Posts by Steve (2E0GHX)

Construction Evening and WGMC – August 23rd 2017

It was nice to have such a solid turnout of members at the Taplin Centre for the Construction Evening this year, with the evening starting as usual at 7.30pm in the club room.

Entries made in the competion were as follows.  Alan, with his transducer based light detector – item A. Steve G4FYF with 3 entries a digital frequency counter (item B) and a signal generator (item C) and an attenuator (item D). Steve also kindly brought along an item of interest, a QRP rig based on a BitX board. There was an entry from DK1HE, a QRP power amplifier – item E. Richard G0ILN brought along a homebrew 1:1 Balun, item F, and finally Graham G6MAR presented his portable APRS unit, item G.

Images of the entrants items are listed below.

Alans transducer based light detector.

Alans transducer based light detector.

Steve (G4FYF) - A digital frequency counter.

Steve (G4FYF) – Digital frequency counter.

Steve (G4FYF) – Signal generator.

Steve (G4FYF) - Attenuator.

Steve (G4FYF) – Attenuator.

 

Entry from DK1HE, a QRP power amplifier.

Richard G0ILN - Balun 1:1.

Richard G0ILN – Balun 1:1.

 

Graham G6MAR, portable APRS unit.

Members getting ready to cast their votes on the construction entries.

Members getting ready to cast their votes on the construction entries.

After the votes were cast, Peter G0FUU announced the scores and the winner as follows.

1st place – Graham G6MAR with his excellent portable APRS unit.
Joint 2nd/3rd – Alan with his transducer based light detector and Richard G0ILN with his 1:1 Balun. Congratulations to Graham for winning this years HERC Constructors Cup, and well done to all those who entered. The scoring was very close indeed with just two points seperating joint 2nd and 3rd from 4th and 5th place.

Graham G6MAR receiving the Constructors Cup from Wilf's widow Margaret.

Graham G6MAR receiving the Constructors Cup from Wilf’s widow Margaret.

Winner of the 2017 Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup

Richard G0ILN receiving the 2017 Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup from Margaret, the late chairman's widow.

Richard G0ILN receiving the 2017 Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup from Margaret, the late chairman’s widow.

Thanks to all members who took part in the construction evening, they were all cracking entries and no doubt next years event will be just as much fun!

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air – September 2017

Phil, G3MGQ has sent through his ‘Month on the Air’ for September 2017 which contains lots of DX information including the big contests to look out for and those to possibly avoid! Enjoy the September edition of Month on the Air.

HERC on-air and chat meeting July 2017

Richard G0ILN kindly wrote an article for September’s Vital Spark covering his perspective of the on-air and chat night at the Taplin Centre meeting on July 26th. I have added my own comment to his original article along with images taken during the evening.

Richard’s article as below:

Steve 2E0GHX and Phil G3MGQ for several weeks have been struggling to put up a Dipole for our “On Air” club nights. I think it was more a matter of Health and safety that the venture was eventually abandoned ,someone was going to fall out of a tree! It was decided that a portable antenna may be a simpler option. After some discussion and putting aside ideas such as putting a vertical antenna on the chimney of the Taplin Centre (sounds more like Flash Over House to me!).

It was decided a 65ft Endfed Sloper with a 33ft counterpoise which incorporated a 9:1 balun would fit the bill. All we needed to find was a mast, luckily Tony came to the rescue with his 10 meter fishing pole and Ron G4VBK supplied some heavy duty Coax.

On the night Steve and Richard G0ILN lashed the fishing pole to a wooden bench in the garden of the Taplin Centre and a stake was driven into the ground to mount the Balun on.

The wire antenna was then run from the balun to the top of the mast.

The Yaesu FT840 was fired up but we had problems tuning the Z Match ATU which Rob M0LYD had bought along ,Probably because it is not ideally suited to coax operation. Richard had bought along a small TenTec ATU and an external SWR meter so now we were in business.

