Monthly archives for October, 2016

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air – November 2016

Phil, G3MGQ has sent through his ‘Month on the Air’ for November 2016 which contains lots of DX information including the big contests to look out for and those to possibly avoid! Enjoy the November edition of Month on the Air.

Clifton Country Club Net Report Sunday 9th October 2016

Tony has sent through this report of the Clifton Country Club Net held on  Sunday 9th October 2016.

John (G3FNZ) was calling as I manipulated the controls of the ATU to improve the match on the full wave loop. He was the first station heard on the ‘new season’ of CC Nets following our summer recess. It is quite thought provoking to realise that the CC Net is in its fourteenth year.

John was quickly followed by Peter (G3RQZ); both stations were producing extremely readable signals here in Norfolk. Unfortunately this was not reciprocal as John was still burdened by high levels of noise and when the unstable propagation took its toll on my signal he was unable to hear me.

Frank (G3WMR) joined the group at 14.32 (GMT), unfortunately Frank’s audio was a little distorted and the gathered company had some difficulty resolving his transmission.

John (G3FNZ) told the net he had sold his caravan and had not been on top form over the past weeks, but he was still working on and enjoying displaying his Austin 7.

He said he was not having any difficulty hearing Peter (G3RQZ) but was experiencing difficulty with Frank and myself.

At this point Mark (G0GQT) called in, he was readable but not very strong at my QTH, also QSB took its toll.

Over the past days, I had pondered over whether to use 40m or 80m for the net.

I finally decided on 80m following a QSO with Peter (G3RQZ) 24hrs before, when I received very reassuring report of 59 while running 5w output from my KX3.

The deep QSB during the net was indicative that turbulent conditions still prevailed.

At 14.41(GMT) John (G3OGE) made his first CC Net appearance on 80m for several years. However, he had made his debut on 40m during last October’s CC Net since returning from France. John told the group that he was domiciled in the village of Hornsea on the coast about 15miles north east of Hull. John was one of the strongest signals on the net with a very solid 59+10db; this was generated from a 42m length of wire suspended from his chimney.

Peter (G3RQZ) said that John was also very strong at his QTH in Surrey. Peter was using his trusty FT1000 driving his TL922 linear. He had recently acquired a new IC7300 SDR based transceiver, which he had used yesterday during our preparatory QSO. Peter kept this very neat new radio in the conservatory which gave him access to the bands without having to leave the domestic comfort to operate. So far Peter had found the receive performance and flexibility of this new rig quite remarkable, more so considering the cost.

He went on to say although it had been some time since he had sold his Austin 7 he still had several spares that John (G3FNZ) may find useful.

As the clock registered 14.52 (GMT) Peter (G3PJB) announced his presence with a very effect 58/59 signal. Again the propagation was apparently only one way! Peter stated that he was losing my transmissions in deep troughs of QSB. The distance between us was obviously a major factor (and his local QRM). I reluctantly increased my output to 200w in an effort to compensate for this QSB.

Peter told the group that next Thursday (13/10) he will have completed his 84th orbit round our nearest star. Congratulations and many happy returns from all the Clifton Peter!

Frank (G3WMR) now remerged from the background hiss with greater degree of clarity, albeit his signal strength was not the strongest. Frank had changed his 12v supply cable to the rig. He had noted that on other QSOs he had received reports of distorted audio; he strongly suspected corrosion to the in-line fuse holders. This change had certainly rectified the poor audio quality.

Mark (G0GQT) told the group that he had been involved in the weekday activity contests on 2m, 70cms and 6m at present he held 30th position on 2m and 22nd on 70cms. Mark had achieved ‘runner-up’ in the “Sweeper Section” of the RSGB VHF Field Day. Having only just been missed the top score by a few points. Well done that man!

For those like me, who were unaware of the “Sweeper Section” in the VHF field day, Mark explained it is designed to encourage fixed stations enter the contest. However, they are not allowed to call CQ, only work those stations calling CQ. Quite an interesting concept as it should increase the number of likely contacts for the ‘portable’ stations in the field as well as stimulating involvement by those who are for whatever reason unable to operate as portable.

Mark went on to tell the group that in 2017 he was looking at working some meteor scatter as well planning another DX expedition following his highly successful activation on the Isle of Lundy earlier this year.

John (G3OGE) stated that he had employed the services of an antenna installation company to fix his 2m co-linear to his chimney; they also deployed his 42m wire antenna (approx. ½ wave on 80m). He was rather surprised when these contractors stated that they would not be coming back as they were unhappy to work at these excessive heights? Er, can’t get the staff!

Peter (G3RQZ) recalled the only contest that he entered as an individual was on 3cms when the tuning tolerances were up to 50 MHz and the QSO were usually pre-booked by telephone. He went on to tell the group that he has need of a tree surgeon as the over the past decade the trees adjacent to his mast had grown to such an extent they prevented the lowering and rotation of his mast mounted antennas.

My transmission although clearly received throughout by Peter (G3RQZ) and John (G3OGE), others in the group had struggled against heavy QSB. As time progressed towards 15.30 Hrs my signals became strong enough to overcome the local noise suffered by Peter (G3PJB), Frank (G3WMR) and Mark (G0GQT).

