Former TRINITY LIGHT VESSEL 55, now renamed the ‘John Sebastian’ in honour of Bristol’s famous explorers, 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”. She is now the home to the Cabot Cruising Club who have produced an interesting history document covering her past service. However, there are some specific details that will be of interest to radio hams:

  • Lat/Long (WGS84 Geoid): 51.446579°,-2.595022°
  • IARU: IO81qk
  • IOTA: EU005 (UK Mainland)
  • WAB: ST57 – England
  • OSGR: ST587721
  • ILLW Reference: UK0176

Following a hiatus in 2020 as a direct result of the COVID pandemic it was pleasing to be able to return to our friends at the Cabot Cruising Club to once again activate Former Lightvessel 55 as UK0176 in the International Lighthouses and Lighships on the Air weekend coinciding with the Association of Lighthouse Keepers International Lighthouse Heritage Weekend.

QSL Card

Equipment wise, not a lot has changed from previous outings:

  • Nissei DPS-300 30A linear power supply
  • Yaesu FT-991 HF/VHF/UHF 100W multi-mode transceiver
  • MFJ 993 IntelliTuner
  • 80m doublet antenna fed with 450Ω ladder line
  • Behringer Xenyx 302 USB audio mixer
  • Logitech amplified speakers
  • Acer Aspire 8942 Laptop running KLog under Ubuntu Studio 21.04

Station Equipment

The purpose of the mixer is to isolate the person operating the transceiver from the surrounding discussions. We have found over the course of many Special Event operations that as soon as a few people gather around the radio and hold a discussion or have the set-up and operation explained to them that the person operating the radio can no longer concentrate on the QSO or struggles to hear weak signals over the local chatter in the operating post.

Whilst a pair of headphones allows the operator to be isolated from the surrounding conversation should this prove necessary it also removes one side of the QSO from the observer and, significantly, requires the person logging to also wear headphones or rely on scribbled notes from the person operating. Either situation is undesirable particularly when the onlookers can’t hear half of the exchange. The mixer allows the transceivers headphone output to be fed into the mixer and a separate headphone feed to be sent to the operator with a master output going to the powered speakers. Both have separate volume controls and now the operator can, when necessary, isolate themselves from the surrounding environment but those in the surrounding environment, especially the person logging, can still hear the incoming signals. We use a similar arrangement on Field Day but in this case when two separate operating posts are in close proximity both outputs are fed to separate headphones for the operator and the logger.

The weather forecast wasn’t looking great on the lead-up to the ILLW weekend, however the forecast of Friday suggested that the predicted heavy rain would arrive in the west country overnight and move eastward so that by the time we were expecting to setup on Saturday morning we should, at worst, only experience the tail end of the rainfall.

Wrong! The anticipated heavy rain arrived in the morning, possibly around 06:00 and continued with periods of apocalyptic intensities right through our set-up. For those of us setting up the indoor station this wasn’t so terrible, however both Mark M0SKV and Joe 2E0EIC braved the heaviest of the rain to get the 80m doublet in position getting seriously soaked in the process. So much so that Mark suggested we should go on line and apply for a new SES Callsign of GB0SSS (soggy soggy soggy or triple soggy) instead of GB0CCC (Cabot Cruising Club)! Kudos to both gentlemen for their dedication to the cause.

It is hoped that Sunday will be drier but as this section is being composed around 19:00 BST on Saturday 21 August 2021 the heavens have once again opened so we might very well have to operate from within the cabin on Sunday rather than returning to our usual external operating position.

We were graced with a number of members throughout the Saturday, in no particular order:

  • Joe 2E0EIC
  • Dave G0DPW
  • Dave G4ULV
  • Ken G4XCB
  • Andy G7KNA
  • Eddie M0LJT
  • Dave M7BBN
  • Greg M7BUF

Some of the Saturday Team L-to-R: Dave M7BBN, Dave G0DPW, Mark M0SKV, Greg M7BUF and Andy G7KNA. Photo by Eddie M0LJT

We also managed to work club members: Eddie M0LJT and Ray G3IOI on ground wave during the morning. We made 55 contacts on the Saturday on a mix of 80m, 40m and 20m. We did experiment with a couple of other bands such as 10m and 17m but these were not favouring us with propagation, were sparsely populated or weren’t very efficient with our antenna. As well as the usual inter-G traffic we also worked into Europe and made a couple of contacts into the USA.