Mike Hedges G0JHK was on key duty with Richard and Steve Jones G4FYF helping out as required. We tried 80m and 40m but the quietest band was 20m and that is where we stayed and although we only managed three QSO’s the time flew by. We logged RA3BY, HA3FTV and the best DX as we found out later! Was H51KD South Africa. H51KD was not on QRZ.com web page but was found on CQZCQ. So now we are eager to try again. Steve has several antenna ideas for future On Air Operating nights. So next time please come and join us SSB or CW it does not matter.

Steve said “The installation of the sloper antenna went quite well all things considered, and the donation of Tony G0EYE’s vertical to the club was most welcome as we used the telescopic mast to hoist the end of the sloper up to a good 30 foot or so (with a little drop at the top of the flexible mast tip). I was watching Richard as he made the first CW contact with Russia at about 7.40pm which came as something of a surprise given how ’embedded’ the sloper was amidst the Taplin Centre and adjacent residential buildings. Thanks go to Ron, Gordon, Tony and of course the evenings on air operators who made the meeting a success. I should also give a word of thanks to Martin who kindly offered to help us dismantle the antenna at the end of the evening and would have gladly taken him up on it if it was a long winded job, though it only took a few minutes to dismantle and pack away.

I had a good chat with Tony G0EYE on the evening who told me about his forthcoming ‘Railways on the Air’ event which is taking place in September. Apparently Tony has been attending the event for 5 years now, so best of luck to Tony at the RotA.

Richard also mentioned about his activity in the FISTS CW Snake’s and Ladders event where he is currently up in 6th place overall with G6HH which is great going. Well done Richard.”

Article by Richard G0ILN and appended by Steve 2E0GHX.

A special thank you goes to Tony G0EYE for the kind donation of his 30ft telescopic vertical antenna and transformer, both of which will be put to good use at future club events and on-air nights. It was an enjoyable evening and everyone pitched in. Thanks to everyone who came to help make the evening a success on air from the Taplin Centre.

Tony’s (G0EYE) 30ft telescopic mast used at the ‘end’ of the end-fed’s radiator.

Steve’s G-Whip 9:1 UnUn staked into the ground.

Richard G0ILN and Mike G0JHK just before their first contact with Russia at 7.40pm

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air – August 2017

Phil, G3MGQ has sent through his ‘Month on the Air’ for August 2017 which contains lots of DX information including the big contests to look out for and those to possibly avoid! Enjoy the August edition of Month on the Air.

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air – July 2017

Phil, G3MGQ has sent through his ‘Month on the Air’ for July 2017 which contains lots of DX information including the big contests to look out for and those to possibly avoid! Enjoy the June edition of Month on the Air.

Clifton Club Net Summary for Sunday 14th May 2017

The seemingly persistent grey skies that had plagued the Eastern coastal regions over the proceeding days had given way to brilliant blue skies and sunshine. The temperatures were moderated by a steady north easterly breeze.

Conditions on the bands in recent days had been anything but certain, with no visible spots on the solar disc. Therefore it was a pleasant surprise to receive an immediate 59 response to my call on 80m at 14.50GMT from Brian (G3OYU) near Lingfield.
Brian reported that I was a S9+ signal, well above his noise floor that was currently running at S8.

Brian went on to say that his new hearing aid was functioning perfectly with his radio gear, allowing him to enjoy the hobby. Brian had noticed an increase in local noise at his QTH. However he had traced some QRM back to a couple of BT Dect cordless phones. When these devices were disconnected from the mains supply the background noise fell by two to three ‘S points’. At least it is in your control Brian and not some neighbour.

At this point Peter (G3RQZ) called in with 59+20db signals from near Gatwick. He said it was good to hear Brian who was a totally end stop, in fact he could probably hear him on a piece of wet string.  Peter went on to say he was still fortunate that he had very little QRM at his location although but he had noticed increasing noise on 70Mhz especially when his 4m beam was pointing south-west in the general direction of an industrial estate. Peter told us that he had Siemens Dect cordless phones and these were apparently very quiet.
Brian (G3OYU) stated that just prior to the net he had been helping Geraldine weed the garden, where they had extracted a four foot tall thistle. Now that is a weed!

