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Friday, 13 April 2018

Preparing for National Hamfest 2018

It may be a long way off yet but I intend to camp at the National Hamfest for both days of the event, a weekend of camping I've not had chance to do for some time, I start by looking on the website of Go Outdoors for a tent, the forms for the National Hamfest camping are not online for this year just yet and the best part is that as my current car does not face an MOT literally 2 weeks before the event it is already cleared for the trip.

So of course I need a tent, a large one with room for a table and a couple of chairs alongside the sleeping accommodation, the table will need to accommodate cooking and radio gear, antenna arrangements will probably be a drive-on mast stand and a fibreglass mast for HF antennas and 2-metres should be on my homebrew groundplane or the car's roof antenna depending on how I arrange the pitch.

Internet will be provided by the mobile networks, electricity will be battery or generator based depending on what I can get in time, my radios all work of 12-volt DC as does my mini-fridge, though I do need to be able to boil water (I like my cups of tea) but a gas stove and camping kettle solves that.

Lighting can be done off batteries, as most camping lights are LED based nowadays and pretty efficient.

As I plan to include a CB station as well as 10-metres (I'd need a second antenna for 10) I plan to replace the batteries in my CB HTs for the basis of staying in contact with whoever I take with me (be at most 2 guests though if I did invite 2 guests one of them would have to travel by train and I'd have to collect them from Newark railway station), I planned to use eneloop batteries in this case as they tend to be the best and long lasting rechargeable batteries one can buy (my CB HTs run off Alkaline batteries as well), this works also so that my non-licensed guests can still use the radio (I would use PMR446 but 500mW is no fun and the signal would probably propagate better into the hall on CB and I don't want my guests to not be able to take some kind of part in radio and maybe even get interested enough to buy the book and get their M6 call (though that has proven to be a tall order), this means I do need to test the T2LT to make sure it has suffered no damage in the time I have moved house, I can do that over the weekend if I have any spare time.

I am keeping my eyes open for the camping forms as well so I can get the camping booked for both days at the National Hamfest as I want that to be done as soon as possible.

73 de 2E0EIJ

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