Once again Crawley Amateur Radio Club members gathered at Ifield Watermill on the 14th May to put the mill on the air as part of the Mills on the Air weekend, which coincides with National Mills weekend.
We were again blessed with excellent weather, which is just as well as our operating position is outside on the mill pond bank.
Dave M0WID was joined by Graham 2E0XDZ and Eddie M7EQC for the initial setting up of the station, while Phil M0TZZ, Richard G3ZIY, Richard G3ANN and Peter G4LEG joined in later.
The station is simple and quick to set up and take down, we were on the air perhaps 30 mins after being let in. It comprised an end fed 1/2 wave vertical for 20m band fed from an ancient Trio TS530S and Graham's new Windcamp Gypsy portable antenna (very neat) fed from his FT857. The Windcamp Gypsy can be set up as a dipole for any band 40m through 6m and is identical in principle to the ex army portable antenna kindly supplied by G4LEG.
Band conditions were poor unfortunately, with much QSB and some very weak signals. We managed 44 contacts altogether, ODX being KK6BT in South Carolina at just over 4000 miles. Six of the contacts were with other mills. Phil M0TZZ even managed to remember how to use a microphone!
The mill suffered from low footfall this year, very few of the visitors came out to visit us, but despite all this we all still had fun, made contacts and enjoyed the event.
The highlight was perhaps the visit by an vintage 1904 Wolseley. Chain driven, brake is where the accelerator is on a modern car and not very effective anyway. Almost all original. Nice to see.