Former TRINITY LIGHT VESSEL 55, the ‘John Sebastian’, is moored in Bathurst Basin in the centre of Bristol and has her own postal address, namely: ‘The John Sebastian, Bathurst Basin, Bristol BS1 4RL’. However, there are some specific details that will be of interest to radio hams:

  • Lat/Long: 51.446579°,-2.595022°
  • IARU: IO81qk
  • IOTA: EU005 (UK Mainland)
  • WAB: ST57 – England

Google Map of Bathurst Basin

Introduction

Just before this years event we were on the verge of cancelling operations. Our hosts, the Cabot Cruising Club, received an official communication from the powers that be at Bristol City Council who had decided that along with closing most of the City Centre to traffic over the weekend to facilitate the Bristol Grand Prix cycle race on the Saturday and the HSBC sponsored “Let’s Ride” on the Sunday that they would also close Cumberland Road, Commercial Road and Wapping Road to traffic and pedestrians to allow a new bridge, which is presumably something to do with ever ongoing Metro Bus roadworks, to be lowered into place along side the existing Old Wapping Bridge.

Of course the official communication gave no indication of the works simply that these roads would be closed and that as a direct result vehicular access to the John Sebastian would not be possible at all over the entire weekend of the Lighthouses and Lightships weekend. Naturally our hosts were apologetic but as the matter was out of their hands and there was unlikely to be any Club members in Bathurst Basin they felt unable to accommodate us this year, a situation we sympathised with but which none the less was the likely results of the Councils actions.

The Council did promise that there would be alternative pedestrian access to the John Sebastian, although the Main Contractor working on the bridge works did their damnedest to make this as difficult as possible.

Fortunately the Cabot Cruising Club are nothing if not resilient and Vice Commodore Ben offered to walk into the John Sebastian at the start and end of both the Saturday and the Sunday to open up and let us on board and to close up and secure the ship when we packed up for the day. Our thanks go to The Cabot Cruising Club and Ben in particular for being prepared to put themselves out to this extent to allow our operation to continue.

So on the morning of the Saturday we assembled at a staging area off Gas Ferry Road near the SS Great Britain and transferred all of our equipment and as many people as possible to one car which was driven round to a loading/unloading point some 160m from the John Sebastian and the equipment was manhandled from there to the ship itself. We expected this to be straightforward since the City Council had provided a written assurance that there would be alternative pedestrian access to the John Sebastian. The only route to the John Sebastian from Guinea Street or Commercial Road involved walking through the Contractors compound on the site of the public pay and display car park adjacent to the former General Hospital Site.

Setting up the antennaAntenna Feedpoint at Full Height

With the equipment on site Mark M0SKV and Joe 2E0EIC made a start on setting up whilst Andy G7KNA returned the car to the staging area and walked back to Bathurst Basin along the dock front which continued to be open to pedestrians. These three were joined by Eddie M0LJT and Julian M0JCE.

Julien M0JCE and Joe 2E0EICAndy G7KNA logging, Mark M0SKV operating with Julien M0JCE and Joe 2E0EIC observing

The operation followed the principles of previous years, an 80m doublet was suspended from the top of the falgpole atop the lantern tower thanks to a convenient lanyard giving the feedpoint an elevation of some 20m above the water level. The ends of the doublet were brought back to the bow and stern of the vessel probably some 6m – 7m above the water level. For good measure an earth wire was slung over the side of the ship. The remaining equipment comprised:

  • Yeasu FT-991 HF/VHF/UHF Multimode transceiver
  • MFJ-934 manual ATU
  • Watson NF-22 Power Mite switchmode PSU

Not a particularly complex or high powered station we think you’ll agree, but quite practical when you consider the logistics of the weekend.

Mark M0SKV operating GB0CCC with Andy G7KNA logging

The bands were particularly problematic over the weekend, we lost count of the number of contacts who would be S9 on the first over and then disappear into the noise on the second over. This wasn’t helped by a high noise floor that we hadn’t experienced at this location in previous years. We don’t know if the increase in noise levels is a permanent thing we will have to deal with or something unique to this year. The differences between this and previous years can be summarised as follows:

  • The Foundry development now constructed;
  • Much of the General Hospital redevelopment is now completed and occupied;
  • New restaurants and bars on the ground floor of the General Hospital Redevelopment now open and trading;
  • Contractors compound on public pay and display car park with generator;
  • Bridge lifting operations and temporary traffic signals.

