George M1GEO and Dave M0TAZ took part in the RSGB 70 MHz trophy contest this weekend at the Kelvedon hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker contest site. The weather was ideal for alfresco operating, using the Icom IC-7100 and homebrew 6e beam at 10m on the Racal PU12 mast. Using 50W and a 85Ah leisure battery we operated from 11am till 4 am.
Here you can see the PU12 and home-brew 6e 70 MHz beam. Operating from the base of the mast provided quick access to turn the beam. We managed to work 59 QSO with best DX into Scotland at 518 KM. The QSO map is shown here.
Meanwhile Rob M0VFC was operating QRP HF on 3.5, 7 and 14 MHz using a range of dipoles. Unfortunately the HF bands have been a challenge at the best of times during the day, and QRP provided to be interesting. After a few hrs operating Rob had completed 30 QSO, and under the conditions that counts as a sterling effort! Here you can see Rob operating from the boot of his car. No appearance from the great man.
Altogether another great weekend of alfresco operating in the sunshine.
The RSGB 50/70/144/432MHz Christmas Cumulatives Contest series run from the 26th to the 29th of December each year and are intended as a bit of fun in the contester’s calendar. The contest exchange is the usual RS(T), Serial Number and 6 character locator (e.g. JO01DQ). These contests are really easy to become involved in, and often provide a good excuse to escape the house after Christmas.
This year, Dave M0TAZ, Dave M0YOL and George M1GEO decided to operate alfresco from the Bunker for the final two days (George having put in token entries on the 26th and 27th for 144 MHz from Home). We operated on 50 MHz, 70 MHz and 144 MHz for the full 2 hours on a picnic table, in large overcoats on cold winter afternoons, packing up in the dark!
144 MHz was to be our main band. For that we used an Icom IC7100 transceiver, DG-8 masthead-preamplifier (GM3SEK design/M1GEO construction), and 9-element tonna (10m AGL), powered from a large 60 Ah sealed lead acid battery.
50 MHz and 70 MHz were run as a sub station. Again, using an Icom IC7100 transceiver and an InnovAntennas 6-element dual band (50/70MHz) yagi (7m AGL), with an 85 Ah leisure battery. The battery also provided mains power via a small inverter, which charged the logging laptops.
The table below shows the number of QSOs made per band on each day, as well as the best DX station callsign, locator and distance. In order of fairness, we switched callsigns on the second day, all points awarded to the SNBCG.
The popular shortwave and ham magazine Practical Wireless runs a 70 MHz contest once a year. The contest attracts a number of entries from all around the country, including one keen team who climb Helvelyn in the Lake District (M0BKQ/P). M0TAZ’s entry didn’t include a 900m accent to the top of a mountain, since we operated from the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker. The location is around 130m ASL and affords nice views over the Essex countryside.
The activity started at 1pm and finished at 5; activity levels were moderate, with the first 2 hours being the most active. Many portable stations operate 10w or less so the amplifier and 160W did mean we sometimes had to listen very carefully to get a calling station’s details! People often assume that because they can hear you loud and clear, that their signal must also be good. The weather was sunny and this must have helped encourage people to operate portable outdoors.
We managed to work 47 stations: Our best DX was Scotland GM4JR at 454 km, and we were also pleased to work into Wales GC0VPR/P, GW0EIY/P and GW4EVX/P and also the Netherlands PA4VHF.
The QSO map pins indicates the location and number of stations worked.
Many thanks to John M0UKD for the use of his beam and 70 MHz amplifier, both worked flawlessly and George M1GEO, Dave M0YOL and Chris G8OCV for assistance with the mast and words of encouragement.
While we were busy on 70 MHz, some of the other guys were having a crack at the CQWW RTTY contest, which was also well underway.