Archive - August 2009

Radio Projects


The pages in this section deal with anything radio related. Such items covered are the building on various antennas such as the Cushcraft MA5B mini-beam and the Comet H-422 rotary dipole.

Also mentioned are several of the antennas by SteppIR.
I have been involved in the builds of the vertical antenna the SteppIR BigIR, the 2 element SteppIR, the 4 element SteppIR and also the 4 element SteppIR with the 30 & 40M add on kit so I have a basic understanding how they work. K800_DSC00599

Several photographs will also be shown but many more will be found in the Gallery under the various categories listed.

Additionally there is a section that gives operating advice (from a Belgian operator), K800_SNV30261advice and help that you may or may not find helpful.

I have also included the erection of a ‘Tennemast’ 15m free standing antenna mast that is currently in use here at my QTH. It shows photo’s from the preparation of the base right through to the adding of the cage and subsequent antenna(s). The mast is ideal for anyone who can only manage a small mast due to planning, size of property or other local restrictions. I guess it all depends on your level within the hobby but nevertheless it’s sufficient for my needs!

The final item of the moment is the modification i have done to the Acom 1000 Amplifier. The modification only consists of adding a second fan to the unit and again, you may or may not find it useful.

Enjoy the information and if you have any comments both constructive or not, by all means drop me an Email or add an entry to my Guestbook.


Thanks & 73 de Charles….

GFF-216 Bolton Ings, Dearne Valley







Another recently aquired area by the RSPB, this site represents an exciting opportunity to experience 43 hectares of solely reedbed habitiat. On my visit it was a pivotal point in the development of the site and also a major regeneration of the area as a whole. DragonflyAgain, as several other sites, Bolton Ings is recently aquired and is a beatiful spot tucked away down in the Dearne Valley of South Yorkshire, Northern England.

Spoonbills, Avocets have already been sighted in the area with along with numerous other reports of new and indeed rare wildlife. It is a site easily accesible from the Dearne Way and the Trans Pennine Trail. As in other areas the bittern has also been sited and it is hoped that in the near future that they may find the area appealing to them for breeding. Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong Bolton_Ingsas they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds – some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

Some of the more common birds in the area are the Reed Bunting and Cuckoo. Another warbler that returns from Africa in Kingfisherspring, the sedge warbler is easy to see because it ‘pirouettes’ up into the air from the tops of the bushes, singing its scratchy song as it goes. In spring, watch the display flights of redshanks over the wetlands. Also look out for the adults walking through the water, showing off their long, red legs. The warm days of summer bring dragonflies out and about, with banded demoiselles a particular highlight. These iridescent green and black damselflies flutter over the surface of the water. The reedbed warblers will be feeding chicks and kingfishers whizz to and fro carrying fish for their young. Broods of ducklings can be seen feeding with their mothers.

Huge numbers of lapwings gather in the Dearne Valley in winter. If a bird of prey, such as a peregrine, is in the area, they take to the air in a vast wheeling mass. In spring, nesting lapwings here chase predators away. The protective parents regularly give chase to crows and do not PinkFlowerstop their ‘mobbing’ attacks until the danger has passed.

Thats it for now, hope you enjoyed your visit to GFF-216 Old Moor in the Dearne Valley of South Yorkshire, Northern England?

Please join me again soon,


73 de Charles…









GFF-193 Old Moor, Dearne Valley






Situated in the heart of the Dearne Valley, South Yorkshire lies Old Moor. It is a relativly new Old_MoorNature Reserve for the RSPB and another great place to come and see the Wildlife whilst combining it together with the hobby of Amater Radio. The skies, fields and open water areas are teeming with birds throughout the Year.

Over 250 Acres of Wetland to walk around plus the addition of 7 hides positioned throughout the several trails available to walk. Exciting birds and other wildlife can also be viewed across the lakes from the veranda outside the cafe and there is a Visitors Centre with minute by minute information of sightings plus live video from around the Reserve itself. With a full SNV33182programme of events, there is something for everyone to enjoy including children on school trips and groups or individuals wanting a more one on one guided tour.

At the time of my last visit the grasslands were ablaze with butterflies and orchids GFF193OxoSignas well as the new additions to the families of the wildfoul and other Birds. dragonflies were also in abundance even if they were difficult to catch on camera! Old Moor is very important in the Winter time as it is a regular stop to over 8000 Golden Plovers. Current sightings of a Bittern on the reserve was great news too!

The Tree Sparrow was once a common farmland bird but in recent times they have been on the GFF193OXIOCardecline to an amazing 93% between the 70’s and present times and at that time there were only 4 pairs breeding on the site. Today however there are approx. 50 breeding pairs and individually over 400, another good result for Old Moor.

