Category Archives: Summer Whine

Summer Whine – 2010

Competing Stations
Position Unit Name Phase Claimed Variation Points Remarks
1 2 3 4
1 City of London School CCF 52 66 220 49 387 -27 360
2 Bridlington School CCF 47 60 170 55 333 -1 332
3 Hampshire & IOW ACF, C Coy 46 87 175 59 367 -38 329
4 Reading School CCF 47 21 205 45 318 -19 299
5 Dollar Academy CCF 48 42 150 36 276 -1 275
6 Maidstone Grammar School CCF 16 39 130 40 225 -2 223 Well presented logs
7 Churchers College CCF 20 36 120 46 222 0 222
8 Sir Roger Manwood’s School CCF 9 33 135 41 218 -1 217 Well presented logs
9 Essex ACF, D Coy 30 45 125 14 214 0 214 Well presented logs
10 Dorset ACF, Blandford Det 27 18 100 38 183 0 183
Hampshire & IOW ACF, A Coy 11 12 120 143 -6 137 No log sheet for phase 4
Essex ACF 37 54 40 0 131 -6 125 No master claim for phase 4
Devon ACF 14 36 35 28 113 113 No log sheets submitted
1213 Squadron ATC 16 45 0 28 89 89
Net Monitor 7 27 0 8 42 42
No Logs Submitted
Bournemouth School CCF

Comments from the Organiser

Warmest congratulations to City of London School CCF who are this year’s winners. Just look at the scores of the first five stations to see how close the competition was. Bridlington CCF (last year’s winners) was 2nd and it was good to see Hants & Isle of Wight ACF (C Coy) in 3rd place. 16 logs were submitted along with three Network Monitors. Bournemouth School CCF were very active but unfortunately failed to submit their claim.

Log keeping on the whole was very good. Two stations attempted (several times) to claim for one-way contacts… but that just isn’t fair, is it? There were several instances of stations passing traffic at times which were not commensurate with the time of the message recorded in their log sheets and those messages were disallowed. Every contact made by five leading stations was scrutinised along with 15% of all other exercise traffic from all other stations. Recording of Time varied quite considerably on computer generated logs; one station recorded to ‘3 places of decimals’ (2130.000hrs) and another was, perhaps, on “Boeing” Time (717hrs)!

Wooden spoons for handwriting must go to Reading School CCF and Bridlington School CCF whose drunken spiders really worked overtime to produce their respective Master Claim Forms!

Thank you to everyone who took part, particularly the lower scoring stations who all contributed significantly to the success of the competition.

Finally, my thanks to Mr J Wresdell for again submitting his comprehensive network monitoring log… not much gets past his experienced ears!

Some of Your Comments

Lt Col Townend – Unfortunately my time was somewhat limited so I did not spend as long as I would have wished either monitoring or joining in.
I started listening at 1538 hearing nothing. Found two nets at 1543 – both a bit ‘messy’. Timings given by some stations seemed very much off beam. Went back at 1556 where I heard a clear call from Dollar Academy CCF to which I responded.

Reasonable net going at 1604. Moved through frequencies where I made contact with City of London School CCF. Moved to another frequency at 1620 and again contacted City of London School CCF and Dorset ACF; Dollar Academy CCF were also on frequency but UNW to me.
Next session was in the evening. Worked through all the frequencies.

Re-opened 0840. 0846 had contact with Dorset ACF. 0929: NIL.

Main Comments:

  1. The usual offering of messages and “My message to you is…”
  2. One control station I heard spent well over 5 minutes trying to establish a net – perhaps they thought you have to have five stations. Radio Check after Radio Check with no response.

Essex ACF, D Coy – Our understanding of the rules was that while there were 2 scoring zones each day you were only allowed to exchange messages with a station once per freq/day. My cadets were concerned that this may have encouraged some stations to keep their ‘powder dry’ until 21:00 hrs on Saturday and to pack up after 05:00hrs on Sunday. The cadets’ suggestion was that stations be allowed to exchange messages once per frequency in each of the 4 different point scoring periods.

