Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 17th May 2015

Following the less than encouraging reports on the solar activity with threats of coronal mass ejections and plasmatic winds I was full of trepidation as I tuned to the net frequency.

Only to find a nightmare situation which I had feared since we moved from the apparent comfort of 3.6MHz.

The nightmare was a wall of QRM and splatter emanating from the collective signals of those taking part in an EI based contest. This was exacerbated by the distance from the Irish land mass and NVIS propagation.

Working on the principle of “Keep calm and carry on” I found a quieter spot just above our net frequency, where the ‘S’-meter wobbled between S5 and S7 from adjacent splatter.

Jakey (G3JKY) was first to respond to my call, his Tentec transceiver cutting through the mire, we were soon joined by Colin (G0UJK) who also supressed the QRM.

Colin said that he was surprised to hear so much QRM on the band, although we had apparently chosen a weekend when the IRTS (Irish radio transmitter’s society) were holding a contest on 7 MHz

John (G3FNZ) announced his presence saying that could only copy Jakey and I as he was still plagued with very high levels of local electrical noise. Colin was below his ‘noise floor’.  John said that he was not going to stay on as the noise was very tiresome and unpleasant.

Very understandable John, radio should be a pleasure and not a torment, not that it helps but your received signals both here in Norfolk and in Hastings (as reported by Jakey) were 59+.

Colin said that he had come up an hour earlier and not being able to find any Clifton members he realised that the net was still due at 14.30 hrs (GMT). During the previous days he said that conditions had been very good especially on the higher frequencies. He had heard VO9 but unfortunately could not make himself heard. Albeit he had taken advantage of the improved F2 propagation having worked several DX stations in the days previous, these had been on 20m to 10m.

Peter (G3RQZ) stated that the band was full of EI contesters, and QRM generated was making pleasant conversation very difficult.

Jakey (G3JKY) agreed saying Peter was a 59 signal and therefore keeping the intrusive splatter at bay. Jakey went on to tell the group that he had noted increased levels of noise at his QTH in recent times especially on 80m. However he was of the opinion that the new generation of transceivers with ‘wideband’ receive were more susceptible to the extraneous electrical noise flattening the AGC. Unlike the older sets such as the FT101 with separate tuned RF stages seemed to be less vulnerable to out of band QRM.

On a similar vein Jakey had never found a ‘noise blanker’ to be worth the price of a switch. The only time a ‘noise blanker’ worked was to suppress the ‘pulse’ generated by an electric fence when he was at his ‘alternative’ QTH in ZL-land.

Colin (G0UJK) reported that he was still awaiting the result of his planning application on his proposed antenna mast. He had been visited and advised by Dave Lawley (G4BUO) on behalf of the RSGB. Dave sends his regards to Jakey.

Jakey stated that Dave (G4BUO) was always one the strongest G-stations when he was in New Zealand.

I said that following last month’s net I had received an e-mail from Gerald (HB9AJU/ Ex-G3OOH) stating that he heard Jakey but was had difficulty with the rest of the group due local QRM from Italy and Germany. Gerald went on to say he was unable to listen for May’s net as he would be away from his QTH cat-sitting.

Gerald went on to explain he had been spending most of his time translating a book from German to English from material collated by Theo Boiten a Dutchman who is an  expert on Luftwaffe night fighter activities in WW2 based on pilot’s combat reports.

To quote Gerald:

My involvement is in an expanded version of ‘Nachtjagd War Diaries’. I fell into all this as the result of my research into the fate of my uncle, Sgt. Sidney Bayfield, my mother’s favourite brother whose name she gave me as my third Christian name.

Sgt. Bayfield was the rear gunner (‘tail-end Charlie’) on Halifax MP-K of 76 Squadron. He was shot down and killed in March 1943 on a mission to bomb Berlin by ObLt. Gerhard Raht of night fighter squadron 5/NJG3 flying a Ju 88

All this info, and more, I have researched over the years. It led me into contact with Theo Boiten, who was looking for a translator to put German combat reports into English. Some of it is quite interesting stuff, as is putting the down-to-earth original reports into equally earthy English prose. I do it free of charge (Theo is a Dutchman!) but expect a copy of the book when it’s published, probably later this year.

To see other work by the same author:

http://www.amazon.com/s?rh=n%3A5031%2Cp_lbr_one_browse-bin%3ATheo+Boiten

Extremely interesting Gerald, thank you on behalf the group for this information and I personally look forward to the new publication.