RSPB at the Old moor site have also created a Wildlife Garden. It is designed to demonstarte that gardening can increase UK biodiversity and improve the quality of life. the garden has been built with young people – participating as part of the Groundwork Dearne Valley scheme – and adults with learning disabilities from the local area.

This group of individuals have been grassvolunteering on the site for some time and this has enabled the RSPB at Old Mill to begin a fruitful partnership with Mencap nearby in the city of Leeds. They have also included an ”insect hotel”, made out of salvaged bricks, pallets, and old roof tiles amongst other things!

Thats it for now. I hope you enjoyed your trip into Old Moor, Dearne Valley Nature reserve in Yorkshire, Northern England, please call again soon!

73 de Charles







Sunspots (or lack of!) …& DX



I persevered in the same direction and then heard the first JA, always a good signal JA2ATE, Iku in Ichinomya City, Japan. Sunspots_againThroughout the next 90 minutes I managed to work 16 JA (Japan), 3 DU (Philippines), Luis in HI9 and several others stations in Asiatic Russia. (See log extract below).

So, the DX is there. It may not be apparent from other sources but the only true way you will know is to get on the bands and call ‘CQ’.

Even now, I am a big believer in calling ‘CQ’…. on 10M, or maybe 12 & 15 too? Despite everyone telling you conditions are dire, you may have a big surprise if you just key up and have a call. Try different Bands at different times of the day when you are qrv, make the most of the access you have.

Photos Top – Twisted magnetic fields arching from the solar surface can trap ionized gas, suspending it in huge looping structures. These majestic plasma arches are seen as prominences above the solar limb. This Photo shows hot plasma escaping into space as a fiery prominence breaks free from magnetic confinement a hundred thousand kilometers above the Sun. These awesome events bear watching as they can affect communications and power systems over 100 million kilometers away on Planet Earth hence our Radio Black-outs! Photo directly above – This Sunspot is in the midst of erupting a large Class C solar flare. It can be seen as the dark region to the upper right. In the above image, relatively cool regions appear dark while hot regions appear bright. On the far left, solar prominences are visible hovering above the Sun’s surface.

73 de Charles

GFF I, II & III Awards






There are 3 Classes of Award :


Class III (Bronze Award) – 10 WFF Ref. Numbers or SWL reports (see below)

Class II (Silver Award) –  20 WFF Ref. Numbers or SWL reports (See below)

Class I (Gold Award) –   30 WFF Ref. Numbers or SWL reports (See below)

Each level of Award will receive the standard GFF Certificate which will

be endorsed with an embossed image of the GFF Logo in either Bronze,

Silver or Gold, depending which level is being claimed.


(activations can also been included in required totals)


Class III (Bronze Award)


You must work/hear 10 WFF Reference numbers, conditions below apply:-


1) Work 1 ‘GFF’ reference number. ( **and contact must be at a WFF location.

‘GFF Stations’ include G, M, GM, MM, GW, MW etc. or any of their Territories),




2) 9 other ‘WFF’ Reference Numbers anywhere in the World.

(activations can also been included in work/hear totals)



Class II  (Silver Award)


You must work/hear 20 WFF Reference Numbers

conditions below apply:-


1) Work 3 ‘GFF’ Ref. Numbers ( **and contact must be at a WFF location.

‘GFF Stations’ include G, M, GM, MM, GW, MW etc. or any of their Territories),




2) 17 other ‘WFF’ Reference Numbers anywhere in the World.

(activations can also been included in work/hear totals)


Class I  (Gold Award)


You must work/hear 30 WFF Ref. Numbers, conditions below apply:-


1) Work 5 ‘GFF’ Ref. Numbers ( **and contact must be at a WFF location.

‘GFF Stations’ include G, M, GM, MM, GW, MW etc. or any of their Territories),




2) 25 other ‘WFF’ Reference Numbers anywhere in the World.

(activations can also been included in work/hear totals)




The Claimant does not have to produce Qsl Cards to claim the Award but all the contacts must be shown in the log

search at .

(If you are not in the LogSearch and think you should be, please contact me by email).


The Award fee which includes hard backed envelope and postage is:


€7.00 EURO


** If you wish to use IRC‘s instead of the above, then the IRC’s

must be the ‘new’ IRC’s with Expiry 2013 (sample below).


IRC’s with ‘Expiry 2009′ will no longer be accepted.