I said that I had been contemplating installing a new extensive CCTV system at my QTH. I had taken delivery of a new a DVR, monitor, switcher unit, IP cameras and reels of Cat5 cabling. It all looked very good; to give the system a ‘dry-run’ before fixing the cameras to the exterior walls and running the cabling through the loft I laid the system out on the ground floor of the QTH.

All appeared fine, the cameras gave excellent images, the DVR and switcher unit allowed various images to be recorded and /or shown in sequence on the monitor etc.
We now we come to the crux of the matter; on scanning the lower HF bands I found a large increase in background noise from S2 to S8 when the new CCTV system was switched on. This QRM was in the form of both a wideband ‘hiss’ on 10 MHz, 7 MHz and 5 MHz and loud clicking on 3.5 MHz and 1.8 MHz.

I treasure my fairly electrically quiet situation here and I am not going to compromise it.  Therefore all this new kit would be packed away and sent back to the suppliers, but not before I had carried out some serious ‘sniffing’ with my HF scanner which confirmed my suspicions that QRM was being radiated from the Cat5 cabling.

The IP cameras are powered via the Cat5 cabling using ‘POE’ facility on both the DVR and the four-way switcher.  This was main source of the noise and is apparently caused by poor decoupling of the switching regulators when the power was ‘injecting into the network’
It is of great concern as there must be many of these CCTV systems using Cat5 cabling with power injection radiating this atrocious QRM.

As a final experiment I decided to run the cameras on a 12v linear PSU, disabling the POE on the DVR, this resulted in almost no radiated QRM from the cabling.

At this point we were called John operating GB2MGM a special event station at Mill Green Museum, he had been attracted to our QSO as we were one of the strongest signals on the band. He went on say conditions had not been ideal as most signals were very weak and suffered from deep QSB. GB2MGM was run as part of ‘museums on the air’ by members of the Southgate Radio Club. The station was running 100w into a full-wave delta loop for 80m, producing a very acceptable 57/59 signal here in Norfolk, albeit with fairly deep QSB.

After exchanging reports John bade us farewell, and went in search of more custom for his special call. That in itself shows how unsettled conditions were.

I strongly suspect that due to the prevailing conditions and their high levels of electronic soup that a number of our ‘regulars’ were unable to hear or find the group
Brian (G3OYU) who was still suffering an S8 of mush, signed saying he looked forward to the next season’s CC Nets following the ‘summer recess’.

As we had not been joined by any further CC members, it left Peter (G3RQZ) and I to ‘tie the ribbons’, but not before Peter related story about a recent visit to his GP that involved a general health check. When it came to Peter’s blood pressure the doctor looked askance at her electronic BP sensor and immediately reverted to a hand pumped analogue device. Peter was displaying a rather higher score, which resulted in words of advice from the medical professional as to future diet and exercise. The extremely high level came as a complete shock to Peter who maintains and fairly healthy lifestyle. The doctor sent Peter away to consider the situation and take action to ameliorate the situation.

On refection, Peter had arrived at the doctor’s surgery at 8am to gain an appointment that day, usually by taking a cancellation. On being allocated an appointment at 10.30am Peter decided before his health check to treat himself to a full English breakfast washed down with two or three cups of very strong espresso coffee. I don’t think anything further needs to be said!

Peter went on to say he had been listening in the early afternoon to 17m when he heard an H44 station calling CQ without a response. H44 is of course the Solomon Islands in the Pacific. Just going to show an apparent ‘dead’ band can hold some surprises. And as I have found on my nautical meanderings they are not all on the dreaded DX cluster.
Before the net I received apologies from Lawrie (G4FAA) who away in his caravan.
We closed the net at 15.25hrs. Being but a few in number and the propagation predictions being poor, it seems appropriate that the Clifton Country Club now goes into summer recess until the autumn.

