Monthly archives for May, 2014

Construction Evening – Taplin Centre May 28th 2014

With a good turnout from the club members, Phil G3MGQ got the ball rolling at 7.30pm for what turned out to be an enjoyable evening at the Taplin Centre.

Mike Wade (M0EDU) brought along a MKARS80 kit, not as an entry to the competition but showing a QRP kit that he just received which, complete with case & all parts, would be a suitable radio project for the Intermediate Licence exam or a 80m transceiver for portable operation.

Next up, Gordon (M3YXH) introduced a home brew Morse key & practice oscillator made by John Heys, G3BDQ , that John has donated to the Club to encourage new licensees to get going on CW. Gordon also showed his home brew audio pre-amplifier, neatly fitted into the traditional small sweet tin.

A professional-looking transceiver kit was presented next by Rob (M0LYD), and was completed to a high standard. The kit in question was an ILER-40 for 40m for which Rob detailed the specs and construction, noting that the transceiver  including modifying the PA heatsink to fit the case which was not supplied with the kit.  Amongst other things mentioned was that the rig can be used with a Direct Digital Syntheser, which can be bought as an optional extra. is also capable of acting as a useful signal generator and had low power consumption.

Jakey (G3JKY) followed Rob with what he referred to as a nostalgic radio accessory which he used while in Beckenham, London many years ago. The home brew AMU was finished to a good standard and has certainly stood the test of time judging by its condition. The rear of the 19 inch rack-mounted panel sported large ceramic coil inductors and a “Mickey Match” for matching to the antenna. The “Mickey Match” comprised a thin wire threaded inside the braid of a coaxial cable to form  a directional coupler which was switched to monitoring the forward & reverse power. This AMU had been used to end-feed a W8JK antenna, using a pair of 66ft lines driven out of phase & spaced to lower the radiation pattern, which he had used on 20, 15 & 10 meters, and which he used as an inverted L with an additional loading coil for 40, 80 & Top Band.

Following on from Jakey was Richard’s (G0ILN) pair of home brew Morse keys, ingeniously built entirely from scrap, one straight key and a very interesting tiny iambic paddle constructed on an inverted mains plug as a base. The mains plug iambic key had been neatly fitted with two cut-down nail files, which came with plastic ends making excellent paddles. His second exhibit was a small 700Hz speaker resonator for his CW operations. Using his FT-817, he demonstrated both his keys using the speaker resonator which, tuned to his preferred CW tone, doubles the audio volume by in-phase resonance. Small and perfectly formed and no doubt an asset to Richards shack.

The final entry at the construction evening was presented by Rodney who gave a brief talk about a circuit board designed and constructed by himself enabling diagnostic monitoring of communications on an IEEE488 data bus used for controlling test equipment from early desktop computers. This enabled up to 16 instruments to be monitored, showing whether faults originated in the instrument or its data source.

At the end Phil handed out paper for the members to vote on for the “top 3” entrants shortly after which the following scores were announced.

In joint third place were Jakey (G3JKY) with his home brew AMU and Richard (G1ILN) for his speaker resonator.

Second place, with 21 points, went to Richard for his two Morse keys.

Finally in a well deserved first place with 25 points was Vice Chairman Rob (M0LYD) with his excellent ILER-40 transceiver, winning the Hastings Electronics and Radio Clubs’ construction award against some fairly stiff competition from other club members.

Rob also brought the evening to a close by thanking everyone for taking part and wishing them a safe drive home. Thanks also go to Peter Firmlin (G0FUU) the clubs catering manager who as always does a grand job of running the kitchen and supplying the refreshments.

Here are a selection of pictures below of the evening..


Although not enterered into the competition, Mike M0EDU presented his new 40m TX kit. Looking good!


Gordon M3YXH gave a brief talk on a practice Morse code oscillator, Morse key and mic preamp which had been kindly donated to HERC by John Elgar Whinney to assist new trainees into the world of Morse.


Jakey’s homebrew AMU designed and built by himself many years ago and used with a 66ft W8JK parallel line wire antenna.


