Monthly archives for May, 2015

RSGB Contests in July 2015

RSGB CONTESTS in July 2015

(by Quin G3WRR & John G3XDY)

Saturday-Sunday  4th-5th July 2015  VHF NFD  1400 – 1400 UTC *
Sunday  5th July 2015  3rd 144MHZ Backpackers Contest  1100 – 1500 UTC
Monday  6th July 2015  80m Club Championship Contest (CW)  1900 – 2030 UTC
Tuesday  7th July 2015  144MHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Tuesday  14th July 2015  432MHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Tuesday  21st July 2015  1.3GHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Wednesday  15th July 2015  80m Club Championship Contest (SSB)  1900 – 2030 UTC
Sunday  19th July 2015  Low Power Contest  0900 – 1600 UTC
Sunday  19th July 2015  70MHz Trophy Contest  1000 – 1600 UTC
Wednesday  23rd July 2015  80m Club Championship Contest (data)  1900 – 2030 UTC
Tuesday  28th July 2015  50MHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Tuesday  28th July 2015  SHF UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
except 2.3GHz 2030 – 2230 UTC

* times vary per band

The full 2015 RSGB contest calendars and rules for the above contests are available here (HF) and here (VHF).

Clifton ARS – A note from Tony G0HUZ

Hello fellow Cliftonaires,

Those of you who are recipients the G3GHN reflector will already be aware that  Jakey (G3JKY) is unable to attend next weekend due to being somewhat under the weather.  The loss of one our ‘key operators’ together with other  unforeseen logistical problems associated with the venue, has left Martin ( G0DCG) with no other option other than to withdraw the Clifton from next weekend’s NFD.

I am sure that we all wish Jakey a speedy return to peak condition.

At present the there is every intention for the Clifton ARS to enter the other RSGB field days this year.

73 de Tony (G0HUZ)

Amateur Radio Demo – Taplin Centre 27th May 2015

A relatively fine evening it was, weather wise, as the doors to the Taplin opened at 7.30pm to members who were first greeted with the sight of Jakey G3JKY setting up his TenTec Corsair and, PSU and Tuner ready for CW work.

jakey-mike-hedges-ron

Jakey G3JKY in Rx, copying CW from a foreign contact.

 

The attendance on the evening was good, though unfortunately this time around we did not see any members from the general public but this did not stop a very enjoyable evening from taking place, as members talked to each other on a variety of AR subjects including Morse code where Mike Hedges G0JHK an experienced signalman who served in WW2, and Richard G0ILN a long-standing FISTS member, explained various aspects of CW with the gusto and enthusiasm that surprises even me.

Leon arrived with his Yaesu 817ND and handheld and didn’t take much time for him to run an end-fed wire along the garden-side edge of the Taplin club room’s wall and was tuning over HF and VHF in short order. Shortly afterwards Gordon M3YXH set up his new Toshiba laptop and was hopeful of gaining an Internet connection via a local BT Wifi spot just a few hundred yards away so that he could configure his machine to work with Echolink and provide a demonstration. Early in the evening, we found that it was difficult to make a connection from inside the Taplin, and as such at that time it appeared that an Internet hook-up would be unavailable. Fortunately though as the evening went on and the night began to roll in, a connection was made with barely a single bar of signal strength being displayed on the network connection icon. Presumably this was due to slightly lower local network activity as the local neighbours were settling down to watch their favourite TV programs.

gordon-leon

Gordon M3YXH and Leon G1HSM discussing the finer points of Internet connections and single-chip hand-held radios.

Phil G3MGQ and Richard G0ILN spoke at length on the subject of Morse code at Gordon and Leon’s station area and we learned a new thing or two about the Fists CW club, notably the ‘ladder’ system which they offer to encourage members to participate in. This informal system is used by Fists to promote the Code and encourage new members into the hobby. I for one can see its value as it is a semi-competitive and quite relaxed affair as well as bring a great way to help new CW ops into the mode. This provides a useful dose of confidence in an area which would otherwise be quite hard to ‘tap’ into.

phil-leon-richard

Phil G3MGQ and Richard G0ILN having a chat, with Leon G1HSM in the background.

