I once again took part with the in the 50MHz trophy cup with the SNBCG, the contest runs for 24 Hrs from 3 PM on Saturday. This year the contest had been booked for one of the hottest days of the year, with temperatures reaching 30C (around 220F in old money)
We set up Saturday morning, using the 5e 50MHz beam and a 10m pump up mast. A solid state amplifier provided 400w and a light weight tent to keep off the sun.
The most important issue throughout the weekend was trying to keep cool, with copious cold drinks from the fridge. Fred G3SVK was kind enough to lend us a fan and this became an essential item for the shack.
Fred spent some time operating on CW, working mostly EU with the odd notable exception.
Members of the SNBCG took part in the first 50 MHz contest of the year at the Kelvedon Hatch SNB using the club call M0SNB. The contest ran from for 3 hrs on Sunday morning (10 till 1) the weather was forecast to be 23C and sunny. We opted to operate outdoors using a 5e beam on a 10m pump up mast. The radio was an Icom 7600 and Expert 1.3 K-FA provided 400w power was provided by a Honda EU20 generator.
The band seemed very busy, with lots of stations taking part, and I think the good weather helped encourage more portable operating. Over the course of the next 3 hrs, we worked 63 Q with our best DX into EI at 585 KM. Conditions seemed average, but we did have some very rapid QSO on some of the longer paths, sounded very much like aircraft flutter.
A very enjoyable contest in the sun, thanks to everyone we worked.
Members of the Secret Nuclear Bunker Contest Group (SNBCG) assembled at Kelvendon Hatch to try 144 MHz (Earth Moon Earth) EME and MS (Meteor Scatter) over the weekend of the ARRL EME event As a group we have tried with some success MS QSO and this helped lay the foundation for this weekend’s EME event.
EME is particularly challenging due to the great distances involved and extreme path loss of the signal after its travelled close on 500,000 miles! The equipment and format of the QSO is similar to MS, we used the WSJT-X 1.7 (currently in Alpha) and WSJT provided free from Joe Taylor K1JT website.
The weekend of the ARRL EME event was selected as it provided the best chance of working some of the EME “big guns”. Our equipment was quite modest by comparison, but included a
We found we could often decode signals, and even the thrill of decoding signals from the K2VEE in EM79 via the moon was incredible…then it happened.
We answered a CQ call by HB9Q and to our surprise they replied. This was our first and it turned out only EME QSO that weekend.
We continued to have quite a few MS QSO working Italy, Slovenia, Denmark and Norway and also a number of SSB contacts with 30 or so UK stations over the course of the weekend.
It is always nice to try a new mode and to succeed, you must never underestimate how difficult it is to achieve a QSO over that incredible distance. We achieved our goal of making an EME QSO, and regular decoding of signals via the moon. If this has inspired you to have a go I would encourage you to check out K4MSG guide to small station EME. Also have a look at W5UN monster EME array that has bagged him over 11,000 EME QSO !
George M1GEO and myself took part in the RSGB 70 MHz trophy contest this weekend at the Kelvedon hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker contest site. The weather was ideal for alfresco operating, using the Icom 7100 and homebrew 6e beam at 10m on the Racal PU12 mast. Using 50w and a 85Ah leisure battery we operated from 11am till 4 PM.
Here you can see the PU12 and home-brew 6e 70 MHz beam. Operating from the base of the mast provided quick access to turn the beam. We managed to work 59 QSO with best DX into Scotland at 518 KM. The QSO map is shown here.
Meanwhile Rob M0VFC was operating QRP HF on 3.5, 7 and 14 MHz using a range of dipoles. Unfortunately the HF bands have been a challenge at the best of times during the day, and QRP provided to be interesting. After a few hrs operating Rob had completed 30 QSO, and under the conditions that counts as a sterling effort ! Here you can see Rob operating from the boot of his car Altogether another great weekend of alfresco operating in the sunshine.
National Mills on the air weekend is a chance to combine amateur radio with the national windmills open day. Upminster windmill is our local mill, and it was a delight to operate on the green opposite the mill once again. The mill has stood on the green in various guises since 1803, and recently thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund its just secured large grant to complete some restoration and the building of a education and visitors centre.
Unfortunately due to the ongoing building work members of the public were not able to visit the mill this year, but that didn’t stop them coming to visit us operating radio in the field.
(Back Left Dave M1YOL, From Left John 9H5G, Peter G0IAP, Chris G8OCV and George M1GEO)
This years event was well attending, with our furthest operator travelling from Malta to guest operate. John 9H5G operating left) retired to Malta, but often travels back to the UK. We were delighted to welcome him to the team, and he was soon pressed into service on 7 MHz managing the pile-up.
We operated using 2 x Icom 7100, making use of 5, 7, and 14 MHz on HF and 70 and 144 MHz on VHF. Over the course of the weekend we contacted over 30 mills and 150 others stations from all over Europe.
We also had a lot of fun 73 to everyone we worked, QSL is via EQSL.cc please.
The Easter bank holiday weekend and the WPX contest provided an ideal first field day in 2016. The event was located at Kelvedon Hatch SNB near Ongar in Essex and used the club call MX0SNB. On arrival at our contest site close to the mast the recent wet weather had made the grass boggy to say the least. It soon became apparent one of the vehicles was stuck in the mud, and after much pushing and pulling we decided another location would be required,
Luckily the owner of the site offered us another location, higher up on the hill with the added advantage that once onto the hill your vehicle only need to slide down to the bottom of the hill to exit.
Using George M1GEO 14 MHz homebrew beam and my 21 MHz beam we setup our stations on a lovely sunny Friday afternoon. Power was provided by 2 x Honda EU20 generators coupled together and providing 4 Kw of power.
Dave M0YOL kindly offered his awning and copious cups of tea, bacon sandwiches through the event. We had completed the setup before sun down on Friday, allowing us to complete some testing with both of the solid state amplifiers. George had recently purchased a Expert 1.3K FA amplifier and I have been using the hal1200_atlantic for the last few months.
Both amplifiers are capable of providing over 1KW of RF power, more than enough to meet the UK full legal power of 400w.
George M1GEO and Chris G8OCV have designed and built a 3 element 14 MHz beam, the design uses roach poles and provides a light portable beam. The 21 MHz beam I constructed was based on DK7ZB design, and the construction details have been previously discussed in this article.
Audio clip working India AT5R
The setup inside the awning provided a dry and mostly windproof operating position, although at this early in the year the evenings are somewhat chilly ! The weather provided a real challenge as the weekend progressed, with a high exposed location and storm Katie approaching the south of the UK. Over the course of the next 48 Hrs the rain and the wind increased to storm force with gusts in London of 50 MPH and in our exposed hilltop location more like 70 MPH. We lowered the beams and continued as best as possible using a vertical and doublet antenna. Late on Sunday night, early hours of Monday morning the storm really hit, the awning was in danger of parting from the caravan so the decision was taken to quickly move all the equipment into the safety of the caravan.
The wind caused some damage to George and Chris beam, this now requires some TLC.
Unfortunately the beam is not likely to make any further contests, but team GEO do have plans for a aluminium version soon.
My 21 MHz beam fared a little better with the weather and survived the storm, unfortunately the mast will require a new guide rail (a plastic wedge that stops the mast rotating) due to the wind loading put upon the mast in the storm.
Despite the awful weather conditions we did manage to work 744 QSO in 94 DXCC in the main on 14 and 21 MHz.
The following maps show QSO made on 21 MHz (Red pins) and 14 MHz (Yellow pins) showing North America, South America and Asia.