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EI6YXQ Ireland flag Ireland

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QSL: via EI1K or EI9FVB

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***Updates will be added to this page, so please scroll down to read the latest news on the station***

https://secure.clublog.org/logsearch/EI6YXQ

Members of Kerry Amateur Radio Group have the privilege of transmitting from the Marconi site at Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, where the very first transatlantic voice transmission from Ireland to Nova Scotia was made thus bridging the Atlantic, at the Marconi Station in March 1919.

Members of Kerry Amateur Radio Group operate from the site of the original Marconi Station annually for International Marconi Day. Currently on the site of the original Marconi station is an Irish language residential training college called Colaiste Bhreanainn. This college offers the opportunity to boys and girls aged 11 to 17 years, to learn the native Irish language in a very encouraging, friendly and comfortable surroundings, on the edge of the bustling town of Ballybunion, County Kerry, with its fantastic beaches. KARG would like to thank the management of Colaiste Bhreanainn for their kind permission to use this fantastic location.

John J O'Carroll, EI6AH, now SK, and other Radio Experimenters have operated from this Marconi site for many years on International Marconi Day, and it is our privilege now to keep John's legacy going, by continuing to operate from this site on the annual International Marconi Day. 

 

A little History about Marconi and Ballybunion

Site of the first east to west trans-Atlantic radio telephony transmission

From Ballybunion was established the first wireless telephonic communication from east to west across the Atlantic in March 1919 using the call sign YXQ.

Communication was attempted in one direction only with the Sending Apparatus located at Ballybunion and the Receiving Apparatus at Louisburg, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Today, while nothing remains of the original station, local radio experimenters in conjunction with the local County Council, have erected a commemorative stone with plaque on part of the 72 acre site.

The Marconi Company chose Ballybunion, like Clifden and many other locations in Ireland, because of its flat land area, the nearest mountain area being twenty-five miles away, and because of its direct line to the USA. 

The Company bought seventy-two acres of land from the landlord, Mr. George Hewson, and the construction work was begun in April 1912. 

Material for the construction came by train from Listowel, some ten miles from the site, using the famous Lartigue Monorail to Ballybunion where it was then transported some 1000 yards by horse and dray to the station site.

The big engine for the power house, which came in sections, had to be brought by road, hauled by steam engine from Listowel because the Lartigue Monorail could not cope with the immense weight and bulk of this engine. It took three weeks to travel the ten miles from Listowel to Ballybunion, and in places the road had to be steel-plated to cater for the load. The contractors of the station building were Humphrey's Limited of London, who employed over 100 people on site.

The aerial consisted of seven masts, the center mast being 500 feet in height and the other six were 300 feet high. These were umbrella-shaped and worked well. At approximately eight o'clock one stormy evening, before completion of the center mast, the wind caused this steel construction with supporting guy wires to collapse, pulling the guy wires from their housings. The noise of the carnage was heard for miles around!

The second time, the mast was constructed of pine wood, as were the other six. This was a great achievement for one engineer and local labour. The base of the center mast took 18 tons of concrete, and the others 15 tons each. The site also contained a miniature railway to transport materials between the power house and the transmitting station, situated about one quarter of a mile away to prevent noise interference. The workforce was paid in gold sovereigns, well remembered locally.

By 1914, the station was in full operation and was controlled during the period of the Great War by the Royal Navy who also trained some local young men as wireless operators in preparation for peacetime traffic from Ballybunion. 

In 1918, after the end of the War, many experiments were conducted at Ballybunion to update equipment and in March 1919 the first telephony transmitter was installed using a power of 2.5 Kwatts. The first person to use the microphone from Ballybunion and be heard on the other side of the Atlantic in Nova Scotia, was Marconi engineer Mr. W.T.Ditcham. His voice was the first to be heard from Europe to America, and the wavelength was 3,800 Metres.

Communication was attempted in one direction only with the transmitter at Ballybunion and the receiver at Louisburg, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. 

The principal objective of the test was to prove that with the combination of the oscillating valve transmitter and the modern Marconi valve receiver, only a small amount of power was required to transmit telephonic or telegraphic messages across the Atlantic. 

The tests also provided some data on what would be required for commercial operation over such a range. The objectives were successfully attained.

During its years of operation, Ballybunion had military protection by the Leinster Regiment, handling a lot of traffic - both civil and marine. After the war it was to be used as a means of coastal communication with shipping etc, but owing to the Civil War in Ireland, it was decided to dismantle the station.

The young men who trained at Ballybunion got positions in wireless stations around the Irish coast, including Valencia; the newly-formed radio station 2RN in Dublin; PYE Ireland Limited etc. Some local men went to Rosyth in Scotland to re-install the big engine to supply power to a factory over there.

The station building was constructed with pine and unfortunately it burnt down many years ago. The local Irish College, Collaiste Naomh Brendainn, now stands on the actual site of the Marconi Station House, and a housing development - appropriately named Marconi Avenue - has been erected on the site. At the entrance to the site now stands a plaque in commemoration to this historic era in the development of radio communication.

