May 08, 2011

GB4HRH Special Event

Hi Folks,

This is an update to the short Blog I posted last week on our special event station GB4HRH

One of the Official Royal Wedding Photographs

Sands Contest Group are proud to have been able to put the Special Event Station GB4HRH on air to commemorate the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Please use EQSL for any greeting or cards you would like to post.

Operators for the event included:

Paul 2E0EET, Brian GR0RDH, Kev G6FKE, Steve G1TLQ, Stephany GR1LAT, Linda G0YLM, Paul MR6APB, Ian GR0VGS, Andrew GR1LWU, Mike M0PRL

You can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them

As you can see from the picture below spring has sprung and there's nothing nicer than seeing newborn lambs in the field.

The weather forecast on the day of the Royal Wedding was fine and Sunny although all members taking part suffered with the effects of wind over the weekend.

We operated this special event station from Oysterber Farm and we are very grateful to Barry and Kathy for their hospitality. One happy caravan owner has proudly decorated his plot with bunting and flags in celebration of the Royal Wedding

The picture above shows our nest of dipoles going up covering 80m/40m and was the first of many. The picture shows the guy lines being tied off making sure that the mast is a vertical as possible whilst ensuring there is enough give in the mast to flex a little with the high winds we experience at this location.

We had verticals up for most of the bands including a vertical 20m Phased Array again to see how that preforms. We also had verticals out for 15m, 10m and 30m

You have seen many indoor pictures of the group operating from Hancock's Hut but its fairly rare to see it from the outside.

Another View of Hancock's hut out side where we can see Linda G0YLM, Bob G1OCK and last but not least Kev G6FKE reclining in the foreground. It may look like Kev's asleep but don't let that contented easy going look fool you..... He's like a coiled spring ready to bounce into action at a moments notice.

Saturday Morning

The event started for us at 10am on Saturday morning sadly we were not able to put the four stations on due to circumstances beyond my control. We were hoping to have a dedicated data station up and running via a Kenwood TS-2000X.

The stations that were operational included:

The Elecraft K3

Our main station operating from Hancock's Hut was the K3 with the help of a linear gave us up to 400w output. Although we were disapointed not to have the Ts-2000X available to run data as promised, the Elecraft K3 ran both voice and data communications during the course of the weekend and this was our main HF DX Station. For more information on this radio and its capabilities please click on the hyperlink below.

Our Second SSB Station was the FT-897

One of our newest members Paul M6APB loaned the group his radio. Paul was not available to operate on Saturday but made some good contacts on Sunday. I operated most of Saturday morning via a nest of dipoles for 40m & 80m. I ran on 80m for as long as possible before switching to 40m.

I guess I had better explain the super cool and groovy lay out seen here. It was a fine sunny day but because of the strong gusting wind it was not safe to put a parasol up, had we done so one of the group members could possibly have been seen doing a comic version of Mary Poppins over nearby fields and meadows.

The Heath Robinson quick fix you can see here shaded all the equipment from the sun and allowed us a better picture of the screen.

Linda G0YLM took over from me and worked a pileup before passing the operating position on to Ian G0VGS


This radio belongs to Paul M6APB and its the first time he's had the opportunity to try it out on HF. Paul has the special Nov to operate MR6APB in honour of the Royal Wedding. The FT-897 is an all mode radio covering nearly all the HF bands along with 2m,6m, 70cm. Please click on the hyperlink below for more detailed information on the set.

Its worth noting that there are plenty of reviews on all the radio's via the internet with eham being a popular forum for text based information and YouTube is great for seeing radio's in action and how amateurs worldwide have utilised the sets for their personal needs.

Main HF Station in Hancocks Hut

Steve G1TLG operating PSK31

It was good to see Stephany on air for the first time in Hancocks Hut. Stephany operated during the middle of the afternoon on 20m.

A keen radio amateur Stephany applied for the GR1LAT and set herself a goal to work as many countries as possible before 2400 on the 9th May. She is also very keen on SOTA and I think she has also done the odd WOTA activation.

The welcome return of Mike M0PRL

The group are really pleased to have Mike M0PRL back after serving 18 months with the British Antarctic Survey Expedition at Rothera Base.... More on that later.

If you worked our 20m Station late on Saturday afternoon it's likely to have been Mike you spoke too.

Food for thought

Once the radios had been switched off for the night those members who could let their hair down and enjoyed some good company and those of us who couldn't dreamed of days gone by whilst enjoying the company of other group members.

No contest or activity at Oysterber Farm would be complete without the Saturday night feast put generously put on for us by Barrie and Kathy and we were treated to food of gastronomic delight.

Ian and Stephany preparing to tuck in.
We had:
  • Freshly baked crusty bread
  • Baked Potato's
  • Minted Lamb Burgers
  • Sausages
  • Cheese and pineapple on sticks
  • A large selection of salads

The little white flowers in this salad dish were edible wild garlic... Other Salads were delicately drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Ian was not having seconds, he went back for them later. We had a variety of sweets on offer to finish the meal off.

And it goes without saying that the wine and amber nectar flowed freely throughout the evening

As the sun started to set at Osterber Farm heralding the end of a special day we had one last suprise in store.

Our final treat of the night was an insight into the fantastic 18 months at Rothera Base along with a photographic presentation by Mike M0PRL which included this clip of time lapse photography. He just set the camera up and left it to fill his memory card.

I have included a link to Mikes site where you can look at some of the fantastic photography he has done

Sundays GB4HRH Operation

When I arrived at Oysterber Farm members were well into stations calling in from the UK and Europe.

Our Host Barrie G1JYB was good enough to let me use his station to run the weekly Morecambe Bay Net on 2m. The net runs most Sundays between 11am and 12pm covering much of the Fylde Coast and parts of Cumbria

Just having a listen around the band before opening the net.

The radio used is no longer made by Yaesu but the FT-847 still commands good money on the secondhand market and was a pleasure to use.

I have included a YouTube link showing the radio in Sota action on 2m filmed by G4JNN in 2010

Sunday was something of a blur to me after 1PM and if you were one of the few stations I worked on 20m please accept my apologies.... I took over on the station for a short time but found it impossible to concentrate. This was due to a medical condition I have.

The best I can describe my very short time on the station is as callsigns came in it was like verbal dyslexia and an overwhelming need to liedown before I fall down.

Another member of the team took over from me and I laydown down on a bed seat in Hancocks Hut and woke up 3 hours later. I missed a pileup that Kev G6FKE worked through and another that Ian G0VGS cleared.

I awoke to find Paul operating and all the masts with the exception of the nest of dipoles had been taken down, coaxial cable coiled and everything ready for packing

Paul M6APB
All UK radio amateurs had the opportunity to apply for the special prefix which allows them to operate the call until Midnight on the 9th May.

You will no doubt here heard some of the operators over the last week using


In closing I'd like to thank you for taking the time to view this blog, The Sands group members for their time and company and last but not least our hosts Barrie G1JYB and Kathy M3YOG for hosting along with Stephany who does so much work behind the scenes.

If your looking for a great self catering holiday and maybe doing some SOTA activations, then Oysterber Farm is a great place to act as your base and is open all year round. You will not be disappointed.

Photography by Brian G0RDH unless otherwise stated.
Brian GR0RDH