Thursday, July 19, 2012

AREN training exercise in Drogheda

I participated in an AREN training exercise with other local hams in Drogheda today. AREN stands for Amateur Radio Emergency Network, which is a public service voluntary radio emergency network run by the Irish Radio Transmitters Society (IRTS) in conjunction with ComReg.

Taking shelter from a heavy rain shower. Pictured are: Thos EI2JD, Derek EI7CHB,
Tony EI4DIB, Ben EI4IN, Sean EI4IP, Pat EI2HX and Seamus EI3KE.
The training consisted of using radio communications plus a GPS device to track down various 'clues' which had been hidden in various areas of a park known as 'The Glen' at Newfoundwell in Drogheda. It was interesting, fun and educational.

The 'team', for which I did the radio comms, managed to find all five items using the GPS. When we found each item, there was a code written on the front which we had to relay to control. Control was manned by Thos EI2JD and Tony EI4DIB, who is the AREN Co-ordinator for the North East. After successful transmission of the code, we were then sent a question from control, relating to information on the back of each clue. On receipt of the question, we had to find the answer and relay it back to control before being given the coordinates for the next clue.

Pat EI2HX leads the team towards
the correct coordinates.
All going well, there will be weekly exercises in various parts of Drogheda and beyond. This training followed a very recent successful outing to Clogherhead, where local AREN volunteers provided emergency and backup communications for a 10 kilometre road race.

If you are interested in becoming an AREN volunteer, you can contact Tony Allen EI4DIB through his blog.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lightning bolt strikes not far from my QTH

There was a thunderstorm near my QTH yesterday evening (Wednesday, July 11th). It raged for about half an hour. I left the camcorder at the back window looking out at my antennas, and managed to catch this fork lightning which must have struck less than a kilometre from my QTH. As you can see (or hear) in the video, the thunder comes about 2-3 seconds after the fork, so it was no more than a kilometre away. The antennas visible are the MA5B minibeam and in the background my Butternut vertical.

PS: I have been made redundant from my job. I finished on Monday. I am now trying to work full-time on completing my new book, 'Newgrange - Monument to Immortality'. As a result, I don't imagine I will have much time for radio or blogging but will do my best . . .

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Some nice QSLs in via the bureau

I received my biggest delivery of QSL cards to date from the IRTS bureau yesterday, and included in the bundle of 221 cards were some very nice ones. Perhaps the most exciting one was from ET3AA, Ethiopia, for QSOs on 10 metres SSB and 40m CW.

But there were cards also from UN7IZ in Kazakhstan (10m CW), OJ0B in Market Reef for six QSOs including top band and 80m, ED9M in Ceuta (40m CW), YB0MWM in Indonesia for 12m SSB, and MU0FAL in Guernsey for 80m and 12m CW.

Now all I have to do is process all the cards and write the returns !