Sands Amateur Radio Group Take Part in IARU 2011Hi Folks,
Kev G6FKE took on the role of event manager with Brian G0RDH backing him up as deputy Manager for this contest. The last blog covered the over all preparation for the IARU contest and Friday 8th of July found us proving that preparation was well worth while. A small team of 6 members booked time out of work or made time allowing us to set the antenna's up the day before the contest.
We were well aware that a bad weather front was moving in on us early Friday afternoon and with this in mind we made an early start collecting the 30ft mast, antenna's and accessories.
Please note that nearly all the photographs used can be enlarged by clicking on the image so that you can see more detail. The photograph will appear in a new window, if you see a + when your mouse is over the image it can be enlarged again.
The use of Paul M6APB's trailer was a godsend because all the equipment could be taken directly into the meadow saving us a lot of time and effort.
Mast and Antenna setups
Team work is essential for any successful project whether its a commercial enterprise or as in our case setting up for the IARU Competition. The group split into two working parties.
The Nest of Dipoles
Both Paul's 2E0EET and M6APB set to work with Hughie G4UME erecting the 30ft mast that would take the nest of dipoles for 160m, 80m & 40m. They were at the planning stage here,working out the best location to site the mast.
Now that a suitable location has been identified they set to work erecting the mast in line with a metal base plate that stops the mast sinking into the meadow.
It may look like Paul's got a bad back, Hughie's trying to catch a line and Kev's lost the will to live but trust me, there is method in this madness.
Whilst 2E0EET made sure the mast was held in place, Hughie G4UME and Paul M6APB set to work fastening the guy lines. A lanyard and pully was already in place at the top of the mast so that the nest of dipoles could be raised easily.
Our Vertical Antenna's
This picture shows the 40m vertical
Kev and Ian set to work building the vertical antenna's for the event, they were in the form of guyed fibreglass verticals with the antenna wire secured with a small amount of insulation tape running down the mast. A box fixed around a metre off the ground supplied three bolts. A bolt top centre for the antenna, and bolts on either side to take the ground plane. An SO259 is located at the base of the box for connecting the coaxial feeder.
It's hard to believe that less than an hour after this picture was taken we were in the midst of showers of rain.
The antenna's in use at this event were:
- A Nest of Dipoles covering 160m,80m and 40m
- A 40m Vertical
- Phased Arrays for 10m 15m & 20m.
Its a little difficult to see here but the picture below shows the 15m & 20m phased array used in the contest. The electric fence posts were used to keep the radials off the ground.
All our antenna's are tested and where necessary adjusted so that they operate to their full potential.
Ian returned early on Saturday morning to setup the radio, linear and the N1MM logging software the group find so enjoyable to use.
Giving Ian's K3 a rest, Mike Clarke M0PRL brought his K3 station. Mike has recently returned from an 18 month tour of with the British Antarctic Survey team where you may have been lucky enough to work him as VP8DMH from Rothera Base.
The radio is fitted with a second receiver identical to receiver fitted to the main VFO allowing operators to sample true diversity reception at its best.
The groups contest callsign G1T (Golf One Tango) is ready to hit the Airwaves
Ian G0VGS was the first to operate, he was looking forward to operating Mikes Station with its Pan Adapter and listening to true diversity signals.
A lot of time and effort had gone into the antenna systems and overall preparation for the contest by many members and now was the time to enjoy the fruit of our labour's.
Ian enjoyed himself so much that time went by too quickly for him before it was Paul 2E0EET's turn on the radio.
Elecraft P3 Pan Adapter
The Elecraft P3 Pan Adapter has been available since 2010 but this contest is the first hands on experience I have had using the K3 with the P3 Pan adapter and it was a very enjoyable experience.
I have included direct links found on the Elecraft P3 page which includes the PDF file on how to set the Pan adapter up, A link to the Eham P3 reviews page and finally the full Elecraft Web address for the P3 that give good detailed information and more links.
eHam P3 Reviews
Other equipment used was the Ranger 811H Linear Amplifier
The Heil Pro Headset & Mic
Sony Dynamic Stereo Headphones MDR-V6
Operators for the event
Kev G6FKE acted as mentor for Kathy M3YOG who despite hosting many of our contests with her husband (Barrie G1JYB) had never really wanted to take part in the event itself.
A rare picture of Barrie G1JYB without his hat!
The time passed quickly and Kathy was surprised to learn that She had been operating for an hour. One of her latter contacts being with a Japanese station. I spent some time listening to Kathy as she operated and she projected her voice clearly leaving no doubt of what she was saying. Talking with Kathy later she told me that she had really enjoyed the experience.
Paul 2E0EET and M6APB are two of our newest members and it has been a pleasure watching them grow in confidence, experience and technical ability with each competition they attend.
I promise you that Steve G1TLQ did not pose for this shot, It was taken after Steve completed a few hours operating in the contest. Steve was just chatting with Mike before setting off home.
More on the operators later......
Its time to look at our Saturday night menu
Now that's what you call a Cow Pie
Barrie and Kathy hosted the event and we were treated to a Steak Pie to die for cooked by Stephany's son Spencer. For those of us old enough to remember traditional school dinners and those large trays in front of the dinner lady with the pastry cut into squares, well that's around the size of the tray seen in this picture.
The pastry was cooked to perfection covering succulent beef complimented by a real rich beef gravy. It was a gastronomic delight. Vegetables served with the steak pie were creamed sweet and normal potatoes, carrots and garden pea's
There were those amongst us who had seconds and my only mistake was saying to barrie.... "Just a small portion please" The plate that came back had more on it than my original first course. Barrie with a twinkle in his eye said "get stuck into that!"
To balance things out a little Stephany had prepared a delightful fresh fruit salad served with double cream. This time it was Ian's turn to go for the small portion.
Back to the Contest Operators
The elder Statesman of our group Hughie spent some time on the radio and enjoyed making some night time contacts. He ended up spending the night with the graveyard shift not through choice...... He hadn't forgotten where he parked his car this time, however he had forgotten to bring his jacket down with him after the meal. The Cartledge Family had locked up and were safely tucked up in bed and his car keys were in his jacket pocket.
Mike spent some enjoyable time on Cw using the Begali Key before retiring for the night. It was good to be able to supplement our standard SSB contacts with CW
I took over from Mike and continued operating CW on the 40m/80m bands until around 2:15am when Kev completed the rest of the night.
Breakfast consisted of Lorne Sausage, Bacon, Mushrooms and fried Egg served on a large Bap. Breakfast was cooked by Kev on the contester's versatile George Foreman Grill.
Everyone who wanted to spent some time on the G1T station on Sunday morning
Mike enjoying a break before working the last two hours of the contest on Sunday.
Thanks to Barrie and Kathy for hosting the event for us and supplying us with the food on Saturday Night....
I don't give recommendations out lightly I must also put a word of thanks in to Spencer for cooking up another masterpiece of gastronomic delight in the form of the Steak Pie and Stephany for her Fruit Salad
The Bridge Inn Tatham
Spencer is the Chef The Bridge Inn Tatham where you can be sure of excellent food and drink in a real country pub.
(This picture was taken by Dave Mulligan 10th October 2010)
If you enjoy a little Sota/WOTA Why not make your base at Oysterber Farm.
Along with the Cottages there is also a small Caravan site all with Power and WiFi is available upon request. They are open all year round and Barrie & Kathy will do their utmost to make your stay one to remember for all the right reasons.
Well that's about it for this blog.... Our next event is IOTA at Sunderland Point 30th -31st of July..... If your in the area why not drop in and visit us you'll be assured a warm welcome.
(The Reluctant Contester)