Our experience in VHF HILL TOPPING AND NATIONAL FIELD DAY BY ARSI(23rd February 2019, Saturday 9.00hrs IST TO 24th February 2019, Sunday 18.00 hrs. IST)
Narrated by VU3JYT -RAJAN.
Devarayanadurga is a hill station located in the state of Karnataka in India. The rocky hills are surrounded by forest and the hilltops at an altitude of 1204 metres (3940 feet) 13*22.78'N 77*12.75'E Grid: MK83oi.
When we wanted to take part in the Hill topping contest, we had three choices in our mind: Yercaud Hills, Kolli Hills in Tamilnadu and Devarayanadurga hills in Karnataka. On an analysis, we found the first two hill tops have less access for VHF to the neighbouring states. Whereas in the Devarayanadurga range we had the reach to Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala states. Thanks to the Veteran HAM OM VU2GRM-RAM, (who had participated in the similar hill topping VHF contest in 2013). Our mentor for this contest who had guided through out, from start to finish. During the month of December 2018 we have submitted our application to ARSI for this contest having four members (VU3JYU -Jegan (team lead), VU2GRM-Ram, VU3JYT - Rajan and VU3CIQ-Arvind). We had also submitted the application for temporary change of location with WPC, Delhi.
The action plan and time line was discussed among members. GRM to take care of HF in low bands and CW. JYU and JYT to take care of HF and VHF, UHF and CIQ to be on the VHF bands with his ICOM and Diamond M285 mono band (VHF) whip. The optimised six element Yagi antenna being used by me in a 10m mast was chosen for VHF/UHF and with the best results covering the repeater stations in Karnataka and in south Tamilnadu. VU3JYT Jegan has designed and developed this antenna. He has also presented a papers on this in:
- European Microwave Week 2018 held in Madrid, Spain.
- MATLAB expo in Taiwan and
- HAMFEST INDIA 2018.
As we want to "Go Green" we have included a 200w Solar panel to charge our 12v150Ah battery in our kit. Our entire kit for this contest could be used as "anywhere-anytime" kit to be used when an emergency communication is required.
To obtain the best results we have decided to stack two YAGI antennas and when a test was carried out, we obtained a gain of 16dB. Similarly the coil loaded dipole for the twenty and forty meter bands was chosen for our HF. VU2GRM Ram had decided to bring his Log periodic dipole antenna - LPDA for VHF and W5GI antenna for the HF. W5GI is the improvised version of G5RV, which covers 80mtr to 6 mtr bands.
The permission from WPC was received by us on 16/02/2019. A shocking news from VU2GRM-Ram also came along, that he will not participate in the contest due to personal commitments. So our team shrunk to three. We decided to go forward and had reached the hilltop Devarayanadurga on the evening of 22nd FEB 2019. We have taken the W5GI antenna from VU2GRM. SWL Rajesh also joined our team and now our team became four.
In the early hours of 23rd Feb Saturday, we erected the two YAGI antenna within half an hour. Each antenna was mounted on a tripod of 4m and a boom length of 2m. The two antennae were stacked and harnessed at a distance of one lambda. We also checked with various antenna spacing configurations resulting in a strong VHF coverage. We had to peg the tripods as the wind speed was heavy in the hill. We tested the Yagi for VHF with the repeaters in Bangalore, Yercaud and Chickmagalur and 59+ was the report, we were all set for the VHF contest. We have to tie the HF dipoles at the maximum height and a catapult was used to reach the top branches of the trees.
Antennas used: We have used several antennas for various bands.
- Stacked YAGI for VHF/UHF.
- W5GI antenna for the lower bands.
- Coil loaded dipole for the 20 and 40m bands.
- Individual dipoles for 20m and 6m bands.
- Diamond M285 Mono band (VHF) whip mounted on a 3mtr tripod for VHF.
- MFJ 1699S - Multi band whip antenna for HF/VHF as standby.
We have started contacting stations from 09.00 hours and continued till 23.00 on 23rd Feb. We began our next day by 05.30 hours and went up 18.00 hours on 24th Feb. We used only a 12v150Ah battery to power our rigs and we went "GO GREEN". The Hill Topping contest was exciting and enjoyable on these two days. During the contest we had contacted 92 stations (6Meter: 1, HF: 57, UHF: 6, VHF: 28 total 92 stations).
Visitors: During the contest we had VIP invitees and several visitors:
1. Mr. Sunil Kumar, Inspector of Police, District Control Room, Tumkur. We explained him about the contest. As he is from the District Control Room (Police District Communication centre) he raised serious questions on the dipole antennas. He conveyed his wishes to our team for a success in the contest.
2. Mr. Girish, the founder of "Namma Radio", the village community radio was one of them. The school children from the local village visited us and to our surprise, they are from the Local community Radio network. They produce programmes and air them in 2.4 GHz using WI-FI network to reach the local villages. They heard patiently about HAM and their activity. I was interviewed by them and I gave a talk on "who can be a HAM" and the "HAMs and emergency communication" for about ten minutes which was aired live from our location.
Banners were displayed in our locations on the topic "Who can be a HAM". Banner courtesy Indian Institute of Hams (IIH) Bangalore.