Posts tagged club

EREC to give D-Star Presentation

erec-logoDave Wiliams, G8PUO, has mentioned that the Eastbourne Radio and Electronics Club will be giving a presentation on D-Star (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio), which will be of interest to those wanting to find out more about the technology as well as enhance knowledge of existing D-Star users.  The presentation will be held on Monday 13th October.

Doors will open at 1900, for 19.30 start, and finish at 21.30, doors close at 22.00. Dave also tells us that there are free refreshments available along with free and easy parking and disabled access.

Location: Eastbourne Sports Park, which is off Cross Levels Way (by Sainsbury’s/David Lloyds) and lies at the back of Eastbourne District General Hospital.

SatNav Postcode BN21 2UF.

Dave welcomes all members and visitors to EREC club meets and is expecting a good attendance on the night.

Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 19th October 2014

Whatho Gang!

Next month sees the first on the new season of Clifton Country Club Nets, which are scheduled to start on Sunday 19th October at 1400 hrs GMT.

The original plan was that the memsahib and I were going to return in time for the net after two weeks cycling in the Drakensberg Mountains (ZS-land). However, due the situation further north in the African continent we have postponed the trip and rescheduled our autumn vacation to one of a nautical nature.

We will still be able to cycle, but at ports along coasts of the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Sea instead.

As we will be embarking at Dover we will take our portable QRP station with us, we hope to gain permission from the Master of the vessel  to operate ‘maritime mobile’.

If  given permission we again will be operating from the open deck, this means waiting for a few days before we reach calmer and warmer climes as we travel south. Once the operating conditions are known I will circulate  times and frequencies (e-mail via imarsat).

It will be our intention to call on the hour in CW on or near one of the following 14.058; 18.085; 21.058; 24.908 & 28.058 and when conditions allow in SSB at 30mins past the hour on  21.285; 24.950, or 28.365.   As ever the best laid plans etc…………

The extended duration of our voyage will mean that I will not be available for the Clifton Country Club Net on 19th October. However, Brian (G3OYU) has kindly offered to ‘sit in the chair’

Over the past few weeks there has been a slight improvement in conditions on 80m, such that on some days ‘inter G’ nets can be heard around 1500 hrs GMT. However, 40m still seems more generally reliable.

Brian is now custodian of the CC Net e-mail address list and he will circulate any changes in the sked details, bearing in mind the net is a month hence, in which time propagation on 80m can improve.

But unless you hear further from Brian, the Clifton CC net will at 1400hrs GMT on Sunday 19th October on or near 7.125 Mhz.

Hopefully catch you on the wireless whilst “Maritime Mobile”

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

Digital Mode presentation to be given by Stuart G4WCP

One of HERC’s long-standing members who sadly does not visit the club often due to living somewhat further away than most of us has very kindly confirmed that he will be giving a talk next year.

Stuart (G4WCP) has held an amateur radio licence since the 80’s, and has since become an avid fan of digital modes which have as many amateurs know, become very popular in recent times.

Part of the reason for this is that digital modes, much like CW (Morse), are generally able to travel greater distances than voice communications, and can make contacts in very distant countries possible where it would not be able to do so using voice modes. Making contacts two or three thousand miles away using a digital mode such as PSK31 or the very popular JT65 mode can be made easily using just 10 watts, a quarter of the power required to illuminate the average light bulb.

Stuart’s talk “Personal Aspects of Digital Amateur Radio” is scheduled to take place on the 28th January 2015 at the Taplin Centre and will be a presentation given via a Power Point presentation with some interactivity.

This interesting talk from a long time digital mode user will no doubt make for another enjoyable and educational evening.

Talk on Electronic Components and Circuit Assessment

Rodney has been busy preparing his talk for the monthly Taplin meet being held on Wednesday 27th on the subject of Electronic Components and Circuit Assessment which will no doubt prove to be an interesting and educational evening.

The doors open around 7.30pm as usual and given the Wx’s turn for the worst in recent days you may want to leave that little bit earlier and ensure that your drive to the club is a safe one. The roads are particularly wet at the moment so be careful.

See you on Wednesday!

Field Day Memories of G3JKY – Taplin Centre July 23rd 2014

At the July meeting, G3JKY spoke about some of his experiences on radio club field days, starting with an introduction to the hobby on a Boy Scouts bike ride in 1951, outings with the Bromley club in the 1950s and many years up to the present with the Clifton Amateur Radio Society of South East London.