Peter G0FUU the clubs catering manager dispensed the beverages and biscuits, and what a fine job he does, taken for granted perhaps sometimes but the club room is never the same without the cafeteria open at a meet. It is always appreciated, and the tea is remarkably good I have to say!

phil-and-peter-firmin

As the saying goes, you can make a good cup of tea but you can’t fake a good cup of tea. Peter G0FUU doing a grand job and Phil G3MGQ being served at the cafeteria … and an oscilloscope on the end of the kitchen? How did that get there?

Leon G1HSM spoke of PCB construction, and how inexpensive it is to have PCB’s produced these days in low numbers for very little cost, with ten 5 x 5cm printed PCB’s being available from China for under $10 which, all things considered, appears to be a valuable labour and money saving process which requires only a file in Gerber format to produce the boards. It certainly provided some food for thought with the necessary costs involved for acetate, UV lights, printing materials and time spent putting the board together

mike-wade-rob-and-jakey

Mike Wade M0EDU, and Ron G4VBK the clubs treasurer having a chat with Jakey. As requested by Jakey, I will not mention the presence of a microphone on his station desk. Oops, sorry Jakey!

It was nice to see everyone having a good natter at the club last night and all things considered the live demo nights are becoming a bigger success with more resources being made available on the night by members including Gordon. He is keen to demonstrate Echolink, the popular Internet-based amateur radio communication mode. In the near future this will allow the club to demonstrate Echolink consistently to others, and allow fellow club members to have a go if they want to have a QSO with other amateurs all over the World in a matter of seconds while allowing the visiting public to experience another aspect of amateur radio.

The next live demonstration at the club is in September, and we can look forward to another fine evening with a new string or two on the demo-night bow by then.

 

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air June 2015

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

SERF – South East Radio Fair – Saturday 7th June

serf-logoThe first South East Radio Fair is almost here, and is just a couple of weeks away now. It will surely be a great day for amateur radio in general, with field operating, many stalls and things to do for everyone. It really will be a fantastic day out for amateurs and their family members.

Here is a list of exhibitors already booked for SERF.

54 (Eastbourne) Squadron Air Training Corps.
Bernard Welling.
British Amateur Television Club.
Bring & Buy.
Chris Ridley.
Crawley Amateur Radio Society.
Colin Richards (Rich Electronics).
David Frederick (G4XXM).
Eastbourne Radio and Electronics Club G4TPH.
Magloop Antennas.
GQRP Club.
GB3HV Home Counties ATV Group.
Graham Scarr (GS Electronics)
G3AAF Electronics.
Hastings Electronics and Radio Club.
Haotian Ren (HandyRadio).
ICOM UK LTD.
Jo Tansley (NJT Components).
John Brook M0GOO (Mayfair).
Kevin Kelly .(Microwave/RF).
North Surrey Repeater Group.
Olimex UK.
Ray Basham (Prowhip Antennas).
Harvey Harrison (PooleLogic) RILGES Repeater Group.
Royal Naval Amateur Radio Society.
Royal Signals Amateur Radio Society RSGB.
GB6SRF Special Event Station Visitor Operating and Demo Stations.
TK Electronics.
Total Mast Solutions.
Worked All Britain Awards Group.
UK Six Metre Group (Operating 6M Station at Event G5KW).
Quality Catering by Hoggits Hog Roasters
Delux Ice Cream by Ellinor’s Event Caterers.

Not long to go now, hope to see you there on the day!

Update: SERF has just finished, you can read our Sussex Electronics Radio Fair report here.

For more information and the latest updates for the South East Radio Fair, please visit serf.org.uk

Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 17th May 2015

Following the less than encouraging reports on the solar activity with threats of coronal mass ejections and plasmatic winds I was full of trepidation as I tuned to the net frequency.