Ron xx the clubs treasurer and Mike Wade M0EDU having a good look at the construction entries.


Rob M0LYD gave a fine talk about his recently constructed ILER-40 kit which he is very pleased with and clearly constructed to a very high standard.


Richard G1ILN begins his talk about his construction entries.


Pictured above are Richard’s (G1ILN) FT817 with his two homebrew Morse keys, one of which to the lower right was built from a mains plug, and just above it the cylindrical 700hz speaker-resonator designed to provide amply loud audio while out in the field on CW operations.


Phil G3MGQ starting to tally up the scores at the end of the evening before announcing the top 3 runners in the construction event.


philspic-mic-preamp-G3BDQ philspic-john-heys-G2BDQ-morse-equipment philspic-g3jky-amu philspic-rodney-bus-analyser philspic-rob-m0lyd-iler40-transceiver philspic-richard-g1iln-speaker-resonator philspic-richard-g1iln-morsekeys philspic-mike-wade-m0edu-tx-kit

































































































































































Credit: Rob M0LYD and Phil G3MGQ for the photographs.

Clifton Country Club Net 18th May 2014

80m was in a state of torpor being void of any readable signals, the background ‘rush’ was making the ‘S’ meter gently undulate between zero and three.

Whereas 40m was crowded with stations as I tuned to our net frequency. To avoid some raucous splatter from an ‘Oscar Nancy’ contest station I decided to call for Clifton members on 7.126 Mhz a little higher than our prescribed QRG.

An early first call at 13.55 hrs GMT brought an immediate and very strong signal (59+) from Colin (G0UJK) in Swanley. Having just dashed into the shack he had not ‘tuned’ his ATU so Colin went QRX to adjust his antenna matching.

Meanwhile Peter (G3RQZ) sounded very relaxed as called from his sunny outdoor operating position in his garden, with glass of wine in hand and his feet up in a deck chair. Running 50W from his Yaesu FT897 into a 40/80m trap dipole. This ‘barefoot’ set up produced a very respectable 58 to 59 report here in Norfolk.

Colin appeared again explaining that he was now on the SSB friendly antenna, which registered a unity SWR. Prior to the net, he had been busy deploying fan dipole, only to find that the feeder was 3ft short, Colin went on to say he would soon rectify this after the net.

At 1403 Hrs Jakey (G3JKY) announced his presence in from Hastings, saying that all those heard were solid 58 to 59. In fact the band appeared quite stable.

He had finished his modification on his TenTec gear to allow a 4m transverter to be powered off the main transceiver. He had also fitted a CTSS board to his aging 2m radio enabling access to a greater range of repeaters. He had one problem, in that  he had not disconnected ‘tone burst’ board completely so that every time the PTT  was pressed a 1750 Hz tone kept triggering. Having rectified this everything was well and he could now work through 2m repeaters in North Kent and Danbury. He was restricted to 25Khz channels as his transceiver was of a vintage before 12.5Khz spacing.

At this point I told by Peter(G3RQZ) that Brian (G3OYU) was calling. Unfortunately  I could not hear him, even when gaps were left.

Stations closer than 100 miles appear to be victims of very sudden and extremely deep fading.

John (G3FNZ) was 58 from Rochester, although he said my signals were varying radically, whereas Jakey in Hastings had remarked on my solid steady signal.

It’s all in the distance, another 40+ miles makes all the difference.

John went on to say he had been blighted with QRN which made radio difficult, so he had spent more time on activities at Chatham’s Royal Dockyard.

Peter (G7ULL) was just audible when he called from his QTH in Chislehurst, a surprisingly weak signal. Peter told the group that Clive G0PPO had repaired the fault on his transceiver and he was now back on the air with a new G5RV doublet antenna.

I advised Peter to check all his drive settings, power out, and VSWR. because even with a turbulent band signals his signal was extremely weak.

Peter informed me that his output meter was showing 100W. At this I told him that there was even more cause for concern, was he sure that he had not got his ATU set to dummy load? Or he had a faulty PL259/coax connection somewhere?

