SOS Radio Week - 21st January 2012.
The RNLI holds a fund-raising day - “SOS Day” – each January, and amateur radio has joined in with this with ‘SOS Radio Week’. This year there were over 30 stations taking part, most of which were raising money by sponsorship, thus helping the RNLI keep their lifeboats operational.
Some radio stations are put on at lifeboat stations but as there aren’t too many inland, and certainly not one in Derby, I decided get G1VAB/P on the air and have a go at working some of them from the clubroom car park. Getting out of the habit of using GB1OOD was fun, and more than once I could hear myself saying “....from GB1 Oscar - - umm – G1VAB/P”!
My station consisted of a wire dipole cut for 40m and fed with speaker wire going through a 1:1 balun into the FT857, with 12v courtesy of a Leisure battery. Nothing fancy, but I got some good reports.
Given that I was only really interested in contacting the SOS Radio Week stations, I managed to work ten of them on 21st January. Not bad. Back at home I noted that there was an award available (Free of charge too!) and 10 registered stations meant that I’d got the Gold award in the bag. It was the following Saturday, 28th, that would be fun as I needed only a minimum of five more to get the Platinum award so with a further 20 or so registered stations out there it looked easy. Yeah, right.
Saturday 28th arrived and by 10:30 operations commenced from the car park once more with the same set-up. I eventually got two new stations in the log thus still needing three more. I settled for a coffee from the kitchen and then found another new one to go into the log. What? I get a 5 and 1 report? 5 and 1? Oh well, it was better than the guy before me – he had the dubious honour of getting a 4 and Zero! How in the name of Yaesu can you give a report like that unless the dial is being read and not using the ears? On well, 5 and 1 it was so that’s what goes into the log. Strange, ‘cos I gave a 5 and 8. That was number 13. Nearly there. The fourteenth one was logged 15 minutes later. Was I ever going to find the 15th? Would there be the sixteenth as by now the band was changing considerably with the fading inter-G and the contest going on in the rest of Europe was quickly filling the band.
Suddenly I heard my fifteenth! But that callsign was used the previous weekend. Drat. A-ha! But from a different location this weekend, and the callsign appeared twice on the list of registered stations. A quick strike and yes, got that in the log too. Within 15 minutes all inter-G had disappeared so I packed everything away and went home.
Did I enjoy it? Yes! Should I try and go for a 24-hour working for this event next year and see if I can raise a bit of money for the RNLI? Seems a good idea. But will I feel the same when it comes round to doing it! Maybe some of you want to put a station on with me?