July 08, 2012

Sands Special Event Station GB4QDJ

 Hi Folks,

Welcome to a report on our Queens Diamond Jubilee hosted at Oysterber Farm.

We decided that the best time to setup was on the Saturday morning and Hughie G4UME and Steve set to work putting the 40m dipole up with a coaxial feed point around 30ft above ground. After a little adjustment the antenna was resonant and ready for action.

  Hancocks Hut
Whilst the antenna was being put up Ian G0VGS set the computer up and made sure the N1MM logging program was ready for use.  Brian G0RDH set the FT-2000D up with the Heil Pro headset with the HC5 Insert and the option of using a hand key or foot-switch to key the transmitter.
 Heil Pro Set
But why the HC-5 insert over the HC-4?  The answer is simple..... Although the HC-4 is designed for DX, I found it didn't work well for my voice whilst the HC-5 was fantastic and suited all operators.

If you would like to find out more about the characteristics please click on the hyperlink below.

Regular readers of the blog will note that we usually use an Elecraft K3 for our events but on this occasion there was no Ranger 811H linear available.  My FT-2000D was used because we can use up to 200W.

Yaesu FT-2000D
The station was on the air just before 9am and it was not long before it was found by amateurs eager to work the station both from the UK and Europe.

Operators for the day were:
Hughie G4UME, Steve G1TLQ  Mark M0DGK, Ian G0VGS and Brian G0RDH

Hughie G4UME
Steve G1TLQ
After putting the antenna up Steve spent some time on the radio before having to leave mid afternoon.  He's a true gentleman on the air and we don't get to see as much of him as we would like to to his work commitments.
 Mark M0DGK 
Mark joined us for a few hours on Saturday afternoon and it was great to see him enjoying using the radio.  For the last 8 years Mark has operated with me during the RSGBCC SSB contest and is just in the process of renovating a new house just around the corner from Hughie needless to say Hughie is trying to make inroads with him to operate as his partner for the contest.  Hands Off Hughie
 Stephany G1LAT
WX for Saturday was reported to be poor with heavy rain and cloud and I am pleased to report the the WX was fantastic with sunshine and a mild breeze but I know many amateurs around the country were suffering with really heavy rainfall and boy did we get it on Sunday.

We had sold contacts from the moment we called CQ that lasted throughout the day.  We had intended to use Barries 20m Vertical at some point during the event but conditions were so good we held a spot frequency on 40m we tried to listen for m3's & m6's along with QRP operators throughout the event and this was picked up and appreciated by other stations waiting to work us.  

And the heavens opened!

Operators were: Brian G0RDH, Hughie G4UME, Ian G0VGS

Hughie and I made for Hancock's Hut in what can only we described as torrential rain which made things a little difficult as we navigated the pot-hole ridden country lanes to get to Hancocks Hut, they were filled with water and blended in perfectly with the road surface, having a good idea where the big ones were located we arrived unscathed, I set the radio up and Hughie brewed a perfect pot of tea.

Disaster strikes during "The Great Storm of 2012" 

Ok I am over exaggerating a little, this was more like a storm in a teacup..... compared with "The Great Storm of 2009" that bent our dipole and Spiderbeam masts in two and severely damaged our Spiderbeam.  All our antenna's were sound.
Please see Archive Pictures below.
 Spiderbeam mast bent in two and fiberglass sections shattered.
At the top end of the meadow you will see our Dipole mast suffered the same fate.
This was a freak storm with wind-speeds in excess of 100mph

Not long after 8am I had found a clear frequency and Hughie was enjoying his coffee when I felt a cold drip of water on the back of my neck to which I uttered words of surprise :) as a second drip soon followed. Hughie said "whats tu do" and proceeded to draw his finger down the tunnel and groove line causing me to say "Eccy Thump Hughie" (because I don't swear :) It was just like somebody turning the tap on and I was under it. I looked back to see Hughie trying to hide a little smile of success and contentment.  It was not long before Hughie had slowed the flow with the aid of our ever ready gaffer tape.

Satisfied there was no danger to the electrics or any of the equipment we carried on.  Ian arrived at 10am and we did two hour shifts between us. 

Archive photograph of Brian
This was not a rubber stamp event and were possible we had a short rag chew with stations. during one of these sessions I showed Hughie a picture from QRZ of the station he was working and Hughie commented in fun "He could have had a shave!" and a little banter continued within the QSO.
 Ian G0VGS

Operators Were:
Brian G0RDH, Hughie G4UME, Ian G0VGS, Linda G0YLM, Andrew G0LWU

The storm clouds had moved on and we were treated to a lovely start for our final day of activity from Hancocks Hut although not the final day of the event because Barrie G1JYB and Stephany G1LAT worked 100+ stations on Tuesday. from Barries station overlooking Hancocks Hut.

  Stepper IR & 20m Vertical
Hughie started the event off on Monday and a station who had heard the banter on Sunday called in advising us that he'd had a shave..... The station Hughie was working was quite rightly not best amused at the rouge comment but it made us smile..

Another incident that still makes me smile happened after I took over from Hughie..... Barrie G1JYB popped into the shack to see that we were ok before he set of for a bike ride with Kathy using the tandem.  Neither could talk quietly so I asked them both to leave Hancocks Hut and chat outside.... It dawned on me seconds later that I had just evicted Barrie our host out of his own purpose built shack..... That had me chuckling on and off for the rest of the day and Barrie was still in a state of shock as we were leaving. 

 Linda G0YLM
Linda  and Bob arrived around 10am and it was not long before she took control of my radio I am fairly sure for the first time lists were taken and it was not long before they were worked trough and more contacts were listed for working..... I was on air at one point during the afternoon and a station who had not had time to call in during Linda's session made reference to hearing a young lady operating that morning..... I felt sure Linda would be listening from home so passed a cheeky comment to which Linda replied immediately
 Andrew G1LWU
Andrew arrived mid afternoon and spent a few hours operating before helping to dismantle the station around 5pmThank you to all the amateurs who took the time to work the station and shortwave listeners who took time to listen.  We had a really enjoyable event and we could not had done it without you.

Stephany G1LAT and Barrie G1JYB are running a Special Event Station GB4TDF from 26th June until 27th July inclusive from Oysterber Farm along with members of the Sands Contest Group.

It is to celebrate the 99th Tour de France, Cycling in general and Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish in particular who are both top contenders for the overall (Yellow Jersey) and the Points (Green Jersey), lets hope that they both do us proud in the UK because somehow, I feel that cycling is our most successful sport and gets the least coverage. We spend billions on Football and the Olympic Games but we are hardly world leaders in either, so, we thought that we would do our best for the guys who are likely to bring us success.

Barrie G1JYB

Our next event will be the IARU contest next weekend, followed by IOTA from Sunderland Point at the end of the July. We will also be running a Special event station for the Olympics

Thats it for now folks, thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings.

Brian (The Reluctant Contestor)

No comments: