Dorking & District Radio Society

A few miles North West of Dorking, over Ranmore, is the famous Polesden Lacey house and gardens. Each September the National Trust opens it free of charge to visitors as part of the national Heritage Open Days initiative. For a few years now we have been privileged to set up and operate a special event station in the landscaped grounds. This is the view from our 2017 location.

In 2017 we again obtained use of the GB0NT special event callsign, and put on a station in a marquee close to the front of the house. The open day proved very popular with visitors, many of whom visited our display of vintage radio equipment and discussed the contemporary practice of the hobby. We also welcomed members of other local radio clubs, some of whom contributed their own equipment and joined in the operation of the station.

We erected a VHF vertical antenna and a G5RV between two trees. An inverted-V with groundplane was also erected to experiment with near-vertical incidence skywave propagation (NVIS). Alongside a 2 metre station, the club's new software-defined radio was used effectively for HF and there was also a CW station with various types of keys.

In 2012, when we first set up a station here, a commemorative QSL card was produced, shown here. Back then it was assumed to be a one-off station, however it has continued to be popular as an annual event with both the club, the National Trust and the public. Over the years various collections of early radio equipment have been displayed, in some cases relating specifically to what would have been in operation at Polesden Lacey in its heyday, thanks to Ken (M3CFC) and Jon (G0GNA).

Members of the club also sometimes meet at the bottom of the overflow car park to set up a portable station. Contact Roger Humphreys if you wish to join in; for an evening meeting you will need to arrive by 6pm as there is an exit-only barrier in operation.

One such occasion was on the evening of Tuesday 3rd July. It was hot - even at 10pm. Tom Ellinor (pictured) took part in the RSGB contest as G8GYX, and worked 70 stations, including several across the North Sea.

Mike Eade, 2E0ESU, was using a vertical whip and worked Europe with ease; and best of all into VP8 (Falklands Islands)!

A scheduled Top Band test with Paul Ives, G3FIW, was a partial success. John Kelly, G3YGG, was able to give him 5-9-9 on CW but only R3 and S3/4 on AM. No other stations worked John or Paul on top band, which was very noisy with static.