Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 14th June 2015

High solar disturbance together poor F layer conditions with MUFs hovering below 4 MHz was producing unreliable propagation on 40m and 60m with virtually no signals on 80m audible. This did not bode well.

Monitoring 7 MHz days before the net continental European stations could be heard working into the UK and Ireland but not the ‘G’ or ‘EI’ stations replying.

In order to maximise the possibility of ‘inter G’ communications a later time of 15.30GMT was scheduled.

This allowed the opportunity for a ‘trial net’ on 60m at 1500hrs as suggested by Peter (G3RQZ) last month.

Therefore it was very pleasing to gain an almost immediate response from Peter (G3RQZ) to my call on 5.320 MHz. The ‘armchair copy’ both ways was a splendid demonstration of the 60m; free of ‘adjacent station splatter’ unlike that on the more crowded parts of the spectrum.

Peter was running 50w from his MP1000 into a trap-dipole for 80/40m using parasitic wires to bring it into resonance on 60m. This set up gave a 59+10db here in Norfolk.

Peter (G3PJB) from Swanley reported that both Peter (G3RQZ) and I were 59+, unfortunately “PJB” did not have a resonant antenna for 60m, and I could only give him a 32 report.

Peter (G3RQZ) suggested to “PJB” that a low dipole or other resonant antenna just lying along a hedge or fence could produce exceptional signals for inter UK communications utilising NVIS propagation.

Although some had found that 60m was somewhat vulnerable to local QRM from a plethora of modern electrical devices. At Peter’s Redhill QTH fortunately this was not the case. As a result he could often hear both sides of a QSO even although the individuals involved were have some difficulty.

Having a very low noise floor here in Norfolk I likewise receive both side of a QSO where those taking part were hindered by electrical noise.

I wonder if 60m could be an effective band for our monthly Clifton skeds, more so now now all “A” or “Advanced” licence holders automatically qualify for 60m without recourse to applying for a ‘notice of variation’.  Food for thought!

Peter (G3RQZ) went on to say that he had spent most of his radio time on 4m taking advantage of sporadic E including contacts with CT1, S5, & OK etc.

He said had noticed the propensity of stations to form pile-ups that were directly driven from DX clusters and similar events were beginning to take place on microwave contests, where QSOs were generated from ‘arrangements’ via e-mail or computer networks. Peter felt this removed the fun and sense of achievement from the hobby.

I tend to agree, as during my nautical meanderings found these seemingly illogical ‘pile-ups’ of stations from the European landmass apparently calling exotic DX. Whilst stations from the southern hemisphere were calling CQ a few KHz away were going unanswered.  Does anyone actually listen anymore?

It was now 15.25hrs, time to start the “CC Net” on 40m.

Peter (G3RQZ) bade his farewells, stating that he would listen on 40m to ensure that the net was in progress, but was unlikely join in as he had pressing horticultural commitments at hand.

Colin (G0UJK) from Swanley was the first to answer my call on 7.128 Mhz with 59+ signals. He said it was nice to have a sunny day after several days of dreary weather. It had been mainly dry but there had been the occasional rumble of thunder.

Peter (G3PJB) having been listening to Peter “RQZ” and I on 60m was now 58 with QSB on 40m. Peter went on to explain that one of the reasons he had missed the last two CC Nets due to a holiday tour of Scotland which included an 8 hour Hebridean cruise. The cruise was first class, although the tour was slightly marred by traveling in the very front seats of the coach, this proved not to very comfortable due to lack of leg room also the seats were ahead of the front axle accentuating all the numerous ‘potholes’. Hence after several hours travel both Peter and Doris felt as if they had be badly pummelled.

At 1533hrs John (G3FNZ) announced his presence with a 59 signal from Strood, he was still suffering from a very high noise levels but as all stations were 59+ he could hear everyone. John went on to tell the group he was experiencing some problems with his legs, and was undergoing various tests at the hospital.

John we all hope the medicos are quick to have a diagnosis and that you are soon on the road to recovery.

Colin (G0UJK) told the group he had also found 40m very poor; yesterday signals were varying rapidly from barely readable to +40db.

Presently Colin was off work due a back injury, although this was not ideal it gave him the opportunity to enjoy the radio during the week-days.

He was extremely disappointed that this local planning authority had refused his application to erect a mast to support his antennas.

During this prolonged process Colin had actively sought the support of the RSGB and as a result had received a visit and advice from Dave Lawley (G4BUO).

Being a Parish Councillor here in Norfolk I regularly view applications for planning permission for all forms of development.  Therefore I was very concerned that “radiation levels” emanating from the proposed structure was sighted as one of the main reasons for refusal given by Sevenoaks Council.