Equipment on show included a transmitter used on the Clifton’s first field day, in 1959, a generator used to charge batteries in the early days, a 70cm transmitter built in two weeks in 1965 and an ex-RAF receiver of the type mentioned in last month’s talk, seen in several of his photographs which showed field day station down the ages.

The installations had varied through the years. The smallest had just one tent with a home-made  CW (Morse) set powered by three bell batteries. This set fed a wire aerial slung between the trees. At the other end of the scale was a four-station set-up with caravans, crank-up mobile towers for the aerials and a 7.5kVa generator.

In 1995, the club converted its generators from petrol to propane gas operation, which permitted 24 hours uninterrupted working.  This did away with having to stop to “top up” by the light of a torch in the middle of the night and then having to restart the generator. Jakey confessed to a life-long distrust of the “infernal confusion” engine, probably brought about by the unreliable machines used in the 1950s.

Jakey also mentioned taking part in field days in New Zealand. A highlight was working a string of 35 JA (Japanese) stations on the key on the 50MHz band and then having to stop for dinner.  Ruthless contest operators these Kiwis !

Probably the best ever performance by the Clifton was working 340 stations in the USA without a break on 28 MHz SSB without having to change frequency!  It goes to show how a good location can help!

Mike Hedges G0JHK gives a talk on WW2 Wireless Operators

mike-hedges-taplin-talk1

Mike Hedges G0JHK gives a fascinating talk about his life as a WW2 wireless operator at the Taplin Centre.

An enjoyable evening was had at the Taplin Centre on June 26th, as Mike Hedges, gave a interesting and insightful presentation about his experiences after joining the RAF on a 3 year short commission in the early 1950’s to become a fully-fledged wireless operator.

After being sent to Cardington and then on to 8 weeks of basic training known as ‘square bashing’, Mike was entered into the number three radio training centre at Compton Bassett which is located a short way North-West of R.A.F. Yatesbury; the number 2 radio school.

Trained in both Morse and radio theory during a course that lasted a not inconsiderable 30 weeks and trained up to 30 words per minute in CW, Mike was then moved on to Lytham-St-Annes where he was kitted out before heading down to Southampton by train to embark on The Empire Trooper, a former German passenger vessel. Capable of carrying a hefty 300 military personnel and 200 civilians, this ship had been captured by the HMS Belfast in 1939, whilst en-route from the U.S via Iceland trying on its way back to Germany, and was then used as a personnel carrier for our military.

The Empire Trooper tested Mikes sea legs and after a queasy time on board, arrived at his first station in Gibraltar before going on to Suez where he initially performed a guard duty role with a .303 rifle while the country was under the presidency of Nassau.

He was then flown on through the blistering heat of Khartoum and onwards to his final destination In Aden. Located at the southern end of the Red Sea, there he finally got to work as a radio operator in the airfield control centre using a variety of radios, including 1154’s, 1155’s and AR88’s. For the ground to air work Mike was using around 100w, and Jakey also pointed out that some of the TX’s were using up to a whopping 8Kw.

Mike went on to explain his CW work with the military planes including Vickers Valetta’s and Bristol Brigands, the Brigands being equipped with heavy armour on the front and rocket launchers to help fight off any ground attacks from the tribal fighters in Yemen.

As Mike recounted various stories of his CW operation from the control tower on his day and night shifts, he noted that on some occasions in particularly poor weather, the buffeting planes made the flying operators produce extended CW ‘dahhs’ as the key was inadvertently held down which made communications interesting if not slightly longer than usual!

It wasn’t uncommon either for the personnel stationed at the base to be sitting in an open air cinema in the evenings to find themselves being deafened by low level planes as they tried to enjoy watching a film.

Finally Mike wrapped his presentation up with an original picture of Kharmaksar in 1951 where his billet was located amidst the encampment which housed the control tower, runway, antenna masts and the rest of the facilities at his post. Apparently today the area is little more than an arid dual carriageway in the desert.

One thing is for certain, after the very enjoyable presentation by Mike it became clear that his passion for amateur radio and Morse code are matched only by his enviable and interesting experiences as an RAF radio operator.

british-royal-signals-sparks-badge

The ‘Sparks’ badge as worn by Mike G0JHK in the British Royal Signals.

Taplin Centre Live Amateur Radio Demonstration 24th September 2014

The club is pleased to announce that it will be holding a live amateur radio demonstration on the 24th  September at the Taplin Centre in St. Leonards on Sea, East Sussex.

Experienced members from the club will be present for a friendly chat, give advice and answer any questions that you may have about the fascinating world of amateur radio.