The first three items will be permanent so if these are the cause of the increased noise floor it is reasonable to assume that the situation will be permanent, however if the other items are the root cause or simply contributing to the problem then with a bit of luck next year will be better. Colleagues who were situated in quieter locations reported that on Sunday we were being called by a number of stateside stations that were audible on the outskirts of the City but inaudible to us.

Julian M0JCE operating GB0CCCJulian M0JCE operating GB0CCC

We had another issue on the Sunday, sometime around 14:00 a gas canister on board a boat just outside Bathhurst Basin exploded sinking the pleasure cruiser. More details on the story can be found on the BBC and other, websites. We were unaware of what the cause was but the Police helicopter spent some time low overhead which meant that we couldn’t practically operate as a result of the rotor noise.

Best DX of the weekend was probably Malta which is some 2,150km.

GB0CCC Log

Date Time (UTC) Station Worked Band or Freq'cy Mode RST Name QTH Notes
Sent Rec'd
19/08/17 11:03 LI5TA 20m SSB 57   Geih Borhaug NO0003 – Lista Lighthouse
19/08/17 11:08 EG1LWV 20m SSB 59 59   A Coruna ES0002 – Cabo Vilano
19/08/17 11:13 GB2SL 40m SSB 59 59   Yorkshire East Riding UK0080/UK0081 – Spurn Point Lighthouses High and Low
19/08/17 11:17 GW4GNY 40m SSB 59 59 Martin Welshpool  
19/08/17 11:23 G0ICE 40m SSB 59 59 Mac Cambridge  
19/08/17 11:27 G3OHC 40m SSB 59 59 Graham Guildford  
19/08/17 11:34 G8BZY 40m SSB 48 59 Denis Huddersfield  
19/08/17 11:35 G3YZY 40m SSB 59 59 Howard Waterlooville Portsmouth  
19/08/17 11:37 G0BFJ 40m SSB 59 59 Brian Huddersfield  
19/08/17 11:39 G4YMB 40m SSB 58 59 Mac Guisborough  
19/08/17 11:40 G3WRI 40m SSB 59 59 Paul Kendle  
19/08/17 11:43 G4LMZ 40m SSB 59 59 Martin Manchester  
19/08/17 11:47 M0VIE 40m SSB 59 59 Kevin Crewe  
19/08/17 11:52 M6MPN 40m SSB 58   Brian Weyland Lancashire  
19/08/17 11:54 G4PAC 40m SSB 59 59 Victor Bridport West Dorset  
19/08/17 11:56 OK1DOL 40m SSB 57 57 Libror Kozolupy  
19/08/17 11:58 ON4CCC 40m SSB 47   Mark Flanders  
19/08/17 11:59 G4WBV 40m SSB     Roger Sea Mills  
19/08/17 12:01 F5VIG 40m SSB 59 59 Mike Saint Servais  
19/08/17 12:07 MW1EPI 40m SSB 59 59 Dylan Isle of Anglsey  
19/08/17 12:10 G0NKZ 40m SSB 59 59 Ken Watchett  
19/08/17 12:19 ON7ERA 40m SSB 46 58 Marc Flanders Club Station – Eeklo Radio Amateurs
19/08/17 12:23 GB2TD 40m SSB       Anglesey UK0047 – Penmon/Trwyn Du
19/08/17 12:25 PI4DX 40m SSB 58 59 Erik Walsoorden Crew Contestgroep Zeeuwsvlaanderen
