Saturday, 30 March 2013

Thursday 28th March 2013

Today was a very busy day as I wanted to get that Hag finished and out of the green store no matter what. I made up new cables for the HF radio & speaker and installed them and all worked well but when I powered up the VHF I discovered it hasn’t been programmed……..Great!

So then it was off down the hill to the tradies workshop to see what frequencies the green Hag has programmed. Just to be on the safe side I checked one of the utes as well. Then it was back up to the ops building to look for some programming cables, software and hopefully a configuration file but no such luck. In the end I programmed them the same as the hand held radios and while I was at it I got all the spares out of the green store and also the one for the new blue Hag and did them all at once and saved a configuration file.

For lunch Justin cooked up meat pies and they were bloody great, but half way through I realized I had either broken a tooth or swallowed my filling. Shit, not what I want down here. It’s not painful so maybe Lloyd can just put some glue over it or something till I get back home. If it gives me any trouble I will just get Lloyd to pull it out. Bloody thing, there’s always something falling apart. There is not much left I haven’t worn out yet, and to think of all the trouble and expense I went through doing the Antarctic dental clearance three months before I left. Waste of time?

On the way back to the Hag I tipped sixty liters of water into my six meter antenna drum to bind all the rocks together and to add a bit more weight to it as well as gluing it to the rock. At minus twelve it didn’t take long till it was frozen solid. Finally I finished wiring up the Hag and drove it outside to test things out. The radar and radios work fine but the GPS is not working….Doh !!

I also need to tune both antennas and program all the way points and routes into the GPS so it is going to have to wait till Tuesday now. After five, I popped into the transmitter building and my heater was working well keeping the room at sixteen degrees and outside there are large icicles all around the outside of the building coming out of the walls, so it must have a lot of ice inside it and hasn’t been heated for a long time. While there, I had another chat to Jeanne Socrates who is the oldest woman to sail around the world solo. She is now crossing the Australian bight heading towards Tassie. You can check her Blog at . After dinner we watched another one of Luc’s foreign movies called Как я провёл этим летом a Russian movie called “How I ended this summer”. It was about two weather observers on a remote Arctic Island and I thought it wasn’t too bad.

This poor little bugger a day after the blizzard was still bunkered down
When he saw me, he got up, shook himself off and wanted to follow me

Friday 29th to Saturday 30th March 2013

Keldyn woke me from my lovely sleep in and said “get your lazy arse up, were going to Mt Hendo at one o’clock”. This was his first trip away as a trip leader and I was touched that he asked me to join him along with John and Peter C. I still had time to get in a relaxing spa and to strap the nose bag on before heading off. It was cold as hell today, minus twenty two in the morning before warming up as the sun rose, but once we got up on the plateau the temperature dropped back down to minus twenty two again.

We had a nice ride up to Hendo on the quads and then unloaded all our gear into the hut. Mt Henderson hut is the oldest AAD hut probably dating back to the sixties and is more like a freezer than a hut. I wanted to leave the heater, oven and all the stove burners alight to thaw it out, but you know, safety first. I think all the walls and ceiling are full of ice as once you get a bit of heat going it starts raining inside. My pillow was frozen to the matrice.
Unfortunately the summit was engulfed in cloud and as strong winds were forecasted tomorrow afternoon, we made the decision to attempt a climb to the summit right away. John, who is our Field Training Officer, had brought rope, harnesses and all the climbing hardware to make the tactical climb to the last fifteen meters to the summit. (Don’t laugh you older expeditioners, but AAD forbids free climbing these days)

We set off up the steep screed slope in minus twenty two and in no time our breath was condensing on our faces. Keldyn was struggling with this huge ten kilogram stilsons he was carrying up to the summit as part of some crazy plumber tradition that will become apparent further down the page. It was a hard slog and the cold air was burning my lungs giving me coughing fits now and then.

After about an hour of climbing we reached the saddle below the summit and dropped our packs and had a short rest. I looked like Father Christmas, Peter looked like a walrus and Keldyn looked about forty years old.  John wasted no time rigging up some anchors and started the summit climb while Peter belayed him. Once up to the first step, the rest of us took turns climbing while John belayed us.

