Having endured some sixteen or so weeks of the lock-down the gradual return to normality started from the 6th of July was very welcome news. Radio amateurs have been fortunate to be able to continue with their hobby, keeping in contact with their fellows over the air waves aided by the connectivity of the internet for those without access to space for aerials.
Southdown A.R.S. are incredibly fortunate to have a radio site at Beachy Head where we can pursue our radio interests away from the radio noise and interference caused by Broadband and electrical equipment. And on a hill at an altitude of 480 feet near open fields with some great views!
Wishing to enjoy these facilities as soon as possible a small group of members planned a radio camp at the site. With numbers being strictly limited to six attendees outside family groups. The event was posted on our Forum and Calendar awaiting responses on first come first served basis.
Initially there were responses from three members wishing to attend both Friday and Saturday, with apologies from some who were already attending other functions. We were planning to continue our members cumulative contest from 1630-1830 Friday with the added bonus of the IARU HF contest running over the weekend. This gave plenty of opportunity for radio operating on HF for those wishing to participate.
Andy 2E0GNE and Tim M0THM were first to arrive at the site with Barry G8DXU slightly delayed collecting provisions and diesel for the site generator, which was running very low.
We pitched our tents, with the usual difficulty securing even substantial, tent pegs in the hard ground and beach substrate. The aerial to be used in the contest was a 20m Dipole, deployed from the main Tennamast. We also ran a 100 foot long wire for the Station Radio C12 to the 8m mast on G8DXUs Land Rover Defender FFR. The Larkspur Station Radio C12 was brought along just in case there might be members who wanted a contact on Top Band, but this did not happen during this event. However it did reveal a couple of faults, such as dirty ATU relay contacts and intermittent lamp connections. Plus a loose ground connection on the Plessey MkIV plug of the control harness, making the PTT intermittent. These problems have all now been rectified in readiness for VMARS Dynamotor Day on the 29th of August.
Our members contest started at 1630 local time on 14.055MHz when it was hoped that we may be able to make contact with Dick SV0RPE in Crete. However after a couple of CQ calls, no members were heard using CW so we switched to USB
Our first contact with a club member was actually on the 15 metre band with Steve G8NFZ
Our next major event would be the 2 metre and 70cm Low Power contest running over the weekend of 1st 2nd August respectively. This is a 25 Watt maximum power event and on this occasion must be for single operators only.
There was the added bonus that during the same weekend the European HF contest is also running. We made an entry in this event in order to keep a couple of members occupied whilst G8DXU operated in the main VHF event.
Overall the weekend of 10-11th July was very enjoyable, with the few members attending making the most of the opportunity to get out into the open air and do some radio operating.