High Frequency (HF) Field Day

The High Frequency (HF) Field Day is a national ACO radio competition that take place several times per year.  Whilst it is led by the Air Cadets the CCF, SCC and ACF are invited to take part.

Plt Off Jon Barker paid a visit to the competition to see how cadets from 2507 (Bicester) were doing during the event and provides some insight to the competition.

“You get one point for each contact with a Sqn each channel – so you can talk to the same unit on each channel and claim the points.  I met the cadets at the Squadron on Sunday morning at 09:30, Cdt Morton, Walker & Harrison. None of them were qualified HF operators, but Walker has his VHF/UHF Operator and was Harrison’s first radio exercise. The squadron was using a Clansman PRC320 HF radio running 30W on a dipole antenna set up as an NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) antenna.  It is the old UK military radio used from the 1970’s right up until the Gulf War (and some of the reserve units still had them into the 2000s!)  We made contact with four other units during the competition – Newtown & Welshpool squadrons in mid-Wales, Andover Sqn in Hampshire and Bridlington School CCF in the East Riding of Yorkshire, who were the ultimate winners of the competition. As you may have seen, the top four places were separated by 4 points so it was a close call! The cadets all had a good day making their furthest (and in one case first) radio contact with another Sqn – the distance from Bicester to Bridlington is 156 miles! The competition was close with conditions very variable – sometimes there was pretty clear audio – at other times there was just the whoosh of white noise with the merest hint of a voice in the back ground! All the cadets took turns to be the operator – no staff operation is allowed and they all performed well.  And although we came fourth, we were complimented on having the neatest log!”

For those squadrons looking to enter you can find the rules in ACP 44, Chapter 9, Annex C & D and let’s try and get more squadrons from Thames Valley Wing to enter.