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.

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