We had all reached Hilleary’s step and all was going well as John pushed on to the next step just below the summit. Peter went first, followed by Keldyn with his huge stilsons and then lastly it was my turn to climb the steep narrow shoot that leads to the summit step.
Our Arctic boots are fine for keeping the cold out, but as far as climbing goes, Ronald Mc Donald’s boots would be far better. I pulled and pushed myself high up through the narrow shoot as John belayed me and it was tight and hard going. I gave myself one last mighty push and my bloody boot wedged into the shoot and no matter how much I struggled I couldn’t remove it. The situation was hopeless and all I could think of was John initiating a search and rescue mission  from Mawson to excavate my foot with a jack hammer and how embarrassing it would be which gave me the awesome strength to finally pull my foot free at long last. The only trouble was my bloody boot was still stuck there!!
 Oh shit, what next!!
I reached down and strained with all my might but there was no way I could free this boot, it was stuck there forever. How the hell was I to get back down to the hut and then ride the thirty kilometers back to Mawson in minus twenty two with only one boot? That’s it, I started to turn green and suddenly the back of my shirt ripped apart as I concentrated all my strength into pulling my boot out of the shoot when suddenly it came free. I was elated and mumbled a few swear words under my breath then tossed it up onto the step above to John’s horror. I started to climb once again and for fu#%s sake my other boot was stuck. Jesus Cr, oops its Easter, bloody hell, did this ever happen to Edmond Hillary?
You know the drill by now, I huffed and puffed and threw the other boot up at John who was still in shock with the first boot I threw at him. And in true legendary spirit I ended up summiting Mt Henderson in my socks!!!
The other guy’s were wondering what took me so long and what could I say? “Well guy’s, us technical free climbers take our time, we don’t need any fancy ropes and stuff like that” as I’m doing my shoe lace up.
Unfortunately the summit was clouded over, but it gave it that inhospitable look as we took photos of Keldyn fixing the tap washer with his huge stilsons. Peter checked out the power point while I attended the antennas that had long blown away.

We spent about twenty minutes at the summit (most of that tying my shoe laces) but as sunset was fast approaching we decided to get cracking back to the cabin below. The descent phase was much less dramatic and as we descended the screed slope the sun was setting and looked fantastic out across the plateau as it reflected off the ice and wind scours.

We made it to the hut with plenty of light to spare, thoroughly exhausted but extremely elated. We cranked up every burner in the hut in an attempt to melt all the ice off our faces, and then we cooked some awesome Fray Bentos pies in a tin. (Check them out) The pies were great and we washed them down with a bottle of red wine and then a bottle of Baileys with ten thousand year old glacier ice. Now that’s living!!
After about a four hour burn, the top of the hut was twenty eight degrees and the floor was three degrees still covered in ice and there was a jet of steam coming through the door vent and going straight up to the roof vent in a perfect science demonstration of heat convection. John slept outside in minus twenty two as he’s on a mission to do that for the whole year while we all slept inside the freezer.
Shortly after we turned off the heater and went to bed the temperature dropped back down to about minus twelve and hoarfrost covered the ceiling. We rose about eight o’clock and had something to eat and drink before setting off for another walk. We had planned to descend down the screed slope through Death Valley and onto Lake Henderson but it was really steep and was going to take a long time so we made the decision to climb another summit nearby.
Lake Henderson

A rare photo of John

It was a hard climb and it didn’t give up its summit easy. By the time I got there I was exhausted but we were rewarded with a lovely clear view to the coast and we rested and took many photos. The climb back down was rather gruelling on the knees and once we reached the valley, we had to cross a dangerous ice bliz tail and then climb all the way back up the screed slope to the hut.
We were all completely knackered (Except for John) by the time we reached the hut but it was a really nice walk in perfect, yet cold conditions. We stayed at the hut only long enough to have a quick bite and a hot drink before loading up the quads for the thirty kay ride back down the plateau to Mawson.

We got back to Mawson about three o’clock and I ditched the rubbish down at Warren and then took the piss tank over to the sewage treatment plant. Even though it was frozen I was gagging the whole time trying to wash it out with hot water. Then we refuelled  the quads, parked them up in the EVS and unpacked all our gear.

What a beautiful sight!
It's Home, it's Mawson.

