FARS News

February 2016 - FARS in Northwest Evening Mail

April 2015 - FARS Members present RNLI with cheque for monies raised during SOS Week 2015

Members from Furness Amateur Radio Society presented Barrow lifeboat station with a cheque for £1020 from the monies rasied earlier in the year from the SOS radio Week

28 January 2015 - FARS in the South Lakes Citizen newspaper

24 september 2014 - birkrigg activation 

In late September Furness Amateur Radio Society held an outdoor 'On Air' evening on Birkrigg Common (IO84KD) near Ulverston, Cumbria. Members met from 6pm and brought along their own equipment including an IC706 Mk IIG and FT857 along with a 20m fishing pole vertical and 40m inverted V. For VHF various hand helds were used. 

Reasonably pleasant weather and band conditions were enjoyed, and the clubs call sign, GX4ARF(/P), was used. 20M QSO's were into Europe with Far East heard but unfortunately not worked. Whilst on 40m, 50 watts into the inverted V resulted in a good crop of inter G stations, including MX0LTC at the Sidmouth Observatory.

Submitted by Chris, M0KPW

20 AUgust 2014 - lighthouse on the air weekend

For the 3rd year running Furness Amateur Radio Society operated special events station GB4WIL from Walney Island Lighthouse (UK0160) in Cumbria for the International Lighthouse and Lightship weekend in July.  

The current stone lighthouse, which was built in 1803, stands on the site of the previous wooden version that was built in 1790 but later destroyed by fire.  Members from the club arrived on site on Friday afternoon for setting up the 40m dipole antenna and equipment to form the station from the clubs 'portable shack'.  A few members stayed on site on the Friday night and enjoyed a BBQ before retiring ahead of a busy weekend of operating.  More club members arrived on Saturday and Sunday to compliment the the operating timetable.

40 metres was in good shape for the weekend and a great number pile ups were worked.  The total number of QSO's was 340, which included of 35 other lighthouses / light vessels.

The breakdown of QSO's was : 183 England, 21 Scotland, 18 GB calls, 6 Wales, 4 Northern Ireland, 1 Isle of Man, 36 Germany, 33 Holland, 16 Eire, 8 France, 5 Belgium, 2 Switzerland, 2 Sweden, 2 Finland, 2 Denmark and 1 Spain.

A very enjoyable weekend was had by all, and members look forward the annual Railways on the Air event in September. 

View a selection of photographs from the activation

Submitted by Chris, M0KPW

30 MAY 2014 - activation of Peil Castle for CASHOTA

Members of FARS activated Peil Castle on Piel Island, Barrow In Furness, for the Castles and Stately Homes on the Air weekend of 17th and 18th May 2014  using the callsign GB2PC

Furness ARS has for many years participated in various regular events, Mills on the Air, Railways on the Air and of course the Lifeboat one. A few of us enjoying the Curry Night at Weatherspoons discussed and resolved to attempt,  to activate Piel Castle for the CASHOTA weekend. There were patently many important challenges to consider  ,  principally accommodation for a station and for operators, with tents being the obvious solution. However my son Michael advised me that one of his friends actually owned one of the Pilots’ cottages in a terrace actually on the island and thought that  we  would no doubt be welcome to use it.

The owner, Steve, later took  us  over  , across the sands at low water, and showed us the house, it had everything we needed, potable  water via a standpipe, fully equipped kitchen, bottled gas for cooking , beds complete with mattresses,  together with a flush toilet in an outhouse, and a gas fired  domestic water heater. There was even a 5 KVA or so  diesel generator – a fearsome beast indeed. All that remained to organise was the carriage of the station and personnel   to and from the island  on  the Roa Island ferry which was speedily accomplished in phone call to the operator.

The station would be comprised of M0MYK’s FT5000 and the Hex-beam, and I would supply a 40 metre coax fed dipole and FtT7900 for 2 metres, together with the Club’s 2 metre co-linear.  We resolved not to use the diesel   generator  and  take my 1 KVA portable one which  I considered  quite capable of running the 200 watt TX, on SSB at least.

Forces involved would initially  be G3IZD, M0MYK  and M6CVD, and we duly met at Roa with all the assembled kit, at midday on the Friday afternoon, and man-hauled it all down to the pier, loaded it all on the boat and unloaded it at the Piel pier and then on to the house , some 200 yards.   Mark M6ZVD joined us later that afternoon at the end of his shift at the salt-mine. This took several journeys but thankfully   we had borrowed a small hand-cart from Mile ALE which certainly made the task easier, the FT5000 in particular is a large and heavy brute, and we also had a considerable quantity of  coax  and a large reel of heavy  multi core cable for the rotator. It seemed that planning and preparation paid off exceptionally well with the only missing item  a 3mm to ¼ in adaptor for the footswitch which Mark produced later.

