” The best laid plans………….” would definitely apply to my choice of 40m for this net.
I had been listening to both 40m and 80m during the week, I favoured 40m in preference to the apparent poor propagation on 80m , especially during the afternoon.
To say that 40m was congested would have been an understatement, the sheer wall of splatter and QRM that greeted me around our chosen frequency of 7.090 was astounding, Throwing caution to wind, a call for Clifton ARS brought an immediate response from Phil (G3BSN) quickly followed by Peter (G3RQZ). Both powered through splatter producing 59+20db signals, but on releasing their PTTs the maelstrom of noise washed back in. This was a highly unpleasant situation as well as negating any chance of hearing our less well equipped members. Phil (G3BSN) having Italian among his many linguist skills said that the frequency had been occupied by an Italian net for some time.
Working on the principle ‘when in doubt move’, I found a slot of ‘relative calm’ around 7.082Mhz. The splatter here was about 40% of our initial QRG.
Jakey ( G3JKY) had joined the group as we decamped to these less turbulent waters.
Following the theme of what Santa had in his sack for you, Phil enlightened the group that he was now a proud owner of Kenwood’s flagship transceiver the TS 990. He was highly impressed by his recent acquisition saying that the filtering and noise reduction was second to none. He was able the reduce the effect of the ‘close in’ QRM we experienced initially to almost to an ‘arm chair copy’. The wide range other features had been reviewed in Peter Harts article in June’s RadCom, “a truly outstanding radio”.
This new radio weighs in at around 25Kg ( half a hundred weight) with price ticket in the region of £6.5 K
Peter (G3RQZ) with his aging MP 1000 driving a TL922 made a fairly substantial obstacle to any incursion to our frequency. He went on to say he would not stay too long as lunch beckoned, like me he was experiencing high levels of splatter, the judicial use of the ‘pass-band width control’ had suppressed most. Peter commented it was good to hear from someone who was actually using a newly launched radio. Apparently Kenwood was striking out to claim the accolade of ” best flagship radio” after years of specialising in the mid-size ‘compact rigs’ and ‘station in a box’ sets such as the TS2000, leaving the ‘big-guns’ to either Icom or Yaesu.
I said it was very interesting for Kenwood to produce a sophisticated large HF/6m self contained transceiver in the face of the flourishing market in software defined radio (SDR). Quite a gamble in these days when most are counting the pennies.
At this point Ron (G3GZH) called in, he said Santa had brought him a new radio too, unfortunately Ron’s signal was just on the same level as the inherent QRM hence I did not hear the make or model of Ron’s new transceiver. Ron it is nice to know you are there and I am sure you will get a lot of enjoyment from the new piece of kit.
Jakey ( G3JKY) said he could hear everyone on the net, but at a much reduced strength than he would have expected. He strongly suspected a faulty relay in the receive path.
By ‘blipping’ the PTT he gained a temporarily improvement in the receive performance. Jakey had first noticed this problem during a RAFAS CW net where a gentle ‘touch’ on the key restored the received signals to normal levels.
Peter ( G3RQZ) said he had a similar problem on his Yaesu MP1000 when using the ‘B’ antenna input, again he strongly suspected a relay malfunction.
During the proceedings I returned to 7.090 Mhz several times and called “Clifton down to 082” in an effort to gather in ‘the flock’.
Brian ( G3OYU) had found us, his Icom 7100 producing a very respectable 59+10db. He said radio activity had been a little sparse, as he had been involved with the Society of Model and Experimental Engineers exhibition at Sandown Park.
The exhibition ran for two days and Brian was in charge of the series of lectures given by guest speakers. These included a fascinating presentation on the use of 3D printers in the manufacture of electronic circuit boards.
At 1459 hrs, David (G0WQQ) called in with a 59+10db signal. He told the group he was making good progress after undergoing major cardiac surgery at Harefield Hospital on 11th November.
David it was so very nice to hear you on the net, all those present wished you a speedy and full recovery.
Understandably David did not wish to stay on too long, we all look forward to hearing him next month.
Phil ( G3BSN) said that because of his long absence he had come on the net to let everyone know he was still active in the hobby. He went on to say Terry ( G0GTO) was making a good recovery and was expected to return to work at Transport for London on light duties in the New Year. We all wish you well Terry.
Phil had spent many years working in the music industry with EMI, with the demise of EMI as an entity, Phil wisely took the opportunity of a career change and joined his brother Terry at TFL.
Retirement? Not for Phil, he says he enjoys working and is far too active to stop gainful employment.