Only to find a nightmare situation which I had feared since we moved from the apparent comfort of 3.6MHz.

The nightmare was a wall of QRM and splatter emanating from the collective signals of those taking part in an EI based contest. This was exacerbated by the distance from the Irish land mass and NVIS propagation.

Working on the principle of “Keep calm and carry on” I found a quieter spot just above our net frequency, where the ‘S’-meter wobbled between S5 and S7 from adjacent splatter.

Jakey (G3JKY) was first to respond to my call, his Tentec transceiver cutting through the mire, we were soon joined by Colin (G0UJK) who also supressed the QRM.

Colin said that he was surprised to hear so much QRM on the band, although we had apparently chosen a weekend when the IRTS (Irish radio transmitter’s society) were holding a contest on 7 MHz

John (G3FNZ) announced his presence saying that could only copy Jakey and I as he was still plagued with very high levels of local electrical noise. Colin was below his ‘noise floor’.  John said that he was not going to stay on as the noise was very tiresome and unpleasant.

Very understandable John, radio should be a pleasure and not a torment, not that it helps but your received signals both here in Norfolk and in Hastings (as reported by Jakey) were 59+.

Colin said that he had come up an hour earlier and not being able to find any Clifton members he realised that the net was still due at 14.30 hrs (GMT). During the previous days he said that conditions had been very good especially on the higher frequencies. He had heard VO9 but unfortunately could not make himself heard. Albeit he had taken advantage of the improved F2 propagation having worked several DX stations in the days previous, these had been on 20m to 10m.

Peter (G3RQZ) stated that the band was full of EI contesters, and QRM generated was making pleasant conversation very difficult.

Jakey (G3JKY) agreed saying Peter was a 59 signal and therefore keeping the intrusive splatter at bay. Jakey went on to tell the group that he had noted increased levels of noise at his QTH in recent times especially on 80m. However he was of the opinion that the new generation of transceivers with ‘wideband’ receive were more susceptible to the extraneous electrical noise flattening the AGC. Unlike the older sets such as the FT101 with separate tuned RF stages seemed to be less vulnerable to out of band QRM.

On a similar vein Jakey had never found a ‘noise blanker’ to be worth the price of a switch. The only time a ‘noise blanker’ worked was to suppress the ‘pulse’ generated by an electric fence when he was at his ‘alternative’ QTH in ZL-land.

Colin (G0UJK) reported that he was still awaiting the result of his planning application on his proposed antenna mast. He had been visited and advised by Dave Lawley (G4BUO) on behalf of the RSGB. Dave sends his regards to Jakey.

Jakey stated that Dave (G4BUO) was always one the strongest G-stations when he was in New Zealand.

I said that following last month’s net I had received an e-mail from Gerald (HB9AJU/ Ex-G3OOH) stating that he heard Jakey but was had difficulty with the rest of the group due local QRM from Italy and Germany. Gerald went on to say he was unable to listen for May’s net as he would be away from his QTH cat-sitting.

Gerald went on to explain he had been spending most of his time translating a book from German to English from material collated by Theo Boiten a Dutchman who is an  expert on Luftwaffe night fighter activities in WW2 based on pilot’s combat reports.

To quote Gerald:

My involvement is in an expanded version of ‘Nachtjagd War Diaries’. I fell into all this as the result of my research into the fate of my uncle, Sgt. Sidney Bayfield, my mother’s favourite brother whose name she gave me as my third Christian name.

Sgt. Bayfield was the rear gunner (‘tail-end Charlie’) on Halifax MP-K of 76 Squadron. He was shot down and killed in March 1943 on a mission to bomb Berlin by ObLt. Gerhard Raht of night fighter squadron 5/NJG3 flying a Ju 88

All this info, and more, I have researched over the years. It led me into contact with Theo Boiten, who was looking for a translator to put German combat reports into English. Some of it is quite interesting stuff, as is putting the down-to-earth original reports into equally earthy English prose. I do it free of charge (Theo is a Dutchman!) but expect a copy of the book when it’s published, probably later this year.

