Our first event of 2016 was on 24th May when we went to Blackstone Edge where West Yorkshire meets Lancashire. The view from here can be great looking out over Rochdale and North Manchester - on a clear day, it's possible to see as far as Snowdonia.
The weather was sunny with blue skies and some cumulus but there was a strong wind blowing over the hill from the east which meant that anyone working outside was quickly chilled. Using radios from inside the cars was the obvious alternative. Fortunately, Ken G0ITI brought along his camera so we have some pictures of the evening.
Martin M0GQB watched by Anthony G0WFG and John G7ELX as he sets up his FT-991.
Kai M3VCU (at the wheel) and Richard 2E0MTW shelter in their vehicle as they monitor the 20m band. Kai and Richard included Slovenia and Spain in their QSOs
Eric M0JCK - again, sheltering from the wind - uses 2m
Kai M3VCU and Richard 2E0MWT in the red Land Rover are using a roof-mounted Screwdriver-type antenna, Martin M0GQB behind the white Golf is using a pole-mounted 6m inverted vee dipole
Martin M0GQB secures the power connectors to the battery before retreating from the wind inside the car. The UKAC 6m Contest started shortly after this picture was taken and Martin gave points to 8 different contestants - and submitted a checklog!
Our next event was the Practical Wireless 144MHz Contest on 12th June. We set up a station in the car park of Mount Tabor Methodist Church. The weather was cloudy and damp with occasional showers.
The station was a Yaesu FT-817 feeding a 7-element ZL-Special on a 4m pole.
Conditions were not good - signals were few and suffered fading, sometimes in the middle of a QSO - and we struggled to make as many QSOs as we did last year. We now have to wait for the results to be published - probably around the end of October - to see how we did. However, if we're going to enter again next year, we need to carefully re-assess such things as the location and aerial. Thanks to all those who turned out to help and to give moral support: Ken G0ITI, Stuart G6NTI, Richard 2E0MWT and his son Fergus, John M0JPA and Colin 2E0HQJ.
The following event was our second /P evening on 21st June when we went to Roils Head playing fields. At least, that was our intention but since our last visit there in August 2015, a gate has been erected across the access track. We were forced to set up in the car parking area just off the public road.
The weather was good, fairly cloudy but the sun shone through occasionally and there was little wind. About ten of us turned up although we only had three HF rigs between us. Using 80m, we were able to give one of our Foundation students the HF QSO required for the Foundation Practical Assessment. The background noise at Roils Head playing fields was only about S3 and signals were very strong. On 20m, we were able to hear Russian, Continental, American and Japanese stations at good volume.
Colin 2E0HQJ used a 10m vertical with a 9:1 Unun at the bottom. He was using a Yaesu FT-897 although we don't know what he worked.
Martin M0GQB used a 40m inverted-vee doublet on a Spiderbeam pole about 4m tall connected to an ATU and his FT-991. He was able to work PY5QW (Brazil) on 17m despite using only 80W and on 40m he worked 4Z5LA near Tel Aviv although he used 90W for this QSO.
(The horizontal wire is actually a telephone wire some 10m behind and nothing to do with the aerial)
Our latest event of 2016 was on 10th May when we participated in Churches On The Air with a station Blackshaw Head Methodist Chapel in the Pennine hills above Hebden Bridge. Using the call sign GB0BHM, we made 56 QSOs in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Holland and Belgium plus 3 others using personal call signs after we closed the special event station. Of the 56, 17 were other churches taking part in ChOTA.
From the log, it looks as though we had contacts with the most northerly church in the British Isles, the most northerly church on mainland Britain, the most southerly church in mainland Britain, the most westerly church in mainland Britain and one of the most easterly churches in mainland Britain. We missed a few churches in the middle of the country but that's one of the peculiarities of radio signals - you don't always hear those stations nearest to you!
Blackshaw Head Methodist Chapel celebrated its bicentenary last year.
We set up the station in the entrance to the body of the chapel as the power cable to the auto-ATU at the foot of the mast wasn't long enough to site the station further inside!
The equipment used was an FT-991 running 100W via an SGC-239 auto-ATU at the foot of a 40m doublet as shown partly in this picture. The other leg of the dipole ran along the front of the chapel but can't be seen. The horizontal is the power cables for the local houses and chapel which restricted where we could erect the aerial.
See our activities for 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012