HUBFest 2019

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Image of all who attended HUBFest

An educational and fun holiday. We played Radio, space stations and more!

HUBFest is an annual event ran by the administrators of HUBNet. Radio Amateurs who use the hub are invited to come along to meet face to face and to have fun and play radio.

The weekend kicked off on Thursday morning. I called into the HUB and had a chat to Stuart M0WTX and Peter G7RPG, who already were at the camp. I then spoke with Stuart GM7VEC and he put me onto aprsdroid, I installed the app and let people know they could track me on our journey. Steve M0HOY picked me up at about 8 am and we headed off towards Brow Farm Campsite. On the way, we kept in contact with Peter G7RPG and Stuart GM7VEC on HUBNet. As we got closer Stuart VEC informed us that Carl GW0TQM was about a mile behind us. As we got about 2 miles from the site, we could hear Peter RPG’s 1W repeater and were able to confirm our arrival.

The site was great, we were next to an electrical hookup and only a minutes walk from the toilets and showers. The first job of the day was setting up our tents, we started with Steve HOY’s 4 man and once he was up and running I started to set up my somewhat smaller 2 man tent. During this time Neil M0NFI arrived and started setting up his tent too. Carl TQM was in a camper van and he set up behind Stuart WTX’s camper van.

The HUBFest camp site at Brow Farm

Playing Radio on Thursday night

Neil had a bag of goodies as did Peter, for HF and so the antenna building began. First up was an end fed half wave at 40m. This was a fishing pole mounted to a pole pushed into the ground and secured with guys. This antenna worked very well, although conditions were very touch and go for us during the weekend.

Resonant end fed 40m antenna base
Resonant end fed 40m antenna

Next to go up was the 2x20m doublet. This is fed into a balanced tuner.

doublet 2x20m feed with 300ohm ladder line
Balanced tuner homebrew ‘S-Match’ designed by PA0FRI built by G7RPG

A lot of what we were doing was new to me, so I asked Peter G7RPG to summarise what we did.

We experimented with a 49:1 transformer and an ‘EFHW’ End Fed Half Wave on 40. We used the same end fed 40m antenna as a 1/4wave on 80 by adding some ground radials. For top-band, we converted the 2x20m doublet into a Marconi T.

Peter G7RPG

Thursday was my first ever HF voice contact with Martin G8KOE on 40m.

Thursday night we took turns on the hub. I spoke to Kenneth and Ben and I think I also spoke to Martin who later came to visit us. The Jack Daniels came out and me, Peter and Stuart WTX went into the night in Stuart’s camper putting the world to rights.

Ben spoke to us around the camp fire via the hub on Thursday night

Friday morning was upon us, its 3 am, I only went to bed at 12 am. Seems camping mistake number one was to not zip up the air vent, as such, the sun shone straight into my face. I got up and went to the toilet block, attempt two at sleep!
The sheep started baaahing loudly about 8 am so I got up. Feeling a little fragile.

Today was hill day! Peter, like me, was feeling fragile. We are not hardcore like Stuart WTX. After much coercion, we set off on our mission. We took a resonant 40m dipole with us and an FT-817 with an amplifier. Carl had a handy with a SOTA beam dipole.

40m up on the hill

Once up the hill, we set up the resonant 40m dipole and Peter started putting a call out. We worked Stuart GM7VEC over in the Isle of Uist. We also only just heard Sandra who’s callsign I did not manage to get.

Our mission complete, we headed back down the mountain. On our way, we saw a curious water body and took a closer look

Examining the body of water

Carl had an app which told us there was to be an ISS pass. Well what a gem it was, we were able to watch the station fly across from West to East.

Viewing the ISS pass over
22.17 a magnitude -2.5 31deg elevation

We got back to base camp and had tea. Peter cooked up a nice pasta and tomato sauce. We where all (read me, Stuart and Peter) feeling hung over so we went to bed early.

Saturday morning, I had a lie in until 9 am. Steve captured this moment after I had surfaced. I had a good sleep this time around, the camp bed being very comfortable (Thank You Barney!).

We played more HF, this time modifying the big antenna into a Marconi T. Peter had an antenna switch allowing him to switch between the Marconi and the end fed.

Carl GW0TQM showed me his handheld 20m transceiver and how the counterpoise made a difference. Was really cool to see such a small HF transceiver.

20m portable
20m with and without the counterpoise

Later that day we had a visitor, Martin M0MJK. It was great to see him and he really enjoyed his short stay. He has said he will try to join us next year!

From left to right, Stuart M0WTX, Carl GW0TQM and Martin M0MJK

Saturday was something of a bizarre day for me. At the start of the day, a young couple approached me for help. They had a double blow up bed, but it required a 13 amp plug. As we had hookup I brought them over to base camp and they blew the bed up. A good deed for the day I thought. Well, a bit later on I took my empty water bottle over to the recycle bins. These were next to the shower block. As I turn around to go back to camp I female voice pipes up. A young lady stood in the shower block with her head out of the window and a towel around her. She had run out of 20p’s. The showers take 20p for 3 minutes. She was half washed and seemingly distressed. She asked if I could get help from her camp and off I went to find them. Sadly I didn’t have any 20p’s I could give her or I would have.

I started asking around and no one knew who she was, but when I asked if anyone knew where the event tent was they pointed to a large group of people. I asked there and a gentleman knew who I was on about, a Lady then walked back with me and rescued the damsel in distress.

Well, just when I thought I was all out of good deeds, I went to the toilet. On exiting, I am greeted by another young lady asking me if she could have the hand wash as the ladies had none. Well, three good deeds must bring me good luck or something right?

Saturday night came and as the last night myself, Peter and Stuart had our final drink. None of us could sleep, so we ended up exploring up the hill and said good morning to the sheep. It was about 4.30am.

4.30am somewhere up hill of Brow Farm

So, to summarise the weekend. Well, it was a weekend of fun, education, good company, and great laughs. It was great to get to know the guys and I really am looking forward to hanging out with them again. If you like radio, camping, tech, and fun and have never been to a HUBFest, I highly recommend you go!