RSGBCentenary_DSCN1668

Antony G4CUS (left and operating) and Steve M0SSR (right and logging for Antony) who are both BSARS and HERC members. Pictured here operating at the Taplin Centre during the RSGB Centenary in 2013.

The club has nearly 60 members, and in recent years has helped members as young as 12 and as old as 80 to pass their Foundation amateur radio licence, so there are no excuses for not taking your amateur radio licence if age is a concern!

Friendly RSGB approved trainers will be present to provide specialised advice for those interested in taking their licence and will be given first class training and support if they decide to go ahead.

The Taplin Centre will be using an HF transmitter, an HF receiver and there will no doubt be quite a few 2M/70cm VHF/UHF handheld radios being used for local simplex and repeater use to communicate with other local amateurs in the surrounding areas.

More information will be posted in due course about the event and we look forward to seeing you there! If you would like further information please contact the club secretary Gordon Sweet on gordonsweet2000 @ yahoo.co.uk

Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 15th June 2014

Firstly please accept my apologies for delay in producing this summary, but unfortunately other very pressing issues demanded my attention as a matter of priority.

This was the final net before the ‘summer recess’ the weather in most of the UK had been fair with the exception of those of us residing the eastern coastal fringes as an anticyclone over Northern Ireland was sweeping cloud and some drizzle off the North Sea.

I was not confident that many would abandon their outdoor activities encouraged by the weekend’s short burst of summer.

Conditions on 80m had shown some recent signs of recovery in the evenings,  unfortunately afternoon propagation was non-existent, hence 40m was our chosen band.

Tuning across 40m before the scheduled net time I found numerous UK special event station taking part in  ‘museums on the air’ weekend. The lack of ‘near continental’ stations was indicative the ‘skip’ was very short, with little or no QRN.

The apparent stable conditions belied the deep turbulence dwelt below the surface, as we were to find during the next hour.

Again this month 7.126Mhz was where we pitched our Clifton ‘tent’, I had hardly released the PTT on the desk microphone to gain an immediate from Colin (G0UJK) who answered my cursory call at 14.48 hrs BST.

Colin was a solid 59+10db from his Swanley QTH, he told me he had just worked an IOTA station on Islay off the coast of Scotland. His ‘Super-Loop’ antenna was continually outperforming more conventional aerials. Although he did suffer from local electrical noise that was occasionally as high as S7.

Colin had been experimenting with a ‘fan of dipoles’ to improve his access to the higher frequencies. He had taken the less than usual option of deploying these dipole antennas in a vertical mode, thereby maximising the effect of low angle of radiation associated with verticals in an effort to improve his DX capability.

We took a break at 15.00hrs to call in other members. Ron (G3GZH) who is normally a fairly readable signal here in Norfolk, was only just detectable. Although Colin fared better than I and heard Ron giving Colin a 59+ report. This was a precursor to the unsettled conditions that would prevail for the rest of the afternoon.

Shortly after Peter (G3RQZ) romped in from Godstone with a 59+20db signal stating that he had been listening for a few minutes and was also having difficulty hearing Ron (G3GZH), but also my signals had plunged in strength from 59+20db to an S3; these extreme swings in signal strength were sudden and very deep.

Keeping the theme on antennas I told the group that Terry ( M0TNE) who lived in my village had applied for planning approval to erect a 7.6 m mast at the rear of his bungalow. In the mean time because he would be under scrutiny he had removed his delta loop antenna, therefore he had no HF capability. I was convinced as Terry had not received any objections from his immediate neighbours and that there were a number of other constructions within 100m of his QTH that were in excess of 15m in height, such as two wind-turbines and a micro-wave link comms tower at the village school, his application should pass without problems.

Colin stated that he still had not pursued his application for a versa-tower, as he was convinced that the ‘authorities’ would not approve. I recall having this conversation with Colin some three years ago, and I still maintain my  stance that if you don’t ask you don’t get.

I also have a theory that has yet to be disproven, that most planning departments are there to assist, and if approached in the right way can be very helpful.

More so in the last few years, when most local council planning departments have been ‘outsourced’ to private companies and that revenue streams are paramount.

Peter(G3RQZ) stated that he has had his mast  for over twenty-one years and  never felt the need to apply for permission being hidden from view by the trees that surround his property. After that period Peter you can apply to have it formalised and they cannot refuse providing you have sufficient evidence that it has been in situ in excess of seven years.

Peter went on to say that trees have now encroached so much that he is unable to rotate his HF beam. At present the mast supports his 80 trap dipole and a dipole for 60m.