Sunday did indeed see finer weather and we gambled on setting up in our regular external location on the stern of the boat. Although the weather was really conducive to outdoor “al fresco” dining some aspects didn’t work as well as they had indoors yesterday. Amongst these were the following:

  1. The little and much vaunted colour touch screen on the FT-991 was more or less unreadable in sunlight, this situation might have improved as the sun changed position during the day but it was a problem. In fact this is clearly a design flaw in a rig that is the obvious descendant of the much loved FT-897D and is clearly intended for casual picnic table operation to have a screen that is unreadable in direct sunlight, and especially when the screen forms such an integral part of the operation of the rig is quite simply incomprehensible. We hope Icom have considered this situation in the recently launched IC-705!
  2. The laptop screen was suffering a similar situation, it is noticeable that “ruggedised” laptops such as the venerable Panasonic Toughbook have much increased display brightness to allow operation in sunlight conditions. A typical laptop might have a screen brightness of around 200 nits whereas the Toughbook, designed for outdoor use runs 1100 nits and has coatings to reduce reflections. Would we like a Panasonic Toughbook, of course we would but our current Acer was gifted to us by a responsible local business (thank you Clarkebond) and therefore we work with what we have! This of course harks back to point 1 above, perhaps Yaesu could take a leaf out of Panasonic’s book when they next upgrade the FT-991A.
  3. Perhaps most significantly we noticed that the noise floor was much higher than on Saturday. Working from inside the lightship we were blessed on Saturday with a low noise floor, only around an S2. Today saw us battling with S5 noise levels. By no means debilitating but of interest. We played with the routing of the 450Ω ladder line different ways from the lantern tower with limited effect and we wondered if the CCTV camera, Wi-Fi antenna and metal mast were contributing to the problem. A decision was taken to re-site the station back inside the upper deck saloon to replicate Saturday’s set-up which was swiftly completed but there was very little discernible difference so we concluded that:
    1. The CCTV camera wasn’t contributing to the noise floor on the stern of the vessel;
    2. The Wi-Fi antenna wasn’t contributing to the noise floor on the stern of the vessel;
    3. The metal mast that these items were attached to wasn’t unbalancing the ladder line feeder; and
    4. Whatever we were experiencing was most probably atmospheric

Despite the good weather we decided not to reverse our decision to move indoors and eschewed life in the open air and “al fresco” operating in general and continued to operate from the upper saloon.

On Sunday some of the Saturday Team returned and we were joined by some who were unable to attend on the Saturday, in no particular order on site were:

  • Joe 2E0EIC
  • Ken G4XCB
  • Andy G7KNA
  • Dave M7BBN
  • Greg M7BUF
  • Ken M7MYU

