Editor: Malcolm Andrew G8NRP
It is very pleasing to see that we have helped another six into the hobby and at least two of them will be already experimenting now that they have their new callsigns.
The RSGB is conducting a far-reaching survey of Amateur Radio within the UK and will be seeking input from a number of possible sources. For all Radio Amateurs, SWLs and those interested in radio, whether members of the RSGB, lapsed members or those who have not joined the RSGB there is a personal questionnaire that they would like you to complete. Either go to www.g3pia.org.uk and click on the link or go to www.rsgb.org/survey/
ANOTHER OVER FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Last month’s meeting was a ‘natter-night’ preceded by the usual ‘Tatty Piece de Papier’ awards. More has been written about this elsewhere in this QAV. The meeting was popular with time to chat to colleagues whereas when we have a visiting speaker there isn’t so much time. Maybe we will have more ‘natter-nights’ in the future. This month we welcome Vincent, G0LMX who is giving us a talk on a Dxpedition to Bhutan.
At the beginning of October we held another RCE Foundation course and exam. This time, it was all done in one weekend culminating with the exam on the Sunday afternoon. We had 7 candidates on the 2-day course with 1‘re-take’ joining in on Sunday. 6 passed, some with flying colours, and so there are now 6 more amateurs in the area, bringing our total for the year to 18. Well done to them all and also to the course trainers Tony, G7ETW and Richard, G0REL, without whom we couldn’t run the courses.
We have plans to run more Foundation courses and probably an Intermediate one in the near future. The eventual aim is to also run an Advanced course, but this can take up to 18 weeks and so requires dedication from everybody.
As mentioned in last month’s QAV, GB3OX is back with me for some repair work, (well the equipment part is anyway). It is now all back together and undergoing soak testing in our shack. I hope to be able to replace it soon – when I can get in touch with our contact there! As you know Robin, G3LBA looked after GB3OX but since his untimely death, things have changed, but we intend that the service provided by the repeaters will continue.
Coming up very soon is JOTA, over the weekend of 16-17 October. Unlike last year, this year HARS is supporting Steve, M6EMW who is running the event from Manor School in Didcot. He will need a lot of help over the weekend so please do get in touch with him and offer your services. It is expected that many Scout and Guide groups from the surrounding area will be joining in. This is an international event and so should be quite busy.
HARS has recently bought a TS480 for use in the RAL clubroom. This is an HF and 6m radio with up to 100W transmit power and an internal ATU. It has already been used in anger on the latest 6m Tuesday night Club Championship contest and also on the RCE course for the candidates to perform the SSB practical that they have to do. It does seem to perform quite well despite the many (small) buttons which seem to confuse, well, confuse me anyway. I suppose I could read the manual, but that is always the last resort.
On the subject of equipment in the RAL shack, we also have a TS711 for 2m and this is now coupled to a linear amplifier, the latter belonging to Mike, G0MJW. This combination is now giving 100W on transmit and the receive side is also pretty good. Please be careful when plugging in the coax connectors. The ‘N’ types on the input and output of the linear amplifier were damaged by a PL259 type being forcibly screwed in, causing the ‘N’ centre pin to be badly bent. Mike has spent some time replacing both ‘N’ sockets. Quite why the diameter and thread pitch is the same for both ‘N’ and PL258 sure beats me!
We are now aiming to provide equipment for 70cm, again giving the same sort of transmit power level.
The contests are continuing with HARS having a presence on all the weekly VHF contests except for 70cm. Please do try and come on for these contests. All the points you get, can also go towards the club score.
Good DX to you all,
ROBIN GREENWOOD, G3LBA, SILENT KEY
As I’m sure most of you now know, Robin died on Sunday evening, 3 October 2010. He had been suffering from cancer since spring this year, initially in his thyroid, but latterly it was found to have spread to his lungs. He died peacefully and in no pain in Sobell House, Oxford.
I first met Robin in 1995. Robin and Meg had recently moved into Longworth and they both sang in a choir in Faringdon where Ann, G8NVI was also a member. After practice one Thursday evening, they all walked out to the car park together whereupon Robin, seeing the aerials on the car asked Ann if it was a CB aerial. “No” said Ann, “wash your mouth out, it’s an Amateur Radio aerial”. “Ah” said Robin. “I’m G3LBA”. By the time Ann got back to East Hagbourne, Robin had got back home to Longworth and had called me on GB3DI! Very soon after that, Robin joined HARS.