Dollar Academy CCF – Dollar Academy CCF greatly enjoyed the experience. Six cadets, 3 rookies and 3 ‘golden oldies’ took part. The site used was a flattish bit of a 750 acre hill farm at about 1000′ facing south. The equipment used was a 40m doublet (antenna) with twisted feeder into a supplementary Z match ATU into a bog standard PRC 320. The doublet was supported by 3 x 18′ masts issued with the SR A13. The third mast was really a clothes-prop placed in the centre of the doublet, which took the strain off the end masts. Over 130 contacts were made over the 24 hours. The cadets had great fun and contacts were made from Cornwall northwards. The gap in contacts between 0742 and 1000hrs wasn’t due to propagation or falling asleep, but due to flat batteries and it took a little time to organise spares.

Net Monitor Scotland – Voice Procedure. “My message is” (or variants) continued right through the 24 hours as did “Offering of Messages”. “Hull0 B this is A Message Over”. This type of voice procedure was declared obsolete in about 1986. All cadets seem to know this. Who teaches obsolete VP?

1213 Sqn ATC – We were only able to compete as part timers. The cadet who was to have come on Saturday afternoon failed to turn up. Saturday evening and Sunday morning was covered by two cadets, both inexperienced at HF working and the Army Voice Procedure, so I think they made a respectable score.

One or two net controllers did not “control”, closed the net before all had finished sending and did not list stations on net. Also heard a few “My message to you…” (not required) and “repeat” rather than “say again”. A good competition that my cadets enjoyed.

Churcher’s College CCF – Although we were not technically in the field, we set everything up more or less from scratch in our cadet HQ. The team seemed to have enjoyed the exercise. Our team comprised 2 Cpl, 1 LCpl (male), 1 Cdt (female). Our antennae could have been better… we used 1 x 36m end fed and 1 x dipole for 3 MHz.
I had misgivings about the date of the competition but in the event I was pleasantly surprised by our turnout of cadets and the number of stations participating.

Points system: Fair.
Conditions: Very good.
Adult involvement: Minimal supervision required.

Bridlington School CCF – We deployed to a field location approx 10 mile from our School on the Saturday morning. Setting up took a little longer as this year; we had a very young team all willing to learn, apart from one A Level student who managed to effectively study during Sat then borrow her dad’s car to drive out and join us for the long evening shift. The 320 proved itself yet again being our No 1 set. The WOTAN unfortunately proved unreliable due to battery issues. A great time was had by all cadets especially the younger ones.

Competition organiser – Maj(Retd) T Sugdon

Summer Whine – 2009

Competing Stations
Position Unit Name 27 Jun 28 Jun Score Bonus Total
1 Bridlington School CCF 124 161 280 0 280
2 Warwick School CCF 150 135 247 25 272
3 City of London School CCF 106 135 236 25 261
4 Bournemouth School CCF 90 116 200 0 200
5 Essex ACF, D Coy 78 69 147 50 197
6 Essex ACF, B Coy 36 53 89 50 139
7 Churchers College CCF 76 51 127 0 127
8 Essex ACF, C Coy 22 46 68 50 118
9 Kings School CCF 40 29 69 0 69
10 Essex ACF, A Coy 21 2 23 25 48
11 1213 (Andover) Sqn ATC 32 0 32 10 42
12 497 (Daventry) Sqn ATC 14 6 20 10 30
No Logs Submitted
The Vyne School CCF
Hampshire & IOW ACF, A Coy
St Blazey ACF

Comments from the Organiser

Participation this year was well down on that previously experienced. In the case of CCF contingents this may be partially due to students wanting to leave school as soon as their exams are finished! ACF participation, which had been on the increase – and surpassed CCF entries last year – was rather disappointing, but this said, the detachments that did turn out, seemed to enjoy the experience. It was good to see a couple of ATC stations joining in this year. May we be on track to have a Sea Cadet Unit join us next time?

Exercise SUMMER WHINE 2009 was our first opportunity to trial the new batch of issued frequencies. On the whole, the trial was a great success. Lots of you experienced noise, fading and interference; but HF communication at times is difficult, the shifting ionosphere just about guarantees that!

As promised in the instruction, bonus points have been added for presentation. Congratulations to Essex ACF companies who all submitted excellent stats and photographs which have been included here. I was pleased to see again the two ATC Squadrons although they could only join in for short periods. Thank you for making the effort.

