Pubs and Clubs On The Air

Operate some radio with a bar at arm’s reach. That sounds like a fantastic idea !

Newport Amateur Radio Society teamed up with Chepstow and District Amateur Radio Society to operate special call GB0CAC on Sunday 12th for PACOTA at the Chepstow Athletic Club. We were greeted with glorious blue sky on Sunday, and after an early start of around 7:30local, the doublet installation went smoothly. With a push up mast suitably attached to some metal work at the rear of the building the aerial had a high point of around 45ft, with each end around 25ft off the ground, the 450ohm ladder brought in through a window to the upstairs ‘shack’ area.

An Icom IC-7300 the rig of choice for the HF station, running 100w through a manual tuner with integrated 4:1 balun. With a laptop setup, and trusty Logger32 connected to the radio for some easy VFO tracking, we were up and running by about 9:30local.

Band and local qrm noise on 80m and 40m seemed quite high during the day, although it did settle down slightly later on. Around S8 and S9+ from time to time, so working those weak stations became rather difficult. We checked how active the bands were on the hackgreen websdr as we were observing very flat conditions, approaching what seemed like radio blackout. Very little on hackgreen either, so our suspicions were confirmed. We operated on 80/40/20 mostly and had a number of qso’s on 10m, those 10m stations being the strongest signals. We managed to work about 40 stations on HF, Italy being the most distant, a good result considering our noise floor. We also managed to work another pub/club, GB0TGI – Tuckers Grave Inn, Bath on 80m, and a handful of Mills on the Air stations.

GW4JBQ working HF

Later in the morning we setup a 2m station using an Icom IC-7100, with 7ele homebrew beam, mostly pointing due east. Strong arm rotation method, calling CQ on sideband and a couple of calls on FM. Half a dozen or so stations worked on 2m.

An hour before the end of operation we switched over to the marmite mode FT8 and worked around 20 or so stations on 20m, Russia, Ukraine and Germany amongst others.

MW0LGE working 2m

Shack take down happened in short order around 18:00local, after which we retired to the bar and from the patio watched the end of the cricket match that had been ongoing during the day. Unfortunately, the home team were not victorious, better luck next time.

A very enjoyable day for this new PACOTA event, this being only the second year that it has been running and our first year of entry. Thanks to Chris Wiseman G0RDK for organising what will hopefully become a global event in years to come. Also, thanks to Chepstow and District Amateur Radio Society, to all those members from both clubs that made it out to the event, to the Chepstow Athletic Club that let us set up a station, and to those that called in over the air.

Until next year, 73   HIC !!

MW0LGE – Newport Amateur Radio Society

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