Colin said that he had worked some of the ‘special calls’ in CW associated with the ‘D-Day’ landings in Normandy has also made the trip into Angola on twenty meters.

At this point, Denis (G3OKY) called in from Beckenham, again although just audible the conditions were not in Denis’s favour, as his signals rapidly swung from 58  down to a whisper in seconds. It was nice to know that both Ron and Denis were there, unfortunately both not being blessed with very efficient antenna systems they were victims of the transient conditions. Even my signals were suffering from a similar fate and I was using a full-wave 80m loop supported by both my 20m versa-tower and surrounding trees.

Peter (G3RQZ) said that although they had a couple of severe thunder storms with very heavy rain over the past few days the ground remained stubbornly dry, such that a stream adjacent to his land was dry. Ironically, he expected the water authorities would declare a drought in the next few weeks.

He went on to say, that he was very disappointed by the lack of sporadic ‘E’ propagation this summer especially on 4m. There was a theory being mooted that this was as a direct result of lack of ionisation of the ‘E’ layer due to the abandonment of extremely powerful VHF analogue TV systems throughout Europe.

That is an interesting concept, Peter!

Being a regular inhabitant of 60m Peter went on to tell the group that there was a new beacon HB9AW.

Although the 60m band has not been released for amateur radio in Switzerland, the Sursee Amateur Radio Club has obtained the necessary official authorizations for a Swiss 5 MHz Experimental Beacon project. Using the callsign HB9AW, the beacon became operational on 5291 kHz at 0000hrs on the 1st of June.

The transmission commences with the call sign HB9AW in CW (100HA1B), followed by five 2 seconds-long dashes. The dashes are each accurately attenuated in the EIRP power sequence 10W / 5 W / 1Watt / 100mW concluding with 10mW and currently repeats every 5 minutes, commencing on the hour.

Thanks for that information Peter, I and fellow 60m users will now listen for the new beacon.

Peter reported that conditions were taking their toll on my transmission that I was dipping below his noise floor making reliable communication difficult.

But not as bad as the QRM on 160m, which has been steadily increasing as a result he has abandoned a Croydon based net on top-band because the ‘electronic soup’ had reached S9.

Likewise, I too have abandoned 160m due to a marked increase in QRN since October 2012 when ADSL2 was introduced into our area. As all our telephone lines are pole mounted the radiated signals were detectable up to 2.2Mhz. This combined with a NATO ‘Stanag’ transmission  centred on 1.898Mhz with sidebands spreading 500Khz either side obliterated any signal under S9.

At 15.25 (BST) Peter signed out, wishing the group a happy and healthy summer and looked forward to the next season of Clifton Nets in October.

Colin( G0UJK) said that in lieu of the Clifton’s entry into last weekend’s HF field Day he could not resist the need to get on the air and give some point away. He made 70+ contacts before other priorities drew him away from the wireless.

Well done that man!

As the time reached 15.35hrs (BST), Peter (G7ULL) called in from Chislehurst with a very respectable 59+10 signal. Somewhat different from last month, when for some unknown reason he was barely readable. Peter went on to explain that he had replaced his G5RV antenna with a brand new one and that he strongly suspected that there was a break somewhere in the slotted feeder as the original aerial had been in situ for several winters. Nice to hear you again Peter, unfortunately it was not reciprocal as Peter said that I was fading out and he was having difficulty in copying me.

A very apt time to call a close to the net before reliable communication totally broke down.

This had been small but enthusiastic net working against fairly difficult propagation

I received apologies from:

Lawrie (G4FAA), who  was taking part in the Practical Wireless 144 Mhz QRP contest.

Brian ( G3OYU), who was indisposed as he was awaiting surgery on Monday 16th June. We all wish you a speedy  recovery Brian.

Jon ( G8CLL), who was still working hard to salvage his shack that been demolished by a falling tree.

John ( G3FNZ), who was recovering from surgery on his arm and wrist. Get well soon John.

May Suzanne and I take this opportunity to wish all Clifton Country Club members a splendid summer, enjoy the weather and good DX.

We look forward to working you all again in the new season of nets which is scheduled to commence on 19th October, the day following our return from a cycling tour of the Drakensburg Mountains, South Africa. The net will be either on 40m or 80m depending on conditions, I will notify you nearer the date.

Just a final thought, as the next Clifton CC net will be after the forthcoming referendum for Scottish independence, will GM or 2M calls exist in October?

Catch you on the wireless!

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

PS. Also sent via G3GHN Reflector.

Clifton Country Club Net 18th May 2014

80m was in a state of torpor being void of any readable signals, the background ‘rush’ was making the ‘S’ meter gently undulate between zero and three.