In reminiscence, local people speak of the thud of the big flywheel and of the leather drive belts that flapped as they drove the generator. On clear, frosty nights the sound carried for miles. The flywheel - 30 feet in diameter - was housed half underground. 

The big engine was later replaced with a petrol driven generator which produced 12,000 volts for the new valves designed by the Marconi Company, known as the Type M.T.I and which were used for many of the experiments at Ballybunion. 

It is interesting to note that the signal from the station was heard very clearly via a small frame aerial 6 feet square using a Type 55 Receiver at Chelmsford and Louisburg. A tribute perhaps to the success of the Ballybunion transmitter.

It should be clearly recognised that there was nothing "freakish" in the conduct of the tests carried out at Ballybunion. Every programme in each transmission experiment was carried out during the hours of daylight between 10.00 AM and 1.00 PM. As the experiments mark an important stepping stone in the history of wireless communication, the Marconi Company placed on record the names of the engineers who were directly concerned in successfully carrying out the tests at Ballybunion. They were Mr. W.T.Ditcham who was responsible for designing and installing the circuits, and Mr. W.J.Picken who was in charge of the receiving apparatus at Louisburg, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

John J O'Carroll, EI6AH - Now SK - Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

 

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11th April 2016

The ERT (Expeditionary Radio Team) of the Kerry Amateur Radio Group (EI1K) are busy planning for this years event with preperations underway to ensure that we build on the success of the event last year.

This year we are registered as an Award Station and with that in mind are calling all hands to deck to ensure that the station is manned for as many hours as possible during the event including overnight operations.

We are committing to having a minimum of two HF stations on the air and are planning operating rooms for 4 stations.

As usual, Billy EI7CQB will be in charge of catering and will be ably assisted by John EI9ESB to ensure that all operators are fed and watered as required.

It is planned to have two antennas rigged on the evening of Friday 22nd April so as to have the station on the air at 0000z on 23rd April with an additional antenna being rigged at sunrise on the morning of 23rd April.

Declan EI9FVB and Billy will operate the first "night shift" and are looking forward to working as many stations as they can until relief arrives in the early hours of 23rd April.

The station is located at IO52DM with a WAI square of Q84.

 

19th April 2016

Following the ERT's latest planning meeting we are happy to announce that Holger EI3KM has committed to operating a data station, namely WSJT65 for the daylight hours of the event. In addition, we are striving to have 3 SSB stations on the air.

There will be a variety of antennas erected including a Cobwebb, dipoles and verticals.

We will also run a 2mtr call in channel on SV22 (145.550MHz) for visiting amateurs who may need directions to the site.

If data access allows, we will periodically upload logs to the qrz.com logbook during the day as well as post updates on the station.

https://secure.clublog.org/logsearch/EI6YXQ

 

20th April 2016

Here are a selection of photographs from the late 1990's of EI6YXQ.

The above photograph shows the VHF and SWL "room"

Here a selection of QSL cards are displayed and in the background the 2mtr call in station as well as HF listening and satellite tracking stations can be seen.

This was always a popular display for members of the public visiting the event

 

The above photograph show one of the HF stations in operation at the event.

 

The above photograph demonstarates some QRP equipment to visiting amateurs and members of the public.

 

The above photograph shows the 2mtr call in station. Surprisingly this was always a busy station.

 

The above photograph shows a selection of QSL cards displayed for the public to view.

 

The above photograph shows the satellite tracking station next to the call in station. This received much interest from visitors.

 

The above photograph shows Brendan Kilmartin, EI0CZ from Co. Clare who used to come and operate a CW station at the event. Note the linear amplifier allowing Brendan to he heard far and wide around the globe. Brendan always seemed to have a pile up of stations clammering for a contact.

 

The above photograph shows Pat's HF listening station. Various modes such as SSB, SSTV, FAX, RTTY, AMTOR and many more were received at this station which once again was very popular with both hams and the visiting public. Pat was always leading the way in with new technologies in the hobby, giving up lots of his free time to show fellow hams how to get to grips with the various modes and emerging modes.

HF weather fax reception proved fascinating to the visiting public who would often wait patiently for a weather fax image to fill the screen as it was being received.

 

26th April 2016

With the weekend over, the Kerry Amateur Radio Group would like to thank all those who attended and helped make this years IMD event at YXQ in Ballybunnion a huge success.

A special thanks to the Irish Coast Guard who showed massive interest once again in both the IMD event and our club.

A special thanks to Brendan Griffin TD, who made a special effort to attend and bring his father Mike EI2FJ who has in previous years been instrumental in organising the event and rigging the antennas. Mike even got on the air for a short while and this was a special moment for some of the attendees.

