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A busy couple of weeks

August 10, 2011

It’s been a really busy couple of weeks so I haven’t had much time to post anything here. I think that’s a good thing because the ‘doing’ is more important than the ‘writing’. I’m still short of time so this post isn’t going to be filled with details and deep thoughts, just a brief note of some of the things I’ve been doing and a few pictures to go with them …

A couple of weekends ago, I joined other Felixstowe & District ARS (FDARS) members and the Suffolk Aviation Heritage Group (SAHG) to operate the GB2SAH special event station. SAHG organised a Military Heritage Weekend at their display centre at Kesgrave on the outskirts of Ipswich and asked FDARS to operate the station during the event. The site is an ex-military communications centre and has a range of interesting, but mostly derelict buildings underneath three very high and very useful towers.

FDARS of course jumped at the opportunity to use the towers and made good use of them with an 80m delta loop antenna which Peter G8BLS and some helpers managed to erect between two of the towers with the aid of a tennis ball and a home-made air-powered ‘cannon’ of some sort. A Mosely TA-33-JR tri-band beam, a Cushcraft R7000 multi-band vertical, some dipoles and an array of other antennas kept us all amused over the entire weekend. Iain G0OZS brought his Marmon military communications vehicle and some Clansman equipment, so there was lots of military radio equipment on display and in operation. Of course we played radio, but we also spent a lot of time demonstrating and discussing amateur radio with visitors to the station. I spent time on 40m and 80m with the delta loop because I enjoyed chatting about the event, rather than working the more distant stations on 20m – which we also did very successfully from some of the other radios.

I took a break late on Saturday afternoon to get something to eat and to join the Radio Amateurs of Canada for their AGM in Nova Scotia, but then returned to GB2SAH for an evening on 40m and 80m again. Sunday was another full day of GB2SAH before taking the entire station down. We plan to return to the site as soon as possible, so hopefully GB2SAH will be on-the-air form the three towers again soon.

Photographs are available in my GB2SAH Gallery, from Iain G0OZS and on the FDARS website.

I joined the Radio Amateur of Canada for their Annual General Meeting via a web conference on the Saturday evening. It was very interesting to see the use of technology to let as many widely spread members join the AGM as possible. A great way to involve the members and, as far as I could tell, it worked very well. It was easy to ask questions and it really was just like being in the room with them. I use this type of conference all the time at work, so I’m glad to see the use of the technology being more widely adopted and applied in such a positive way. The RAC appear to be a very open and inclusive organisation, but I’m sure they also share many of the same issues and challenges faced by the other national radio societies.

I received two more UBN Reports from the RSGB HF contest adjudicators for my entries in the 80m Club Championship. Only a couple of points dropped across both legs (I knew about the dupe) so I’m pretty pleased with that :

Adjudication report for M1ACB for 4 Jul 80m CC CW 2011
Date     Time  Call  RepTX SnTX RepRX SnRX Band Mode Reason
04/07/11 20:16 G3MZV 599   60   599   83   3532 CW   Not In Log

Adjudication report for M1ACB for 13 Jul 80m CC SSB 2011 
Date     Time  Call  RepTX SnTX RepRX SnRX CSnRX Band Mode Reason
13/07/11 19:08 G4BYG 59    17   59    8    9      3500 PH  Broken:Serial RX
13/07/11 20:06 G4IDF 59    111  59    31          3500 PH  Duplicate

I also just received a UBN Report for the CQ World-Wide SSB contest in 2010, where I just made a few contact to give away some points. It’s an interesting and more detailed UBN format, which you can see here if you’d like to. Looking at a report for a real, large-scale contest entry would be much better if you are really interested in seeing the detail which can be used to help improve your contest scores.

A mid-week break to celebrate my mother’s 87th birthday and also spend an evening re-building my brother’s Windows XP PC . I need to remind myself every now and again why I decided to move to Mac’s a few years ago!

Back on the radio track again and a quick trip over to Colchester on Friday afternoon to collect six boxes of books and display material for the RSGB bookstall I was to be running at the 21st Great Eastern King’s Lynn Amateur Radio Club Rally at the weekend. A 6:30am start (on a Sunday!) got me to King’s Lynn for around 9:00am after a very necessary coffee stop. I got the stand setup for the 10:00am opening time and had a thoroughly enjoyable rally with the usual mix of sales, problems solved and general chat with members, friends and anyone who I could get to stop and talk to me. As one of the organisers of the Ipswich Rally, I know just how much hard work it is to make a rally happen these days and I think the KARC team and their helpers did a tremendous job. They were extremely helpful when I realised that I’d completely forgotten to get a change float from the bank for the day and they managed to find plenty of change to keep me going. My apologies and thanks to those customers who ‘donated’ a few extra pence because I hadn’t got enough change on a few occasions – your sacrifice is appreciated. A big thank you to everyone at the rally for making it such a pleasant day.

After the rally, Sunday night was spent doing the accounts ready for banking and boxing the remaining book up for the courier to collect during the week. Monday is the day for sending off all the info to RSGB HQ in Bedford and talking to them about any orders, new memberships or problems which came in during the rally where I couldn’t sort it out on the spot.

Mark M6TNG

Monday night was a time to have some fun down by the sea with FDARS at their beach operating evening. A half wave 20m vertical was setup about 10 feet from the waters edge and, even though the conditions weren’t great, lots of DX was worked. My first call on 20m brought a reply from VA1/ON4UN. John is the author of the Low-Band DXing book, which has been on my own bookshelf for many years, so it was great to speak to him on-the-air.

Mark M6TNG is a regular on the GB3PO repeater, but had done very little on HF until that evening, so he was ‘helped’ to take some first tentative steps on 20m. It’s easy to forget just how intimidating it can be to call CQ on HF and not know quite what will happen. He did very well and I’m pretty sure he enjoyed it. Careful Mark – it’s very addictive!

I didn’t mention my ‘day job’ in the account of the last few weeks, but I’ve got one of those too and it’s also been pretty busy. But that’s it – I’m up-to-date with my posts. I hope it wasn’t too boring for you.

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