GB0BON

 

 

 

 

In 2010 the Welland Valley Amateur Radio Society decided to make a change to their annual summer barbeque by holding a field day and running a special event station.

 

We set the date 20th June 2010 and we chose a location, Rupert’s Viewpoint on the boarder of Northamptonshire and Leicestershire. The special event call sign GB0BON standing for the “Battle of Naseby” had been obtained from Ofcom and permission to use the site had been granted by one of the trustees of the Naseby Battle field.

 

For those interested in the history of the Battle of Naseby, it took place on the 14th June 1645 and was the decisive battle of the English Civil war. Details can be found at the trustees Website. www.naseby.com or emailinfo@naesby.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010 SPECIAL EVENT

 

 

Our first special event did not go off without a few hitches. We thought that we had covered everything. The club radios, antenna tuning units and antenna had been tested the previous weekend and were running ok. The generator had been run up and was working fine. The evening before the laptop-logging programme had been put to the test and found to be working perfectly. What could possibly go wrong! Answer, lots of things..

 

 

Problem number 1. The clubs radio, after many years of sterling work chose this weekend to break down. No receive audio, and despite many attempts to coax it back to life it remained stubbornly quiet. No great problem though as Colin, G1IVG, the club chairman was despatched home to pick up his base station.

 

 

Problem number 2. After returning rig in hand and plugging it all in it was discovered that for reasons we were unable to work out that the clubs Windom antenna was refusing to load up on anything except 20 and 40 metre bands. This time I was dispatched back home to pick up the G5RV antenna that the local Market Harborough Girl Guides had built for their thinking day on the air.

 

 

Problem number 3. The club Windom antenna was lowered and the Girl Guide Manufactured G5RV antenna raised. It was at this point that someone noticed that the PL259 connector on the coaxial wire that connected the radio to the antenna was just hanging on by a thread. A quick bodge job and again we tried to get a signal out. It was at this point we began to wonder what else could go wrong as we could still only load up the radio on 20 and 40m bands.

 

Problem number 4. For some reason the lap top computer was refusing to talk to the radio or should that be the radio was refusing to talk to the laptop. Whichever way it was the pair of them would not communicate. This meant that manual log keeping would be the order of the day. At least this did not require another trip home as a paper log had been brought just in case of a problem like this.

 

It was then that our luck changed by way of a saviour called Steve G4EOF. He turned up at the site and to our relief just happened to have his Yaesu FT1000MP radio with built in antenna tuning unit in the boot of his car. At last we were on air and on every band from 80 to 10meters with no gaps.

 

 

By 0900 hrs. we were up and running. We spent the morning on the lower bands and had many nice contacts with other stations round the UK. It was museums on the air weekend and we managed to work quite a few of them.

 

At about 1300 hrs. we ventured up the bands and settled on 20 Meters. It started off quietly enough and we were having fun exchanging details with stations. However at some point we think that someone must have posted us on the DX cluster as all of a sudden all hell broke loose and at the end of each contact we were met by a wall of 59+20 noise. In the next three hours we rattled of no less than 160 contacts. OK not a great rate for a contest station but for a special event station it was quite a rate of QSO’s.

 

By 1600 things had settled down and we decided to let Steve loose with his Morse key. A few more contacts were made before we closed the station for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 19th 2011

 

After the outstanding success of 2010’s field day at Rupert’s Viewpoint the Welland Valley Amateur Radio Society decided to once again put a special event amateur radio station on in June 2011.

 

We obtained the same special call sign from the regulator Ofcom, GB0BON, and again obtained permission from the land owners, to use the land to the rear of the car park to set up the station and the antennas.

 

In 2011 the station was being run to commemorate the 366th anniversary of the Battle of Naseby that was won by Cromwell’s new model army and put an end to three years of civil war.

 

Our main day of operation was on the 19th June when we set up the station was open to visitors from 0900 hrs. until early evening. Visitors were able to see and hear Short Wave (HF) Amateur Radio in operation and talk to local Amateurs about the hobby. There was also a small display of other radios and the opportunity for anyone who has an interest in radio to find out how to obtain a licence.

 

Whereas in 2010 the day was memorable for the blazing sunshine and mini heat wave and the gazebo being our salvation from sunstroke and 1st degree sun burns, the 2011 will be remembered for the cold, the monsoon and winds that battered our little gazebo on the Saturday. My abiding memory of Saturday will be of four burley radio amateurs, each gripping onto each corner of the gazebo to try and stop it being blown away while dodging the torrents of water streaming off the roof.

 

The Sunday was a much better day weather-wise, it was a little on the chilly side but the rain did not put in another appearance thank goodness. We managed many contacts during the day and our newly licensed M6MPT managed to get on air for the first time. We had a number of visitors during the day including members of a bicycle club who were using the car park as a rendezvous point; they seemed quite impressed that we could talk round the world on a simple radio and length of wire.

 

Thankfully though the previous year had taught us a number of valuable lessons so this year we were not plagued by faulty equipment and breakdowns. The computers and radios all talked to each other, antennas radiated all the RF we sent up them and there were plenty of spare parts and tools. Having said that we did learn that our displays were nor really up to par and that it would be a good idea to have some form of hand-out for explaining who we are and what amateur radio is for visitors.

 

Despite the adverse weather we again managed many contacts around the world and as in 2010 when evening finally arrived we had to reluctantly shut down despite there still being many stations calling us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 16th/17th 2012

 

 

As in previous years the station will be located at Rupert’s Viewpoint just south of Market Harborough on the Clipston Road. Rupert’s Viewpoint is one of the highest vantage points in the area and was chosen by Prince Rupert because of the all-round field of view it gave him. It is also a superb location for a VHF and UHF station for the same reasons and also ideal for HF giving us as it does plenty of room to erect long wire antennas clear of trees and other obstructions.

 

We have again applied for the call GB0BON from Ofcom and begun planning the weekend. We will be publicising the event using our local commercial radio station, HFM, our local paper, The Harborough Mail and The Leicester Mercury. This year we will be specifically inviting young people from local youth groups and schools to see an amateur radio field day in operation as well as opening the station up to all comers.

 

It is hoped that we will be able to run some data communications and possibly some slow scan television as well as voice communications.

 

We are exceptionally lucky in no only having permission of the land owners to use the site but in also having permission of the Naseby Battlefield Project to take over their car park and make use of their flag pile to mount our antennas on and would like to extend our thanks to them for use of their facilities.

 

Rupert’s Viewpoint and the other areas of interest on and around the battle field are maintained by The Naseby Battlefield Project a Registered Charity.

 

 

Peter Rivers

 

G4XEX

 

Secretary Welland Valley Amateur Radio Society

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Further information

 


 

A full report of the 2010 event can be found at

http://www.frankcom.plus.com/files/rsgb_newsletter/rsgb_newsletter_august_2010.pdf

 


 

Welland Valley Amateur Radio Society

http://www.wvars.com/

 


 

Battlefield Trust

http://www.naseby.com/index.html

 


 

 

History of the Battle

http://www.british-civil-wars.co.uk/military/1645-leicester-naseby.htm

 


 

QSL information for Radio Amateurs and SWL’s

http://www.qrz.com/db/g4xex