Sunday OperatingBehind the Scenes

GB0CCC Log 2021

Date (UTC) Time (UTC) Station Worked Band or Frequency Mode RST Name QTH Notes
Sent Rec’d
21/08/21 10:08 G4JXK 80m SSB 59 59 Dave    
21/08/21 10:10 G0UYN 80m SSB 59 59 Malcolm Isle of Wight  
21/08/21 10:20 M0PTZ 80m SSB 59 59   20 miles north of Southampton  
21/08/21 10:22 2E0UAC 80m SSB 59 59 Martin Coventry  
21/08/21 10:28 GW0KIG 80m SSB 59 59 Kevin Merthyr Tydfill  
21/08/21 10:32 M0FAQ/M 80m SSB 59 59 Martin    
21/08/21 10:35 M7BUE 80m SSB 59 59 Ian Stoke  
21/08/21 10:37 G0BFG 80m SSB 59 59 Brian West Yorkshire  
21/08/21 10:44 G7RSO 80m SSB 59 59 Keith Salisbury  
21/08/21 10:46 M6OVN 80m SSB 59 59 Glyn Salisbury  
21/08/21 10:48 G3TOI 80m SSB 57 59 Mike Bournemouth  
21/08/21 10:58 GW4FOI 80m SSB 59 59 John    
21/08/21 10:59 G0NEV 80m SSB 59 59 Michael Weymouth  
21/08/21 11:02 G6ASK 80m SSB 59 59 Jon 25 miles west of Taunton  
21/08/21 11:07 G3IOI 80m SSB 59 59 Ray Bristol  
21/08/21 11:13 G0NED 80m SSB 59 59 Eric Stoke on Trent  
21/08/21 11:14 M0NMI 80m SSB 59 59 David 10 miles north of Swindon  
21/08/21 11:18 G4AHO 80m SSB 58 59 Ken Bromsgrove  
21/08/21 11:27 G1KTM 80m SSB 59 59 Dave Melton Mowbry  
21/08/21 11:31 M0RMW 80m SSB 55 52 Roger Selby  
21/08/21 11:33 G4UIX 80m SSB 59 59 Pete Weymouth  
21/08/21 11:36 M0OYH 80m SSB 59 59      
21/08/21 11:48 GB2TNL 40m SSB 59 59 Angus Tarbat Ness UK0151
21/08/21 11:55 GB5BL 40m SSB 59 59 Dave Blackhead Light UK0032
21/08/21 12:14 GD1JNB 40m SSB 59 59 Peter Douglas  
21/08/21 12:22 PA6URK 80m SSB 59 59 Ari Urk lighthouse NL0013
21/08/21 12:26 DL4YAR 20m SSB 55 57      
21/08/21 12:29 GB0CSL 20m SSB 59 59 William Covesea Skerries Light UK0204
21/08/21 12:35 N8II 20m SSB 53 56   West Virgina  
21/08/21 12:36 GM1YQH 20m SSB 59 59 Mike Isle of Orkney  
21/08/21 12:43 GM1BAN 20m SSB 59 59      
21/08/21 12:47 GM0OTS 20m SSB 59 59 Bill Murry Firth  
21/08/21 12:51 IZ2XDK 20m SSB 59 59 Pier North Italy  
21/08/21 12:52 DL1BSH 20m SSB 57 59      
21/08/21 12:53 OS8D 20m SSB 59 59   Brussels International Airport  
21/08/21 12:56 LA6IRA 20m SSB 59 59 Karl Stavangah  
21/08/21 12:58 OE2KGL 20m SSB 55 57      
21/08/21 13:00 YL2SW 20m SSB 59 59 Val    
21/08/21 13:01 DL8BDT 20m SSB 57 58   Hamburg  
21/08/21 13:03 AA1VX 20m SSB 53 55 Dave Massatusists  
21/08/21 13:05 RX3AMI 20m SSB 53        
21/08/21 13:07 MM3UBB 20m SSB 57 59      
21/08/21 13:14 HB9CCL 20m SSB 59 59 Rudy    
21/08/21 13:19 M0LJT 20m SSB 59 59 Eddie Bristol  
21/08/21 13:22 IK3VUT 20m SSB 57 59 Luca NE Italy  
21/08/21 13:23 DC3SW 20m SSB 55 58 Horst    
21/08/21 13:26 HB9CYN 20m SSB 55 59 Martin Bern  
21/08/21 13:36 IK8HEE 20m SSB 58 59 Tonion Naples  
