Our extra-meeting activities this year included the RSGB 80m Club Contest, 4 /P evenings, the Practical Wireless 144MHz QRP Contest, the Cragg Challenge and a JoTA station.
We again took part in the RSGB 80m Club Contest which has 3 different mode events every month from February to July inclusive. Several of us took part in the CW events, a few more participated in the datamode events (RTTY and OSK) and most took part in the SSB events.
There are no pictures of this activity, unfortunately, as we all transmit from our home locations and are spread over a fair area so it would be unreasonable to expect our photographer to get round eveyone to take pictures.
HADARS finished 11th despite a big effort by all those who took part in the final data event. We closed up on 10th place but didn't quite get there. Thanks to club members Richard G3UGF, Colin 2E0HQJ, Geoff G0PFH, John M0JPA, Jasmine G4KFP, George 2E0GFI, Chris M6IJT, Gary M6JYR, Richard 2E0MWT, Tony M6HFX and Ken G0ITI for all their efforts during the year.
Our first /P event of 2018 was on 16th May when we went to Blackshaw Head in the hills above Hebden Bridge.
John G7ELX (left) and Eric M0JCK - Malcolm M0UGX lying on the grass behind Eric - the fishing pole strapped to the fence post is part of Malcolm's aerial ...
... and here's Malcolm M0UGX operating in QRP style.
As you can see, the weather was sunny although it was a bit cool and it got a lot cooler as the sun went down.
As far as radio was concerned, I had very little success using FT8 on 17m and 40m despite using the same aerial which had given me a lot of success on the preceding Saturday. I did manage a contact with a Norwegian station and pskreporter.info showed that my signals were being heard over the continent and the east coast of America but I wasn't able to complete a QSO before being walked over by other stations.
Malcolm M0UGX had more success using his FT-817 and a vertical whip on 40m. Martin M6NWL, Mike M6NVY, Jimmy M6LYE and John G7ELX were playing with Martin's 70cm multi-mode rig and Stuart G6NTI was using his mobile gear on 2m and possibly on other bands.
On Sunday, 10th June, a group of us operated GX2UG in the Practical Wireless 144 MHz QRP Contest from Blackshaw Head. We used the club's FT-991 - turned down to 5W and checked! - and a 17-element Tonna on a 4m pole and made 39 QSOs - nowhere near as good as the leading stations but a bit better than we did last year. HADARS was placed 34th out of 65 entrants even though we scored more this year. We didn't improve our position on last year - when we were 28th - as everybody else seemed to score even more!
Thanks to Eric M0JCK for the use of his QTH, Dean M6XUT and Mike M6NVY for helping at the microphone and logging, Darren M0WIT for moral support and especially to John M0JPA for his sterling work repairing and erecting the 17-element Tonna and operating.
On June 11th, we went to Norland Moor on the outskirts of Halifax for our second /P evening using the public car park towards the southern end opposite the Moorcock Inn. Unfortunately, again we have no pictures of the evening. There was a disappointing turnout from club members but I was able to complete the HF and VHF QSO required for the Foundation students' practical assessments. Thanks to Stuart G6NTI and Dean M6XUT for their assistance in this.
On 40m, I worked M6IFQ who was putting out an S9++ signal from 10 miles south-east of London. He said that he was using 10W into an end-fed antenna about 20' high but it was obviously working very well for him. Apart from that, there were a lot of strong signals coming in - I was using a 40m whip on top of the cart and could hear Russians, Poles, Slovaks, Italians, Germans, etc. and most of them were S9+ with little QRM to mask the signals.
Darren M0WIT was trying out a 3-element Delta loop beam for 2m which he had bought at the Blackpool rally and seemed to be getting some reasonable results on SSB. The aerial dismantled easily and packed in a small plastic bag which would make it ideal for /P working such as SoTA.
For our third /P evening in July, we went back to Norland Morr but this time to the car park at the northern end. There was a good turnout of members but only 4 transceivers. Conditions were poor with Stuart G6NTI complaining that there was S9 of noise on 40m with no signals audible. I tried FT8 and PSK31 on 80m and 40m and heard/saw nothing except for one Belarus station on 40m who couldn't hear me.
