Latest News from GB2GP

ARRL DX SSB (3rd to 4th March) 2018

March 26, 2018 Filed by: John 2E0XLX @ 11:28 am

The GB2GP contest division decided to have a go at the ARRL DX SSB contest again, as we have done for the last few years now. As usual the proposition was met with great enthusiasm from a number of the regular operators, who came along and stayed for the weekend to try to maximise our time on the air – we started at midnight as soon as the contest opened, but closed approx 5 hours before the end of the contest, as most of us needed to travel an hour or more home, and the station needed to be packed away before we left. We ran a single radio for this contest, although for tactical reasons we entered the multi-two category as our normal competition in multi-two – M6T – were short on operators so down-sized to enter multi-single instead.

 

Our team was running with a Flex 6300 radio, connected to the Expert amplifier to give us the 400W for our exchanges, and we managed to keep the seat warm for the entire weekend – only stopping for a short time on the Saturday and Sunday mornings when there were no bands open to the US and we wanted to go for breakfast!!! Our usual cafe was pleased to see us as always, and kept the operators fuelled up for the day shifts, leading to some very respectable runs of contacts and a nice overall score for the limited team that we had – snow was a challenge and meant some of our operators had to drop out at the last minute.

 

Our final claimed QSO count was circa 1100 and given the time restrictions we worked to, for us that was a very respectable count. We even had one operator make his first HF QSO since three years ago, and follow it up with a run of 20 other contacts, including the United Nations callsign for the World Bank! Well done to all involved!

 

Our single rig contest set-up:


Winter Camp (12th to 14th January) 2018

Filed by: John 2E0XLX @ 11:12 am

Winter Camp 2018 was another successful event, with a prep weekend a fortnight before the camp itself allowing us to give the station a few finishing touches, perform some testing, and finalise the configuration on a few bits. This meant that by the time Winter Camp itself came along, we were fully prepared with a new set of remotely operated radios – the Kenwood TS2000 for cross-band AMSAT work, the TS-480 for HF data modes, and the Flex 6300 for HF voice. Conditions weren’t amazing, but the team of operators in attendance were very enthusiastic and we all enjoyed ourselves. As usual there was also a two-beacon ARDF course laid out, and many young people had a go, most of them successfully finding both beacons!


YOTA (5th to 13th August) 2017

Filed by: John 2E0XLX @ 9:56 am

GB2GP was proud to be selected as the host station for 2017’s Youngsters On The Air week, where we saw over 80 under-25s from 26 different countries visiting the site. Whilst not a Scouting event, the shack was put to very good use, not only by the participants, but also by the staff who were helping to run the event. Our antenna farm was used extensively during the week, and with the expertise and rigs that arrived courtesy of the Camb Hams, it was a thoroughly excellent week. There were over 8,500 contacts made from the shack during the event, with every participant getting at least two sessions scheduled in the shack, and evenings available on a drop-in basis, until approx 1:30am when we closed each night. It seems this wasn’t enough for the participants, who as always had more energy and enthusiasm than could have been predicted, so from the Monday onwards the shack was also open for a pre-breakfast session starting at 6am!!!

 

Alongside the shack, there were a myriad of other activities including two ARDF courses – one on 2m and the other on 80m, a foundation licence course and exam for participants outside of the UK, a visit to Bletchley Park, a SOTA trip where the participants could use the SOTA antennas they had built in the construction area, along with the 17m CW transceiver kits they built, and many other activities and highlights, including a huge 2m FM pile-up which allowed the participants with relevant licences to work the GB17YOTA station, and most impressively, a contact with Paolo Nespoli on board the ISS, courtesy of NASA and ARISS UK.

