At the July meeting, G3JKY spoke about some of his experiences on radio club field days, starting with an introduction to the hobby on a Boy Scouts bike ride in 1951, outings with the Bromley club in the 1950s and many years up to the present with the Clifton Amateur Radio Society of South East London.
Equipment on show included a transmitter used on the Clifton’s first field day, in 1959, a generator used to charge batteries in the early days, a 70cm transmitter built in two weeks in 1965 and an ex-RAF receiver of the type mentioned in last month’s talk, seen in several of his photographs which showed field day station down the ages.
The installations had varied through the years. The smallest had just one tent with a home-made CW (Morse) set powered by three bell batteries. This set fed a wire aerial slung between the trees. At the other end of the scale was a four-station set-up with caravans, crank-up mobile towers for the aerials and a 7.5kVa generator.
In 1995, the club converted its generators from petrol to propane gas operation, which permitted 24 hours uninterrupted working. This did away with having to stop to “top up” by the light of a torch in the middle of the night and then having to restart the generator. Jakey confessed to a life-long distrust of the “infernal confusion” engine, probably brought about by the unreliable machines used in the 1950s.
Jakey also mentioned taking part in field days in New Zealand. A highlight was working a string of 35 JA (Japanese) stations on the key on the 50MHz band and then having to stop for dinner. Ruthless contest operators these Kiwis !
Probably the best ever performance by the Clifton was working 340 stations in the USA without a break on 28 MHz SSB without having to change frequency! It goes to show how a good location can help!