 

Holger put in a sterling effort with the data station which was a great success in very difficult propogation conditions. Holger is an amazing person who's dedication to the club and the event seen him man the data station for in excess of 24 hours with no sleep. The following screenshot shows how successful Holger was: -

Declan and Holger discuss the finer points of WSJT65 operating

 

Declan EI9FVB and Billy EI7CQB put a brilliant effort into the SSB stations, again under very difficult propogation conditions. They took every advantange in any lift in conditions to work as many stations as possible before the deep QSB set in again.

The 40mtr SSB station

Part of the 40mtr Delta Loop

 

The 20mtr SSB station

Members of the Kerry Amateur Radio Group at the Coast Guard Incident Command Unit

 

Mike EI2FJ gives Billa EI7CQB some operating tips...

 

The VHF aerial (for the "talkin") was mounted above the 20mtr dipole on the 15mtr mast.

Here is a short video of the event in 2016, shot on an older model GoPro.

 

A big thank you to all the stations who took the time to work us this year. We look forward to putting on the station again in 2017.

 

11th March 2017

Planning is underway for IMD2017 with our callsign registered as an award station once again.

The team are really looking forward to putting the station on the air and working as many operators as possible from around the world. Once again the Kerry Amateur Radio Group, Expeditionary Radio Team will set up the station and rig the antennas and club members will man the microphone to have the station on air for as long as possible.

 

10th April 2017

With 12 days to go to this years International Marconi Day, members of the Kerry Amateur Radio Group are beavering away with preperation for our station.

It is planned to have two, possibly three (propogation dependant) HF SSB stations on air.

13th April 2017

With 9 days to go to this years International Marconi Day, members of the Kerry Amateur Radio Group ERT (Expeditionary Radio Team) are well on the way with the planning and organisation of the antenna system that we will be installing and using for the event. 

For SSB we will have a Cobwebb, a Hexbeam and a halfwave dipole with quick change elements.

These will be erected during the early evening on-site in advance of the 0000UTC kick-off for the event. The Hexbeam will be erected on a trailer mast, the Cobwebb will be mounted on a pole we will install on the chimney and the dipole will be strung between the two. If time and conditions permit, we may get a 40mtr Delta Loop erected but this will be in a sloping configuration.

Our focus will be in getting QRV on the appropriate band(s) for the night time conditions and any additional work for higher bands may wait until daylight on Saturday morning.

Also available on-site will be a number of Ventenna HFp's. These highly portable and quick to set up systems may be trialed on the higher bands if propogation is suitable. They will be mounted on the huge flat roof and the site has excellent unobscured take-off in all directions.

Computer logging will be in operation and if Internet access is available it may be possible to upload our logs to the logbook on this QRZ page periodically throughout the day as well as post some details and photographs.

As is usual, John EI9ESB will be taking a keen interest in all things Audio Visual and will be busy on this front (during breaks from operating) so as a record of the event can be added to the club archives to help support the rich history and tradition that radio amateurs in Co. Kerry and beyond have in operating this event over two decades.

The club Catering Corps will be headed up as usual by Billa, EI7CQB, who always puts on a spread to be envied. We probably should change our name to the Kerry Amateur Cooking Group at this stage. No doubt Billa will be keeping the operators and ERT well fed.

The event will be a tribute to John O'Carroll, EI6AH, (now regretably silent key but fondly remembered) who put so much love and effort into the weekend, welcoming those from near and far. John, where ever you're monitoring, we'd like to say a big "thank you" on behalf of the amateur radio community for your embodiment of the spirt of amateur radio in this event that you established in Ballybunnion and ran so successfully for many years as part of the International Marconi Day event. We'll try and follow in your footsteps for the event and what it means to us all, welcoming those from years past and hopefully new faces for years future.

The Kerry Amateur Radio Group look forward to welcoming our many members, friends and visitors to the event and to working as many stations as we possibly can.

 

 

21st April 2017

Well, the day has finally arrived when all the planning comes into play. The hard work begins this evening at the site.

As I write, members of the KARG ERT and Catering Corps are busily checking lists and loading equipment into vehicles for transport to site.

We have received conformation that the Irish Coast Guard will be exhibiting their Incident Command unit again at the site and it is expected to arrive this evening. We look forward to welcoming the Irish Coast Guard to the event, it's always a pleasure to have their company.

We look forward to welcoming guest operators and visitors and working as many stations as we possibly can.

 

26th April 2017

The day has come and gone. There was much hard work done and lots of fun was also had. We met friends old and new.

Band conditions were similar to 2016 which made operating harder but we plugged away and tried hard for each and every contact.

The ERT put a sterling effor into rigging the antenna system with the three planned antennas being erected and commissioned without incident. The rigging commenced at 19:00 local time and was pronounced completed at 11:36 local time. This gave plenty of time to set up the radio equipmet indoors, have a mug of coffea and a quick bite to eat befoer setelling down to operate.

Please enjoy some video from the event, we'll be posting a more detailed report and photographs in the coming days. Please "Like, share & subscribe" Our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb3WIAT3_wSPxlK0WMtZgfA

 

 

8057129 Last modified: 2017-04-26 17:13:30, 35092 bytes

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