LEFARS Field Day approaches

It’s one of the times of year I always look forward to. It is when the club members pack all the gear into the cars and descend on a little pub called the Rainbow & Dove at Hastingwood, just off the M11 junction for Harlow.

The Rainbow & Dove. The location of good food and beer! and a big field for playing radios.

The Rainbow & Dove. The location of good food and beer! and a big field for playing radios.

What with the increase in electronic noise and interference (QRM), decamping to the countryside and setting up portable stations is sometimes the only way radio amateurs can work some of the more elusive distant stations around the world (DX). It also gives club members the opportunity to try out new antennas or equipment they might not be able to use at home do to having a diddy garden or being unable to run power without causing interference.

Me I have a neighbor with an extremely noisy plasma TV, who refuses to even allow me to get him a new LCD TV for FREE to replace it! So it is off to the field for me this weekend.

Field Day @ Rainbow & Dove 2015. (My Tri-bander was behind the camera)

Field Day @ Rainbow & Dove 2015. (My Tri-bander was behind the camera)

This week will be unlike others, as the battle wagon is currently off the road awaiting an MOT, so I will be turning up in the Jag, with a lightweight setup this year. I will be trying out my lightweight fiberglass military mast with an inverted V for 20 meters and running data (PSK 31, RTTY and anything else I can try). I might actually try the radiator of my 3 element beam on its own as a tri-band dipole & see how that works.

Tactical antenna mast ready for the weekend

Tactical antenna mast ready for the weekend

Whatever I get up to it will also include the club dinner on the Saturday evening, which usually sees about 18 of us crowd around a table for some fine food & beer. Some of the members will stay overnight and mind the fort, whilst I will have to go back home for the GB2RS news broadcast that I make at 09:30 every Sunday morning!

LEFARS will start to set up for the weekend starting Friday afternoon 26th and ending on afternoon of the 30th May 2016. Visitors are always welcome, although if you would like to join us for dinner on Saturday, you will have to book with Club secretary Marc Litchman.

GB2RGM activations this year.

With the Royal Gunpowder Mills under the threat of closure, due to the planned takeover of a leisure group and their plans to turn it into a youth activities camp, LEFARS has been quite keen to make use of the permanent NOV GB2RGM while we can. As a consequence I have been down to lend some support while I can.

Me operating ably assisted by John Glover M0JGR (Photo John Ray G8DZH)

Me operating assisted by John Glover M0JGR (Photo John Ray G8DZH)

The first weekends operations (Mills on the Air) were pretty quiet as band conditions were pretty woeful, but the second weekend on the 14th & 15th we activated the site, coincided with the RGM’s Steam weekend, which saw a number of miniature and indeed the odd full-sizes steam engines turn up for a Steam Rally.

Lady of the Lake miniature showman's tractor. Show winner. (Pic Brian Porter 2E0FHU)

Lady of the Lake miniature showman’s tractor. Show winner. (Pic Brian Porter 2E0FHU)

We plan on running the station later in the year as well, especially for the Railways on the Air special event, as The gunpowder mills has a narrow gauge railway. So I am looking forward to getting back down there on the weekend of the 24th and 25th September.

The 'Hot Seat' at GB2RGM. showing the Yaesu FT1000 MP MK5 Field Radio that is in use with a doublet. (Photo by Marc Litchman G0TOC)

The ‘Hot Seat’ at GB2RGM. showing the Yaesu FT1000 MP MK5 Field Radio that is in use with a doublet. (Photo by Marc Litchman G0TOC)

Hopefully we will see the return of the remote ATU which inexplicably stopped working on the last day of operation, sending the SWR rocketing and requiring the internal ATU on the radio to be re-activated.

Visitors are always welcome. The shack is located next to the building that hosts the small arms museum, but it is always worth checking that the club is operating the station before visiting!