Please send EW4DX GCR List and above fee to Award Manager:-


Charles R. Wilmott

60 Church Hill,



South Yorkshire









Check out the other Awards available from the GFF Team : Click Name to learn more

GFF GreenDay (GDWW) Award – 2009

GFF GreenDay (GDWW) Award – 2010

GFF Explorer Of Nature (ENA) Award

GFF Honour Roll (HRA) Award



( First Winner of GFF Class I Gold, Class II Silver & Class III Bronze Awards)










73 & 44 de Charles


GWFF-072 Ramsey Island (Ynys Dewi), Wales


Ramsey Island

The Strumble Head team met at the Club House on Tuesday giving us time to test, prepare and pack the items needed for this year. As before, we always try to be more efficient and to take only the essential items to the island but also with consideration that we may have to stay longer than anticipated should the weather turn poor.
Sea and weather conditions were forecast to be very poor for the crossing on the Thursday morning but what a surprise to awake at 04:45 to see a beautiful morning on the Pembrokeshire Coast. The vehicles were loaded and we arrived at the Lifeboat Slipway around 07:30 where shortly afterwards the ‘Thousand Island Boat Charters’ arrived and we were on the Island by 08:00, amazing. (Click here for You Tube video of the boat crossing).

After heaving all the gear to the top of the ‘harbour’ we then had the massive climb to the top of the Island where we bunk in a Barn (complete with broody Chickens!). Carrying 2 x Acom 1000 Amplifiers, 2 x FT1000MPs and worst of all the Kenwood TL922 to the accommodation is always a huge challenge. Fortunately the RSPB Warden and his wife (Greg & Lisa) are very accommodating and helped us up the hill with the Quad and trailer for which we are always very grateful.

We got off to a good start and as always, no one sets their stations up until all antennas are fully up and we work together to achieve this. K1024_DSC_1625The 2 x G3TXQ Hexbeams (built by Ant MW0JZE) were the first up and then we worked on the Windom for 40 and 80M. Everything ran as a well oiled machine and shortly after lunch, all three antennas were up and we moved inside to set up the stations.

Around 15:30 local we had all three stations on air and were qrv from ‘IOTA EU-124 Ramsey Island’. Chris G1VDP started the Digi station on the Windom working 30M, Ant MW0JZE started up on 20 SSB and Tim M0URX worked 15m SSB. Pile ups were pretty fast, the World Flora Fauna reference helping to boost them as well 😉 .
Almost immediately the station used by Chris suffered a major problem when lights on the FT1000MP flashed and the dedicated PSU and TL922 also shutting down. K1024_SNV34697Then worse to come was that dreaded smell – something was on fire. A subsequent check showed a hole on a transistor within the PSU and sadly totally  n-repairable for here at least. We were now down to two stations.

We worked very well and most stations had solid pile ups until late in the evening. Conditions weren’t brilliant and most of the traffic was from EU with Yuri A65CA from Asia and a few stations from North America. Tim had a good run into SA and also the Caribbean but again, conditions definitely down. We had over  1000 in the log and with the two stations we were happy at that.

The next morning we all woke early after a terrible storm kept most of us awake during the night and we got started. We worked early on 40M SSB and then 20M SSB using both Acoms and running 300/400 watts. Rob MW0RLJ and Charles M0OXO decided to take a boat to the mainland to take the faulty equipment back and to collect a spare rig to replace it. The guys continued to work well and on their return the qso count was 2500.

K1024_SNV34730It became very obvious that conditions were giving us some Sporadic E propagation so they started pushing the higher bands (17, 12, 10 & 6) to give the Island IOTA to as many that required it. We had an amazing time, many stations commenting on how pleased they were to get EU-124 onto the new bands and in particular many ‘G’s that needed it as a new DXCC Band slot. Ant had been slogging away on 6M for a long time with a huge pile up and handed the Mic to Charles to continue. 6M continued to be very good and in total we finished with well over 396 qso’s & 29 Countries on one run on 6m, the better one maybe CN in Morrocco? Before we left we set ourselves  a target of 4000q’s for the whole trip and by midnight we closed on 4035 q’s, amazing and very pleased but that was to be short lived.

