Month: May 2016

Spring Bank Holiday Radio Weekend

Everyone loves a bank holiday weekend (unless you happen to be working) and last weekend was a 3 day radio event run by LEFARS. The event is based at the Rainbow and Dove PH, yes really a radio event in a pub garden !

The event used the special event call GB2LRS on 7 and 144 MHz, while 21 MHz used the Secret Bunker Club call M0SNB. On 7 MHz the club used a doublet antenna, on 21 MHz we used 400w and 4e home-brew beam aerial. The beam was mounted on a 10m Clark pump up past, with a recently purchased Yaesu G1000S rotator. The linear amplifier was a solid state by Expert 1.3K providing flawless power on the Honda generator.


While the band conditions did provide a challenge, we did prove that even on a quiet band its possible to work DX with some power and a good antenna. We worked some nice DX including Uruguay, Brazil and Philippines to name a few.


In the evenings we turned our hand to 3.5 MHz, and I made a simple dipole to hang from the mast. We placed a 1:1 Balun at the feed point, and fed the antenna with coax. The antenna was cut to provide a match on 3.7 MHz, so no ATU was required. The addition of 400w allowed us to put out what many described as a phenomenal signal. I checked the signal on the Hack Green SDR, and from this screenshot you can judge for yourself. The signal reported by Hack Green was -42 dBm.

Listen to the audio clip of M0SNB operating 400w on 80m recorded via Hack Green SDR


Fred G3SVK also guest operated, working over 100 station on CW including some USA stations. The total number of QSO over the weekend was 320 mostly on SSB. The conditions at times did throw up a few surprises, at one stage I could hear and worked stations in Ireland at 59 on 21 MHz !

It was also nice to see Charlie M0PZT and Peter G0DZB operating portable both using Elecraft KX3s although both torturing their radios with some old school on-off keying 🙂

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Thanks to the LEFARS team for organising another great weekend of radio.

Upminster Windmill on the air

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 please.

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Essex Ham event at Shoeburyness Beach

I noticed the @essexham crew had tweeted that they would be operating radio from Shoeburyness on Sunday, and the weather forecast was looking good so I decided to head over and say hello.

I had never operated from the car park (adjacent to the beach) at Shoeburyness, but was aware of the location as its popular with walkers and kite flyers.



I packed up the car, taking the Icom 7100 and roach pole / Slim Jim antenna, 85 Ah leisure battery The journey down was a little busier than expected, mainly due to the fine weather and Bank Holiday rush to the coast.



Here you can see the various roach poles, above setup for 40m and 144 Mhz

Peter G0DZB had a loop for 30m setup between the roach poles.





Setting up the roach pole and slim jim on 70 MHz and I was able to work M0KSJ around 50km away
 I was also able to work station in Basildon and Chelmsford, but the band did see a little quiet.

I then turned my attention to some pictures  snapped this picture looking East towards Foulness Island. The sea was some considerable distance out, leaving the boats beached and a wide expanse of sand.