CHIRK 2003 (by 'MDH)
(Swiss Radio International had 'The 2 Bobs' - Wrexham ARS, has "2 Geoffs"....)
Well, this year....I drew the short straw....I had to work on the Saturday Morning.....and then again on the Sunday Night! - However - a bit of clandestine listening from the comfort of my desk in work (ssshh...don't tell anyone!) with my Panasonic RF-B45 portable and some wire - and it felt like I was there !......However, when they call.... :-/
The journey from my QTH was somewhat eventful.
(The Site when I arrived! - Flat Bands, Lets take a break)
What was more annoying was that in order to get to Chirk, the train goes within 50 yards of my house (I actually go along the back of the estate!) - Granted I had some inkling, but until I was on that train, I then knew what it was all about! - Although a station had existed, somebody decided to knock it down many years back, then knock down the Manual Crossing, but what the hey !
I arrived at Chirk station, laden with all my kit, All I had to do was call in, and get someone to come fetch me - Mainly as standing in the middle of nowhere with heaven knows how much kit in cases, bags, boxes and so on, was making me feel uneasy. Liz came and picked me up in her sportster, and we headed to the site.
On arrival, I found Ian had returned, and Steve was taking a breather...The bands were flat. I decided I should make up for my mornings hard slog, I unloaded half a ton of chocolate, biscuits and cakes, we had to be prepared for the hard slog ahead! - I then unloaded my FT-1500 and associated kit, and started getting it set up!
There was just one small problem................I had forgotten a cable, a fairly important one, Well, important if I wanted to connect the KAM to the laptop..
(Ian testing the HB9CV)
I had initially decided to transport the laptop in a sturdier bag than I normally use, Unfortunately it wouldn't hold everything..on swapping out to another bag, I forgot to move the KAM -> PC cable. Having sworn blind that I had it, I turned the Raynet van over, then it dawned on me (and would be later proved) it was sitting at home!
Not to worry - the FT-1500 got set up, as did the Laptop -as either way we needed something for logging for the 2M station the following morning! - A few rounds of Asteroids later, and all was well!
Having admitted defeat on the Packet idea, I set about getting everything sorted! - I set all my kit up, somewhat neatly - Well, how much space does an FT-1500 take up - next to diddly....that's how much!
The evening moved slowly, bands were flat, and it was nice and warm, and kind of pleasant! Ian hung around for a while, to be honest, we didn't feel like doing a great deal - Mel arrived briefly, and he arranged a QSO in order to test his recently accquired 817 - This ended up as a 2M contact, which is reflected in the logs!
Over the next few hours, Liz and Ian both left, Steven (MW3WZZ) arrived with friend Craig,as did John ('VCD) and Gareth ('RLC) - John had arrived with his data kit, and during a lull in activity we decided to get on PSK. Initially, dogged by an utterly bizarre problem with his FC-20 tuner - Which disappeared as fast as it arrived, we got on air!
(Liz, GW0ETU at the controls on Saturday)
Data Moding....take 2
So we decided to get set up on Data - We hooked johns 847 together, and the fact that his FC-20 managed to cure itself of its ills of its own accord - we set about trying to get somewhere on data! - however, that is all we did - we ended up receiving for the remainder of the night!
Over the coming hours, John and Gareth would go for a pizza, Steve nipped off to McDs, and Steven (WZZ) would drop Craig off home, and came back about an hour or so later - with beer !! - Which was enjoyed by all those in the van, not stuffing themselves with Mini-Rolls. Not a lot of radio was played over the coming hours! It was about 1:30am when John and Gareth, and Steve 'WZZ departed, bands were flat, and 'STE was getting set up for the morning shift - he had a listen round to see if there was any DX worth working - he then set up his linear, and departed to his car for some much needed rest.
Between myself and Steve, we had decided to sleep "in shifts" - this meant that there was always someone in the caravan, Steve took the first shift, and so I switched off all the radios, and played Lemmings and Asteroids for an hour or so.
We swapped shifts in the early morning, and I got my head down for a few hours - admittedly, I've not yet mastered the 'art' of sleeping in a car - but i got about 2 hours of reasonable sleep.
When I got up - it was quite cold, there was very little traffic on the road beside us. The van was warm, had Steve been testing his linear ? (no wonder my head felt odd - I was underneath the antenna!!!) - nope - he'd popped the stove on for a much needed cuppa. It would be best part of an hour before I even moved or uttered words beyond the simple phrase "yes, thanks Steve, 1 sugar..." - I cannot function without tea first thing in the morning. A quick spin round 2M found it buzzing with activity on MN, and MP - and given our location, we could hear (and open) repeaters in and around Birmingham!! - 2M SSB Was dead, however this would be a short lived phenomena - the following morning was going to be very fast-paced.
At about 4am, we noticed the die-hard group of Car-Booters setting up for the morning! - this would go on until the early(er) hours of the morning - By midday, we would almost be hemmed in by car-booters - thats another story though - lets get onto the Sunday....
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