Category Archives: Event

50 MHz Trophy Cup.

The RSGB 50 MHz trophy cup fan over the weekend of 16/17th June, taking advantage of what should be some interesting conditions on 50 MHz. SNBCG have taken part in the contest for a number of years now and typically use the following equipment.

10m pump up mast, 6e Yagi and a solid state amplifier delivering 400w.

The level of activity is dictated by the band conditions, add a little sporadic E and the QSO rates soar to near HF contesting levels. If conditions remain flat, then this is reflected in the number of QSO and the best DX achieved over the weekend.

Sadly on this weekend conditions did not live up to their best, and the sporadic E was a little too sporadic to make it interesting. We did manage to work some nice stations, and over the course of the weekend completed 130 QSO in 18 DXCC.

We closed down overnight, as the activity is particularly low so operating time was limited.

 

Upminster Windmill on the air GB2UW

As the winter months roll on, January was a chance for members of the SNBCG to activate Upminster Windmill using the special call GB2UW. Upminster windmill has an ongoing restoration project, that will see the mill completely restored with the project coming to its conclusion in 2018. 

The new visitor’s centre provided a cosy, warm and dry location for us to set up our station using HF and VHF equipment.

Despite the bitterly cold weather, and snow showers we managed to erect our antennas to cover HF, 145 Mhz VHF and 70 MHz.

HF provided worldwide communication, allowing us to contact stations from far and wide with stations often keen to hear about the historic mill. VHF provided contact with more local stations typically up to 60 miles, with many local amateurs already aware of the project but keen to understand its progress.

We operated a variety of modes,  CW, Data modes and SSB depending on band conditions. We would like to extend our thanks to The Friends of Upminster Windmill for their hospitality and we wish them luck with the ongoing project.

QSL is electronic via LoTW and EQSL.cc

You can read more about the ongoing project on their website.

CQWW SSB 2017

The CQWW SSB event runs over the last weekend of October and covers all contest bands from 1.8 MHz to 28 MHz. The event is one of the largest international events of the HF calendar and encourages stations to operate from far-flung and exotic parts of the world.

We opted for the sun-drenched shores near Ongar in Essex, using our contest site at the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker. We had decided before the event it would be more of a casual entry, as the contest had started at 00:00 Hrs on the previous Friday/Saturday morning. We have previously taken part in the event, with a most notable event in 2015.

This year we used a 7 MHz vertical, with elevated radials, and a 3e multiband beam for 28/21/14 MHz @ 10m.

3e Multiband Beam7 MHz Vertical

The HF bands remained in good shape, with some good openings on 28 and 21 MHz and the vertical worked well at 7 MHz. The lower HF bands were predictably crowded, so I concentrated on search and pounce on the higher bands.

George M1GEO and Fred G3SVK with a great sunset behind.

QSO and DXCC per band.

28 MHz provided some interesting DX with a lot of station from Argentina, Brazil, French Guiana, Chile, Suriname, Namibia, South Africa, Qatar and Reunion Island.

28 MHz QSO Map

All Bands QSO Map

In total, we worked 417 QSO in 76 DXCC and had some fun on the bands.

 

CQ WW RTTY Contest

Members of the SNBCG took part in the CQWW RTTY contest over the weekend of 23rd and 24th September.

George M1GEO used his Icom 7100 and solid state amplifier to deliver 400w, using an 80m dipole on the SNBCG tower. The dipole with the aid of an ATU was used on 20, 40 and 80m.

Station two Dave M0TAZ used his Icom 7600 and solid state amplifier to deliver 400w to a ground mounted 1/4 wave for 40m. The 40m vertical is a tried and tested combination, although this year we tried elevated radials after reading an article by Rudy N6LF.

Rudy has completed some extensive testing on ground v elevated radials, you can form your own opinion by reading the article.

Over the course of the weekend, we worked 700 stations in 60 DXCC.

Fred G3SVK also worked 400 stations on CW, and reported some good DX was to be found on 20, 30 and 40m.

 

The weather was kind, allowing us to operate outdoors in our tent. Fred and Dianne provided some excellent food thought the weekend.

A very enjoyable weekend, and nice to see so many members and friend of the club lending a hand.

