Monthly archives for January, 2015

Stuart G4WCP – Taplin Centre January 28th 2015

stuart-g4wcp-presentation

Stuart G4WCP opening the evening. An enthusiastic digital mode op!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had been in contact with Stuart for some weeks prior to the talk and it became quite clear early on that he is not only enthusiastic and knowledgeable about amateur digital modes he is also a generous and kind fellow as well.

We spoke at considerable length prior to the meet and covered various topics on the digital modes and antennas. Stuart (G4WCP) uses a non-resonant T2FD at his QTH in Brighton following inspiration taken from John Heys (G3BDQ), his teacher and mentor, many years ago. It probably comes as no surprise then that I picked up quite a lot of useful info about the various digital data modes, some of which I had never heard of before and I considered myself, quite wrongly, to know a fair bit about most things digi .. at least until Stuart chipped in with plenty of responses to my questions and offered various items of advice.

A couple of weeks prior to Stuart’s presentation at the Taplin Centre I was concerned by the possibility that the recent bad weather may have taken its toll on the club antenna again. As unlikely as this was given the recently improved re-installation of the doublet last year by Phil (G3MGQ) and Antony (G4CUS), I felt as though I could not leave it to chance without checking first. Fortunately, Leon (G1HSM) very kindly agreed to pay the site a visit for a visual inspection which revealed that everything looked in order and the evening was set to go ahead as planned.

It was a pleasure to meet Stuart for the first time having only communicated with him previously via email, and he certainly came well prepared with a Yaesu 817/LDG Tuner/Signalink ‘stack’, a tiny 8 inch tall HF setup which must be a dream to use in the field or while on QRP ops in a small space at home. Sadly, due to reasons beyond our control at the end of the PowerPoint presentation, and despite the best efforts of Phil (G3MGQ) and Paul (M6PWD), who quick-fixed a cable-tie to a PL coupler in order to hook up the balanced feeder, a source of EMI looked likely to blame as Stuart’s mouse sadly locked up intermittently while connected to the TV making the final hands-on demonstration a no-go.

improvised- balun-devised-by-martin- G0DCG

Improvised balun devised by Martin, G0DCG, who helped Stuart get hooked up in a jiffy. Phil G3MGQ and Paul M6PWD also quickly assisted with the coupler fix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the sudden onset of EMI gremlins, Stuart persevered and managed to show us his digital mode setup on a laptop at the end of the evening but not before he gave his excellent talk and PowerPoint presentation which provided a useful look at his views on the subject in this very popular segment of amateur radio operating.

During the evening Stuart covered many digital modes including the JT’s, Opera, PSK, and one of his favourites, WSPR (Whisper) meaning “Weak Signal Propagation Reporter”. This is an ultra narrow-band digital mode occupying just 6Hz of bandwidth and features lossless compression using continuous phase 4-FSK modulation. One remarkable feature thanks to WSPR’s inherent efficiency is that it is capable of decoding signals with a S/N as low as -28 dB with 2500 Hz bandwidth making it more than adequately equipped for weak signal work. WSPR was originally written and released by Joe Taylor, K1JT in 2008 and has since become open source software (free to use and modify) and gained a strong following thanks to its efficiency in sending communications in the worst conditions possible, namely the operators call sign, 4 digit locator and dBm.

Personally speaking I used PSK for some time when I first started getting my feet wet with digital modes, and found it reasonably useful for discovering propagation information using the PSKreporter website. WSPR has a similar web based system (free registration required) which can be found at WSPR.net where stations that are connected to the Internet can send their reception reports directly to the site so that real-time propagation observations can be conducted quickly and easily, making the process of understanding weak signal propagation considerably easier.

Stuart also spoke about the controversial Winlink/Winmor system which is a method of sending email via RF. Stuart introduced this to me recently and often fires off email using HB9AK on 10.144.400 though it should be noted that the system is only legally operable by licenced amateurs should you happen to be interested in giving it a try. Winlink is a very valuable system in times of emergency allowing text communication to be sent via RF to the Internet and onward to its destination from any location on the planet where you are able to hear one of the many Winlink ‘email gateways’ such as the popular HB9AK which is located in Berne.

I have used Winlink using the free RMS Express software to send email and it does work very well indeed.

To Stuart’s credit for giving a great talk under the circumstances without a live demo, and everyone present for their assistance, I extend my thanks to all. It was an interesting evening listening to someone both passionate and knowledgeable about digital modes, and sincerely hope that at some point in the future Stuart will return to give us another insightful talk at the club.

Update: Stuart has since been in touch and is keen to operate G6HH using digi-modes from the club in the future and provide further insights into the practical side of digital mode operating. Something to look out for!

Images by Phil Parkman (G3MGQ).

 

 

 

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air February 2015

Phil, G3MGQ has sent through his ‘Month on the Air’ for February which contains lots of DX information including contests to look out for and some to avoid. Enjoy this months edition of Month on the Air.

GB3EB goes offline due to fire at site

logo_rilgesNews came through via various sources over the last couple of days including a quick report from Paul M6PWD who spoke to Gordon (M3HXY) on GB3HE earlier today.

Sadly, a fire broke out at the St. Lukes Church site where GB3EB is located in Eastbourne and as such the repeater will obviously be offline until repairs and further arrangements are made to re-instate the repeater.

According to Dave G8PUO at RILGES who run the repeater GB3EB will go off-air Saturday 17th January and will also sadly mean that the planned installation of the new D-Star repeater GB7ES will be put on hold until the repair work at the Church has been completed in a few months time.

The repeater hardware itself is quite intact though will of course have to be removed for inspection and testing. Initial time-frames for the building repair works to be completed is expected to be at least three months.

Dave already has discussion underway with regards to the options available for the repeaters and has promised an update as soon as a route forward for them is found.

Best wishes go to Dave and the working party on Saturday who look as though they have quite a tricky job on their hands.

Check the status and details for GB3EB Hastings 70cm repeater.

Stuart G4WCP to give talk on Digital Amateur Radio

One of the clubs Brighton based members, Stuart (G4WCP) is going to give the club an interesting talk on the subject of “Personal Aspects of Digital Amateur Radio” on the 28th January 2015 at the  Taplin Centre. Doors will be opening at 7.30pm and should prove to be both an interesting and education evening as Stuart has been an avid digital radio operator for some years, operating QRP from his Brighton-based QTH using a selection of antennas including a 25m sloper T2FD.

According to Stuart the evening will also have some ‘hands-on’ for members and will no doubt be an enjoyable evening. See you there!

Update:  Read the report for Stuarts fine presentation on Digital Amateur Radio.

New Licences – Regional Secondary Locator in Callsign Error

As advised in the Licensing Update in the January 2015 issue of Vital Spark, new Licences are now being issued by Ofcom with those changes incorporated in the Licence Document. However, by error, some of the Full & Foundation Licences recently issued to stations whose main address is in England show the Regional Secondary Locator “E” in their callsign.

Ofcom have now confirmed this to be a mistake –your callsign is unchanged. The use of the other RSL’s remains optional, with only Intermediate Licences including the RSL “E” for England their callsign. (see http://licensing.ofcom.org.uk/radiocommunication-licences/amateur-radio/licensing-updates/update090115/)

73 Phil, G3MGQ.

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

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