GB2SL this year has been something a bit special

GB2SL this year has been something a bit special, this is because of Spurn high lighthouse the tallest lighthouse in Northern England! is now owned by the (YWT) Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. 

 

Which has just been renovated in 2016 to a sum £470,500 made possible by the national heritage Lottery Fund and additional support from the Coastal Communities Fund and the Big Lottery Fund and is now open to the public for viewing.

This meant after a few talks and email with YWT we were able to operate for the first time from inside the lighthouse and promote it in style from a radio operating point.

for International lighthouses and light ships on the air https://illw.net/

 

The Team

Saturday morning saw 10 members turn up to Spurn point to set out on what was to become a great weekends event.

 Once all the Equipment and the team were loaded on the YWT Unimog we were ready for the trip down the Spurn peninsula to the Lighthouse,  Adam Stoyle from the YWT who had helped make this all possible was our driver and guide to get down to the lighthouse.

The break point 

The team that went down was 10 and we must say thanks to Jon Falconer 2E0ZRO, Elliot SWL Jon’s Son and John Cunliffe G6LNV who just came along on Saturday to help set up the station.

 Seven members stayed over on Saturday night.

These were Pat Walsh M0PKE, Kevin Sim M0KVK, Sean Lyon M0SLY, Paul Williams M6XPW, Charlie Storr 2E0CIK, Andy Dickinson M0TTL, Andy Nielsen G7LRR  birthday boy we will come to that later. The drive down along the peninsula is part road and part beach after the road washed out in 2013 the Unimog makes easy work of getting over the beach.

Once down at the Lighthouse, it was time to unload all our Equipment and setup the station, all this had to be carried up to the 3rd floor our operating room for the weekend. 

view of the 3rd floor from 4th-floor landing

I think we are all a few pounds lighter after running up and down the stairs, there are 86 steps up to the third floor from where we had the station.

The team formed 3 groups, one for the inside set up, one outside doing the antennas and the topside putting the rope from the top of the lighthouse to the ground 200m in all, for antenna support, that was 145 steps as well to the top this task was undertaken by Jon 2E0ZRO the youngest of the team

Well done for getting up there in one go, even though you were out of breath for 5 after.

To start, we set up a 40 meter Delta Loop manufactured by Kevin.

Once setup we asked where’s the loo which we was told 1/4 mile down the road at the point, this did not hold us back at all as once again the YWT had helped us out and let us use a pushbike as Kevin M0KVK is modelling  ( be quick Kevin there 6 more want to use that bike).

 We made many contacts on this antenna on Saturday, including an excellent happy birthday rendition sung by Trevor G1TDN for Andy G7LRR. I cannot tell you how old he is there is not enough space on the page.

We took this down in the early evening and put up a good old G5RV, this gave us a few more bands overnight so we would not have to alter antenna in the dark and it gets dark down there no light at all outside.

 On Sunday morning we changed over to a 40-meter dedicated dipole also built by Kevin, all the equipment worked well.

 Kevin and Andy also demonstrated DMR from downstairs to members of the public in the lighthouse, this is a digital mode best explained by Andy, but it is an excellent mode.

Andy M0TTL also deserves a mention at this point for bringing a full kitchen with him, and yes the kitchen sink came as well.

Sunday also saw some local amateurs turn up and had a go on the radio Mike G4VHM walked the full 3 1/2 miles to do a little CW it was great to see him.

Mike also brought along Bernard G0SWO who was lucky to get a lift from the YWT in their land rover there and back to the lighthouse.

Bernard is well into this 80s could not make the 3 1/2 mile walk but did make the 86 steps to work the radio well done Bernard.

 During the two days, many of the lighthouses visitors stopped on our floor for a welcome break on their way up to the top, some of the younger ones making guest calls on the radio. We also had some Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Students pay us a visit.

One of the best parts for all of the team was been able to sleep over the lighthouse, and given the keys to the Lighthouse for the night, Kevin Enjoyed locking it up and Paul was the keeper of the keys for the night.

We were also lucky that the wind got up in the night to around 40 mph in gusts and at the top where a few members stopped you could the feel the lighthouse move a little this rocked you to sleep.

The morning sunrise is not one to be missed at Spurn this was looking from the 4th-floor windows.

The lighthouse at Spurn is a great place to operate from radio aspect, but not only that, it is a place of interest, offering some spectacular views over the Spurn peninsula river and sea, this  is a must to visit for all the family.

please visit the Yorkshire Wild trust site for more information and plan a visit.

http://www.ywt.org.uk/visit-spurn-lighthouse

A big thank you to Sean Lyon M0SLY, and John Cunliffe G6LNV who put in a lot of hard work into the setting up of the event so the club could actually activate the lighthouse from inside for the first time.

The full Club would like to say a big thank you to Adam Stoyle Spurn Gateway Development Officer and Andrew Mason Heritage Officer with their great team down at Spurn point. for making it possible and giving us a warm welcome.

We can say after talking to Adam and Andrew we will be going back, this is the start of what we all hope are many events that can be held at the lighthouse working with and alongside the YWT.

Here is a shot of the full operating team with Ben and Rob from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

here is a rundown of what we did on GB2SL

467 QSO’s made

45 DXCC Countries Worked

18 light house

Written by Charlie Storr and Andy Nielsen

 

Here a slideshow of the full weekend 

GB2SL International lighthouse on the air weekend 19th 20th August 2017

International lighthouse on the air  GB2SL Spurn Lighthouse

Location information Lighthouses: Numbers
LOC: JO Ø3 BN UK0080=Spurn Point High
WAB: TA-41 UK0081=Spurn Point Low
LAT: 53.578978n Spurn Head (old): A2424X
LNG: 0.06.33 E
NGR: TA 41153 11282

This year we have been invited by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, to put on a station during International Lighthouse on the air weekend, as part of the celebrations on completion of the restoration of the Spurn High Light as a visitor attraction the tallest lighthouse in Northern England!

