September 10, 2014

Leighton Moss 50th Anniversary GB50LM and Flora & Fauna


Recently SANDS put on this station at Leighton Moss nature Reserve, in conjunction the RSPB. This is how the event came about.

I help at RSPB Leighton Moss Nature Reserve as a Volunteer and 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the RSPB taking over the management of this wonderful Site of Scientific Interest. I am also part of the small team set up to help research the history of Leighton Moss. During one of these meetings thoughts went to ways of publicising the anniversary. I mentioned why not use Amateur Radio. A meeting was arranged with the Visitor site Manager; Publicity Manager to explain the hobby
When back home, a quick email to the group to find out anyone was interested and a call to OFCOM to find out how to get a NOV for a GB50 call.

SANDS Amateur Radio Contest and Special Events Group were interested and OFCOM explained how to get a special special call!

When I had the meeting with Leighton Moss RSPB, I explained about amateur radio and showed some qsls from similar sites and other WFF stations to show we could help publicise the 50 years. To say the RSPB were interested would be a slight understatement! 

The RSPB asked if we could run the station over the late August Bank Holiday and they would assist with the qsl cards. We requested a letter from the RSPB in support of our application for a  Special Special call GB50LM, as suggested by OFCOM.

Back home, a draft qsl was made & emailed over to RSPB for checking, and after a few tweaks, an approved “draft” was agreed to use and sent out for quotes. An application plus a letter of support was sent to OFCOM for a NOV to use the call GB50LM.

Updates were also sent out regularly to SANDS member to ensure all involved were kept upto date.

Phew by the end of July, OFCOM had agreed the NOV, qsl cards were on order so a site visit was arranged with the SANDS chairman to view the site and arrange the station location and aerial site. It was agreed that the station would be set up in the holt, (RSPB education room) the aerials would be set up in the orchard  and the run of the feeders back to station was planned to minimise any slip or trip hazards. A full risk assessment carried out and sent to Leighton Moss, RSPB. We then created a rota of operators who were available which was also sent over to cover the event. We allowed one operator & at least one greeter at all times.

Antenna Setup Team:

 Hughie G4UME, Frank G8BME, Chris G4LDS, Ian G0VGS

On Friday, 22nd, a small group arrived at Leighton Moss to set up the aerials. As we were operating over 3 days, during the daytime in Summer, it was agreed we would operate on 40m using a dipole  20m using a ¼ vertical. Eventually these were erected and we withdrew ready for the start the next day.
Frank and Ian setting the main station a K3 and Amplifier up
Chris operating the Elecraft K3 and matching  amplifier running 
at 350w and logging the first contacts of the special event station

As the sun rose on the Saturday, we arrived at Leighton Moss with a K3 plus matching amp and a Heil HC4/5 headset and by 9:30, the first call of “CQ from GB50LM G/FF 143” was heard on 40m.  Another SANDS member, Andrew, brought over his KX3 and spent time over the weekend working around 100 stations The main station was active on the Saturday mainly on 40m, on Sunday 40m & a few on 20m & on the Monday, as well as 40/20 we used the 40m dipole on 15m to work Japan, We found the band conditions variable with a S7 noise level, (we believe from the local solar power regulators!). We tried to work all that called up and by the time we closed down at 5pm on Monday, we had around 950 qsos.

Our special thanks to all the RSPB team for the help & support and allowing SANDS to help celebrate the 50 years at Leighton Moss.

Event Station Equipment:
With the exception of antennas all the radios and computers are supplied by Sands Group members.
Radio's Elecraft K3 with the Elecraft Linear Amplifier, our second station was the Elecraft KX3 Andrew has packed this set away for holidays into Europe, Dx-peditions, SOTA and other awards and what a great radio it is.

The logging software used was N1MM

Dipoles for 40m/80m
Verticals for 20m/15m
Details of the event on QRZ.Com

Station operators from Sands Amateur Radio Group in Yellow

Visitors have a white background

G4LDS Chris2E0DTG Dave2E0TBT NickG0LWU Andrew
G0VGS IanG1LAT StephG1TLQ SteveG4UME Hughie
G8BME FrankG0RDH BrianG6FKE KevG1OCK Bob
G1JYB BarrieM3YOG Kathie
G4DPT Tim Upstone & Mary
G0YLM Linda
2EOCXJ ColinG4ABE Jim Ellis (Warton, ex Heysham 1)G3HMR Guy Moser (Kendal)

Chris G4LDS
Nick 2E0TBT operated a pileup or two
Frank G8BME
Chris operating on 20m using Andrews KX3
Ian G0VGS operating the main K3 station & Linear at 350W
Stephany spent two days with us you may have worked her 
on the Tour de France station which was active throughout July
 Andrew G0LWU operating the KX3 on 20m
Dave was eager to learn more about the radio and operating techniques. 
 Andrew and Dave discussing logging information  
 Nick 2E0TBT Making contacts on the KX3
Thats how to strike a pose!

Along with the transmitting stations there was a display of WW2 to more modern keys on display Which covered Air Sea and Land Morse Communications


Thanks to all who worked us, spotted us on the cluster and were supportive. 

Thanks to Chris for doing the lions share of the Blog covering how an idea was taken from an idea with all the hurdles and loopholes through to the end result of a special event station.

Sands Amateur Radio Contest and Special Events Group were privileged to be invited to take part and wish Leighton Moss every success as they continue to celebrate their 50th Anniversary.


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