Editor: Malcolm Andrew G8NRP
One of our members wanted to know if anyone could help locate a replacement connector that was used on their transceiver. They used our reflector to ask for help. The response was outstanding and turned out to be the most commented on topic since we introduced this facility. One person even managed to find another connecter that they needed and this was posted to him from the south of France!
If you have not subscribed to this go to www.g3pia.org.uk and subscribe to the email list - there is absolutely no charge for this service! However, let me remind you all not to change the topic of the email without changing the title of the message. This just adds to the confusion. And finally, please remember that if you just want to reply to one person use the forward facility on your email system and insert the address of the person rather than send it via the HARS reflector.
By the time you read this another well known landmark at the Harwell site will have disappeared. The water tower has finally been demolished after a number of years of being surplus to requirements now that the water supply is no longer drawn from the Thames at Sutton Courtenay.
Did you see any Persieds meteors or have some interesting radio experiences while away on holiday? If so, please send them to me as soon as possible please at email@example.com. There is a special prize for the best article.
ANOTHER OVER FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Our July meeting was another well-attended DF hunt organised by Ron, G0BNC. As usual we ended up at a suitable hostelry that served good food. The only fly in the ointment was the torrential downpour we had just before the end. I’m afraid at that point the ‘CUL team decided to open their envelope! Despite the rain, it was another great evening, so thanks to Ron for that.
We didn’t have a meeting in August and the September meeting is to be another of John’s, G6LNU quizzes and the presentation of ‘Le tatty Piece de Papier Award’ for 2009. With the AV aids available to us in the RAL Social Club I plan to show some photographs of our radio operations in France - as well as a few other pictures no doubt! John too will be using the AV system for some of his quiz questions. The mind boggles.
The award from France this year was extended to include both 2m (on 19 July) and 6m (on 28 July). The latter was very challenging as the regulations in France are such that we were only allowed 5W ERP, operating above 50.2 MHz. We did rise to the challenge and amassed a reasonable score, helped by the many club members trying to get their points for 6m and the fact that our average distance was nearly 300 km!
In August we held a summer BBQ that was well attended with about 45 people coming along. Again we must thank John, G6LNU for his tremendous efforts in doing the cooking. Also this year we had the Social Club bar open since some of us have now had ‘bar training’. I’ve never served behind a bar before and I have to say that is was a very pleasant experience. I think all three of us had a great time, especially with the till! We plan to open the bar for most occasions when we meet there.
It was good to see Bob, G0ADH, at the BBQ, not long since he had his throat surgery. I can honestly say that it was the first time that Bob was quiet at such an event. No doubt when he has his ‘valve’ operating properly things will change! Seriously, it was really good to see Bob so well after what he’s been through this year.
The planning for the JOTA weekend on 17-18 October is progressing. Angus, G0UGO has arranged a special event callsign and new QSL cards for it are ordered. We will be inviting Scouts and Guides from the Didcot and Wantage areas to join us at the Club Room over the weekend. The current plan is to give them a timeslot (Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon) so they don’t all come at once. We have been talking to the UK co-ordinator for JOTA, (Richard, G0REL!) and he is backing and helping us all the way. However, we do need the help of all of you as we are hoping to put on many other things to interest the youngsters. If you can come along to help, please get in touch with a committee member or just me. The more the merrier!
The club took part in the 144 MHz Trophy contest on 5 September. Due to other commitments, there was only a small team that took part, but I think we all enjoyed ourselves and also managed a fair few jobs in and around the Club Room. We put up a 6m beam on the HF tower, and the plan is to resurrect the fourth Tuesday in the month Club Room evening visits. This will nicely coincide with the 6m CC contest! To put the beam up, we (obviously) lowered the tower, so apologies to those who were trying to use GB3DI during that time, as I suspect the signal dropped dramatically in strength!
TALES FROM THE SUMMER 2009 DF HUNT
It can’t be that time again, can it? I was sure it was only a couple of months ago I organised the last July DF hunt at Northmoor. I can’t be getting older, can I? Was it really 7 years ago I said I would retire at 60? Didn’t see it come and go, until Bob, G0ADH said ‘Retire’.
Well it should be easy this year, with the venue planned for 2 years, just waiting for the new kitchen to be installed, even if Val and I footed the bill for the buffet style food. Don’t really want to do hundreds of miles looking for places, as the company car can only be used for business miles now I have passed 65. So it’s the ‘Prince of Wales’ at Shippon then. Relax, read the Oxford Mail, Oh no! The pubs licence is up for sale. I say to Val, 'This doesn’t look good' - go to Shippon a couple of times - on one visit a notice gives a new opening date. Go to see the new landlord on the opening date - they are outside pulling weeds, (they looked like flowers to me). They look about 22 years old to me. ‘We won’t be serving food’, they say. (So you won’t be in business very long then, buying beer from the brewery at their fixed high prices, unless you buy wine cheap from the supermarket, then put 300-600% mark-up on it, and manage to sell it to the squaddies.)
