Tag Archives: 12m

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.

video
play-rounded-fill

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

Related Images:

Shack Upgrades

Well this weekend will see the start of upgrades to the shack, new band-pass filters for 160 80 40 20 15 10 meters will be fitted over the next month which have all been re-tuned By Nick G0SDI and Andy G7LRR. What a massive job this was and getting the filters in situe without altering the tuning and keeping an SWR was very frustrating ( as anyone who has undertaken this job will know ).

These filters also work hand in hand with a set of Coax stub filters that work on the high power side that all have to be tuned to complement the band-pass filters. 

New cat7a cable to go in for the network over the month, which is a total new layout of cable throughout the mill. We are also automating the rotator which was always one of the jobs on the “to do” list.

keep coming back for more updates as we go along.

nick in workshop

Related Images:

ARRL International DX Contest 2023

ARRL International DX Contest 2023

This year the HFDXARC acquired the brand new contest call of M6C which we are very proud of and put to good use this time around.
This contest itself is very different from the CQWW, in that we can only score points with QSOs in the USA and Canada, and this meant a totally different strategy being adopted.

The team comprised of 10 members who were all geared up for different time slots throughout the weekend. This in itself was difficult, as we needed the station staffed at all times, even when North America was sleeping.
Friday night saw a team of 3 begin the contest, which started very slow ( as expected ) and eventually sprang into action sat morning. We held frequencies on 10 / 15 / 20 meters and called CQ, to which the response was amazing. At one stage on Sunday, we racked up a 400 QSO count over 2 hours.

So as you can imagine it was frantic and none stop, but during this period an old friend of the Club from over the pond, Steve W4SLT called in and wanted a quick chat with Andy G7LRR. Not exactly the right time eh, but Steve has not spoken to anyone at the Club in over 10 years, and even paid us a visit from across the pond one year. It was an absolute pleasure working with Steve who is now back in touch with the Club.
Amazingly, with the conversation over, I called CQ Contest again and was hit by a wall of stations calling in. Credit to the Americans for their patience and understanding, top operators.

So we kept at it and went right through to the finish Sunday midnight. We hit over One million points for this contest, which is an amazing achievement for the Club, given it was the first time entered by us.
The whole weekend was an absolute pleasure to be involved in, and again the support shown by both Club members and guests was incredible.
A few pictures from the event are below, but the intended video was not done as planned due to how busy everyone was. The next one we shall be better prepared for.

A massive thanks go out to everyone who took part, and to all those who supported us throughout the planning and execution of the contest. The club is picking itself back up after Covid and has a very vibrant feel to it. We have new and old members joining and also have now adopted a digital membership, following many recent requests. More details are on the website regarding this.
Call signs of contesters are
Andy G7LRR – Chris G0URG – Steve M0EBJ – Andy 2E1TAP – SUE M6URG – DAVE 2E0TKO – KEVIN M0KVK – MARCIN M0GLV – LEE G0ULN – John G6LNV
We welcome visitors, guests, and membership requests and openly encourage you all to come down and see us at the clubhouse.

video
play-rounded-fill

More details on the website along with contact details.

 

Related Images:

what else would you do on cold winter Saturday mornings

Well, what else would you do on cold winter Saturday mornings, well in true Amateur Radio Fashion, Antenna work of course?

Two of our Members Bob M0RWL and John G6LNV required long-awaited help with antenna Works.

Bob required help to install a new 3 element mini beam on his tower.

John required help to install a trapped invert L for 40/80/160 bands.

First up was for Bob M0RWL to install his New 3 Element Mini Beam

Saturday 5th of February saw Steve 2E0NSQ and Andy G7LRR turn up to Bobs M0RWL house at 9:30 am to begin helping him erect his new 3 element mini beam on his tilt-over tower.

Bob had already got his beam 99% built and ready to go. It just required a final fine-tuning which Bob and Steve got on with right away.

The tower was luffed over and the old 2 Element beam which had served Bob well for many years removed.

There was also the rotator in need of repair. This took some time as two 500ohm potentiometer in the feedback circuit was in need of replacement, one in the rotator and the other in the controller. This circuit helps to track the rotator as it rotates the beam. This task was undertaken by Andy G7LRR.

Once the rotator was working, we mounted the new beam and raised the tower again. As luck would have it, Bob and Steve had made a great job in fine-tuning the antenna and no extra was required.

Bob was impressed as the antenna tested on 20m 17m 15m 12m 10m at a low power of 5 watts, easily making contacts into Europe.

This task took the three of us nearly all day but was great fun. Many thanks to Bob and his daughter for providing the nutrition in the form of some great bacon and egg sandwiches, which kept us going throughout.

————————————————————————————————

Next up was Johns G6LNV  40m 80m 160m trapped Inverted L

Saturday 12th of February at 9:00 am; it was a cold and raining day which never stopped.

Kevin M0KVK, John M0JDT, Jason M0MGF, Andy G7LRR turning up at John’s G6LNV house with the aim of sorting John’s wire antennas..

Wrapped up in warm winter clothes, they began the task of getting an inverted L in the sky for 160-40m.

John already had a 20ft support pole at the bottom of his garden and a halyard on his chimney stack; these were put to good use.

At the base of the 20ft pole, we installed a 4ft copper grounding rod into the wet soil.

Next, a counterpoise of 130ft of wire was placed down one side of the garden fence which runs more of else under where the inverted-L is to be positioned.

 

The base of the connection plate, which was made at the radio club a few weeks prior, was then connected to the earth.

 

Then it was time for the new run of RG-213 coaxial from the feed-point to the shack at the front of the property.

The trapped Inverted L that had been constructed by Andy G7LRR at the Radio club was hoisted aloft. With the Inverted-L in the air, Kevin M0KVK and Jason M0MGF checked the SWR with an antenna analyser, while John M0JDT and Andy G7LRR made adjustments to result in good readings for the said bands.

Once 40m, then 80m, and finally 160m was completed, the connections were all soldered and sealed, and the antenna hoisted high in the air and secured.

Now complete, It is all for John to rebuild his shack and to re-connect up his radio, then we can all hear how well it is working.
Although it was a cold and damp day, with the team effort we succeeded in getting Johns Inverted-L up

Well done to all that helped our members in need.

It was great getting back out and helping those in need after all the Covid-19 lockdown periods and to see the club working as a team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Images:

« Older Entries