Monthly archives for November, 2014

YOTA – Youngsters on the Air 2014 is almost here

gw14yotaThe Chair of the IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group, Lisa Leenders PA2LS, has been updating the Yongsters On The Air Month page

During December several countries will become active with YOTA as the suffix for the call sign. The idea for this is to assist the younger ones into amateur radio and help put the microphone in their hands. As can be seen in recent years, the YOTA-group is becoming increasingly popular and every week more youngsters are wanting to get involved.

YOTA is  a great way for helping younger people into Amateur Radio and we wish the YOTA 2014 teams the very best of luck and hope they have a great time during the event.

Find out more about the December YOTA event and if you can, you may follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube via the YotA site.


RAFARS Expedition to the Falkland Islands

The RAF Amateur Radio Society, G8FC, is sending an Expedition to the Falkland Islands and will be operating from the Joint Services Welfare Facility Amateur Radio Station using the SES callsigns VP8RAF/100 and VP8FIR/100. This is to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ‘Battle of Falklands’ in WW1 on the 8th December. Some maintenance work may have to be carried out on arrival, however, the station should be active from 5th to 9th December 14.Other VP8 stations should also be active during this period including VP8LP/100. All VP8 stations will be able to use the suffix /100 between 1st November and 15th December 2014.

The RAFARS station will be using the following frequencies: CW 3.505, 7015, 10.112, 14.055, 18.070, 21.055, 24.892, 28.055. SSB 3.790, 7.155, 14.270, 18.123, 21.290, 24.945, 28.250. The expedition will always be looking for the best band to work the UK.

Further updates can be found at the official RAFARS website.

RadCom Plus – Launching soon from RSGB

RSGB_Logo1400pixElaine Richards, RSGB editor sends word that an exciting new quarterly supplement called RadCom Plus is anticipated for release in spring 2015.

Designed to further amateur radio by presenting a selection of technical articles written by experience and knowledgeable authors, Elaine Richards has put out a request for volunteers to assist with the production of the new magazine.

The new electronic only format magazine is free for the 20,000 RSGB members and each edition will provide a selection of articles, sometimes just one or two which will be covered in a great deal of depth, enabling amateurs to continue training past their licence and further enhance their knowledge and enjoyment of the hobby.

Volunteers are welcomed to be a part of the new RadCom Plus,  and encouraged to get in touch with Elaine via email at

Clifton Country Club Net 16th November 2014

Clifton Country Club Net 16th November 2014.

“Normal service is resumed”

At 14.50hrs there was not a “G” station to be heard on 80m reinforcing my concerns over the  ‘inter-G’ propagation following our move from 40m.


These worries were soon to prove un-necessary  as a tentative early call brought an immediate response from both Peter (G3RQZ) and Keith ( G4TJE/P). Both were 59+ signals. Even more remarkable as Keith was running a FT897 as  portable station ( 40 to 50w) from his paddock near Sevenoaks. Keith said it was almost a year since he was last on the net. Whilst waiting for the net he had found 10m wide open with strong signals from the Americas.

John ( G3FNZ) boomed in from the Medway towns at 15.01hrs again a true armchair copy of 59+. John told the group that during the summer he had regretfully sold his yacht which had been his pride and joy for 35yrs. He an Beryl were now spending more time caravanning.

One of these caravanning exploits took them to Bletchley Park where they visited the Museum of Computing. John went on to say the presentation given on the ‘Colossus’ computer was excellent and well worth the visit.


At 1504 hrs. Peter (G3PJB) called in with a fairly readable 57 signal and told the group he and Doris had  recently spent an interesting weekend at Newark Air Museum and the Newark Ham-fest.

Peter went on to say he was still unable to rotate his 2m beam since a local heating ‘engineer’ had threaded the boiler chimney between the elements. Meanwhile he was waiting until his boiler requires  servicing  before tackles the company to ‘release’ his antenna. Hmm! Good luck with that Peter!

Interestingly as ex Royal Signals, Peter has been accepted as an ‘associate’ RAFARS member. He went on to say he had not been able to hear any of my ‘maritime mobile’ operations, but had seen my call once on a DX cluster.


Jakey ( G3JKY) crashed in from Hastings (59+20db) at 15.08 hrs, he told the group he now had both a 4 metre and 6 metre capability. Having first acquired a 70MHz transverter and after making contacts into HA and GM Jakey opted to purchase a 50MHz version. So far he has only made local contacts on 6m this is mainly due to the lack of a suitable ‘coupler’ for his 137ft doublet.

