Broken Cobweb causes a rethink

A few weeks back the XYL was complaining that that my tower, which is attached to the side of the house, was making a god awful racket when the wind got up. I ended up getting out of bed in the middle of the night to lower the mast and luff it over in order to stop the rattling which was being transmitted through the walls! The only problem was, it was dark and I did not see the spreaders bow as they hit the ground due to me luffing the tower over too much. I now have a cobweb with two broken spreaders and the support for the balun box also snapped.

Previous aerial setup before the damage!

Previous aerial setup before the damage!

Following the the damage, I decided to push a bit of kit into action that I have had down the side of the house for some time. I actually have a three element Tri-Band Yagi, which is too big to put up in it’s entirety, so I decided to mount the radiating element only in the form of a tri-band dipole.

The new HF setup!

The new HF setup!

After putting up the dipole, it was checked with an analyser and it all checked out great with little adjustment required. It was a little more noisy than the cobwebb, which is well known for its very flat signal pattern. It was giving me 2-3 S units over the wire antenna which was weird as I was not expecting such a big difference. It has given me a good reason to bring the wire antenna down and give it a good checking over, but that as they say is another day! I have had contacts into Russia, Saudi Arabia and even Iraq in it, so it must be working OK!

In the meantime the tower was put back up with a bicycle inner tube glued around the part that slots into the bracket on the wall. This has killed the rattling and hopefully I will not have to get up in the middle of the night again!

1st event of the years at the Royal Gunpowder Mills

My local radio club LEFARS (Loughton & Epping Forrest Radio Society) enjoys a great relationship with the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Bishops Waltham in Essex.

Formerly a factory for Gunpowder, established in 1850’s the site went on to manufacture nitro-based explosives and further more to become the Propellants, Explosives and Rocket Motor Establishment until 1991 when it closed ending 300 years of explosives production and research.

LEFARS has a permanent NOV to operate GB2RGM from the site and has a dedicated radio shack and aerial installation which is used during activations, which take place throughout the year.

Activations tend to be timed to occur during special events either on the RGM calendar or in the ‘radio calendar’. The site having both waterwheels and gunpowder mills, and a light railway,  GB2RGM is fired up as part of Mills on the Air and also Railways on the Air and sometime Museums on the Air.

This year the first chance to activate the callsign was for the VE day celebrations over the Mayday Bank Holiday weekend. This event did not take place last year due to uncertainty over the future of the RGM, but this year, the venue enjoying a reprieve and hosted the event once again.

LEFARS exhibition Marquee

LEFARS exhibition Marquee

Lefars were invited to set up a display again and put together a collection of classic radios in keeping with the events Military and WW2 theme. Both sections of the LEFARS marquee were set up and a selection of Vintage military and domestic radio equipment was set up on display. Many of the exhibits actually work, and some were used to demonstrate that the technology of the time still works well today.

Information about current day Amateur Radio, including some history

Information about current day Amateur Radio, including some history & notable QSL cards 

A mixture of military and domestic radios.

A mixture of military and domestic radios.

Morse keys and eare SOE radios.

Morse keys and rare SOE radios.

A Valve collection, or 'Bulbs' as someone called them!

A Valve collection, or ‘Bulbs’ as someone called them!

More Vintage military Radios

More Vintage military Radios

More radios for spies!

More radios for spies!

M0VID's WW2 Canadian built radio gear.

M0IDF’s WW2 Canadian built radio gear.

There were many re-enactors on site, many of whom had a selection of non-working radio sets. Many of us tried to convince them it would be a great idea to at least get their M6 licence and use the things, but hey, we tried!

M0VID is not the only chap with a Jeep and a Radio

M0IDF is not the only chap with a Jeep and a Radio

M0IDF went walkabout with his 38 set which was only putting out 200mw and was designed for fairly local communication. GB2RGM worked him all around the site with fine audio, we were well impressed with the performance of this little radio on what is a really inefficient aerial!

M0IDF with his 38 set get in the swing of things in uniform!

M0IDF with his 38 set get in the swing of things in uniform!

For those people looking to get into the vintage military scene, there were even a few radios up for sale from some of the re-enactors.. check out the final pic..

For sale!

BC221 & 342 For sale!

I will be back at the RGM this weekend for Mills on the Air.