Charles got up the following morning (Day3) to find a problem. We had Voltage issues and it seemed the current was poor and not enough Ampage to run even the radio. We traced the problem to not  just one but both our generators had gone down, who would believe that? K1024_SNV34712The black cloud descended over us and we spiralled into depression. We worked several theories for several hours and eventually decided to run the spare ‘Robin’ generator only and to run 100w only. We never gave up the fight and tried many theories were explored over a pot of Porridge (thanks Jane!) and we came up with a plan! Greg (RSPB Warden) kindly offered to allow us yet another Generator which could give us 6Kva so the mood lightened and again, we weighed up our options over a chat until 0930………

Time moved on and by 1130 we were on air again. Conditions were ok and by 1.00pm we were running well as we approached 1300 and the beginning of the World Flora Fauna’ GreenDay’ event, We used all bands from 40m thro 10m and as we were using 12 & 17m, we were not in a ‘contest’ but just an ‘event’! All continued OK with runs predominantly into EU but with the odd DX station thrown in the mix. When 1500 came the bands just died with barely a trace of anyone on 20 thro 10m. In a few hours this eased and we pushed on on 20m, 17 and 40M. 40M was running very well with Chris on the Mic running 100w from the FT890 but only 20 and 17 really had any decent propagation to EU. As the evening moved along we had another good run with many JA stations on 20M and a few down into OC with VK. We closed at 0030, filled the generator and after a few hours stargazing we slept………but not well!

K1024_SNV34817We were kept awake most of the night with the predicted ‘bad weather’. Sadly it was worse than expected. Torrential rain was hammering at the windows of the barn and roof and the wind was tremendous. First light at 0400 saw 2 x Hexbeams both leaning to the side and getting buffeted by the very strong wind. There was little we could do, they were unusable in that state so after a chat (again over a bowl of porridge) we decided they needed to be taken down to prevent damage. We all donned out wet weather gear and got stuck in. Taking them down took 15 minutes for each Hexbeam with us all working on the same antenna at the same time before moving on to the other. It initially appeared that the fault was either the rotators not being up to the strain of the wind or the strain on the stub mast and clamps were too weak. Another thought for another day but they were all down and we left the Windom in place. K1024_SNV34823We spent the remainder of the morning inside the barn, we dismantled all the equipment and packed it away just leaving the Elekraft K3 and the Windom to use later in the afternoon with a view to making the few required qso’s which would give us 6000 contacts.

The afternoon was poor but we worked through trying our best but pretty soon we ran out of time. We had the now (now traditional) ‘Party’ looming with invited guests joining us for supper and a few drinks. By the time 7pm came we had 11 people for supper including Greg & Lisa, Nia,Mike & Nicola. We must not forget the now famous Border Collie ‘Dewi’, now a celebrity after his debut on the BBC’s ‘Countryfile’! After a lovely meal provided by Jane, we all had a few drinks (some more than others!) and spirits 😉 were high. Some of us were in a bit of a tacking by 0030, and with an empty bottle of Famous Grouse, one of Romiel and several bottles of red wine, we turned in for the night. At that point it seemed extremely unlikely that we would wake in 6 hours feeling well but Charles did and fired up the generator for a quick blast. Another 60 stations were logged on 40m which brought us to a final total of 6024 q’s and the end of the 2011 trip. K1024_DSC_1846We got the gear down to the slip and from that point it took us 50 minutes to load the boat, do the crossing, unload at the Lifeboat Slip, carry the gear up to St. Justinians and to load the Van for the trip back to the farm.

CLICK HERE to take a You Tube tour around Ramsey Island

(Stats of this years trip can be found if you scroll down below this entry)

It just leaves me with a few thoughts and thanks for the help we received this Year. Greg & Lisa Morgan (RSPB Wardens) were once again invaluable in help, planning, advice and in allowing us on the Island, two people who’s performance, committment and drive is outstanding and a major asset to the RSPB. ‘Thousand Island Expeditions’ once more gave their personal service to us and were extremely kind, a service recommended by us. Mike Chant and his crew aboard the ‘Gower Ranger’ also pulled out the stops with their prompt and personal service. Good luck to Nia Stephens (Assistant RSPB Warden) in her future career and not forgetting Mike and Nicola who give their time as RSPB volunteers. Finally a big thanks to all of you that worked us whilst on Ramsey Island. We were very pleased to give so many of you the new Band Slots, IOTA and WFF areas. I guess almost all stations on 6 meters would have been very pleased to get IO71hu in their logs so a good job all round. Some stations worked us on 7 band slots and many more with 6 contacts which was remarkable. Of course we wouldn’t be without the odd negative comments either. Some made good points and others were well, just pathetic but all in all, a great trip to Ramsey in 2011.

Thanks to everyone from the Strumblehead DX Group; Rob MW0RLJ, Charles M0OXO, Tim M0URX, Chris G1VDP, Ant MW0JZE and of course Jane (our Support Staff 😉 ) who kept us fed with over 120 meals, doing this with 2 small gas rings on a Baby Belling stove and little facilities was a great & welcomed achievement!

