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Ramsey Island - Diaries No.1

Details

Left the Clubhouse at Strumble Head on Thursday lunch time and travelled to St. Davids where we were to take the short five minute trip across from the mainland to Ramsey. All went well and after initial intrepidations about the amount of gear we had, we were all pretty excited about getting across.Travelling down the steep cliffs at St. Justinians was very daunting but with the assistance of the RSPB & RNLI Staff we loaded the 'lift' and transported most of the gear down to the Lifeboat House and then again carried it onto the Lifeboat Slipway. Seeing the other boats arriving back with tourists having been for sight  seeing tours, some of them visibily throwing up started to panic Tim M0URX somewhat. Tim already had a worry about travelling on sea but it was all ok and the crossing went with ease despite the formidable ''The Bitches'' living up to their reputation.

mc0shl-eu124-1

Again, stepping foot on the Island went well where again we were met by National Park/RSPB Staff who were all eager to help us with the 6 generators and the rest of our equipment up the huge climb to the accomadation. This climb was awesome, far worse than we we told (Thanks Rob - not!), and i was extremely tired as was Chris G1VDP, no marathons for us i fear this Year!

Accomodation is an old barn in the farmhouse where we quickly stored the gear, helped Jayne access her food and cooking gear and then we started to work on assembling both Hexbeams. Both had been prepared by Ant MW0JZE and assembly was not going to take too long. After initial issues with one rotator both Hex were up and working by 2200 but after a break for a BBQ, we were fast losing the light and wanted to prepare at least a 40m dipole before we finished for the night. Working with torches we got sorted and antennas were good to go.

Tim had been running about like a blue bottomed fly, 'fetch this, fetch that Tim' and in between he had already  made good progress seeting up our three  stations ( 2 x Elecraft K3, Yaesu Ft2000, 3 x Acom 1000 Amplifiers).

All stations were operational by Midnight and initial tests proved fruitful. Morning saw Tim M0URX & Ant up early having little sleep (he blamed snoring but we never hear them!). MC0SHL were on air from 0800 and pile ups very good on 20M all wanting a shot at EU-124 (IOTA) and GWFF-072 (World Flora Fauna). We had one station running for several hours on 20M and then 17. Up to lunch time we had 850 Q's logged and all going great - bring on the Contest!

Thanks Charles M0OXO

mc0shl-eu124-2

Ramsey, WFF & an Award!

Charles Wilmott
Charles Wilmott
Details

(....another first for the MC0SHLTeam)K800_wfflogo

 

The Boys here at the Strumble Head DX & Contest Group like to think we are at the forefront of new ventures in the Ham radio arena and new projects are always taken on board as a challenge. October 2008 was the first time MC0SHL had taken part in the activities of WFF (World Flora Fauna www.wff44.com ) and we weren't sure how, or even if, it would take off in the UK. We 'activated' the 'Pembrokeshire Coast' ''GFF-015'' and worked several hundred in the brief time we had available last year between building antennas and preparing for CQWW 2008.

 

GB0WFF

Since then, I am pleased to say that the programme has grown very rapidly and there can't be many of you out there that haven't seen the '*FF' call signs and references being apparent on all bands over the last 6 months.  The latest challenges for me (being the 'Northern Contingent' of MC0SHL!) was to have a bash at the WFF program whilst visiting the 'Tan Hill Inn' in the Yorkshire Dales.