SNBCG and LEFARS Big Radio Weekend

The August bank holiday provided a great time to play some radio, and join forces with another club for the weekend. Many of team SNBCG are also members LEFARS, and with an active portable group, this was set to be a busy weekend.

I arrived on Friday evening with Peter G0IPA and Dave G7UVW to setup the initial masts, we put up the 144 MHz beam  (9e + mast head LNA).

The 18 MHz 3e beam was recently constructed and required some further testing, although initial results were very promising.

The 7 MHz vertical was constructed from push up poles and 8 radials.

A BBQ was planned for Saturday evening, with Ron G6LTT, Karen and Sharon doing a great job in feeding the masses. Dave M0MBD also provided a very nice Chili con carne with rice. We also had burgers and sausages and some salad, a really nice and very welcome meal. The weather was excellent, with temperatures getting to 27c in the day, and not falling below 18 in the evenings and ideal for camping. The turn out from both clubs was excellent with members travelling from far and wide to partake.

A WSPR transmitter was setup for the weekend using the QRP Labs with a 200mW output into some wire. This provided an indication of the band conditions and was active throughout the weekend.

John M0IDA dropped in on Sunday with his arrow satellite antenna and provided a demonstration on working through satellites.

Altogether a very successful weekend with members operating on 3.5, 7, 10,14, 18, 21, 24,50 and 145 MHz over the weekend, making close on 1,000 QSO in 80 countries.

Further pictures from the weekend are available here.

50 MHz RSGB Trophy Cup

Members of the SNBCG once again took part in the 50 MHz Trophy Cup. The contest runs for 24 hours from 3pm on Saturday. This year, the contest had been booked for one of the hottest days of the year, with temperatures reaching 30°C (around 220°F in old money).

We set up on Saturday morning, using a 5 element 50MHz beam and a 10m pump up mast.  A solid state amplifier provided 400W and a light weight tent to keep off the sun.

The most important issue throughout the weekend was trying to keep cool, with copious cold drinks from the fridge. Fred G3SVK was kind enough to lend us a fan and this became an essential item for the shack.

Fred spent some time operating on CW, working mostly EU with the odd notable exception.

In total, we worked 250 stations, with our best DX being 5B4AAB at 3161KM. You can view the claimed scores here and map here.

Upminster Windmill GB2UW 2017

We arrived at Upminster Windmill at 9am on Saturday 13th May 2017 to begin setting up. The local council allowed onto the grounds and opened up the visitors centre for us.

Within 10 minutes we had the VHF antenna assembled and up. The HF doublet followed shortly after.

Dave M0TAZ quickly got setup inside the staff room at the visitors centre.

1/4 wave on 80 meters

The plan was to put up an 18 meter (60 ft) spider beam roach pole and operate a 1/4 wave on 3.7 MHz. We have used both the 12 m and 18 m roach poles from Spiderbeam with the intention of using them to support inverted V antennas and verticals. Previously we used the 12 m on a number of occasions to support a doublet for portable operating, and the 18 m to make a top loaded vertical for 1.9 MHz with an inductor.

On this occasion, we wanted to try a 1/4 wave on 80 m and the 18 m is ideal for that purpose. The pole can be fully extended and then walked up from the ground, but you will often need to use jubilee clips around the poles to stop it collapsing under its own weight. Like the smaller poles the sections do pull out and lock, but in a breeze, the sections can often rock back and forward and then without notice concertina down. Here you can see the roach pole and me for scale.

Using 6 radials and a wire fence the antenna was ready for some testing. The VSWR was 1.1.5, I think with a larger ground plane this may have been lower, but it was acceptable for our purpose.

The antenna was guyed off at 4 and 12 meters, this is essential in even the lightest of winds.

With the addition of a IC-7600 and solid state amplifier, the station was ready to go.

Unfortunately, the bands have been suffering from disturbed conditions due to solar flares, so despite our best efforts, we were unable to work big DX. We did work quite a few European stations, and also a fair few UK and Irish stations.  The reports received from the antenna and the reception performance was very good, and I was able to receive stations from the USA later in the evening. Unfortunately, the USA stations were in a net, so I didn’t disturb them.

