Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society

International Marconi Day - 2008 at Sandford Mill

4th May 2008 Minor errors corrected to the 27th April issue when the report & pictures were originally entered.


Marconi's Birthday was on the 25th April & G4IMD arrange International Marconi Day as the nearest Saturday to his birthday - so this year it was the 26th April.

CARS provided the now traditional HF SSB station in the 2MT Marconi Hut on SSB while the "upstairs station" was nearly exclusively using the Key with Tony, G4YTG's Transmitter & Receiver.

Additionally, Mark Sanderson, M0IEO kindly brought his caravan complete with a fold-out tent and communications centre.   Jim Salmon, 2E0RMI & Bob, G4MDB provided a stack of VHF equipment to enable members of the public to hear quality Amateur Radio transmissions on FM.

Additionally, Contest Manager Steve, G4ZUL organised a Aerial Pre-Run for NFD which this year will be on the 7/8th June.   Tony, G4YTG was in charge of the Bow & Arrow Shoot - to get halyards over nearby trees.

This year Chelmsford Borough Concil arranged Sandford Mill to be Open to the Public from 10am to 5pm.   "Friends of the Museum" organised Car Parking, Teas and provided Members to Staff many of the exhibits in the building.

Last year the whole of April, the day was warm (over 70 degreesF - 20+C) but this year it was a different story with snow present earlier in the month.   Friday was iffy with rain but IMD broke clear and hot and the temperature rose to over 70 degrees F (20 degrees C).

CARS as a Society operate as a "team" - the Aerial Erection Team put up the many aerials on Tuesday and Brian, G3CVI commissioned the Hut gear on Wednesday.

By 10am BST when the Public turned up, everthing was in full swing.

However the story really starts with the Pre-Site Meeting the previous Saturday when Mark, M0IEO and Belinda, Geoff G7KLV, Patrick, M0XAP, Jim, 2E0RMI & John G8DET came to check-out out the area where the caravan would be parked.

Pre-IMD Meeting

Left to right; Patrick, M0XAP, Geoff G7KLV, Belinda & Mark M0IEO & Jim 2E1RMI
Photographs by John, G8DET

Car park
Car park

Tony, G4YTG with his aerial bow & arrow

Tony, G4YTG with his aerial bow & arrow

Peter Best & the Felixstowe ARS
Peter Best, G8BLS, (left) Chairman of the Felixstowe and District ARS with Radio Scouts, Ashley M3UAQ, Thomas M3WLT & Sandeep M3XSS.   Also in the party was Geoff M3FFT.
CARS Chairman, John G8DET (right) is sampling a slice of the presentation cake from Arnhem, Holland.   Peter & Tom, G0SBW (who came to CARS and presented a talk about Operation Market Garden in WWII) went to Arnhem to re-inact the radio conditions and to try & determine the reasons for the problems encountered by the British Army.
Photograph taken by Ryan, M3ZBR

Visitors taking tea in the sun
                    Visitors taking tea in the sun.

VHF Caravan

Long shot of the VHF Caravan.   Clive M0GGH & Charles, G0GJS are standing outside the awning sinalling in Semaphore.   There is a Dipole on top of the telephone pole to the right while the 80 Metre 2MT Hut Aerial is attached to the derrick to the left.

VHF Caravan

VHF Caravan from the road.

VHF Caravan
Close-up of Jim, 2E0RMI on the microphone to the left while Bob, G4MDB is in communication on the right.

Another angle of the VHF Communications Centre Bob's Kite flying high
Besides VHF the Caravan Centre had HF - Bob's Kite flying high - attached on it is a 160 Metre Aerial.

Denis & Ron running the 2MT Hut Station
Denis & Ron running the 2MT Hut Station.

Malcolm on the microphone

Malcolm on the microphone.

Visitors by the HR24 rack
Visitors by the HR24 rack.

Jim Selby
Jim Selby looking at a photograph of himself in Aerial, an in-house Marconi Magazine dated 1972 brought on-site by Peter Best, G8BLS.   Jim designed some of the 6/4 GHz microwave equipment which Peter used to maintain when he worked for the Post Office Telephones.

Standing by the HR24 rack
Jim (right) standing by the HR24 rack with visitor Stan Church (Ex Marconi).

Geoff, G7KLV & Michael O'Burne

Geoff, G7KLV & visitor Michael O'Beirne who writes for the Radio Bygones Magazine.

Steve G4ZUL & Roger Sweny in the CW Station
Steve G4ZUL & Roger Sweny in the CW Station.
Unfortunately, Tony's Linear blew up with clouds of smoke so the rig is running bare foot at 70 Watts.

The Morse demo area
The Morse Demonstartion area.   Colin, G0TRM is bending
over the tape writer surrounded by interested children & parents.

The Morse demo

Jane Vidgeon Hart assisting Rhiannon Bailey with her print-out.
while Mother, Alison, left is looking on.
Photograph published with kind permission of Alison Bailey.

