International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend 17/8/19 – 18/8/19.
The Old Low Light
The Old Low Light is a Grade 2 listed building, the oldest surviving, occupied building on North Shields Fish Quay. It began life as a lighthouse, belonging to Trinity House of Newcastle upon Tyne and was enclosed by Clifford’s Fort in 1672. In the early 19th century, it was converted into an Almshouse and during the 20th century was used as a training establishment for the Deep Sea Fisheries Association and later the Maritime Volunteer Service. It stands within the Fish Quay Conservation Area, is owned by North Tyneside Council and leased to Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust.
For more information regarding the Old Low Light have a look at their web page; http://oldlowlight.co.uk/
With some of the preliminary work done the previous day several members of the club were at the Old Low Light, North Shields early on Saturday morning to complete the final set up of the radios and antennas. Two stations were set up on Saturday morning with FT8 and CW kicking the day off.
The event has generated a lot of interest and interaction from the public and two new potential club members, we have spent time showing people how the stations set ups work and have shown them the various modes available. Conditions not good at our location today but the interaction and interest from the public has been brilliant, we have also had a couple of old ex members turn up to say hello, Terry, Rick and Tom.
Glen, Graham and Tony were back at the Old Low Light early the following morning and put the antennas back up to start day two. FT8 was up and running with contacts being made from the off, listening on SSB there were a few stations being heard but not many.
The weekend was hard work from a radio perspective, perhaps this was down to conditions or was there interference in the premises causing problems for us, we need to go back and do some checking.
From the point of view of the Low Lights it was considered a great success and they enjoyed having us at the premises and we enjoyed the welcome that we received. The interaction with members of the public was also very good with most of them taking time to find out about what we were doing.
73’s Graham M0GAE
Early in 2018 the club was contacted by artist Sian Hutchings who was in her first year of a masters degree in fine arts at Northumbria University, Newcastle and she wanted some help with a project that was going to come to a head with an event at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead on the 15th March.
The club is no stranger to working with artists having previously been involved with the Waygood group and an event called Scatter in the AV08 Festival involving artist Marco Pelijhan again at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in 2008.
Anyway Sian’s project centered around the ‘Voyager Golden Record’ which were two phonograph records that were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. The records contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them. The records are considered as a sort of a time capsule.
Sian wanted to update the recordings stating that she considered the recordings didn’t reflect the way we live in the 21st century and weren’t a true reflection of modern society.
At the meeting Sian outlined her idea to update the golden record and Glen and I told her how we could help which basically meant that we would be able to transmit her recordings, also we would be able to let her see the transmission via an SDR radio receiver but this would all be dependant on whereabouts in the Baltic we would be based in relation to siting antennas. A follow up meeting at the Baltic was arranged and I took a dual band 2m/70cm antenna to show Sian what we might use as Glen thought that 70cm might be a better frequency to use as trying to find another amateur on the band was as likely as finding teeth in a hen and it therefore hopefully wouldn’t cause any disruption to what Sian wanted to do, also it is a frequency that is suited to satellite (space) communication. We also took along a couple of radios to test the suitability of the location. We were to be sited on the first floor and there weren’t a lot of options for feeding coax to the exterior and then onto the roof to feed antennas, it was decided to set up in the outside lobby area and fire the radio signal out of the glass windows running the full height of the building. This would be an easier option as we were right in the heart of the building and all other options quite frankly would have been a nightmare to sort out.