At this Peter (G3PJB) from Swanley supported my observations that his namesake from Chislehurst was barely audible, as Swanley is almost line of sight.

Peter continued to tell the group that he had been struggling in the month long Royal Signals contest, and had only managed to work 20 other RS members.

Even his aircraft spotting hobby had proved difficult due to the high level cloud associated with the anti-cyclone that dominated the UK weather over the past days.

Ron( G3GZH) said that he had been having antenna problems, and that signals were highly variable, he could hear most with the exception of Peter (G7ULL).

Ron was using a vertical which did tend to collect some excessive QRN on the lower bands.

Peter (G3RQZ) remembering that John (G3FNZ) owned an Austin 7 said that he had followed an Austin 7 along the A22 that was being driven in excess of 45mph. Knowing that these vintage automobiles had rod activated drum brakes that work given sufficient time, would John consider that speed reckless?

Colin (G0UJK) said that he was receiving everyone except Peter (G7ULL) at 59+20db.He had a reasonably successful month working VK’s and Pacific Islands, he went to say 20m had proved a very productive for DX. He thought we may interested that he had worked Clifton members Peter Wilson (G0NGP) who had been operating portable on the south coast and he had also worked Steve (G0STE).

At this point I heard Denis (G3OKY) called from Beckenham, but obviously he could not hear my invitation to “Go Ahead”. From this point onwards I called both Brian (G3OYU) and Denis (G3OKY) every opportunity.

Jakey (G3JKY) said although 80m appeared to be in doldrums he still put in an appearance on the RAFAS Tuesday evening CW net on 3.566 Mhz.

He asked If Denis could access North Kent 2m repeater ? If so he would work him via that mode.

Jakey had mentioned during last month’s net that he was suffering from a respiratory condition. Although there were signs of improvement he was still ‘under doctor’s orders’. Much to his annoyance this would prevent him attending the forthcoming NFD.

We all wish you a speedy recovery Jakey!

Speaking of Peter (G0NGP), Jakey recalls several years ago on one HF field day after having worked a string of Dutch stations Peter was called by a PY and thinking it was yet another QSO from Holland was totally shocked to learn it was Brazil possibly their best DX on that band. Yes I am sure we have all done it!

I recall some 23 years ago, when operating ‘portable’ in 9M2 and after working a seemingly incessant stream of JA’s in all guises, I was being to think all two million licensed radio amateurs in Japan were on my frequency. When I was called by a JW, which we all know is Svalbard up in the northern wastes of the arctic, don’t we? Crikey, I am glad I worked him.

In response to Peter (G3RQZ)’s observations on speed and the Austin 7’s breaking capability, John (G3FNZ) stated you take your life in your hands when driving cars of that vintage ( and possibly the lives of everyone else too John?).

He went on to tell the group that he waiting to go to East Grinstead hospital for some surgical procedures on his hand. In the meantime he was under orders to mow the lawn, so he going sign out and get mowing.

Peter (G3PJB) stated he could hear everyone with exception of Ron (G3GZH)

Peter agreed that he had heard Denis (G3OKY) but that Denis could not hear our responses. Peter promised to telephone him after the net.

Peter had been to the Catford Bus Garage 100yrs celebrations. In pursuance of his bus spotting hobby, evidently there were 35 new buses at Catford, Peter logged all but five. The running code for Catford was ‘TL’ which stood for ‘ Tilling Lewisham’

Tilling being the original bus company, who says privatisation is new.

For the steam ‘buffs’ among you, during the last weekend in May, the Mid Norfolk Railway; my local preserved line is holding the first steam traction gala of the year. At which ‘West Coast Trains’ are supplying four steam locos and some ‘heritage’ rolling stock. West Coast Trains are based at Carnforth the station where the iconic film “Brief Encounters” was centred. A age old friend from London always comes to Norfolk and stays with us to get his ‘fix’ of steam-coal smoke during these heritage weekends.