Whereas 40m was crowded with stations as I tuned to our net frequency. To avoid some raucous splatter from an ‘Oscar Nancy’ contest station I decided to call for Clifton members on 7.126 Mhz a little higher than our prescribed QRG.

An early first call at 13.55 hrs GMT brought an immediate and very strong signal (59+) from Colin (G0UJK) in Swanley. Having just dashed into the shack he had not ‘tuned’ his ATU so Colin went QRX to adjust his antenna matching.

Meanwhile Peter (G3RQZ) sounded very relaxed as called from his sunny outdoor operating position in his garden, with glass of wine in hand and his feet up in a deck chair. Running 50W from his Yaesu FT897 into a 40/80m trap dipole. This ‘barefoot’ set up produced a very respectable 58 to 59 report here in Norfolk.

Colin appeared again explaining that he was now on the SSB friendly antenna, which registered a unity SWR. Prior to the net, he had been busy deploying fan dipole, only to find that the feeder was 3ft short, Colin went on to say he would soon rectify this after the net.

At 1403 Hrs Jakey (G3JKY) announced his presence in from Hastings, saying that all those heard were solid 58 to 59. In fact the band appeared quite stable.

He had finished his modification on his TenTec gear to allow a 4m transverter to be powered off the main transceiver. He had also fitted a CTSS board to his aging 2m radio enabling access to a greater range of repeaters. He had one problem, in that  he had not disconnected ‘tone burst’ board completely so that every time the PTT  was pressed a 1750 Hz tone kept triggering. Having rectified this everything was well and he could now work through 2m repeaters in North Kent and Danbury. He was restricted to 25Khz channels as his transceiver was of a vintage before 12.5Khz spacing.

At this point I told by Peter(G3RQZ) that Brian (G3OYU) was calling. Unfortunately  I could not hear him, even when gaps were left.

Stations closer than 100 miles appear to be victims of very sudden and extremely deep fading.

John (G3FNZ) was 58 from Rochester, although he said my signals were varying radically, whereas Jakey in Hastings had remarked on my solid steady signal.

It’s all in the distance, another 40+ miles makes all the difference.

John went on to say he had been blighted with QRN which made radio difficult, so he had spent more time on activities at Chatham’s Royal Dockyard.

Peter (G7ULL) was just audible when he called from his QTH in Chislehurst, a surprisingly weak signal. Peter told the group that Clive G0PPO had repaired the fault on his transceiver and he was now back on the air with a new G5RV doublet antenna.

I advised Peter to check all his drive settings, power out, and VSWR. because even with a turbulent band signals his signal was extremely weak.

Peter informed me that his output meter was showing 100W. At this I told him that there was even more cause for concern, was he sure that he had not got his ATU set to dummy load? Or he had a faulty PL259/coax connection somewhere?

At this Peter (G3PJB) from Swanley supported my observations that his namesake from Chislehurst was barely audible, as Swanley is almost line of sight.

Peter continued to tell the group that he had been struggling in the month long Royal Signals contest, and had only managed to work 20 other RS members.

Even his aircraft spotting hobby had proved difficult due to the high level cloud associated with the anti-cyclone that dominated the UK weather over the past days.

Ron( G3GZH) said that he had been having antenna problems, and that signals were highly variable, he could hear most with the exception of Peter (G7ULL).

Ron was using a vertical which did tend to collect some excessive QRN on the lower bands.

Peter (G3RQZ) remembering that John (G3FNZ) owned an Austin 7 said that he had followed an Austin 7 along the A22 that was being driven in excess of 45mph. Knowing that these vintage automobiles had rod activated drum brakes that work given sufficient time, would John consider that speed reckless?

Colin (G0UJK) said that he was receiving everyone except Peter (G7ULL) at 59+20db.He had a reasonably successful month working VK’s and Pacific Islands, he went to say 20m had proved a very productive for DX. He thought we may interested that he had worked Clifton members Peter Wilson (G0NGP) who had been operating portable on the south coast and he had also worked Steve (G0STE).

At this point I heard Denis (G3OKY) called from Beckenham, but obviously he could not hear my invitation to “Go Ahead”. From this point onwards I called both Brian (G3OYU) and Denis (G3OKY) every opportunity.

Jakey (G3JKY) said although 80m appeared to be in doldrums he still put in an appearance on the RAFAS Tuesday evening CW net on 3.566 Mhz.

He asked If Denis could access North Kent 2m repeater ? If so he would work him via that mode.