Photos of the 2011 trip to be added to Gallery in next few days

**One thing we did learn was that ”two Acoms are better than one”….(well to fry breakfast on at least!!!)


73 de Charles.

STATS for this event………………..

QSO’s per Band

6m – 396

10m – 534

12m – 322

15m – 540

17m -1058

20m – 2441

30m – 1

40m – 749

TOTAL 6040 Qso’s

DXCC’s per Band

6m – 29

10m – 38

12m – 39

15m – 46

17m – 64

20m – 87

30m – 1

40m – 48


MC0SHL Run ‘Rates’

2011-06-09 1419 – 1438Z,   14260 kHz, 49 Qs, 155.4/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-09 1507 – 1511Z,   14260 kHz, 11 Qs, 163.6/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-09 1550 – 1553Z,   14260 kHz, 11 Qs, 173.7/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-09 1843 – 1901Z,   14260 kHz, 31 Qs, 101.2/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-09 2146 – 2159Z,   14260 kHz, 14 Qs, 60.4/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-09 2218 – 0516Z,   14260 kHz, 99 Qs, 14.2/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 0527 – 0602Z,   14260 kHz, 33 Qs, 56.8/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 0621 – 0627Z,   14260 kHz, 11 Qs, 109.4/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 0631 – 0756Z,   14260 kHz, 160 Qs, 114.0/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 0815 – 0819Z,   18144 kHz, 13 Qs, 167.7/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 0949 – 0953Z,   18144 kHz, 14 Qs, 201.6/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1013 – 1042Z,   24944 kHz, 59 Qs, 122.3/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1108 – 1111Z,   28520 kHz, 13 Qs, 201.7/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1123 – 1128Z,   28520 kHz, 16 Qs, 177.8/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1305 – 1317Z,   50132 kHz, 24 Qs, 121.5/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1328 – 1335Z,   21244 kHz, 17 Qs, 147.8/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1338 – 1344Z,   18155 kHz, 13 Qs, 146.7/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1435 – 1501Z,   14260 kHz, 51 Qs, 121.1/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1518 – 1547Z,   14260 kHz, 67 Qs, 137.7/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1642 – 1652Z,   21270 kHz, 22 Qs, 128.2/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1719 – 1723Z,   24944 kHz, 11 Qs, 176.0/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1741 – 1750Z,   24950 kHz, 12 Qs, 87.6/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1756 – 1801Z,   50131 kHz, 15 Qs, 173.6/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 1859 – 1904Z,   50131 kHz, 14 Qs, 175.0/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 2040 – 2045Z,   14260 kHz, 11 Qs, 127.3/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 2143 – 2150Z,    7144 kHz, 13 Qs, 113.3/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-10 2222 – 2303Z,   14247 kHz, 40 Qs, 58.0/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-11 1017 – 1030Z,   28448 kHz, 27 Qs, 117.0/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-11 1131 – 1135Z,   18148 kHz, 11 Qs, 160.3/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-11 1415 – 1437Z,    7176 kHz, 16 Qs, 44.0/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-11 1711 – 1717Z,   14287 kHz, 16 Qs, 153.6/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-11 1718 – 1723Z,   14287 kHz, 11 Qs, 138.0/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-11 1814 – 1822Z,   14287 kHz, 11 Qs, 86.3/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-11 2033 – 2046Z,   18151 kHz, 11 Qs, 52.0/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-11 2101 – 2136Z,    7178 kHz, 47 Qs, 80.2/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-12 1438 – 1447Z,   14248 kHz, 17 Qs, 123.1/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-12 1503 – 1551Z,    7185 kHz, 50 Qs, 63.0/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-12 1606 – 1651Z,    7148 kHz, 49 Qs, 66.0/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-12 1709 – 1732Z,    7144 kHz, 23 Qs, 60.6/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-12 1753 – 1812Z,   14240 kHz, 34 Qs, 104.8/hr MC0SHL

2011-06-13 0552Z – 06:20,    7175 kHz, 33 Qs, 71.0/hr

GFF-171 The Farne Islands



Inner Farne

The Farne Islands (also referred to less formally as ‘the Farnes’ are a group of islands off the coast of the Northumberland National Park in Northern England. There are between 15 to 20 or more islands depending on the state of the tide. They are scattered about 2.5–7.5 km (1 1/2–4 3/4 miles) distant from the mainland, divided into two groups, the Inner Group and the Outer Group.

The main islands in the Inner Group are Inner Farne (see photo right), Knoxes Reef and the East and West Wideopens (all joined together on very low tides) and (somewhat separated) the Megstone; the main islands in the Outer Group are Staple Island, the Brownsman, North and South Wamses, Big Harcar and the Longstone. The two groups are separated by Staple Sound. The highest point, on Inner Farne, is 19 metres (62 feet) above mean sea level.

