a Yaesu FT-747GX transceiver for HF and an AKD-2001 transceiver for 2m. I built a home-brew Z-match ATU and put up some wire aerials. The Foundation Licence proved to me that 10 watts is enough to work DX but getting through a pile up on 20m is a different matter. As an aside, getting through a pile-up in my view is a combination of a good antenna, crisp audio, clear speech and more power helps. I entered and passed the Intermediate Exam in May 2004. G4EIE was very helpful in sending me the design for the QRP transmitter which I considered building as part of the Intermediate project. I ended up doing a different project but contacting G4EIE had some positive unforeseen results – it encouraged Richard back onto the air after a few years and I’ve gained a local radio friend too. I also joined the Halifax and District Amateur Radio Society (HADARS) – club call sign G2UG.
The Advanced Licence Exam was taken in June 2004 and I got the new Advanced Class call-sign M0EZP. Ironically much of my DX was worked as an M3 with only 10 watts. Increasing to full-power has been useful, particularly through the sun-spot minima of 2005/2006 but not essential by any means.
The first half dozen watts are what counts most!
During the summer of 2005, I started to build the Walford Electronics Sutton transceiver with associated linear amp and ATU. Since then I’ve added to the project so it now provides double-sideband and morse at 5-10w on 160, 80, 40, 20 and 15m bands. It has taught me a lot and to start off with I was quite daunted by the task but Tim Walford’s design is well thought out, economical and well within the capabilities of those who’ve warmed up a soldering iron only on much simpler projects. I later added a CW board with a view to learning morse when I have a bit of time; notch-filter and a LED s-meter. After a power upgrade, the Sutton now transmits up to 20w and is about as tooled-up as possible although Tim calls it “the wooden Sutton”!
The construction bug also bit me again with 6m in mind and during the Summer of 2006 I built a 6m transverter; this was followed shortly after by a 60w 6m linear amplifier. Both constructions went well and harmonics suppression is good at better than -50dB out of each, however Classic FM on 101MHz is a challenge even then and RSGB’s EMC book recommends -80dB for 6m transmission!!
A prized possession of mine is an old Datong RF Clipper which cost me £4 in a junk sale shortly after getting my M3 Licence. Yes, it’s old and doesn’t look so smart but as an M3 it sharpened up my audio well-enough to be heard by many DX stations and have a good chance in a pile-up!
A lazy man’s stealth shack!
A second station has been set up in the Dining Room for 2m operation, discretely packed in a drawer so that I can call in to local nets in my jim-jams if I’m being lazy…hi hi! The configuration makes use of a cheap PC PSU (under £10) to provide 12v to the linear and 2m transceiver. The black box you can see in the middle is a transmit/receive switch and power box. It has a PTT push button which operates a relay to separately trigger PTT on both the Mirage B108 linear (top left) and the Icom IC-2E transceiver (bottom left). It also has a voltage regulator on a heat sink bolted to the right hand side of the box to provide 9v to the transceiver. The B108 is rated at 80w but in this configuration it puts out about 12w.
Note: Most PC PSUs are typically marked “CE” but actually contravene RF emissions and often wipe out the lower bands (< 14MHz) with appalling noise. Using one of these PSUs might seem asking for trouble but it is quite acceptable for VHF/UHF work. Wanting to do the job right, I cleaned the PSU up with a RF filter mod.
My friend Tony G0DLX wanting to upgrade his shack meant that his Yaesu FT-990 had become available to buy. The FT-990 is an excellently built HF transceiver and a real joy to use. Its auto-tuner would match a bath tap if that was all that was available as an aerial! It did develop a problem a few months later with the 5v regulator however I was able to fix this without too much bother.
Sadly G0DLX became SK in Spring 2016. His skeds with myself for Richard GW4EIE (then G4EIE) however go on in memory through this recording Sunday-Sked-19May2013.mp3
My main interest these days is in construction and so most of my newer equipment is now home-brew, such as a companion transmitter for my Yaesu FRG-7 receiver.