The LEFARS Field Weekend held at the Rainbow & Dove, Hastingwood (nr Harlow), Essex over the Late May Bank Holiday weekend was the first venture outdoors for 9 months. Although planned and in the diary, permission was only obtained in mid-May with the slight relaxation of the COVID-19 rules.
Preparations started on Monday 24th when David M0VID used his tractor with flail mower and 4ft roller weighing 280kg on the back for moving/flattening grass saplings and brambles. All in all, about a 1/3 acre was reclaimed from the undergrowth. The grass in the main area had been soft and area around the picket fence was under water following the extensive rain. An extended “L” shaped area towards the rear of the extensive 7-acre holding was now available for the Field Weekend.
Friday 28th May
Dave M0MBD set up Friday afternoon (3pm) at the R&D and David M0VID positioned with Land Rover on front hook to his location newly reclaimed from the undergrowth. By Saturday morning The “Burger Van” mobile shack was up and running with Dave’s equipment including his Flex radio and 40m/80m Windom antenna. [photo below]
Saturday 29th May
At 6am Saturday, David M0VID started loading the trailer with PU12 mast and other essentials; later from 8am at the Store with John G8DZH to assist with loading list for the rest of the items. We left around 9am and got to the R&D 30 mins later. Richard G4DDP, Dave G3ZXF and Dave M0MBD were already onsite. Whilst the trailer was being unloaded, David M0VID went to get the trailer mast. The Outwell tent (for the Club’s HF and VHF station) was set up in the interim. When the trailer mast was on site and set up, it held aloft the 4m/6m beam now turned by the club’s new Yaesu G-1000DXC rotator. Alongside the trailer mast, one of the club’s tents served as a combined HF/6m/4m and separate 2m/70cm shack. Richard G4DDP worked a few stations on 6m and 4m, mostly from Eastern Europe.
Also on site were Kerry M6WHT and Merlin M0MFX with their tents and equipment. A report from Merlin is at the end of this report.
During the morning George M1GEO, Dave M0TAZ and Chris G8OCV set up one of the tents for QO-100 operation. [More details later].
By now, 12:00, the temperature was 24C. For a few of us, a visit to the R&D to say hello and partake in some lunch was essential.
[Photos Top L. to R. : Richard G4DDP with bowl of extra chips. Dave M0TAZ and brightly coloured drink.
Bottom L. to R. : David M0VID and XYL Pam. John G8DZH’s lunch time repast. ]
After and enjoyable lunch, some relaxing under the shade in the gazebo. A welcome visitor was Rex G3NQT who brought along some cans of liquid refreshment including beers. We watched David M0VID assemble his tri-band 10/15/20m Cushcraft A3S beam, later mounted atop a RACAL RA456 intermediate duty mast. The beam was used by Merlin M0MFX and also by Fred G3SVK.
Selim M0XTA and John G8DZH worked several stations on 2m during the afternoon.
Dave M0MBD’s “Burger van” also housed a full HF station complete with Windom antenna for 40m and 80m. Dave worked 27 stations on 40m and 80m (SSB) over the weekend including a 80m QSO with John G0VEH on holiday in Devon. Also 2 QSOs on 60m.
George M1GEO tested the 2kVA capacity of the generator by dispensing freshly brewed coffee from his coffee machine. At times this did cause a “brownout” and resetting of the HF station PSU. Fred G3SVK wasn’t entirely happy as he was operating on HF at the time.
We left the R&D at 21:00 and still some light. Nine campers stayed overnight, I left at 22:30.
Sunday 30th May
I arrived on Sunday morning at 09:10. The morning was overcast. George M1GEO had started the generator at 06:30 and was working stations on his QO-100 setup. There was a bit of a pile-up with stations wanting to work GB2LRS; later Richard G4DDP took over to give George M1GEO a rest (Photos and more details to follow).
Mike M0AAX (photo left), a new LEFARS member from Buckhurst Hill, worked 26 stations on 2M FM including ON4JTS. John G8DZH worked 9 stations on 2m, mostly LEFARS members.
A fairly leisurely morning ensued with operating from the four main stations plus a QSOs made by Ion M0JLI (photo below) on 20m SSB set up near the beer garden. Ion worked 4 stations on his inverted L antenna.
Lunch was in the field to maximise the operating time, the temperature got to a balmy 25C and the hottest day of the year. Fred G3SVK used the Cushcraft A3S beam with the club’s Icom IC-7300 to make a few CW QRP contacts on 10m, 15m and 20m.
Packing up started at 17:00. A few members had already left by then including Merlin M0MFX. His comments from the weekend:
• 5 SSB contacts on 20m (including 2 USA!), SOTA (Scotland), IOTA (Estonia) POTA (USA)
• 6m was very patchy, only a couple of FT8 QSOs, including new club member M0AAX.
• 10m on Sunday morning good – Romania, Spain and Portugal on SSB using the VID’s tri-band beam on 20m”
• My 2m squalo got me heard in Denmark and a QSO with Belgium, despite being less than 3m off the ground!
By 19:25 a convoy of vehicles left the R&D car park towing a full trailer, trailer mast and a Burger Van back to the store location nearby.
The GB2LRS logs have been collated and available soon. It was an enjoyable weekend; good to see so many members and to welcome several guests. LEFARS wishes to thank Andy at the Rainbow and Dove for allowing us to take over part of their land, some reclaimed from the wilderness, by Dave M0VID with his tractor.
32 stations were worked on SSB over the weekend on QO-100 by George M1GEO and Richard G4DDP.
Using George’s QO-100 transverter and PA equipment from home and his Icom IC-9700 transceiver, 16 countries were worked:
European Russia Gabon Germany India Netherlands Brazil Serbia
France Sudan England Wales South Africa Czech Republic
Austria Slovakia France
Members onsite and staying overnight Sat/Sun
Kerry M6WHT Dave M0MBD George M1GEO Chris G8OCV Merlin M0MFX
Dave M0TAZ Ion M0JLI John M0IDA (SNB Group)
Members onsite Saturday and Sunday
Andy G8RZA John M0JGR Richard G4DDP John G1DJI Fred G3SVK
John G8DZH David M0VID + XYL Pam Ion M0JLI
Members onsite Saturday only
Selim M0XTA Brian G4CUQ Alan G4GQL Rex G3NQT
Brian M0OAB Boo M6OAB Dave G3ZXF
Members onsite Sunday only
Mike M0AAX (new member) Martin 2E0UKL Lorenzo M7KTZ (new member).
Keith G1HEQ James 2E0JBU
John M0IDA (SNB Group)
Peter G0DZB Peter G4FQF
Members: 26 Visitors: 3
John Ray G8DZH
[Photo Credit: John Ray G8DZH]