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GB75SF D-Day Special Event Station 2019

GB75SF is the Special Event Station call, operated by the Fort Purbrook Amateur Radio Club to mark the D-Day commemoration event during June 2019.

Members of the Fort Purbrook Amateur Radio Club decided early in 2019 that they wanted to mark the event of the 75th anniversary of D-Day on 6th June 2019. From our location overlooking Portsmouth, which is home to the D-Day Story museum, with Southwick House behind us, D-Day will always be a major event to remember for our local community.

We were glad to join an event co-ordinated by Torbay ARS who arranged stations to commemorate each of the 5 D-Day beaches that troops landed on – Utah, Omaha, Gold, June and Sword. Ofcom agreed a GB75 Notice of Variation and the Fort Purbrook ARC were approved to use the call GB75SF (Sword Force).

As well as the anniversary itself on 6th June, members spent the day before (Wed 5th June) setting up our marquee and radio masts at Fort Purbrook and, after 4 days’ operating, spent the Sunday taking it down. It was a busy few days, with a total of 491 contacts worldwide, a few 'challenges' and lots of fun. The best DX was to VK (Australia) on 40m, early in the morning. Most contacts were SSB on HF, with 248 on 40m and 65 on 80m. There were also 51 QSOs on 2m, 77 CW across the bands and 25 PSK contacts, by Mick M0GWD.

Notable QSOs included Xavier F/ON6JUN/P on PSK63, who was running one of our sister stations close to Pegasus Bridge in Normandy, F/M0IDF/P also at Pegasus Bridge and GB0DDR at the site of RAF Langtoft Radar Station which was used to guide bombers attacking the defences prior to the Invasion.

On 2m SSB, we were called by a portable station from HB9, who must have been on a mountain top in Switzerland as there were no other signs of a "lift" in propagation. On Sunday, the RSGB Backpacker contest was in full swing, with 5W (backpacker) and 25W (hilltopper) categories. We worked 35 or so stations in the contest including a backpacker up in Wales which shows what can be done with 5W and a small beam. Operations on 2m were helped by the first outing of the club's new 2m beam as built by Geoff G4XMJ over the winter, and it performed noticeably better than the beam we used before.

On the evening of D-Day 6th June itself, a drone video was taken by an unknown pilot giving an aerial view of Fort Purbrook. Our illuminated marquee stands out brightly in the twilight.

A shining night-time beacon representing a great club event marking a unique WW2 anniversary.

Thank you to everyone, both in the club and the operators who contacted us, for supporting the event.

Torbay ARS as the event organisers also produced a really nice hanging pennant to commemorate the event, available at a small cost to participants.

Article kindly supplied by Mike M1GAC

73

Fort Purbrook ARC

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