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Monthly Archives: October 2011

  • We all knew ICOM radios were tough, but surviving a 3,000ft drop from a balloon. . .

    Jeff Lawton accidently dropped his ten year old Icom IC-A3E aviation radio from his balloon 3,000 feet up and retrieved it later virtually undamaged. John Coney who is the Secretary of the Mid Hants Balloon Club takes up the story. ‘On 24th March this year myself, Jeff Lawton and three friends went for a pleasure flight in Jeff's balloon from near Petworth in Sussex, intending to fly for about an hour. About 10 minutes into the flight, when the balloon was at 3000 feet, the radio was accidently dropped from the basket and fell into a grass field. We watched the radio fall all the way to the ground and made a note of the approximate grid reference of the landing.’ ‘After landing a few miles to the North, near Chiddingfold, we returned to the farm and asked if we could look for the radio. The farmer agreed and we searched in the gathering gloom for the radio, but with no success. We left our phone number with the farmer and expected to hear no more.’ ‘Two days later the farmer rang Jeff and told him he had found the radio in a grass field on his farm. We returned to the farm, brushed surface mud off the radio and turned it on, the display lit up and the radio worked. We tested it by calling the radio from another one and it both received and transmitted.’ ‘Since then we have used the radio on every flight, it still has a bit of mud on it, but seems to be working properly.’ John added, ‘Our Icom IC-A3E is one of Icom’s older models, about 10 years old and gets taken on every flight. During the flight we use it talk to other Icom’s such as the retrieve crew on the ground. We also use it to talk to other balloons on the balloon frequency of 122.475. Most of the time we try and stay well clear of controlled airspace, but occasionally we fly near Farnborough, Odiham or Lasham and we use it to talk to these airfields if necessary.’ ’We are all members of the Mid-Hants Balloon Club and details of the club can be found at Mid-Hants Balloon Club. Most club members use Icom radios both in the UK and abroad because of the quality and this story simply confirms what we already knew. We have told the story to many members of the balloon club – usually over a few beers – and the radio is still in use today’. Ian Lockyer, Marketing Manager of Icom UK Ltd said, ‘When we received the IC-A3E back at Icom UK I expected a lot of work to be done to it. But apart from a miniscule break in the battery case, the radio was as good as new….great testament to the Engineers at Icom Inc. who originally designed the IC-A3E.’

  • In the North East? Join us for an RNLI fundraising evening 23rd November.

    Paul & Rachel Chandler will talk, show images & answer questions about their ordeal in the hands of Somali gangsters. To quote from the cover of their recently published book,'After the attack, Paul and Rachel were taken first onto a previously hijacked merchant ship and then to Somalia, where they were held for over a year, enduring threats and intimidation whilst their captors tried to extract millions of dollars from their family' Join us at the Centre For Life, Newcastle upon Tyne for what will be a fascinating & entertaining evening. Tickets cost £10-00 for adults & £6-00 for children & OAPs. Our aim, with your help & support, is to try & raise raise £9000-00 which is what it will cost the RNLI to equip the Tynemouth lifeboat crew with the latest search and rescue life jackets. As in the past years, there will be a raffle with valuable prizes to be won, a tombola stand & a chance to purchase a personally signed copy of the Chandlers book Hostage, which will make a great Christmas present. Incidentally for every copy sold on the night we will donate £1-00 to the fund. There will of course be a bar & reduced rate parking is available nearby. The function room will hold just under 400 so don't leave it till the last minute. To reserve your tickets e-mail hostage@storrarmarine.co.uk or ring 0191 2661037

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