Jakey had mentioned during last month’s net that he was suffering from a respiratory condition. Although there were signs of improvement he was still ‘under doctor’s orders’. Much to his annoyance this would prevent him attending the forthcoming NFD.

We all wish you a speedy recovery Jakey!

Speaking of Peter (G0NGP), Jakey recalls several years ago on one HF field day after having worked a string of Dutch stations Peter was called by a PY and thinking it was yet another QSO from Holland was totally shocked to learn it was Brazil possibly their best DX on that band. Yes I am sure we have all done it!

I recall some 23 years ago, when operating ‘portable’ in 9M2 and after working a seemingly incessant stream of JA’s in all guises, I was being to think all two million licensed radio amateurs in Japan were on my frequency. When I was called by a JW, which we all know is Svalbard up in the northern wastes of the arctic, don’t we? Crikey, I am glad I worked him.

In response to Peter (G3RQZ)’s observations on speed and the Austin 7’s breaking capability, John (G3FNZ) stated you take your life in your hands when driving cars of that vintage ( and possibly the lives of everyone else too John?).

He went on to tell the group that he waiting to go to East Grinstead hospital for some surgical procedures on his hand. In the meantime he was under orders to mow the lawn, so he going sign out and get mowing.

Peter (G3PJB) stated he could hear everyone with exception of Ron (G3GZH)

Peter agreed that he had heard Denis (G3OKY) but that Denis could not hear our responses. Peter promised to telephone him after the net.

Peter had been to the Catford Bus Garage 100yrs celebrations. In pursuance of his bus spotting hobby, evidently there were 35 new buses at Catford, Peter logged all but five. The running code for Catford was ‘TL’ which stood for ‘ Tilling Lewisham’

Tilling being the original bus company, who says privatisation is new.

For the steam ‘buffs’ among you, during the last weekend in May, the Mid Norfolk Railway; my local preserved line is holding the first steam traction gala of the year. At which ‘West Coast Trains’ are supplying four steam locos and some ‘heritage’ rolling stock. West Coast Trains are based at Carnforth the station where the iconic film “Brief Encounters” was centred. A age old friend from London always comes to Norfolk and stays with us to get his ‘fix’ of steam-coal smoke during these heritage weekends.

Both Suzanne and I have had very little time to spend on the air as we have been very busy preparing for six US citizens on their first visit to the UK. All are guests at the 70th anniversary ceremony, which commemorates ten US airmen and two US fire-fighters that were killed when a US B24 Liberator crashed in our village on 4th June 1944. For further info: www.garveston12.org.uk

A number of stations had signed out, leaving the few stalwarts to close the net at 15.07 hrs

I received apologies from:

Jon (G8CCL), who was still without an operational shack follow the winter’s storms

Lawrie (G4FAA), who was engaged at the Luton rally.

Brian (G3OYU), who was being plagued with S9 wide band electrical QRM. This was very unusual at Brian’s QTH which normally electrically quiet.

Whilst preparing this summary I received the news from Steve (G4RFC) that sadly the Clifton  would not be entering either the HF NFD in June or the VHF NFD in July. Due to circumstances beyond our control.

The next Clifton CC Net, the last before our summer recess, will be on Sunday 15th June at 1500hrs on or near 7.125MHz. allowing for no improvement in conditions on 80m.

Catch you on the wireless!

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 13th April 2014

The bright sunshine and blue skies having tempted most out for some pre-Easter time gardening or other DIY activity led me to wonder how many would abandon this opportunity to enjoy the spring sunshine to join the net.

Also the state of 40m was as yet an unknown quantity, news of recent solar mass ejections held the possibility of very poor conditions on the lower bands.

As typical with 7 Mhz I found our chosen frequency affected by ‘splatter’ from a DL station approx 2Khz LF. At 13.55 hrs a tentative call of ‘just listening’ on 7.126 Mhz brought an encouraging response from Robbie (2E0RDJ) near Bristol, who reported that my signal was an “armchair copy” at 59+10db. His 50watts was likewise a solid 59+ here in Norfolk. Unfortunately these conditions were not to prevail.

Robbie was not a Clifton member but I said he was more than welcome to stay and gain some more reports from the gathered company when they appeared.

At this point, Peter(G3PJB) announced his presence with a 57 signal, stating that I was just audible over his noise floor of S6/7 but he could not hear Robbie in Bristol.

At this Robbie signed out and bade us 73.

Phil (G3BSN) thumped in with a 59 signal from near Rochester, reporting that both Peter and I were 55 reports on his new TS 990. Phil went on to state that the filtering on his ‘flagship’ Kenwood transceiver was ‘second to none’, the low signal strength belied the excellent clarity of the received audio.

