Peter (G3RQZ) had been keeping the frequency warm on 60m when I made an appearance at 14.35 hrs. The band was ideal for inter-G at this time with ‘armchair copies’ attained with very moderate power to equally moderate antenna systems.
Peter was running in the region of 50watts to a nest of dipoles, none of which were resonant on 60m produced 59+20db here in Norfolk. We were joined by Frank ( G3 WMR) who was making his first foray on 5Mhz. Frank was pleasantly surprised regarding the lack of QRM and the outstanding strong inter-G signals. There followed a discussion on advantages of 60m regarding the use of low slung antennas and NVIS propagation, this lasted until 14.55hrs.
Would splatter free communication be found when we moved to our scheduled 40m frequency at 1500 hrs? Instead we were confronted by a cacophony of signals. Fortunately Joe (GI0OXG) who was concluding a QSO on 7.124 MHz kindly offered us the use of the frequency. Even with this kind gesture the background splatter and general noise made reliable copy of some members of the group difficult.
Colin (G0UJK) was first to locate me on 40m, others quickly found us camped 1Khz lower than he published frequency; namely Lawrie ( G4FAA) together with Frank ( G3WMR) and Peter (G3RQZ) who had followed me from 5Mhz. Peter now used his TL922 linear to clear the path as the changing propagation brought signals from Eastern Europe in swathes.
Peter had been waxing lyrical on 5 MHz about the forthcoming changes to access for 60m, as the band was becoming available to some southern European states. This may lead to the overcrowding of this reasonably small section of the spectrum that we have enjoyed as sole users and more recently shared with northern European amateurs.
Now on 40m Peter went on to say that he had a very early start today as he had to travel to Fulham to watch his son take part in a 10Kms road race. He would not be staying on very long he had many other things round the house that required his attention. Frank (G3WMR) told the group that he had mentioned the Clifton net when he had attended the Coulsdon Rally where he had met a number of people that had been members of the Clifton in the past. Frank thought it might be a good idea to arrange a “Clifton re-union” in the future.
Meanwhile Jakey (G3JKY) called in from Hastings; the group were very pleased to hear Jakey again as we were aware that he had not been on top form recently.
Peter (G3RQZ) said that he had nearly called in on Jakey when he was in Hastings recently. Unfortunately time did not allow and Peter did want to drop in totally unannounced. However he too thought it was good hear Jakey back on the ‘speaking’ wireless. He went onto ask Jakey if he had 4m capability as it proved to be good band for local QSOs.
At this point I was experiencing a little difficulty hearing everything that Jakey said in reply, this was due a sudden increase in Eastern Euro-babble. But I was aware when Jakey finished his over, and John (G3FNZ) called in from Rochester stating that he could hear everyone on the net this month, as his local QRM seemed less devastating on 40m. OK John, it’s an ill wind etc. John joined with the group saying that it was good to hear Jakey back on the bands.
Colin (G0UJK) explained that his strong signal (59+20db) was due to the fact he was running a linear amplifier. He was only on the net because he had managed to re-erect his antenna that had blown down in last night’s storm. (Well done that man!). Colin explained that the failure of ‘bungee-cords’ that supported his antenna was the main reason for the demise of the aerial. Additionally he went on to say that he had just acquired a beautifully maintained second-hand Kenwood TS450s. He had seen this radio on one of his visits to Castle Electronics. He could not resist the temptation and was now the proud owner of this TS450s.
As matter of interest Colin, I also use ‘industrial grade bungee cords’ to suspend my 80m full-wave loop. These and the 8mm nylon rope to which they are attached are changed every two years in order mitigate the effect of ultra-violet light and to a lesser extent physical damage from movement. Further to this and to prevent the antenna falling with consequential risk of injury to those visiting the house, I stretch the bungee between two points on the rope, looping the rope round the bungee so that if the elastic-rubber material fails the rope stays intact, the antenna although lower will remain suspended out of harm’s way!
Lawrie (G4FAA) stated that everyone one was 59+20db (dis-counting the Euro-babble!) It was a pleasure to hear everyone, although the constant background noise was a little trying. It was encouraging to hear Jakey back on the air, albeit he thought that he may be ‘overdriving’ his audio a little.
At this Peter (G3PJB) called in from Swanley with a 59+ signal. Peter stated that he had suffered a disaster in that his hard-drive had crashed on his computer losing large quantities of data, including his log-book.
