Clifton Country Club Net 18th May 2014

80m was in a state of torpor being void of any readable signals, the background ‘rush’ was making the ‘S’ meter gently undulate between zero and three.

Whereas 40m was crowded with stations as I tuned to our net frequency. To avoid some raucous splatter from an ‘Oscar Nancy’ contest station I decided to call for Clifton members on 7.126 Mhz a little higher than our prescribed QRG.

An early first call at 13.55 hrs GMT brought an immediate and very strong signal (59+) from Colin (G0UJK) in Swanley. Having just dashed into the shack he had not ‘tuned’ his ATU so Colin went QRX to adjust his antenna matching.

Meanwhile Peter (G3RQZ) sounded very relaxed as called from his sunny outdoor operating position in his garden, with glass of wine in hand and his feet up in a deck chair. Running 50W from his Yaesu FT897 into a 40/80m trap dipole. This ‘barefoot’ set up produced a very respectable 58 to 59 report here in Norfolk.

Colin appeared again explaining that he was now on the SSB friendly antenna, which registered a unity SWR. Prior to the net, he had been busy deploying fan dipole, only to find that the feeder was 3ft short, Colin went on to say he would soon rectify this after the net.

At 1403 Hrs Jakey (G3JKY) announced his presence in from Hastings, saying that all those heard were solid 58 to 59. In fact the band appeared quite stable.

He had finished his modification on his TenTec gear to allow a 4m transverter to be powered off the main transceiver. He had also fitted a CTSS board to his aging 2m radio enabling access to a greater range of repeaters. He had one problem, in that  he had not disconnected ‘tone burst’ board completely so that every time the PTT  was pressed a 1750 Hz tone kept triggering. Having rectified this everything was well and he could now work through 2m repeaters in North Kent and Danbury. He was restricted to 25Khz channels as his transceiver was of a vintage before 12.5Khz spacing.

At this point I told by Peter(G3RQZ) that Brian (G3OYU) was calling. Unfortunately  I could not hear him, even when gaps were left.

Stations closer than 100 miles appear to be victims of very sudden and extremely deep fading.

John (G3FNZ) was 58 from Rochester, although he said my signals were varying radically, whereas Jakey in Hastings had remarked on my solid steady signal.

It’s all in the distance, another 40+ miles makes all the difference.

John went on to say he had been blighted with QRN which made radio difficult, so he had spent more time on activities at Chatham’s Royal Dockyard.

Peter (G7ULL) was just audible when he called from his QTH in Chislehurst, a surprisingly weak signal. Peter told the group that Clive G0PPO had repaired the fault on his transceiver and he was now back on the air with a new G5RV doublet antenna.

I advised Peter to check all his drive settings, power out, and VSWR. because even with a turbulent band signals his signal was extremely weak.

Peter informed me that his output meter was showing 100W. At this I told him that there was even more cause for concern, was he sure that he had not got his ATU set to dummy load? Or he had a faulty PL259/coax connection somewhere?

At this Peter (G3PJB) from Swanley supported my observations that his namesake from Chislehurst was barely audible, as Swanley is almost line of sight.

Peter continued to tell the group that he had been struggling in the month long Royal Signals contest, and had only managed to work 20 other RS members.

Even his aircraft spotting hobby had proved difficult due to the high level cloud associated with the anti-cyclone that dominated the UK weather over the past days.

Ron( G3GZH) said that he had been having antenna problems, and that signals were highly variable, he could hear most with the exception of Peter (G7ULL).

Ron was using a vertical which did tend to collect some excessive QRN on the lower bands.

Peter (G3RQZ) remembering that John (G3FNZ) owned an Austin 7 said that he had followed an Austin 7 along the A22 that was being driven in excess of 45mph. Knowing that these vintage automobiles had rod activated drum brakes that work given sufficient time, would John consider that speed reckless?