21/08/21 13:41 G4EJH 20m SSB 59 59 Keith Portishead  
21/08/21 14:36 M0IOC 40m SSB 59 59 Steve County of Durham  
21/08/21 14:39 GB0CSL 40m SSB 59 59 William Covesea Skerries Light UK0204
21/08/21 14:43 GI4DQT 40m SSB 59 59 Sean Belfast  
21/08/21 14:44 DL1BFR 40m SSB 59 59      
21/08/21 14:48 GB0NHL 40m SSB 59 59   Noss Head UK0039
21/08/21 14:52 GM0VXA 40m SSB 59 58 Paul Motherwell  
22/08/21 00:25 IQ6SB 20m SSB 59 59   San Benedetto del Tronto IT0009
22/08/21 10:16 G4ZIB 80m SSB 59 59 Tony Worcestershire  
22/08/21 10:20 GW0JLX 80m SSB 59 59 Eddie West Wales  
22/08/21 10:47 G1YOY 40m SSB 59 59 Jason    
22/08/21 10:50 PA/DL1KVN 40m SSB 59 57   Old Kraggenburg NL0010
22/08/21 10:52 DJ2FL 40m SSB 57 58   Cologne  
22/08/21 10:54 GB2ELH 40m SSB 59 59 Tony Eshaness Lighthouse UK0058
22/08/21 10:59 ON4CCC 40m SSB 59 59 Mark    
22/08/21 11:01 F8IGD 40m SSB 59 59      
22/08/21 11:02 M0LJT 40m SSB 59 59 Eddie BRISTOL  
22/08/21 11:03 MM3PDM/M 40m SSB 59 59      
22/08/21 11:05 MM7JMI 40m SSB 59 58 Davy    
22/08/21 11:07 GM0IFM 40m SSB 59 59      
22/08/21 11:09 DB8BG 40m SSB 59 59      
22/08/21 11:11 DL1YAR 40m SSB 59 59      
22/08/21 11:13 GM5JET 40m SSB 59 59 Duncan    
22/08/21 11:15 G4FJH 40m SSB 59 59 Dave HANHAM  
22/08/21 11:17 DJ1BWH 40m SSB 59 59 Bridgitte HEMER  
22/08/21 11:20 GM0NAE 40m SSB 59 59 Jim    
22/08/21 11:22 EI0SW 40m SSB 59 59   Old Head of Kinsale IE0007
22/08/21 11:26 M0KMI 40m SSB 59 59 Ken Bristol  
22/08/21 11:29 MM7CEH 40m SSB 59 59 Clark    
22/08/21 11:33 GM4JYB 40m SSB 59 59 Brian Wick  
22/08/21 11:35 G8HBS 40m SSB 57 59 Peter GREAT YARMOUTH  
22/08/21 11:37 DL2JX 40m SSB 57 58      
22/08/21 11:39 DL7CO 40m SSB 57 57      
22/08/21 11:44 DL8FQ 40m SSB 59 58 Rolf Homburg  
22/08/21 11:46 GM8ZEQ 40m SSB 59 59 Margaret Aberdeen  
22/08/21 11:48 PA6FUN 40m SSB 59 59   HARLINGEN LIGHTHOUSE  
22/08/21 11:54 GD3ZZN 40m SSB 59 59 Martyn Port Erin  
22/08/21 11:57 EI6JK 40m SSB 59 59 Mark Galway  
22/08/21 12:03 PD3RL 40m SSB 59 59 Alex Northern part of Netherlands  
22/08/21 12:06 M0HEM 40m SSB 43 57 John DAGENHAM ESSEX  
22/08/21 12:33 DK0RA 40m SSB 59 59   Altenbruch Unterfeuer Old / Dicke Berta DE0050
22/08/21 12:39 F4IPT 40m SSB 57 58 Didier    
22/08/21 12:57 9A5O 20m SSB 59 59 Sado North West Croatia  
22/08/21 13:06 IP1T 20m SSB 59 59   Sanvenerio IT0021
22/08/21 13:27 IQ4RA 20m SSB 59 59 Marco Marina di Ravenna IT0028
22/08/21 13:45 DC3CC 40m SSB 59 59 Frank West Germany  
22/08/21 13:53 EO70RUL 40m SSB 59 59 Yuri Chernigov  
22/08/21 14:07 M0RCE 40m SSB 59 59 Gary    
22/08/21 14:18 IK8GCZ 20m SSB 59 59      
22/08/21 14:20 LY5O 20m SSB 55 55 Bro    
22/08/21 14:24 EA5XV 20m SSB 59 59      
22/08/21 14:31 OH3GZ 20m SSB 59 59 Jack