G0RTN's ham Biography

G0RTN QSL card, 2005
G0RTN QSL, 2005.

I was born on 28 July 1977.

I got interested in radio at the age of 8 when I moved the band switch on our ghettoblaster to 'SW' and was amazed to find stations broadcasting in English from Sweden, Austria and the USSR. I became an addict to Radio Moscow's North American Service at an early age - did you also love Joe Adamov's Moscow Mailbag? I was recently delighted to discover that Joe is alive and well and still presenting his show.

I ignored ham radio, and instead had a lot of fun Broadcast SWLing until I was 13, as you had to be 14 to get a license in those dark, distant days. Then one day, just before my 14th birthday, I saw a poster for a local radio rally in Belfast Central Library and went along. Was allowed to operate a nameless and callsignless ham's station a week later and worked a VK5 on my third CQ call on 20m SSB. The rest was history! I was licensed the following year as GI0RTN aged 14. When I started learning Morse, I thought it was a boring chore necessary to have fun with HF SSB. By the time I actually got my ticket I was a confirmed CW addict. And still am.

My first rig was a very dodgy FT200 bought at a radio rally, which didn't work right. My local club was evicted from its building and basically folded. I nearly dropped out of radio but when I went to University I lived cheaply at home so blew my first year's student grant on an FT757GX - a fantastic wee rig.

My second rig and my first real one, the FT757GX
My second rig and my first real one, the FT757GX

From 1996 until early 1999 I was very active on HF CW, especially 30 metres, working just over 200 countries with 100 Watts and a short homebrew loaded vertical. I also operated a few contests from the Bangor and District Amateur Radio Society on VHF and HF, as well as many on HF from home.

Operating 2 metres in GI really takes it out of you!
Operating 2 metres in GI really takes it out of you! Operating GI3XRQ/P, VHF National Field Day 1999, 0200 Local Time.

In my final year in University my activity was much curtailed, then ceased completely when I moved to England in September 2000. After four long years got back on the air in September 2004.

I love CW as my working day involves typing things on computers or talking at meetings. Morse is so different that it is totally relaxing. I'm not averse to the odd bit of contesting either. Sometimes even on SSB!!! I'm usually to be found, however, on 40 and 80 metres. Please listen for me hanging around between 3.520 and 3.530 and 7.020 and 7.030.

I love ragchewing and love QRQ operating, but I will slow down to 5 wpm or less if needed. I'm always willing to help new CW ops become comfortable with the mode.

Booze, fags and CW?!?!  Operating bliss at the QTH of GI3OBO.
Who needs sex, drugs and rock'n'roll when you can have booze, fags and CW?!?! Operating bliss at the QTH of GI3OBO, December 2004.

I had a great antenna when I lived in Bayswater in Central London (Inverted Vee with its apex at 40 metres above ground). I worked the world with that thing and 100 Watts, although I finally gave up the unequal struggle with the building authorities in Summer 2006. Such a pity that a ludicrously officious attitude to healthensafety interferes so much with out lives. Still, all good things come to an end.

The doublet too hot for W2 to handle.
The doublet so good they declared it illegal - Bayswater, Summer 2006.

I'm Worldwide Young Contesters No. 482, and a member of the RSGB and Whitton Amateur Radio Group (GX0MIN), whose contest callsign, M2W, I can often be heard using. I'm a member of the Chiltern DX Club.

I was once Fists 2234, but haven't renewed in years. Yet another thing I must get round to...

I am also High Speed Club Member Number 1850. Now, the Very High Speed Club (40 words per minute minimum) is my next target.

In January and February 2005, thanks to the hospitality of the Royal Omani Amateur Radio Society and particularly that of Chris Dabrowski, A45XR, I was able to experience my first taste operating outside Europe and real pile-ups, operating as A4/G0RTN while on holiday in Oman. This so wetted my appetite, that like all DXers I now find myself asking "Where do we go next?

Running the pile-ups as A4/G0RTN, 2005
Running the pile-ups as A4/G0RTN, 2005.

I like contesting a lot. As well as managing to come first Low Power in the UK in CQ World Wide CW contest in 2005, thanks to the hospitality of G3LET (using just a BiggIR vertical and long wires), I've also been active with the G6PZ contest group. In July 2006 I went to Inisheer in the Aran Islands with the City of Belfast and South Dublin radio clubs as part of the EJ0GI crew for the IOTA contest. I've also been part of various 3 As Contest group efforts in domestic RSGB contests, most notably as part of the winning team in AFS CW 2006. In November 2006 I will be active from Curaçao in the Caribbean with the PJ2T crew from CQ WW CW.

I was part of the GB5HQ national team for the IARU HF World Championship in 2006, operating on 20 metres CW from the QTH of Nigel G3TXF. I've also become something of an addict at the Commonwealth Contest.

On top of the world (with windswept hair) - operating from the Aran Islands with EJ0GI, 2006
On top of a very windswept world - Inisheer, Aran Islands, 2006.

I'm now QRV from a suburban house in South London with just an R7000 vertical at ground level, although I have a great hilltop location at 100 metres above sea level. In November 2006, I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the First Class Operators' Club and received the membership number 1875. I can still work the world with just 100 Watts and love every minute of it, I just have to work harder at it than most people. Look forward to seeing you on the bands. Go back home!

Page last updated 6 November 2006.