Congratulations to Bridlington School CCF who operated with a team of young ladies from their camp location at Longmoor, Hampshire.

The competition next year will take place over the weekend of 22nd / 23rd May 2010. The change of date from the end of June has been proposed as an experiment in order to avoid clashing with the Veterans Day activities and before the exams start.

Essex ACF - Summer Whine 2009

Competition organiser – Maj(Retd) T Sugdon

Summer Whine – 2008

Competing Stations
Position Unit Name Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Claim Bonus Total
1 Bridlington School CCF 48 51 110 64 273 10 283
2 The Vyne School CCF 44 60 105 37 246 20 266
3 Warwick School CCF 50 51 90 25 216 20 236
4 Chichester High School CCF 78 95 16 25 214 20 234
5 Dorset ACF 33 36 105 26 200 15 215
6 C Coy, Essex ACF 11 39 120 21 191 5 196
7 Welligton School CCF 13 60 80 8 161 20 181
8 Bournemouth School CCF 29 9 115 12 165 15 180
9 Maidstone Grammar CCF 27 27 95 35 184 -10 174
10 Humberside ACF 14 39 70 13 136 30 166
11 Churchers College CCF 29 45 65 12 152 10 162
12 Devon ACF 18 39 60 12 129 10 139
13 Northants ACF 25 30 10 28 93 15 108
14 Hampshire & IOW ACF 15 15 30 16 76 10 86
15 Cambridge ACF 18 15 13 46 20 66
16 Merseyside ACF 16 3 12 31 20 51
Check Logs
Net Monitor NE England 5 9 30 1 45 90

Comments from Entrants

Churchers College CCF – We got off to a very slow start due to their being a school open day and cadets being involved in other activities. Unfortunately our mast site was also occupied by a swarm of little girls with their nags holding a gymkhana… ! Conditions did not favour our substantial antenna array and we eventually used a mast and a droopy dipole. The cadets learnt a lot about antennae and HF propagation. A successful exercise albeit not a winning performance.

Hampshire & IOW ACF – Conditions seemed variable on Saturday, but by mid afternoon a lot of stations seemed to be making contacts. Later in the evening some of the more powerful stations were not paying too much attention to the rules and instructions (or their VP). Night-time conditions were very good with even 4/5 MHz frequencies available up to midnight and beyond. The absence of atmospheric interference was a bonus.

The Vyne School CCF – Our station operated from a 9×9 tent at Barton Stacey Training Area (Hampshire). Voice procedure generally seemed of a higher standard than in previous years. Our antenna system was a bit Heath Robinson but it worked. We have an 8 metre mast made of two sections of aluminium scaffold joined by a scaffold clip, from which we suspend an array of three droopy dipoles which took about two hours to erect.
My team of 4 young cadets who have just completed their Radio Users course and had seen a PRC 320 for the first time on 20 June, worked splendidly. They were bolstered by two slightly older cadets for a small part of the exercise. All reported at the end of the exercise how much they had enjoyed it and that it was a load of fun – serial 28 of the Exercise Rules was obeyed to the letter!

Bridlington School CCF – We found conditions to be better than last year for contacts during the early hours on Sunday morning.

C Coy, Essex ACF – Unfortunately, this being our first time, the cadets got a little confused with the format of logging. We were able to rectify this mistake part way through the exercise. My assistant and I spent quite some time going through their rough pads to ensure that the master claim form is accurate. The cadets were exhausted at close of play, but all said that they would do it again. We have discussed going to a more remote location next year.

From the Organiser

Exercise Summer Whine is traditionally held over the last weekend in June. The 2008 Competition attracted fewer entrants than in previous years and feedback indicates that timing of external examinations and the earlier closure of schools in Scotland for their summer holiday in late June have been major factors. It is impossible to choose dates that ‘fit’ all circumstances , but we will look closely at dates for Exercise SUMMER WHINE 2009.

For the first time ever there was greater participation by ACF than CCF detachments. Much effort was put in by many stations to produce a fast moving and interesting exercise. For a variety of reasons some stations could not take part for the full 24 hours but I thank them for contributing what they did; without their participation the exercise would have been far less stretching.