 

For more information on YOTA 2017, and YOTA in general, you can either check out the RSGB website, or http://www.ham-yota.com


Gilwell 24 Preparation Weekend, and King of Spain SSB Contest (24th to 25th June) 2017

July 6, 2017 Filed by: John 2E0XLX @ 4:50 pm

Another fun weekend was had this weekend. The main aim of the weekend was to do some more preparation ahead of Gilwell 24 (where our shack gets a large stress-test). We spent part of the weekend replacing the satellite stack with some new antennas – a pair of WiMo X-Quad antennas – and checking out the cabling, along with installing some extra cable and routing the existing rotator cables and coax through our ducting ahead of the event. We then decided that the best way to stress-test the antenna stacks, check that rotators etc were working properly, and check that we could get a good signal out was to have a go at the King of Spain SSB contest, running from 12:00 to 12:00 GMT (13:00 to 13:00 UK Local Time) that weekend. With the station only operating for 13 of the available 24 hours (the operators like their sleep too, you know!), 501 contacts were achieved throughout the course of it. Not a particularly high number, but the vast majority of the contacts were made with ease, which confirmed the reason for testing – to ensure that the antennas etc were working correctly. It’s safe to say that M0BPQ and 2E0XLX can confirm that was the case!


Fun Days (10th to 11th June) 2017

Filed by: John 2E0XLX @ 4:45 pm

Another large event, this time with approx 5000 young people throughout the weekend on site at Gilwell Park. The GB2GP team put together a demonstration station for VHF/UHF satellite work, HF voice, HF data, some SDRs, and the ever-popular 2m ARDF. The theme for the event was space, so we also had an ISS virtual tour, a green screen to have your photograph taken with Tim Peake on the ISS, and many other space-themed activities throughout the rest of the site. The GB2GP team attended the weekly scout net, but due to solar conditions, propagation was an issue and there were not many attendees. The team for the weekend included M0AEU, M0BPQ, M0NDJ, G3WNS, 2E0XLX, M6ORO and M6ZSA.


Fun Days Preparation Weekend (3rd to 4th June) 2017

Filed by: John 2E0XLX @ 4:38 pm

The GB2GP team were out again in preparation for another weekend event – this time we were setting up in advance of Fun Days 2017. As well as checking out all our existing gear (and bringing down the hex-beam for some maintenance), we ‘installed’ a new tower – 20 feet of Altron lattice tower with a rotator/elevator configuration on top and a pair of X shaped beams for 2m/70cm with a view to doing some satellite work! As always with new installations, there were some teething problems, but we managed to get the tower up, the antennas on the top, and the feeder and control cables through into the tent we were expecting to occupy the following weekend. A successful bit of maintenance all round, including a few hours spent pondering over how to get the computer control working on the rotator/elevator gear! We got there in the end with the help of M0AEU, M0BPQ, M0LTE, 2E0XLX, 2E0JPM, 2E0ELW and M6WZF. A great team effort to get that lot sorted!


Winter Camp (7th to 8th January) 2017

January 14, 2017 Filed by: John 2E0XLX @ 12:25 pm

The GB2GP station at Winter Camp was a great success. We had our usual shack in the Gidney Cabin at Gilwell Park, but this year, for the first time ever, we ran a fully remote station. This consisted of two radios – a Kenwood TS-2000 and a Kenwood TS-480 – running remotely across the IP network on the site. We decided to go for a safe but effective configuration in order to maximise our effectiveness without needing physical access to the radios at any point. To that end we opted for the TS-2000 to run on 40m and 80m, using the Optibeam OB2-40 for 40m fed via the Acom amplifier, and 80m fed directly into the custom built dipole. Both feeds were filtered to eliminate cross-talk from the TS-480 in close proximity. We opted for 20m on the TS-480, fed via the SP Expert amplifier, again filtered to avoid crosstalk, into the A3S beam. We then added, during the weekend, an SDR displaying local aircraft traffic, which in true amateur style had an ‘alternative’ antenna – in this case the frame of a metal tent outside the shack.

Throughout the course of the weekend we made 144 contacts across 3 bands, and even had a broadcast from GB2RS on the Sunday morning to listen to!