 

The Inn is the 'Highest Pub in Great Britain' and being 1732ft ASL it has a great take off for Amateur Radio for sure. But don't be lead into a false sense of security as the Snow Mobile parked outside the pub is there for a reason! Although it wasn't snowing, it was lashing it down with rain and setting the Cushcraft A4S up was literally a real dampener on our spirits to say the least. Nevertheless we cracked on and were qrv by late tea time on the Friday and for the next 36 hours. Well, some of us were qrv, the other 'die hard Amateurs' found that the 10 second walk into the pub itself to sample the goods on offer were more of a temptation than they could handle, 'Theakstones Real Ale' not being the only thing on offer for some! Band conditions were not at their best but we found 20M alone was open to the USA and SA until 0030 each night and then again wide open to the East from 0500 with lovely pile-ups into Russia and the Far East, all wanting this new and rare WFF reference! GFF-020_-_CopySo in the end, WFF proved its worth and the amount of stations wanting the reference number exceeded our estimation by far. We finished off with 2349 contacts in the log and  all were made on the HF Bands.

In contrast, my latest visit was to Holy Island on the Northumberland Coast. Again WFF & IOTA assured to give us some good contacts and they didn't disappoint. We lost 24hrs due to the trip falling on the IARU Contest weekend (my bad ) but still managed a good 2667 q's with a great opening to JA long path, South America and North America until well after 0200.
Giving not one but two WFF numbers obviously increased our profile and we were happy at the result for sure.

 

K800_GB1HI_2

Spurred on by these event sand having being appointed as UK Coordinator for the WFF programme, we then took a look at the other areas available to us that we may activate. We found several literally on our doorstep in and around Wales.

 

Indeed our well publicised trip to Ramsey Island in July will give another 'new one' away, as well as the IOTA reference and the Island itself which hasn't been activated for many, many Years. This island is amazing and is placed very highly on the RSPB's (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) list of Nature Reserves within the UK. Our 'home' station in Pembrokeshire will also give us a few more later in the year too. There is a new award available for WFF chasers and details can be found on their main website (above) or on mine at www.charlesm0oxo.piczo.com . Be warned.....as well as the other contacts required, you will need at least one contact with MC0SHL, MW0OXO or GB0WFF to claim the award so make sure you bag one 'Q' in your log whilst we are at Ramsey!!!

K800_WFF_Award_min1

So, to everyone out there, please listen for the mc0shl team on the bands using our regular or maybe another special call. Please bookmark our websites and check them regularly for updates regarding our events. If you see the mc0shl logo on your qsl cards, you'll know that the boys are still out there 'chasing the dream', whilst at the same time trying to keep Ham Spirit truly alive during these times when propagation is sometime dire.

 

73, regards, Charles MØOXO

IOTA Activation

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

GW/IOTA EU-124 - The Strumblehead DX and Contest group have now sealed the final permission to activate Ramsey Island (EU-124), off the West Wales coast, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds who own the island. They will be active from 18:00 24th July through to 14:00 27th July taking in the IOTA contest. They will be active using the club call MC0SHL for the whole duration of the operation, and using MW9W in the contest. They will be on all bands from 80M through to 10M SSB. There is also some 30M RTTY planned by G1VDP if the other guys allow him, with participation in the last 80M Club Championships DATA section. They will be operational using generators as power. Radios used will consist of 2 K3's and a Yaesu FT1000MP MkV and amplifiers. Antennas will consist of a Hexbeam, a windom and dipoles. Most of the activation is for the WAB award scheme as the square is semi rare and has not been activated for some time.  The team will be on from the farm for a few days before and after using the GB0WFF for the World Flora and Fauna award see http://www.wff44.com for award details, and using the MC0SHL club call and erecting a tower for Rob MW0RLJ. The island will not only count for the WAB award but will also count for the WFF award. A special QSL card printed for both club calls, full details are on the groups website http://www.mc0shl.com . QSL via the groups manager M0URX.

G3TXQ Broadband HexBeam

Anthony David
Anthony David
Details

Hi all, just a short addition to the blog on my new antenna. I managed to get the Hex in the air over the weekend but have had limited time to give it a good test.

First impressions are WOW, where have you been all my life, turning radius of approx 11 feet, VSWR of under 2:1 on ALL bands, will handle full UK limit power with ease and can be homebrewed for under £100 or more if you are looking for a more robust finish. It is in some eyes very low impact visualy but it will not win any points in the best looking antenna contest thats for sure, looks like a spider in a wind tunnel hi hi.

