Category Archives: Todays News

CQWW 2023 Mast’s, Tents And Carrier Bags

I always want to start with ‘Friday Morning dawned bright and early’. The early part was true but no – it was raining AGAIN. Did we let it dampen our spirits though?

The first job of the day was to get the really big tent up. The space for catering and 3 lucky fellas sleeping quarters. It had heating, bug zappers, chairs, a table, and mats so what more could you possibly want? I must admit though standing on the outside when it was being erected, we heard some strange ‘goings on’. The Big one goes there, Chris, you put it in that hole, and so on ( not getting involved with that one). We also remembered Mike’s grass and put down some walkways to protect it while it was wet.

9.30 am arrived along with our lovely Norfolk Steve M0EBJ who had set off from his QTH at 5.20 am bringing with him the first of our mobile masts. Something he had made himself and I must say is a stunning piece of kit. Great care was taken with not only the mast but the grass too so it could be set up in the middle of the grassed area in front of the club.

We then had our own homemade mobile mast I believe known as ‘The Beast’. This was set up at the back of the club so we could hit it at all angles on the bands.

  I know I have mentioned more than once that the grass was wet and it was raining so obviously suitable footwear was needed. Maybe short notice caught some people out so we had our own in-house designer make and model our very own version of the waterproof shoe. Tappy did it the slightly wacky way and had blue on one foot and white on the other with never-before-seen fastenings made out of black electrical tape. Please see the photos and be advised other supermarkets may do striped bags.

Friday afternoon was mostly taken up with radio leads and bandpass filters being tested.

 last minute Coax runs put in by Sean M0SLY and Andy G7LRR.

Oh yeah, and the odd cup of tea usually when Chris had nothing to do – for god’s sake someone keeps him busy or we will all drown in tea.

Friday evening was BBQ time. Lots of food was cooked by Head Chef Chris G0URG and his new Sous Chef Charlie 2E0CIK. Well done lads Chris G0URG And Steve M0EBJ by the BBQ.

CQWW started at 1 am Saturday (clocks fallen back!) Many of us were not there to see the start but we had the usual hardy bunch of night workers taking on the task of getting us off to a good start.

 

As usual with this contest, it began pretty slow but began to pick up speed into the early hours with 80m and Top Band wide open. We ran 5 stations through the night but as predicted 15 and 10 meters did not come alive until mid-morning. The ops were working to a rota that had been drawn up to provide ample breaks and relief ops during their 8-hour stint. The roster was tossed out of the window by Saturday afternoon as operators and band conditions changed constantly, however, it proved a very helpful tool for the weekend.

It has to be noted that the 10-meter band was pretty bad for us, as it was one-way traffic. We could hear the USA and South American stations but they struggled to hear us. Just the band conditions as other stations around the northeast UK confirmed.

The Morning team started at 7ish, we have to go with ‘Ish’ as not all know what 7 am looks like. Did someone mention breakfast butties well you will have to wait for Chris and Charlie to finish their stint of operating.? Bacon, eggs, and sausage were offered along with toast with either jam or marmalade. Someone put the kettle on, please. Night-time lads drifted off to their various sleeping quarters, be it a tent, a pod, or a caravan, and good lord you should have heard the snoring.

Trevor G7IWE trying to warm up after his unusual showers. Poor Trevor had his airbed up against the tent wall so he got flooded out of bed but all clouds have a silver lining as he got upgraded to a caravan. One of our most senior operators deserves the best.

Saturday mid-morning called for our catering crew to start food in slow cookers for the crew to eat later in the day. Linda had made 2 big pots of Beef Stew or casserole whatever you prefer to call it. There was also a pot of Chicken Curry, Poppadum, bread rolls, and rice were supplied. They had to cook their own rice because of the health and safety of re-heating and we didn’t want to kill off any operators or else we would be down on numbers. I should really say we did not just give them brekkie and tea; they had sarnies for lunch too again made by Linda. Our catering crew did include our only female operator so she was kept busy all weekend.

