Posts tagged clifton

Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 13th December 2015

Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 13th December 2015

It was a gloomy damp day, ideal for spending some time on the radio. During the previous days the lower bands (40m and 80m) had been fairly turbulent with little or no inter-G day time propagation, more so on 80m.

Following November’s successful pre-net sked on 60m, before moving to 40m I suggested a similar schedule for December.

At 2.30pm Peter (G3PJB) responded to my call on 5.355 Mhz. Conditions on 60m were such that reports were 59 both ways. We did note a stream of data about 3Khz HF. This comfortable situation of almost armchair copy was not to be found when we later moved to 40m.Whilst resident on 60m, we were asked by station (no call given) to QSY as we were causing problems with a JST 65 transmission (?).

Peter and I discussed this and deduced that this station presumable from the Netherlands was the ‘originator’ of this warbling on 5.360. Interestingly the Dutch amateur fraternity had only recently gained access to 60m, their allocation being continuous from 5.350 to 5.450 MHz.

Not wishing to cause any further annoyance and as it nearly time for the ‘official’ net we decided to move to 40m.  Not before ‘marking the card’ of the Dutch operator that call-signs not only polite but are also an obligatory protocol when establish a new contact. Also to note our diary that in future we would opt for 5.320 MHz, well below the Dutch allocation.

Arriving on 40m I found a state of turmoil, with both near European and Eastern European signals mixed with much weaker inter-G stations.  I assumed this was as a result of both solar disturbances causing poor propagation on 80m and a tide of weekend operators, thereby forcing everyone on to 7 MHz. Finding a ‘reasonable’ gap on 7.124 MHz, a call brought an almost immediate response from Peter (G3PJB), having accompanied me from 60m, and followed in quick order by Jakey (G3JKY) and Mark (G0GQT).

In these first minutes most stations were fully readable with 46 to 58 reports although affected by a very rapid and shuddering QSB accompanied by splatter from adjacent stations. Not a pleasant or easy copy!

The first signs of imminent deterioration came as Jakey gave us his view of the recent CQWW CW contest. He having managed to work 25 countries had fallen short of his normal score. During the last few syllables of his over Jakey totally disappeared.
I called Mark (G0GQT); I could hardly read his response as every other word drifted in the very deep fades. Things were definitely not going our way. Mark suggested we move to 7.101 MHz where the adjacent QRM was less intrusive. I was reticent to attempt a move so early in the proceedings as other may be looking for us near this frequency.

However, this was to prove futile as I now lost complete contact with Mark. The net was quickly becoming unviable. I called Peter (G3PJB), Jakey (G3JKY) and also Mark again, I could just detect Mark calling Jakey and gaining no response.

When all fails………….CW is the answer! I called all three stations again, this time in A1A mode and sent Christmas greetings and best wishes for the New Year!
Jakey reciprocated on the key (339) and we closed (if not abandoned) the net at 3.15pm.

Interestingly the first time we had to abandon the net in over a decade!

Prior to the net I had received apologies from Lawrie G4FAA and Peter (G3RQZ).

Lawrie, was currently in HB-land only armed with a 2m handy. He sends all Clifton members his seasons greeting and wishes them a HNY.

He would also like to remind us that there is KW aficionado’s weekend on 3rd-4th January. Do have a look for him and fellow KW owners around 7.043 (CW) and 7.177 MHz (AM/SSB).

Lawrie awaits a venue for the Clifton ‘reunion’, he hopes to be possession more news in the New Year.

Peter (G3RQZ) was unavoidably detained, being fed festive and seasonal goodies at the home of a family friend. Good on you Peter, it’s a tough job and someone’s got to do it!
After the net Frank ( G3WMR) e-mailed me say he was sorry to miss the net, as he was looking forward to further contacts on 60m. He stated that he was going join the G3GHN Yahoo Group, and wished all Clifton members a very merry Christmas and HNY.

Ironically, after the chaotic ending of December’s CC Net I re-tuned to 80m, only to find the inter-G propagation in reasonably good order. With a large net on 3.787 MHz in full swing with highly readable signals from most the UK. This very interesting net continued unabated until 17.30pm…………….!!

OK, I chose the wrong band!

In mitigation when I checked the conditions on 80m twenty four hours earlier they were abysmal!  Win some lose some!

For those who are interested, I propose that we have an impromptu net on Christmas Day on 7.125 MHz at 12noon. Last year we had six members appear to pass their greetings ( and avoid the heat in the kitchen).