I know a lane I think I can park up in. Looks OK, with a lift-up barrier a bit further on. Write up the envelopes, hand out more than normal, have to go to car and make some more. Later check the map again, the hiding place appears not to be a bridleway. I go into Oxford central library, where they have an office that keeps all map records. My spot is not a bridleway, but the other end of the track is, so may have to move if anyone gets shirty.
I have plenty of time to prepare as I retired on 30 June, so make brackets to attach a mast to the car in case I have to move. Arrive on site early and park as close to the best cover, hoping the horses in the paddock wouldn’t get too curious, and some long grass cover to the front, but the antenna is a bit of a giveaway if you look hard enough and are not driving too fast past the track.
This is the quickest people have found me, and all others looking were pretty close. Dave, G0LJX was first in at 19.36 after playing hide and seek with Colin, G3NNG, as he had spotted the antenna as he drove past. Second in were Colin, G3NNG and Val at 19.37 looking pleased with themselves - the quickest they have found us for a long time. Bob, G0ADH came to visit. Pat soon turfed me out of my seat so she could talk to Val. Bob looked well after his operation. Next in on a visit were Malcolm, G8NRP and Anne, with Angus, G0UGO. The 3rd team to arrive were Roger, G0AOZ with Derek, G0MGZ and Ray, G3LQC at 19.45. Next came the paddock owners, worried about the lane getting churned up. Colin put on the charm, and they went away, only to come back to say their daughter was going out riding. Dave moved his car, and we bade farewell to the girl on her horse. Did they not see the black storm clouds looming? After a short while Bob and I retreated to the car after getting wet under the tailgate, then down came the rain, the thunder and lightning. I disconnect everything quickly, then connect it all back up - you coward, think of all the flies, moths, midges you have zapped with the electronic bat. Does it help if you keep one hand in your pocket when knelt in the back of a car? Then the drowned rat (sorry my eyes are not very good, it is the girl on her horse) came back up the lane, with her anxious parents waiting for her. I bet they wish they hadn’t tried to make a point.
David, M0NUT with daughters Cinzia and Elisabeta with Duncan, 2E0ULF came down the lane at 20.20, so we should be able to get out. Dave moaning he missed the last ferry at the Ferryman at Bablockhythe. Just as well you did Dave, I think its been at the bottom of the river for years. Time to pack up quick. Do you know how much water an upturned tailgate holds? I now know!
The light has started to fade, and the pub is crowded because of the rain, so perhaps people won’t notice me walking funny.
We find the Rose Revived full, but it soon cleared because the rain has stopped, so everyone, all 30 of us, the most we have had on a DF, were able to get a table. Those that went straight to the pub included Brian, G4CXJ with Elle; Roy, G0KNV; Michael, M0ACU; John, G6LNU and Marian and John, G6ZHB. Also there was John, G3VPW and Stephanie who had a near miss as they drove past me a couple of times. Plus those who got close to Newbridge before rain stopped play - Ann, G8NVI with Mike, G8CUL and David, and Mr FM handheld, Michael, G0MJW. Well done Michael!
Four teams found us with 10 people. Two teams came to see us with 5 people. One near miss team John and Stephanie. Two ‘rain stopped play’ teams of 4, Ann, Mike, David, Michael.
So sixteen out looking - five visited - nice to see you Bob and Pat, seven in the pub. The magical not seen before total of 30!
LE TATTY PIECE DE PAPIER AWARD 2009
We never fail to be astonished by the interest and determination shown by entrants to this particular award!
2009 saw up to 14 club members calling on 80m night after night, despite heavy QRM and inconsiderate foreign operators! One foreign operator who was not inconsiderate and we were delighted to work was Neill, F5VLD (G4HLX).
This year we added a couple more sections to the award, in that we entered a 2m and a 6m contest from France. I am pleased to say that you did not let us down, and despite the fact that we were restricted to 5W ERP on 6m and had to operate above 50.2MHz, members rose to the challenge, some even building aerials for the event.
Our 80m dipole had to be carefully designed to fit in the garden of our holiday gite, whilst travelling snugly in the car with 2 clansman masts, all the radio equipment, 3 teenagers, 2 ageing teenagers and mountains of luggage. The dipole was slung between the 2 masts and proved to work much better than last year’s attempts!
We returned to the hilltop site that we used last year for the 2m Backpackers Contest on Sunday 19 August. Conditions were fair and we managed 24 contacts, 4 of whom were club members. A French Contest coincided with the Backpackers Contest and we worked several local French Stations who made us feel very welcome. We were invited to join local skeds and were generally made to feel at home.
The 6m Contest tested Mike’s ingenuity. How do you cram a 6m antenna into a Volvo? We were already taking a 9 element Tonna for 2m with us so he devised a 6m aerial that used the boom and some of the elements of the 2m antenna. The elements, of course, were not long enough for 6m. Having secured some rod with which to make element extensions, Mike went about making joining pieces. Result, one 6m antenna based on a 2m antenna with very floppy elements. Several trips to local French DIY stores led us to some green plastic garden canes that were cable tied to the elements to give them some support. Job done!