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They call her Queen of 80m but this weekend saw her have a go at every station, getting her first contact in Peru and another in Thailand which made her a happy bunny.

As we started to rack up the points, we quickly saw our previous best score appear on the main projector screen with still a full day of contesting in front of us.

BUT THEN……….. Our 10-meter PC had a fit and died on us, causing panic and sweaty palms. Another PC was set up very quickly by Andy G7LRR as this was an “anticipated” event from the contest planning stage. Andy announced “panic over” as he had got the backup running, but upon checking the score we had lost 2 million points from the total. Now I really don’t need to write the panic mode we were all in at this point, with certain ops crying openly into their tea (the crying is a tall tail lol).

After a lot of worry and panic the old HD produced the goods, and the scores were all reset to as they should be. Panic over but was certainly a squeaky bum time.

Saturday afternoon brought about a very special visitor Bob who is one of the ‘youngest’ founder members and I for one was very proud and pleased to meet him. We had a small ceremony with Mike Wood being given a certificate for honorary membership of the club for all the hard work he puts into helping us and for putting up with us for so long, well done Mike. There were also 2 other certificates given out for Lifetime membership of the club. Both of these are founder members of the club and therefore fully deserved due to the commitment, time, blood sweat, and tears put into maintaining the running of HFDXARC. Congratulations to both Bob M0RWL and Andy G7LRR who both shed a tear but don’t tell anyone as they will only deny it. Well, Done to everyone.

More operating, more tea drinking, and lots of eating was the order of the day. And then the bell ringing started. 4 million, 5 million, and so on. We even got to ring it for some rare callsign or a PB for the operator. We love a bit of bell ringing. More night operations with again our stalwart crew of night guys although I am convinced some of them forgot to get some sleep.  

Sunday, the final day. Again, the breakfast butties were on the go all done with the usual care and attention to detail (eat it or do without!). Linda had made another 6lts of Beef stew because let’s face it who doesn’t love a good stew? She also made 2 giant quiches, 1 rather sticky-looking chocolate cake and my personal favourite 2 fruit tea loves. Yum yum.!! Also supplied were 6lts of Bolognese with the usual load of biscuits, crisps and sweeties.  And yes, a good few men helped with the washing up.

The afternoon of napping, chatting, tea drinking, and operating. Then the run down into the final few hours of the competition. Obviously, some had to go home as they apparently had real lives outside of the club and had to go to work the next day. Thanks all.

We plodded on to the very end trying as always to grab that one last contact and reach that 5th Million mark. Again, we had the Queen of 80m sat at her usual station refusing to move until the bitter end – 4.5 hrs she sat there for and god help anyone who tried to take over. Andy came in with the usual ‘it’s time to stop gesture’ and the radios fell silent.

Monday was clean-up day and as usual, everyone that could get mucked in and got the site back to as near normal by lunchtime.

Thank you so much to everyone, whether you are a member or a guest. Whether you did the whole weekend or just a couple of hours, all of it was appreciated. Our crew consisted of many Guest operators, some of whom drove all the way from Gatwick, Northampton, Somerset, and Norwich to whom we are truly grateful. It was a real pleasure meeting and operating with some of them for the first time and joining up with regular ops who gave their time to the club and contest again.

The team for the 2023 CQWW were :

Lyns G0AZE : Nick G0VQO : Rob M0KPD : Arek M0VQP : Steve M0EBJ : Kevin M0KVK : Andy G7LRR : Sean M0SLY : Andy (Tappy) 2E1TAP : Rich M0RKK : Chris G0URG : Sue M6URG : Shane 2E0EPB : Mike G7TYT : Bob M0RWL : Trevor G7IWE : Johnathon M1CAV : Dave 2E0TKO : Steve M7EYP.

Regards

Sue M6URG

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The mast we call the beast

In the summer months of 2023 club members Andy G7LRR and Mike Wood started to build a mobile trailer mast that came to be known later as the beast by other members.