As the memsahib and I will be unavoidably detained on other matters, Peter (G3RQZ) has volunteered to ‘sit-in the chair’ for the next three Clifton Country Club nets.

The first net of 2016 will be at 3pm on Sunday 17th January (thereby missing the AFS contests) it is likely to be on 3.690 MHz to be confirmed by Peter nearer the date.

Suzanne and I will circulate likely times and frequencies of any future maritime mobile operations during the New Year.

Merry Christmas and Happy and Prosperous New Year to all.

Catch you on the wireless! (May be on 25th Dec?)

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne

The Final Clifton Country Club Net of 2015

Final Clifton Country Club Net of 2015

Whatho Cliftonaires,

The final Clifton Country Club Net of 2015 will be this Sunday 13th December at 3pm on or near 7.125 Mhz…………Hopefully conditions will improve for Sunday’s  net as inter G communications on 40m has been fairly uncertain over the past days.

I will also be listening on 5.355 Mhz from 2.30pm for those who would like to have a pre-net sked on 60m.

If you can drag yourself away from decorating the Christmas tree we hope to catch you on the wireless this Sunday!

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 15th November Report

Peter (G3RQZ) had been keeping the frequency warm on 60m when I made an appearance at 14.35 hrs. The band was ideal for inter-G at this time with ‘armchair copies’ attained with very moderate power to equally moderate antenna systems.

Peter was running in the region of 50watts to a nest of dipoles, none of which were resonant on 60m produced 59+20db here in Norfolk. We were joined by Frank ( G3 WMR) who was making his first foray on 5Mhz. Frank was pleasantly surprised regarding the lack of QRM and the outstanding strong inter-G signals. There followed a discussion on advantages of 60m regarding the use of low slung antennas and NVIS propagation, this lasted until 14.55hrs.

Would splatter free communication be found when we moved to our scheduled 40m frequency at 1500 hrs? Instead we were confronted by a cacophony of signals. Fortunately Joe (GI0OXG) who was concluding a QSO on 7.124 MHz kindly offered us the use of the frequency. Even with this kind gesture the background splatter and general noise made reliable copy of some members of the group difficult.
Colin (G0UJK) was first to locate me on 40m, others quickly found us camped 1Khz lower than he published frequency; namely Lawrie ( G4FAA) together with Frank ( G3WMR) and Peter (G3RQZ) who had followed me from 5Mhz.  Peter now used his TL922 linear to clear the path as the changing propagation brought signals from Eastern Europe in swathes.

Peter had been waxing lyrical on 5 MHz about the forthcoming changes to access for 60m, as the band was becoming available to some southern European states. This may lead to the overcrowding of this reasonably small section of the spectrum that we have enjoyed as sole users and more recently shared with northern European amateurs.

Now on 40m Peter went on to say that he had a very early start today as he had to travel to Fulham to watch his son take part in a 10Kms road race. He would not be staying on very long he had many other things round the house that required his attention. Frank (G3WMR) told the group that he had mentioned the Clifton net when he had attended the Coulsdon Rally where he had met a number of people that had been members of the Clifton in the past.  Frank thought it might be a good idea to arrange a “Clifton re-union” in the future.

Meanwhile Jakey (G3JKY) called in from Hastings; the group were very pleased to hear Jakey again as we were aware that he had not been on top form recently.

Peter (G3RQZ) said that he had nearly called in on Jakey when he was in Hastings recently. Unfortunately time did not allow and Peter did want to drop in totally unannounced. However he too thought it was good hear Jakey back on the ‘speaking’ wireless. He went onto ask Jakey if he had 4m capability as it proved to be good band for local QSOs.

At this point I was experiencing a little difficulty hearing everything that Jakey said in reply, this was due a sudden increase in Eastern Euro-babble. But I was aware when Jakey finished his over, and John (G3FNZ) called in from Rochester stating that he could hear everyone on the net this month, as his local QRM seemed less devastating on 40m. OK John, it’s an ill wind etc. John joined with the group saying that it was good to hear Jakey back on the bands.

Colin (G0UJK) explained that his strong signal (59+20db) was due to the fact he was running a linear amplifier. He was only on the net because he had managed to re-erect his antenna that had blown down in last night’s storm. (Well done that man!). Colin explained that the failure of ‘bungee-cords’ that supported his antenna was the main reason for the demise of the aerial. Additionally he went on to say that he had just acquired a beautifully maintained second-hand Kenwood TS450s. He had seen this radio on one of his visits to Castle Electronics. He could not resist the temptation and was now the proud owner of this TS450s.