27062009488
6 Band G3TXQ Broadband Hex @ 37 feet to baseplate

Hope to catch you on air some day

73's Ant MWØJZE

CQWPX 2009 - update

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

The high claimed scores have just been published on the internet, and we are happy to say that Oli's and my attempts were not in vain. Have a look at;

http://www.cqwpx.com/claimed_2009_wpx_ssb_scores.htm

We both entered as single operator high power assisted on single bands. Oli used the club call MW9W on 40M and I used MC0SHL on 80M - Oli put a more serious entry in than myself as I was treating the trip as more of a break and some MW0JRX_on_40M_SSB_Before_contestfun on the radio.

The claimed scores are;

MW9W        2,113,842 points      World 4th 40M Assisted High

MC0SHL     723,774 points         World 3rd 80M Assisted High

This again was a team effort and neither Oli nor I could have done this. So we again must say thanks to Ant and Rob for assistance on the Thursday with getting the 80M antenna in the air - full details in the write up. To Rob and Jane for being wonderful hosts, and to the rest of the team for their support and good wishes through the contest - we were on msn chatting with the boys when ever we could.

See you all in the IOTA contest when this will be the next big effort as a team (along with getting the towers up for Rob at the farm).

Rob's new mast!

Anthony David
Anthony David
Details

Sunday 24th May 2009.

Day started at 8am for me, this is early on a Sunday.

Off to Merthyr Tydfil to dismantle and reassemble a 60 foot mast on a trailer mast from the Hover Club http://www.radioclubs.net/hooverarc.

Many thanks to the club members from the club for helping Rob and I complete this task in lightning speed.

This takes the number of masts at Rob’s farm to four. I suggested planting them close together as they may grow, if they do I would like a cutting lol.

This will make CQWW SSB a breeze this year, said Rob hi hi


24052009376
Some of the Merthyr gang and Rob

24052009377
Rob at the end of the M4, cul!

5 Band Hex size comparison with MQ36SR

Anthony David
Anthony David
Details

Hi guys,

Just a quickie, I have drawn a scaled drawing with my fantastic technical drawing abilities :-)

My current antenna is the MQ36SR, this covers 6m to 20m, 3 elle hybrid quad-yagi.

Turning radius of MQ is 8 foot 3 inches and the HEX is 10 foot 7 inches, so looking at the diagram below, if I turn the HEX side on it is actually ONLY 3 foot wider than the MQ36SR. this is an amazing foot print for an antenna that covers 20m to 6m with absolutely no loading or tuning.

The MQ36SR is shown in red, the HEX is also 6m to 20m and is the broadband version by G3TXQ Steve

5b-bb-hex-v-mq36sr
MQ36SR v 5 Band Hex 20 - 6m Ariel View

Liquid tape, what ever next

Anthony David
Anthony David
Details

Was browsing around looking for ideas etc and chatting to a few people that had built the Hexbeam and Gorden MM0GPZ mentioned this to me.

It can be found on http://www.sotabeams.co.uk/liquidtape.htm

Good stuff for sealing the coax after it has been seperated as shown below.

Better than silicone I think!

14052009336

Great for sealing the feedpoint coax

MW0JZE HEXBEAM Project

Anthony David
Anthony David
Details

Hi all,

About 18 months ago I was reading several articles about the HEX BEAM with great interest, work got in the way along with daily life etc so it was put on the back burner for a while. Around Christmas time 2008 Oliver MW0JRX told me he had bought the kit form from WI3USA. At the time of writing this he has since installed it and is happy with the performance so far. Chris G1VDP then informed me that he was going to make his own homebrew HEX BEAM. Well not wanting to be left out I set about collecting as much info on the antenna as I could with the help of Chris G1VDP, Gordon MM0GPZ (GEEE PEEE ZEEE) and the Yahoo group.