The first visitor recorded by name was Saint Aidan followed by Saint Cuthbert. The latter was called to the bishopric of Lindisfarne but after two years he returned to the solitude of the Inner Farne and died there in 687, when Saint K800_Farne_islands_MapAethelwold took up residence instead. Among other acts, K800_PuffinsSaint Cuthbert introduced special laws in 676 protecting the Eider ducks, and other seabirds nesting on the islands; these are thought to be the earliest bird protection laws anywhere in the world.

In the warmer months the Farnes, an important wildlife habitat, are much visited by boat trips from Seahouses. Local boats are licensed to land passengers on Inner Farne, Staple Island and the Longstone; landing on other islands is prohibited to protect the wildlife. At the right time of year many Puffins can be seen and these are very popular with visitors; on the Inner Farne, the Arctic Terns nest close to the path and will attack visitors who come too close (visitors are strongly advised to wear hats). Some of the islands also support a population of Rabbits, which were introduced as a source of meat and have since gone wild. K800_Ian_M0BFOThe Rabbit and Puffin populations use the same burrows at different times, the Puffins being strong enough (with a vicious bite) K800_Guillimotsto evict the Rabbits from the burrows during the nesting season. The islands also hold a notable colony of about 6,000 Grey Seals, with several hundred pups born every year in September-November. A total of 290 bird species have been recorded on the Farnes, including in about 1760, an example of the now extinct Great Auk. (Photo above – Ian M0BFO working 20M SSB station on Inner Farne).

The Farnes are resistant igneous Dolerite outcrops. These would originally have been connected to the mainland and surrounded by areas of less resistant limestone. Through a combination of erosion of the weaker surrounding rock, and sea level rise following the last iceK800_1_proud_as_a_puffin_470x470 age, the Farnes were left as islands. Because of the way the rock is fissured, Dolerite forms strong columns. This gives the islands their steep, in places vertical cliffs, and the sea around the islands is scattered with stacks up to 20 metres (66 feet) in height. Many of the small islands are bare rock, but the larger islands have a layer of clay subsoil and peat soil supporting vegetation.

Today the Farnes are one of the most important nature reserves in the British Isles. We work to monitor and safeguard the wildlife, while enabling visitors to enjoy a fascinating natural and historic experience.

This page contains brief details and photo’s of the trip to The Farnes and is from the prospective of the World Flora Fauna programme. For a more detailed account of the trip then return to the sidebar Menu, select ‘My Dxpeditions’ and then ‘Farne Islands. Alternativly check out the ‘Gallery’ and you will also find photos on there in the near future – Thanks

Thats it for now. I hope you enjoyed your trip onto The Farne Islands in the Northumberland National Park, please call again soon.

73 de Charles




GFF-020 Yorkshire Dales National Park




The Yorkshire Dales (also known as The Dales) is the name given to an upland area, in Northern England.snow
The area lies within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshire, though it spans the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and Cumbria. Most of the area falls within the Yorkshire Dales District National Park, created in 1954, and now one of the twelve National parks of England and Wales.
The Dales is a collection of river valleys and the hills among them, rising from the Vale of York westwards to the hilltops of the main Pennine watershed (the British English meaning). In some places the area even extends westwards across the watershed, but most of the valleys drain eastwards to the Vale of York, into the Ouse and then the Humber.

The characteristic scenery of the Dales is green upland pastures separated by dry-stone walls and grazed by sheep and cattle. NidderdaleThe dales themselves are ‘U’ and ‘V’ shaped valleys, which were enlarged and shaped by glaciers, mainly in the most recent, Devensian ice age. The underlying rock is principally Carboniferous limestone (which results in a number of areas of limestone pavement) in places interspersed with shale and sandstone and topped with millstone grit. However, to the north of the Dent fault, the hills are principally older Silurian and Ordovician rocks, which make up the Howgill Fells

Because of the limestone that runs throughout the Dales, there are extensive cave systems present across the area, making it one of the major areas for caving in the UK. Many of these are open to the public for tours and for caving.Kisdon_force

Over 20,000 residents live and work in the park, which attracts over eight million visitors every year. The area has a large collection of activities for visitors. For example, many people come to the Dales for walking or exercise. The National Park is crossed by several long-distance routes including the Pennine Way, the Dales Way, the Coast to Coast Path and the latest national trail – the Pennine Bridleway.

Today the Yorkshire Dales National Park welcomes over eight million visitors every year, all of them attracted by its special qualities of natural beauty, wildlife, cultural heritage and by the recreational opportunities it offers.