Made of 300,000 Staffordshire bricks, with a height of 128ft (39m) and 145 steps to the top landing, providing a spectacular view of Spurn nature reserve and the river Humber.

It is 7 years since HF DX A.R.C were last down at Spurn Point to activate GB2SL.

We are pleased to have been invited back by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to help promote the restored Spurn High lighthouse.

Since our last visit there has been changes to the shape of Spurn Point and it is now inaccessible to road transport due to the storms of 2013.

With at least 200yrd break between the mainland and Spurn point making a

newly created island at high tide.

We are taking a small team of 8, regrettably only those who can climb can attend this event, manpower and equipment will be ferried to the site by the YWT, in “or should that be on” their Unimog all-terrain vehicle.

 

 

 

 

 

The team will also have to climb the lighthouse all 145 steps.

The height of 128ft will give us a good take-off to contact the world.
Because of the 200yrd break in the road way, it is a one-way operation in between tides, all previsions for the weekend have to be taken down, there is no nipping down to the local shops.
An essential at this time of year is insect repellent and sting cream, there are some very irritating insects and caterpillars in the bushes at spurn.

The only people left on Spurn during high tide will be the HFDXARC team and the Humber lifeboat crew, who are half a mile away along the dunes.

We are preparing to transmit on 80m, 40m, 20m with provision if needed for 17m and 12m
and shall be taking delta loops for 20m and 40m, but also wire dipoles
With Height, sea on 3 sides and good antennas we are set to set the air waves alight and talk to the world.
If the bands are open.

History of Spurn Point

           

Spurn Head, or Spurn Point, the present peninsula at the southern tip of South Holderness, is a three-and-a-half-mile line of sand and shingle, which stretches out between the North Sea and the River Humber in a south-westerly direction.

  A peninsula in one form or another has existed here since the first one was formed after the retreat of the ice at the end of the last Ice Age. How such a peninsula comes into existence and how it develops and changes cannot be certainly proven. Its course is not fixed, because it is attached to one of the fastest eroding coasts in the world — the Holderness coast.

One theory, supported by historical records, postulates a cyclical history of about 250 years for each of the various peninsulas, which have grown gradually as a result of long-shore drift of material washed out of the clay cliffs to the north. The profile of each peninsula, which grows from a stump, is low, allowing a certain amount of wash-over of sand, which helps to build it up on the western side, whilst most of the material moves further south and forms a spoon-shaped point. With the rapid erosion of the coast to which it is attached, a breach is inevitable eventually, and once the sea gets through, the head becomes isolated and gradually washes away. A new peninsula then forms a little to the west and the cycle starts again.

It is not possible to test these theories thoroughly because since mid-Victorian times Spurn has been kept in place by artificial coastal defences. For centuries Spurn was owned by the Constable family, the Seigniors of Holderness, who lived at Burton Constable. When the War Office wished to establish Spurn Fort to protect the Humber in World War I, it leased the peninsula from the Constables, and in 1925 the War Office bought it from the Constables by compulsory purchase.

The military held a presence and maintained the sea defences of spurn until the 1950s when it was deemed no longer needed for defence purposes.

Since then the sea defences that had been maintained for almost a 100 year have started to deteriorate.

 

 

History of Spurn Lighthouses

 

Lighthouses have been located on Spurn for over five hundred years. The first reference to a lighthouse on Spurn dates back to 1427 “reign of King Henry vi”, when a hermit, William Reedbarrow, was granted dues from passing ships to complete a lighthouse which he had begun to build there, though little further is known about it. In the late 17th century a high and a low light were erected on what was then the tip of the spit, probably about two miles north of the present tip.

 There is little record of what Spurn’s earlier lighthouses looked like, but we do know they have been built in pairs since 1674 and at least eight have been swept away in storms.

The low light had to be rebuilt several times, but the high light lasted until the late 18th century, when John Smeaton, the celebrated engineer who had built the Eddystone lighthouse in 1759, designed and built two new lighthouses, under the direction of the Hull and London Trinity Houses. In 1852, a new low lighthouse was built on the Humber foreshore.

 In 1895 there was evidence that the foundations of Smeaton’s lighthouse were cracking, the present lighthouse was designed by Thomas Matthews of Edinbinbugh, it stands on an artificial rock foundation that goes down 22 feet (7m) and took nearly two years to build. Later the oil lamp was converted to electricity (1941) and gas (1957) on which it ran until 1985 when it was last used.

However, when the present lighthouse was built, the low light was no longer needed as three additional lamps were placed in the body of the lighthouse instead. It has since been used as an explosive store and a water tower. Now it stands deserted.

The sand spit that is now part of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is approximately 3.5 miles in length. With the split/separation in recent years extending to about 200 yards/metres from the main land.

The Spurn Lighthouse (Reputably built on cotton bails, to aid with stability.) has been fully refurbished by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and is now open to the public daily, dependent on tides.

The new refurbishment by the YWT will enable visitors to experience the wondrous views from the top of the Lighthouse, looking back at the River Humber looking out to sea and the East Yorkshire coast.  A splendid view not to be missed.