Posts tagged meeting

HERC on-air and chat meeting July 2017

Richard G0ILN kindly wrote an article for September’s Vital Spark covering his perspective of the on-air and chat night at the Taplin Centre meeting on July 26th. I have added my own comment to his original article along with images taken during the evening.

Richard’s article as below:

Steve 2E0GHX and Phil G3MGQ for several weeks have been struggling to put up a Dipole for our “On Air” club nights. I think it was more a matter of Health and safety that the venture was eventually abandoned ,someone was going to fall out of a tree! It was decided that a portable antenna may be a simpler option. After some discussion and putting aside ideas such as putting a vertical antenna on the chimney of the Taplin Centre (sounds more like Flash Over House to me!).

It was decided a 65ft Endfed Sloper with a 33ft counterpoise which incorporated a 9:1 balun would fit the bill. All we needed to find was a mast, luckily Tony came to the rescue with his 10 meter fishing pole and Ron G4VBK supplied some heavy duty Coax.

On the night Steve and Richard G0ILN lashed the fishing pole to a wooden bench in the garden of the Taplin Centre and a stake was driven into the ground to mount the Balun on.

The wire antenna was then run from the balun to the top of the mast.

The Yaesu FT840 was fired up but we had problems tuning the Z Match ATU which Rob M0LYD had bought along ,Probably because it is not ideally suited to coax operation. Richard had bought along a small TenTec ATU and an external SWR meter so now we were in business.

Mike Hedges G0JHK was on key duty with Richard and Steve Jones G4FYF helping out as required. We tried 80m and 40m but the quietest band was 20m and that is where we stayed and although we only managed three QSO’s the time flew by. We logged RA3BY, HA3FTV and the best DX as we found out later! Was H51KD South Africa. H51KD was not on web page but was found on CQZCQ. So now we are eager to try again. Steve has several antenna ideas for future On Air Operating nights. So next time please come and join us SSB or CW it does not matter.

Steve said “The installation of the sloper antenna went quite well all things considered, and the donation of Tony G0EYE’s vertical to the club was most welcome as we used the telescopic mast to hoist the end of the sloper up to a good 30 foot or so (with a little drop at the top of the flexible mast tip). I was watching Richard as he made the first CW contact with Russia at about 7.40pm which came as something of a surprise given how ’embedded’ the sloper was amidst the Taplin Centre and adjacent residential buildings. Thanks go to Ron, Gordon, Tony and of course the evenings on air operators who made the meeting a success. I should also give a word of thanks to Martin who kindly offered to help us dismantle the antenna at the end of the evening and would have gladly taken him up on it if it was a long winded job, though it only took a few minutes to dismantle and pack away.

I had a good chat with Tony G0EYE on the evening who told me about his forthcoming ‘Railways on the Air’ event which is taking place in September. Apparently Tony has been attending the event for 5 years now, so best of luck to Tony at the RotA.

Richard also mentioned about his activity in the FISTS CW Snake’s and Ladders event where he is currently up in 6th place overall with G6HH which is great going. Well done Richard.”

Article by Richard G0ILN and appended by Steve 2E0GHX.

A special thank you goes to Tony G0EYE for the kind donation of his 30ft telescopic vertical antenna and transformer, both of which will be put to good use at future club events and on-air nights. It was an enjoyable evening and everyone pitched in. Thanks to everyone who came to help make the evening a success on air from the Taplin Centre.

Tony’s (G0EYE) 30ft telescopic mast used at the ‘end’ of the end-fed’s radiator.

Steve’s G-Whip 9:1 UnUn staked into the ground.

Richard G0ILN and Mike G0JHK just before their first contact with Russia at 7.40pm

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!

Mike Hedges G0JHK gives a talk on WW2 Wireless Operators


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.


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.


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 @

Meeting report – Hastings in Wartime by Ken Brooks

The illustrated talk for March was given by the local historian Ken Brooks. He began by showing a photo of a Zeppelin seen during WW1. Then photos of the first 680 conscriptions following the outbreak of WW2, also of the beach still packed with visitors in the following May.

But the evacuation of Dunkirk greatly heightened hostilities. A number of little boats from Hastings tried to help at Dunkirk, but only the lifeboat succeeded in bringing back survivors, even sustaining shrapnel damage below the waterline.

Ken showed many photos such as of child evacuees, and of Canadian soldiers billeted at the Queens Hotel, laying down barbed wire all along the seafront, also ‘ Dragon’s Teeeth ‘ tank traps installed. Even some vain attempts to build small walls around the Queens Road.

Also of dismantling iron railings for scrap around Alexander park and the cemetery, and removing the old Russian Gun. Likewise of the floor boards being removed from the main pier, when both piers were partially dismantled, and of bomb damage even the bullet hole still in the Statue of Queen Victoria. Likewise the use of St. Clements Caves as bomb shelters, schools, and homes for the homeless following bomb damage, and the Air raid Siren still standing at Silverhill.

Ken also showed and schools the board in the town centre showing donations totally £5,000 for building a Spitfire with the Mayor donating £1,000. To combat the onslaught of the V1 and V2 heavy Anti Aircraft guns were deployed along the seafront as below Ken’s very interesting talk culminated in photos of street parties celebrating the end of hostilities.

Meeting notes taken by Gordon (M3YXH).

Taplin meeting report – Optoelectronics by Wilf (M0GYE)

At the September Hastings Electronics and Radio Club meeting Wilf (M0GYE) gave a talk with slides on methods  to improve the range achievable on amateur voice communication over a light beam.

The techniques used currently by radio amateurs has major limitations due to using techniques better suited  to radio frequencies voice communications. Wilf believed that by using his improved modulation techniques the current world record of 84 Kilometres using a red LED by a British amateur could be easily exceeded!

As usual the meeting was well attended and enjoyed by all!

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!

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