Crikey Peter! Every time I hear of incidents such as this, I am so glad I keep a paper log! Sorry OM!
Mark (G0GQT) then bounded in from Rochester with 59+40db, stating that he had totally re-built his shack over the past year. Unfortunately Mark had been off work due to a serious fall. The incident that had resulted in a broken shoulder, multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung! You don’t do things by halves Mark! Being at home he had been able to take advantage conditions especially on ten meters. Mark was also pleased to hear Jakey and learn that he was feeling better.
Lawrie (G4FAA) had spoken to Joe Tansley, an ex-member of the Clifton. He too supported the idea of a Clifton reunion.
Lawrie thought it best to be held at a venue close to the M25, therefore giving access to the numerous Clifton ex-members now dispersed through-out Southern England and further afield.
The suggested date would be in the New Year, around mid-January. Lawrie stated that Steve Fletcher (G4RFC) was also in favour and was likely to co-ordinate the event via the Clifton Reflector email@example.com
Lawrie told the group that all the “club equipment” used on field-days etc. had now been sold. The occasion of the re-union could be used to gain a consensus among members as to which charity or charities should benefit from the disposal of these assets and what is to be done with archives and “silverware” (trophies).
If you wish to attend or have an idea of a suitable venue please contact Lawrie or Steve via the reflector. If you do not have access to the G3GHN reflector, mail me and I will forward your mail to Lawrie or the reflector.
Frank (G3WMR) stated the usual suspects were present at the Coulsdon Rally, including Steve Smith G0TDJ who was also ex-Clifton. Frank said he also understood Colin’s enthusiasm over the TS450s. He thought it was a very good small transceiver and was ideal for portable and field-day operating. In reply to Peter (G3RQZ) Frank said he was still on 70Mhz (4m), he now found it full of ‘square chasers’ and as such it had lost some appeal from the days when most were using ‘home-brew’ kit.
Jakey (G3JKY) thanked everyone for their concern and best wishes. He said that during stay in hospital he had been in every department with the exception of maternity. As a result of eye-sight problems he had been temporarily suspended from driving.
He was sorry to hear of Peter’s (G3PJB) data and call book loss due his computer malfunction. However this was unlikely to happen to Jakey as he was a dedicated paper logger and was now up to log book number 40 with a total in excess of 87,000 QSOs recorded since commencing log book 1.
In response to hearing of Suzanne’s and my recent cycling adventures in Cuba Jakey went on to say he could not imagine riding a bicycle 600+miles in temperatures of 37c, although he still had a bike in the shed that he had bought to ride into Hastings when Joyce and he had moved from London a few years back.
Mark (G0GQT) told the group his antenna feeders had suffered damage from rodents in the shape of mice that had taken a fancy to the PVC cover of the RG58. Luckily his LDF 450 and LDF250 heavy duty UHF feeders remain unscathed, proving too robust for the ‘mini-vandals’.
Peter (G3PJB) had had replaced his KW109 Super-tuner, with a MFJ 969 although he had not quite got to grips with the ‘rollercoaster’ settings on this new piece of kit. Meanwhile he had received two cards for recent contacts with RS members in Vietnam.
Peter went on to tell the group, that following a recent stay in hospital for a hernia, he was totally surprised at a follow up consultation he was casually informed that whilst he was unconscious during his operation he had undergone an MCI…………A heart attack!………. but all was OK now.
How reassuring that they deemed to tell you Peter!
As the clock reached 16.10hrs the background signals and noise from Europe became extremely intrusive. It was time to close the net.
Before the net I had received apologies from Brian (G3OYU) who was being taken to lunch at his favourite Thai restaurant to celebrate his 82nd Birthday.
Congratulations Brian! Many happy returns from all on the net!
Meanwhile at this QTH Suzanne and I are preparing all our radio kit, folding bicycles and myriads of tools and spares for our next nautical jaunt in the New Year.
The next Clifton Country Club net will be on Sunday 13th December at 3pm.
Due to the continuing turbulent propagation the choice of band will be circulated nearer the time.
And finally, as mentioned in this summary the day-time conditions on 60m experienced by Peter (G3RQZ), Frank (G3WMR) and myself were extremely good for inter-G. We have to ask the questions, how many of us have transceivers that will work on that band? Should we, could we move the net to 60m? Even stations with limited, low, non resonant antennas seem to produce very readable signals on 5MHz. Give it some thought!
Catch you on the wireless!
73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.