Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society

1950s Field Days

There were some rule changes for 1950. The maximum power remained 5W, but aerials were restricted to a single wire not longer than 285 feet for A stations and 70 feet for B stations, excluding non-radiating feeder systems. Only one receiver was allowed per station to make it impossible to search for signals on a second receiver during contacts. It was hoped that this would allow smaller Town Groups to compete with larger organizations. Portable stations were required to exchange the time (QTR) of their QSOs.

A summary of the 1950s results are below:

Chelmsford Group NFD results

Danbury Group NFD results

Details for each year are below:-

1950: The Chelmsford group again operated from the meadow adjoining The Running Mare in Galleywood with A-station G5RV/P scoring 411 points and B-station G3BLA/P scoring 283 points giving a total of 694 points, and finishing in 25th place.

1951: There were some more rule changes for aerials in 1951, where not more than 3 "fixed" aerials per station (including receiving aerials) were allowed, and no beams.

The team had their first success. The RSGB Bulletin reports, "The leading A station is Chelmsford (G5RV/P), with a score of 556 points made from 228 contacts [on 160m and 80m]. Here, too, the 807 was favoured as a P.A. Being driven by a 6V6 E.C.O. Half-wave dipoles were employed on each band, the receiver being an H.R.O. Power was supplied by lead-acid accumulators - 200 volts in all."

The B-station G3BKF/P scored 280 points on 40m and 20m giving a total of 836 points, and the group finished 8th overall - their highest position so far.

1951 NFD: Running Mare B-Station G3BKF/P

1951 NFD: Brian Murray G3MML, Jack Ridley G2AFJ & George Cutting G3GNQ - and right Jack Ivison G3BKF

1952: There were more minor rules changes in 1952. There were to be no modifications to the aerial or feeder system during the event, and the first 3 letters of operators surname were to be included in reports exchanged between portable stations, replacing the QTR exchange.

The RSGB Bulletin reports that more than 250 stations made 25,000 contacts and "broke every record in the book", with 3 stations scoring over 1000 points.

Chelmsford A-station G5RV/P scored 616 points and was 4th placed A-station only 11 points behind the leader. B-station G4VF/P scored 263 points, giving a total of 879 points and the group finished in 19th place overall.

1953: Scores continued to improve, and in 1953 five stations scored more than 1000 points. Chelmsford scored 962 points and equalled their best of 8th position. G5RV/P was 9th placed A-station, and was 8th best on 1.8 Mc/s and 4th best on 3.5 Mc/s. The B-station was G3ABB/P (the callsign of Cliff Fenton), the 7th different call in 7 years, and scored 32 points on 14 Mc/s and none on 21 Mc/s.

1953 NFD: Arthur Wreford G3EHZ

1953 NFD: Louis Varney G5RV Operating an Elizabethan Transmitter - and cooking sausages at 1am

1954: The only rule change was not to permit contacts between entrants and stations in their own town or area after one club logged 30 contacts with members using portable callsigns from a nearby car with a single transmitter. The Chelmsford Group operated from Galleywood, and used the new frequency groupings, with A-station G5RV/P on 160 & 40m, and B-station G4VF/P on 80 & 20m. The A-station scored 252 points on 160m and 154 point on 40m. The B-station scored 386 points on 80m and 25 points on 80m, and was placed 8th on 80m. The team score of 817 points put them in 26th place.

The Bulletin notes that 80m contributed most points, and described 20m as "on the mend again" with DX worked VS6, JA2, KL7, W6, PY, LU, ZD4 and ST2 as well as Empire portables VP9BL/P, ZC4CA/P and ZB1F/P worth 12 points each. With a mere 25 points on 20m, it appears that the Chelmsford team didn't rate 20m and preferred to concentrate on 80m.

1954 saw the first entry by the Danbury group. They fielded a single B-station using the call of Alan Davies, G3INW/P from a field between Bell Wood and Little Baddow Road, Danbury (adjacent to the reservoir). Operating on 80m only they scored 132 points and finished 106th (next to last).

1955 saw a couple of minor rules changes, only QSOs made by operators signing the cover sheet would count, and log keeping was to be in GMT as required by the Post Office.

The Chelmsford group operated from Galleywood, and used the new frequency groupings, with A-station G5RV/P on 160 & 40m, and B-station G4VF/P on 80 & 20m. The A-station scored 254 points on 160m and 110 points on 40m. The B-station scored 344 points on 80m and 55 points on 80m. The team score of 763 points put them in 21st place.

In 1955 the Danbury group operated a single A-station G3INW/P operating from a field adjacent to Helmons Farm, West Hanningfield. They scored 206 points on 160m and 250 points on 80m, a total of 456 points which put them in 69th place.

1955 Danbury NFD Group: Howard G3RLQ, Michael - son of Fred Chittenden G3MWT, Mike Hopkins G3EMI, Alan Davies G3INW

Danbury NFD Group at the Tufnells
Paul Ives G3NIW, Eric Edwards G3NAB, ?, ?, Dai Davies G3MWD, Eddie Cole G3IIS

1956: From 1956, the Bulletin no longer records to locations of NFD stations. In 1956 the Chelmsford group were represented by the A-station using the call of Enver Chaudri G3DCS/P and B-station using the call of Ron Ferguson G4VF/P. This the first time since 1947 that G5RV's call was not used. The A-station scored 186 points on 160m and 256 points on 80m, and B-station scored 201 points on 40m, and 151 points on 20m. The total of 793 points put the group 28th.

