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. http://hackgreensdr.org:8901/
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. http://youtu.be/CAGqbkRw26w 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.