For the final time in 2019, EXERCISE BLUE HAM 19-3 was run using the 5MHz (60Mtrs) Shared Band from fourteen different locations around the UK, many of the stations being manned by RAF Air Cadets during the event with two Sea Cadet Units joining in; local Cadets from No’s 51 (Orton) and 115 (Peterborough) attended to operate the Central and East Region Radio Station.
We have previously run the Blue Ham exercise during October with some fairly good results but this year working conditions were on our side. As this exercise has grown in popularity over the years the regular Amateur operators provided many /P (portable) stations and made the effort to get out an enjoy some fresh air and at times wet and windy weather; this does give them an opportunity to deploy different antenna configurations which they normally would not use at their home location. Over the weekend most exchanges (QSO’s) were by microphone but we did have some exchanges using PSK31 and Olivia Signal 16/500 on the band which proved to be a good alternative and maybe the Mode to use in the future if you have not tried it out especially if conditions are not going to be workable.
Operating conditions proved good to reasonable across the UK with Central & East Team managing 70 contacts in the six hours of operating, nationally some 1197 contacts being logged onto the ‘Alphacharlie’ online Logger page, this exceeds what has previously been recorded. Some 32 Callsigns have claimed their PDF Certificates which have been already emailed out to those that have requested them, many thanks to the amateurs for taking the time to make contacts with the special assigned ‘MRE’ callsigns.
All of the Cadets gained a great deal of operating time during the exercise; one cadet said “Great exercise this year enjoyed by every Cadet at my unit that participated in it over the two days, this is our first year taking part as a Squadron as we have just set up our brand-new HF radio equipment, what an experience for us”. Another cadet said” I enjoyed working as a small team during the exercise, either logging, using the mic or looking the callsign up on the internet, overall we learnt a lot and I would certainly attend again”.
Here is a taste of some of the feedback which has come into the Blue Ham email address: –
“I enjoyed working the cadet stations today on 5MHz with their excellent operating standards. I would like to try to make some data contacts using Olivia 16/500 mode tomorrow Sunday 12th October on 5368 kHz. Many thanks! I have made a successful Olivia QSO with MRE84 already on 5366.5 kHz, so very good to see some data activity. Blue Ham very busy this year. Steve G4HPE”
“Please find attached log of contacts. I have been very impressed with the level of competence shown by the participating cadets. Pete M5ABN”
“I took part in you Exercise Blue Ham over the weekend and made the required number of contacts to obtain a certificate, I must say how good the cadets are on the air with their radio operating skills, very professional. I would like to thank you for all your hard work that you must have put in on the Exercise Blue Ham. Robert G0UOI”
“Our club members enjoyed working your Air Cadets, thank them for their hard work this weekend and we wish them all the very best in their future careers! This is the third time we have done Blue Ham and activity was noticeably up, and it was great to hear some of the younger cadets becoming more confident over the air as time went on. Congratulations and you will be proud of them working to become the best they can be. One day we may welcome some of them into the Amateur Radio ranks. Richard (Sec) – Isle of Avalon ARC MX0IOA”
Due to the popularity of the exercise you will be pleased to know that we will be running Exercise Blue Ham 20-1 again in March 2020, please check out https://alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham for the latest information on the date and the QSO exchange information – this does change depending which exercise is taking place
If you are keen on sharing your radio knowledge and experience with the young people then why not look into joining one of the cadet organisations local to you as a Volunteer more details are available at:-
Edited by Flt Lt David Webb RAFAC MØSKT – Blue Ham Exercise Co-Ordinator