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ROTA at Woody Bay: Report

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Woody Bay (Radio) Station transmits from Woody Bay (Railway) Station.

The World's first steam powered passenger railway journey took place on 27th September 1825 - from Darlington to Stockton in the North East of England.

For the past several years, groups of radio amateurs have highlighted the event by visiting heritage railway locations (typically 20-30 venues each year) throughout the country (and some from further afield) to take part in "Railways on the Air" (ROTA).

ROTA is a celebration rather than a contest. It is intended that radio amateurs have a good time and promote Amateur Radio, and at the same time marking the unique position railways hold in our national heritage.

ROTA usually takes place on the weekend closest to the 27th September, coinciding with the L&B Autumn Gala, although this year, it took place a week earlier. 

For 2012, two members of the Riviera Amateur Radio Club, based in Torquay, L&B member Paul Burgess M0PBT, and Alan G2DXU, took part in ROTA from the car park at Woody Bay. Having booked themselves into Moorlands for the weekend, and operating from Paul's MPV, the station team was on-air from about 11:00 to 16:00 on Saturday 22nd, then again from 10:30 to 15:00 on Sunday 23rd. 

Alan G2DXU (L) and Paul M0PBT by Paul's Shack-in-a-Van at Woody Bay

Alan and Paul with the Riviera ARC Banner at Woody Bay

For the ROTA weekend, Riviera ARC applied for a special even call-sign, and was able to secure GB4LBR, and this was promptly registered with the ROTA organisers, with the location mapped out on their website.

During those sessions, the station was able to contact sixty different radio stations, including 14 from other participating railways around the country. As well as explaining who and where they were, and exchanging technical details such as the strength and quality of the signals they were each receiving, the operators were often able to explain in a bit more detail some of the history, present and future plans for the railway.  they also exchanged weather reports, and it was possible to track the rain front as it rapidly crossed the country on Sunday!

The railways contacted were:
  • Battlefield Line
  • Bluebell Railway
  • Bredgar and Wormshill, 
  • Colne Valley Railway
  • Drumawhey Minature Railway
  • Eastbourne Miniature Railway
  • Helston Railway
  • Holycombe Steam Collection
  • Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
  • Midland Railway Centre
  • Nene Valley Railway
  • North Norfolk Railway
  • Somerset & Dorset
  • Tintern Station

As the station was able to contact more than ten other ROTA participants, both the Riviera Club and the L&B will be receiving a certificate to record their participation.

Several other L&B members are also Radio Amateurs, and there are other Amateurs who live locally, so it is hoped that, for next year, some of these will be able to join Riviera ARC members in a concerted effort to make even more contacts over the 48 hours of the event.

Look and listen out for details of GB4LBR activities next September!

73 de Martyn M3MDY (Best wishes from Martyn de Young)

Riviera ARC banner with club call-signs, and members "in the field" earlier in 2012

Further details of ROTA are available from Bishop Auckland Amateur Radio Club, the event coordinators.

Further details of the Riviera ARC are available from
their website, particularly their L&B page

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