VHF National Field Day 2002

Again lucky with the weather, whilst it looked like rain from the long-range forecasts it remained dry although cloudy for much of the time.  Once again we were able to use the Lacey's field, but now that the 20-foot mound has been removed the barn has some effect on signals especially to the East.  We entered the Low power section of the contest with stations on 4m, 2m and 23cm.  The rule changes allow sleep and also now that we have fewer operators, still enable the club to put in a credible entry.

The three stations in a row

Another view

The 4m station only operates on the Sunday In the low power section of the contest.  Here we see John Bonner G0GKP, on the mic, and Bob Grimes G0GVZ in the 4m tent.  The equipment is an Ft290 Mk1 driving the RN electronics transverter at 10 w pep to a 5-element yagi at 10 m.  The mast was our latest addition to the range of pump-ups we now have.  John said that he was able to work mainly on SSB, and thought conditions good.

John and Bob

Steve and Roy

The 2m station operates for a maximum of 16 hours in 24.  Breaks must be at least 1 hour long though.  Here we see Steve Platt G4WSZ, on the mic, and Roy Henson M1GRT.  The equipment is the club Ft225rd with a 17 ele Tonna yagi at the top of the scam pump up set at the 10 m height (max allowed in low power section of contest), and computer logging with the G0GJV program.  Also for the first time we used an r.f. Speech processor from a practical wireless design which really brings up the average signal by several db's.  Parts provided by John G0TIL and the unit built and set-up by G6KWA.  Conditions were considered good with plenty of DX

1296 aerial struggles

Graham Hanson G0UUS and me G6KWA swearing at the platform which supports the transverter for the 23cm station whilst other look on in despair.  The equipment is an Ft 290 mk1 driving a Microwave Modules 1296 Mk2 Transverter with a 15 w brick P.A. kit from the RSGB microwave components service, at the top of the mast to avoid feeder losses.  Despite the increased power this year results were very poor.  Activity was very low and only the 3-4 big stations with 400 pep to dishes seemed to be on the band.  It's a shame really because at the start of the contest I could hear the Bristol, Dunstable Downs, Emley Moor, and Dutch beacons as well as Ipswich.  However within 3 hours only the now not so strong Ipswich beacon could be heard.  Gerald G0HEM, a regular visitor to our weekend activities, arranged an nbfm contact for me by mobile phone when he saw how low the score rate was just to prove that the equipment was still working.

David listening to hiss

David Glazebrook listening to the hiss of the 23 cm station.  David brought along his Camper van this year and did a sterling job on providing copious tea and coffee as well as hot grub throughout the weekend.  Well done David and a big thank you from all the members.

Pack up Photo

Top Row left to right: Mike Rhenius G1VJG, Colin Havercroft G8CTX, David Glaxebrook, Roy Henson M1GRT, Bob Grimes G0GVZ, Peter Howell M1EVB, John Bonner G0GJP Bottom Row left to right: Clive Hollins M5CHH, David King G6KWA, Mike Addlesee M0BLP, Gordon Mallion G0TZQ,

So, how did we do? Look at the vhf cc site, it is worth reading the results pages in full with all the comments.  Go to the following http://www.blacksheep.org/vhfcc/index.html and click on results then scroll down and click on VHFNFD.  If you consider that we had the usual "Field Day" problems of forgetting some of the equipment, (feeder, pump up mast adaptors to name just two), equipment failure (2m pre-amp and I am not sure about the 23cm gear) and the now familiar one of not enough operators, I think very well indeed.  70Mhz, 7/11: 144Mhz, 2/14: 1296Mhz, 4/4 (all in low power section).  Sorry 1296 let the group down, but we still came 7/13 overall. Brilliant result on 2 meters, clearly shows it is a good site.

So to sum up this was another well-supported highly enjoyable club weekend, my thanks to all the usual suspects without whom this would not be possible.  A special mention to Mike Rhenius who took the legs for the masts and stored them for us.  Here he is enjoying listening to the short wave having strung a wire aerial between two of the masts.

Mike Rhenius in his van

Our thanks to Cambridge Tool Hire for the generator at very silly prices, worked flawlessly as usual.  I am sure that CTH will be considered by club members should they need to hire any gear.

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