Here are some tips on what you can do as an individual to make sure your visit doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment:-

TanHilAntFrom a gentle stroll or relaxing picnic to a long-distance walk or heart-pumping adventure, the countryside provides every opportunity for enjoyment and relaxation.

Freedom to walk on access land and public rights of way across the Yorkshire Dales National Park comes with responsibilities for all, many of which have been outlined in the new Countryside Code launched in 2004.
In particular, the Code reminds people visiting the countryside to:

Be safe – plan ahead and follow any signs
Leave gates and property as you find them
Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home Keep dogs under close control. Consider other people
If you follow the Countryside Code wherever you go, you’ll get the best enjoyment possible DalesMePuband you’ll help to protect the countryside now and for future generations.

Our location for this visit was care of the Tan Hill Inn, ‘Britains Highest Pub’. Here’s how we went on:- TanSnowMobileThe Inn is the ‘Highest Pub in Great Britain’ and being 1732ft ASL it has a great take off for Amateur Radio for sure. But don’t be lead into a false sense of security as the Snow Mobile parked outside the pub is there for a reason! (see inset). Although it wasn’t snowing, it was lashing it down with rain and setting the Cushcraft A4S up was literally a real dampener on our spirits to say the least. Nevertheless we cracked on and were qrv by late tea time on the Friday and for the next 36 hours. Well, some of us were qrv, the other ‘die hard Amateurs’ found that the 10 second walk into the pub itself to sample the goods on offer Keithwere more of a temptation than they could handle, ‘Theakstones Real Ale’ not being the only thing on offer for some!

Band conditions were not at their best but we found 20M alone was open to the USA and SA until 0030 each night and then again wide open to the East from 0500 with lovely pile-ups into Russia and the Far East, all wanting this new and rare WFF reference number exceeded our estimation by far. We finished off with 2349 contacts in the log and  all were made on the HF Bands.

Check out these two links which show just how remote this area is. The first link tells the story, the second link shows some awesome video!

Thats it for now, hope you enjoyed your visit to GFF-020 in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Northern England?

Please join me again soon! The final image here shows ‘Gaping Gill’ Cave system in the National Park.


73 de Charles…


GFF-015 Pembrokeshire Coast National Park






…Also the Clubstation of the Strumble Head DX & Contest Group!

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park (Welsh: Parc Cenedlaethol Arfordir Penfro) is a National Park along the Pembrokeshire coast in WestGFF_Logo Wales. It was established as a National Park in 1952, and is the only one in the United Kingdom to have been designated primarily because of its spectacular coastline. It is one of three National Parks in Wales, the others being the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia.

The National Park has a varied landscape of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, wooded estuaries and wild inland hills, covering a total area of 629 km² (240 square miles). It falls into four distinct PembNP_Plaqsections. Running clockwise around the coast, these are the south Pembrokeshire coast, including Caldey Island, the Daugleddau estuary; the St Bride’s Bay coast, including the coastal islands; and the Preseli Hills. However, not all of the park is coastal, and there are even forests and marshes on the edges of the park. The National Park includes many sites and areas which are of national or international conservation significance in their own right, including 7 Special Areas of Conservation, a Marine Nature Reserve, 6 National Nature Reserves and 75 Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

The geology of the area is of particular interest with many good exposures both inland and along the coast, exhibiting a variety of rock types and structural features such as natural arches, stacks, rock folding and sea caves. In the north, the rocks of Carn Llidi, PembsCoast2Pen Beri and Garn Fawr, together with the extensive moorland on Mynydd Carningli and Mynydd Preseli, give an exposedDragonfly and mountainous feel to the landscape, cut through by the wooded valleys of the Gwaun and Nevern. In the west, the National Park is dominated by the broad sweep of St Bride’s Bay, bounded at its northern end by Ramsey Island, near St David’s peninsula, and at its southern end by Skomer. The southern coast is another contrast, with the limestone plateau and cliffs of the Castlemartin peninsula, the steep-sided wooded valleys inland from Amroth; the Bosherston lakes – now, like much of the coastal strip, in the care of the National Trust – and the tourist resorts of Tenby and Saundersfoot. Between the western and southern areas of the National Park lies the Milford Haven waterway, where the tranquil Daugleddau estuary feeds into one of the finest natural deep water harbours in the world. The Park is managed by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, which has around 130 staff and a committee of 18 members. The Authority’s purposes are to conserve the National Park, encourage the public to enjoy and understand it, and to foster the social and economic well-being of the communities within its boundaries. The Authority manages the entire length of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail.

