August 27, 2012

On the Sands

After work today, I decided to go off to Middleton Sands to do some portable
operating. After loading up the car, I set off. High tide was 16:48 BST and I
arrived at around that time. First surprise was that the tide was a long way out!
That was because high tides aren't that high at present.

I drove onto the sand which was quite firm. It took me quite a while to set up the
20M Moxon vertical. I connected up the KX3 and started to operate from the car,
on 5W using the internal batteries. I had already checked before I set off that the
20M band was open. Plenty of stations were active but I could not get a single

Eventually I realised that it wasn't just my 5W which was limiting me; there had to
some other problem. It turned out to be a faulty feeder. With the KX3's internal ATU
which can tune 10:1 it wasn't obvious that there was a fault. Fortunately I had a spare
feeder in the car, just in case. This was put into service and the band was alive.

As expected, the combination of KX3, 20M vertical Moxon, and most importantly
wet sand proved quite potent. All the reports I was given from around Europe were
between 55 and 59.

I worked a mini-dxpedition from Dundee ARC, active on the Isle Of Man as
GT4AAF/P. I had a long chat with Paul (GM0BKC) about our trip next month.
He said he would get in touch by email after their group returns home tomorrow,
and said he was looking forward to working our "MT0" prefix next month.

I managed to get the aerial and kit packed away just as it was going dark!

As a bonus, after I got home I worked YW5B on Isla la Blanquilla off Venezuela
(IOTA SA-037). He replied first time though this was from my Kenwood running
100W to a 20M dipole.



August 20, 2012

Sands Contest Group IARU / The GB4TDF Special Event Station

Hi Folks,

The IARU Contest did not have the the best operating conditions but was enjoyable non the less.  Sadly Kev was not able to make the event due to illness which was a shame because it was a contest he was looking forward too taking part in.

I arrived at 9am to find that Paul 2e0ckc was already working on site in preparation for setting the antenna's up.

Oysterber Farm from the air

Rather than putting some of the normal pictures into the blog I though you might enjoy an aerial view filmed for Barrie and Kathy by Chris M5XYZ with the aid of a camera fitted to his radio controlled helicopter. 

The video does not show the rear of Oysterber Farm where you will find the meadow we site our antenna farm on or Hancocks Radio Hut our hub of communications activity for the weekend so I have added a few pictures here.

I took this picture of Sunrise around 04:30 on Sunday Morning 
Looking out from the front of Oysterber Farm
This picture was taken around dawn on Sunday Morning looking back into the meadow from Hancocks Radio Hut

Looking out over the meadow from Hancocks Radio Hut

IARU Station Operators

The operating team for the weekend were: Paul 2e0ckc, Ian g0vgs, Brian g0rdh Stephany g1lat, Steve g1tlq, Mike m0prl, Mark m0dgk

Tour de France 2012. (Information supplied by Barrie G1JYB)

Le Tour De France 2012 Celebrating the 99th year of the Tour de France
Supporting our cyclists Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish
Promoting cycling in general.

The GB4TDF SES was a real success for Steph and myself with Brad Wiggins coming first and Chris Froome coming second, we could not have asked for more and we certainly helped to raise the profile of Cycling in the UK and I feel that this next few years will see many more talented riders in the sport and more importantly, lots more money from companies wanting to sponsor both the Teams and Riders. Thanks to all SANDS members who made the effort and worked us.

There is a nice video link below worth watching. I apologise for The single advert before the video footage of Bradley Wiggins but it's not anything I could change.

Paul 2E0CKC operating GB4TDF Prior to the Morecambe Bay Net being run on 2m

The QSL Card 

Thanks to all the stations worldwide who worked us

For more in depth information please visit the GB4TDF page on QRZ.Com

The next blog will cover the groups activity at IOTA 2012 from Sunderland Point.

August 15, 2012

The Bentham Beagles 10K Bash

Hi Folks,
I thought it would be nice to shine a light on an unsung hero of the Sands Contest Group and thats Kathy Cartledge, a lady who as a rule shy's away from publicity.

Kathy M3YOG running “Bentham Beagles 10k Bash” 
where she won best in her age group 

The motion Blur image was created by Barrie Cartledge
                                                Kathy was presented with a Race Medal 
                                 and a Silver Training Shoe to recognise her achievement.

The Bentham Beagles Running Club

The Bentham Beagles Running Club is a new club that launched on 4th October 2011. If you would like to learn more about the club and their activities then take a look on the link below

The Bentham Beagles

Kathy is a very talented lady whose other interests include Cycling with Barrie G1JYB using either the Tandem or her own bicycle.  It was great to see Barrie and Kathy at Sunderland Point at the end of July when they cycled down to visit Sands Contest Group who were taking part in IOTA 2012. This was no short ride with the round trip being a minimum of around 50 miles.

Along with a keen interest in Yoga, its not uncommon for her to throw the odd pot or two when she's pottering about at Bentham Pottery.  The pottery is attached to Oysterber Farm from where we are privileged do most of our contests. 

Here is one of the hard wearing bowls created by the pottery in use

I remember it well as the last of the summer fruits were collected from the hedgerows around Oysterber Farm along with Apple and Pears from the Orchard. they were combined into a fruit crumble that had your tastebuds doing summersaults with every delicious spoonful. 

I joked earlier about Kathy Pottering about when in reality nothing could be further from the truth, along with running popular pottery courses with her son, a range of ceramics are available to buy in the little shop.

Please click on the link

Well done on the run Kathy!

The next blog will be on the IARU contest.


August 05, 2012

Sands Contest Group Barbi

Hello Folks,

As many in the UK will recall the first 5 months of the year have not been kind to us on the weather front drought restrictions were  put in place due to the depleted water reserves and it seems to add insult to injury that within weeks of this many in the UK were suffering floods due to torrential downpours of rain causing flash flooding and river banks to burst causing untold misery and our hearts go out to affected.

Sands Contest Group Barbi

At the end of June Barrie and Kathy put a welcome and much anticipated group Barbi on for us ably helped by Stephany and even Hughie who was probably in charge of the eggs.

As you can see we were not guaranteed a dry night but Barrie had plans in place just incase things turned bad.

Barrie Basting the chicken legs as they cooked and although not in shot 
the Sausages were also sizzling
Although a little on the chilly side the Wx stayed dry and there was a little wood burner you can see top left of this picture for those feeling a little cold.  This is an excellent evening for both group members and their families to chill out and socialise with only the occasional much frowned upon mention of radio... This was a night dedicated to our families who allow us to have fun in our chosen hobby of radio communications. 

Along with the food supplied by Barrie and Kathy members also brought some offerings to add to an already impressive spread.  This picture was taken halfway through the evening but the baked potatoes just melted in your mouth.  Also on this table you can see Pate, Salad, Rice, Canape's and Cheese and Onion to name a few dishes.

The second part of the meal was really great in the form of a variety of sweet dishes.  

 Fresh Fruit Salad
 Black Forest Gateaux
 Chocolate and Raspberry Pavloav
 Lemon Cheese Cake
Fruit Trifle
  Franks Delicious Homemade Apple Pie
 Heres a picture of Joe 2E0JEX with his son Ozzy
who is not at all phased by the two hoodies in shot

Thanks as always to Barrie and Kathy for supplying us with a fantastic evening 
and not forgetting Stephany for the work that she does in making the event such a success
So as the lambs keep the meadow down around Barries 5/8 20m Monoband Vertical
And the birdsong settles as the sun begins to set
I'll leave the last few words for Ozzy..... 
Thanks for looking in and 73 till we meet again further down the log