Both Suzanne and I have had very little time to spend on the air as we have been very busy preparing for six US citizens on their first visit to the UK. All are guests at the 70th anniversary ceremony, which commemorates ten US airmen and two US fire-fighters that were killed when a US B24 Liberator crashed in our village on 4th June 1944. For further info:

A number of stations had signed out, leaving the few stalwarts to close the net at 15.07 hrs

I received apologies from:

Jon (G8CCL), who was still without an operational shack follow the winter’s storms

Lawrie (G4FAA), who was engaged at the Luton rally.

Brian (G3OYU), who was being plagued with S9 wide band electrical QRM. This was very unusual at Brian’s QTH which normally electrically quiet.

Whilst preparing this summary I received the news from Steve (G4RFC) that sadly the Clifton  would not be entering either the HF NFD in June or the VHF NFD in July. Due to circumstances beyond our control.

The next Clifton CC Net, the last before our summer recess, will be on Sunday 15th June at 1500hrs on or near 7.125MHz. allowing for no improvement in conditions on 80m.

Catch you on the wireless!

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

Change to June 25th club diary 2014

Hello all,

There has been a change to the Taplin meet details for the 25th June 2014 where the speaker was to be Alex Brattell on the subject of photography.

Instead the new speaker Michael Hedges G0JHK will be giving a talk and presentation on Wireless Operators in the Royal Air Force which should prove to be a very interesting evening.

Please adjust your own diaries accordingly and look forward to seeing you there!

Taplin Centre HF antenna repaired

Thanks to the efforts of Phil (G3MGQ) and Antony (G4CUS), the clubs HF antenna which was downed by poor weather over the Christmas period has now been re-erected and made safe.

During the re-fitting of the antenna it was clear that additional hardware will be needed in order to enhance its ability to withstand the elements and this is now in hand with Phil who will no doubt be looking for assistance at the Taplin Centre in due course to install the new fixing hardware.

Volunteers raise their hands please and get in touch with Phil if you are able to assist!

EREC to operate in Windmills on the Air Sat 10th and 11th May 2014

From Vince Bobin (EREC member. G1FBH)

This coming Saturday and Sunday is the Windmills On The Air Weekend. You may or may not be aware but this is the first outside “on the air” event that the club has organised. We have three special event stations operating at Stone Cross Windmill, Windmill Hill Windmill and over in Kent Rolvenden Windmill. All the organising has been done, station equipment sorted and last weekend we did antenna tests from two of the three sites.

What we need now is members to visit the three sites. Your visit can be as short or as long as you like. Just come to say hi to us or stay and do some HF operating and logging etc. Refreshments will be available at all three sites. Why not bring the family along for a half day out. At Stone Cross the “Millers” will be in attendance to show you round the fully working windmill (all five floors, if you’re up to it to face the stairs) and explain its workings to you. The local Morris Dancers will be in attendance also! They will also be visiting Windmill Hill on the Sunday.

Setting up will be at 9:00am each day in readiness to go on the air for 10:00am for all three mills. We will finish each day between 4:00 and 5:00 pm. Let’s hope for some good weather!

A few of us have been very busy the last couple of weeks getting this all organised for what will be a pleasant weekend of radio operating. Please come along and show your support not only to us but more importantly to all the people who spend many hours renovating and working on and in the windmills. It’s all part of our heritage.

Entry is free for all.

—– end


Hastings and Rother RAYNET training day Sat 10th May 2014

Group controller Steve (M0SSR) is overseeing the Hastings and Rother RAYNET operatives this weekend at the Church Hall in St. Leonards where they will be undertaking an invaluable training exercise.

The day-long event which is being run by Dick Jeffries and Pat will be providing an all day real-time scenario which will challenge the operatives in an emergency environment to raise awareness while assisting in realisation of structure, method and results.

The exercise will undoubtedly help the Hastings and Rother RAYNET group operate together even more efficiently and serve to provide local event organisers with the very best in emergency communication support.

Last year the H&RRG attended around a dozen events including the Hastings Carnival, the Pram Race and Pirate Day as well as public events in Bexhill and Battle all of which proved to be a success with their respective organisers. 2014 is already well underway with the local RAYNET group who recently operated at the Eastbourne and Hastings Half-Marathons.