19/08/17 12:29 M0PER 40m SSB 59 57 Alan Chester  
19/08/17 12:34 GM4MTI 40m SSB 54 59 Donald Oban  
19/08/17 12:41 MM3PDM/M 40m SSB 57 59 Peter Peterhead  
19/08/17 12:44 GI0AZB 40m SSB 57 59 Ian NW Northern Irelend  
19/08/17 12:47 GM4NFI 40m SSB 57 57 Dave Fort William  
19/08/17 12:52 M0UCB 40m SSB 58 59 George Morpeth  
19/08/17 12:55 GB2LBN 40m SSB 59 58 Issy Dunbar UK0034 – Barns Ness Lighthouse
19/08/17 13:16 HB9BIN/P 20m SSB 59 59 Juerg    
19/08/17 13:51 GB2TNL 40m SSB 59 59 Richard Wilkhaven UK0151 – Tarbat Ness Lighthouse
19/08/17 14:22 DL8DZ 40m SSB 57 57 Wolfgang Meschede-Freienohl  
19/08/17 14:23 DL4JLM 40m SSB 58 58 Lars Oberdolling  
19/08/17 14:26 IK2IQD 40m SSB 59 59 Flavio    
19/08/17 14:27 F/G6LKB/P 40m SSB 57 59 David W Coast of France  
19/08/17 14:30 DB8AH 40m SSB 58   Heinz Alpen  
19/08/17 14:32 DL1YCG 40m SSB 57 59 Andreas Ickern  
19/08/17 14:34 EA2RC 40m SSB 59   Juan Bilbao  
19/08/17 14:40 F5RAG 40m SSB 59        
19/08/17 14:52 DM500RT 40m SSB 59 59   Warstein Special Amateur Radio Station on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the reformation in 2017
20/08/17 09:37 G3YSW 40m SSB 59 59 Nigel W of Brighton  
20/08/17 09:43 M0HEM 40m SSB 59 59 John Dagenham  
20/08/17 09:46 M0ICR 40m SSB     Carl Eastbury  
20/08/17 09:48 G1TDN 40m SSB 59 59 Trevor Hull  
20/08/17 09:53 GM0EKM 40m SSB 47 57 Cecil Sandwick Shetland  
20/08/17 09:54 F4CMS 40m SSB 59 59     Department 95
20/08/17 09:57 LX1JX 40m SSB 47   Jacquot Reuler  
20/08/17 10:08 GB6NT 40m SSB 59 59 Caroline Walton on the Naze UK0212 – Naze Tower
20/08/17 10:14 DA2010LH 20m SSB 58 55   Krummhoern DE0048 – Lighthouse Campen
20/08/17 10:47 GB2LMG 40m SSB 59 59   Cairngaan UK0086 – Mull of Galloway
20/08/17 10:50 M0TAZ 40m SSB 59 59 Dave Hornchurch  
20/08/17 10:51 G3UGC 40m SSB 59 59 Jack Lancashire  
20/08/17 10:57 GS4LAB/P 40m SSB 57 57 Dave Cromarty UK0202 – Cromarty Lighthouse
20/08/17 10:58 M0ECS 40m SSB 59 59 John Essex  
20/08/17 11:02 M1ULD 40m SSB 59 59 Jeff Newcastle  
20/08/17 11:03 M0XDX 40m SSB 57 59 Paul Lincolnshire  
20/08/17 11:06 G4AQA 40m SSB 59 59 Peter Hull  
20/08/17 11:07 M0ORH 40m SSB 59 59 Roy Hull  
20/08/17 11:08 G0SBW 40m SSB 57 58 Tom Clacton-on-Sea  
20/08/17 11:08 G4PDF 40m SSB 59 59 Bob Lincoln  
20/08/17 11:11 G3PRI 40m SSB 59 59 Dave Bishops Stortford  
20/08/17 11:15 2E0EIC 40m SSB 57 57 Joe Bristol  
20/08/17 11:16 G0PPQ 40m SSB 59 59 Peter W Yorkshire  
20/08/17 11:18 PA5KK 40m SSB 59 59 Klaas Schagen  
20/08/17 11:18 M0HNL 40m SSB 57 59 Bob York  
20/08/17 11:21 DK9JI 40m SSB 57 59 Alfons Dingden  