Phil said that he had just come into the shack from gardening duties where he had been enjoying the spring-like sunshine, with an ambient temperature hovering round 20c.

Ah, the tropic of Kent! Here in Nelson’s county even with bright sunshine a chilling breeze off the North Sea was keeping the thermometer pinned below 12C. Brrr!

John (G3FNZ) popped in to say he had been absent for the last net as he had been watching his yacht being refloated after its winter lay-up. Since then he had been ‘under the weather’ and the continuing high levels of electrical noise at his QTH  took any pleasure away from operating the radio. Even on this net he was finding the constant ‘frying fish’ in background rather unpleasant, more so as the received signals were varying greatly.

OK John, the group were sorry to learn of you are not on top form, and sympathise with the seemingly incessant QRN which now seems to pervade most populated areas. This of course is exacerbated by weak signals from the prevailing poor propagation on the LF bands.

John went on to say he was looking forward to the Steam & Transport weekend at the Chatham Dockyard Museum. As secretary of the Historical Society, again this year he hoped to exhibit his Austin Seven. Good luck with that John, I hope you have a very successful and enjoyable time. This was the last we were to hear from John on this net, as his constant noise increased causing him to close down.

At this point in the proceedings, Jakey (G3JKY) called in from Hastings his FT101 was producing a fairly solid 58 report at my QTH. Jakey apologised for being late on parade, but he had stumbled across a special event station further up the band (7.160 Mhz I wonder? more of this later). The special call was linked with Leyland, Lancashire where the operators had their station next to a Centurion tank. These leviathans of war were built in Leyland.

Jakey went on to explain that he and Joyce had been way on holiday for a few days and he had returned with a persistent cough. On visiting his GP Jakey was found to have an extremely high pulse rate. Needless to say this led to medication and further tests some of which still have to carried out. Under Joyce’s supervision he was trying to take things a little easy. Although he was still making regular appearances on the RAFARS CW net on 80m.

Meanwhile in preparation for the forthcoming contest season, Jakey had been configuring a method of using the power supply from the Ten Tec to run the 4m transverter. This required cutting a hole in the transceivers chassis thereby enabling the whole system to run on one PSU. He had successfully modified one unit and was now working on his second Ten Tec.

Peter (G3PJB) stated that all signals were very much weaker than on previous nets the propagation was definitely unsettled to say the least. He was still waiting the return of heating ‘engineers’ who had entrapped his 2m beam by passing the new flue between the elements of the antenna!………. I wish you luck Peter, I trust you have not paid the bill, this is a great impetus for them to return.

He went on to say that Doris had not been too well, and he was somewhat perplexed by the apparent apathetic attitude displayed by the GP. Let me guess  Peter, “at this age you have got to expect etc………….”

During the month Peter had taken the opportunity to travel to Margate by train when he arrived he wish he had not bothered, to quote Peter “It’s in decline, a shadow of its former self”. He went on say as he was reliant on rail travel, he was somewhat taken aback to learn that there would to be no rail service from Chatham station over Good Friday. Ah yes! Peter railways are no longer a service but merely a business.

At 14.21Hrs Phil (G3BSN) signed out to continue his gardening activities, just as Ron (G3GZH) called in from Whipsnade. Fortunately my full wave 80m delta loop and very low ‘noise floor’ allowed me to hear Ron’s 54 signal.  Ron said he had been listening for some time, he could hear most but occasionally lost the gist of the conversation because of ‘splatter’ from a couple of DL stns a few kilohertz lower.

Ron was using a vertical antenna and unfortunately was not readable by those with high noise levels. The band conditions were definitely not working in our favour.

Peter (G3RQZ) boomed in from Godstone with the assistance of his trusty TL 922 linear amplifier producing 59+20db here. Again Peter had broken off from his gardening duties to give a call whilst he was en-route to prepare Sunday lunch.

Peter said it was apparent from what he had heard that band was in pretty poor shape and that all signals were lower than expected. To make things worse he was currently victim of hay-fever, possibly due to the rape crop that was in full flower locally. He had done very little radio since the last CC net. He would listen for one time round but his culinary skills were required in the kitchen so he would not come back.

Jakey (G3JKY) said that he had suffered from hay-fever as a child, but this had disappeared when he started playing the trombone. Likewise Peter (G3PJB) said that his hay-fever had stopped after he took up swimming as a past-time.

Well, there are two tried and tested cures to consider Peter (G3RQZ)!

