Outing (to be) held from 18:00 on 2012/02/03 - 05:00 on 2012/02/04 in/on Milford-on-Sea
During the afternoon we loaded much of the heavy kit (antennas, masts and batteries). We then met, about 8 of us, on the Highfield Interchange at about 6:15pm, and after loading more radios and getting the APRS tracker working, we set off. The loaned SUSU minibus gave us problems, stalling repeatedly. After investigation at a Service Station the oil level was found to be non-existent and so we stopped for a while so that the appropriate oil could be obtained. It was found and so with a healthier engine, we all continued our journey down to Milford-On-Sea.
Upon arrival the sun had set completely, and the only light present was that of the moon. In the light of Morse's car headlamps we set out to put up the main mast. This was due to support the 6m/2m/70cm co-linear antenna as well as a pulley for a HF wire antenna, should we have needed it. Due to the severe cold the mast was a slow process, the aluminium sections requiring careful attention to guy-rope tension to prevent the mast from bending!
After much delay we had the mast up, and had for once remembered to connect the down-cable first! Some of the group then set about putting up the 20m end-fed zep antenna, with the feeder at the minibus, and a tripod mast on the top of a nearby slope as the end-point. A G5RV was also set up, with a 10m fibreglass pole supporting the center, and each side coming down in an inverted-vee arrangement.
By the time that the antennas had been erected and the rigs connected up, 2m and 70cms were found to be devoid of activity, with only a couple of local contacts achieved. In the future we hope to start earlier and catch the evening groups before normal people go to bed!
The 20m end-fed zep unfortunately failed in the extreme cold, providing a SWR of about 10:1 across the band. The G5RV was tuned for 20m, but the band was quiet. The G5RV was found to be a good match on 40m without the tuner, and so was left connected as we waited for both bands to open up.
At just past midnight we heard more stations appear on 40m, and started putting out CQ calls. Most of the stations were US stations running a contest and so although they were landing at about 5 and 6 report, we didn't have any luck with contacts until about 1am. At this point people were feeling the cold, but our Foundation Candidates were still keen, and both who were present answered multiple CQ calls successfully, achieving several more international contacts for the Club.