Annual trip to Inishbofin
Each year in July the club has its annual dxpedition to Inishbofin Island, which is located near Cleggan in Connemara. The club sets up a HF and VHF radio station and as the island is in a unique location, many stations from around the world like to make contact. Inishbofin gives us plenty room for antennae and its quiet radio wise location ensures the weakest stations can be heard. Inishbofin makes an ideal summer vacation and many of the club members have been making return visits over the past 25 years.
Annual trip to Friedrichshaven
The largest ham radio exhibition in Europe is held in Friedrichshaven, Germany every year in June. A large number of GREC members travel out and spend the weekend at the show. The exhibition area is housed in a complex called the Messe Friedrichshaven, and consists of four large halls each as big as an aircraft hanger, thus allowing an enormous square footage for exhibition and demonstration. Every conceivable piece of radio gear is on display, new, second hand and vintage. Transmitters, receivers, antennae, test gear, computers plus a fascinating amount of spare parts and electronic goods. In short this is the place to be if you are into radio communication.
Club members stay in Lindau, an old medieval town which is a short rail link from Friedrichshaven.
Galway Radio Experimenters Club provide radio stewarding for the annual Maamturk mountain walk, which is run by the NUIG Mountaineering Club. The walk itself covers the Maamturk mountain range in Connemara. It is approximately 16 miles long and involves climbing seven peaks along the route, finishing in Leenane village. The NUIG group is responsible for check-ins on the mountain peaks and the Galway Mountain Rescue Group is on standby at all times in case of accidents.
Radio check points are placed on the mountains, using frequencies on 2 meters. We also have personnel on check-out points on ground level, to ensure that any climbers opting out along the way will be accounted for. Radio personnel on the hills are equipped with 2 meter handhelds, with plenty of spare batteries to cover the long hours at station. Simplex operation is used for links to control point and any black spots are relayed by the nearest checkpoint. The radio control point is placed at Maam Bridge. We use two aerials, 2 meter colinears, one as a backup. Operation is from a van parked at the bridge.
Up to 200 walkers can turn out for the event, the walk commences at 5 a.m. and is normally completed by 8 p.m.
Our club lost one of our members, Michael Crosbie, EI3GP during the final stage of the walk in April 1999. Mike slipped on the descent into Leenane during heavy rain.
Joyce Country Walk
Each year, in July, the Lake District Hillwalking Club hosts a 30km hillwalk in the Maumtrasna Lough Nafooey area. GREC assists by providing radio contact along the route to the base control located in Finny. This is a full day event commencing at 7a.m. and finishing at 6p.m. Although not as demanding as the Maamturk walk, it still attracts quite a number of walkers from around Ireland. GREC places checkpoints on the hills and halfway points and all communications on VHF go through base control. Refreshments are provided afterwards by the superb local organisers in the Finny community hall.
Marconi Clifden Station
GREC have been associated with the old Marconi Station located in Derrygimla near Clifden in Connemara for a number of years. The 100th anniversary of Radio was celebrated in the summer of 1995 and we ran a number of lectures both in Galway and Clifden. We also had a HF station in operation during the event.
In October 2007 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Marconi Station in Derrygimla, Clifden. We operated a station on the original site of the station and were successful in contacting Glace Bay Radio, the sister station of Clifden, to commemorate the event. We transmitted and exchanged messages of congratulations from the President of Ireland Mary McAleese to the Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean. Our special callsign for the event was EI100MFT, which was eagerly collected by many stations around the world. Once again Elettra Marconi attended the event and she sent messages of congratulations to Glace Bay. Our antenna in Derrygimla was a star V-Beam.
Volvo Ocean Race
GREC operated a special event station, callsign EI09VOR on Mutton Island Lighthouse for the Volvo Ocean race stopover in Galway. The race fleet arrived in Galway on 24th May 2009 and we operated the station for the duration of the stopover. We were ably assisted by Galway City Council Heritage Department Mr Jim Higgins who provided access to the lighthouse through the Commissioners for Irish Lights CIL, the OPW and the operators of the Mutton Island waste treatment plant.
We used wire antennae which sloped from the lighthouse to the shoreline and operated on selected dates during the yacht race stopover in consultation with Mutton Island Management Company.
It was a successful radio event, not only for the yacht race but also in placing Mutton Island lighthouse on the air LH IRE107. We also made a VHF marine contact with Inisheer Lighthouse, this was the first time a radio inter lighthouse contact was made since the closing of Mutton Island in 1977.