Work began in the form of stripping an old caravan down to salvage the chassis, On doing so a plan was then formed on how we were going to mount the mast as we wanted to use materials we had a lying about (i.e. FREE) and recycled steel.

This task involved welding, grinding and designing on the spot with raw materials a scam pump mast on a ground post had been acquired ready.

The first step was cleaning all surface rust from the running gear and rust-proofing, the main chassis was galvanized steel as luck would have it and was in good condition all ready for painting.

We mounted the mast finding a good balance over the running gear then started to build around it, We also wanted to make the mudguards strong so people could sit on them as we have had trailers that club members sit on and mudguards break, we used 20mm box steel then shaped aluminium checker plate to form the outside mudguards the plastic inner wheel guards was from the caravan we scrapped.

Next was how to make the out-riggers and to have them adjustable and removable, Mike had already thought of it and had saved the windup steadying legs from the Caravan. So how do we use them? As the only steel we had lying around was tube and some square box section, once again a plan was formed and it worked very well for what we needed with the outriggers done they worked great, maybe not great looking and a little odd but well up to the job at hand.

At this point we had a test run putting the mast up to full height and making sure the out riggers were far enough out as it happened all was well (great planning !! ) after all the mast while in use would be always guyed. We also had to test if we had made so far towed smoothly a (slow’ish)  test run around the site was done to our delight it was fine.

Next came the mounting of the cradle so we could lower the mast over for transporting keeping the center of gravity low.

Now came the decking Mike had some old scaffolding boards that came in handy for this task.

The only thing we had to buy was new LED lights and number plate lights with all this now mounted and in place we looked to undercoating and painting.

This task was taken on by Sue M6URG who made a cracking job of it over a couple of weekends again the paint was what we had lying about the workshop but made the trailer look good, Old fence paint was used to stain the woodwork then water-based vanish on top with some fine sand mixed in for grip.

Sean M0SLY donated a Site Box for the back this balanced the full trialer really well and carries the lots of rope coaxs etc…

During the build of the trailer, many members came up with nicknames for it,  Scud launcher, and Rocket launcher but one that stuck out the most was’ The Beast’  so it stuck and that’s the name of it now.

So far working only the odd weekend on the trailer we were well into August and the holiday season and it just so happened that one of Mike’s retired workmates came to visit him for a week and his name was Tom. Now Tom has been a welder fabricator all his working career, well how could we let this opportunity pass up without asking for his advice and his skill set? We had a talk and came up with fabricating a removable cage for the rotator and stub pole to mount on once a paper drawing was made Andy and Mike cut all the steel Tom had asked for, Tom soon got to work welding and making sure this was going to handle whatever we throw at it. It was VERY Heavy Duty and worked fine.

All we needed now was an event to test The Beast in action, Our Club (HFDXARC) had nothing planned on the calendar but HADAR had an event planned so after a call to their chairman Rich M0RRK they were more than happy to test it for us on their HF field day event,

HFDXARC club member Paul 2E0WPW in the meantime had been servicing and renewing hardware on our 3-element Hy-Gain TH3 (20-15-10m) beam which is now over 53 years old and still like new having been well looked after over the years. We had a test run to tune the beam up and make all-new guy ropes and lanyards for the mast.

With that all tested the field day came along and Mike and Andy G7LRR towed the mast to the event and set it all up for the HADAR radio club. This took 45 minutes not bad for a first deployment the weekend went very well and The Beast had its first outing without any issues.

All in all the beast was a great fun project building, and works just as we planned it, We are now planning to build another but a lattice construction this time, this one may well come up for sale, So keep looking you never know you too could have your own Mini Beast.

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Summer Fun @ Spurn Lighthouse 2023

GB2SL Spurn Point Lighthouse weekend with the (YWT) Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is always one of the Humber Fortress DX ARC highlights of the year, always a really good one to be part of and this has been our 13th year working hand in hand with YWT to promote the Lighthouse and keep the Tradition of the lighthouse on the airways going todate.