To see other work by the same author:

http://www.amazon.com/s?rh=n%3A5031%2Cp_lbr_one_browse-bin%3ATheo+Boiten

Extremely interesting Gerald, thank you on behalf the group for this information and I personally look forward to the new publication.

Peter (G3RQZ) stated he was very fortunate that his local noise level had remained low, with exception of irregular short lived QRM generated by the new electric trains on his local railway line.

Although Peter has not been very active on HF he maintains regular skeds on 70 MHz. During one of his local FM QSOs on 4m he was called by Franki (S57ILF) in JN75AK who was running 5W to a vertical antenna. This was apparently Franki’s first contact outside Slovenia on 4m. Franki’s QTH does not favour VHF communication being surrounded by mountains, but this shows how sporadic-E propagation can produce amazing results under the most difficult conditions.

Peter went on to say he was looking forward to meeting the rest of the Clifton contest crew at the CW NFD on Saturday 6th June at the Kent Showground, Detling.

National Field Day

For those who would wish to support the ‘crew’ at Detling, please meet at 10am on Saturday 6th June on the Showground car park.

The entrance to the ‘showground’ is off the A249 at Detling Hill.

Turn right after entering the showground and drive across the grass car park, the Clifton ‘crew’ will on the far side near the hedge.  You can phone Lawrie (G4FAA) on 0789-9855166 or Martin (G0DCG) on 07751-159302 if you need directions or if you have any questions or ideas e-mail Lawrie: lawrie8@sky.com

I told the group that my new Elecraft KX3 very nice to operate, especially on CW. The combination of the roofing filters which automatically change as you select different modes, or when you vary the band widths filters which are continuously adjustable from 4KHz to 50Hz.

The radio operates extremely well without the preamp; the background hiss was virtually undetectable making very weak signals were easy to read.

The current drawn is extremely frugal when in receive at about 150ma, every facet of this rig has been made with battery powered portable operation in mind. The auto ATU is an L-match with a wide range of L&C combinations easily matches random wires through to dipoles, a memory retains the settings for rapid band switching. One downside is the miniature loud speaker, the volume and reproduction is poor. The Elecraft theory is that most CW operators would prefer to use headphones; pseudo stereo is available as an interesting feature specifically in CW. The KX3 has a keyer with a memory and a decoder for CW and RTTY and PSK modes. The output is variable from zero through to 10watts. There are many other useful operating facilities that I have not mentioned and some still have to discover.

Is it worth the price of slightly short of £1,400 with all the additional options, including the hand microphone? It depends what you want the radio for. It is certainly a must for portable battery powered operation, with an amazing dynamic range and a full complement of high end options from a compact self-contained software defined radio. This rig was bought as direct replacement of my trusted old FT817 (2001 vintage), primarily for use on our future nautical meanderings.

Before the net apologies were received from Brian (G3OYU) who was due undergo a cataract operation on the Monday following the net. Brian we wish you a full and speedy recovery.

Also from Lawrie (G4FAA) who was at the Dunstable Downs Rally selling equipment to raise funds.

As we were about to close Peter (G7ULL) called in from Chislehurst, to check his transmitted audio, as last month Peter’s transmissions were distorted, similar to that caused by RF feedback.

On this occasion Peter’s audio was readable and clear. Whatever you have done Peter, it has worked, well done that man!

May I take this opportunity to commiserate with those who regularly appear on the net but went unheard in the morass of QRM…..Hopefully it will be better next month.

The conditions being so difficult the net was closed at 15.10hrs (GMT).

The next Clifton Country Club Net will be on Sunday 15th June at 14.30 hrs GMT (15.30 BST) on 7.125 MHz unless propagation improves on 80m.

Due to the difficulties experienced today, Peter (G3RQZ) suggested we might try 60m as an alternative.

It is proposed we hold an ‘impromptu net’ 15 minutes before the next Clifton Country Club Net on 5.304 MHz (USB).