At this QTH there has been the continuing smattering of two way QRP CW contacts one of the most notable was FO/F5PJF/P in French Polynesia on 15m, this interesting QSO lasted for 15mins until the band closed.

I have been assisting a Terry (M0TNE) who lives in my village with his planning application to install a crank-up mast at his QTH. All being well we can expect a decision in early June.

Before the net I received apologies from:

Laurie (G4FAA) who was attending the Kempton Park rally hoping to acquire an IC7100 to enable him to get back on to 5Mhz.

Brian (G3OYU) who was attending a Palm Sunday church service and had continuing family commitments.

Steve (M0BPQ) who had family commitments.

Gerald Lander (HB9AJU/G3OOH) who was visiting his daughter with Hannelore his xyl.

Jon (G8CCL) who’s shack had been crushed by a falling tree (now that’s a real apology!)

Jon, we all hope you are back on the air soon!

After the net I received the following e-mail from Bob Schilling (HB9DBJ/G3OAW). I note however the quoted frequencies differ from our net on 7.126 Mhz but I think the higher QRGs are where Jakey (G3JKY) worked the special event call before joining the CC Net.

Hello Tony,

I don’t know Jonathan personally, but I do sympathise and can well imagine the state of things after the fall of that tree. We have pretty strong winds here and there is always a risk of losing tiles off the rooftops on one end of the scale and big damage from falling trees at the QRO end. Our last storm was 2 years ago in Feb. When dislodged tiles nearly hit my car which was parked outside.  I do hope that traditional amateur solidarity will help Jonathan pull through this nasty passage.

This afternoon, at 16.00 hours HB9 time I listened in 7.150 Mhz and finally found the Clifton QSO on 7.160 after a few minutes. Most stations were just peaking above the QRM (it seems that there was a contest going on and the Italian stations made life very difficult here) and even if I had been equipped to call (I have currently no dipole for 40 metres) I doubt very much whether It would have possible to participate. I would say that you were all about Q3/4 and S5/6! I did manage to recognise Jakey, whose voice is imprinted in my memory since my youth and hence impossible to forget. I did also hear that you will probably return to 80 metres next month. I shall listen, having a fairly good transceiver (Flex 3000) but the local noise level here is very high on that band. Meanwhile, please pass on my vy best 73 to all and everyone.

Bob HB9BDJ (ex G3OAW)

Thank you Bob it is nice to know you are listening, I will be looking at the possibility of returning to 80m but only if conditions improve on that band. At present there is little sign of that, I will of course let everyone know where the net will be located.

Whilst typing this summary, I received an extremely interesting letter (yes a letter!) from Denis (G3OKY) who said that I was the only station on the net that he could hear clearly on Sunday. Thank you Denis, that is very reassuring as it proves my 286ft of wire loop is radiating well. Denis went on to say that only having an end fed wire he was limited to listening most of the time. He could not access his favourite band, 10m as his ATU was unable handle the mis-match. He recalled previous years in the past when 10m was open when he enjoyed numerous contacts on 28Mhz. He went on to say he needs a dedicated dipole for ten metres but he was now not agile enough to deploy one.

He had relinquished his G-QRP membership (No.187) as working QRP had been put out of reach six years ago when his neighbour installed a ‘noisy’ router which obliterated all but very strong signals. Thankfully this neighbour no longer lived next door.

Denis is looking forward to attending his granddaughter’s wedding during the first weeks of May.

Enclosed with the missive was one of Denis’s 1960’s QSL cards which Suzanne and I will treasure……………FBOM mni tnx!

Food for thought, is there any one close enough to pop round to see Denis, and assess the possibility of deploying ten metre antenna or even a nest of dipoles for 10,12,& 15Mtrs?

On the Wednesday following the net Keith (G4TJE) and Ayesha (G7LMP) who were spending a few days in Norfolk dropped in and had lunch with Suzanne and I. Keith said he was looking forward to the warmer weather when he would be operating ‘portable’ from their paddock near Sevenoaks using his recently acquired FT897D. Also he hoped to use this new rig to work from their ‘alternative’ QTH in Pembrokeshire at the end of May.

By 14.43 Hrs on Sunday the conditions on the band had deteriorated such that QRM together with increasing levels of QSB were making communication difficult, hence the net was brought to a close.

The next Clifton Country Club Net will be on Sunday 18th May 2014 (in order to avoid an RU 24hr contest the previous weekend) at 15.00 Hrs BST on or near 7.125 Mhz (unless conditions on 80m improve radically).

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

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