All the preparation work and planning that goes into setting up this event over the months, and also a lot of it in the background taking place, there is lots more that has to happen than you think as well, so big thanks to the Events Committee and YWT for making this happen every year.

Meet The Team this year left to right Kevin M0KVK, Paul 2E0WPW, Andy G7LRR, Dave 2E0TKO, Charlie 2E0CIY, Pat M0PKE, Chris G0URG, Steve M0EBJ, Josh SWL, Rich M0RKK, Sean M0SLY. 

Saturday morning on the 19th of August 2023 the team gathered to get the equipment loaded into cars and Pats M0PKE Landy loaded from the HQ of the Club the Mill and make ready for the journey to the wildlife center at Spurn Point.

   The trip down to the Lighthouse is always fun and one of the enjoyable parts of the whole weekend, This is because to get all the equipment to the lighthouse, we have to be driven down the peninsula by a YWT team member in their Unimog.

The trip down gets longer every year as the tides over the past years have washed out the causeway more and more. 

video of the trip down

Once down at the lighthouse the task of unpacking the Unimog and getting setup starts. The operating tent is set in place, a small team headed up by Andy G7LRR along with Charlie 2E0CIK and Young Josh, who is Sean M0SLY Son, went up the 146 stairs to the top of the lighthouse to lower 300m of rope to support more rope hung off it as lanyards for big wire antennas from 160m to 40m.

Verticals were set on fishing poles for 20m 15m and 40m.

Then the fun began.

  A few funny things happened over the weekend, one was Kevin M0KVK in QSO was asked where is the lighthouse, to which he replied without thinking “Well it quite near the sea”, we all fell about the place with laughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a really good event and well worth all the effort everyone puts into talking to over 1200 stations worldwide.

also, it’s a great place to unwind and relax and take in the breathtaking views and surroundings that are Spurn Point.

Enjoy what we see every year it is well worth a visit.

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International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend Event 19th to 20th August 2023

International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend Event

This year once again the Humber Fortress DX Amateur Radio Club will be activating GB2SL over the weekend of 19th to 20th August from Spurn Point ‘High Light’ Lighthouse (Spurn Head Peninsula). 

AT 00.01 UTC 19th August to 20th August 2022 to 2400 UTC

Numbers  Location information Lighthouses:

Locator: JOØ3BN

UK0080=Spurn Point High

UK0081=Spurn Point Low

WAB: TA-41

LAT: 53.578978n

LNG: 0.06.33 E

Spurn Head (old): A2424X

Grid Reference: TA 40345 11240

Grid Reference (6 figure)
TA403112

X (Easting) 540345, Y (Northing) 411240

Latitude, Longitude (decimal)

53.578980 , 0.11832847

Latitude, Longitude (degs, mins, secs)

53°34?44?N, 000°07?06?E

What3Words : wages.decompose.question

The Humber Fortress DX ARC has once again been invited by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, to put on a Ham Radio station during International Lighthouse on the air weekend.

Spurn High Light is a visitor attraction and the tallest lighthouse in Northern England!

Made of 300,000 Staffordshire bricks, with a height of 128ft (39m) and 145 steps to the top landing, providing a spectacular view of the Spurn nature reserve and the River Humber.

We are pleased to have been invited back by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to help promote the restored Spurn High lighthouse and to take part in International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend back at Spurn Point activating the call sign GB2SL.

Since our visit last year, there have been changes to the shape of Spurn Point and it is now inaccessible to road transport due to the big storms of 2013.

With at least a 200-yard break between the mainland and Spurn Point making a newly created island almost at high tide.

We are taking a small team of 12, regrettably, only those who can climb Stairs can attend this event, manpower and equipment will be ferried to the site by the YWT, in “or should that be on” their Unimog all-terrain vehicle.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend

Association of Lighthouse Keepers

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