Monday, 21 January 2013

Heelweg and Dwingeloo

Safely back from The Netherlands.
We ( G4BAO, G4HUP and myself) had been concerned that the dreadful snowy weather at the weekend might have meant calling off our annual visit to the Heelweg Microwave meeting ( held in Westendorp!) on the 19th January this year

As it happened it was probably a wise move to drive rather than taking a plane as in previous years. The delays experienced on some airlines just did not occur on the Stena ferry Line Harwich to Hook of Holland route and although progress was slow across The Netherlands road network on Sunday ( I was interested to see that the Dutch are no better prepared for snow than here in the UK), at least everything kept moving.

This is the first time we have taken the car, and it may not be the last. It allowed us more freedom in our schedule and the opportunity to visit the Dwingeloo dish in JO32. As this is a long way from our usual host's QTH, there has not been enough time to visit previously.

Jan, PA3FXB, had invited us to visit many times over the last few years. At last, and just after the dish was place back on the rotating plinth following refurbishment, we were able to look over the site and admire the handiwork of the original builders back in 1954/1956

This dish was used by Jan Oort of 'cloud' fame to map the galaxy HI line for the first time and is one of the sites at which the ashes of famous radio astronomer and radio amateur, Grote Reber, are intered.

The site is now well known as the location of the PI9CAM EME operation on 2m and 23,13 and 9cm

EME operation will not resume until later this year, and when it does I would like to go back again.

Next to the dish, on the Astron test range, we saw one ( or more) of the low frequency LOFER array antennas. It is shown right in the very middle of the photo and appears as a small black disc on the top of that short pole.

The Heelweg meeting was its usual excellent self with over 150 attendees, lots of test gear in use and a small number of traders doing a good trade in specialist parts for microwavers.

I would like to thank Jan, PA3FXB, for taking time to show us round the Dwingeloo dish, and to the many organisers ( too many to mention) who organise and run the Heelweg meeting.


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