Eric Methven member of Field Radio

Callsign: G1SLP Full Licence (UK)

QTH: I live in Durham, in the North of England, a beautiful medieval cathedral city that was home to the Prince Bishops (Bishops that had the powers of the King)..

When were you first licensed ? I first got my license in 1985, when I left the military.  Back then there was just one way to get licenced and that was to study hard and pass a two part written exam.

It’s a lot easier to get into the hobby now in the U.K. with the Foundation (entry level) followed by the Intermediate, then the Full licence.  The different licence stages allow you to operate at different power levels (10w/50w/400w)..

How did you become interested in radio? I first became interested in radio in the military.  I tried CB at first, but soon became frustrated at the way people behaved.  Then I had the chance to listen to radio amateurs operating and thought “Yes!  I’ll have me some of that”.

I started studying the theory and at the same time, went to night school at the local college to get a qualification in electronics as until that point I hadn’t a clue about circuits, transistors, logic gates, boolean algebra or the little man that lives inside the box that speaks to me.  I subsequently passed the electronics exam with a merit and passed the radio amateur’s exams with a distinction.  I didn’t do the morse element though.  Still can’t get morse to stay in my head to this day.  I guess it’s the way my brain works.

Favorite Radio Activities and Locations ? My favourite radio activities are wide and varied.  Experimentation primarily.  I like to see what I can do with different setups and configurations.  I’m not one for rag chewing, but rather trying different scenarios to see what can and can’t be done with my radios and antennas.

I do radio for both pleasure and as a public service as a member of RAYNET (Radio Amateurs Emergency Network).  So my setup for Raynet activities (normally VHF) is completely different from my setup for NVIS, although both can be used for emergency comms (which is one of the things I love about this hobby – so many aspects tie in with other aspects).

Future Hobby Plans or Goals ? My future hobby plans and goals are simple.  Keep going as long as I can, doing what I do. (Great plan! -K9ATG). I don’t have a website, but I do have a blog page where I describe some of the projects I have done (not just radio either, leatherworking and making outdoor clothes).  It’s not regularly updated or maintained though as I spend more time on the radio than blogging.  Check it out if you like: http://eric-methven.blog.co.uk/.

You can also see a bunch of photos of me doing field radio stuff on my QRZ page under my callsign G1SLP.

Member of any radio organizations or clubs ? I am a member of RAYNET (North West Durham Group) and a member of WEARS (Wearside Electronics and Amateur Radio Society), my local very friendly and active club.  We meet on Monday nights.

Describe some of your favorite Field Radio experiences ? Most of my favourite field radio experiences are those where I can set up camp for a week or two and just play radio, occasionally stopping to eat and throw another log on the campfire.  Sometimes it’s an organised camp, like the Bushcraft UK annual Bushmoot in a remote woodland in South Wales, and sometimes it’s up in the Scottish Highlands.  Either way, I set up camp, sleep under a tarp, in a hammock.  I get lots of visitors when I’m set up for more than a day or two and it’s a great way to introduce people to the hobby.

However, if necessary, I have the ability to operate covertly.  My military training gave me the tools and knowledge to remain hidden and stealthy.  I don’t really do that bit though, but could if I needed to.  Neither do I own a tinfoil hat. (hi hi -K9ATG)

Transceivers and Antennas: My main rig is a Yaesu FT-817.  I also have an old Radio Shack 10m transceiver.  For Emcomm VHF I have a number of handheld transceivers. Antennas are: HF – 80m – 10m, a 22m long end fed sloper with 9:1 Unun that sits at the bottom of my garden and slopes up over the roof and down the other side a little bit. For VHF/UHF I have a copper pipe slim-jim dual band antenna, up on a pole off the side of my garden shed.  All my antennas are homebrew.

For field radio though, I use glass fibre fishing poles and wire antennas in many, many configurations.  Field VHF/UHF is usually with a home brew coax antenna known as an FBK.

Modes: Depending on where I am and what I’m doing.  On VHF/UHF, usually FM, but sometimes SSB. On HF, usually SSB and DAT.  I like playing with WSPR a lot, seeing where I can be heard with milliwatts of RF.

Eric Methven operating portable

Note from Joe K9ATG: Let me add: Eric is currently actively monitoring the traffic on and around the frequencies being used for Nepal earthquake support. Through his efforts, interfering transmissions are identified and ceased. This allows net control to have a clear channel to coordinate aid and assist those in great need. Cheers, mate. Another unsung ham helping behind the scenes.

Please note that all photographs appearing on this page can be viewed in a larger size by clicking on them.