On the evening of the contest the antenna was very carefully attached to the top of one of the clansman masts (see above) and launched skyward. We listened. The first thing we heard was the 6m beacon at Rutherford - the aerial was working; the second thing was the beacon at Amersham - it was definitely working; the next thing was an enormous beacon - IT9X/B in JM78. This was excellent but unfortunately it was the wrong direction for the contest. Working with 5W ERP was frustrating to say the least, and Mike was forced to brush the cobwebs off his key and resort to CW to work some stations. Despite all the limitations imposed by French bureaucracy we managed to work 16 stations of which 5 were HARS members. Roger, G0AOZ worked us using an aerial that he had built for the occasion - we feel that Mr W. Heath Robinson would have been very proud of all our attempts!
John, G6LNU had his kite aerial with him and despite the fact that we had what you would have thought of as an excellent site for kite flying, he totally failed to get it airborne during the week he and Marian were with us. The wind did not blow. Suffice it to say that the day they drove back to the ferry a brisk breeze sprang up. Never mind John, better luck next year!
Thank you to all participants - we enjoyed chatting to you, we enjoyed the challenge of designing aerial systems with which to chat to you and we also enjoyed the utter elation of actually being able to work you under difficult conditions. It is, after all, what Amateur Radio is all about.
À L'Année Prochaine!
From Tuesday 22 September we will be opening the shack to all members to come and operate our equipment and perhaps even work a few stations if the 6m CC contest happens to be on. We may also be able to operate a rig clinic.
The shack will be open from 2000hrs clock time and access is via the back gate as per the club meeting nights.
It is the place to be - and be seen! See you there!
Club members have continued to take part in club championship contests on both HF and VHF bands. The 80m set of contests on SSB, CW and data have now finished for the year and the club has finished 24th out of 80. All the VHF/UHF ones continue until the end of the year and the current placings are as follows:
We should also now have a placing on the 23/13cm contests but the latest results are not available yet.
ARE YOU GOOD AT CW?
NATIONAL HAMFEST 2009
POWER LINE ADAPTORS
LE TATTY PIECE DE PAPIER AWARD 2009
For the last 2 weeks in July, Mike, G8CUL; Ann, G8NVI; John, G6LNU and Marian will once again be hosting ‘Le Tatty Piece de Papier Award’ from their holiday location in Normandy in Northern France and all members of the club, as well as friends and other hangers-on, are invited to take part.
To make things SLIGHTLY more interesting there will be the opportunity to collect points toward this year’s award on no less than 3 bands!
There will be the usual skeds by F/M0CUL/P on 80m (3.700-3.710MHz) at 2100 (British Summer Time) from SUNDAY 19 July until FRIDAY 31 July (excluding TUESDAY 28 July - see below). Each contact will be worth ONE POINT towards the final award.
On SUNDAY 19 July, F/G8CUL/P will be operating from IN98 square during the 144MHz Backpackers Contest (1200-1600 BRITISH SUMMER TIME). Beam a little west of south and see if you can work us. TWO POINTS per QSO towards the final award will be on offer. Please give some points to others who are entering the contest.
On TUESDAY 28 July, F/G8CUL/P will be operating from IN98 square during the 50MHz CC Contest (2000-2230 BRITISH SUMMER TIME). To make things difficult for us, in France we are only permitted to operate ABOVE 50.200MHz and in THIS part of France are only allowed 5W ERP! FOUR POINTS will be on offer for anyone who can work us during this contest!
Please join in - it is just a bit of fun but has proved very popular over the last few years.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS ON USING THE HARS REFLECTOR
Do you subscribe to the HARS reflector? If not why not join and get all the latest club news, views and gossip when it happens. Simply visit www.g3pia.org.uk and select ‘email list’ from the main menu and complete the simple form.
The HARS reflector is available to anyone who wishes to subscribe to it. In fact about half of the subscribers are not members of the club. The HARS committee reserves the right to remove the subscription of anyone who abuses the reflector. The reflector is moderated by a member of the club and by default the size of any posting including attachments such as photos is restricted. It also has a very efficient spam filter and to date no spam has been sent via the reflector to subscribers.
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Please remember that there are two types of subscription to the reflector. You can either receive each message as they are sent or your can receive a daily digest that contains all messages sent. You should bear in mind that not everyone will see your message or comments straight away.
The HARS revised constitution is now available at www.g3pia.org.uk or request a copy from the Secretary.
NEW HARS EMAIL ADDRESSES
We have recently introduced new email addresses for the Officers in HARS.
In addition, if any member would like a new email address, (firstname.lastname@example.org) with excellent automatic spam rejection, please send your request to email@example.com. There is no charge for this service, all you need is an Internet connection.
Did you know there is a regular net on 2m? It is called Harford as it is used by both HARS and Oxford members. Please come and join in. 145.325MHz FM every Sunday and Wednesday 20.00 - 21.00hrs.
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