East Usk Lighthouse 2018

GB4EUL – East Usk Lighthouse, Newport

LH number : UK0159
WAB : ST38
Locator : IO81mm
WWFF : GWFF-0066 – Newport Wetlands NNR

3rd Full Weekend in August since 1998
00.01UTC 18 August to 2400UTC 19 August 2018 (48 hours)

The month of August sees the international activity for lighthouses and lightships. Countries all over the world have become involved over the years in some form of activity during the month. In the UK it is held on the 3rd weekend, the US holds it during the first week of August. Some more historic information can be read over on our 2017 outing report HERE.

2017 was very tough going, contacts few and far between and limited to 40m only. We only managed 14 or so contacts for phone and added another 10 or so contacts with data modes. This year we were concerned that with continued solar minimums making contact with stations would be even more problematic. However this was not the case as we soon discovered.

I arrived around 7:55 local and after a quick chat with Steve G4OGO/P over the channel in his favourite caravan site went about setting up the 15m ally mast. A couple of cable ties later and some para-cord and it was attached to the railings that surround the East Usk Lighthouse. Ross GW3NWS arrived around 8:40 and we proceeded to set up each end of the aerial. Each end was supported by a 5m painters pole. The aerial of choice this year being a 40m doublet, which would give us the option to perhaps work some other bands if 40m died away.

We had decided to use my recently acquired/converted van as the shack which proved to be a great idea. With the wind being SSW and gusting 20-30mph it was great to be in the van without the worry of a gazebo heading off into the RSPB wild life reserve. The 300ohm twin feed from the aerial was brought down to an SGC237 smart tuner/coupler and from there coax to the back of the radio in the van. The station being powered by solar from 200w panels on the roof, and 200Ah of batteries.

More members started showing around 10:30 onwards, and even Doug MW0OPY called in for a short visit even though unwell. His lovely fruit cake was yet again enjoyed by all, thanks Doug! It was great to see one of our recent members, Rob who unfortunately is unable to make our new Thursday club night evening. Cheers for coming down Rob!

We operated GB4EUL through the day and as it happened stayed on 40m with a quick burst on 2m FM to talk to some locals. This year we managed over 100 contacts using the Icom-7100 and 100watts. The integrated voice keyer proving very handy when the pile ups had been worked. The great thing about the location is that not only it being a lighthouse it is also within a World Wide Flora and Fauna location, so working on 7.144MHz proved to be very busy, with pile ups a plenty. Logging again was done with the trusty Logger32 and the usb/cat connection between the radio helping out immensely. Operating was a fairly laid back affair and enjoyed by those who had a go.

It proved to be a great day, and the band seemed quite lively. The 40m doublet and SGC setup worked extremely well with reports of us being ‘the strongest on the band’ from a number of stations far and wide. The best ‘DX’ was the east side of Germany and Portugal, with other interesting stations being in the Shetlands and the Orkneys.

Plugs were pulled and the station decamped in no short order around 16:40 local. Thanks to all the members who managed to visit and help out and to those who work in the background to get these events organised especially Margaret who although missed at this years event sorted out all things NoV. Last but not least, many thanks to all the stations that called us.

73 until next year! – MW0LGE

 

 

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