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CHURCHES & CHAPELS ON THE AIR COMES TO ST. MARY’S

The rain stopped just in time for my arrival at St. Mary’s, Fordingbridge. The first job is to lay out the aerials on the ground to work out where the supports (usually masts) need to be placed. This time things would be different, I was met by the ever enthusiastic Reverend Canon Gary Philbrick, keys in hand for a trip to the top of the Church Tower via the small and winding staircase. The view from the top of the tower was breath-taking as was the climb up the narrow spiral staircase! Our aerial was to use the tower as a support for one end, I would later erect one of the 40’ masts for the other. We surveyed the countryside and town of Fordingbridge around us for some while until we both realised that we had other things to do.

St. Mary’s has to be one of very few churchyards that has a 63A 2P+E power supply connector between two grave stones, so electric power was not a problem! Next the gazebo was erected and the radio kit put in place. Just as we were about to start transmitting, Gary and a number of cyclists stopped in front of us and took some pictures. They were taking part in a sponsored ‘Ride & Stride’ exercise, visiting all of the Churches within the local benefice.

We had the usual arrangement of half-sized G5RV for HF & a 2m collinear for VHF. HF conditions were not brilliant so there were only a handful of ‘G’ stations throughout the day but plenty of GI, EI, GM & near continental stations worked.

The operators for the day were: Ken G1NCG, Ray G3HRH and myself. John G4POF called by and kindly helped with the task of packing things away. We were visited by a number of licensed Amateurs and many members of the public.

When the cyclists returned, some time after 4pm, I was able to make a radio connection with GB0SBC - Scarfskerry Baptist Church at Scarfskerry near Thurso, right at the top of Scotland. Scarfskerry boasts of being the most northerly Church on the mainland of the British Isles. Gary took the microphone and passed greetings messages to all the people present at the Skarfskerry site to the delight of all of our onlookers.



Aerial suspended from the Church Tower. Photo Ken G1NCG

Ray G3HRH operating with Vic G3NVB supervising. Photo Ken G1NCG

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Pictures: Revd. Rachel Noel.  Hover your mouse over the pictures to see the caption.