Village at War Weekend, Gressenhall. Sunday 30th & Monday 31st August 2015

It’s true to say that when it comes to Bank Holidays and weather, the Bittern DX Group are generally optimistic folk, however this last August holiday weekend did not turn out as well as we hoped when we set up camp at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum to activate GB5GFW for their Village at War weekend.

When I say, did not turn out as well as we hoped, I mean it poured with rain all weekend! But there was a good turnout of rather damp club members, who were kept busy chatting to members of the public and the weekend’s re-enactors about the many aspects of amateur radio.

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We took a slightly different approach to this event and beside our usual HF event station, we included some working demonstrations of different technologies with connections to the hobby.

For the first one we recycled an old MP3 player, loaded it with wartime music and used that to drive a modulated LED transmitter and receiver which in its turn drove the loudspeaker of a mid-1950’s radio. Young people in particular were fascinated by this and took great delight in seeing how blocking the light with their hand stopped the music playing!

It is little things like this, that may seem trivial, to us that spark an interest that leads to a lifetime’s interest in amateur radio.

Secondly – and perhaps fortuitously in light of the dreadful weather, we had a live demonstration of the reception and decoding of NOAA Weather Satellites. This seemed to attract a lot of interest from adults, who, after looking at the received pictures, immediately understood why it was they were paddling inside the awning of our caravan!! Strangely the presence of a double crossed antenna on our mast to facilitate the reception of the satellites drew many curious people into our displays.

We also ran a Raspberry PI data station and also used another Pi to run a compilation of films from YouTube relevant to the weekend, together with some great photos of radios and their operators in wartime and the 50’s on display along with several items of vintage equipment. It was a good job there were quite a few visitors to our displays because the bands were flatter than a flat thing that was feeling particularly flat, and we were disappointed with the number of QSOs made! Even so, it was a fun, interesting and damp weekend and we look forward to doing it all again next year – although perhaps, if we can, without the water!

Setup Crew and Operators for the weekend: Alec G3YOA, Linda G0AJJ, Richard G6VOV, Balders M0HET, Adam 2E0OWX, Thomas 2E0TKZ, Parsley 2E0MPM and Donna M6HDM, Julian M0NUX

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