Jakey and Joyce had visited Denis (G3OKY) during a visit to Beckenham. Jakey went on to tell the group it was a real trip ‘down memory lane’ as he could recall many of the landmarks he had walked by over fifty years as man and boy.

He went on to say he was pleased to learn Peter (G3PJB) was now an ‘associate member’ of RAFARS. Jakey’s membership number is 4007.

Jakey went on to ask the group if anyone had knowledge of Navy modifications to wireless equipment used by the RAF.


Peter ( G3RQZ) said he was receiving extremely good signals from everyone except Peter (G3PJB), who was 57. He went on to say his summer gardening duties had seemed to be never ending. Peter had worked  me on several occasions  during my month of nautical meanderings both in CW and SSB, and like others  he was surprised by the strength of the signal from the FT817 (5W) and mobile whip antenna secured by a mag-mount to the railing of the ship.

Peter also commented on Jakey’s signal saying it was about the strongest he had heard him.


Keith ( G4TJE/P) said that he had searched the bands for me, and on one occasion thought you heard me calling on 12m. (Keith that is quite remarkable considering your very restricted indoor loft antennas).

Keith went on to tell the group that he had recently purchased a Rig Expert AA170 antenna analyser. It was truly impressive piece of kit for all forms of antenna work and matching feeders, giving immediate graphic displays (& smith diagrams) of results, which are downloadable to a computer for further analytical work or to retain for future reference.

Keith said that during a visit to my QTH earlier this year he had seen my Rig Expert analyser and decided it was a very worthwhile investment. I found my analyser invaluable for quick accurate matching of my Sandpiper antenna on our nautical exploits.


Keith said that this new piece of kit, had allowed him to establish that a  commercial  version of a HB9CV antenna for 70MHz was manufactured too short, such that point of resonance was in the region of 73Mhz.  Unfortunately the manufacturers would not admit that there was an error but made some spurious claim it was matching problem. Yes, to the wrong part of the spectrum! However armed with the knowledge gained from the analyser Keith was able to modify the antenna to work on 70 Mhz.


At this point in the proceeding, Colin (G0UJK) called in with a 59+10db crashing signal.  He said he was also sorry he did not manage to hook up with me on my nautical adventures, although he had listened to all the suggested frequencies and had even called using 400 watts. Sometimes Colin things are just not meant to be.

Colin and I had spoken of this during the week during when I was surveying conditions on 80M. When we deduced the main problem was local time, in that during my voyage I was between 2 to 4hours ahead of the UK. Hence if Colin commenced operating at 16.30 BST I would have closed down for dinner, or if later after sunset the weather conditions on the open deck became unpleasant.

All is not lost Colin, as we have plans for future nautical adventures where amateur radio and our other pastime of cycling will feature. In fact we should be several hours behind the UK which will afford a greater access time during our ‘sea-days’.


In reply to Jakey’s query concerning Navy modifications military wireless (RAF) sets to John (G3FNZ) told the group that when he worked for Redifon he was designing multi-crystal units for the RAF that gave 10 or 12 channels as well as crystal controlled drive units for the Navy that were combined with a VFO for the 600 series of equipment.  Err! I think that lost most of us. But I am sure our military wireless veterans were impressed.

John also recalled when working for Elliott’s Automation they were building two computers one of which was destined for RAE at Farnborough and the other to Woomera in western Australia (One would hope being over half a century  ago the Official Secrets Act no longer applies).


I took the opportunity to thank Brian ( G3OYU) for sitting in the chair during my absence, I also told the group that Brian had sent his apologies as he would be visiting Geraldine who was in hospital I am sure we all wish her a speedy recovery.

I also received apologies from Ian (G0PDZ) who would be attending his grandson’s first birthday. Ian also sent of some very amusing anecdotes of situations that have arisen when he is operating ‘portable’ on the local seafront.

I received further apologies from Lawrie (G4FAA) who was presently in VK-land Interestingly whist wandering the remote parts of Australia Lawrie had met fellow Clifton member Peter (G7ULL) who presumably also sends his apologies.


Talking of Australia, one of my more memorable contacts while signing “maritime mobile” was with Graham (VK6RO) on 24.945 Mhz. I had not worked Graham for about twelve years. Prior to that I used to work him regularly during our many DX trips in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He hadn’t changed as the QSO started with “where the heck have you got yourselves to now?”


At this point we noticed that Peter (G3PJB) had become virtually un-readable. At my QTH in Norfolk he was a 31 signal, as I could just hear what Peter was saying with the loss of the occasional word. To others he was totally inaudible.