Peter (G3RQZ) stated he was very fortunate that his local noise level had remained low, with exception of irregular short lived QRM generated by the new electric trains on his local railway line.

Although Peter has not been very active on HF he maintains regular skeds on 70 MHz. During one of his local FM QSOs on 4m he was called by Franki (S57ILF) in JN75AK who was running 5W to a vertical antenna. This was apparently Franki’s first contact outside Slovenia on 4m. Franki’s QTH does not favour VHF communication being surrounded by mountains, but this shows how sporadic-E propagation can produce amazing results under the most difficult conditions.

Peter went on to say he was looking forward to meeting the rest of the Clifton contest crew at the CW NFD on Saturday 6th June at the Kent Showground, Detling.

National Field Day

For those who would wish to support the ‘crew’ at Detling, please meet at 10am on Saturday 6th June on the Showground car park.

The entrance to the ‘showground’ is off the A249 at Detling Hill.

Turn right after entering the showground and drive across the grass car park, the Clifton ‘crew’ will on the far side near the hedge.  You can phone Lawrie (G4FAA) on 0789-9855166 or Martin (G0DCG) on 07751-159302 if you need directions or if you have any questions or ideas e-mail Lawrie: lawrie8@sky.com

I told the group that my new Elecraft KX3 very nice to operate, especially on CW. The combination of the roofing filters which automatically change as you select different modes, or when you vary the band widths filters which are continuously adjustable from 4KHz to 50Hz.

The radio operates extremely well without the preamp; the background hiss was virtually undetectable making very weak signals were easy to read.

The current drawn is extremely frugal when in receive at about 150ma, every facet of this rig has been made with battery powered portable operation in mind. The auto ATU is an L-match with a wide range of L&C combinations easily matches random wires through to dipoles, a memory retains the settings for rapid band switching. One downside is the miniature loud speaker, the volume and reproduction is poor. The Elecraft theory is that most CW operators would prefer to use headphones; pseudo stereo is available as an interesting feature specifically in CW. The KX3 has a keyer with a memory and a decoder for CW and RTTY and PSK modes. The output is variable from zero through to 10watts. There are many other useful operating facilities that I have not mentioned and some still have to discover.

Is it worth the price of slightly short of £1,400 with all the additional options, including the hand microphone? It depends what you want the radio for. It is certainly a must for portable battery powered operation, with an amazing dynamic range and a full complement of high end options from a compact self-contained software defined radio. This rig was bought as direct replacement of my trusted old FT817 (2001 vintage), primarily for use on our future nautical meanderings.

Before the net apologies were received from Brian (G3OYU) who was due undergo a cataract operation on the Monday following the net. Brian we wish you a full and speedy recovery.

Also from Lawrie (G4FAA) who was at the Dunstable Downs Rally selling equipment to raise funds.

As we were about to close Peter (G7ULL) called in from Chislehurst, to check his transmitted audio, as last month Peter’s transmissions were distorted, similar to that caused by RF feedback.

On this occasion Peter’s audio was readable and clear. Whatever you have done Peter, it has worked, well done that man!

May I take this opportunity to commiserate with those who regularly appear on the net but went unheard in the morass of QRM…..Hopefully it will be better next month.

The conditions being so difficult the net was closed at 15.10hrs (GMT).

The next Clifton Country Club Net will be on Sunday 15th June at 14.30 hrs GMT (15.30 BST) on 7.125 MHz unless propagation improves on 80m.

Due to the difficulties experienced today, Peter (G3RQZ) suggested we might try 60m as an alternative.

It is proposed we hold an ‘impromptu net’ 15 minutes before the next Clifton Country Club Net on 5.304 MHz (USB).

I will confirm this nearer the date, as mid-afternoon propagation on 60m is less than good at present.

Have a great month enjoy the DX and the very best of luck to all in the NFD on 6th June.

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

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.

Become a member of HERC

Join the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club.

Why not join one of the largest and most established Radio clubs in the South East of England? Very low joining cost, and free for a year to new licencees.

Vital Spark Archive

Vital Spark newsletter articles

Take a look through a large selection of articles written by club members over the years which have been published in the monthly Vital Spark newsletter .

Used Ham Radio Equipment

View HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list..

Every four weeks, HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list is updated on the site. Bookmark the gear for sale page to re-visit easily and take advantage of the used equipment on sale through the club.

Club Photographs

HERC Image Galleries.

Here is the official HERC photograph archive which contains multiple image galleries spanning several decades since the club was formed many years ago. Enjoy the images!

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
the UK Amateur Radio repeaters list.

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.

HERC members sites

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

Categories