Saturday the 11th of October started with an early arrival at BHRS and the intention of calling into the VMARS 80m AM net at 0830. The weather was not particularly helpful with a strong wind and driving rain slowing progress in deploying the inverted V dipole. The 2 metre ten element beam had also sustained a broken director element which needed replacement. Fortunately the new element, made from a superior grade aluminium had been fabricated in advance and was quickly fitted. The generator which normally starts on the button, decided to be difficult and needed priming before springing into its usual noisy motion. The VMARS net was now well underway with stations throughout the country putting in very good five and nine signals. Even MU6GCN in Guernsey using a ANG/RC9 was giving us a five and six. The net controller Alan G4GEN in Nutley ran the net very well and fortunately put out a late call for stations that had missed the 0830 call-in. Due to the peculiarities of propagation and probably our aerial being end-on to Nutley, Alan did not hear my initial call. This was however heard by Paul M1PVC near Ashdown Forest who could hear us 5/9 plus! Needless to say his DX100U with 100 Watts was putting out a tremendous signal. Our station using the Clansman PRC320 manpack with about 12 Watts was added to the net list of over 16 stations at 0920 receiving good readable reports from the majority of operators. We were delighted to see Richard arrive in his Land Rover 90, accompanied by his Labrador Baxter for their second visit to the station. Richard is ex Territorial Army Signals and is already equipped with Clansman PRC351 and PRC320 series radios. He offered to join SARS and immediately tendered his subscription as foundation student member. This was quickly accepted and no time was wasted in starting the Foundation Licence practical training session. After the VMARS net had ended at 1006 our thoughts turned to food and shortly we were enjoying a round of sausage sandwiches followed by Bacon and egg sandwiches. Richards generous contributions to the catering provisions were gratefully received. Hungry work this radio operating!
Andy and Graham experimenting with various data modes on 20m
The Clansman dipole kit was now lowered and shortened from 17.5 metres in each arm to 7.5 metres as appropriate to 40 metres. With the change of a few connections, Andy and Graham were soon engrossed with various data modes starting with receiving some slow-scan pictures and soon progressing to PSK31 and JT65. Henry 2E0IAK made the 30 mile trip from Cranbrook and arrived bearing gifts in the form of a portable Calor Gas cooker that was a very welcome addition to the catering equipment. Catching up on previous weeks activities reminds me of a previous visit by Henry when he brought along his Land Rover 110 FFR in full United Nations livery! Henry also showed us his Plessey version of the Scanti HF transceiver. These were primarily intended for marine use but were adapted as a medium power HF station for military purposes. These units run 250W pep with fully automatic tuning. Plessey 8250HF Transceiver
Henry had also donated a quantity of meals ready to eat including a ten man sized pack of Chili Beef and Oatmeal blocks. The thought of all of the Chili Beef going uneaten was too much to forget and soon some onion was being fried to combine with the Beef. After the addition of some Baked Beans, Coconut Milk and Worcester sauce the huge quantity (quivering mass!) was ready for consumption. I will not say that offering would have won any prizes on Masterchef but there were several diners that returned three times for seconds! This was appropriately washed down with copious quantities of army tea.