First job of course was the erection of the two antennas, with Mark and I putting up the 11m  mast  for the dipole and Mike and Clive the mast and rotator for the beam, which was then carefully assembled.  Clive did a great job splitting the very large flat multi-core down the middle joining the two and connecting the rotator to its controller , whilst Mark was beefing up the kitchen table  in order that it would take the weight of the radios, laptop, rotator controller etc. In good time all this was completed and the station was ready for testing, with the generator started, everything powered up nicely and the rotator worked correctly, however the band sounded very quiet indeed, suggesting possible faults in the coax cables. Then big signals were noted on the panoramic display and it was realised that, with no mains electricity, there was no electrical noise and the noise floor  was  indeed  “ on the floor “, a novel experience indeed. In fact there  was  essentially unity SWR on all bands from forty to six metres and no ATUs employed.  Conditions on the higher bands were certainly not very good but we had token QSOs on them all, duly switched off and went to the pub for evening meal such as to get back in time for the FARS HF sked, switched to forty as we had no antenna for 80. We had arranged to have  all  meals except breakfast to be taken at the pub, in fact Mark had previously worked with the Piel  reigning “ King and Queen” . The meals were always  excellent , as was the beer ( from Ulverston )  !

View a selection of photographs from the activation

Operating with the GB2PI call started the next morning at 0520  on 40 with 160 Qs in the log by 1020, so around one QSO every two minutes. The HF bands remained poor during our trip  , with only one decent run, on 17 metres for 73 QSO over an hour or so.  Whilst Mike, Mark and I were gathering Qs in the pile-ups Clive was dismantling a scaffold tower in the back yard which had blown  over ,  but he did enjoying   working DX when we reverted to chasing  it,  using our own calls, at night  on return from the pub .

Final  results were as follows 

BAND        10       12        15        17       20        40          Total

                 QSOs          2        9           12        79       3         317           424  

                 DXCC          2        8             9         28       3          17              68

Interesting DXCCs included 9H5 ,A41 ,GM/MM(  Antarctic survey ship) , PR,  W/K ( All call areas),  VE, ER, OX, ZB2, EA8, J79 (Dominica), P4, LU, 8P ( Barbados),  CO, FG, YV, JA, VK, 4L, WL7 (AL), SV8, 5B4, JA.    Our last GB2PC was with YV5EPM, Venezuela, at 2137 on 20m at which time we started dismantling the station , boxing up but leaving the antennas until the next, Monday, morning.  During the weekend a couple of permanent residents on Piel  had  offered , no insisted, on carrying all our gear back to Walney via the sands instead of using the ferry. As I had actually fixed the ferry and confirmed the time, we managed to convince them that we at least needed to put the masts on the boat. So, by 1100 the two vehicles were loaded and set off across the sands,  accompanied  by Mike, whilst Clive and I, with our vehicles at Roa Island anyway  , caught the ferry.   

Soon we all met up at Walney and put the correct gear in the correct vehicles  and set off to our respective  home  QTHs.  In summary, following much discussion and meticulous  planning !   plus considerable hard work, we had a most successful and rewarding weekend with excellent weather and the friendly help and support from  the  island’s  ( indigenous ? – maybe not )  population.

Submitted by Ivan, G3IZD

9 May 2014 - FARS Press Release

Furness Amateur Radio Society took part in fund raising during January as part of SoS week in support of Barrow RNLI.  After finally collecting all the sponsorship monies, were recently able to hand over a cheque for £1000 to Shaun Charnley, the Coxswain of Barrow lifeboat.  (The photo shows two Furness ARS members, Dick Smith M0RBE & David Latimer G3VUS handing over the cheque with the rest of the lifeboat crew in the background.)  

Furness ARS have done this previously and in the last three years have raised £2,500 in total for the Barrow crew.

Since Furness ARS celebrated 100 years of amateur radio in Furness in 2013, we feel strong links to our local area and this is one way of demonstrating that.  We also have helped local Scout groups with Jamboree on the Air stations and are taking part in the activities at Gleaston Water Mill as part of Mills weekend. 

G3VUS and M0RBE present Barrow Lifeboat crew with £1000

Submitted by David Latimer, Chairman of Furness ARS

AMATEUR RADIONEWS FEED