The Airfields on the Air event aims to ‘activate’ in a radio sense, current or former RAF Stations, Airfields, Radio and Radar sites, Landing Strips including Landing Waters located across Great Britain, Northern Ireland dating from 1914 to current times. So, over the weekend 23 & 24 April Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC) Personnel had the opportunity to put on a Special Event Station using the callsign GBØWYT at RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire. This year marked the 12th year that the event has taken place on the Station, it’s location and history is always a good source of discussion and is popular with radio amateurs who have worked, visited or flown into or from RAF Wyton.
Cadets and Cadet Forces Adult Volunteer (CFAV) Staff from local RAFAC Squadrons and the Radio Event Team from Huntingdonshire Amateur Radio Society Hams (HARS) an Amateur radio station was set up using the Main Drill Hall in No 2331 (St Ives) Squadron Headquarters which was formerly the Station Survival Equipment Flight and Brake Chute Unit, it still has the huge brake chute drying tower attached to it.
HARS Club members, RAFAC Cadets and CFAV Staff all took turns at operating the microphone and logging the contacts during the weekend with a bonus of the Cadets benefitting from having some extra radio theory and practical sessions interspersed with their operating.
As part of their First-Class training Cadets receive basic radio training covering the use of the NATO phonetic alphabet and radio prowords. RAFAC also offers a range of progressive training in Cyber and Electromagnetic Communications (radio for us oldies) producing very competent radio operators. Many of the Cadets will go on to follow careers in Cyber and Electronics in Military or Civil service and some will become our future Amateur radio enthusiasts.
We were soon on-air calling hello (CQ) on the 80 Mtrs (7.150MHz) and our first contact was with GB2GM at 08.25 hours local with calls from other UK stations continuing throughout the morning, our first contact into Europe was DL7BC/P in Germany at 10.10 hours. We were able to work on other Bands such as 40, 20, 17, 10 ,2 and 70cms was into Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland, Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Puerto Rica, Newfoundland, Seymour in USA and Finland plus many in the UK which made it interesting. Overall, our total of contacts was 243 during the event operating using Single Side Band, Morse Code, FM and various Data modes this was helped by the excellent and simple set up of the station equipment an ICOM IC-7200 and G5RV wire dipole for High Frequency operating and ICOM IC-821H plus X-50 Colinear stick antenna and our seasoned operators, loggers, Cadets and Staff who attended the event gained useful experience of Amateur radio communications.
If you have an interest in radio or data modes or maybe a UK licenced radio amateur and would like to join the RAFAC as a Radio Instructor details can be found https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets and if you would be interested in joining HARS radio Club then details can be found http://hunts-hams.weebly.com/