Wow! what a busy weekend that was. The 26th IMD arrived and on Friday 19TH I visited the store where the larger items of equipment are kept accompanied by Mike G1NRF and James M6ZXZ. My car was already very full with transceiver boxes, psu’s military masts and the like so the other two vehicles were essential to the exercise as we needed to collect the remaining antennas, ropes, stakes used for the event.
During the exercise I overreached and managed to put my back out and here I am on Monday 22nd still having to think before getting up from my chair and being very careful indeed! So easily done but why oh why had it to happen over the weekend of IMD?
Setting up went quite smoothly, almost like an oiled machine. The Cushcraft R5 was erected and the feeder connected to the Ft450 which for the first time this year was set up to run digital modes such as PSK, well received by visitors to our station. The 450 was turned on and away it went, one down more to go!
Our Carolina Windom a CW160S, was erected next using two 35ft masts and an aluminium extending pole as a centre support enabling the antenna to be flat topped with the feeder hanging vertically as intended and at least 15ft from any metallic object. It was connected to the FT900 for use on the higher HF bands and away it went too. Two down, hey going well here. It seemed to work fine overnight but when Bob G4EIK was incumbent using the rig he detected a feeder fault which involved some re-making on pl259 plugs and away he went again.
We decided to use a G5 as the third antenna instead of the 40m Zepp as it does give more band freedom and the G5 was installed also flat topped between two more 10m plus military masts its feeder hanging as near to vertical as possible at the centre. With the feeder passed through the window it was attached to the rear of the TS570D which during the event was used entirely for 40 & 80m contacts.
A Cushcraft Ringo Ranger 2m Colinear completer our antenna collection and served to give us local communications.
At 0000 James began operation on 40m using the Windon and the FT900 and I began on the top end of 80M with the TS570 and the G5. First contact was with GB100TMD and lasted almost 10 minutes which shoulkd have given the masses time to find us, or so I thought. Left TMD and moved 5kc up after announcing my intention and called qrz RESPONSE A LOUD HISSSSSS
Oh thought I, where is the beginning of event pile up on 80m we always seemed to get for the first hour or so?
Called CQ a few times and spoke to a few more including a station from France who tookj pains to thank me for organising the event and keepinmg it going. He sid it is the most fun you can have on the air chasing stations outside of a contest environment and that he always looked forward to the event.
Not really too sure why there is a remarkable drop in initial activity not only from award chasers but also from the participating groups. I get the impression that several IMD groups are no longer opersting for the full 24 hours but for limited times predominantly from say 0900 to 2100 UTC. A shams really.
The event certainly remains popular and the GB4IMD website revealed that there were 2412 page downloads with 1082 individual visitors and 225 returning visitors during the 24 hours of the 20th. From the 15th to the 20th there were 1642 visitors.
One of my contacts told me he really enjoyed IMD and looked forward to it each year. He went on to confess that it was not for IMD he probably would not be operating on the day and that the last entries in his logbook were made during IMD 2012. With feedback like that we will certainly continue to run the event every year. Such comments mean so much to us.
In room 2 40m had also taken a dive and initial strike rates were low but this was to change when daylight returned.
From early daylight onwards the 40m station was taken over by the TS570 and G5 station and, for the rest of the day it enjoyed a major pile up situation on 40m. During my session there the total wall of sound reminiscent of standing in a deep litter hen house led me to decide to work by numbers. OK some had to wait until their number was reached but this method allowed me to work some stations who were no more than an S4 and let to an efficient 3 hours of constant contacts. Not only soes it mean the lower powered can be heard it is also easier on the ears at the head of the pile up.
The higher bands produced a steady flow of contacts during the day as did the PSK station. We managed to contact a few of the other IMD groups and exchanged a thank you for taking part with them, very important as without them it just would not happen.
The event rounded off with the rigs back on 40 & 80m for the last couple of hours.
This is where I am sure to miss someone who attended GB4IMD either to help set it up or to operate on the day. Present were:
G4USB Norman, M0IAF Ian, G0HGD Charly, M0PCM John, M6TCV Treve, M6GSI Malcolm, M6CKA Shaun, M6WRN Martin, G4EIK Bob, 2E1ADQ Cheryl, G7VOH Steve, 2E0… Steve formerly M6SCV, G1NRF Mike, G0FIC Ken, M6JCJ Josh, M6NRF Connor, M6ZXZ James, M6…. Carol, M6PUQ Becky, G3PUQ Noel, Patrick, 2E0RBR Roy, G8…. Alan, Ted G1DTS, Russell M1AVW and anyone I missed, sorry for the memory blanks on some call signs too.
First ever HF contacts were made by Becky M6PUQ, Martin M6WRN, Shaun M6CKA. Becky is now showing Noel G3PUQ her granddad how to do it hi hi.
All that remains is for the Cornish Radio amateur Club to extend a tremendous vote of thanks to each and every operator at all the IMD group stations for your time and dedication over the weekend. Special thanks to the offshore operations at Borkum Is and Flatholm Is for their extra efforts in setting up.
Thanks too to the amateurs worldwide who still chase the award each year. Hope you enjoyed the day. Hope many of you will be claiming a certificate for working.hearing 15.
See you next year on April 26th.