We left Peter to investigate while Jakey (G3JKY) reminded the group that he and  the Clifton had donated much wanted valves to the Bletchley Park ‘Colossus’  project.

Jakey went on to say working Graham (VK6RO) after a decade is one of the best aspects of ‘ham-radio’

With regard to  the ‘need to know’ facet of security, Jakey gave an anecdote from his time working for the Inspectorate of Armaments.

” I have been inspecting these things for fifteen years and I still don’t know what they are for”

Like mushrooms Jakey ? “Kept in the dark and fed on………………….”


Peter (G3RQZ) agreed that Peter(G3PJB) definitely had a problem as he had virtually disappeared. Peter went on to say he had been monitoring Jakey’s signals ‘on-line’ through the remote SDR receiver at Hack Green via the internet. Quite a useful facility to verify that your signals are radiating and being received in that part of the UK.


Peter said he would be interested to have sked with Jakey on 6m or 4m. He went on to say that he had modified his 4m beam to work on 6m by judiciously adding parasitic elements.

Jakey, I am also QRV on 6m (but not 4m) so give me a call or even drop me a mail and I will join and make it a three way sked.


At this point Peter (G3PJB) re-emerged with a 58 signal having found that he had a faulty patch lead between his transceiver and his solid state linear. All was now well.

Although would now be visiting a local emporium to obtain a supply of new made-up leads, as after over 40 years in ham radio he now found soldering the PL259s a little awkward.


Keith (G4TJE/P) said that he and Ayesha ( G7LMP) were closing as it was getting dark, damp and very cold sitting in their unheated caravan. He hoped to be on again next month, but this depended very much on the weather.

Thank you both, for making the effort to operate in less than ideal conditions, it is much appreciated by all those on the net. We look forward to hearing you next time, all being well.


John (G3FNZ) somewhat tongue in cheek said, ” What only 40yrs Peter?” explaining that he had held his licence for over 65 yrs! Beryl could be heard laughing in the background.

Jakey ( G3JKY) said that he had recently purchased some PL259 plugs that had ‘gland clamps’ which he thought were easier to fit, although he felt that they too good use on any old cable! A true supporter of ‘it will come in handy one day philosophy’.

He went on to say he liked the idea of RQZ’s dual band beam and looked forward to a 6m or 4m sked.

Further to this he was a little concerned that his call-sign was being too easily associated with ‘on-line’ technology. The only ‘on-line’ with which he felt at ease, was the line that supported washing and that on which one travelled!

Jakey wears his ” Computers won’t catch on” badge with pride.


The fact that I could hear Peter ( G3PJB) here in Norfolk when he slipped into his faulty patch lead driven ‘QRP’ mode. Prompted Peter ( G3RQZ) to recount the time when he was testing an FT7 on 20m running 10w into an ATU that had been bridged out to a dummy load. Peter’s test calls brought a response from a VP8 in the Falkland Is.

Yes, strange business this wireless!

To demonstrate how effective QRP can be, take a little time and listen to this attached u-tube file of yours truly working 5W QRP SSB on 12m whilst moored in the ‘harbour’ at Istanbul. The clip was recorded by Chris IX1CKN and kindly sent to me by Ian (G0PDZ).

Whilst on the net I was called on 2m via the Kings Lynn repeater by Terry (M0TNE) who sends his apologies. If you recall my last net summary in June, I wrote that Terry had just secured planning permission to erect a 7m telescopic mast at the rear of his bungalow.

In the meantime a mast, rotator and antenna (MQ26 mini beam)  have been deployed. Since September Terry has been enjoying the delights of working the world.

As the clock approached 16.10hrs and dusk fell the QRM from near Europe was becoming a little more intrusive, therefore the net was closed. 80m had proved an ideal band hopefully this will apply next month.

The next Clifton Country Club Net will be on Sunday 14th December on or near 3.690 MHz at the slightly earlier time of 14.30 hrs in an effort to avoid the developing ‘Euro babble’ at dusk.

So until then, catch you on the wireless.

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.


RSGB Inspire Focus Group

Michael Sansom (G0POT) reports that he is leading an RSGB Work Group exploring ideas and approaches that are proven to be successful in attracting new Amateurs, both young & old, through public events. The Work Group will act as a focal point for discussions and G0POT set up a Yahoo Group for clubs and amateurs to participate.

If you have experience running Amateur Radio public events Michael welcomes you to join the group and take part in the discussion to help them create a portfolio of ‘best practice’.

The research is due to conclude in about 6 months at which time I will report to the RSGB on a portfolio of best practice which can then be shared with Clubs and Societies across the UK. It will also act as a guide to the RSGB where they may be able to support our endeavours to promote Amateur Radio.

