Monthly Archives: April 2013

Antenna Workshop Weekend

Antenna Workshop Weekend

It is nice to see so many people turning up for the weekend activities down at the Fort. Some members started to arrive early on the Friday and proceeded to set up their caravans. As more people arrived, the two Scam masts were collected from Franks’ compound and then positioned ready for a thorough servicing which was long overdue. With the light fading fast, it was decided to continue with the servicing in the morning.

Saturday started as expected with the servicing of the masts. Unfortunately they were in a poorer state of condition need than was envisaged, and so the servicing dragged on until mid- afternoon.

While some people worked on the servicing, the wheels were whipped off the trailer and taken for new tyres. Unfortunately, the tyres will not be fitted until Monday, leaving the mobile shack not so mobile at the moment. With a bit of a lull in the happenings, a moment was spent on investigating Charlie’s antenna which was not behaving. A valuable lesson was learnt here; use good coax and make sure that it is connected properly to the antenna and to the plug.

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This brought us up to that most important time, The BBQ. The chef for this occasion was old’ Syd, and he burnt a mean burger.

After everyone was looking like a barrel, it was back to the field and the erection of the Scam masts and two other portable masts. Then it was time to measure out the 574ft of antenna wire required for the first antenna to try, a 160m Sky loop. At this point it was discovered that one of the Scam masts was positioned in the wrong place (no names to be mentioned, Andy) and that when repositioning one of the portable masts, two segments snapped (no names again…). Once this was sorted, the antenna was hauled skywards, only for it to be noticed that one of the segments of a scam mast had collapsed (No!!). So after yet more tinkering, it was erect again. Good work by Charlie and Pat in repairing the generator after Frank had snapped the pull cord.

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Now with the antenna in the air, the lads attempted to play radio, working a couple stations on 160m and 80m. Unfortunately the reports were not favourable, so a Charlie connected up his FT857, and continued to play for a while longer. By this time, the night had taken over, and without a shack to hide from the elements in, the Franks shack was invaded, and some operating was conducted from there, until he threw them all out.

Sunday morning saw an unwelcome change in the weather, and two missing campers. Well not so much campers; they decided not to brave the cold night in their tents, but instead slept in the club room – light weights. With the weather threatening to change to rain at any moment, the decision was taken to lower the antenna systems, and put everything away. This in fact was very quick task and once complete, those with caravans started to pack away.

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A couple of members not to be deterred by the ominous weather threw a kite into the air, tethered by 65m of antenna wire, and fed into the back of the FT857.

With this set-up, many contacts were made over the next two hours, before the Pat had to go home, and the battery voltage started to drop.

In all though, the kite set-up was more successful than the large loop, and brought many onlookers.

 

 

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Three Years On with Humber Fortress DX A.R.C

 It is now almost 3 years since the founding of the club. Apart from the usual club nights, we have organised special events, activating the radio in celebration of momentous occasions, for example, the Museum and the Blackburn Beverley aircraft. The club has also taken up the challenge of the RSGB 80m CC and the 160m Club Calls contests, and year on year are showing improvements in the league table as more members start to become involved.

 

Yaesu FT-2000 can be used for 20m 15m 10m 160m and 80m
computer logging system
Andy G7LRR front with Kieth 2E0ODL rear and Robert Keith son logging
Bob M0RWL
Sean 2E0SCA
Steve 2E0NSQ
Steve M6OKB
Phil M0VEY
Kevin M6EYR
G6LNV John
Very first Photo of anyone in the shack Simon 2E0GMW
Jon M6HDX

 

 The whole fort is fortunate to have been built on a sand bank  and then having salt water flowing around the site. These mere attributes alone means that the antennas see an effective height of 110ft ASL and an equivalent signal gain of 20dB’s on the low bands.

 

looking south east
looking to the west
Looking to the south
Looking to the north
looking south east
Looking north east

 

As with any other radio club, the antennas are the ears and mouth, and the shack the heart of the club. It our relatively short existence, we have built the shack up into a full two operator station, capable of working all the bands independently, from 160m through to 10m. In the near future we are hoping to expand again and install a third operator position for V/UHF bands. This will then further cement our founding premise for starting out, as a Contest and Special Events club.

The short  time lapse video gives an indication of what has occurred in the shack over the last year; Special Events, Contesting, Teaching (how to log, operating , PSK), Guest operators, and just passing by visitors. It has all happened in the shack.

 

 

The Project room is now in constant use, with repairs taking place on old valve radios that members have brought in. There are demonstrations to the newer members of how to solder simple items, and the construction of antenna peripherals. It has been a long time coming, but this project room had construction problem to overcome due to the inability to secure to the walls. The following slide show, demonstrates how it all came together with hard work.

 

Take an old damp room
Before the work starts
Let the stud work begin
Lower the ceiling
make the roof water tight
Plaster board the stud work
Hang on guys Break time
Nothing like a good old cuppa
Plastering time real handy having all the trades within the club
All the Socket you need in an workshop by our resident Sparks
Let there be light and there it was
health and safety fire exit sign as well
a little heat
Storage shelving going in

 

The clubs new mobile shack is nearing completion despite the bad weather hindering progress. The mobile shack is derived from an old BT Box van which has now been placed on a caravan chassis. For a couple events last year, we used the shack for operating even though it is not 100% complete. This has enabled us to test out its capabilities. We are able to run up to 3 operating positions from the trailer, albeit powered from Battery, Mains or Generators. It is hoped that the trailer will be used to great effect for not only operating from, but also for promoting Amateur Radio in general.

 

Trailer first day
Kevin 2E0OAH about to check the trailer mounts
Loads of room under there Kevin
Syd M1COV getting setup to swap out the old mounting bolts
Syd M1COV with Charlie 2E0CIY S
Finshing the new mounting bolts
Jon M6HDX the Clubs resident painter make a start on the inside
Painting on the outside begins
Alloy back step goes on and just the doors one more coat
All handed painted and looking well ready for sign writing
Electrics are fitted and tested and bench work begins
Bob M0RWL making a great job on the work bench
Nice fit Bob
Ready for varnishing another job for Bob M0RWL
Nearly finshed and you can see Bob handy work look at the varnishing
This was test run out to iron out any bugs we found Charlie 2E0CIY in the Chair
Trailer and one of 3 Scam masts all setup as test weekend

 

 

 

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Steve W4SLT on the air from HFDXARC HQ

 

It was nice to meet Steve W4SLT after years of talking to him on 20m across the Pond, Steve had come over to Visit Peter Rodmell G3ZRS and his Friend.

Steve wanted to pop along to Fort Paull to meet the guys and see the radio club for himself he had spoken to so many times.

Contact was made and an invite was soon sent out, Steve came along with Peter and wife Gwen who are often guests down at the radio club.

We give Steve the grand tour of the fort and club he really enjoyed looking at and taking photos of the Blackburn Beverley.

The night was finished off by Steve in a shack working a pile of G stations on 40m.

All in all a nice night out for Steve and the members of the club got to meet the voice they had spoken to so many times.

 

Cheers Steve talk soon

From all at the Club

 

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