In 2020 the dreaded Corona Virus prevented our direct participation in the RSGB Microwave Trophy in May, the RSGB VHF National Field Day in July and the RSGB 2m Trophy Contest in September. However, we did manage to get out to Gatehouse of Fleet to enjoy an outdoor camping weekend and being active during the 2m Trophy although with one or two senior members not participating for health & safety reasons. 

L-R: Andy MM0FMF, Brian GM8BJF, Mike GM4IGS, Norrie GM1CNH, Colin GM4HWO, Bob MM0XRI (guest), Rob MM0RHU (guest), Peter GM4DTH. (Photo by Andy MM0FMF).

The station made about 196 QSOs with a few dupes. Exact total soon.

Best DX: F6DKW 57097 JN18cs in Paris at 808.4km

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REPORT by PETER GM4DTH:

Under the current conditions where priority is given to avoiding dispersing Covid19 our conventional contest format was not compliant. However, all was not lost and we could make good use of the increased 2m activity when the contests were in operation to evaluate new equipment. We selected a reduced team comprised of members who have meet each other within a recent timescale, this would enable both portable operation and minimise exposure to biohazards.

While the current restrictions prevented entering any of the contests as a /P station we were able to try out new equipment configuration under real /P conditions. In order to to make valid comparison between the normal /P station and the new configuration it was decided to use the usual /P location at IO74WV.We were able to try out a new lightweight shelter for housing the station as our regular ex army shelter needs a squad to assemble

It was lit by an experimental development of our standard LED based strip lighting. On the RF side the usual transceiver was replaced by a high performance HF transceiver and transverter combination. On the AF side a new four-port headphone distribution amplifier was also under test. A new addition to our system was to provide station audio, fed by a twisted pair, to the messing tent so those present could follow the on air progress. The aim behind this was to help keeping people apart and prevent clustering in the operating tent and it proved popular.

The atmosphere was quite different to that of a normal contest weekend and was very relaxed with no deadlines to meet. The station was assembled and tested the aerial system showing a return loss better than 25dB. On Saturday the weather was quite breezy with frequent showers that needed to be dodged. Colin assembled his field kitchen in a section of the messing tent and provided hot drinks between meal times. In the evening it looked more like a bar than the daytime canteen.

RF report here - need to see the log sheets to generate statistics:

Propagation conditions were on the flat side although continental stations were audible over the weekend. This prevented us from working some of the club members who had to remain at home, both Briain GM8PKL and Mike GM8KCS failed to hear us. By contrast Pete GM4BYF was a good signal. There were a number of other UK /P stations active and to keep things simple we did give every station worked a contest report with serial number. We were pleased to hear many fixed stations taking time to take advantage of the increased activity.

The weather improved and we saw the Sun for the first time on Sunday (Sunday is named after the Sun). The night skies were largely cloudy so we were unable to take advantage of the low level of light pollution. From our location with clear skies one can see unaided the Andromeda galaxy the most distant object one can see. However, we could only see the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars in the breaks in the clouds. At lest the cloud cover meant that the overnight temperature did not fall too much.

It was dry by the time we dismantled for which we were very grateful. On the way home I stopped for a fish supper from the Townhead fish & chip shop in Biggar, it was very good. The salt did make me thirsty so I joined Colin in Wee Bennets for a beer later in the evening which rounded off the weekend.                                Peter GM4DTH

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Report from Toby MM0TSS (to Peter GM4DTH):

I heard GM3HAM on 2m SSB on Saturday. We were driving back from Bridgnorth in Shropshire. G0VBC (who you sat beside at the wedding) owns a converted Malt House there which he had let us have for a week's holiday. I had temporarily installed the FT100 in the Shogun for the journey and was passing Southwaite Services late  afternoon on the M6 when I heard an operator (I think it was GM4DIJ) working another station.     Toby MM0TSS

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Subsequent photos by Colin GM4HWO and Peter GM4DTH.

 

"The Dennis" arrives, driven by Colin GM4HWO.

 

The GM3HAM/P station with the M2 17-element yagi antenna (GM4IGS) fed with Andrew LDF-450 coax feeder. 

  

Next shower arrives.

 

Sheltering

 

The rig, L-R: LINEARamp Gemini-2 with Bird power meter, Kenpro (Yaesu) rotator controller, Swedish marine key (ex-BP tanker), Elecraft K3 transceiver with 2nd receiver with appropriate roofing filters, Kuhne TR144 Pro 2m transverter, Drake Audio Monitoring LMS 245-line level audio monitor, Behringer Powerplay Pro HA4600 4-port stereo headphone distribution unit, Gophret CPS-1620 low-noise DC power supply unit. 

 

Elecraft K3 transceiver and Kuhne  TR144-PRO 2m transverter.

 

All the location info. Actually only the locator IO74wv had to be sent for each QSO.

 

 Andy MM0FMF & Brian GM8BJF.

 

 

 Andy MM0FMF (op) at front and Peter GM4DTH (check-log).

 

 Andy MM0FMF.

 

 Peter GM4DTH

 

 "Mess tent mess".

 

Colin GM4HWO was well set-up to provide bacon rolls for breakfast and a barbecue for tea on the Saturday.

 

 Looks like a really great BBQ!

 

 - and more!

 

The bar is open.

 

The beer bottle tops were difficult to remove!

 

 Are you being served?

 

Nightfall, by Peter GM4DTH

 

Sunday sunshine.

 

Low air-space. Another group keeping an eye on us?!

 

You've seen this group shot already, but it was taken at the end!

 

  

Audio recording by Brian GM4DIJ of QSO with Steve G4AQB in Bolton. Our operator was Brian GM8BJF.