144 Mhz Trophy and H.F. Operating Weekend 1-2 September 2001
We were very lucky with the weather - it remained dry although at one point on Sunday rain was threatened.
Because of the Foot and Mouth crisis it was somewhat of a last minute decision to run the contest and this clearly showed in the low number of /p stations operating in the UK. We decided to run an HF station as well since this would hopefully attract more of our members to join us at some point over the weekend. This proved to be a good idea and although we did not formally enter the SSB field day there was plenty of activity in the HF tent (doubled up as the mess tent).
The equipment line-up this year
New this year were 2 x Scan 12m Pump up masts (excellent) with a 17 ele Tonna on top of each. One was fitted with a rotator and the Mutek pre-amp. Both aerials were fed with Westlake W103 low loss feeder. The aerials were switched as necessary by a high quality low loss coaxial relay. The usual Yaesu FT225rd plus Nag Linear line up performed well. I had repaired the 225 and Ian G4AKD modified the Nag to take a 6 volt heater valve so that if we did our usual "stuff up" of the valve it would cost us £125 less!
Still, I had a good try, see later. Other repairs which had been carried out to the Linear, Pre-amp and our Power Meter seemed ok since we had no repeat of the '99 VHFNFD when everything failed. To overcome the pager breakthrough a re-tuned, very high quality, cavity was inserted between the 225 and the linear. I was lucky to pick up two of these units, which must have cost hundreds of pounds to make, at the Dunstable Downs Car Boot this year.
The HF station used the clubs equipment and the G5RV. This line up always works very well once the auto tuner operation is mastered. It was powered by the club's generator, which was found to cause serious interference to the VHF station so I suppose it's just as well that it had a terminal failure on Sunday (see lessons learned).
Visitors to site during the weekend
Helen and Martin Cranage, The Platt girls and Mum, Roger Prior G0WWR (I hope you will rejoin the club Roger), Gerald G0HEM, John Lancaster (Steve's friend). And dearest Judith.
Thank You to the following
(Not in order of importance). Mike Addlesee M0BLP for arranging for the pump up masts and the food (and drink) goodies. Helen and Martin G8OFA (ex chairman) Cranage for making the long trip from Salisbury. Judith, my long-suffering yl and now xyl, for the food goodies and moral support. The Lacy family for permission to use the site. I do so hope the Chairman has attended to the personal thank you by now !, (and obtained outline permission for future activity). Ian Alexander G4AKD for linear mods. The Committee for sanctioning expenditure and their support on the day. John Parmenter G0TIL , John Bonner G0GKP, Ian Alexander G4AKD for transport and helping me return the equipment to the club shack on Sunday evening despite the three of them being OAP's, even JB had to stop for drag on his pipe. (How are the knees Ian?) Did my frozen shoulder a power of good as well.) The lovely homemade cookies from the Platts. Roy Henson M1GRT for collect and return of the hire generator. Clive Hollins M5CHH for bringing the club generator (why no take it back Clive?).
And last but not least, everybody who took the trouble to turn up
The provisional position is 8th using the claimed scores facility on the VHFCC Site. We made 219 contacts, the average distance was 264 Km and best DX was F1DLT in JN37LR at 692 Km. Not at all bad considering the station and operator capabilities. Look at VHF Contest Committee
Lessons LearnedLinears, especially valve ones, work much better if they have a load on them. (I am so pleased I carried out the modifications as recommended by G3SEK in the vhf/uhf manual otherwise there would have been no linear)- (THAT WAS ME!). Generators work much better and last longer if oil is used (HF CREW). Do not allow heavy drinkers to man the station overnight. A four hour gap in the log where no contacts made. (Nobody will own up to this, p*** heads) The 225 works much better on SSB if the mode switch is in the SSB position rather than CW. (The very same overnight crew)
By the way, congratulations to Belinda and Helen for outstanding exam results. Some of you will remember George Benton's views on parents and children, how right he was.
Finale. Will you please remember Cambridge Tool Hire at :- 29, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge 01223- 323668, who once again sponsored the weekend with the generator as they have done for many of our events over the last 15 years. They have a huge range of equipment to hire and I would hope that club members use or at least try them for any hire requirements.