Even though I was wasted, I did all my washing and hung it out. At six thirty we had our usual flash diner and afterwards while most of the blokes went to watch the footy, (we down loaded) I went to write up my Blog notes and was in bed by ten.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wednesday 27th March 2013

I worked my guts out today running around this morning gathering information for the engineers in Kingston, making up cables and all afternoon I worked on the orange Hag completing it in time for dinner. I still have to program the radio as the cheeky buggers sent it down un-programmed. That means we'll have two Hag's available to take out over the long Easter weekend.

My works program for the year came through today, so we are going to be quite busy if we are going to complete every thing. My room is very comfortable now as well as my humidifier, some time ago I scored a small automatic room heater, so my room is constant temperature while all the others are cold and dry. My polar fingers are coming good too as I have to rub lanolin on my feet and hands every morning to stop them drying out and cracking.

Tonight I helped Luc with his custom designed electronic quiz show machine. It has up to four buttons and a master controller which shows who pressed their button first. Once finished we will have a weekly quiz night which should be good fun. I had a check up with the doctor today and all is fine with very good blood pressure.

I came across this post on the Internet last night;

Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:10 pm

What are the chances of Aurora signals from VK0RTM?
On very rare occasions the glow of the Aurora Australis has been
visible from Port Elizabeth (34 degrees south) low down on the
southern horizon. In view of this Gordon , at East
London and I in Port Elizabeth conducted a series of nightly Aurora
tests. We were beaming at the magnetic south pole around midnight on
50 MHz CW; the tests lasted for a month during the period that a
magnetic storm was present. Every night we picked up meteor signals
from each other, but on a few occasions we heard some strange CW
signals with a very rough tone and distortion. Could this have been
Aurora-enhanced Meteor Scatter? Hopefully VK0RTM at Mawson on Mac
Robertson Island, Antarctica will provide the answer


Seems like people are making use of my propagation beacon already !!
Lets hope they have some success.

Today was Samantha's birthday. Happy birthday Samantha.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Tuesday 26th March 2013

Yesterday and today were very busy days. After the blizzard on Sunday I went for a walk around to make sure everything was OK. My 6m antenna was fine so my system seems to be working well. I walked up to the Cozray building to check the beacon antennas and they also were fine. While there I decided to check the volts on the beacon power supply as the transmitter sounds sick and varies in frequency. Bingo, the power supply was under rated and needs replacing. On the way back I dropped into the transceivers hut to make some power changes I have been meaning to do since the generator blew up on our first day.

The first thing I noticed was how cold the room was. The wall heater had died and it must have been minus fifteen in there. I couldn't reconfigure the power because I needed a power board, so back to Cosray I went. I grabbed a power board and a really heavy old style oil filled heater and carried it back to the transceivers hut. I reconfigured the power and while testing it the breaker kept tripping. Doh !!

Back to Cosray for another power board without a circuit breaker. This time things worked as they should and while I was testing the new system I noticed one of the backup battery's was dead.
Doh !!

No problem, we have four spares from the repeater we replaced last month, so back down to the tradies building I go to get the green Hag. Damn, it was full of bliz which seems to get in from the tiniest cracks in the door seals and some one left the caboose side door open so that was full too.
Doh !!

I clean out the Hag, warm it up and then drive it down to the ops building and load one of the heavy thirty kg battery's into it then head off up the hill to the transceivers hut. I lug the bloody heavy battery in and wire it up and before turning things on I checked the voltage and discovered they are six volt batteries.
Doh !!

So back down to the ops building I go in the Hag, get another battery and turn around and back up the hill I go again. This time I wire them together to make twelve volts and all is sweet. I test everything and its working perfect. So I return the hag, then climb back up the blue ice to the receivers hut to pick up the spare heater to take all the way down to the transmitter hut where my ham shack is. I noticed the battery in the emergency lights is dead too. While at the transmitter hut I get a power supply to replace the one on the beacon up at Cosray.

On the walk up I stop into the ops building to make some new leads for the power supply then off on the long walk back up to Cosray. I change the power supply and its all working perfect and the output power almost doubles from 180 to 270 EIRP and the frequency is now dead stable. Good job.

After work, I decided to test my amp on 160m on the vertical antenna I installed radials on Saturday as I got an email from Paul in Queensland who wanted to try a rare contact to Antarctica on that band. My amp was doing all sorts of weird things and making arching noises and just would not load up and was tripping out so I decided to remove the cover and take a look.

