The second summer Field weekend was held over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd August at the Rainbow & Dove, Hastingwood in Essex. Close to the Harlow conurbation and the M11 J7 junction, it is a haven of peace if you discount the muted background roar of traffic on the motorway. One of the attractions of the site is the pub with food and drink available to supplement on-site catering facilities hidden amongst the collection of tents and collection of antenna masts. Yes, LEFARS were back at the R&D.
The theme this weekend was “bring your own gear”. The club’s two frame tents, tables, chairs and Honda genny/240V AC were supplied. It was a chance to test out antenna’s, try a different band and socialise. Several stayed overnight – Dave M0TAZ, George M1GEO and Chris G8OCV, Ron G6LTT and Karen. The ‘LTT encampment included a portable loo (hidden behind the green wind breakers – above).
Saturday morning had started very wet, storms were expected, but fortunately over by 10am and the rest of the weekend was hot and sunny.By Saturday lunchtime the main infrastructure was in place and it was time for lunch. For some this took longer than others, the attractions of good beer and food being impossible to resist :-). The R&D did close for lunch at 4pm but re-opened two hours later.
Dave M0TAZ operated in the low power 144MHz contest, from 2pm, used his IC-7100, 12m mast and 9 ele tonna beam outside in the sunshine and underneath the beam. Best DX was 319 km into JN19 France. (photos left and below. Separate blog report here – the log only here).
Brian 2E0FHU had his antenna up during the day and experimenting with his new dipole based on two roach poles. This was used for HF. Unfortunately a structural defect (one of the wooden support poles broke later in the evening) was discovered but this is what the weekend was for. To experiment.
At 6.30pm 19 diners assembled for the pre-booked meal at the R&D. One of the largest gatherings we have had for a while. The food was excellent; we managed to eat the entire weekend’s supply of apple pie and all of the steak and kidney pudding.
It was nice to see some old faces (including Frank G0LWI and Beryl plus Dave G3VGR) there. An accident on the M11, closing the motorway, meant huge traffic disruption in the surrounding area with up to 2 hours delay for some during the afternoon.
After the meal, around 9pm, George M1GEO and Chris G8OCV set up their 20m 3 element monoband yagi and 12m telescopic SCAM (Self Contained Antenna Mast) mast to work some DX overnight. As this was done at dusk , generator-powered halogen lights were used for an hour or so whilst the beam was put together. High viz jackets were tied to the guys to avoid tripping over when moving the equipment into the HF tent! This included a IC-7700.
Dave M0TAZ also used his Icom IC-7100 on 40m and 20m (when the beam wasn’t in use) from the second HF tent.
During Sunday, more visitors and members arrived. Peter G0DZB, a friend of John G0VEH, brought along his Elecraft KX3 and worked a JA station on 18m CW. 10W (battery power) and Pro-whip bungeed to the fencing. Derek M0XDC was operating on WSPR from his car, conditions were generally fairly flat on 4om.
Sunday lunch was partaken by a few, it was a chance to have a beer or two and watch the operating from afar.
Activity on several bands continued into the late afternoon, with the inevitable packing up starting around 4pm. We left at 5pm. A most enjoyable weekend.