Armed Forces Day at Alexandra Park
June 29th 2014
Report by Dan Adkin (M0HOW)
Once again BSARS participated in Armed Forces day. The equipment was packed and prepared prior to the event. I was joined by Issy 2E0IJA, Marie-Claire M6MCP Antony G4CUS and his good lady Linda, at the shack to load the equipment into our cars.
Armed Forces day takes place nationally on a Saturday but in Hastings, its a Sunday. This year our special event call sign was GB0AFD.
At the Park at 08:00 we where met by Phil G3MGQ who assisted all the above in the setup of the station. Like the previous two years on this event, we had been been lent a generator. Despite working flawlessly the proceeding weekend on the HERC field day the generator refused to start and then the starter cord snapped.
Across from us in the park is the bandstand on the side of which is a power distribution box. I (M0HOW) followed the cables to the DJ/PA system for the event. The operator of this agreed to let us have a feed, but he would have to put in line his power splinter first. He replace his own cables into the splinter, the distribution board could not take the load and gave up in a pop and puff of smoke. On further investigation the gent was also running two bouncy castle air blowers as well as his his PA system. Luckily we hadn’t even plugged our leads in. We did check all the trip switches and went over to the Cafe in the Park to make sure all the trips where in the on position. Whilst there the owner of the Cafe sent his son to get their fully fueled generator. A very kind action which saved the day.
Next was the Antenna. We use a G5RV slung over the trees. Using a catapult and fishing reel the idea was to fire a drilled lead ball over the tree. The idea proved problematic because of two reasons , firstly the fishing real was not completely filled which leads to drag on the line and the lead weight not being of sufficient weight. The line got stuck in the tree and we lost the weight. A second lead weight was not available. The G5RV was erected but not as high as previous.
Despite all of the problems, the rest of the station went up swiftly and we where on the air and made our first contact in the log is at 9:12 UTC not local time. We took the Kenwood TS2000, Ranger 811H linear amplifier, and computer logging station. For a large part of the day the station was operated by Marie-Claire who was on the mike and Issy logging. Other operators where myself, Phil and Antony. We had visit from HERC members and a visit Vince G1FBH from the Eastbourne club EREC. Support was given by Steve M0SSR and Tim G8VGU and others .
We operated on 40m until 14:20UTC, 15:20 local time when the fuel ran out, more fuel was offered by the Cafe owner but it was decided that as the band conditions where not very good we would dismantle the station. Over 100 contacts were made which can be viewed here.
The weather was kind to us being dry with a mixture of sunny, overcast but very warm.
Thanks are made to those who helped setting the station up , those who gave advice, those who operated, those who visited and to it would be pointless if we had no contacts on the air so to those who tried and managed to get onto our log. Hopefully hear you on the air next year Sunday 28th June 2015!
Images taken by Vince G1FBH from EREC Eastbourne Electronics and Radio Club