If you would like further information including the Terms of Reference for the Working Group then please do not hesitate to contact Michael (GØPOT) at

PDF of Alex Discovers Amateur Radio available at

You can join the RSGB_Inspire Yahoo Group by following these steps:

• Send a blank email to
• Yahoo will send you an email in response, you may need to check your SPAM folder
• Click on the link in the email, this will bring up a Yahoo page in your browser
• On the Yahoo page ignore the big Join link in the middle and click on the link at the bottom of the page instead, it says: “As an alternate option, you may join the mailing list instead.”
• You should then be a member of the group.

Sussex Electronics and Radio Fair date set

serf-logoA quick update from the organisers of the exciting new Sussex Electronics Radio Fair, namely Dave Williams (G8PUO) of RILGES/EREC in conjunction with the Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society.

Today, a firm date has been set for the SERF event on Saturday 6th June 2015 with the doors opening at 10am and will no doubt be a popular event for amateur radio and electronics enthusiasts and any one with a passing interest in either hobby.

Being the first true SE coast Radio Fair, this RSGB approved event will be popular with many, some much further afield.

Update: The fair has just taken place! You can read the HERC report for the Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2015.

RSGB opens radio propagation forum

RSGB_Logo1400pixFor those who would like to learn more about Radio Propagation, the RSGB has just announced the opening of a new Radio Propagation Questions forum which is designed to assist RSGB Members with the understading of all things pertaining to radio propagation.

Each member of the Propagation Studies Committee is a specialist in at least one aspect of radio propagation and there are always several projects in hand, such as the work on VHF sporadic-E and on tropospheric propagation at 50 MHz, and they will be on hand to answer any questions a Member may have, whether it is about light waves or very low frequency, all things propagation will be covered.

The purpose of the Propagation Studies Committee (PSC) is to promote interest in radio propagation amongst amateurs and shortwave listeners, to enable them to make informed use of the amateur bands and develop a research interest into the subject.

Vital Spark articles archive

current-vital-spark-cover-june2013Over the many years that the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club has been in existence, the Vital Spark monthly magazine for members has been a focal point for the club to showcase its members experiences and knowledge of amateur radio and electronics over several decades.

It gives us great pleasure to announce that we are now re-producing articles from the Vital Spark and painstakingly converting them from paper to web format for your enjoyment.

Within the archive you will find a large and growing selection of interesting and educational articles written by members past and present, many of whom have contributed many wonderful items on subjects including antennas, circuit design, WW2 experiences, perspectives on various technologies, QSO stories, humourous pieces and many other topics of interest.

With around 100+ articles curently in the Vital Spark archive at the time of writing, please be patient while we add the many more over the coming months and don’t forget to bookmark the archive so you can return easily later on for an interesting, education or humour-filled read.

Authors include, John Heys (G3BDQ), Eric Vast (M1CYF), Stan Simpson (G4ITM), Jakey (G3JKY), Tony Selmes (G4KLF) and many others. Why not take a look!?

UK Amateur Radio repeaters list

We have been hard at work creating an up to date list of amateur radio repeaters in the UK and while still in progress, around 390 repeaters are currently listed, many of which have complete detail pages. In the near future the list will expand to provide a useful list of digital voice repeaters on a separate list for easy viewing.

If you should happen to notice any errors or omissions please get in touch with us but please note that the digital voice section will not be underway until the New Year. All ideas and comments are appreciated and if you want to get in touch, please contact the webmaster using the email address at the bottom of the page.

You may like to bookmark and keep an eye on the UK repeaters list, or click on the repeaters news menu item at the top of the page and use the drop down menu to access the repeaters list in the future.

RSGB members assist production of The Imitation Game

Hodges_ImitationGame_PosterEarlier this year, the RSGB asked its Members if they had any suitable equipment including HRO and ARSS receivers that could be used in a new movie called The Imitation Game, a film that explores Turing’s world as a gifted cryptanalyst.

Following the response from RSGB Members, the equipment shown in the film has largely been supplied by radio amateurs as well as radio collectors who kindly provided the use of their radios and equipment for use in the film to help make the production as authentic as possible.

The film will be released on the 28th November, and following the recent film shown on television called, starring Eddie Izzard (a  well known actor and comedian from Bexhill on Sea) who played Robert Watson-Watt, the Scots inventor of Radar, The Imitation Game looks set to go down well with amateurs and radio enthusiasts all over the World.

The Imitation Game Trailer

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!

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