G4AKE Station

My interest in Amateur Radio stems from listening on 160m in the 1960s.  During one of the school radio club meetings, my physics teacher, Charles G3ALA, tuned-down my medium-wave ‘transistor’ radio to cover Topba1978 Shacknd.  This allowed me to receive Loran, Decca, fish-phone and of course the local AM radio nets in and around Derby.  As with many others at the time, I got totally hooked and I wanted to get on Topband ASAP!

With help from amateurs at the Nunsfield House Amateur Radio Group and particularly the secretary - Peter G3WFU, I managed to pass the RAE in 1970 at the age of 14 and was eventually licensed in August 1971.  I was hoping for a 'G3' call but it took me a while to get to Trusthorpe and take the Morse test and hence the 'G4'.
In early 1970 the antenna mast consisted of two line props tied together that caused aggravation with my mother who wanted them for the washing line.  My father asked “what do you want for a mast” and I replied, jokingly, a 45 ft pole would do nicely!  About three months later a lorry turned up and three chaps got out, unloaded the lorry and promptly installed an enormous 45 ft guyed  mast - much to my surprise.  The impact this had on the hobby is not hard to imagine.

1978 Shack
In 1978, the main equipment was a Yaesu FR DX500 receiver and FL DX500 tralinear PSUnsmitter combination modified to cover 160m.  Although relatively old and full of valves, I really enjoyed using this combination and received good reports. Previous to this I had an FT101 MK2 which was more recent but not as nice to use and I don't think the receiver was as good as the FR DX500.

The shack extended around the room and included a Topband AM transmitter and a load of homebrew junk out of sight. On the right hand side of the shack is a homebrew linear amplifier built using a pair of 813 valves configured in passive grid covering 80m to 10m. The power supply was a huge brute of a thing rated at 3kV 1A that, in every respect, was an overkill.  On a full power whistle the whole bench vibrated with a growly 100Hz buzz.

2018 Shack
Today, I have a very modest shack consisting of an FT1000MP transceiver, a remote auto-tuned ATU and a SURE 450 Series 2 microphone.  I always wanted the SURE 444.  The Art Deco style and wonderful angular construction looks great in my opinion. Unfortunately, the 444 is no longer available. The closest replacement is the SURE 450 that looks and performs almost identically.

2018 Shack

Following retirement in 2017, I took the time and opportunity to rebuild the 813 linear amplifier incorporating proper safety features and a new power supply.  The new version is grounded grid and it works very well.  Taking 3kV off the anode meter connections and using more sensible arrangements removed the unexpected bangs and gave peace of mind.  In the photograph the top and side panels were removed deliberately - I don’t run it like that!

The next project is probably an SDR station maybe in a year or two after the hype settles down.  Sorry about the quality of the picture. These are digital photographs of photographs!

73's Chris

G4AKE 1970 Antenna
G4AKE Mast
The slightly fuzzy picture above is the 45ft mast at G4AKE errected around 1970.  

The antenna  mast lasted for 15 years in this form without a single complaint. It had to dismantled in 1985  due to rust and lack of nerve.

Later on in 1975, a second mast was installed (only 42ft) on the front of the house  (The face not in view) allowing the antenna to be strung over the top of the house.

For 10 years I had a G5RV strung up that was not particularly inventive or original but it worked well on all HF bands. I used the antenna mostly on topband, 80m and 40m.  
Being reasonably high, it seemed to work well and looked really cool from the street.