For more information about Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group please visit their official website.

New RSGB training resources available for students and trainers

Good news for potential licensees and trainers alike.

The RSGB has recently announced a new section on their website which contains a selection of resources overseen by Steve Hartley (G0FUW) including training materials for the blind/partially sighted as well as those who have hearing problems.

Within the selection of links, the new RSGB training materials also contain handy web sites which provide online mock exams as well as pages which assist with distance learning for the Amateur Radio exams which can be undertaken from home at the candidates pace.

Steve Hartley invites suggestions for additional materials to be directed to him via email at: tec-chair @

Visit the RSGB Training Resources page for further information.

Month on the Air May 2014

Phil Parkman’s (G3MGQ) May 2014 edition of Month on Air is available for download in Adobe PDF format from here. This months edition contains a large selection of HF contest events for you to enjoy or simply avoid!

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air

Prepared by the clubs RSGB trainer, G3MGQ, you will find the latest DX contests including the ones to shoot for as well as ones to give a wide berth. Why not download the latest edition of Month on the Air and enjoy your DX just that little bit more.

Become a member of HERC

Join the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club.

Why not join one of the largest and most established Radio clubs in the South East of England? Very low joining cost, and free for a year to new licencees.

Vital Spark Archive

Vital Spark newsletter articles

Take a look through a large selection of articles written by club members over the years which have been published in the monthly Vital Spark newsletter .

Used Ham Radio Equipment

View HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list..

Every four weeks, HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list is updated on the site. Bookmark the gear for sale page to re-visit easily and take advantage of the used equipment on sale through the club.

Club Photographs

HERC Image Galleries.

Here is the official HERC photograph archive which contains multiple image galleries spanning several decades since the club was formed many years ago. Enjoy the images!

UK Amateur Radio Repeaters

UK repeaters

Click button above for full list, or a local repeater callsign below for info.

GB3EB 2m in Uckfield- Active
MB6EB 2m DStar Node in Eastbourne - Active
MB6RY Wires-X DigiGate in Broad Oak - Active
GB3HE 70cm in Hastings - Active
GB7HE 70cm DStar in Hastings - Coming soon
GB3ZX 70cm in Eastbourne - Low Power
GB3JT 23cm ATV in Hastings - NoV cleared
GB7RY 70cm X-Wires Repeater Rye - Active
GB7ES Eastbourne - DSTAR Rpt. - Active
GB3ES 2m in Hastings - Active

For a complete list of repeaters, head over to
the UK Amateur Radio repeaters list.

Popular pages

Get your amateur radio licence - Find out more about amateur radio licence training.
Month on the Air - G3MGQ's popular monthly DX contest/expedition list.
Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup - The clubs annual operating event in the memory of Wilf Gaye M0GYE.
St. Richard's College Buildathon/STEM/ARISS - HERC attends St. Richard's Catholic College for their various events surrounding the Tim Peake ARISS contact.
G3BDQ - John Hey's Rare QSL Cards.
Sussex Electronics Radio Fair - SERF Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2016.
Vital Spark - A selection of articles re-published from the Vital Spark.
RSGB News - Find out how to get RSGB news on your mobile or PC.
Experimenters Corner - A selection of Proteus projects by Bob Gornal (G7DME)
BBADL - Bath Based Distance Learning Course.
Conquest Hospital Radio - Presented by HERC member Antony (G4CUS).
Radio Rallies 2016 - An up to date list of radio rallies scheduled for 2016.
Club QSL Cards - A selection of QSL cards the club has received over the years.
Other Newsletters - Excellent newsletters and magazines from other clubs.
TX Factor episodes - Take a look at the TX Factors YouTube videos.
John Taplin - A bio of the late John Taplin.

Amateur Radio Resources

Other Radio Clubs & RAYNET

BSARS - Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society

RAYNET - The Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group.

HERC members sites

Sigord - Gordon Sweet
Hastings Radio Comms - Andrew Haas-Campbell
Hoofbags - Liz Costa