Activity Night 3 of 4 – Barbury Castle 2016

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The windless, brightening evening saw a good turnout for week three of our August gatherings at Barbury Castle. Some sixteen members attended, with six active stations – each with its own rig, antenna and power. It was Yaesu’s night as there were four stations using portable FT87x series transceivers. Others used Kenwood and Elecraft and an Icom IC 7400 was brought along for testing. The car park was full and members seemed to land-grab, with three stations M6FVJ and M5CBS occupying the Eastern end while the West end boys, M0ZGB, M0PBZ and M1DST, erected dipoles orientated North-South. Ed, M0OSM was in the middle.

Ed, M0OSM came along in his recently equipped mobile station based on an FT857 and ATAS, but to make the best of the location, Ed set-up his homebrew rotary dipole for 20m. With very favourable conditions on the band and using just 50W, Ed managed to work ER4DX (Moldova), ZS3Y (South Africa) and BD7BM (China) – very nice!!.

Phill M6FVJ, used his ultra-small FT817 and operated the rig, necklace-style rather like Mr. Spock’s tri-corder in Star Trek. Phill used a simple 22m long, end-fed wire antenna with an automatic ATU. Using just 5W, Phill managed to work Henry N1HEN in Maine on 20m – one of those QRP magic moments that you get from time to time.

Jonathan M0ZGB, using 100W from an FT857 into an inverted-V dipole for 17m worked 5B4VL, Andreas in Cyprus, and SM0OWX, Chris in Sweden. As sunset approached Jonathan managed to work VP8LP, Bob in the Falkland Islands likely due to Grey Line propagation.

Phil M0PBZ took his FT897 out for its second /P outing with fully charged batteries this time. Using a standard, 40m inverted-V antenna, at about 24 feet at the apex, Phil managed to work IU1VZF (SSB) and OH2AH (CW) and M1DST (CW) – who was just 10 feet away!!

James M1DST used his special band-selectable portable linked dipole antenna along with the Elecraft KX3. This antenna, supported at its centre with a 33 foot fibre glass pole is purpose-designed for portable activities. It offers resonant dipoles for several bands. James mainly used the event to test the KX3 but managed to work G4LDL on 70cm, Tim M6XTD using DMR and M0PBZ (CW) ten feet away just to raise his ‘Worked All Members’ CW score.

Mike M5CBS brought along his Kenwood TS 440S and used a short vertical with wires attached to its base, raised about 1.5 metres above the ground on a platform. Mike’s best dx for the night was R8FF in Moscow.

Michael G4HGV (note the call sign) recently acquired an Icom IC7400 from a lorry driver (interesting coincidence – HGV etc… ) and wanted to test it using one of the antennas. Initially, results on 80m using the long wire were not good as the ATU failed to get a workable match. Indeed the SWR was so high that Mike thought maybe the rig’s ATU might have been at fault. Ably assisted by Jerry M6JJG, the rig and battery was moved to Phil’s 40m Inverted-V. Instantly the ATU achieved a near perfect match, not surprisingly, and the rig burst into life with scores of stations right across the band. Michael allowed Phil to plug in his paddle key into the ‘7400 and immediately worked Finland on just 30W with a 599 report.

All in all, an excellent evening of playing radio with some nice DX in the process and with a variety of different antenna designs. Others who attended were Tony G4LDL, Andy G0UWS, Frank G3JOT, Tim M6XTB, Kevin G6FOP, Paul G0EPC, Russell M0RFI, Andrew M1CJE and Matthew 2E0WLF with his dog, Angel.

Next Thursday (25/08/2016) will be the last of the SDARC /P Barbury gatherings for 2016, so if you are a member, it’s well worth the trip. If you are thinking about exploring the hobby, take a trip up to Barbury Castle, weather permitting and see what Amateur Radio is all about.

Activity Night 2 of 4 – Barbury Castle 2016

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80m doubletAnother activity night spent at Barbury Castle led to a number of contacts on various bands.