I will confirm this nearer the date, as mid-afternoon propagation on 60m is less than good at present.

Have a great month enjoy the DX and the very best of luck to all in the NFD on 6th June.

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

The first Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup event to take place in June

The Hastings Electronics and Radio Club is pleased to announce that it will be taking part in the first Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup event at Fairlight, East Sussex on June 19th.

The event is open to members only and a reminder to all that the WGMC’s cover sheet, entrant form and rules are available permanently from the new Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup page. If you are a member and going to take part in the event please bookmark it and download and print the forms if you wish to take part.

 

New articles area for John Heys G3BDQ

Image11a

John Heys, pictured as a young man in Hastings circa 1950.

Due to the rapid expansion of the clubs Vital Spark articles section, John Hey’s articles have been moved into a seperate section to allow for the further growth of the many articles which are currently being re-published.

You can find the link easily in the Vital Spark archive section, or visit John Hey’s articles section directly.

Enjoy the read!

RSGB Contests in June 2015

RSGB CONTESTS in June 2015

(by Quin G3WRR & John G3XDY)

Monday  1st June 2015  80m Club Championship Contest (data)  1900 – 2030 UTC
Tuesday  2nd June 2015  144MHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Saturday-Sunday  6th-7th June 2015  HF NFD (CW, 1.8/3.5/7/14/21/28MHz)  1500 – 1500 UTC
Tuesday  9th June 2015  432MHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Wednesday  10th June 2015  80m Club Championship Contest (CW)  1900 – 2030 UTC
Sunday  14th June 2015  2nd 144MHZ Backpackers Contest  0900 – 1300 UTC
Tuesday  16th June 2015  1.3GHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Thursday  18th June 2015  80m Club Championship Contest (SSB)  1900 – 2030 UTC
Saturday-Sunday  20th-21st June 2015  50MHz Trophy Contest  1400 – 1400 UTC
Tuesday  23rd June 2015  50MHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Tuesday  23rd June 2015  SHF UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
except 2.3GHz 2030 – 2230 UTC
Sunday  28th June 2015  50MHz CW Contest  0900 – 1200 UTC
Sunday  28th June 2015  70MHz Cumulative Contest #4  1400 – 1600 UTC
Tuesday  30th June 2015  70MHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC

The full 2015 RSGB contest calendars and rules for the above contests are available here (HF) and here (VHF).

RSGB Contests in May 2015

RSGB CONTESTS in May 2015

(by Quin G3WRR & John G3XDY)

Saturday-Sunday  2nd-3rd May 2015  May 432MHz – 248GHz Contest  1400 – 1400 UTC
Saturday  2nd May 2015  432MHz Trophy Contest  1400 – 2200 UTC
Saturday  2nd May 2015  10GHz Trophy Contest  1400 – 2200 UTC
Monday  4th May 2015  80m Club Championship Contest (SSB)  1900 – 2030 UTC
Tuesday  5th May 2015  144MHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Sunday  10th May 2015  70MHz CW Contest  0900 – 1200 UTC
Tuesday  12th May 2015  432MHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Wednesday  13th May 2015  80m Club Championship Contest (data)  1900 – 2030 UTC
Saturday-Sunday  16th-17th May 2015  May 144MHz Contest  1400 – 1400 UTC
Sunday  17th May 2015  1st 144MHZ Backpackers Contest  1100 – 1500 UTC
Tuesday  19th May 2015  1.3GHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Thursday  21st May 2015  80m Club Championship Contest (CW)  1900 – 2030 UTC
Sunday  24th May 2015  70MHz Cumulative Contest #3  1400 – 1600 UTC
Tuesday  26th May 2015  50MHz UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
Tuesday  26th May 2015  SHF UK Activity Contest  1900 – 2130 UTC
except 2.3GHz 2030 – 2230 UTC

The full 2015 RSGB contest calendars and rules for the above contests are available here (HF) and here (VHF).

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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