Robin was very active in the radio arena. He was always trying some new thing and he was very helpful indeed with the repeaters that the South Oxfordshire Repeater Group run, that is GB3DI, GB3OX and GB3WO. He designed and developed the duplexer system that they now use, all from discarded Vodafone 900 MHz types.
His most recent project (that I knew about anyway) was a solid-state HF linear that ran a ‘comfortable’ 400W, all monitored and controlled by a processing system. He never gave up and was always prepared to learn new techniques. Robin always entered something in the HARS annual construction contest, winning the event on more than one occasion. In fact, he was the winner for this year, 2010.
When I first started dabbling in HF operation – after 30+ years on VHF, he helped me a lot and he and John, G3VPW bought me an auto-ATU to get me started! That ATU is still in use today to tune the long wire that I currently use.
Personally, I will miss Robin enormously. He always had a great sense of humour as well as a definite opinion on most things! HARS and Amateur Radio in general have lost a great champion.
Robin’s funeral will be on Friday 15 October in Longworth Church at 12:00, followed by a cremation at 13:30 at Oxford Crematorium and a gathering afterwards in Longworth village hall at about 14:30. All are welcome. Donations in Robin’s memory may be made at the church and will be divided equally between Sobell House and Longworth Church.
(the Secretary has received a number of emails asking to be remembered to Robin’s family)
80m CC CONTEST 2010 REPORT
Here is the report of the 80m Club Championship contests for 2010. Once again our Harwell team showed its teeth to the large contest groups, gaining four places on our 2009 position and finishing in 20th place with a total of 20,815 points. This was out of 93 teams, which was by far the largest number of team entrants since the competition began back in 2004.
As a team, we entered 56 separate logs, an improvement of 6 on 2009. They were 26 x SSB logs, 18 Data logs and 12 CW logs. Although the names and callsigns were slightly different from 2009, we once again had nine members in our team, welcoming logs from Ron, G0BNC and David, M0NUT for the first time.
The team entries for 2010 were:
G3VPW – 15 x logs (7 x SSB + 2 Data + 6 x CW) 8669 points
G0ADH – 14 x logs (2 x SSB + 7 x Data + 5 x CW) 7058 points
G0AOZ – 6 x logs (6 x SSB) 2956 points G8NRP - 8 x logs (4 x SSB + 4 x Data) 849 points
G0UGO - 4 x logs (4 x Data) 548 points
G0BNC - 5 x logs (5 x SSB) 337 points
M0CUL - 2 x logs (1 x SSB + 1 x Data) 281 points
M0NUT - 1 x log (1 x Data) 94 points
G6LNU - 1 x log (1 x SSB) 23 points
I definitely think that this year’s ‘special mention’ for the most improvement to the team contribution should go to John G3VPW whose score improved by over two and a quarter thousand on last year’s. His points score gets better every year. Well done John.
The 2011 80m CC contests will be starting again in January and I hope that everyone will join in the fun. I know that it’s unlikely that we will win but it’s a great place to have a go at CW and Data as well as SSB.
As I have explained many times before, you don’t have to be an expert CW operator to rack up some points – you just have to know how!!! And as for Data, well that just needs a bit of practice, with very little skill required to gain a pot full of points.
If you are one of our new members and are wondering how to become part of our 80m CC team, the answer is just look up the date of the next contest (QAV or Malcolm’s email updates are an excellent source of information) and come onto the air. It’s like ‘Tescos’, every little helps. Just enter your log via the RSGB robot and make sure that you mention ‘Harwell ARS’ in the appropriate place. Not only will that make you one of the team, but we will be delighted to have you on our side.
If you have any questions or problems with logging or using the robot, I’m sure that our contest manager Dave, M0NUT will be able to help you. So – It was well done to the team for another excellent year and I hope to see you all on the 80m CC contests in 2011.
I hope you all had a great summer. I know I did. For anyone that may have noticed I didn’t post any Contest news in the QAV September edition due to life being very hectic through probably having taken on too much and building new antennas for my 2011 contesting campaign. Going portable /P on UKAC contest nights is a passion for me. But it does become a bit of a chore in the winter months. I pray for good weather this year. Last year I remember the howling wind on Walbury Hill, the rain and the snow. In fact, one month we could not get the car to the top of the hill. It blatantly refused to climb the last 100m, being stuck on a piece of ice. I kindly asked Duncan, 2E0ULF to get out and help give us some more traction by sitting on the car, while I sat in the driving seat with the heating set to full blast. The cold wind and rain got us another month, soaking us to the bone and then having to drive home in damp, soggy clothes. Disassembling antennas when you forget to bring the torch isn’t much fun but we achieved this to a ‘T’. Is it all worth it and would I do it all again? Most certainly! While the passion is still there and it does not feel like a chore I shall move on and continue to support the UKAC nights. I miss those warm shack nights!