About eleven members attended week two of our Barbury Castle gatherings:-

Andrew M1CJE; Paul M0PMV; Mike G4HGV; Mike M5CBS; Jonathan M0ZGB; Mark M0MTA; Tony G4LDL; Ken G1NCG; Roy G4VWG; Phil M6FVJ; Phil M0PBZ

Stations active were :-

  • Roy G4VWG, on 40m running the Icom 7300 into a long wire
  • Mark M0MTA on 20m running the FT991 into the ATAS 120a
  • Johnathan M0ZGB on 17m running the FT 817 into an inverted-V dipole
  • Phil M0PBZ on 80m running the FT 897 into an 127 foot long inverted-V doublet – centre at 26 feet, fed with 16m of 300 window ladder.

17 metres was open and Johnathan M0ZGB was able to work Israel – the best DX of the night, but others were less successful.

Roy G4VWG found 40m noisy was busy with a German contest and there was very little inter-G activity.

Phil M0PBZ, using SSB for a change, was calling exhaustively on 80m to no avail despite hearing several UK nets and rag chews. This was rather disappointing considering the size of the antenna, which took the assistance of Mike G4HGV, Mike M5CBS and Roy G4VWG to erect on account of the stays blowing about. Eventually club chairman James M1DST operating /P, responded from high on the Mendip Hills. With flagging batteries, Phil turned to the key and worked John G3NCN over in Bracknell who reported his signal as 599 plus.

Tony brought along the Electraft KX3, and despite having virtually no antenna, was receiving CW quite happily !! Excellent Rig with excellent filters for CW work.

James, M1DST was away on holiday on the Mendip Hills (IO81PH) near Cheddar Gorge and was using a KX3 and a LiPo battery with 10w RF into a dipole at 8m using a small fibreglass pole.


Tower Rainbow

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Tony took this photo on Wednesday evening of the tower.


Activity Night 1 of 4 – Barbury Castle 2016

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A few of us met at Barbury Castle to play radio.

Mike planned a kite operation but there wasn’t enough wind. We got to play with Roy’s 7300 which is a very nice compact radio. Jonathan worked some SSB stations whilst Phil tickled Paul’s capacitive CW key and worked some CW QSOs. Matthew used his phone to send and receive some SSTV images on 20m. Even Frank came up for a visit.

The rest of us discussed various subjects including IOTA, Pokemon Go and the latest Rajar figures.

We didn’t run a register so I can’t list everyone who was there but it was well attended.

Activity Nights @ Barbury Castle During August 2016

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Comments Off on Activity Nights @ Barbury Castle During August 2016 2015-07-28 21-17-06Throughout August we will be meeting out and about so the normal club room will not be open. We are meeting in the car park at Barbury Castle. If you don’t know where it is and you have a GPS… 51.483822,-1.777436 or see this map

Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort situated in Wiltshire, England. It is one of several such forts found along the ancient Ridgeway route. The site, which lies within the Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been managed as a country park by Swindon Borough Council since 1971. It is situated on Barbury Hill, a local vantage point, which, under ideal weather conditions, commands a view across to the Cotswolds and the River Severn. It has two deep defensive ditches and ramparts. The Old Ridgeway runs close by and the modern Ridgeway crosses through the castle. In the surrounding area are to be found round barrows, Celtic field systems and 18th-19th Century flint workings.

We will be returning to Pinetrees from September.

See you there.

Wilton Windmill Activation – Can YOU Help?

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DSC_3844We are putting Wilton Windmill on the air again over the August bank holiday weekend (27, 28 & 29 August 2016). The mill is one of the oldest working wind mills in the country still producing flour.

We are looking for volunteers to help setup the station on the 27th August and dismantle the station on the 29th August.

In between we are looking for any volunteers to help operate the station, any time you can spare will be most welcome.

You could bring family and make it a day out as the mill has tours around the mill, also the Crofton Beam Engines are just down the road. These are one of a the last working beam engines in the country and does run on steam at certain times of the year.

Details from Ken G1NCG

VHF NFD 2016 Report

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We took part in the RSGB VHF NFD this year. Below is a video and some photos from the event. We’ll update this post with a thorough report in due course.


50MHz Trophy 2016

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A number of us took part in the 50MHz Trophy from a location near Swindon this week. We planned to test the site, the new tower and the new antenna. All were successful and we made a 6 hour entry.


A map of our contacts can be seen below. 2016-06-19 21-25-35

We had 97 QSOs, 12 Country multipliers and 38 large grid multipliers.

Best DX was achieved by M0ACM who worked UZ4I for a distance of 2,838KMs.

We have already been working on improvements for the next contest which is VHF NFD.