Thats it for now, hope you enjoyed your visit to GFF-015, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in South West Wales, UK,  please join me again soon.


73 de Charles





GFF-014 Peak District National Park







The Peak District is an upland area in central and northern England, lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, but also covering parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, and South and West Yorkshire.
Most of the area falls within the Peak District National Park, whose designation in 1951 made it the first national park in the British Isles. An area of great diversity, it is conventionally split into the northern Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found and whose geology is gritstone, and the southern White Peak, where most of the population lives and where the geology is mainly limestone-based. River_DerwentProximity to the major cities of Manchester and Sheffield and the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Staffordshire coupled with easy access by road and rail, have all contributed to its popularity. With an estimated 22 million visitors per year, the Peak District is thought to be the second most-visited national park in the world (after the Mount Fuji National Park in Japan).

The Peak District forms the southern end of the Pennines and much of the area is uplands above 1,000 feet (300 m), with a high point at Crowden Head on Kinder Scout of 2,070 feet (630 m). Despite its name, the landscape lacks sharp peaks, being characterised by rounded hills and gritstone escarpments (the “edges”). The area is surrounded by major conurbations, including Huddersfield, Manchester, Sheffield, Derby and Stoke-on-Trent. LancasterRearCloserHowden Dam is of solid masonry construction, and 117 ft (36 m) tall, 1080 ft long. and impounds 1.9 million gallons of water, from a catchment area of 5,155 acres (20.86 km2). During the Second World War the reservoir was used by pilots of the 617 Squadron for practising the low-level flights needed for Operation Chastise (commonly known as the “Dam Busters” raids), due to its similarity to the German dams. Occasional flypasts of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are staged to commemorate this (As shown in Photo).DamWallredThe National Park covers 555 square miles (1,440 km2) of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and South and West Yorkshire, including the majority of the area commonly referred to as the Peak. Its northern limits lie along the A62 road between Marsden and Meltham, north west of Oldham, while its southern most point is on the A52 road on the outskirts of Ashbourne in Derbyshire. The Park boundaries were drawn to exclude large built-up areas and industrial sites from the park; in particular, the town of Buxton and the adjacent quarries are located at the end of the Peak Dale corridor, surrounded on three sides by the Park.

The town of Bakewell and numerous villages are, however, included within the boundaries, as is much of the (non-industrial) west of Sheffield. As of 2009, it is the fourth largest National Park in England and Wales. In the UK, the ChurchSnowdesignation “National Park” means that there are planning restrictions to protect the area from inappropriate development and a Park Authority to look after it, but does not imply that the land is owned by the government, nor that it is uninhabited. Many of the rivers of the region are unpolluted and low enough in sediment levels to provide a home for the native white clawed crayfish. Ancient woodlands like these have much more wildlife value than plantations or other new woodland.  Rocks and scree slopes (formed by the effect of frost on the cliffs above) have developed specialised flora with mosses, lichens and flowers such as herb robert.  If movement stops, eventually screes become flower rich grasslands, or woodland, with a great variety redgrouse3of attractive flowers.  The flowers encourage a range of insects including butterflies and moths. Grasslands have been K800_wfflogomaintained by sheep grazing. The reduction in sheep grazing in some areas over the last 100 years has allowed scrub (shrubs such as hawthorn) and long grasses, to grow.The National Trust have cut back shrubs hiding the famous rock features and have re-introduced sheep grazing.
The cuckoo flower is common on the grassland.  This provides food for the caterpillars of the orange-tip butterfly.

Herons often feed in the quiet, northern stretches of the river. trout, dippers, grey wagtails, moorhens and water voles can be seen in, on and by the river. The boggiest areas are marked by the bright green sphagnum moss, together with cottongrass and heathers. Look carefully and you may spot the distinctive (yellow) flowers of the bog asphodel or the more common sundew, an insectivorous plant. The conspicuous white tufts of cottongrass gives rise to the name ‘Featherbed Moss’, used to identify many other areas in the National Park. Drier areas support more woody plants including heather, bilberry and crowberry.

As with much of the British countryside, the spectacular heather moorlands are not naturally like that – they are largely due to the ‘sport’ of red grouse shooting. Red grouse require young shoots of heather upon which to feed plus older plants in which to nest.

The typical appearance IanIAAPeaksatisfies the needs of the red grouse and is created by controlled burning of the countryside. The red grouse is easily startled and its whirring chuckling flight also startles walkers usually when its not expected!

Thats it for now. I hope you enjoyed your trip into the Peak District National Park, please call again soon! (Photo : Ian M0IAA /p in GFF-014).



73 de Charles……