Diary of International Marconi Day 2006
April 2005 - We are in the process of planning a special event station to celebrate International Marconi Day in 2006. The intended location is Luttrell's Tower which is effectively located on Calshot Beach. Marconi lived at Luttrell's Tower with his family and it was from this location that his wife and children waved to the Titanic as it left on its maiden voyage. It is believed that Marconi conducted wireless experiments from this location to his ship Elettra moored in Cowes Roads, Isle of Wight.
We think this is an excellent site from which to celebrate International Marconi Day which takes place on the Saturday nearest to his birthday, 25th April 1874, every year. In 2006 this should be from 00:00 - 23:59 Saturday 22nd April.
5th August 2005 - We are having trouble establishing two way contact with the trust despite Rod having made several attempts. Looks like we will be operating from Calshot beach!!
5th February 2006 - Well done Rod. The Landmark Trust that manages the site has agreed to the Special Event station as has the lady who will be in residence in the tower during the Saturday in question. We are awaiting a site meeting to enable further discussion and planning of the event. I have reserved the callsign GB5LT for the event and if progress continues I will register us as an Award station.
7th March 2006 - Registered the station GB5LT as an Award station with the IMD organisers. Rod,G6LVJ, developing the station QSL card from photographs of the site and collating background information regarding Marconi's use of Luttrell's Tower for the IMD website history page.
25th March 2006 - Saturday morning - Luttrell's Tower site visit to plan antennas, operating position et al.
21st April 2006 - Rod and Tony arrive on site by 17:00 and start obtaining some video footage. Pick up the van at 17:30, up to Gerry's QTH and load the antenna rigging kit then off to Luttrell's where we all hang up a 140 ft Delta Loop in the trees.
22nd April 2006 - Van loaded, off to Gerry's by 06:40. Load the rest of the kit and arrive at Luttrell's by 07:20.
Set-up the inside of the van as an operating station using Rod's patio table. Connect up the antenna and the TS2000 via the aatu suspended in the tree outside the back of the van. Hook up the battery power supply, site the generator and insert an earth rod into the ground. Power up and on the air by 09:05.
Rod and Tony, G6MNL, arrive and set-up the field 'staff restaurant' then proceed to make the first coffee and bacon rolls. YES!! Gerry then suffers from a touch of nostalgia and rigs up a Marconi antenna - the event was just asking for it. Sun shining, fantastic views of the Solent and the IOW, hot coffee, bacon rolls and plenty of contacts on 80m - this is the life.
Sarah and Frank who were staying in Luttrell's Tower arrive for a quick tour and explanation of the station set-up and an overview of the day's operation. The GB5LT group presented Sarah with an enlarged framed QSL card to commemorate the occasion and to thank them both for their enthusiastic support of the International Marconi Day celebrations without which GB5LT would not have been possible.
A fantastic day. We worked 125 stations, mostly on 80m, from 08:05 to 20:00 UTC. We had to stop when it became too dark to see the note book, the log book and the clock as we spent more time moving the lamp around to illuminate each one than operating the radio.
The event was really enjoyable. The Delta loop, aatu, TS2000 and power supply arrangements worked fine. The site was great for hf working. No rf noise made it a pleasure to work 80m and I'm sure the proximity to the sea enhanced our outgoing signal. Our thanks to all the stations who expressed their gratitude to the group for activating the station and for their patience and persistence in attempting to establish contact with us. We aimed to have a real QSO with each station and not just a rubber stamp contact and we felt we achieved this.
We hope to activate the station again next year possibly over a longer period to enable more contacts to be made. This depends on us gaining agreement from the Landmark Trust and any visitors staying in the Tower.
My sincere thanks to the rest of the GB5LT group. Rod, G6LVJ, for his relentless efforts in liaising with the Landmark Trust and securing use of the site, the QSL cards, public relations, news releases, photographs and the 'staff restaurant'. Tony, G6MNL, for his unceasing efforts in producing video and stills of the event and for running between Rod and the van to constantly supply me with copious amounts of hot coffee. Gerry, G6HBN, for supplying all of the antenna rigging kit, windbreaks, aatu, TS2000, spare batteries and endless amounts of encouragement, ideas and lists.
The GB5LT group wish to record their thanks to Katherine Oakes, Marketing & PR Manager and Shirley Stewart, Regional Property Manager, of The Landmark Trust and to Sarah Phillips and Frank Reis who made the 2006 International Marconi Day Celebrations from Luttrell's Tower possible.