Saturday, 26 October 2013

Rock Mite 20

Richard, G3CWI,  recently posted the following on the SOTA reflector:

Who would be interested in holding a Mighty Mite Weekend? Each individual Rock Mite would be allocated a number and maybe there could be a prize for the activator who makes most contacts over a weekend on their Rock Mite(s) and a prize for the chaser who works the most Rock Mites.

Well in for a penny, in for a pound, I promptly sent off for a Rock Mite 20 metre kit (RM20) so that I could enter the fray.

The rig is dead simple to build with only one SMD component to mount. All the rest are through hole components and there's not even any inductors to wind.

Rock Mite 20

Mounting it in an Altoids tin took longer than building the rig. The hard bit is always the metal work!

In the tin

Power measurement
 A quick check out on the bench showed that everything appeared to be working, signals were heard and a rough power measurement showed that we were getting approx 400mW output power.

A quick check on transmit resulted in several spots on RBN so at least we know that it's getting out OK

Bench test RBN spots

Today I took the RM20 up to my local SOTA summit to see if we could raise any contacts.
I placed an alert on SotaWatch and within 30 secs of calling CQ the calls starting rolling in!

Rain clouds over Cleeve Hill. G/CE-001

When I say rolling in, there were 7 callers. I was pleasantly surprised with the rigs performance, the receiver being very sensitive, if not a little wide in the bandwith department :-)
What shocked me most was when Jean - VE2JCW called with a great signal and obviously pulling my minuscule signal out of the ether. Thanks Jean for a Transatlantic QSO on the RM20's first outing.

RM20 Log

RM20 QSO Map
When I say there were only 7 contacts, that's when the "pile up" subsided. Happy with the results I put the kettle on for some afternoon tea, changed over to my MTR rig and ran QRO at 4 Watts O/P. This lead to a further healthy run on 14Mhz.

Log fills up with QRO 4W!
With the rain holding off, I made the most of the day and brought out the ATS4 to fill in the missing bands, 21Mhz, 18Mhz, 10Mhz and 7Mhz. Finally I modified the antenna, reinstated the MTR and had a final long chat with G0FVV on 5Mhz.

My spot behind the gorse bushes.

It was dusk when I packed up, it was blowing a gale and there were hints of moisture in the air.
Total QSO map

Total QSO's for the day.
All in all a good day out and the RM20 certainly seems capable of a few contacts.
In total 20 DXCC countries for the day from 52 contacts on all bands from 60-15 metres

 We now just need to wait for Richard to announce the Mighty Mite Challenge rules!