Tuesday 19 July 2016

Operating QRP from Beeston Bump (TG14) in North Norfolk

Update: YouTube video now available

Jim G3YLA and I operated HF and VHF QRP from the top of Beeston Bump in Norfolk as planned today.

It turned out to be the hottest day of the year, so not exactly ideal. Nevertheless, after parking up and walking to the top we were met by a fantastic 360 degree view.

I quickly set up by 40m inverted L end fed half wave (EFHW) on a 10m fishing pole, bungeed to a bench and fed it with my homebrew EFHW matching unit, while Jim tried some CW on 2m from a little beam. He didn't get anywhere with that so switched to FM and had a quick chat with some locals on 145.275MHz.

Once the HF antenna was erected I handed Jim the coax and he set to on 40m CW and quickly worked a station in Germany using 2.5W from his Yaesu FT-817.

Jim G3YLA working Germany on 40m CW.
I meanwhile tried to see what I could work on 2m FM and could raise the GB3FR repeater across the water in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, but there was no one on it. I switched to GB3NB in Norfolk and worked John G8VPE.

I then took over on HF, but 40m was hard work and 20m was not much better. I eventually went back to 40m CW using my 2.5W Steve Weber-designed Mountain Topper Radio (MTR) and raised fellow G-QRP club member Peter G3XJS near Wrotham, Kent who was using 5W to a doublet. I was very pleased to make the contact as that was the first time the MTR has been used in the field.

Looking at the Chilton Digisonde data I think this was via Sporadic E (Es) on 40m as the F2 critical frequency was only about 5MHz - we don't normally associate Es with 40m, but you could see the Es on the plot.

Jim G3YLA then took over again using his FT-817 and had a long CW QSO on 40m with a station in the Netherlands. 

The information board for the Y station.
There were a lot of walkers on the hill and we were able to explain what we were doing - it was quite apt as this was the location for the Beeston Hill Y Station, a secret listening post during World War Two. The chain of Y stations were on the front line, feeding Enigma intercepts to the War Office’s Bletchley Park.

There is an information board all about the Y station and the concrete foundations are still there.

Propagation was iffy at best and the heat was getting to us, so we decided to take the station down and head for the nearest pub for fish and chips and cold refreshments.

My home-made EFHW matcher and SWR
All in a great day and we both agreed we'll go back, perhaps in late September when propagation is better and the temperature is a bit more reasonable.

I also shot some video and I'll try and edit that over the next few days.
My three-band (40, 30 and 20m) Mountain Topper Radio.
3W CW on 40m raised Peter G3XJS in Kent.


I thought I would do a Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) check tonight.

I was pleasantly surprised to see I was picked up all over the place, including the US, from the top of the bump.

Jim G3YLA wasn't for some reason - not sure why as his CW is waaaay better than mine. Perhaps it was because he responded to CQs and didn't call CQ himself.

Reverse Beacon Network captures from the day -
chuffed I was picked up in the US (just) with 2.5W to an EFHW for 40m (click to enlarge).
Update: YouTube video now available


  1. Great write up and love the idea, we should make a BUMP group for all of us in geographically low areas. :) 2E0XSG

  2. Nice site, I have operated from the same point when on Holiday - great Item - thank you