In the Northern hemisphere, on or around the 21st of June we experience the longest day of the year with the sun raising at before 5a.m. and setting after 9p.m. However, it all depends on where you sit on earth, for other parts, in the south pole for example things are a little different with no daylight at this time of the year. This year, June 21st was also the day of the IRTS 80 Meter counties contest with around eighty stations participating from twenty-eight counties.
AREN was also participating with EI0RTS on the air and transmitting from the Civil Defense Head Office at Roscrea and operated by Ger EI4GXB and Keith EI4JM with Paul EI2CA and Gerry EI8CC acting as Hosts and Seamus EI8BP as PRO. AREN’s purpose was to demonstrate the national and international communications capability using amateur radio equipment. Visiting the station were representatives from the Departments of Communications, Defense, Foreign Affairs, Civil Defense and Emergency Planning.
From locations around the country AREN stations were relaying message in the IARU format, Tim EI5GPB, Charlie EI8JB and Laurent EI9JV were among them, also Paul EI3ENB was demonstrating low power portable station from Kilkenny, ATV and Field Day operation was being demonstrated by Thos E2JD and DunDalk ARC from Clougherhead, Co. Louth. Other well known Irish DXer’s assisting with the International Communications aspect of the demonstration include John EI7BA, Dave EI9FBB, Adrian EI8CE, Declan EI9FVB.
Messages were received from both ends of the Country only thirty five minutes after the contest had began. As part of the International communications demonstration 20 stations were worked on 20m including Canada and Israel. Conditions were excellent with no noise on the band. Antenna for this demo was 20m wire dipole at 6m high, just to show the capability of simple equipment and antennas. We also had other EI dxers call EI0HQ to report what international stations they had worked during the hour. This was impressive with propagation routes to Asia, Central and South America, Canada, North Africa and Europe. The stations callsigns were displayed as an overlay on a rotating Google Map which was excellent and a must for future demo/special event station stations. The 80m Contest ran very well we worked 70 stations in 26 Counties, though we heard that 28 at least were active. Conditions were good with strong signals and little noise. At the end of the ‘exercise’ a number of stations called in to give their claimed QSO total and counties worked, so we had an immediate idea as to what activity was like. Also, to round it off Ger, EI4GXB gave an excellent demonstration of APRS to the assembled audience.