The weather also provided some anxiety, over the course of the weekend the wind picked up to a fairly constant 20 MPH breeze. Thankfully despite some groaning the guys held and the antenna came down without incident.

Over the course of the weekend, we worked 80 stations from 22 DXCC.

Easter Field Weekend

During the long Easter weekend members of the SNBCG came together for a radio weekend. Over the course of the four days, two HF stations were set up; one on 7 MHz and the other roaming between 1.8 and 28 MHz depending on propagation.

Dave M0TAZ decided he would try a 1/4 wave vertical on 7 MHz and use his recently purchased push-together fibreglass poles. These poles are often sold at radio rallies in packs of 5 (each pole 1.3 metres) to give an overall height of 6.5 meters. Using two packs of the poles, the required height of 10 metres was achieved.

Chris G8OCV had made some supporting guy rings, these provided anchor points for the guy lines at approximately 4 and 8 meters. The first attempt didn’t quite go to plan, it simply wasn’t possible to walk up the 10m pole, as we found out when we exceed the bend radius of one of the poles. Lesson learned it didn’t make any difference as the fracture was in the joining section that was simply moved to the first section. In the end, we used 9 poles, giving us a total height of 11 meters with a simple wire running down the side for the radiator.

Six 6 radials were cut, each around 10 meters in length, and the antenna was mounted at the base of a wire fence. The earthing system included the 6 radials and the wire fence, and this provided a reasonable match around 1.5:1 at 7.150 MHz. It would have been much easier to use a push-up fishing/roach style pole but experience has taught Dave that these can be tricky to keep up without guying and tapeing over the joints. As we wanted to run linear amplifiers this weekend, the prospect of the pole moving in the wind and/or falling down made, we made up our minds to use push together poles as the first choice. The antenna was fed with coax with a choke unun (or balun) at its base to stop the coax radiating, and this needed to be capable of high power.

The antenna provided reliable service all weekend, and with the addition of 400W yielded over 200 contacts in 40 DXCC countries. An enjoyable part of the weekend was working DX stations later in the evenings, including the USA, Chile, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, UAE, Armenia and Asiatic Russia all on the 40 metre vertical.

DXCC Breakdown on 40 metre vertical

George M1GEO, Fred G3SVK and others operated the other station. George chased some good DX and Fred worked several hundred stations as “GB0SNB” in CW.

Below we see the DXCC breakdown of the second station using the mast doublet on 160 and 80 metres, and the beam (pictured above) on the higher bands. Some of the DX on the doublet and beam included several QSOs into Japan, Fiji, Trinidad, Guinea-Bissau, Cayman Islands and Argentina.

DXCC Breakdown on 160m doublet and HF beam

We also had time for a BBQ and some excellent curries provided by Fred G3SVK. It was nice to see Camb Hams members Geoff G0DDX and Linda G0TPX, and LEFARS members Derek M0XDC, Dave M0MBD and Dave M0VID. RSGB regional man Peter G0DZB also joined us for the afternoon, making the most of the good weather for a ride on his motorbike, and Bill G0IQK popped in on the Sunday afternoon.

Dave M0YOL worked some data modes using his portable setup. All in all, a good weekend was had by all.

The first 50 MHz contest of the year

Members of the SNBCG took part in the first 50 MHz contest of the year at the Kelvedon Hatch  club call M0SNB. The contest ran from for 3 hrs on Sunday morning (10 till 1) the weather was forecast to be 23C and sunny. We opted to operate outdoors using a 5e beam on a 10m pump up mast. The radio was an Icom 7600 and Expert 1.3 K-FA provided 400w power was provided by a Honda EU20 generator.

The band seemed very busy, with lots of stations taking part, and I think the good weather helped encourage more portable operating. Over the course of the next 3 hrs we worked 63 Q with our best DX into EI at 585 KM. Conditions seemed average, but we did have some very rapid QSO on some of the longer paths, sounded very much like aircraft flutter.


A very enjoyable contest in the sun, thanks to everyone we worked.

You can find the claimed scores online.

You can view the RSGB VHF contest calendar online

 

 

 

You can read more about the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker and the SNBCG here.