Local noise is the bane of amateur radio operators especially the lower bands of 40m, 80m and top-band, and more so if your QTH is in an urban or suburban environment. If you suffer from this plague you have my deepest sympathy. During the past weeks on 60m local QRM has been a recurring topic, from which I deduce that there are two ways to live with this nuisance. The first is to use internet technology to “receive” via the Hack Green SDR. The purists may not like this, but a continuing S9 hash has driven many to despair, forcing them to abandon the hobby.

Others have adopted the second method of having a separate receive antenna. This is normally a small (magnetic) loop, one or two meters in diameter. These loops need not necessarily very high and can be indoors. The directional characteristics of these loops give the ability to null out noise from a particular source, also these antenna are very much less vulnerable to spurious ‘electrical mush’.  Magnet loops require re-tuning about every 35/45 KHz when used to transmit. However are much more tolerant on receive with a useable bandwidth of 150+ KHz. Only requiring one retune to cover all the SSB allocation on 80m. These receiving loop are easily constructed from 10.3 mm coax or surplus wire. There many simple designs on the internet but they all require a fairly good variable capacitor (ex-broadcast receiver). It does not have to be wide spaced as there are no high transmit voltages. A few years ago I constructed a 1mtr dia. mag-loop from UR67 it tuned 15m through to 40m and could be made work on 80m by switching a 1000pf across the 500pf VC. Did it work?

Yes extremely well! I recall listening to a VK6 working into KH7 on 20m, the loop was leaning against an internal wall of a ground floor room in my late mother-in-law’s flat. In the same situation a short loaded wire antenna had resulted in S7 to S8 of QRM.

All you need is about 3 or 4mtr of UR67 and variable capacitor some wooden dowel rods to make a frame, a slow motion or low gearing method to ease tuning. And here comes low noise reception!

Most modern receivers have so much gain an antenna with a lower efficiency can be an advantage.

Interestingly while writing this summary I came across an article on the advantages of loop antennas in ‘The RSGB Antenna Collection’ (1991edition) p.106 written by John (G3FNZ). A jolly interesting read John!

Ironically John (G3FNZ) had signed out of the net at 14.52 due to levels of local QRM obliterating the incoming signals.

We concluded the net with Peter (G3PJB) telling the group that he was looking forward to testing his newly acquired SDR ‘Play’ unit that will turn his computer in a sophisticated all band all mode receiver. This will happen once he has deciphered the 80page on line manual.

Oh Golly! Peter I wish you luck!

Prior to the net I received apologies from Brian (G3OYU) who had recently undergone surgery to restore his hearing and was awaiting further treatment at the end of October. He sends his best regards and hopes to be on November’s net. Brian OM, please accept our best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Following the net I received the following from Ian (G0PDZ) who had been unavoidably detained on RNLI duties as described below:

Apologies for missing the net on Sunday. I was out on a lifeboat on an extended passage exercise to test some new crew & a member who wants to be signed off as a navigator. We took a relief boat from Ramsgate along the north Kent coast up the Swale, at low water, out into the Medway & back. Nudging our way up what was little more than a stream with centimetres under the keel was real fun & something very different for the crew more used to operating out in the Thames Estuary or English Channel.

Ian went on say he now has long pole on the side of his QTH which support a co-linear for 6m,2m and 70cms also a 5.8GHz dish that uses Ian’s internet connection facilitate ‘echo-link’ on  local 70cms repeater (GB3EK). HF wire antennas had been temporarily removed and await a new more permanent mast at the rear of the premises. All being well, Ian hopes to be on November’s CC Net.

Many thanks to all who made the effort and struggled against the less than excellent conditions that prevailed on 80m.

To avoid Remembrance Sunday on 13th November the next Clifton Country Club Net is scheduled for Sunday 6th November at 15.00hrs GMT hopefully on 3.690 MHz however depending on conditions we may opt for 7.125 MHz the frequency will be confirmed nearer the time.

Catch you on the wireless!

Especially if you happen to be lurking round 5.262 MHz the 60m QRP allocation.

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 9th October 2016

Tony sends through his latest heads-up regarding the next Clifton Country Club Net.

Whatho Gang!

The first Clifton Country Club of the new season is scheduled for this coming Sunday 9th October  but unfortunately after nearly four months since the last CC Net we  still appear to be between a rock and hard place! As the state of propagation on either 40m or 80m does not bode well for inter-G communication during daylight hours.

During the afternoons on 40m I have not heard any UK stations directly, only mid Europeans working back to G-land.  Equally on 80m I have only heard the occasional inter-G contact. Although poor, conditions appear to improve in the late afternoon. To test conditions I have made a few QRP SSB contacts on 80m around 3.30pm.

With this in mind I suggest that we start the Clifton CC net at 3.30pm (local) this coming Sunday on or near 3.690Mhz.

I look forward to hearing what has been happening over the summer in your neck of the woods.

Catch you on the wireless!

73 de Tony es Suzanne.

(Also circulated via the G3GHN reflector)

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