In the end, a few stations appeared on 80m and Darren worked the WAB net with 5 completed QSOs plus the co-ordination from the net controller. Gary M6JYR and Jimmy M6LYE worked Poland, Belgium, Sweden and Italy all on 20m. John G7ELX worked G4VPO and G6XTZ on 2m. When I checked later on www.pskreporter.info, I saw that my 40m FT8 signals had been heard by 5 monitoring stations in Norfolk (UK not Virginia, USA), Holland, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark but the reported signal strengths were very low - nothing like the spread we get when operating from the club meeting rooms in Mytholmroyd.
For our final /P event of this year, we went back to Blackshaw Head but there was a disappointing attendance - only 7 members plus one junior would-be-op attended. The weather was a bit windy and we had a couple of very light and short showers but otherwise the evening was fairly good. Gary M6JYR logged a few calls on 20m including one from Algeria; Stuart G6NTI and the "licensed listener" made, I think, just the one contact via GB3HD; Darren spent some time with the WAB net on 40m; I logged 11 QSOs using FT8 on 17m although one of those was incomplete.
I "heard" several American and Brazilian stations calling CQ but was unable to make the contact. Presumably, they were using high power and big aerials but they were registering signal strengths of only -19 to -22 and my return signal of 70W via my delta loop was obviously inadequate.
Overall, this year's Churches On The Air on September 8th was a successful event for HADARS although the day started damp and we experienced some spitting rain which increased as we erected the aerial. The rain become heavier during the morning until by lunchtime it was a fairly heavy downpour. Fortunately, the rain eased and stopped by about 15:00 so dismantling the aerial was a fairly dry experience. Even more fortunately, we were located in the body of Blackshaw Head Methodist Chapel and well out of the rain.
John M0JPA operating GB0BHM, Darren M0WIT correcting some of the wiring.
The advised frequencies for ChOTA are 7.140 MHz to 7.180 MHz but conditions on 40m proved pretty dire. At the beginning, we decided to use 7.126 mHz and Darren M0WIT and John M0JPA did most of the calling during the morning. In just under three hours we had had QSOs with 21 stations of which only four were in the UK - and two of those were with local club members. A half hour spell on 20m, 14.115 MHz, proved little better - although we had 7 QSOs, they were all with Continental stations but included RK3C in St Petersburg, Russia.
However, we then changed to 80m and sat on 3.780 MHz calling CQ ChOTA which proved much more successful and we logged a further 44 stations in just over two and a quarter hours. Apart from one Irish station, these were all UK-based and included eleven other ChOTA stations. So, what initially seemed like it was going to be a poor event turned out to be very successful with 72 QSOs logged.
Darren M0WIT (left) operating GB0BHM, John M0JPA (centre) logging, would-be-junior op (right) spectating
Last year we logged only 30, 56 in 2016 and 24 in 2015, so we're definitely getting better! For those people interested, we used a Yaesu FT-3000 running 100W into a 40m doublet through an SGC Auto ATU at the bottom of the feeder. The doublet was about 10m high in the centre and 8m high at each end. This was the same set-up as last year but last year we stayed on 40m - as we did in 2016 - whereas this year we swapped to 80m.
Thanks go to Darren M0WIT, John M0JPA, Dean M6XUT, Eric M0JCK and Ken G0ITI for their assistance and support and, of course, to the chapel management for allowing us to use the location. Also, our thanks go to Dot for the cake, tea and coffee.
The penultimate club activity was the Cragg Challenge for which HADARS provide radio communications. The public road through Cragg Vale is closed for most of the day; as races are run up the hill, we need to be sure that the road is clear of traffic
Finally for this year, Jamboree On The Air or JoTA was on October 20th. For this several members who belonged to both HADARS and Raynet provided some radio-oriented activities for the 24th Sowerby Cub pack. We had two transmitting stations which allowed cubs to exchange greetings messages with other cubs and scouts around the UK and a Morse sending station.
Stuart G6NTI explaining a transmitter before allowing the cubs to exchange greetings messages
We entertained 18 cubs from the 24th St Paul's Scouts, Sowerby who trekked up the hill fron Sowerby Bridge to Steep Lane Baptist Chapel.
Martin M0GQB reading the cubs' Morse sending - it has to be said that the standard of Morse was very high and would shame some radio amateurs I know!
See our activities for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012