September 27, 2009

MS0WRC on the Isle of Barra

If anybody wants to follow members of Workington Amateur Radio Club on their DXpedition to the Isle of Barra, they have just managed to get on the air. As many of you know Steve, Mark and Paul joined for the trip to the Isle of Jura last year and we are following the guys closely this week. Paul has started a Blog so people can read how they are doing.

Isle of Barra Blog

Please take time to follow the blog throughout this week and all of us at Sands wish them well.

Happy Birthday To Us!

It has been five years since Sands ARCG was formed and three years since this Blog was started! Once again time has passed so quickly. It is our AGM in a week and we have seen a steady increase in membership over the last year. Contesting still is a learning curve for all of us, whether beginners or "old hands". Many people have added skills to the group as we continue to grow. It was nice to also be able to take part in our first CW contests in 2009!
Can we add a special thanks to Barry G1JYB, Kathy M3YOG and Stephanie G1LAT who have provided us with an excellent site for our major contests, also for the food, drink and wonderful support they have brought to Sands. Thanks also to Kev G6FKE and Ian G0VGS for their continuing involvement in training students who are just entering the hobby or wish to learn more.

We now look forward to a busy sixth year both in contesting, special events and just getting out there and enjoying the hobby! It is also nice to have seen so many friends on our social evenings and hope to have many an enjoyable evening in the following twelve months.

September 17, 2009


Finally the SteppIR is up in the air at the contest site! Here are Barrie's thoughts on the subject, particularly on the Tennamast it is on...

Actually, the mast is stronger than it looks and the SteppIR does not have a large profile, provided that I keep it homed in a South Westerly direction, I think it will be okay as that is the way the strongest winds blow here. When I extend it I will put Guy Wires down, but that’s another job that will have to wait for a while now, it will have to stay in its lowered position until I have the time to sort it out.

I also have to remove a small section of hedge and dig a trench in the field so that I can lower it in the Horizontal plane, it’s all due to the slope of the land, but it will then be very easy to get at all the parts for any maintenance, which I am sure there will be in the future.

In all fairness, I am not convinced that it is the best antenna for UK and especially Oysterber weather, I feel it is too complicated, too many electrical connections and a very badly designed antenna connection, like a lot of antennas these days, I don’t know why, instead of a rigid fixed connecter they don’t encapsulate a length of High quality coax maybe a few metres long and then you can fix a connector yourself and extend the coax to where you want it, the connection being very easy to waterproof, either by putting inside a container or wrapping it with self amalgamating tape and sealing it with good quality insulating tape, Rain in the UK is in my opinion the biggest problem with antennas and to spend so much time designing such a clever antenna as the SteppIR which costs two arms, two legs and an ear and then sticking a cheap and nasty coax connecter on it says a lot.

I speak to a guy in Ayr Scotland regularly on 2 metres ssb and he like me lives on a Farm, he also put up a 3 element SteppIR but it didn’t last, it didn’t blow down, it just could not cope with the UK weather, he has now changed to single band aluminium 3 element beams for his favourites, he says that nothing can really go wrong with them and if an element breaks its dead simple to replace, he has a point I think.

Barrie G1JYB

September 06, 2009

Steady Progress

Not the busiest Field Day ever but we are making steady progress on 20/40/80m. It was a long stint during the night and Andrew has just arrived in time for a bacon and sausage sandwich ( he always knows when there is food about) Thanks again to Barrie, Kathy and Steph for feeding the troops on Saturday evening, wonderful food as always. We now have until 2pm local time to get the points collected and hopefully get packed down before the rain arrives.

September 05, 2009

Setting Up for Field Day

Usual weather, of course, for this year's RSGB Field Day. It is raining and quite windy but no where near as bad as some of the previous years. Setting up is nearly complete and we have about 15 minutes to go the the start of the contest. Everyone is in high spirits and looking forward to the weekend ahead.

September 03, 2009

Field Day Dawns

Yet again, with the autumn definitely showing its teeth weather wise, it is SSB Field Day this coming weekend. This year Sands have decided to enter the restricted section and work with a simple dipole and 100 watts only, to be fair we cannot hope to compete with some of the bigger stations out there. It will just be nice to fire up the generator and enjoy the weekend without worrying about winning any prizes. Lets hope that the event is not cursed with the usual bad weather and we see some sun.