Friday 29th April saw the start of the TSGARC big Field Weekend. OK, not quite the same as its BBC Radio 1 namesake but just as much fun 🙂 Setup took place on the Friday and was finished by late afternoon – much quicker and more smoothly than last year. The event ran over the following Saturday, Sunday and everything was dismantled and removed by mid-Monday afternoon.
So a big thanks to those that came and who helped setup and/or remove everything. An event like this was only possible thanks to some accommodating friends of John, M6EQQ who allowed us to use their field. As a thank you the club bought them a bouquet of flowers and some beer. I will let you work out who received what! Like preceding days, the Monday was a relaxed start and the dismantle job only started late morning. Unfortunately, as some people know only too well it started raining just after lunch which incentivised speedy work. But some of us got a little damp – Rex 😉
Over the whole weekend there where two radio tents, the first used the FT-897 loaned to the club by Derek. This allowed HF and VHF (6m) operation using a G3TXQ Hexbeam from MW0JZE (top image). VHF (2m) operation was possible using a 9-element Yagi from Tonna. The FT-897 PA provided 100w on HF and 50w on 2m. The highlight of the first day was a solid 17m contact into Japan by Derek using SSB. But there where also lots of other contacts across the European and American continents. The hexbeam was observed to have useful directivity mounted at 12m atop the trailer tower.
The second tent used a home-brew HF (20m) Bobtail – orientated to provide East/West lobes – and a 3-element Yagi for 2m, both courtesy of John M0HFH. This tent used the clubs FT-450 both for SSB and CW plus an FT-857 and FT-817 provided by John and Rex. The tent also showed rebellious tendencies, opting at times, to use some rather exotic batteries which no-one wanted to be anywhere near!! Thanks John!
There, was of course, another tent, a very important tent and one where people congregated. The ‘brew tent’ was where we had the stove, tea, coffee and what seemed like an endless supply of bacon – thanks Jane – plus copious amounts of biscuits 🙂 The weather was mostly dry but a little on the chilly side so this was indeed a popular tent.
In total we had two big (6m x 4m) tents, the rebellious tent (2.5m sq) plus a small day tent to keep the generator dry. These provided ample space and shelter for the weekend. The final accommodation to mention was the chemical toilet, arguably the most important item to making the field weekend possible.
Everyone who went had a good time and all the equipment worked well. Simultaneous operation of two HF stations was not really possible, or expected, due to the proximity of the antenna’s so perhaps a project for next time is to make band-pass filters. It was a surprise to find that even HF low power transmissions broke through on the other tents VHF (2m) activity.
With only two radio’s in operation at any time it was common to find people in the ‘Brew tent’ or contributing to activities in the field. In the above image John, M0HFH is being helped to connect an ATU to the feed point of the HF (20m) Bobtail.
There was also some genuine help. Many hands made light work of jobs including raising the tents and preparing the operating positions. Unpacking, assembling and raising the hex beam was made easy with great support. Thanks also to Ron, who stuck it out in the rain on Monday to methodically dismantle the hextbeam such that it can be easily reassembled next time.
Personally, I’m already looking forward to another event next year. But we may move the date back to the late May Bank holiday weekend as the weather should be a little warmer 🙂