Each to their own Phil, but speaking as someone who ‘retired’ at the age of 52 some thirteen years ago you can’t beat it, with time to enjoy, world travel, cycling, radio, music, wildlife watching etc.
Hey, it would be a boring world if we were all the same!
Jakey(G3JKY) said that he suspected not only a relay fault in his transceiver causing poor reception, but possibly a problem with the balun of his aerial as he was getting some strange meter readings from the feed line. Jakey said he would sign out in order to identify the nature of the fault.
By 15.20 hrs the general background QRM had taken its toll, making congenial conversation difficult, most stations had signed leaving just Brian (G3OYU) and Phil ( G3BSN) to tie the ribbons.
For reasons that will be apparent later Brian has offered to ‘sit in the chair’ during the January and February nets. Because of this he suggested that we QSY to 80m to check the propagation.
Therefore at 15.21 hrs we moved to 3.690Mhz and found the band in good shape. I received a 59+10bd report whilst only running 50W, a true ‘armchair’ copy on a relatively un-crowded band. Ah! what a relief.
Ironically I had checked the band at 1400 hrs and it was virtually bereft of stations.
We were joined by Peter (G3PJB) who apologised for being a little late, he had just caught us on 40m as we moved to 80m.
There was a general agreement that 80m was a better proposition especially at a slightly later time (after 1500Hrs). More so with the slightly longer daylight by mid January.
Peter (G3PJB) said that unfortunately his xyl Doris had recently taken a tumble while getting out of the bath, she had been rather shaken by this fall, although she had not been to the doctor. Peter, we all wish Doris well, dangerous stuff this gravity!
Similarly Brian said that his xyl Geraldine was waiting for hospital treatment following an injury to her shoulder that occurred during a fall. Brian himself had been suffering from back problems but was soldiering on working at Fender, repairing amplifiers. I am sure all in the Clifton wish you and Geraldine a speedy recovery and a better year in 2014.
15.30hrs saw the close of this ‘second part’ of the Country Club net. At least we had confirmed the viability of 80m for the nets in the New Year.
After the net I received this very poignant and moving e-mail from Peter (G3RQZ):
Nice to hear one and all today, shame I had to dash off, I was the chief cook as usual.
What I was going to mention was about last month’s sked. I was already to call in when I got a phone call from my mother asking me to go and see her at her nursing home some 6 miles from here. When I arrived I told her that I had dragged myself from the radio,” what those people from the radio club she asked?”
She went on to reminisce about Norman Moore calling to collect me from Lewisham to go to 225 New Cross Road( I was 14 at the time) and Ted G3RGL bringing me home, sometimes very late after a few pints of Guinness! She remembered that they were both now SK. She went on to ask about ‘big John G3OGE and long tall Colin, G3PNT’ I said as far as I knew they were both well and would pass on her 73.
Mum died next day whilst we were trying to complete the Sunday crossword together, we didn’t quite finish it……….
She was in her 101st year!
Hope to catch up with you on 25th or in the new year.
As I stated in my reply to Peter, please accept our belated condolences for your loss and what a truly amazing lady.
Also Peter thank you for reminding me about Christmas Day.
I will make every effort to be listening on 3.690Mhz at midday for those who wish to pass greetings ( It’s cheaper than Royal Mail)
If I am not there, start without me. All totally ad hoc, no net controller just call in.
In order to avoid the worst of the British winter Suzanne and I will be taking a very slow voyage from the UK to Cape Town and back, visiting 20+ ports from Madeira along the west coast of Africa to the Cape returning to the UK via St Helena, Ascension Is., Dakar Casablanca, Cadiz and Lisbon. It will be the first time Suzanne has visited the land of her childhood since leaving Cape Town in the mid 60s.
I intend to operate QRP marine mobile during (warmer) sea-days from the deck with my well travelled and trusty FT817 using a centre loaded whip for 14 to 28 Mhz mounted as high as possible on the ship’s superstructure
Being totally insane we will also endeavour to cycle at every opportunity ( “Mad dogs etc………”.).
During of our nautical meanderings Brian (G3OYU) has kindly volunteered to act as net controller.
To avoid popular contests, namely the 80m AFS in January and the ARRL 24hrs DX CW in February The Clifton Country Club Nets will be on Sunday 19th January and Sunday 9th February. At 1500Hrs on or near 3.690 Mhz.
Interestingly the first Clifton Country Club Net was held 12 years ago following the RSGB 80m AFS on 21st January 2002.
We wish a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy, Prosperous New Year
Catch you on the wireless in 2014
73 es 88s de
Tony es Suzanne
(This will also be sent via the Clifton reflector)