The next Clifton net is scheduled for Sunday 15th October at 14.00hrs GMT the frequency will be confirmed nearer the date, when hopefully conditions will have improved.
Thanks to all those that have made the effort to join the net since last October. I look forward to working some of you during the summer months especially if you are lurking near the QRP allocation on 5.262MHz.

Meanwhile before the expected summer heat, it is time to lower the Versatower, replace the tri-band co-linear and renew the rubber boots on the 3ele Steppir.
Have a great summer and catch you on the wireless!

73es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air – June 2017

Phil, G3MGQ has sent through his ‘Month on the Air’ for June 2017 which contains lots of DX information including the big contests to look out for and those to possibly avoid! Enjoy the June edition of Month on the Air.

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air – May 2017

Phil, G3MGQ has sent through his ‘Month on the Air’ for May 2017 which contains lots of DX information including the big contests to look out for and those to possibly avoid! Enjoy the May edition of Month on the Air.

Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 9th April 2017

Apologies for the delay in the production of this summary, this was primarily as a result of an IT system failure brought about by a Microsoft update for Windows 10. This update apparently corrupted the registry files and required a complete reinstallation of the operating system. Even having backed up our files it still resulted in a few fraught days and even now we have still not regained all facilities that were on the system. It was somewhat less than reassuring when we found that we are not alone in falling foul of these W10 updates.

However, let’s go back to last Sunday’s CC net.

It was the warmest day of the year so far with the spring sunshine raising the temperatures to 22c. Therefore I was not too surprised when we could only muster two other members on Sunday’s net.

Conditions on 80m were better than expected for inter-G working; Brian (G3OYU) was the first to respond to my initial call at 14.50hrs with 59+10db signals from Crowhurst. He was closely followed by Peter (G3PJB) from Swanley who was also a respectable 59+10db. Brian was benefitting from his new hearing aid system which was interfaced from his transceiver by a ‘magic–box’ that he controlled for level and response from his i-phone. This amazing piece of kit gave him access to his radio again after several months of absence. To learn more about Brains experience with hearing loss I recommend you read his letter in May’s edition of Rad Com (p98).

Peter (G3PJB) told us he had augmented his IC7300 with an Inrad RX7300 ‘gadget’ that gave the facility of a separate receive antenna. These units are available from well-known amateur radio retailers. It is part of Peter’s on-going battle with high levels of local electrical noise; hopefully this will allow him to deploy a receive-only rotatable loop antenna to facilitate nulling out the offending noise source.

Good luck with that Peter, I do however feel that it is a little miserly of Icom not fitting a separate receive capability, I had a dedicated RX antenna socket on an IC751E that I owned over a decade ago.

Peter went on to tell us that he had spoken to Denis (G3OKY) who unfortunately had suffered a couple of falls recently. Denis was still keen to get back on the air and was hoping to invest in a new IC7300. Hello Denis, be careful and we will be listening for you!
Brian (G3OYU) said he was operating on his ‘long-wire’ fed via a 9:1 Unun which he had constructed based on similar item shown January’s Rad Com. He was not too impressed with performance so far, but would give it time before made any decision to alter the set up. Brian, it is certainly radiating well on this band you are still an armchair-copy (59+) at my QTH.

I told the group I had noticed the increased activity on 160m as conditions on the higher frequencies had deteriorated and I missed not having access to 1.8MHz since deploying my full-wave loop for 80m. Therefore I was giving thought to erecting an end fed wire for top-band; fortunately I have the space and the trees to support it.

Peter (G3PJB) had spent last Saturday at a bus enthusiast’s rally held at Detling showground. Where there were over 200 buses on display. He was hoping to see John (G3FNZ) there with his treasured Austin7.

Brian (G3OYU) went on to tell the group that even with his newly found hearing aid interface unit we has still able to utilise his BHI noise cancelling unit. He had also been busy on upgrading his shower room, and was fighting a continuing battle with weeds on his driveway. Oh yes, Brian I have several gallons of agricultural grade glyphosate concentrate in my armoury here.

