Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 6th November 2016

At 14.55 John (G3FNZ) responded immediately to my first tentative call, stunningly he was romping into Norfolk with a solid 59+ signal. John reported that I was a very readable signal with him, unlike previous occasions where he and others had to abandon the net due lack of propagation.

For the first time in three months the ‘radio gods’ appeared to be smiling on us.

Therefore when Peter (G3PJB) and Peter (G3RQZ) announced their presence minutes later it was good reports all round! It was only later that Peter (G3RQZ) mentioned he was running 50watts instead of his normal QRO output, the linear amplifier was on stand-by should it be necessary later.

John (G3FNZ) thanked me for the information on re-validation of his licence. He had phoned Ofcom and found them very helpful, more so when realised that the new validation date applied all the radio licences held by him, both amateur and marine. John re-iterated, that it was such a pleasure to be able to hear all those on the net, over the previous months he had become convinced that the overwhelming QRM combined with the lack of good propagation might force him to off the air.

Peter (G3PJB) in Swanley was still suffering from local noise had had taken the option to listen via the remote SDR site at Hack Green. Using this method he found all those currently on the net very readable. Although he had discovered he lost his internet connection when in transmit, causing the ‘waterfall’ display to freeze or disappear (whoops!). Peter strongly suspected RF in the shack due to standing waves on the feeder for his G5RV doublet, more of this later.

Colin (G0UJK) a fellow resident of Swanley called in at 1501hrs having just returned from the radio rally at Kempton Park. Colin went on to tell the group that the rally was a true social occasion as he had met Clifton members namely Lawrie (G4FAA), Phil (G3BSN) and Terry (G0GTO), together with many other amateurs who he has ‘worked’ over recent months. During his conversation with Lawrie (G4FAA), Lawrie had said he was hoping hold a “Clifton ‘delayed’ Christmas dinner”.

Over the past twenty five years or so these ‘delayed Christmas dinners’ have been held during the first weeks of January. The club often benefitted from the post festive season by having a choice of venues that were not overcrowded and were keen to attract custom.

Good on you Lawrie, what a good idea!  If you want me to circulate any proposed dates or venues I will be only too pleased to do so. Please contact me Lawrie!

Mark (G0GQT) put his head above the parapet at 15.04 he also having just returned from Kempton Park. Mark was not the strongest signal in the group as he was using a 40m dipole for this band. Mark said he had been a little disappointed with rally in that the range of ‘hardware’ on offer was a little limited, as it seemed to be dominated by the bigger traders.  Mark was looking for suitable bits of kit for his next DX trip, wherever it will be is not finally fixed yet. However Mark confirmed it will be an ‘island operation’.

Peter (G3PJB) had just purchased an early Christmas present, namely an Icom 7300. He had read widely on this new radio, also he noted that Peter (G3RQZ) was using one last month.  Now having had a chance to use an IC7300 on air he was impressed and could understand why this new SDR self-contained transceiver was proving so popular.

I told Peter (G3PJB) that I had worked several stations using the IC7300 and heard nothing but good reports on this new ‘rig’ from Icom. They have obviously formulated a true ‘winner’; a fairly compact 100watt HF transceiver with both 6m and 4m on board, together with the versatility of firmware upgrades being available into the future. By today’s standards it is priced fairly competitively.

Peter (G3PJB) went on to say that he had traded in his fifteen year old Kenwood TS 2000 against the new IC7300.

Golly Peter, I have got a TS2000, I would have never though that particular Kenwood radio would still be in production sixteen years after introduction, but it is!

John (G3FNZ) thanked Colin for the information regarding the probably ‘Clifton late Christmas do’. He hoped it was not to be the last such function, as John and the Clifton club go back a very long way, to the beginning in fact. John said he would make every effort to attend the event should it be organised.

The net was being held this weekend as next week is Remembrance Sunday, John told the group he would be at a Remembrance Service to be held at Royal Navy National Destroyer memorial at Chatham Dockyard.

At this point, Peter (G3PJB) said that he was having difficulty hearing John (G3FNZ) and Mark (G0GQT) via the Hack Green remote receiver. Strange business this wireless Peter! He went on to say that he had spoken to Denis (G3OKY) on the telephone and that Denis would try and listen using a temporary wire antenna hung out of the window.