There is a 160m band switch and the contacts were loose and overheating so I spent the next two hours carefully dismantling them and cleaning them then carefully reinstalling them nice and tight. I was really satisfied I had found the problem and fixed it forever. I started tuning again and at first everything was working perfect when all of a sudden it started to do the same thing again. Bloody hell I thought. I keyed it up and decided to take a look through the side grill to see if I could see where it was arching from and when I looked in I could see FLAMES !! It was ON FIRE !!
Shit !!

I quickly found a screw driver and got the cover off and frantically tried to blow the flames out and after about ten seconds the fire was extinguished, not so much from by blowing but more so because it had run out of fuel. A nylon rod the band switch was mounted on was completely gone and the metal contacts were all that was left. Dam.....that sucks. I decided to call it quits and went back to the red shed. I dropped an email to the manufacture in Sydney and did some research and found out they had replaced the nylon band switch with a ceramic switch on the later model amps, so there must have been a few fires in the past I suspect ?

Today I went straight from breakfast down to the transmitter hut to check on the new heater to make sure I don't start another fire and everything was OK. So from there I walked all the way up to the transceivers hut to check the heater up there and it was working a little bit too well. While there I decided to swap the battery banks over so our emergency radio has the larger bank and I also put the web camera on UPS as I find it embarrassing how it goes off air every time we lose power.

So transceivers hut is now tickertyboo, so off I go to Cosray to check the beacon. Due to the extra power the beacon was running very hot (as I suspected) so back down to the ops building to make up a cooling fan. I made up a cooling fan then walked all the way back up to Cosray and installed the fan, now everything there was tickertyboo.

On the way back to the ops building I run into Keldyn and he tells me my mega earth cable is ready that I got him to weld up for me so I about turned and headed down to the tradies building. The earth cable weighed a tone and it was a real hard slog carrying it all the way back to the transmitter building where I soldered a large lug onto the end of it making just as much smoke as yesterday. Somehow I don't think the smoke detector is working in that room?

Once finished I lugged the bloody thing all the way out to east arm where the 34m vertical antenna is. I had to lie on my back in the snow to drill the holes and then I laid out the forty meters of cable and chucked the 100mm x 1500mm pipe into the drink. Now that should do the trick.
I went back to the transmitter hut and opened up my burnt out amp and bridged out the 160m band switch by soldering the wires and gave it a smoke test. Perfect, now my amps tickertyboo too !!
I tuned it up ready for Paul to call tonight and went off for dinner.

After dinner on the way down to the transmitter building I got two buckets of water to pour into my 6m antenna mast forty four gallon drum to cement all the rocks and gravel together and to glue the drum to the rocks and also to give it more weight so it’s not going to go anywhere next blizzard. I called Paul for an hour and heard bugger all. No path between us at that time so we will have to do some more research on that one. It was poor conditions any way on all bands so I decided to call it quits for the night.

Tomorrow I'm definitely going to finish the orange Hag.

The transmitter building circa 1960's

My blizzard proof quick deploy able 6m antenna

Monday, 25 March 2013

Monday 25th March 2013

I keep hearing you say “what the bloody hell is APANSA”?


The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), as part of the Health and Ageing Portfolio, is a Federal Government agency charged with responsibility for protecting the health and safety of people, and the environment, from the harmful effects of ionising and non ionising radiation.

Once upon a time,

A Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to ban all nuclear explosion tests was opened for signature in New York on 24th September 1996. Australia signed the Treaty on the same day and ratified it on 9th July 1998. As of November 2010, 182 countries have signed and 153 have ratified. An International Monitoring System (IMS) is being constructed to monitor compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

By analysing, integrating and comparing data from the IMS, the time, location and nature of a possible nuclear event can be determined. The network consists of 321 monitoring facilities and 16 radionuclide laboratories that monitor the earth for evidence of nuclear explosions in all environments. These monitoring facilities use a variety of methods to detect evidence of nuclear testing. Seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound stations are employed to monitor the underground, underwater and atmosphere environments, respectively. The fourth technology detects radiation from atmospheric sampling and this is where I come into the picture.

Mawson is just one of the 80 radionuclide stations that can detect radioactive debris from atmospheric explosions or vented by underground or underwater nuclear explosions. The presence of specific radionuclides provides unambiguous evidence of a nuclear explosion. Forty of these stations will be capable of measuring for the presence of the relevant noble gases. The 16 Radionuclide Laboratories are used to verify samples that are suspected of containing radionuclide materials that may have been produced by a nuclear explosion. Mawson also has two seismometers installed ten meters underground in the vault under the cosmic ray building. Our radionuclide laboratory was completed around June 2012 and was certified in February 2013.