At this point we were joined by Dave (G8BWR) from near Peterborough. Although not a Clifton member he was made very welcome. Dave had recently fitted a new microphone and requested a report on the quality of the received audio. Not knowing Dave’s voice it was a little difficult to make an objective comment although it was not the clearest I had heard as it seemed to be lacking in the upper response. Peter (G3PJB) who was listening via Hack Green SDR found that Dave’s audio was quite acceptable, although Peter could not resolve Dave’s signal direct ( perchance the filtering network via the SDR system was assisting in ‘lifting’ the audio?).

Dave (G8BWR) then signed with us to seek further reports from other occupants of 80m.
Peter (G3PJB) was in mid-sentence when he disappeared ………..It later transpired that Peter’s IC7300 had taken a scan up the band. On his return to 3.690 MHz Peter thought this self-driven scan could be as a result of excess RF within his shack? Also his internet connection was still apparent affected by his transmissions on HF; as a result he was losing access to the Hack Green SDR.

If you recall in last month’s summary I suggested Peter fitted a VDSL filter plate at the LJU where the phone line enters his property. A VDSL plate had completely solved any RF instigated loss of broadband at my QTH (Also my hard wired extensions still function perfectly with no need of dangly filters!)

Apparently Peter has yet to explore this solution, in the meantime he is hoping that by attaching ferrite rings to his speaker lines and inter connections on the computer will resolve the problems. Good luck OM you will eventually crack it!

Brian (G3OYU) said he was fortunate in that he had two computers in the shack neither suffered from internet loss, but his shack was in the garden away from the router in the bungalow.

At this point in the proceedings (15.44hrs) John (G3FNZ) called in from Rochester to say that he was sorry to be late on parade, but he had been watching the motor racing and then finishing some gardening duties. No problems John, we are only too pleased to have you aboard.

Before the net I received apologies from Mark (G0GQT) who had been scheduled to work this weekend.

He has asked me to remind the group (and our readers) that from Sunday 30th April until 6th May he will be with an expedition to Holy Island and will be QRV on all HF bands and also 2m on the evening of Tuesday 2nd May for the UKAC activity series. For more detailed information about the expedition and Holy Island refer to MC0VRC at QRZ.com.
The experimentation aspect of amateur radio is still alive, never more so than when an individual decides to take that ‘leap of faith’ and totally dismember an expensive commercially made piece of equipment to reconstruct it in an effort to improve the performance. This has recently been the case with Terry (M0TNE) a near neighbour who has ‘upgraded’ and expanded his ‘off the shelf’ mini beam into truly functional antenna.

Well done that man!

Talking of antennas, two days ago my 6m, 2m & 70cms co-linear was bathed in pink light from the setting sun, when I noticed the fibreglass element was shaking in the breeze. It had apparently succumbed to the last 16yrs of weather. On checking the RF performance with my AA600 it appeared to be in order, I must assume that there has not been any significant water ingress. It is obviously time to lower the Versa-tower with a view to replacing the tri-band co-linear.

During the net conditions on 80m were good for inter-G propagation, even John (G3FNZ) he could hear me over his local ‘electrical soup’. Hopefully this will be case for next month.
Food for thought, we have two more CC Nets before we go into recess for the summer, hopefully you can find time to join us, and after all it is your net.

The next Clifton Country Club Net will be at 1500hrs GMT on Sunday 14th May, the frequency will be circulated during week before.

I am now off to try and restore the missing facilities on our main computer; does anyone know how to locate misplaced sub-files in MS Outlook?

Catch you on the wireless!

I can often be found on or around the QRP CW part of 60m on 5.260 MHz

73 es 88 de Tony es Suzanne.

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air – April 2017

Phil, G3MGQ has sent through his ‘Month on the Air’ for April 2017 which contains lots of DX information including the big contests to look out for and those to possibly avoid! Enjoy the April edition of Month on the Air.

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.

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Vital Spark Archive

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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
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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.

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Sigord - Gordon Sweet
Hastings Radio Comms - Andrew Haas-Campbell
Hoofbags - Liz Costa

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