Clifton Country Club Net Report – Sunday 19th April 2015

Sunday 19th April saw the eastern counties of the UK shrouded under high cloud whilst the rest of the UK was bathed in warm spring sunshine.

On 7.125 MHz at 13.40 hrs a QSO was just concluding, I took the opportunity to give a couple of test calls. As a result I gained a response from Ian (G0PDZ/A) who was enjoying the sunshine whilst operating from Margate using his FT817 on its internal cells running 2.5W to a temporary low slung dipole.  This set up resulted in a 54 report in Norfolk with occasional dips into QSB. This was quite remarkable considering it was a weekend and we were on 40m where QRM is considered the norm.

Peter (G3PJB) called in from Swanley stating that all was not well with the band as he was only receiving me at 55. Being keen Peter had presented himself for the net at 2pm (BST) an hour early, finding no Clifton members he decided to consult the e-mail that I sent on Wednesday and confirmed his suspicions.

Peter said that he only just receiving Ian but was having difficulty resolving all that was said. Understandably Ian was very QRP although it is possible the distance between Margate and Swanley was not ideal.

Peter went on to say that he had not be very active due the high levels of local noise although he had worked SX150ITU which was a Greek special call celebrating the 150 years of the International Telecommunications Union which had developed from the International Telegraphy Union founded in 1865.

At 13.51 hrs Peter (G3RQZ) announced his presence with 59+20db signal. He said he would not be staying on the net for long as he was busy redecorating this entailed removing the radiators and also chasing out and repositioning some wiring conduits (Not an envious task Peter!). He worked CT1FFU on 70 MHz SSB on Thursday 16th April via the first sporadic E of the season after hearing the CS5BFM Beacon on 70.165. I wonder does this bode well for the rest of the summer.

Denis (G3OKY) was the fourth station to arrive before the ‘official start time’ of 1400Hrs. His restricted antenna (a low dipole) produced a 55 report here.

If you recall last month’s CC Net had coincided with his 86th birthday. Denis told the group that the following day he had taken a tumble outside his daughter’s address.

On being conveyed to hospital it was confirmed that he had suffered a TIA or mild stroke. He went on to say that we was feeling better now and was definitely taking things easy.

Denis the Clifton “grapevine” had been busy and we are all pleased to hear that you feeling better. Just QRS and take it steady OM.

In the meantime Denis had been making good use of 40M.

Being punctual John (G3FNZ) appeared at 1400hrs with the news that Chatham Dockyard Steam and Transport Festival had been a great success. He had exhibited his treasured Austin 7 which always an attraction.

I could recall as a lad being in a vintage Austin 7 Ruby that was painted bright yellow. The vehicle was driven by my elderly aunt who always had to be informed if a road junction or other hazard was imminent because the rod activated brakes were less than efficient and almost required written notice before they worked.

John went on to say on the radio front he was still being plagued with local noise at an S7, therefore any stations below that strength were not readable.

Jakey (G3JKY) romped in with a solid 59+ signal. Stating all the stations he had heard so far were good signals in Hastings.

Jakey said that he had found that a length of ‘duff’ coax the reason for his lack effective contacts on 2m. On replacing this dubious feeder he was looking forward to improved VHF performance with onset of the sporadic E season.

Talking of rod brakes Jakey recalled an incident when he was riding a bicycle down a hill in Beckenham when the brakes unexpectedly activated and he came to a halt. On dismounting Jakey found that the frame had broken in two causing the rod brakes to be applied ‘automatically’ thereby avoiding potential serious injury.

It makes you think doesn’t it?  How vulnerable we are.

On reflection I almost shudder when I recall Suzanne and I cycling ‘flat out’ down the precipitous mountain roads from Delphi to the port of Itea, relying totally on hydraulic fluid in the disc brakes of our mountain bikes as we flew into numerous hair-pin bends. Hey we made it and it was fun!

David (G0WQQ) announced his presence with 58/59 signal from Princess Risborough at 14.10 hrs. He told the group over the past month he had been experimenting with PSK/Data modes in between catching up with the garden and general maintenance activities.

Peter (G3PJB) was also victim of high local QRN as such he was struggling with Ian and Denis but everyone else was readable. Peter thanked Jakey for the Ian Allen book it had filled a gap in Peter’s library on London Transport.

He said he was pleased to hear that festival at Chatham Dock Yard was a success, Peter had intended to attend using his lifetime rail-pass but this good intention was foiled by the “weekend-holiday” railway ‘replacement’ bus service.

Denis (G3OKY) said he was receiving good signal from most on his low 40m dipole.

Talking bicycles and brakes, Denis recalled cycling down Featherbed Lane more than a few years ago, when the cables to both front and rear brakes snapped leaving him to hurtle down the lane ending up as an untidy heap in the hedge.

All is well that ends well Denis!

John (G3FNZ) said that as he was missing a lot of the conversation due to the local noise he was going to sign out. Hopefully next month conditions will have improved and the noise will have abated.

Jakey (G3JKY) said that in his early days in the hobby he recalls that a G3FIO, a scoutmaster used to live near Featherbed Lane. It is amazing how the memory links eclectic facts from the past.  Jakey went on to say he could just detect Ian in Margate and that it may be better to use GB3KS Ian’s local 2m repeater at Dover, which Jakey could access easily from Hastings. Sounds like an interesting piece of cross banding chaps!

David (G3WQQ) said that he had benefitted from changing his antenna to an off centre fed diploe (OCFD) at his QTH from his original W3EDP. I must admit I have tried using a W3EDP at various ‘portable’ locations when in ‘foreign parts’ without much success. The antenna seemed to be prone to noise and could prove difficult to match. David went on to say he was looking forward to the summer for openings on 6m

Peter (G3PJB) was now suffering increasing background noise this was making a good copy very difficult. He was taking the opportunity to sign out and was going to watch the Grand Prix on the TV.

Jakey (G3JKY) reported that he had heard 99% of Denis’s overs through the local noise. Jakey had noticed that this “electronic soup” was becoming more intrusive each year.

Earlier I had told the group if conditions were suitable Bob Schilling (HB9BDJ ex-G3OAW) may call into the net. Jakey said that was least 40yrs since he had spoken to Bob.

Unfortunately conditions were not in our favour, although we left suitable pauses and listened between overs.

Jakey went on to say that an off centre fed dipole was resonant and more easily matched also it had the advantage of a lower angle of radiation than a random wire or W3EDP aerial.

I told the group that in preparation for our future nautical meanderings we had acquired an Elecraft KX3. This piece of kit promised improved filtering and lower current consumption than my FT817. I am yet to give an objective opinion as I still have my head in the manual, although so far the KX3 is performing well.

The following apologies were received from:

Lawrie (G4FAA), who was raising funds with a ‘table’ at the Kempton rally.

Colin (G0UJK) who was having some urgent work carried out on his car.

Jon (G8CCL) who is still without a suitable antenna since his shack was crushed by a tree. Jon is busily engaged on refurbishing a camper van to enable some portable operating. He also asks if anyone has any experience with Super Loop antennas, if so please contact me and I will forward your e-mail to Jon.
As most had signed out by 14.55hrs the net was brought to a close.

NB. Lawrie (G4FAA) asks if you are able to support the Clifton in the HF National Field Day at the Detling Show Ground on Sat 6th & Sun7th June

Can YOU spare a few hours to operate and / or, assist in setting up or just making the tea?

If you can, contact:  lawrie8 @ sky.com

The next Clifton Country Club Net will be on Sunday 17th May at 14.30 Hrs (GMT) on or near 7.125 Mhz

Catch you on the wireless!

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

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