As matter of interest Colin, I also use ‘industrial grade bungee cords’ to suspend my 80m full-wave loop. These and the 8mm nylon rope to which they are attached are changed every two years in order mitigate the effect of ultra-violet light and to a lesser extent physical damage from movement. Further to this and to prevent the antenna falling with consequential risk of injury to those visiting the house, I stretch the bungee between two points on the rope, looping the rope round the bungee so that if the elastic-rubber material fails the rope stays intact, the antenna although lower will remain suspended out of harm’s way!

Lawrie (G4FAA) stated that everyone one was 59+20db (dis-counting the Euro-babble!) It was a pleasure to hear everyone, although the constant background noise was a little trying. It was encouraging to hear Jakey back on the air, albeit he thought that he may be ‘overdriving’ his audio a little.

At this Peter (G3PJB) called in from Swanley with a 59+ signal. Peter stated that he had suffered a disaster in that his hard-drive had crashed on his computer losing large quantities of data, including his log-book.

Crikey Peter! Every time I hear of incidents such as this, I am so glad I keep a paper log! Sorry OM!

Mark (G0GQT) then bounded in from Rochester with 59+40db, stating that he had totally re-built his shack over the past year. Unfortunately Mark had been off work due to a serious fall. The incident that had resulted in a broken shoulder, multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung! You don’t do things by halves Mark! Being at home he had been able to take advantage conditions especially on ten meters. Mark was also pleased to hear Jakey and learn that he was feeling better.
Lawrie (G4FAA) had spoken to Joe Tansley, an ex-member of the Clifton. He too supported the idea of a Clifton reunion.

Lawrie thought it best to be held at a venue close to the M25, therefore giving access to the numerous Clifton ex-members now dispersed through-out Southern England and further afield.

The suggested date would be in the New Year, around mid-January. Lawrie stated that Steve Fletcher (G4RFC) was also in favour and was likely to co-ordinate the event via the Clifton Reflector

Lawrie told the group that all the “club equipment” used on field-days etc. had now been sold. The occasion of the re-union could be used to gain a consensus among members as to which charity or charities should benefit from the disposal of these assets and what is to be done with archives and “silverware” (trophies).

If you wish to attend or have an idea of a suitable venue please contact Lawrie or Steve via the reflector. If you do not have access to the G3GHN reflector, mail me and I will forward your mail to Lawrie or the reflector.

Frank (G3WMR) stated the usual suspects were present at the Coulsdon Rally, including Steve Smith G0TDJ who was also ex-Clifton. Frank said he also understood Colin’s enthusiasm over the TS450s. He thought it was a very good small transceiver and was ideal for portable and field-day operating. In reply to Peter (G3RQZ) Frank said he was still on 70Mhz (4m), he now found it full of ‘square chasers’ and as such it had lost some appeal from the days when most were using ‘home-brew’ kit.

Jakey (G3JKY) thanked everyone for their concern and best wishes. He said that during stay in hospital he had been in every department with the exception of maternity. As a result of eye-sight problems he had been temporarily suspended from driving.
He was sorry to hear of Peter’s (G3PJB) data and call book loss due his computer malfunction. However this was unlikely to happen to Jakey as he was a dedicated paper logger and was now up to log book number 40 with a total in excess of 87,000 QSOs recorded since commencing log book 1.

In response to hearing of Suzanne’s and my recent cycling adventures in Cuba Jakey went on to say he could not imagine riding a bicycle 600+miles in temperatures of 37c, although he still had a bike in the shed that he had bought to ride into Hastings when Joyce and he had moved from London a few years back.

Mark (G0GQT) told the group his antenna feeders had suffered damage from rodents in the shape of mice that had taken a fancy to the PVC cover of the RG58. Luckily his LDF 450 and LDF250 heavy duty UHF feeders remain unscathed, proving too robust for the ‘mini-vandals’.

Peter (G3PJB) had had replaced his KW109 Super-tuner, with a MFJ 969 although he had not quite got to grips with the ‘rollercoaster’ settings on this new piece of kit. Meanwhile he had received two cards for recent contacts with RS members in Vietnam.

Peter went on to tell the group, that following a recent stay in hospital for a hernia, he was totally surprised at a follow up consultation  he was casually informed that whilst he was unconscious during his operation he had undergone an MCI…………A heart attack!………. but all was OK now.

How reassuring that they deemed to tell you Peter!

As the clock reached 16.10hrs the background signals and noise from Europe became extremely intrusive. It was time to close the net.
Before the net I had received apologies from Brian (G3OYU) who was being taken to lunch at his favourite Thai restaurant to celebrate his 82nd Birthday.
Congratulations Brian! Many happy returns from all on the net!