Congratulations to our winners, Bridlington CCF, who came 5th last year, and a special commendation to our Runners Up, The Vyne School CCF, whose team of two experienced and four newly qualified operators (who had seen a PRC 320 for the first time on 20 June 2008!) proved that disciplined voice procedure really does pay off.

Competition organiser – Maj(Retd) T Sugdon

Summer Whine – 2007

Competing Stations
Position Unit Name Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Total
1 Maidstone GS CCF 40 45 170 67 322
2 Merchant Taylors’ CCF 36 63 155 66 320
3 Duke of York’s RMS CCF 23 84 150 59 316
4 C Coy, Dorset ACF 62 54 165 8 289
5 The Vyne School CCF 44 75 100 66 285
6 Bridlington School CCF 49 48 140 42 279
7 Blandford Tp, Dorset ACF 57 63 95 32 247
8 Merseyside ACF 32 69 90 54 245
9 Bournemouth School CCF 38 27 125 54 244
10 Gwent ACF 31 72 55 32 191
11 Humberside ACF 33 78 55 19 185
12 Dollar Academy CCF 30 9 100 19 158
13 Warwick School CCF 11 21 50 46 128
14 Devon ACF 49 12 5 66
15 Welligton School CCF 6 3 28 37
16 Cambridgeshire ACF 28 38 64
17 1213 Sqn ATC, Andover 15 16 31
18 Churchers College CCF 12 8 20

Comments from Entrants

Blandford Tp, Dorset ACF – I amazed myself how good my 36 metres of braid was, just 6ft off the deck. Looking forward to CHRISTMAS CRACKER.

Merseyside ACF – Everyone in Merseyside ACF thought it was the best NRN exercise they had participated in. We used the logsheets you provided and had the results ready for posting the next day. The sheets certainly made my life much easier.

1213 Sqn ATC, Andover – Due to other activities only 2 cadets could participate and were kept busy under less than perfect conditions. We were only “part timers” and hence the low score.

The Vyne School CCF – We used two droopy dipoles off the one mast and they worked really well.

Other non-attributable comments

  • One station had their radio in what sounded like a drill hall. The background chatter and echoes from a loud speaker made an otherwise “OK” signal very difficult to understand.
  • I am convinced that station (call sign given) was NOT using a PRC 320 or an authorised set. The speed that he could change frequency was impossible to achieve with a 320. (Similar comment from one other stations).

From the Organiser

a letter addressed to all stations…

I would just like to say WELL DONE to Bridlington School CCF, Duke of York’s RMS CCF, Merchant Taylors’ School CCF and Dollar Academy CCF who were on net at 0229 – 0245hrs.

A station (probably a Dutch fishing vessel) came up with foul language and was baiting
you. Thankfully no station responded to this. This is the correct way to deal with any
“strange station” – just ignore them and he got fed up and stopped transmitting.

In other cases operators have lost their temper and tried to tell the offending station to
“go away” – this rarely works and then you have played into their hands – that is just want,
they want – to annoy and upset you.

Remember VP training – never swear or lose your temper – It is just what the enemy
wants to hear – he knows you have lost control and will exploit it.

Please ensure the all your NRN operators see my comments.
Thank you

John Wresdell

Senior Net Monitor

I would draw every operator’s attention to a log extract sent to me by a German Radio Station, which proves beyond any reasonable doubt, that your signals can be monitored from very great distances. (extract sent to all entrants)

Competition organiser – Mr J Wresdell (Senior Net Monitor)

Summer Whine – 2006

Competing Stations
Position Unit Name Sat Sun Total
1 Churchers College CCF 105 307 412
2 The Vyne School CCF 92 260 352
3 City of London School CCF 128 198 326
4 Warwick School CCF 79 231 310
5 Bournemouth School CCF 90 213 303
6 Maidstone GS CCF 90 146 236
7 Essex ACF, A Coy 95 139 234
8 Hants & IOW ACF, B Coy 68 149 217
9 Devon ACF 73 118 191
10 Dorset ACF, Det 2 62 110 172
11 Sutton Valence CCF 74 97 171
12 Dorset ACF, Det 1 67 101 168
13 Chichester High CCF 22 51 73
14 Wellington School CCF 36 35 71
15 Cumbria ACF 35 7 42
16 Queen Mary’s GS CCF 14 19 33

Comments from the Organiser:
Exercise SUMMER WHINE is the final exercise of the Cadet Training Year and is designed to “stretch” even the ablest cadet operator.