20/08/17 11:23 GM4NNC 40m SSB 57 59 Trig Dumfries  
20/08/17 11:24 EI2WRC/P 40m SSB 59 59 David Churchtown Co Wexford IE0003 – Hook Head Lighthouse
20/08/17 11:28 MI0TMW 40m SSB 59 59 Merv County Antrim  
20/08/17 11:30 M0CBQ 40m SSB 59 59 Bill Lincolnshire  
20/08/17 11:32 GB2WLH 40m SSB 59 59 David Withernsea UK0013 – Withernsea Lighthouse
20/08/17 11:34 M0KBH 40m SSB 59 59 Nigel Ashby NE Lincolnshire  
20/08/17 11:40 G0TNF/P 40m SSB 59 59 Micheal Penrith  
20/08/17 11:42 M0KLK 40m SSB 59 59 Bill Isle of Sheppey  
20/08/17 11:44 EI7HDB 40m SSB 59 59 Dale Co Carlow  
20/08/17 11:46 G3VCG 40m SSB 59 59 Don Chelmsford Essex  
20/08/17 11:50 GB2EVR 40m SSB 57 57 Mike Cumbria  
20/08/17 11:52 G8OO 40m SSB 59 59 Alan Norwich  
20/08/17 11:53 G0GWY 40m SSB 59 59 Jeff Lincolnshire WAB Square SE90
20/08/17 11:55 G0IAG 40m SSB 59 59 Tony Peterborough  
20/08/17 11:57 G0HLL 40m SSB 59 59 Ron Leicester  
20/08/17 12:00 G3NRD 40m SSB 58 57 Don 8 miles from Lands End  
20/08/17 12:01 G4ZRP 40m SSB 59 59 Brian Wirral Peninsula WAB SJ28
20/08/17 12:04 G4AUQ 40m SSB 59 59 Fred Hull  
20/08/17 12:06 M0PWC/A 40m SSB 57 59 Paul Stoke on Trent  
20/08/17 12:09 2E0GBK 40m SSB 59 59 Keith Leatherhead WAB TQ15
20/08/17 12:10 G0FHR/M 40m SSB 57 59 Dave M25 South of London approaching the Dartford Tunnel  
20/08/17 12:13 G4RGV 40m SSB 59 59 John Gatwick  
20/08/17 12:15 GB0NL 40m SSB 59 59 Kevin Newhaven UK0196 – Newhaven Lighthouse
20/08/17 12:16 GB8SL 40m SSB 59 59 Pete Shoreham-by-Sea UK0023 – Shoreham Lighthouse
20/08/17 12:18 G4AWJ 40m SSB 59 59 Gordon Heathfield  
20/08/17 12:21 M6HCU 40m SSB 59 59 Paul Leicester  
20/08/17 12:24 2E0EII/P 40m SSB     John Thurmaston  
20/08/17 12:25 2E0KKM 40m SSB   59 Kevin Kings Lynn  
20/08/17 12:27 G0IJM 40m SSB 59 59 John Leicester  
20/08/17 12:31 G0DRM 40m SSB 59 59 David Nantwich  
20/08/17 12:33 G4RKB 40m SSB   59 Nial Colchester  
20/08/17 12:34 MM0ERK 40m SSB 57 59 Brian Farnell WAB NO65
20/08/17 12:36 G4TQE 40m SSB 59 59 John Oswestry  
20/08/17 12:40 G4BQJ 40m SSB 59 59 Allan Warrington  
20/08/17 12:46 M0XGS 40m SSB 57   Gary Westhoughton  
20/08/17 12:49 G0JPX 40m SSB 59 59 Roy    
20/08/17 12:52 GD0BFN 40m SSB     Jon Douglas  
20/08/17 12:56 GW6STK 40m SSB 59 59 Robert Colwyn Bay  
20/08/17 13:18 G8YWK 40m SSB 58 59 Bill Newcastle-upon-Tyne  
20/08/17 13:31 GB0HL 40m SSB 57 59   Norwich UK0007 – Happisburgh Lighthouse
20/08/17 13:37 GB4WL 40m SSB 59 59   Whitgift UK0113 – Whitgift Lighthouse
20/08/17 14:00 9H3AY 20m SSB 59 59 Jeff Gozo  
20/08/17 14:47 HB9EOU 20m SSB 59 57 Ludo Chaux-de-fonds