The Danbury group operated a single station using Arthur Butcher's call G3KPJ/P scored 105 points in 160m and 111 points on 80m, giving a total of 216 points and finishing in 90th place.

1957 saw some big changes were made to the rules, 10 Watts, six bands, complete freedom of choice of bands between stations and serial numbers instead of the name code. In all 91 groups took part. The Bulletin reports, "This was a DX man's field day with American stations on 14 and 21 Mc/s accounting for a large percentage of the scores, with lower scores on 1.8 and 3.5 Mc/s lower than previous years."

Chelmsford operated as G3ABB/P and G4VF/P with one station on 160/40/15m & the other 80/20/10m. The team scored 821 points and finished 37th.

The Danbury group fielded two stations for the first time, using the callsigns of Eddie Cole G3IIS/P and Fred Turner G3VI/P, also with one station on 160/40/15m & the other 80/20/10m. The team scored 593 points and finished 64th.

Some of the tensions between the Chelmsford and Danbury groups can be seen in a letter from Arthur Butcher published in the September 1957 edition of the RSGB Bulletin:

Dear Sir, with reference to the letter from G3HKX (July issue) the lack of N.F.D. operators may be due to younger members, both licensed and listeners, receiving too little encouragement. This happens locally, and as a result, a new N.F.D. group was formed at Danbury. The younger operators and listeners seem to prefer it, for it considers them, as well as the older operators.

The "lack of attention being paid to Morse" is belied by our list of operators which included G3KPJ, G3KTF, G3KWD, G3LJM, and G3LMH. This list covers nearly all who have obtained a licence in the last two years in this area. Incidentally we ran two stations for the first time this year; the oldest call to operate was G3HMK!

For many of us N.F.D. has now become "just another contest" with the serial number instead of the first three letters of the operator's name. It was this "personal touch" which made N.F.D. so enjoyable. For example "579012" is just hard fact, but "579 SMI" means that your friend Bill Smith is on the key and one can say "GE Bill" instead of "GE OM". A small point but it makes all the difference.

Yours faithfully, A.W. Butcher (G3KPJ), West Hanningfield, near Chelmsford.

1958: Chelmsford group operated using the callsign of Cliff Fenton G3ABB/P on 160/40/15m and the callsign of Harry Lowe G2HPF/P on 80/20/10m. They scored 556 points and finished 25th, with G2HPF/P coming 3rd on 80m with 298 points.

The Danbury group fielded two stations, G3IIS/P and G3VI/P, also with one station on 160/40/15m & the other 80/20/10m. The team scored 817 points and finished 31st.

1959: NFD is described in the September edition of the Marconi house magazine as the Chelmsford and Danbury teams had a "large proportion of Marconi members".

Chelmsford operated as G2HPF/P on 160/40/15m and G4VF/P on 80/20/10m from Warren's Farm, Bedells End, near Writtle. They scored 1053 points and finished 19th, with G4VF/P the top scoring station on 3.5 Mc/s with 401 points.

Harry Lowe G2HPF, his son Christopher, Brian Pashley and Enver Chaudri G3DCS carry a 40-foot section mast through a potato field, accompanied by Ron Ferguson G4VF, for Chelmsford group NFD 1959.

Making use of an existing mast at Beddells End to fix the halyards for one end of their 45-foot high aerial gives the Chelmsford group some healthy exercise. From top to bottom Harry Lowe G2HPF, Brian Pashley, Christopher Lowe, and Enver Chaudri G3DCS. Derek Holmes G3JSV looks on.

Dick May G3KTF, Harry Lowe G2HPF and Brian Pashley (left to right) assembling the Chelmsford groupís equipment for 1959 NFD

Bob Wellbeloved G3LMH and Eddie Cole G3IIS operating the Danbury group B-station (G3VI/P). The receiver (left) is commercially built, but the transmitter was home built by Fred Turner G3VI.

The 1959 Chelmsford group ready to start their petrol-electric generator. From left to right, (back row) Derek Holmes G3JSV, Dick May G3KTF and Harry Lowe G2HPF, (front row), Christopher Lowe (son of Harry), Ron Ferguson G4VF, Hugh Lowe (son of Ron), and Enver Chaudri G3DCS.

The 1959 Danbury Group: Left to right, Back row: Fred Turner G3VI, Bob Wellbeloved G3LMH, Dai Davies G3MWD, Mrs Edwards (wife of G3NAB), Paul Ives G3NIW, Eddie Cole G3IIS, J. Terry, G. Payne, J Devison, Will Mosely (SWL), Arthur Butcher G3KPJ, Wally Mills G3MCO, Ram Ragde G3MFF. Seated: Brian Thwaites G3CVI, Eric Edwards G3NAB, Fred Chittenden G3MWT, Michael Edwards, M. Francis, Michael Chittenden, A. Mc Donald G3NPM, Christopher Davies.

The Danbury group fielded two stations, G3IIS/P and G3VI/P, from near Little Waltham, also with one station on 160/40/15m & the other 80/20/10m. The team scored 757 points and finished 43rd. A team photograph shows that the team comprised Fred Turner G3VI, Bob Wellbeloved G3LMH, Dai Davies G3MWD, Paul Ives G3NIW, Eddie Cole G3IIS, Arthur Butcher G3KPJ, Wally Mills G3MCO, Brian Thwaites G3CVI, Eric Edwards G3NAB, F.E. Chittenden G3MWT, and A. McDonald G3NPM.

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