Meanwhile at this QTH Suzanne and I are preparing all our radio kit, folding bicycles and myriads of tools and spares for our next nautical jaunt in the New Year.
The next Clifton Country Club net will be on Sunday 13th December at 3pm.

Due to the continuing turbulent propagation the choice of band will be circulated nearer the time.

And finally, as mentioned in this summary the day-time conditions on 60m experienced by Peter (G3RQZ), Frank (G3WMR) and myself were extremely good for inter-G. We have to ask the questions, how many of us have transceivers that will work on that band?  Should we, could we move the net to 60m?  Even stations with limited, low, non resonant antennas seem to produce very readable signals on 5MHz. Give it some thought!

Catch you on the wireless!

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 15th November

Tony sends through this notice about the forthcoming CC Net.

Whatho Cliftonaires!

The next Clifton Country Club Net is scheduled for this coming Sunday 15th November at 1500 Hrs on 7.125 Mhz +/-  (please note new frequency)

As 80m is in some disarray over the past few days for daytime inter G communication with European skip dominating as dusk approaches.

40m seems the only alternative, and that is akin to a ‘rock and hard place’ as 7Mhz will be the only option for many this weekend.  Thankfully, the only contest on 40m appears to be from Japan, hopefully this will not prove to be too intrusive.

Pre-net sked:

I will be listening on 5.355 Mhz  from 14.30hrs up until 14.50 for those who wish to join in a  60m ‘pre-net sked’.

I hope you can spare the time to fire-up the wireless and call in on either  or both frequencies.

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

New season of Clifton CC Nets

Whatho Fellow Cliftonaires,

Following a very disappointingly damp and cool August ( especially in the east of the UK) summer has ebbed away, the equinox having passed we are sliding into autumn.

Will it bring improved radio conditions on the lower bands? We have yet to see.

Recent solar disturbances have taken their toll on 80m & 40M such that daytime inter-G contacts have proved very difficult on 40M, at the same time 80M has suffered from extremely  deep QSB and high noise levels.

After monitoring both bands over the recent days I feel that 80M has the edge on 40M for daytime short skip.

Therefore this coming Sunday 11th October the new season of  Clifton Country Club Net will commence at 1500hrs BST on or near 3.690 Mhz.

For those with 60M capability  I will be also listening/calling on 5.335 Mhz for a “pre-net” sked at  14.45 Hrs BST.

How was your summer? Why not drop in and share your experiences with the crew  this Sunday afternoon!

Hope to catch you on the wireless!

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

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.

Next Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 14th June 2015

Fellow Cliftonaires,

This next Clifton Country Club net is on this Sunday 14th June .  Unfortunately prevailing ‘Inter G’ propagation  remains extremely poor on 40m with high levels of QRN. Also 80m is virtually closed until the onset of dusk.

To improve the likelihood of Inter G contacts on 40m  schedule time is moved  to the later time 15.30 Hrs GMT ( 4.30pm BST) on 7.125 Mhz, even this will not be ideal but it will allow time for a contacts before tea or supper time.

Peter (G3RQZ) suggested we try 60m  before the scheduled  net on 40m Therefore I will be calling for Clifton members on 5.320 Mhz (USB)  or on 5.335 Mhz as a secondary from 1500hrs ( 4pm BST).

We look forward hearing on the pre-net sked on 60m  or later on the ‘official’  40m net.

Catch you on the wireless!

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

Clifton ARS – A note from Tony G0HUZ

Hello fellow Cliftonaires,

Those of you who are recipients the G3GHN reflector will already be aware that  Jakey (G3JKY) is unable to attend next weekend due to being somewhat under the weather.  The loss of one our ‘key operators’ together with other  unforeseen logistical problems associated with the venue, has left Martin ( G0DCG) with no other option other than to withdraw the Clifton from next weekend’s NFD.

I am sure that we all wish Jakey a speedy return to peak condition.

At present the there is every intention for the Clifton ARS to enter the other RSGB field days this year.

73 de Tony (G0HUZ)

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:

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:

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.

Next Clifton ARS Net

Whatho Gang!

Solar conditions are expected to be turbulent again over the next few days with high levels of solar wind and yet another coronal hole. Just in time for the next Clifton Country Club Net this Sunday 17th May at 14.30 Hrs (GMT) on or near 7.125 Mhz.

This will be the last Clifton  Country Club Net before National Field Day on 6th 7th June.

Hope to catch you on the wireless!

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