Our operators also ensured, when not operating, that the fire was kept going all weekend. This kept the shack at a very pleasant temperature, and we were able to enjoy operating in comfort. Oh, and we kept the obligatory station log – pictures below.

GB2GP Station Log:

gb2gp-wc-station-log

The fire burning away to keep the shack warm:

gb2gp-wc-fire

Aircraft tracking screen:

gb2gp-wc-flight-tracker

SDR receive antenna for aircraft tracking:

gb2gp-wc-flight-tracker-antenna

The full tent used for receiving aircraft beacons:

gb2gp-wc-top-tent

Kieran, John and Paul getting some QSOs in the log:

gb2gp-wc-shack1

Sian and Dave getting some more QSOs in the log:

gb2gp-wc-shack2

 


Winter Camp is Coming!

December 31, 2016 Filed by: John 2E0XLX @ 12:16 pm

Over the last few weeks, many hours of preparation have been performed by Steve (M0BPQ) with assistance from John (2E0XLX). Circuitry has been built, tweaked, faults have been diagnosed and rectified, further faults have been introduced, diagnosed and rectified, and extensive testing has been performed. Steve even managed to find time during this to collect a wheelbarrow full of wood ready for the operators to use at Winter Camp (no, not for the station log, but for the wood burner inside the cabin we will be operating from). As always, we’re pushing the limits of our skills, equipment and most of all time constraints, and for the first time we hope to have dual rigs, an amplifier and rotators all controlled remotely from the opposite end of the site!

As always, the fun will continue this week with the finishing touches being made, some more crazy ideas, plenty of extensive testing and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of luck.

Come and find us at the Gidney Cabin on the Training Field at Gilwell Park Winter Camp 2017!!!


Post JOTA Maintenance, and CQWW CW (26th to 27th November) 2016

November 29, 2016 Filed by: John 2E0XLX @ 6:12 pm

Following the fantastic success of JOTA, there have been a couple of maintenance weekends occurring at GB2GP. The first of these was the weekend after JOTA, involving some maintenance on the mobile tower (including dropping the antenna off to replace a section of the tower, and rebuilding it again properly). The second of these weekends was the same weekend as CQWW CW, which although GB2GP did not enter, provided a fantastic test-bed for the 40m optibeam to ensure everything was put back together properly. Unfortunately we identified a fault in the coax (the plug not being attached properly) which meant we spent the first evening of CQWW testing with the dipole. 87 countries in a matter of hours seemed a pretty good run for the dipole, and Steve was very pleased with that result. The maintenance continued Sunday morning (when we eventually located the dodgy plug and replaced it), and having confirmed that the coax was now sound all the way through, along with the rotator cable being correctly installed all the way back to the shack, we were able to give the beam a bit of a shake-down. Another few countries were added to the list giving a very respectable number worked for Steve with minimal air-time.

We also joined the Saturday morning HF Scout Net, which involved a rather nice chat with two other Radio Scouters. 40m was hopeless for the morning net, but 80m was absolutely amazing and we had armchair copies throughout.

The station now has the OB2-40 ‘installed’ for the winter on the mobile tower, which is parked up and cabled in completely. Another tick in another box for GB2GP!

 

The beam, up and running:

ob2-40-2

And back down, in the low light:

ob2-40


JOTA is coming!!

October 10, 2016 Filed by: admin @ 12:00 pm

After a weekend of hard work, our latest aerial is up and ready for the JOTA weekend here at GB2GP. We now have a 2 element beam to work on the 7Mhz radio band to go with our 16 element beam on the other HF bands… This should help us be heard a bit further afield! Thanks to Steve, John and Frank for getting the mobile tower back up and running and ready for a weekend of visitors and radio contacts!

Do visit the home page to see the frequencies we are operating on in real time during the JOTA weekend.

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Our data radio station is also up and running and listening to JT-65 this week prior to JOTA…
To see where we’ve heard stations, visit
the PSK Reporter Map
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