All local government planning authorities have the responsibility for the following:

Aesthetic appearance, design conformity, mechanical compliance (building regulations), local restrictions (by-laws, covenants & conservation areas).

Radiation from RF fields and the likelihood of interference are well outside of the remit and expertise of any local planning authority.

There is an obvious degree of discrimination here, especially in the light of “permitted development” concessions enjoyed by mobile phone network operators.

The use of a structure such as a mast in pursuance of the hobby can be equally viewed as ‘passive’ when used for long range reception; this does not seem to have been considered.

Having given assistance both recently and in the past over antenna provision permissions, may I suggest your only recourse is to lodge an appeal with The Planning Inspectorate against the decision of Sevenoaks Council Planning department.

It may be to your benefit to have a look at the site below:

Whatever you do, you must ensure you have all your facts in a logical and concise format and present a well-reasoned case. The RSGB should be able to give a degree of guidance over this.

Peter (G3PJB) shared his experience with us concerning his attempts some years ago to gain planning permissions to erect a small mast at his QTH in Swanley.

Again Sevenoaks Council were the planning authority and they advised Peter that they would not approve such a ‘development’.  From then on Peter thought wise to keep a low profile by using wire and indoor antennas.

Peter, I do not take no for an answer, unless they have a good reasoned argument supported by documentary evidence. Hey ho!

Peter went on to explain that his second absence from the CC Net was as result of unexpectedly “ending up in hospital” where he underwent surgery for a hernia, whilst in the recovery room Peter suffered “a log event”, which is a medical semantic for a minor stroke or MCI (heart attack). As a result Peter now takes eleven pills a day from his original prescription of three. His surgeon has advised him not to drive for 10 days to aid recovery.

Take it easy OM and very nice to have back on the wireless!

At 15.59 Hours John (G3FNZ) signed out as he said he was finding the ‘euro-babble’ (QRM) and the deep QSB mixed with his local background ‘electronic soup’ was making listening very difficult.  OK, John hopefully we will hear you on the next CC Net.  We all wished John the very best of luck with hospital visit scheduled for Monday.

Colin (G0UJK) said he was very disappointed that the June NFD had been cancelled, but he understood why the decision had been made.

Further to Colin’s concerns I said unfortunately Martin (G0DCG) and Steve (G4RFC) had also reluctantly withdrawn the Clifton ARS entry from the forthcoming VHF NFD on the weekend of 4th & 5th July. This was due to continuing logistical problems beyond their control.

As yet there has been no decision of the SSB HF field day in September.

I told the group that during the week I had attended a seminar on “Dark skies and light pollution” at the UEA. There many topics on the agenda, one of which was installation of LED lamps in street lighting, these had advantage of being easily controlled by either dimming or switching off in less busy periods.  Also as the light is directed downward there is little sideway spread (glare).

My main concern about the proliferation of these devices was not so much light pollution but that of RF pollution, as LEDs have been a cause of EMC problems in the past. Unfortunately the representatives of the manufacturers at the seminar were unable to answer my questions regarding RF generation and quoted that all their equipment conformed to EC regulations……….Er! Why does this not fill me with confidence?

Peter (G3PJB) said that in his area all the street lights are extinguished at 1am.

Good to hear it OM!

Luckily here in my parish we have ‘unlit villages’, as a result we also have dark skies with views of the Milky Way. On moonless cold nights when there is little water vapour in the atmosphere it is a truly amazing spectacle which is now lost to the many.

As the time reached 16.20hrs we brought June’s Clifton Country Club to a close.

Apologies were received from:

Lawrie (G4FAA) who was on a hill walking holiday near Hereford.

David (G0WQQ) who stated the later time of the net clashed with his culinary duties.

Jakey (G3JKY) who was celebrating completing his 79th orbit round our nearest star! Congratulations and take it easy OM, hopefully we will find you lurking in the long grass at the lower part of 80m around 3.564 Mhz?

May take this opportunity to wish Ian (G0PDZ) the very best of luck with his new QTH and hope everything goes smoothly with the move. I understand from ‘reading the mail’ that Ian already has a plan to install a low profile wire antenna for HF.

As usual at this time of year, the Clifton Country Club Net will go into ‘summer-recess’ during the months of July, August and September.

The next Country Club Net will be on Sunday 11th October at 1400hrs GMT the band and frequency to be confirmed nearer the date.

Have a great summer, enjoy the DX and we hope to catch you the wireless, possibly on 60m.

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

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