On a recent visit to Rob MW0RLJ’s qth he kindly donated a 3mm aluminum plate along with two KEE Clamps that are needed to fabricate the centre plate that supports the six fiberglass spreaders. Total cost so far zero, thanks Rob 

A trip to B&Q one Sunday morning and I had bought all the parts to fabricate the centre post. I have taken some photos to show you how I fabricated the center post. As I build the HEX BEAM more photos will be added.


First Job, drill the holes


Fitting the bolts, this is where the driven ellement will attach to.


Thats all the feedpoints fitted


Ecoflex 10 used for feedpoint coax, this will be weather proofed later


Removable end cap, handy for later inspection and weather proofing, the antenna is fed at this point


Coax feed leaving the centre post

More photos to follow as the project progresses.

73's Ant MW0JZE

MW0JZE HEX BEAM Project

Details

Hi all,

About 18 months ago I was reading several articles about the HEX BEAM with great interest, work got in the way along with daily life etc so it was put on the back burner for a while. Around Christmas time 2008 Oliver MW0JRX told me he had bought the kit form from WI3USA. At the time of writing this he has since installed it and is happy with the performance so far. Chris G1VDP then informed me that he was going to make his own homebrew HEX BEAM. Well not wanting to be left out I set about collecting as much info on the antenna as I could with the help of Chris G1VDP, Gordon MM0GPZ (GEEE PEEE ZEEE) and the Yahoo group.

On a recent visit to Rob MW0RLJ’s qth he kindly donated a 3mm aluminum plate along with two KEE Clamps that are needed to fabricate the centre plate that supports the six fiberglass spreaders. Total cost so far zero, thanks Rob 

A trip to B&Q one Sunday morning and I had bought all the parts to fabricate the centre post. I have taken some photos to show you how I fabricated the center post. As I build the HEX BEAM more photos will be added.

Beverage RX Antenna

Details
I have tried to use a special receive receive antenna in the CQ WPX Contest. Team OM0A has run M2 category and beverage antennas was the last antenna that we have built on Friday’s evening. Luckily I was on the 80m band during the morning’s openning to Carribean and North America.

It’s a huge difference between inv.Vee and beverage antenna. Even though our location has a very low noise, the main improvement was in the attenuation of local stations. Not only stations from other directions, but also closest stations from OK and DL. Heavy QRM gone and I could copy sigs from stateside. Some of them was in the same strenght as on inv.Vee antenna, some was louder.

I break pile-up and start hunting W stations. Unbeliveble hour! Comparing to other stations from Slovakia, our result on 80m is better! I love beverage antenna.

How to built it?

Read more...

CQWW DX Phone Contest 2009 - Guest Operators

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

We would like to announce this years Guest operators at the SHDXCG CQWW Phone contest activation.

Tony_G4LDL_and_wifeIan McCarthy G3YBY
Tony Bettley G4LDLNew_friends_being_made












Above; Tony and his wife at the CDXC dinner 2009

Right; Ian in the corner at the CDXC dinner 2009

Both have become good friends of Chris (G1VDP) and Tim (M0URX) through their connection with CDXC. Both live in the Swindon area and are members of Swindon club. Ian spends some of the year at his home in France and holds a French call, and has been part of the French HQ team in the IARU contest. Tony has been a member of the Swindon Clubs Contest team for many years and has plenty of experience to bring with him to assist the boys in being a winning team.

All the guys in the SHDXCG welcome them along and are looking forward to getting stuck in to the contest in October.


CQWPX 2009 Phone and Updates on Activity

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details
Well we seem to have had a busy couple of weeks since the CDXC dinner. 

