With Bob M1BBV out on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks today, I decided to give the PRC-352 its first on-air trial. After humping it up to the top of Emley Moor, I set up the GSA for 50MHz, and dropped Bob a text that I was in position. I knew Bob at this stage was close to the summit of Ingleborough with his little Yaesu handheld.
Although not strong enough to break the squelch, so I had to operate in '*' mode, contact was made with Bob. I was using the amp so putting out around 20W, Bob a rubber ducky and perhaps 3W. Although in the noise, Bob was mostly readable, i'd give him a 43 to 56 report. Bob reported me as 59. This was a path of around 48 miles!
Afterwards, I walked back with the whip up to test that out. Sadly at one point I caught a telegraph pole with it and it fell over. So, the new antenna socket is, as I thought, not quite as secure as it should be. I might swap it with the one on the SURF which I know is very solid.
So the PRC-352 is now very nearly complete. All that remains is to clean up the cabinets and the GS carrier (I bashed the bend in the adapter plate out yesterday) and redo the paintwork. And ive just ordered the paint for that!
Despite calling for some time from the top of the reservoir at full power, not a single contact was to be had on 4m! I seriously think the current licensing scheme with direct access to HF is going to be the death knell of VHF and UHF. No one is using them, even on 2m from the top of the hill only a single QSO could be heard. We need to go back to a VHF and up only licensing system like the old A and B class, to keep the VHF and UHF bands active. Im not saying that Foundation and Intermediate licenses should have no HF, but license class should not just confer a power increase as it does at the moment, but also access to more spectrum. There would be nothing wrong with Foundation being able to access VHF and Up, Plus say a portion of 80m and 10m, then Intermediate perhaps adding the WARC bands, and finally full access with Full license, with the powers also increasing likewise.