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Swindon & Cricklade Railway from Blunsdon Station - Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th September 2015

What a weekend! Everything about it was fantastic – the weather could not have been better, the location was perfect, sat as we were just opposite the station at Blunsdon. 40m was open and working really well. The company (fellow amateurs, members of the public and the railway personnel just made everything really top notch!

The operating arena was the barbecue area just behind the Ticket Office and we erected our gazebo, exhibition stands and antenna mast. The other end of the full sized G5RV was about one hundred and seventy feet away at the opposite end of a small lake. The G5RV was slung at fifty feet directly over the lake. Getting the aerial up was a major challenge in itself, but was completed by 10:30pm Friday night.

Saturday morning 10:00BST found us on 7.143MHz with great propagation to both UK & near continent. We managed to hold the 7.143MHz frequency spot without a break until about 17:30BST and clocked up an amazing 221 QSOs in the log book.

Sunday morning we started at 09:00BST on 7.150MHz until we lost the frequency (adjacent QRM overcame us), spent a little while searching around and speaking to a few other stations before finding 7.148MHz and holding on to it until we eventually went QRT at 16:00BST having achieved 35 QSOs in the last hour and clocking up a further 125 QSOs for the day. We had a station on 2m but the topography was not the best for 2m, so another 5 QSOs were added to the log book.

We were lucky to have a number of volunteers to help us take everything down and pack away. To those I am grateful. The railway personnel seemed very pleased to have had us broadcasting all about their railway and will be welcoming us back again next year. We look forward to that!

Thanks, as ever to Ken G1NCG for his support, without which I would not be able to host these Special Events Stations.

We had a number of visitors (I hope I have not missed anyone out!)

Roy - G4VWG, Kevin - G6FOP, Janet - M6FOP, Nick - M0OJO, Vic - G3NVB & Gill, John - G1OQV, Neil - M6CUE.

Some statistics:

QSOs with other Railways on the air stations: 25

All special event stations (including railways) 38

G 233

GM 13

GW 8

GI 9

GU 1

Continental Stations 49

Above: The gazebo end antenna support, bending slightly under the strain, 2m collinear atop. Picture Ken G1NCG

Left: The other end antenna support, the other side of the lake with the G5RV feeder seen hanging down into the shrubbery. Picture Ken G1NCG

Below: The map board, with pins, showing where we have reached. The exhibition stand behind. Picture Ken G1NCG

Visitors - Vic G3NVB, Gill & Janet M6FOP. Picture G1NCG

John G1OQV, Kevin G6FOP & Neil M6CUE. Picture Ken G1NCG

Left: Colin G4GBP operating at the 40m SSB station using the FT-840 & getting good reports for ‘nice audio’. Picture Ken G1NCG

Technical details:

The transceiver used for the 40m SSB station is the trusty old Yaesu FT-840 with its standard microphone. Memo to self for next time - take alternative microphone and foot-switch because the fingertips have not yet recovered from the RSI of holding in the PTT button!

Aerial matching unit is the MFJ 948 and the antenna is a full-sized G5RV. The masts are RACAL 12m (40’) push-up masts and the lake was about 10 feet below us to the G5RV was about 50’ above the lake.

All logging was done on paper. I can computer log for contests but trying to add all the rest of the remote station’s details into the computer whilst holding a conversation is beyond me! You try keying in ‘GB2LHR, Bill (G4USW) Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, Cumbria’!

The 2m station uses the Yaesu FT-897 with the collinear at 40’ above.

The QSL card designed by G4GBP from a photo supplied by the Swindon & Cricklade Railway.

I hope I am sending one to you. If you are in the log I will, if you just want one for fun, let me know and I will see what I can do…

Thanks to all of the Amateur Radio stations with whom we communicated, it would have been nothing with out you! Thanks!!!!!

73 de Colin G4GBP

“Didn’t we have a lovely day, the day we went to Blunsdon!”

With apologies to “Fiddler’s Dram”

All pictures by Ken G1NCG