GB2WHO - Special Event Station - Day 1
(For full size pics - Click on the pictures)
If someone called me at 10am this morning, and told me that by 2pm we were going to have a pile up on 40m - i'd have said "nope.....sorry" - This is the story behind the first day of Special Event Station GB2WHO - and what I have learnt as a result of it!
It was 8am on a dreary Saturday morning, heading toward the station site, was myself and Stephen, 2W1STE - 2 fresh faced Novice amateurs geared up for what we hoped would be a good days broadcasting.....We were wrong...initially
Upon getting to the site, we found Ian (GW1MVL) and John (GW3RBM) already getting the station set up - we were running a very new looking FT101-ZD my fairly new FT-100 (For UI-View originally) and whatever else came along!! Myself and Stephen unpacked the car, and i set about setting up our UI-View station, and he climbed on the roof to set up his custom made 2m beam
(Stephen and Glyn on the Roof, with Stephens 2m Beam)
Inside, Ian, with the help of his daughters were decorating the room with all the RSGB paraphernalia that they had sent to us, Novice Licence course details, Getting started guides, and so on. I unpacked my kit and started setting up! - I must point out, that with the exception of the PSU, my entire shack, fits into a box, Laptop, FT-100, KAM and associated cables etc. Odd really, as i can't pack shopping in Tesco's to save my life!
We were first to get set up, Amazing how an old IBM Thinkpad, a KAM, and an FT-100 fit quite neatly onto a garden table, admittedly I was alarmed at how much the 100 moved, on top of the KAM, i dropped the feet and used some blu-tack, that cured the movement issue - However, our hopes were to be somewhat dashed.
Having set up, fired up - I discovered a dodgy connection in the N-Plug - this was quickly fixed (although I never was quite happy with the connection on that N-Plug anyway) - and we were off and running......... I kicked up UI-View, set up all the details, and it started sending Beacons. no one was coming back... "its nearly 9AM (BST) - no one else will be running by now" I thought..
(Picture to the right: Mark (2W1MDH) on the Laptop, trying in vain to get UI-View up and running! - Stephen (2W1STE) in the background doing some repairs to an antenna cable if I recall)
By now, Ian had set up the HF station, and Dave (GW4DSO?) had appeared for help and moral support! - he got up and running not long after......Until it was discovered that there was some noise emanating form somewhere causing hash on both our HF setup and our UI-View/2m station.
(Ian - GW1MVL/GW0VML - Operating the 101ZD)
Strange Noises and antenna tweaking
We switched the lights off......nothing (by now it was pretty much daylight anyway)
We all traced all the way back along the cables, everything was fine, checked with analysers, SWR meters and all sorts of other gadgetry.......it was going nowhere. I switched off my entire station, to see if anything was causing a problem - if it was, the laptop would be the most likely problem!
I switched back on, and continued sending beacons on 2m, and getting nowhere very slowly. Ian suggested we try my 100 on HF, as it had better filtering and DSP unlike the 101ZD - a few cable changes later, we were up and running. As i'd never had cause to run on HF, all my settings for HF were out - so a few mins later, and that was all OK. We tuned around 40m, and out some calls out - From out of the ether came our third contact (according to the log) but one that proved we were getting somewhere! and what a station - GB2OWM - in the Orkney islands, from an FT-100 running 100W out into an inverted V dipole!
We switched back to the 101ZD....the noise was still there.
As If By Magic (c) BBC probably)
The noise disappeared, as mysteriously as it had appeared, it disappeared!
Stunned faces appeared on our ever growing troop of club members. We didn't know what had happened, or where the noise was coming from - We seized the opportunity - and started broadcasting on 40m - it was now nearing 11am (BST) - we had all been up very early, the day was already long - Outside, the sun was still attempting to break through, but it still looked like it'd pour down at the earliest opportunity - very few people had popped their heads round the door to talk to us. We made one other contact.
We were to discover somewhat later that it was all down to the ventilation fans outside - we had first thought that it was the workshop equipment 2 floors above us!
Long Story short
In the run up to this sudden burst of activity, we all went up on the roof, with all sorts of kit, we tweaked, we shortened, we rotated and cut the antennas, we re-soldered cables, undid patch cables, re-set laptops, radios and so on - none of this helped one ounce. Moral was getting low. Myself, Stephen and Glyn went off to investigate the 2m problem, we could hit one repeater, and that was about it - but the whole thing was very odd indeed! - Further investigations were inconclusive, so i packed up my kit, and hung around. I was thinking about writing a few pages for the site, but they never materialised!
I can't remember how the decision came about, but we decided to set up Stephens 706 for the HF station.
John (GW3RBM) - hit upon the idea of making a vertical, to improve our chances - and so he, Stephen (G6ZMD) and Dave (GW4DSO) - got to work outside - the sun peeked through the clouds for a bit, and within 30 minutes a 40m vertical antenna had been set up, just outside the window - this was to be our saving grace. We wired it to the ATU, and tuned up.
Batton down the hatches! (??)
Just as we were considering packing up and going home, it was, by now 2pm.......The sun was finally breaking through, perhaps this was what we needed.
This is where it went wild, suddenly the contacts started screaming through, we were getting them every few minutes, we sat down, and geared up Initially Ian took the mike, followed by Stephen, I sat on the laptop logging - The next three hours passed very quickly, we called it a day after we'd worked our 15 Museum stations.
I don't think we went any more than 15 minutes without a contact.
I must admit - sideband does sound very different sat across the other side of a room from the TX - sometimes i could work out the callsigns, sometimes i couldn't (apologies to all!!!)
L-R - John GW3RBM, Dave GW4SDO (on the wall) and Stephen (G6ZMD)
Results for first day:
86 stations were worked on the first day, with 15 museum stations worked, we worked into France, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Germany and to all corners of the UK and Ireland.
All Pictures on this page thanks to Glyn (MW0BNB) and Dave (GW4SDO)
Back To Main Page On To Day 2!