I told the group that here in Norfolk continuing strong northerly winds were bringing heavy rain in from the North Sea the ambient temperature was 4.8c with wind chill making it feel like 0c. Yesterday the high winds and rain had caused a substantial branch to fall from one of our ash trees and crash through my 80m loop. Fortunately as it is supported by 8mm rope attached to industrial bungees via pulleys, the antenna gave way and was pinned to the ground but remained intact.

As the show (net) must go on! Suzanne and I braved the pouring rain and gales to dismantle the branch (18ft long and 8ins diameter) and clear it. On release the 286ft long loop just flew back into position.

Peter (G3RQZ) said that as conditions were apparently changing he had fired up his 400w linear to help those who may be struggling. Peter had guests staying therefore he was going to sign out of the group but before he did he passed his best wishes to Denis (G3OKY) who he hoped was listening.

Before Peter closed I took the opportunity to forward apologies from Brian (G3OYU) who was still indisposed due to surgical treatment to re-establish his hearing. Brian hoped to be available next month if all went well. He did say that he would make an attempt to listen but under the circumstances this may prove difficult.

Brian, the gathered company wish you the very best of good fortune on your road to recovery.

Colin (G0UJK) told the group that he had been assisting install new antennas at Peter’s (G7ULL) QTH in Chislehurst including a three element Cushcraft HF Yagi together with a ZS6BKW doublet which is a form of modified G5RV. If I recall correctly the ZS6BWK presents better (or different) matching to the feed line. Like the original G5RV design it is akin to the curate’s egg; good in places!

As time edged towards 15.45hrs John (G3FNZ) signed out as he and Beryl were being taken to tea at their grandson’s new house. See you next month John and here is hoping that these good conditions continue.

Peter (G3PJB) said that he and Doris were planning to spend Christmas away to let someone else worry about the catering etc. Sounds highly sensible Peter!

Peter, thinking about your problem with RF affecting your internet connection and hopefully not telling you something you already know.

At this location RF does not affect my internet, primarily because I use an ADSL line junction unit where the line enters the house. This means all telephone wiring with in the house is decoupled at this point and does not act as an antenna. My BT hub is fed directly from the ADSL socket. Previously I used to use the supplied plug-in ‘dangly filters’, these are dreadful as the telephone wiring within the house is still connected to the internet line, our internet used drop out at the slightest sniff of HF (1.8 to 10MHz).

If perchance you are still using the dreaded ‘dangly filters’ it may be very beneficial to fit an ADSL socket where you telephone enters your property, this will make the ‘dangly filters’ redundant. These units(and fitting instructions) are available from the following supplier:

https://www.run-it-direct.co.uk/BTNTE5ADSLfaceplate6way.html

Hopefully there is not much exposed telephone line ‘up-stream’ of the point where it enters your QTH. I am very fortunate here in that the house is fed by underground armoured cable (Belden) which runs from a telegraph pole some 75mtrs away which we insisted upon when we built the house.

Of course you are fully aware that is illegal for any unauthorised work to be carried out on the BT network………..Heaven forbid that you would even think about installing your own ADSL box!

As I was closing the net at 16.04, I just heard Denis (G3OKY) breaching the background hiss. Denis said he had been listening and he was using a very temporary wire antenna dangled over a chair and out of a near-by window.

Denis, you could be heard in deepest Norfolk with 45 signals and heavy QSB. It was jolly nice to know that you had been keeping us company.

Well done that man!

Unfortunately Peter (G3PJB) said that Denis was just detectable on Hack Green but Peter was unable to resolve his signal.

Being ever hopeful, we look forward to a further improvement in conditions next month.

Finally, I received a number of comments from those who viewed the TV programme concerning antennas and neighbours etc. I whole heartedly agree with the majority who kindly understated that the radio amateur in question was not the best  ambassador for our hobby. Fortunately it was screened on a minority TV channel that apparently caters for the lowest common denominator within its audience base. To quote, their shallowness runs deep!

To more important matters:

Our next Clifton Country Club Net is scheduled for Sunday 11th December at 1500hrs on or near 3.690MHz

Catch you on the wireless!  Especially if you are part of the increasing band of QRP desperados that can be found on 5.262 MH

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

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