I was pleased to see such a good turnout, but somewhat surprised not to receive claims from more stations who took part! Some stations operated for the full exercise period – and gained significant bonus points for working through the night; others, however, stated that they could operate for specific periods only and I welcome their contributions.

A detachment’s success in Exercise SUMMER WHINE can not be judged merely in terms of your “position on the ladder”. Some cadet signalling detachments have many years of “enthusiastic continuity”, there are always successors in the pipeline and these stations usually turn in a good performance. For others, however, this is not so; the departure of one or two key operators leaves a huge experience gap. I applaud the efforts of those stations whose cadets had only limited experience; I hope they will be encouraged to join in next year and, having gained operating experience in the coming year, do so with greater confidence.

As the new “signalling year” begins I would ask you all to WELCOME, HELP and ENCOURAGE all newcomers to National Net – do remember, we were all “new operators” once!

My congratulations to this year’s winners, Churcher’s College CCF, for a job well done.

Comments from Entrants:
Lt Col M Vokes – One station attempted to start the competition at 13.55hrs on the Saturday and compounded its shortcoming by giving out a frequency in clear.

Radio conditions for the competition were the best for many years. The weather on Saturday was very hot but no thunder in the South. Sunday was overcast. Frequencies in the 4-5 MHz range amazingly remained operable until almost midnight. The top two frequencies were impossible for sky wave and the absence of many northern call-signs resulted in very few, if any, contacts being made. One frequency was completely obliterated by noise and consideration should be given to allowing a variation of 1 or 2 kHz on this frequency.

Voice procedure at times was NOT impressive. Far too many “repeats” and “my message to you”. Callsigns using silly voices when making calls. Some cadets do not seem to realise that their transmissions travel far and wide and may be intercepted many miles away.

Churcher’s College CCF – We had a very young, relatively inexperienced team without the 3 young ladies who have been our mainstay for several years. We used our new HQ as our base, but we had to put up a 10 m mast.

Chichester High School – We were on Longmoor Training Area for a CCF Field Day and set up in a tactical manner. We could only operate when not guarding our location, so did not make too many contacts. We hope we will not be last again this year. We came under attack at one stage from the RAF section Fortunately Lt Col Vokes was not visiting us just then, as he would never have got under cover in time!!

The Vyne School CCF – Our 6 cadets very much enjoyed the weekend. We had a real mixture of age and experience- from 16 – 13, from X-Flags to Radio Users. Some could only manage part time, due to jobs and even a “Leavers Ball” for one on the Saturday night – he came back on the Sunday morning somewhat bleary-eyed, but keen as mustard. There’s commitment!

We had one near disaster at about 0830 Sunday. Operating with a droopy dipole suspended from a home made 8m mast; all was going well until one of the tenant farmer’s men came to on feed sheep in the fields adjoining our patch. On crossing our site in a very large tractor he drove through one of our supporting lines and demolished half the dipole. Luckily the cord had only broken in one place and having untangled his tractor we were able to quickly affect a repair and continued almost without a hitch. Exit one red-faced farmer’s boy!

Cumbria ACF – The 2 operators thoroughly enjoyed their first real experience of HF over significant distances.

Other non-attributable comments . . . but applicable to many . . .

  • “Some of them (the other stations) seem to be more concerned with being “in control” than actually running a directed net”.
  • “Does anyone monitor the competition frequencies and if so, is anything done about the poor standard of VP and the obvious attempts to bend the rules?”

And finally…

In the “real world” NOT all frequencies are perfectly clear and completely free from interference. Often – including on operations – frequencies are shared, conditions are poor, there is heavy fading and in hostile environments deliberate interference and blocking of transmissions. Whilst not wishing to impose operational conditions on Exercise SUMMER WHINE, it is not unreasonable to expect you to move to other, more usable frequencies.

Competition organiser – Major T Sugdon