It all started with a trip down to the farm to take part in  the CQ WPX Phone contest. Chris did a single band high powerwpx_friday_2009entry on 80M, using the club call MC0SHL, and Oli entered on 40M using the club call MW9W. And what a weekend it was. Not only did we enter the contest but Chris also made, with help from Ant MW0JZE who joined us for the Thursday to set up the 80M antenna, a 30M 1/4 wave vertical - ground mounted with 4 radials - which worked pretty well. We managed to make 379 QSO's on 30M RTTY between the 26 March and the 30th March, not bad to say the boys were in the contest for most of the operating time. We also managed a few contacts on other bands using the 40M and 80M verticals tuned through the Palstar AT2K ATU, ending the full weekend with over 500 RTTY qso's.

Best DX on 30M was probably into Japan, but we also managed to work a number of US stations also. The next time I am down there I will also bbe setting up the antenna and radio again just to have some fun working this mode on this band. Chris is also on 30M RTTY working from home most days, although he doesn't have the room for the vertical he can get a inverted V dipole in and now has that up and running.

We were lucky with the weather too. Though it did rain as Chris was driving down. He set off from home at 04:00 and drove all the way down to the England/Wales border with clear skies, as soon as he got into Wales it started raining. And the Rough_seas_1_This_cliff_is_about_50ft_highrain lasted all the way down to Rob's. But after a welcome cup of tea and a catch up with Ant and Rob the rain stopped and we were able to work on the antenas in relatively warm conditions, all be it slightly windy - or should that be blowing a hooley?The skies had cleared and we had a clear day to erect the antennas and the sunset on this evening was stunning, and the photo's do not do it justice. 

The following week Chris was on holiday from work and managed to clean up his shack a little. And he entered the EA DX RTTY contest too. This was over the weekend of the 4th and 5th of April. Again only having the antennas for low bands I set out my stall on 40M and had lots of fun. Probably my best DX this time round was again out in to Asia, with a lot of US stations. Most contacts were with Europe, and I thank every one who called me for the contacts and points.

There then followed the 80M Club Championships organised by the RSGB. These allow all club members to get on the air from their home stations and pool their scores. These run from January through to July and are of short duration, only 90 minutes on alternating evenings through the month, and comprise of a CW, SSB and Data legs. Charles and ChrisMW0JRX_on_40M_SSB_Before_contest have been entering these events since January, and Ant and other team members are now joining in as they get their 80M antennas up in the air. Sadly Charles has been commited to another club for the past few years, but it does put a little friendly rivalry in to the contests - especially after each event we compare how we have done. As a club we are slightly behind Charles other club, but as there has only been a couple of us entering we feel we have done well. Maybe in next years club champs we will be top 10 all the way.

Then this Easter weekend Chris entered the UBA Spring contest. This is a slightly different type of contest and he only entered for some fun. You have to make contact with Belgian stations only on 80M SSB, and Chris' score - looking at previous years - will hopefully put him in the top 5 foreign stations.

Happy Easter to you all. And don't forget to look out for the club members on the air - especially on Wednesday evening 15th April as it is the SSB leg of the 80M Club Champs, see http://www.vhfcc.org/hfcc/rules/2009/r80mcc.shtml for full rules and information.

G1VDP_enjoying_the_sunset_and__a__cold_beer

CQWPX Weekend brief report

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

Thats it for another year. CQWPX Phone weekend is over.

This morning we took down the 80M vertical - which was a lot quicker than erecting it - without incidence. All the bits have been put away in to storage until we come down again in July for the IOTA weekend and CQWW in October.

We have left the 40M and 30M verticals up as Chris is staying on another day and wants to have some more fun on the bands. A full report and photographs will appear on here before the end of the week, and all logs will be uploaded to LOTW as soon as Chris gets home.

Many thanks to all who worked either MC0SHL before, during, and after the contest. And a big thank you to all who called or worked Oli - MW9W - on 40M during the contest assisting him to (hopefully) have a top 10 World score for Single Op 40M activation.

See you all at the next one, and remember to leave a comment in the guest book if you enjoyed the site.

   
© MC0SHL