Colin (G0UJK) said that he was receiving everyone except Peter (G7ULL) at 59+20db.He had a reasonably successful month working VK’s and Pacific Islands, he went to say 20m had proved a very productive for DX. He thought we may interested that he had worked Clifton members Peter Wilson (G0NGP) who had been operating portable on the south coast and he had also worked Steve (G0STE).

At this point I heard Denis (G3OKY) called from Beckenham, but obviously he could not hear my invitation to “Go Ahead”. From this point onwards I called both Brian (G3OYU) and Denis (G3OKY) every opportunity.

Jakey (G3JKY) said although 80m appeared to be in doldrums he still put in an appearance on the RAFAS Tuesday evening CW net on 3.566 Mhz.

He asked If Denis could access North Kent 2m repeater ? If so he would work him via that mode.

Jakey had mentioned during last month’s net that he was suffering from a respiratory condition. Although there were signs of improvement he was still ‘under doctor’s orders’. Much to his annoyance this would prevent him attending the forthcoming NFD.

We all wish you a speedy recovery Jakey!

Speaking of Peter (G0NGP), Jakey recalls several years ago on one HF field day after having worked a string of Dutch stations Peter was called by a PY and thinking it was yet another QSO from Holland was totally shocked to learn it was Brazil possibly their best DX on that band. Yes I am sure we have all done it!

I recall some 23 years ago, when operating ‘portable’ in 9M2 and after working a seemingly incessant stream of JA’s in all guises, I was being to think all two million licensed radio amateurs in Japan were on my frequency. When I was called by a JW, which we all know is Svalbard up in the northern wastes of the arctic, don’t we? Crikey, I am glad I worked him.

In response to Peter (G3RQZ)’s observations on speed and the Austin 7’s breaking capability, John (G3FNZ) stated you take your life in your hands when driving cars of that vintage ( and possibly the lives of everyone else too John?).

He went on to tell the group that he waiting to go to East Grinstead hospital for some surgical procedures on his hand. In the meantime he was under orders to mow the lawn, so he going sign out and get mowing.

Peter (G3PJB) stated he could hear everyone with exception of Ron (G3GZH)

Peter agreed that he had heard Denis (G3OKY) but that Denis could not hear our responses. Peter promised to telephone him after the net.

Peter had been to the Catford Bus Garage 100yrs celebrations. In pursuance of his bus spotting hobby, evidently there were 35 new buses at Catford, Peter logged all but five. The running code for Catford was ‘TL’ which stood for ‘ Tilling Lewisham’

Tilling being the original bus company, who says privatisation is new.

For the steam ‘buffs’ among you, during the last weekend in May, the Mid Norfolk Railway; my local preserved line is holding the first steam traction gala of the year. At which ‘West Coast Trains’ are supplying four steam locos and some ‘heritage’ rolling stock. West Coast Trains are based at Carnforth the station where the iconic film “Brief Encounters” was centred. A age old friend from London always comes to Norfolk and stays with us to get his ‘fix’ of steam-coal smoke during these heritage weekends.

Both Suzanne and I have had very little time to spend on the air as we have been very busy preparing for six US citizens on their first visit to the UK. All are guests at the 70th anniversary ceremony, which commemorates ten US airmen and two US fire-fighters that were killed when a US B24 Liberator crashed in our village on 4th June 1944. For further info: www.garveston12.org.uk

A number of stations had signed out, leaving the few stalwarts to close the net at 15.07 hrs

I received apologies from:

Jon (G8CCL), who was still without an operational shack follow the winter’s storms

Lawrie (G4FAA), who was engaged at the Luton rally.

Brian (G3OYU), who was being plagued with S9 wide band electrical QRM. This was very unusual at Brian’s QTH which normally electrically quiet.

Whilst preparing this summary I received the news from Steve (G4RFC) that sadly the Clifton  would not be entering either the HF NFD in June or the VHF NFD in July. Due to circumstances beyond our control.

The next Clifton CC Net, the last before our summer recess, will be on Sunday 15th June at 1500hrs on or near 7.125MHz. allowing for no improvement in conditions on 80m.

Catch you on the wireless!

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

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