August 29, 2014

Arnside Knott in Cumbria to activate the summit for Summit on the Air.

Hi Brian,

Feedback on the arnside sota activation as follows:

On 27th June Eight members Baz, Steph, Hughie, Frank, Dave, Steve, Andrew and Kathy of the group climbed the dizzy heights of arnside knott in Cumbria to activate the summit for Summit on the Air.  Andrews son also came up to help Andrew set up his global transmitting station.

The evening began with a fuelling stop at the arnside chippy 
(for readers Stateside especially in Oregon the local chippy is not a lady of the night but a place we can buy fried Fish and French fries) where we all met up Discussions took place on the best route up to the summit.  After the fish and chips we all set off with the sota gear. It didn't take long to reach the top and members who passed out at the top were later revived by the shouts of CQ SOTA. 

Our very own Last of the Summerwine, 
Hughies got the Blues and Baz has the backpack

The lady in pink is our very own Stephany.  If you have ever received a qsl card 
from Sands its our QSL Manager Stephany who will have sent it out

Left to right: Steve, Hughie, Frank, Dave

We started by setting up a fibre pole to support the first SOTA dipole antenna to the trig point and put calls out for any unsuspecting customers. Even the sheep replied to the CQ SOTA. We used a small handheld on low power and initially got some replies from local stations - one from across the bay near grange. In fact the guy was so close if we had good eyes we could have seen him across the water. It was nice to hear Some of the other members of the sands group that came back to our calls.

We used various sota dipoles to work on 2m,4m and 77cms and all worked really well. The contacts were very clear 5/9 except for one station. We managed to activate on all 3 bands. Some of the regular locals assisted in the activations by hopping to our next band.

Hughie our international radio operator and Baz (summit leader) had many good contacts and provided entertaining conversations. Steve gained his first experience on the use of 4m. Andrew set up his KX3 with a temperamental piece of wire that eventually worked as we were leaving the summit. Although Andrew did manage to get a contact on 20m.

Andrew making contacts with his KX3
Since buying the KX3 he has used on various holidays to Europe 
as well along with contacts all over the UK. 

During our shouts of CQ Kathy met up with some of her fellow walkers who asked the 2 usual questions. 
When we had enough of shouting CQ SOTA to all we tidied up and walked back down to arnside with the promise of a visit to the pub and see the sun go down.

Hughie on his way down from the summit 
Arnside Viaduct and Train Line

The sunsets at the end of a beautiful evening

As I close this entry of the Blog, I would like to thank Steve for the writeup and Barrie for the photography.  My job was easy, I just had to patch it all together. 

Plans are already afoot for the next activation from Hutton Roof  on Wednesday 3rd September

August 22, 2014

First Contest of the Year 1-2 March 2014

Hi Folks,

Its 28th February:

March see's Sands Contest Group taking part in the First ARRL contest of the year From Hancock's Radio Hut. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all the Contest Groups and communities who have suffered with flooding not only of their properties but also land and live stock.

Dave and Hughie sharing the load
I'll have to speak to them about smiling 
Contesting is a serious event and you don't 
have time for smiling

It hard to believe that we are at last seeing sunshine and freezing conditions. A team of antenna riggers set to work this morning and have a fair bit of work ahead of them Verticals for 40m 80m 15m,10m and topband to be setup and the 20m vertical needs some minor repair work.  All the antenna's terminate in a switch box for each band inside Hancock's Hut.

The Station itself consists of:
a K3 and automatic linear amplifier designed for the K3
A Shuttle computer with backup for logging.

During the course of the weekend I will be asking members for reports that will end up in this Blog along with some photos. (The photographs so far have been supplied by G0VGS) and heres the a report from Nick 2E0TBT Highlighted in Blue.

I arrived around 8am on the Saturday morning (1st March) the bands were noisy and active. Ian G0VGS was operating and after a brief fault on the 20m vertical (due to heavily saturated ground with the recent heavy rain spells) it was necessary for a alternative 20m vertical to be constructed.

I (2E0TBT) started to operate the station, by now many members of the SANDS contest group had arrived and the shack was a good atmosphere. The pickings for 10m was incredible on both days, 15m was also a busy band. Not so much contest on 40m during the day as the "inter G" was waking, plus it didn't seem fair to jump over a long standing weekly net or adjacent frequencies!

20m was open, bearing in mind the rules stated only 6 band changes maximum per hour so rich pickings was also on many bands so that also had to keep a watchful eye.

Our Saturday Evening Meal

As usual we stopped on the Saturday night for our evening meal thanks to Barrie, Kathy and  Stephany who asked her son Spencer to make a Homemade Steak Pie with a melt in your mouth crust filled with chunks of succulent steak and a proper beef gravy.  The green look was created by the Camera for some reason, the crust round the edge of the pie was closer to the correct colour and it was as good as ever.

For pudding we were treated to Splodge Cake made to a secret family recipe.  The meal was topped off with a choice of tea or coffee.

On Sunday the contest for me became much more of a challenge as many dupes was heard and found, but sure enough during the afternoon many new stations from USA and Canada was waking the bands up on 10m, 15m & 20m which found the main bulk of the contest. The only states I never heard or worked was North Dakota and South Dakota, maybe one day! The contest call (G1T - Golf One Tango) always raises a few comments and laughs.

Overall the contest went very well, plenty of snacks & coffee to help keep awake!!! Now the G1T journey continues with the CQ WW DX Contest at the end of March 2014..

73 Nick

Nick discovering the Contesters Bacon and Banjo Egg Butty

Nick has yes to discover the proper contesters Breakfast I and others used to make:
This consists of a Lancashire Oven Bottom Barmcake, Two Sausages, Two rashers of bacon, Mushrooms and for those who can take a Banjo egg with an unbroken yoke or for the wimps an egg with a broken yoke.

Operator for the weekend included, Damien G0LLG, Ian G0VGS, Hughie G4UME, Frank G8BME, Brian G0RDH, Nick 2E0TBT, TIM.

The WPX contest at the end of March had its trials and tribulations but we pleased to report the group achieved it's first 1 million points.