Lambourne End Field Weekend 8th/9th August

LEFARS Field Weekends and outdoor events are like buses.  Nothing for ages and three turn up.  In this case the Lambourne End Field weekend held on 8th and 9th of August.  Later in the month the yearly outing to Trinity Buoy Wharf, Poplar, London E14 (GB0TBW) for International Lighthouse Weekend and finishing with the Secret Nuclear Bunker Field Weekend over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

Held at Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning, Lambourne End, Essex and only a mile from our (closed) QTH at All Saints House, a large field was made available for our exclusive use. Amenities included  washing, shower and toilet facilities and the use of a kitchen.   All useful for those members camping over the weekend and day visitors.  The same field, 94m ASL,  has been used by the Silverthorn club for their annual Field Weekend and came highly recommended. COVID-19 meant advanced booking was necessary with adherence to social distancing and use of PPE equipment as needed.   The idea was  for members to bring their own equipment, catering facilities and enjoy a weekend “under canvas” – caravans included. Hot water was available for those who needed it.

Setting up started on Friday afternoon with temperatures around 35C.  Dave De La Haye M0MBD brought along his newly-acquired mini office/shack to test out the facilities under operating conditions.

A view from inside the mobile shack

 

Members of the SNB group brought along their 20m beam, and radio equipment.

George M1GEO worked 21 countries on 20m and made 120  SSB QSOs, over 90 with USA stations. The English station on CW was Alan G4GQL…

Fred G3SVK used the same equipment on CW with many more stations worked [details to be added when available]. 

Two metres FM was operated over the weekend using the club callsign G4ONP/P. 45 QSOs were made over the weekend, main operator was Selim M0XTA (below, left).

On Sunday, with temperatures reaching 36C, the 2m station was moved to the the cover of the Gazeebo.

 Hot water was available on demand….

Dave M0TAZ and John M0JGR

David M0VID and Pam

Brian M0OAB and Boo M6OAB tepee encampment…

Cliff 2E0RCW cooks his lunch…

Alan G4GQL tries out 20m QRP.

Dave M0MBD used his Flex 6300  over the weekend, operating from the mobile shack was very comfortable.

20m at dusk.

Dave M0MBD posted on the LEFARS Facebook page his report :

“What a great weekend.. A seriously good alternative to Rainbow & Dove. Self catering and bring your own beer definitely makes for a cheaper weekend, even taking into account the pitch cost. The only thing is you have to look after yourself. There is more space to setup and put some distance between the aerials, and the facilities, including toilets, showers and kitchen would allow for a decent level of catering for a future activation. It gets my vote for a return visit.

Company was great, lots of things tried, some things worked and some things didn’t. It was nice to see everyone, and some of the setup testing bodes well for future events. Thanks to everyone that came.

I bet it would be too much to expect the same weather again next time! It was too hot to try doing too many things, but I am not going to complain it was too hot, as the alternatives don’t bear thinking about!

Some Highlights.. Achieving a contact with Wayne G4YOH on 60m, Bertea’s Romanian Wine (It was almost like a fortified wine, like Port!), Multiple jokes about Burger Van and droopy ‘w antennae’, Sitting in the said burger van with the big fan on, keeping cool while everyone else roasted!

Experiences to learn from:

  • Droopy W aerial only resonant on 40m.
  • Big QRO tuner did not work! WiMo 80m Windom would work on all bands claimed, even on 60m which is it not designed for!
  • Wimo 80m Windom is Huge!
  • 4G Reception at the Lambourne end was awful for Three and Vodaphone.
  • The best most reliable signal was 75% for Three 3G, which allowed lookups on QRZ from the logging software.
  • Also learnt that iPhones make for a crap hotspot.. now you see it , now you don’t, and even if you can see it can you logon to it?
  • No… Propagation on the low bands was rubbish during the day, but was quite lively at night.
  • Putting up and taking down the PU12 mast is a challenge on your own.. Thanks to Bertea who helped put it up. Taking it down was easier but time consuming and wearing in the heat!
  • Mounting brackets on the trailer for the mast will make things a lot easier.

In future I endeavour to operate at night and in the early hours of the morning as I simply can’t do that at home. It also give the opportunity for some Trans-Atlantic contacts especially along the greyline.”

Summary

The Field Weekend at Lambourne End was enjoyed by all. We hope to return next year.

[Revised 7th September 2020]

 

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