Centenary of First Transatlantic Shortwave Amateur Radio Transmissions
Received by Paul Godley 2ZE at Ardrossan, Scotland in 1921
Saturday 11 December 2021 and Sunday 12 December 2021
SUCCESS! Click here to view the Kilmarnock and Loudoun ARC reception
of the 2ZE centenary re-enactment message at Ardrossan.
Kilmarnock and Loudoun Amateur Radio Club set up a special event station at the site used by Paul Godley 2ZE in 1921 as a contribution to the celebration of the centenary of this historic success. On HF (shortwave) we used SSB (single sideband), CW (Morse Code) and FT8 (a data mode). We had our first QSO (contact) with DL1DCT on 30m FT8 at 11:37 UTC on Saturday 11 December 2021. The first SSB QSO was with LY3YY on 20m. Band conditions on HF turned out to be very poor overall and the highest band we made QSOs on was 17m. During the activation we made 401 contacts in 60 different DXCC countries using three callsigns - GS2ZE (licence holder - Jason GM7VSB), GB2ZE and GB1002ZE (licence holder for both - Bob GM0DEQ). The final QSO was at 11:21 UTC on Sunday 12 December 2021 with RM9W on 20m SSB. The callsign used for the majority of the activation was GS2ZE.
Thank goodness we had an FT8 station on air - it came to the rescue under the challenging HF propagation conditions we had and got some very good DX into the log. The map below, produced by Barry GM5BDX, shows the geographical spread of our contacts.
At the start of the 2ZE celebration 160m Transatlantic QSO Party (0200 UTC on 12 December 2021) we used the callsign GB2ZE. We tried to make contact with the ARRL station W1AW on 1814 kHz just prior to the start of the QSO Party. We heard them calling us and tried to respond but they couldn't copy us unfortunately. A video of our attempt is on The KLARC YouTube Channel - see below for link. The plan we had was for NA2AA (operator at W1AW) to call GM3YEH (operator at GB2ZE, Ardrossan) initially using personal callsigns and then change to W1AW and GB2ZE if contact was established. We operated in the QSO Party using GB2ZE for 22 minutes and worked quite a few US, Canadian and European stations on CW. The first station logged at Ardrossan from the USA was K7GM and the first from the UK was MD0CCE. A video of us operating in the QSO Party is on the KLARC YouTube Channel.
One major target for us was to try and hear and decode a re-enactment transmission of the original message that Paul Godley 2ZE heard at Ardrossan, Scotland 100 years earlier. At 02:52 UTC - exactly the same time and date that Godley copied his message in 1921 - we copied W2RCA (The Radio Club of America) on 1825 kHz sending the same message that Godley had received...SUCCESS! We have a video recording of this momentous event on the KLARC YouTube Channel. In addition to the KLARC Members and some others on site, the historic successful reception was witnessed by Stewart Bryant G3YSX, President of the RSGB. Also on the KLARC YouTube Channel is a video of how the W2RCA re-enactment transmission was heard by Don G3BJ in Shropshire, England.
After our spell using GB2ZE and the recording of the re-enactment transmission, we used the callsign GS2ZE for the remainder of the time we were in the QSO Party. During this period we listened for the transmissions from W2AN/1BCG on 1820 kHz but heard nothing from that station.
We had 139 contacts on the network assisted FreeSTAR station running with GS2ZE callsign. The first contact was Oscar 2E1HWE in Essex. The farthest station to call in was ZL1BOB who congratulated the KLARC team and wished us well from New Zealand. There were several operators who were thankful for being able to call in through the network as they did not have HF capabilities at their location or could not reach us due to propagation conditions at the time. We also had a 2m FM station operating and we made contacts with a number of local stations.
We had a lot of visitors to the site including local folk and various radio amateurs, some of whom had travelled a distance to get to us. The visitors we had on site from southern climes apparently thought we had bad weather, but those of us from Ayrshire were not too troubled by the horizontal driving sleet, in fact it seemed slightly better weather than we had anticipated. The endless shared stories, jokes and banter that went on all weekend kept us all very cheery. On reflection, I think I agree with the guys who have said we should do this again...but maybe in the summer :) We don't need to mention all the people who contributed to make this activation such a massive success - there are far too many and you all you know who you are. It is, without a shadow of doubt, the highest profile event that KLARC has ever delivered...genuinely fantastic!
See the KLARC YouTube Channel for a selection of videos from the event.
IQ data recorded during the 160m Trans-Atlantic QSO Party can be downloaded from here.
Some photographs taken at the Ardrossan site can be found here.