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RSGB National Field Day


G3SAD/P in RSGB National Field Day 2003 – Low Power Section

By Paul G0WAT

Background

After lasts years success in the RSGB’s NFD (we came 4th!) Ron G4DDX, Tom G4BYE and I decided to give it another go this year. We were lucky last year as the RSGB were running the 6 Metre Trophy Contest the same weekend as NFD. This meant we could combine the efforts of the Stevenage VHF folks (G8SAD) and ourselves and use the same site …sharing the Generator, ‘willing’ hands and an excellent VHF and HF site. However the best laid plans of mice and men as this year we did not have the same happy co-incidence as the RSGB moved the 6 Metre Trophy a further 2 weeks back in the calendar.

“We hoped it would not be a case of get down Shep!..”

This meant that rather than sharing the rather splendid Deacon Hill Site (à la 2002) we would be using the Fruit Farm at Gravely site for NFD. It’s a good site, mainly because of it’s ease of access and not having to try and crawl the car up the slopes of Mount Deacon…the only downside it’s slightly noisier and the take off is not as good…. we would also have to share the site with the local Dog Training Club……images sprang to mind of having to fight off Dobermans driven insane by the combined effects of too many Strawberries and the piercing effect of Sidetone frequencies too high for lids such as ourselves to hear!...we hoped it would not be a case of get down Shep!

M0AJF and M1HOG
help string out the Antenna

Tic-Tacs and the event

We felt that in last year foray we did not capitalise enough on 160m, so a decision was made fairly early on to run the full 12 hours of the QRP section through in one chunk…starting at 15.00 and running through to 03.00 in the morning…

Tom G4BYE at the controls

This, it was hoped, would allow us to maximise our points on Top Band...we figured it would be crucial to make the most of the double point bonus on Top Band. This year any double points from working stations on 10 Metres wouldn’t be something to be rely upon…certainly if current conditions on 10 were anything to go by!

We set up from about 12.00 (real time..thus giving us 4 hours until kick off at 4 o’clock)…we had been kindly loaned a Racal push-up mask by G7THT (tnx Les!) and this was certainly easier to put up than the clubs 35ft aluminium sectional mast we used last year…much less waggling about than the 2002 efforts perched up near the trig point on Deacon Hill!

The Antenna/Radio was to be the same as last year which is a Top Band Doublet fed with 450ohm line..ATU to an SGC AutoTuner (and occasionally my Z-Match) and the radio was an Icom IC756Pro…

We were grateful of the help received from Dick (M0AJF) and Nicolas (M1HOG)… Who helped us string the Antenna around the various cars and vans which made up the vehicles of those in the Dog Training Club…ensuring of course that when it came time for the Dog Trainers to leave that they did not take Antenna->ATU->Radio->Key->Op with them as they scooted off into the early evening.

G0WAT's
Tent and Doublet

We tried, as ever, to start on 10m (double point contacts) but just as last year the band was not really playing ball and we ended up hoping around between the HF bands…this was certainly the pattern for the first two hours as we tried to scour the bands up and down to achieve a reasonable rate of new contacts. Things started to settle down as propagation went out on 10 and 15 and we settled on 20m for a good hour picking up those DL portables where possible.

We then alternated about between Ron and I until Tom came along in the early evening when it was time for Ron and I to take a bit of a back foot and let Tom stretch out a bit..

“Patent G4DDX 'Watch out there's a mast stake here!' plastic buckets..”

We were keen to give Topband a bit of a caning this year as we had missed out last years for various Murphy type factors…however things were not going to go swimmingly for us this year either as the SGC smart tuner did not seem to like 160m much and complained vociferously if we tried to tune it…whether it was a bit of stray RF causing problems we don’t know, but the Z-Match came into play and tuned the doublet a treat.

We had some fun on Topband as the evening wore on…we actually felt quite loud on this band…it’s a funny thing when you ‘feel’ loud on a band it really does boost your confidence and even when the other station can’t hear you, it him that’s deaf rather than you with your pipsqueak signal HI.

We intended to go right through with a straight 12 hours from start to finish this time as opposed to our ‘split’ entry last year…Ron left at about 1 o’clock in the morning and Tom and I soldiered on until the end…I think this perhaps worked overall, in that we were on at the right times, but maybe we lost a little impetus as the contest ran into the wee hours..It certainly was beginning to numb the fingers as it got colder as the nighttime wore on…you forget that even on a July night it can get pretty cold at 3 o’clock in the morning.

We knocked off at 4 am (real time) and as Tom disappeared into the night I settled down to equipment mind until dawn when Ron would be up to help break the equipment down. After such nice weather (if a tad cold later on) it was a bit disappointing to hear the first pitter patter of rain on the tents flysheet ‘after’ I had snuggled down into my sleeping bag…could I ignore it I thought laying there in the dark, perhaps it will just blow over…nope its just getting louder and louder…I crawl from the sack and gather up the radio and other critical pieces and whiz them off to the safety of the car and come back and cover up all other slightly less essential items and high tail it back into the sleeping back before I get any wetter.

Pretty clouds in the morning at the NFD Site

A fitful nights sleep is soon over and Ron is back to dismantle…Oh if only putting the equipment up was as quick as taking it down what an ideal thing that would be….it took us about an hour to pack up and be on our way.

Final Thoughts

Overall another very enjoyable event…I would have to say I find NFD second only to CQWW in the enjoyable CW Contest stakes…and having a multi-operator QRP section really makes it a jolly ‘do’ indeed.

We do not think we did not do quite as well as last year (only by a few points though)…We think conditions were down on 2002’s contest. We shall be back next year for sure and with hopefully some new and improved ideas to allow us to crawl further up the tables…4th in 2002…? In 2003 and who knows in 2004!

73

Paul
G0WAT

 

Since cobbling together this article the results of RSGB National Field Day 2003 have been announced on the HFCC’swebsite and we are…

 


So well done us

Here is the results table for the QRP Section…

 

Low Power Section

                 

1

Echelford ARS *

G3UES/P

72/560

55/204

67/245

101/328

40/133

29/208

364

1678

2

Bracknell ARC *

G4BRA/P

79/604

94/362

69/250

48/176

28/103

5/32

323

1527

3

Stevenage & D ARS *

G3SAD/P

68/492

53/208

49/169

50/196

38/154

11/80

269

1299

4

Reading & D ARC 'A' *

G3ULT/P

78/604

81/386

48/165

24/80

4/10

2/16

237

1261

5

Reading & D ARC 'B'

M0EEE/P

0/0

26/92

69/238

70/225

18/62

6/36

189

653

6

Aviators CG

G3HKO/P

1/8

5/20

39/150

35/128

12/44

5/36

97

386

7

G3KKQ *

G3KKQ/P

0/0

0/0

72/292

1/4

17/58

0/0

90

354

8

M0BGR

M0BGR/P

0/0

0/0

3/12

18/56

1/4

0/0

22

72


Obviously it was a close run thing and we will have to look to our laurels next year to ensure we keep and improve on placing.

73

Paul

G0WAT