Morse area

Morse area.

Visitors from New Street sunning themselves
Visitors from South Woodham Ferrers sunning themselves.
Mr & Mrs Southern have a shop in New Street which used to supply tools to Marconi Apprentices.

Packing up
The hardest part of the day - taking down the aerials which have performed so well.

Report by Mark Sanderson, M0IEO

The day broke beautiful and clear, it would be a lovely day for being in a caravan and a lovely day to be out and about with a short wave radio, if we could combine the two the day would be perfect.   Luckily it was International Marconi Day so no further excuse was needed.   Belinda and I rose early for a Saturday at 05:30am and set about loading the caravan with all we would need for the day, awning, radios, antenna mast, tea, coffee, milk ect.   I must look into buying a cow as we got through some milk!

Anyway fully loaded we set off from Canvey at 08:00am and after an effortless tow lasting 25minutes, we arrived at Sandford Mill.   It took around half an hour to erect the awning whilst the kettle was boiling, then after the first cup of tea of the day we set about setting up the mast and co-linier antenna along with Clive, M0GHH it was then that I discovered that the coax was too short to reach the awning from the top of the mast.   It was the first time I had raised the mast to anything like full height, lucky I had a drum of RG213 mill spec in the caravan and a good collection of compression fit PL259 plugs.   Even on a good day with calm conditions it is surprising how hard it is to make a decent solder joint on a plug in the open air.   I would think that Belinda’s screams could be heard in Danbury when she saw the solder spits flying over the worktop of her caravan kitchen, but ever the suffering Radio Amateur’s Wife she helped by holding the plug (by the coax I hasten to add) so that I could perform a semi decent joint.

Another cup of tea and it was nearing opening time, by this time Jim Salmon, 2E0RMI had arrived and was busy setting up his equipment to operate on Echolink along with his amplifier and speakers, it was nice to be hearing some contacts coming in.

Next to arrive was Bob Tokley, G4MDB who wasted no time in putting the co-linier to good use on 2m simplex and was soon calling CQ and getting a good response to his calls.

As things quietened down around late morning, Bob decided to try his luck on top band and so attached a long wire to his box kite and hoisted it aloft.   There was a little activity on top band but it was sporadic at best.   I did offer my Kenwood TS 480 SAT for Bob to try out but with the poor band conditions it hardly seemed worth setting up.

The afternoon was spent talking to the many visitors to the VHF station and the numerous Club Members, who came along to offer their support, I even managed to find our Club Chairman, John Bowen, masquerading as a gardener cutting back the brambles on the roadway to the rear entrance!

All too soon it was 17:00 hrs (or 5 o’clock) and it was time to take it all down and head for home, all the happier for having spent the day doing two of my favourite things, caravanning and radio, shouldn’t every weekend be spent doing that?

My thanks go to Clive, M0GHH; Jim 2E0RMI and Bob G4MDB for their equipment, one day I will get mine out, and for the help with the packing up of all the kit.
To the staff and friends of Sandford Mill for the use of a first class facility and for the use of their ladder and for the use of their electricity, and to all the Club Members who have made me feel welcome within the club.   Was it really eight months age I wrote to John G8DET saying that I was a lonely radio amateur looking for somewhere to belong?

High spots of the day, setting up, drinking tea, socializing, drinking tea, confirming that I was the shortest contact of the day with Bob (me in the caravan on my handheld and Bob in the awning on the 2m simplex, total distance 1.5 metres.   Do I get a QSL card?) and drinking tea.   Low spot of the day, having to pack up and go home, I could have stayed there all weekend quite happily.

Thank you Mark for your report.

Report by Bob Tokley, G4MDB

Jim 2E0RMI and myself set up a 2 metre (and HF) station in a caravan supplied by fellow Radio Amateur, Mark M0IEO.   The weather was very kind to us and it enabled me to fly a kite and attach a long wire aerial to it.   Although was not part of the original plan I felt it had to be done!

Jim made several contacts on 2 metres using the ‘echo link’ and spoke to hams in ZL and USA.   Having access to a quality audio amp (being in the disco trade) enabled him to boom the contact across the whole of the countryside which attracted good public interest.

I made a few 2 metre simplex contacts and the ventured on to HF and used 160m and 40m.   Unfortunately kites being a little unpredictable, are not reliable sky hooks, and it came to earth.   However no harm occurred and the aerial landed over the support of another and contacts continued.

Overall there was a good stream of public interest and I think we roused some non transmitting hams into thinking again about the hobby, and a good time was had by all!

Thank you Bob for your report.

A great team effort - thanks to everyone.   Thanks to the 500 visitors for their interest.

We now only QSL on request - Please send your QSL cards, preferably via the RSGB Bureau - Patrick (seen above) is the QSL Manager.

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