International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend 2014 at Dungeness
Report by Martin (M0MJU)
This year we did not set up on the Friday as we decided not to take the beam and trailer mast. A good call as it turned out as it was very windy both days. Instead we used the club’s G5RV with it’s centre supported at around 35 feet with a fibreglass pole. This still is a popular event with nearly every member of the club turning up at some point over the weekend.
Saturday got off to a slow start, 20m proved to be useless as there was a contest on, so we went to 40m to find it packed and hunted up and down the band for a frequency picking up contacts as we went. Eventually we found a gap put out a CQ and then the contacts began to mount steadily. At 14.30 hrs we all stopped to go and watch the new lifeboat and launching system go out on an exercise, it was very impressive!! We stopped again later to watch it come back and rotate 180 degrees on its trailer. We have always been proud of our 2 lighthouses but this year we were trumped by a station that had 3! One station, operating from Rye Harbour, told us that he had painted the old lighthouse. The day ended with 100 contacts in the log.
Arriving Sunday morning we surprised a young Swiss couple who had decided that the rear of the lifeboat station was a good place to spend the night in their camper van. They packed up and left very quickly, looking a little embarrassed. They would have had an even bigger surprise if the lifeboat had been launched in the middle of the night! We started on 20m and soon had a pile up, including three U.S. contacts.
We then moved to 40m and an even bigger pile up! Conditions were very variable with sometimes G stations very strong and at other times D’s, HB9’s, GM’s, GW’s, coming in stronger. One thing that was constant was that on both days we were told that we were the strongest signal on the band and were complimented on the quality of our audio. One German station actually heard the whistle on the RH&DR steam train as it left the station.
Total contacts for the weekend 351. Thanks to all who operated, logged and came and gave us support and last but not least a big thanks to Dungeness Lifeboat for making us so welcome.
The weekend’s log may be viewed here.
can you spot Mr Pip?