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National Field Day (NFD)

The GM0ADX/P callsign

KLARC has participated in the RSGB National Field Day CW portable contest since the club was set up.  A few years after the foundation of the club, the UK Class A callsign series allocation was close to going into the GM0A.... series and it was decided that the club should obtain its own callsign at this point.  We wanted a callsign that would be easily recognisable on both CW and SSB.  The first option considered was GM0AYR since the club is located in the county of Ayrshire in Scotland.  This option was discounted for two reasons.  First of all, there is an amateur radio club based in the town of Ayr and we realised that GM0AYR would be a more appropriate callsign for that club.  We actually suggested to Ayr Amateur Radio Group that they might be interested in applying for this callsign - they did and they now hold GM0AYR.  Secondly, the letter group 'A Y R' is not very smooth to send or receive on CW.  We had to think of another callsign in the series GM0Axx that would be suitable for our purposes.  One of the most commonly heard SSB and CW abbreviations used on HF is 'DX'.   The callsign GM0ADX was therefore selected, applied for and obtained.   It has proven to be a very good choice since it is easy to transmit and to receive on both CW and SSB.  NFD being a portable contest, GM0ADX/P has been used by KLARC since the mid 1980s.  Prior to GM0ADX becoming available, a few KLARC NFD entries used individual club member's callsigns with the /P portable indicator on the end..

NFD site

The current site used for NFD is at Low Bowhill Farm near Newmilns, Ayrshire (see map below - click to enlarge).   This site is about 600 feet asl on the northern ridge of the Irvine Valley (named after the River Irvine which runs through the valley).  The take-off in all directions is very good with the only slight obstruction being the south ridge of the valley towards the south of the site which rises to 1,000 feet asl one and a half miles away.  Permission to use the site is kindly granted to the club by Mr Drew Kerr who owns the farm.   The site is close the the ancient Loudoun Castle and to the only 'gowf' (Scots for 'golf') club in the world - Loudoun Gowf Club.

Coming along the A71 from the west (past Galston), the turn to take is on your left just before entering Newmilns and just before the fire station.  Coming from the east (through Darvel) the turn is on the right as you leave Newmilns and immediately after the fire station.  The roads are single track from when you leave the A71 and there are some blind corners and steep hills - watch out especially for farm vehicles because they will expect you to get out of their way.  There are passing places.   The road surface is fairly good most of they way up to the site but the last few hundred yards is farm track so drive slowly.  Once on the farm track, drive past the farm buildings on the left and continue up to the first wind turbine yard on the left.  Go through the turbine yard to the site.  The turbine yard gate will be unlocked but YOU MUST CLOSE THE GATE behind you.

The normal running order is that some site work starts on Friday afternoon with kit being transported onto site.  The main station building takes place starting at around10am BST on Saturday morning until mid-afternoon.  The contest start time is 4pm BST.    The contest ends at 4pm BST on Sunday and station breakdown is usually completed in just over an hour.

We are now operating from a high quality marquee for events such as NFD.  Click here to view a video of how the marquee is erected.  If you are coming on site to help with the station setup it would be very beneficial to view this video.

A typical NFD setup (at Scott Ellis Playing Fields, Kilmarnock) 
- 1940 vintage ex-army operating tent on the left - 40 foot trailer mast 
for antennas in the centre - generator covered by small tent on the right.

Some weel kent faces posing after setting up the NFD station on an unusually
sunny day.

NFD site is shown by the red pin.