Luton VHF Group - G3SVJ / G2L

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For the March 2008 2m and 70cm contest some of the members of the group went to Caldey Island, one of the Welsh Islands, off the coast of Tenby, Pembrokeshire, IO71PP, WAB SS19 using GW3SVJ/P. This was a precursor to a much longer and larger expedition during the first week of September. The operators were: G1JCC, G4LBH, G4LOO and G4UEM.

In May 2008 we were QRV on 70cm, 23cm, 13cm, 9cm, 6cm and 3cm from Whipsnade

Following a trial visit to Caldey island in May 2008 seven members of the group went to Caldey island for a full Dxpedition. The plan was to spend 7 days on the island to activate it for IOTA with the special event station callsign GB2CI and to take part in an HF and a VHF contest over the weekend of 5 and 6th September 2008. The trip was memorable for us for many reasons that can be seen in the photo gallery.

In October 2008 we were QRV on 70cm, 23cm and 3cm from Therfield

We were at IO91RU with the callsign G3SVJ/P and QRV on:

70cm, running 75W into 4 x 19 element Tonna antennas. We made 77 contacts and the best DX was DK4LI at 761km

23cm, running 100W into 4 x 36 element Tonna antennas. We made 26 contacts and the best DX was ON4HRT/P at 401km

13cm, running 10W into a 44 element quad loop yagi. We made 8 contacts and the best DX was GD0EMG at 374km

9cm, running 14W into a DD7MH dual band ring feed mounted on a 1.25m prime focus mesh dish. We made 6 contacts and the best DX was GD0EMG at 374km

6cm, running 1W into a DD7MH dual band ring feed mounted on a 1.25m prime focus mesh dish. We made 3 contacts and the best DX was G3ZME/P at 159km

3cm, running 10W into a 50cm dish. We made 7 contacts and the best DX was GD0EMG at 374km

None of us appreciated that an island just 3 miles off of the mainland of Wales could become cut off due to bad weather and sea conditions but this did happen with only one trip back to the mainland possible during our 7 day stay to purchase emergency food supplies. At the end of the stay we were nearly stranded on the island because the scheduled mail boat did not run, only contact with the mainland and a good deal of palm greasing brought a ferry boat to our rescue.

The island proved to be an ideal location for HF with fantastic propagation to the USA, we were often told that we were the strongest signal coming out of the UK. We nearly did not have any antennas because we had not taken poles on this trip because the May trial visit had located some poles on the island that we had be assured that we could borrow. To our dismay when we arrived the poles were not in the place that we had expected, on investigation we discovered that one of the monks in the monastery had cut up the poles to make a fruit cage. After frantic phone calls and some sleuthing work we managed to locate sufficient poles to erect our A3S tri band HF beam and our brand new 6 element 6m beam. Unfortunately the pole for the 6m beam fell over the day after it was erected because the weather was so bad that the ground was soaked and the wind pulled out the stakes so we did not make any contacts on 6m. We also erected a 2m beam but the pole for that was taken to the island but the location was not good for 2m contacts.

We considered the Dxpedition a great success, we worked 1500 stations on HF with many stations contacted being ones with modest equipment and very pleased to work a new IOTA island. The number of calls could have been greater but we were spending time to chat with people rather than a quickie QSO. 2m was not so successful with some 30 contacts made.

We were QRV at IO92XA on:

70cm, running 400W into 4 x 19 element Tonna antennas. We made 85 QSOs giving 28311 points, best DX was DF0YY at JO62GD, 869km.

23cm, running 25W into 1 x 52 element Tonna antenna. We made 20 QSOs giving 3176 points, best DX was DG1EA at JO31GF, 463km.

3cm, running 10W into a 50cm dish. We made 2 QSOs giving 233 points, best DX was G4RFR/P at JO62GD, 200km.

The weekend was great fun but we had several technical problems and bad weather. It was windy and cold on Saturday with occasional rain, the rain set in on Sunday but it warmed up. On Sunday afternoon the wind calmed down but changed to the north so it became much colder. Of course the sun came out as we started to pack up, fortunately this dried out the tents,

  • The original plan of 23cm and 70cm on the same mast caused too much crosstalk so the 23cm station was re-sited
  • The 70cm rotator was not man enough to turn the 4 x 19 element Tonnas in the wind so a new rotator was fetched
  • The ELCB on the generator failed so it had to be shorted out
  • The 23cm preamplifier failed so the standby 25W PA and preamplifier were used
  • The GPRS/3G computer cards would not work on 3G (too much signal!), Eventually the setting to force GPRS only was found and we had access to the Internet
  • The 3cm station sprang a leak on Sunday in heavy rain and soaked the computer, so no more Internet

2008 history