Location: Watermead, Aylesbury IO91ot (51.833064°N - 0.809878°W) May 24th 2009
On arrival at Watermead, Aylesbury, I was greeted by Phil M0PSH, Les G0DFC and Chris 2E0PPM.The assembly of the demonstration station was well underway and the location was idyllic. Its location gave us plenty of exposure to those attending the fete and also an excellent take off to the North. Being positioned at the edge of the southern shore of the lake, put us slap bang next to the public footpath adjoining two of the areas where the majority of the activities were to be held.
The weather was fantastic, blue sky and very warm.
The first hic-cup was tools – or an immediate lack of them. Thankfully, I had not completely emptied the boot of my MPV of the company’s tools, so the toolbox came to the rescue of both Phil who was trying to release a SO239 aerial mount from the roof of his MPV for use with an aerial and Chris who was minus the appropriately sized screw driver to assemble the HF vertical aerial ( made by Dennis G7OGN ).
Everything was going well. Chris avoided getting his feet wet as the pole on which one of the HF verticals was to be mounted, was in the water at the lake edge. That was of course until someone noticed the spelling of “AVRS” on the banner advertising the station. “He” who shall remain nameless, must write out AVRS, 100 times!
But that was the least of our problems.
I had bought along my Kenwood TS2000X, a PC all the other paraphernalia associated with it and the HF vertical by Sandpiper Aerials, the multiband MV10 (6 -160M). The plan, to demonstrate a HF digital station, RTTY PSK, SSTV etc.
I mounted the MV10 on a very heavy steel parasol stand, the sort that you use on your patio, at about 18 inches off the ground right on the edge of the lake. The antenna is a breeze to set up once you have marked the positions for the lengths of the vertical and coil elements. It works great at just 18 – 24 inches above ground. A simple earth system (earth rod) will suffice, but buried radials are much better, something we could not afford to do on the day. So an earth rod was driven into the wet mud at the lake edge and with the station almost set up, the coax was connected. A quick tune on 20m with the LDG KT100 auto tuner and nothing – no tune - SWR out of the window if we have had one. The same happened on all the other bands. Yep, a short circuit co-ax feeder. The source of the short circuit was quickly identified and a new PL259 plug solved the problem. Then disaster I forgot the USB cable to connect the external soundcard to the PC. (Thanks to Phil M0PSH for the loan of). With that little problem out the way all that we needed to do now was to get the 2M/70cms co-linear up which we mounted on one of the side poles of the tent.
Phil M0PSH had disappeared by this time and we were now joined by the other Phil, G6PHH, who was persuaded to set up the ICOM rig from his car in the “shack“ for SSB operation through Chris’s vertical aerial.
The fete was due to start at 13h00 local and we were now ready to go. Both radios were up and running, the “geny” was doing her stuff – plenty of QRM. The side table was laid out with various pieces of radio equipment, hand outs, information on the RSGB, working satellites, past Radcom magazines, QSL cards etc.
We had been listening around on 20, 40 and 80 metres, but the bands appeared to be very quiet, albeit with the exception of a very loud German contest station. Phil, G6PHH, soon went back to him on SSB and got a 59.
As we had the option of VHF I though it a good opportunity to demonstrate IRLP. We were monitoring MB7IDM on 145.3375mHz and a quick call connected us through the Irish conference server with Rudy DL3KAN who was bicycle mobile near Dueren in Germany (JO30dl). He was out with his family on their bicycle’s, on his way to the hospital. I think he was off to visit a relative, but operating a hand held whilst cycling is , I would imagine, a very quick method of getting a ride in an ambulance to hospital! Rudy was fading in and out a bit, we were not sure if it was the location or if he was powering the hand held off the bicycle dynamo.
Phil and Les continued trying their hand on SSB, when we suddenly found we had lost power to the radios and were off air mid QSO. Believing we had a 240volt supply problem from the generator, we were quickly told “don’t be daft it can’t be, the PC is still running”. In fact we both had overloaded the PSU by running the 2 rigs, the ICOM QRO, so the PSU shut itself down. At least I now know the PSU overload protection actually works once it see’s 25 Amps or more.
With the problem of the power supply resolved by Phil G6PHH going a bit QRP and dropping the load on the PSU, the next little teaser found us . The aerial Chris 2E0PPM had loaned would no longer tune on the ICOM rig. A quick continuity check revealed it had also developed a short circuit inside the co-ax – who says lightening doesn’t strike twice. With another hurdle overcome and a replacement feeder in place, service was resumed. Many calls were made on SSB, on 20, 40 80 metres and top band, but unfortunately, the bands were not playing the game, they were very quiet and reception was far from ideal.
We continued to plug away and in the periods – long periods, where we could not contact anyone, we had a few visitors to the stand and passing observers. This including a group of elder gentleman who branded us CB’ers who were acting illegally - obviously their prejudices meant they couldn’t read either. There were some who thought we were operating the numerous radio controlled boats and there were others who looked genuinely interested in what we were doing. About 3 Amateurs, (apologies for not noting names and call signs), dropped by the “shack” and we were also visited by Roger, G3MEH during the afternoon. We also had 3 enquiries about “how to become a Radio Amateur” including the one from a local Scout group who had enquired if the AVRS would be prepared to give the Scouts a talk on Amateur Radio with the possibility of offering training towards the Licence (contact details have been passed to Phil M0PSH).
The digital side of the station was the most successful. The best DX was RV3WT, Vlad in Kirsk Russia (KO81ds) a distance of 1570 Miles on 20M PSK31 running 35 watts from the TS2000X into the MV10.
The best received DX, was Argentina on 17M PSK31, Jerry W0ZD in Williamsport USA (FN11lg), Vlad RA3NQ in Kostroma Russia (LO07lu), both on 20M, SSTV and Vitorrio IZ2JPN in Milano Italy (JN45pm) on 20M RTTY.
The confirmed contacts using my own call G7DPE/P were,
Start Z End Z Station Band Mode Distance Sent Recv My Power
16:25 16:31 OK2ZDL 20m RTTY 738.26 599 599 35
16:15 16:18 RV3WT 20m PSK31 1,569.55 599 599 35
15:51 15:56 YL3GBF 15m PSK31 937.50 599 599 35
15:12 15:17 YO3HFY/QRP 30m PSK31 1,335.53 599 599 35
14:31 14:35 SP3QFV 30m PSK31 800.64 599 599 35
14:05 14:10 IW3IEH 20m PSK31 708.55 599 599 35
13:58 14:04 CT1FUH 20m PSK31 848.83 599 599 35
12:16 12:21 UA1WN 20m PSK31 1,220.16 599 599 35
12:05 12:15 DL3KAN/P 2m FM 320.82 via MB7IDM IRLP link - Bicycle mob 10
12:01 12:01 M0PSH/M 2m FM 0.00 59 59 10
All in all I think everyone enjoyed themselves, beer, cakes chips and burger included! We were told that about 6000 people visited the venue, mostly family groups, so, a great success for everyone.
We certainly put Amateur Radio and the Aylesbury Vale Radio Society firmly on the map.
73 de Jim G7DPE
PS. Copies of my Log and the photos in digital form are available on request. Email info at the AVRS website -> AVRS forum index -> radio club, or at QRZ.com. I shall QSL those stations we had a confirmed contact with either via eQSL or the Bureau.
M0PSH attended the Harwell Radio & Electronics Raly on 14th February 2010.
PW.QRP.Contest June 2008
AVRS Events / Days Out