Report by Steve M0SSR
Members of the Brede Steam AR (BSARS) arrived early on Saturday 16th August at Dungeness Lifeboat Station in anticipation of a good weekend. The weather promised to be good and there were a few members – Steve M0SSR, Antony G4CUS, Martin M0MJU, Mike M0EDU and Phil G3MGQ (The Team) – around to hoist the 30ft Mast which would hold the Full Size G5RV up at the centre.
As the station was not yet open the team got all the equipment out of the car and started to erect the mast on the car base provided. It actually went up with only a couple of hitches, one we had the G5RV on the wrong side of the three support guys, and two we never have enough carrier bags to hold down the guy ropes!
With the shack open – a room lent to us for the weekend by the Lifeboat Station – the equipment was put together and we were soon on the air. Twenty meters was the order of the day to start and quite a few contacts were made on this band with the longest being Jeddah. A change of operators means a change of bands, this time down to forty meters for the chance of the UK Light Houses and there were quite a few.
During the day we had a few visitors from Littlehampton all the way round to Folkestone where members of the public came and asked all the questions you can think of, and a few that we had to think about! Licensed hams from other clubs came and visited notably Rob M0LYD who always pops down for a chat and Adrian G4DUE and Simon M6HXE who popped in to say hello.
As we have a G5RV up this year, instead of the trailer mast that we have had in the past, we had to dismantle the mast and antenna before closing down the station at 17.00 hours.
On Sunday, The Team, arrived at 09.00 hours. Only this time Mike M0EDU thought that he would give it a try to take his car around the outside of the station and onto the largest shingle bank in the world. To his disbelief he soon found himself stuck hard and fast in the gravel – see picture – with no means of pulling him out he had to stay there until Dan, M0HOW, came along at midday and pulled him free. A lesson learnt maybe?
The mast was soon erected and lessons learnt from the previous day enabled The Team to erect it in 20 minutes, almost a record one could say! Straight onto 20 meters, which was very noisy, but still a few contacts were made until the noise got so bad that we had to change to 40 meters for the rest of the day. Again the club had a few visitors which is always good to see including Fred who will shortly be taking his foundation licence – good luck Fred.
At midday on Sunday the Lifeboat “RNLI Lifeboat 13-02 “The Morrell” went out for a demonstration to Littlehampton. This is always a spectacular event and the station shuts down for while so we can all see the launch, and it stops our communications from possibly splattering over their communications. This is one of the first of its kind in the country for this style of Lifeboat in as much that it is a jet propelled boat. It has two straight 6, 13 litre engines producing some 600BHP and can turn on a sixpence. It was first trialled at Dungeness some two years ago and had to go back for some modifications. The trailer is also unique, as once the lifeboat is back on the trailer it can traverse 108 degrees so that the boat is ready for launching again.
During the afternoon Dan M0HOW showed us his skills in kite flying, assisted by Mike M0EDU, they got a “Cody Kite”, which was very stable, flying. Dan says he should be able to hang a vertical wire from it for AR purposes – watch this space for next year!!
The station finally closed down at 17.00 after quite a busy and warm weekend. A total of 261 contacts were made with a total of 39 Lighthouse numbers collected. Please see the log here. Our thanks to Martin M0MJU who had to trail through the log and put all the times and dates against the log as the computer decided to default everything to 1.1.1990 before posting it to the web site.
Thanks again to The Team, Antony G4CUS, Martin M0MJU, Phil G3MGQ, Mike M0MDU, Dan M0HOW, Steve M0SSR and Tony G4KLF for turning out as always to this special weekend. Thanks also go to The Dungeness Life Boat crew who always make us feel very welcome. They do a valuable service for the community, so please support them when you can.