Chris & Craig, the two APANSA boffins

ARPANSA is responsible for carrying out Australia's radionuclide monitoring obligations to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and also responsible for the installation, implementation and operation of seven stations within Australia and its Territories.

The Process used to Monitor Radionuclide in our atmosphere
The Radionuclide Monitoring process involves collecting particulate matter from the air onto a piece of filter material in a high volume air sampler for ~24 hours.
After this time the filter is taken from the air sampler and compressed into a disk.
The disk is then placed in a chamber to allow natural radionuclides to decay for ~24 hours.
Finally, the filter sample is placed on a gamma detector for ~24 hours to be analysed.
The two gamma detector's are cooled to -170c and shielded by thick lead chambers.
A computer monitors the work flow and collects data. The data relating to the sampling conditions and radionuclides measured is then forwarded by satellite to the International Data Centre in Vienna where it is compiled and released to Countries participating in the Treaty.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Sunday 24th March 2013

I woke up this morning to an eighty knot blizzard. Last night was dead calm with a clear sky and you have to ask how did the old times deal with them if they didn’t know they were coming? I had a relaxed breakfast and coffee before kitting up to take on the blizzard to do the APANSA filter change. Preparation is critical as you don’t want any exposed skin and if you lost a glove or your goggles you would be in some serious trouble. It’s a bit like dressing up to go diving or into outer space. Out in a blizzard it’s so claustrophobic and such hard work moving around, the whole time you are straining and gasping for air, it’s really hard work and can be quite scary.
The view walking down to the APANSA building
Out I go and right away I feel a burning sensation on my forehead above my goggles where there must be some bare skin but there is nothing I can do about it now as I struggle to stand up grasping the bliz line tightly in my hand. The sheer force of Mother Nature was enjoyable as I struggled to make my way down to the APANSA building. Once inside the noise was deafening and the building was shaking threatening to tear away from its foundations. Every now and then there was a loud bang which I think was just a rapid change in air pressure or maybe it was a penguin?

The view out the window of the APANSA building
After the filter change I went down to the transmitter building where I was sure I was safe as it has stood there for over fifty years. But then again I guess it has to blow away some day? I spent a really enjoyable day talking on the radio to stations all around the world while the blizzard raged on outside. At one point the window on the back of the building smashed for some reason, but lucky they are double glazed. I have to fill the front window with silastic as some bliz was coming in and the room was freezing even with the heater going under my table.
The view out the window of the transmitter building
I down loaded a couple of software programs before heading back to the red shed for something to eat around six o’clock. By this stage the blizzard had moderated to around fifty knots and it was a pleasurable walk back to the red shed without having to hold the bliz lines to save your arse from blowing away. I cooked up a couple of toasties and had dinner with Luc before writing up my Blog notes over a couple of king browns.
The view walking back to the red shed for dinner

Thursday 21st March 2013

After doing the APANSA filter change I spent all morning sorting out over 200 Emails. I really hate it when you’re copied in on every single email as it just fills your inbox up with clutter and it’s easy to lose track of things you need to do. It’s just one of those things you have to keep on top of. I was really hoping to finish the orange Hag this week, but there have been too many interruptions and Chris has been avoiding it like the plague. Once a few more guys have become trip leaders they will be wanting another vehicle to take up onto the plateau and so pressure will be on shortly.

