Overseas Adventure

By Paul Fleck VE3HTF
In September 2012, my wife and I travelled to the U.K. to visit her birthplace and many relatives in the region of Cumbria also the home of poet, William Wodsworth. Our journey was to the town of Workington, Cumbria, located just south of the Scottish border on the west coast. In order to get to Workington, your travels take you on a two and a half hour drive north of Manchester into the Lake District. This is the “Haliburton” of the U.K. and a world away from the bustle of the big city. Upon arriving in Workington, visiting with family and taking time to visit several great pubs I dropped into the local library and did some research on Amateur Radio in the U.K. and found a local club in Workington that was having a meeting that very night! The local club call is MX0WRC.

I attended the meeting and was welcomed by Barry and the team. The meetings are held at the Helena Thompson Museum and the club station is perched in the attic with plenty of room for us to attend a “wireless data” presentation by Alex. There was also a chance to talk with the club DX-expedition that where working the airwaves from a remote island located off the coast of Scotland! The DX-expedition operator couldn’t understand how a VE3 call was originating from the Workington club station!

I was informed that the maximum power that a U.K. station can transmit is 400 watts and there are three levels of operator licensing in the U.K..

Peter Webster, G8RZ (Deputy Chair), looks good holding that mike!

The Workington club participated with the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) to raise funds

The RNLI is a national charity that saves lives at sea. They are all volunteers and rely on donations for support. There is a national series of special event stations in January which the Workington club got involved with a couple of years ago with the Workington lifeboat station and last year ended up with 4 stations in total.

Barry Easdon, G0RZI (Secretary, gentleman in the middle). Barry is also the RSGB local representative and he runs the local net on Sunday mornings.

The Workington radio club had special event stations that were run over 2 consecutive weekends last year. Silloth station GB1LBC and Workington GB2LBC. Norman and Alex ran the St Bees lifeboat station GB4LBC and the Barrow-in-Furness club ran the Barrow station GB5LBC. Between the stations we had over 400 contacts, mainly in the UK that qualified for a mini award for contacting all the stations and that helped us to raise a little over £2000. We raised the majority of the cash for the whole of the programme (about £3500 was raised nationally) so we are pretty pleased with ourselves. We’re quite close to the lifeboats as many of us work with crewmembers and hope never to meet them in the sea.

Alex Hill G7KSE, the teacher, helping us understand this data stuff.

We haven’t finalized plans for next year but I imagine it’ll be the same again. Norman, G7MRL is the main organizer but we share the operating between ourselves. The only station we don’t operate from in Cumbria is Haverigg; we just don’t have enough people. Perhaps we need to recruit a few more!

Well done, Workington Amateur Radio Club!!!

All in all, a great trip, new friends and a great reason to book my next trip back!

Thanks to the Workington Amateur Radio club for your warm hospitality.