GB2JAM ... the Wirral & District Amateur Radio Club
JOTA Weekend 19th & 20th October 2013
Yet again, the response to this year’s Jamboree On The Air station from both scouts and club members was a little disappointing. However, as is always the case, those who did attend had a great weekend.
We convened at 4 P.M. on Friday 18th October at the 20th BIRKENHEAD Scout H Q in Oxton, where Daniel (M6CUL) and I had already started to assemble the beam. The weather forecast for the weekend was for showers beginning about 6 P.M. on Friday developing into prolonged periods of rain accompanied by 35 M.P.H. winds overnight. This was scheduled to be followed by good weather for the rest of the weekend right up till about the time we were scheduled to start dismantling the station.
Not to be put off by the forecast, we assembled a total of three masts, one for the tri-band beam and 2 M vertical, another for the 80 Metre dipole and a third to support one end of the dipole (the other end being attached to a natural, timber mast !!) We had decided to re-site the masts from the locations that we have used in previous years. This meant a better feed into the beam and also meant that the 80 Metre dipole was aligned East / West for optimum North / South take-off up and down the country. It was also decided that in view of the forecast winds we would leave the beam at half height overnight. The weather forecast proved alarmingly accurate when we were soaked to the skin just before everything was finished and tested.
On Saturday morning we took down the 2 M vertical to re-locate it in order that the feeder would reach inside the hut, and we raised the beam to its full 12M height. 2M was repositioned on a fourth mast nearer the hut. A further small pole was erected next to the hut to carrying a co-linear for 4M on the G4BKF Echolink node frequency.
The radios used were a Yaesu FT 757 for 80 Metres (and later 40 Metres), A Trio TS 711E for 2 Metres and AKD 4001 for 4 Metres and a Trio TS 440SAT with TL922 Linear for 10 / 15 / and 20 Metres.
By mid-morning on Saturday we established that there was little useful activity on 80 Metres so replaced the di-pole with another one with a plug / socket connection part way along each leg to allow it to be shortened for 40 Metres.
Conditions on 40 Metres appeared to be good all weekend and the antenna alignment proved very successful with contacts throughout the U.K and Europe, the best (From a scouts point of view) being with HB9S, the world scout bureau in Geneva.
By chance, on Saturday evening I discovered that 10 Metres was opening up significantly, and worked several stations along the West Coast of the Americas from the Canadian border, all the way down to CA7 CHILOE ISLAND, in the Pacific, off the CHILEAN Coast. Other contacts were from as far afield as MURMANSK, The AZORES, PORTUGAL, ITALY.
Perhaps the most intriguing contact was on 20 Metres with W8P, a special event station in Circleville OHIO celebrating the 107th World Pumpkin Festival – The phonetics stand for We ATE Pie.
In total we worked just 35 contacts over the weekend but more than 50% of these were lengthy Q.S.O.s with other scout stations where either our visitors or their scouts went on air and actually used the radio. That is what J.O.T.A. is really all about. It was fantastic to see that when a small group of cubs from 9th Birkenhead visited us on Sunday morning, they all went on the air and within an hour had spoken to a retired scout leader in SPAIN, A scout group in central ITALY and a Sea Scout Group on the Baltic coast in Northern SWEDEN
After all, J.O.T.A It is not a contest but is an opportunity for young people to try a new activity. That is where the next generation of radio amateurs comes from !!!!
Putting my Scout Commissioner’s hat on, I would like to thank all the club members who loaned equipment for the station or gave up time to assist.
Simon – G6XHF
Station Manager GB 2 JAM
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