So this weekend, the Bank Holiday weekend I was able to attend the Thames Amateur Radio Camping week just down the road at Crowsheath Campsite, Located just south of the Hanningfield Reservoir. Not more than 15 mins from my home QTH. But the chance to go along with a great bunch of people, in fantastic weather and play portable radio in a very low RF noise environment was too much to resist.
I arrived about 10am on Saturday morning and spent couple of hours setting up the tent, gazebo and radio equipment. For the antenna I decided on the G5RV (half size) which I can put up in an inverted V using a single 10m Fishing pole.
I have had great results with this setup, including the infamous Hawaii contact just a few weeks after getting my first M6 callsign. (sorry Richard)
What an amazing 2 days of radio I was to have!
I started with a 17M contact. LA1YKA with a 5/7 report.
I switched over to 20Meters and spoke to an italian station followed by my first ever contact to New York with my own callsign. I have worked the states before, including the UN building, but always with a special event or club callsign.
So this was an exciting one for me! NE2Q, Jay who was very loud on the radio and we had a very nice QSO conversation. I have to say thanks to Jay for the time to speak when on 20M we are so used to 5/9. 73. QRZ.
It was as I was having this QSO i remembered that the 7300 records audio onto the SD card, but only when you start the record! So i got some but not all of the QSO on SD memory.
For the rest of the weekend I left this on and am working though some of the many stations who contacted me during my 40M pileup (more on this later). If the station has their email address on QRZ, i am sending them clips of their audio as I received it and a picture of where I was operating from.
I think its nice to follow up on these contacts with a little more information, these people spent the time to wait and call me up, sometimes having to try several times due to QRM or several stations calling at once, so taking the time to let them hear their audio is a little thank you from me.
The conditions and signal reports on 40M from across the UK and Europe were fantastic. with a couple of S9+30 reports coming in and i gave out a few S9+30’s too!
Special Mention to F/M0PLS/M for the most complicated callsign of the day, i beleive he was just boarding a ferry in france calling from the car. Shame I didn’t get him /MM!
Also a mention to M7SWR who is obviously a newer callsign had a clear copy from on 40M.
I packed up at around 5pm as I needed to stop and put the bangers and mash on , proper camping food!
It was also a chance to fire up the Satellite tracking set up in a quiet location, unfortunately there was only 1 real pass of a satellite on Sat. But we were able to hear voices coming from the satellite. So we are another step closer!
Next time I will actually try and transmit to the satellite!
The rest of the evening was spent talking to other campers, enjoying a glass (or two) of wine and being in the wonderful weather!
With the sun coming up at about 7AM over the tree’s and very quickly warming up the tent, Sunday I was up early. With coffee and breakfast out of the way, time to see what the conditions were like today.
I decided to stick with 40M and see if it was as good as the previous day.
I called a few people including GI0CWV/P who was working from the beach near Belfast, we both were excited about the great WX and wished each other well for the day operating.
After scrolling around the band to find a free frequency, which was harder than normal! I put out a CQ call and I immediately had several stations calling. My first real pile up!
I worked 40 stations over the next couple of hours, which may not seem many. But I like to have a little chat with everyone without talking for long so that I can give everyone who was patiently waiting to call me a chance.
Thanks to everyone who called, I had stations including ON, M6, DH, GW, G0,3,4,8, 2E0, GB, DF, GX
If you have your email address on QRZ i shall send you a clip of your audio.
Big thanks to everyone from Thames Amateur Radio Group for putting on the event and making it very welcoming and fun weekend. Just shame I couldn’t stay longer.
Can’t wait for the next one!