While in Birkenhead, Owen paid a visit to the Woodhill Ferry Terminal where he found the remains of U-534 on display. The boat had been transported to Birkenhead in 1996 when if was part of the Warship Preservation Trust’s collection until the collection closed in 2006.
Owen outlined the history, saying it was built in Hamburg in 1942 and commissioned the same year. It undertook three patrols and was eventually sunk in May 1945 and salvaged in 1993. Also detailed were the ships motors, armaments and number of personnel. Apart from the boat itself, the museum has numerous displays showing equipment and artefacts from the boat.
Members saw a video of the VP8ORK DXpedition to South Orkney in 2011. The cold and snow didn’t seem to lessen the enthusiasm of those taking part. The expedition were fortunate in having a boat crew who pitched in to help set up and later, dismantle the tents and generator area. In spite of a morning with total loss of propagation the team made well over 60,000 QSOs during their stay. When packing up it was important they left nothing behind to indicate they had ever been there.
The cold damp evening seemed to put off many members from attending, but 13 braved the weather to attend. In total there were three entries, one in each of the Kit, Weekend Special and Major Project categories. The winner of the kit project was Paul, G8IUG with his USB Experimental interface board. The Weekend Special class was won by Dennis, M0JXM who submitted a VHF and 4m Power meter and switch unit. The Major Project category was won by Don, G4LOO who showed two HF Band Pass Filters. These offer greater rejection than the commercial units which have been in use by the club for the past few years.
Don, G4LOO explained this wasn’t the group’s first visit to Holy Island for the IOTA contest. They had been there in 2009. This island ‘ticked many necessary boxes’ since it had reasonable accommodation costs, it wasn’t too far to travel and the site had twenty-four hour power and water. Don explained that this Holy Island was in Wales and reached by a modern bridge so equipment didn’t have to be packed for a trip by boat.
There appears to be many islands around England and Wales that look to be suitable for radio contesting but as Don went through the list, we found many are uninhabited, except for birds, and some are privately owned and some have routinely been used by other clubs. To make the selection of Holy Island even more acceptable, it is the second most wanted IOTA island in England and Wales.
The group, Don, Bryan, Andy, Terry and Ian planned to spend a week at the location and have the weekend for contesting. The rest of the week was spent playing radio, sightseeing, and a visit to Dublin.
The contest results weren’t bad either, their total QSOs of 1029 with 165 multipliers gave them seventh place in their category in the UK, and an enjoyable week.