The Hägglunds Bv206 is an all-terrain articulated tracked carrier that was a Swedish design, first built in 1976 for the Swedish army. Over 11,000 vehicles have been produced and they are used in more than 37 countries worldwide, but sadly they are now out of production. The AAD has about twelve Hägglunds Bv206 and about four Hägglunds Bv206F, the fire fighting variant. About every five to seven years they are sent back to Kingston and totally reconditioned. The two Hägglunds sent down with me look so good I thought they were brand new.
The Hägglunds Bv206 is also fully amphibious, with a speed in water of up to 4.7 km/h and 55 km/h over land and this makes them ideal for traveling over sea ice. The Hägglunds Bv206 has a curb weight of 4330 kg and can carry a further two tones of pay load, yet the specific ground pressure of the Front & Rear car is only 11.6/13.6 kPa (1.68/1.97 PSI) with 0.2/0.05 m sinkage. Our configuration seat four people in the cabin and can carry two tones of payload in the caboose. Our versions are fitted with a Mercedes-Benz 6 cyl, turbo diesel 136 hp engine and a Daimler-Benz W 4A 040 automatic 4-step forward, 1 reverse gear box. The body is made from glass fibre reinforced plastic with PVC foam insulation.
Some other statistics are: Maximum grade hard surface 60%, (31°) deep snow 30% (17°)
Range on roads 300 km, Minimum operating temperature -52°C, Length 6.9 m, Width 1.87 m, Height 2.4m. The drive just like a car but are very noisy and can be quite rough going over sastrugi. The best thing is that they are warm, can traverse a two meter wide crevasse and you can just throw all your shit in the back and hit the road without too much fuss. And that about all you need to know about Hägglunds or locally refered affectionally as Hägs.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Saturday 23rd March 2013

Today I had no Saturday duties so I got to sleep in but I still had to get up to do the APANSA filter change. After this I went out to East arm and spent the whole day installing Earth radials on the thirty four meter vertical antenna. It was hard work, the copper alone weighed about forty kilogrammes and I had to install about two hundred and eighty meters of cable. While working close to the water’s edge, I wandered over to take a look at the new sea ice and slipped A over T and landed hard on the radio in my right pocket – Oh gosh, that hurt. Bad sea ice F*%#$ !!
Repairing the Earth mat on the old conical monopole

I worked right through till about three o’clock and then wandered back for something to eat and drink. I threw together a few scraps and Cookie came in an asked if I would like to try our new sea ice rescue craft. I still hadn’t finished what I was doing and I really didn’t want to get wet as it was about minus thirteen but said yeah no worries any way.

We set it up down at the water’s edge and I put on a dry suit and life jacket and gave it a try. The idea is if someone goes through the sea ice you can jump on this thing, do the Michael Jackson frontwards moon walk out over the sea ice, grab the frozen patient and hope that your good mates pull you both back in. It worked really well, but in reality I think by the time the alarm was raised, after every one has mustered, after the sea ice rescue craft was located, assembled and dry suits put on and ropes attached and the sea ice rescue craft launched and by the time you did the Michael Jackson frontwards moon walk out over the sea ice to get to the patient it would just end up being a body retrieval. In just a day and a half, the sea ice where we tested the sea ice rescue craft was over one hundred millimetres thick and I couldn’t break through it, so it won’t be long and we will be riding our quad bikes over it.

That's Lloyd about to go out on the sea ice rescue craft on his 70th birthday

It's -1.8c in the water

After the sea ice rescue craft practise session it was back out to East arm where I had to finish untangling a huge roll of hardened copper wire. It was bloody hard work and this took me about an hour and a half and then I could run out the last two radials. By the time I had finished I was buggered and I wandered back to the red shed for a nice hot shower and a feed.
The repaired 34m vertical antenna
Keldyn was cooking fish and chips at Lloyd's request as it was his birthday today and he loves his fish and chips. Lloyd is our station doctor and all round lovely guy. He has such a good sense of humour and great nature and he always has us in fits of laughter in his medical demonstrations. I stepped in and cooked the chips as things were getting a bit hectic in the kitchen. Justin, Darron, Jeremy and Trent had been walking out around Rumdoodle the past couple of days. Just then Chris walks in flaunting his new harcut, a bloody mohawk!! It looks like one of thos big fat hairy caterpillars is laying on top of his head. He must be running from the law or some thing but I dare not to ask.
The fish and chips were perfect and the best I had eaten in a long time and Lloyd was very happy and then of course in true Mawson tradition he was presented with his cake while we all sang happy birthday to him.
Happy 70th birthday Doc

I had a couple of celebration drinks and then headed back down to the transmitter building to test the vertical antenna and to mess around with the tuning. At first impressions it seems to work really well on 80m, but not sure about 160m. On the way back to the red shed around eleven o’clock it was jet black outside and I didn’t have a bloody torch and there is no lighting. I stumbled my way through the dark hoping not to go aver. I was quite scary but I made it back in one piece. Rule number one, always take a head torch and leave a torch handy in the transmitter building.