80m: HARS still in 20th position from 93 club entrants. We still have plenty of time to improve on our position so logon to www.rsgbcc.org/hf/ and find the next contest. Separate contest evenings include CW, Data & SSB.
6m UKAC: we are in 2nd place and it does not look like we will make it to 1st place but we have pulled away from the 3rd position.
4m UKAC: Bolton Wireless Club are leading with HARS 2nd (we like 2nd place don’t we!). If you need more information about getting on 4m www.70mhz.org is a good place to start. If you need an antenna for 4m please email me. I have some easy to build Moxon schematics available.
2m UKAC: we are sitting in 4th place with a comfortable lead over 5th but it is looking more difficult to be able to improve on this position
UHF UKAC 23cm: we are now in a respectable 2nd place with not a huge amount between the top places. Anything is possible. Will keep you posted.
David, M0NUT Contest Manager
I was rooting through my bag at work and plonked my FT-60 down on the desk.
“That’s a well old phone,” one of the young men said.
“It’s kinda like a walkie-talkie,” said another.
This is how the young men, mostly under 30, talk, I promise you. Nothing ever is, things are always ‘kinda’ – or, for things they are even less sure of, ‘sorta’. Apparently they get it from ‘Friends’ and suchlike. I’m a ‘Just a Minute’ man myself, and I’m married to an English teacher!
“It’s an amateur radio hand-held,” I explained. The first man, looking a bit worried, wandered off. The second, Alan, picked up my radio and had a good look at it.
“My landlord had, like, radios and stuff,” he told me. “Called himself by some kinda code. Free two or somefink.”
Alan had, to my knowledge, 3 interests: Computers, Fantasy Football, and Trisha, the office administrator, not necessarily in that order, so I was surprised we were still talking about radio. Perhaps there was an interest here, a flame to be fanned? (I’ll translate, as I go on. by the way. Reproducing all that youf-speak is doing terrible things to my blood-pressure!)
“Your landlord was probably a radio amateur, perhaps G-something,” I explained. “What you heard was CQ.”
He nodded. We had a few minutes of calm before the helpdesk opened so Alan sat down and I told him a bit about the hobby. An intelligent young man, he asked all the usual questions.
“What’s the range?”
Now Alan meant set-to-set, I know, which, in the smoke as we were, might be as little as a mile or two. I could have told him about internet gateways, and said “Australia”, but that would have been cheating. I wanted him to be impressed though, so I told him about repeaters. “Could be 40 miles,” I replied.
Alan wasn’t much impressed, even with that. “My landlord used to talk to Americans,” he told me. “Can you do that”
Have you ever tried to explain bands and propagation from square one? Alan had never had a short wave radio and relied on the internet for his radio listening, so it wasn’t easy. Fortunately he was a keen cricket fan and had heard of long wave, so I was able to introduce the idea of different parts of the spectrum with different characteristics. Just. That took us into contesting and I fired up my new toy, one of these Ubisurfer things that does the internet everywhere on Vodaphone’s GPRS network cheaply but very sloooooooooooowly. I showed him a picture of someone with an FT-817 on a suspiciously well-equipped hilltop and we moved on.
But something was taking root. “If I had one of those when I go travelling,“ he said, pointing to the FT 817 in the picture, “I could talk to me mates back 'ome.”
Oh dear, this is always a tricky moment – if you can keep people past this, there’s a chance. “’Fraid not Alan,” I said. “Amateurs can only talk to other amateurs. And to become a Radio Amateur you have to go on a course.”
At this point well perhaps it’s a bit strong to say all hell broke loose, but certainly an air of panic took temporary residence in the room. The IT manager ran in. “Don’t you know the whole networks down?” he shouted.
“No one’s rung”, Alan responded, with great presence of mind.
“The new phone system needs the ********* network, did you think of that?” the manager replied, his voice rising an octave as he did it.
Alan rushed off and the subject of radio was forgotten, the communication needs of a small hospital being more important. It was just 5 minutes in a week, and might count for nothing. He was genuinely interested though, so I’m optimistic: perhaps he’ll be asking me about courses next.
(The cause, of the fault, we subsequently learned, was not IT, more RAT. RATTUS RATTUS, one of, had crawled down a conduit between two buildings and eaten through a whole bunch of cables, disconnecting just about everything. Someone later suggested it was an Al-Qaeda rat, someone else suggested it was business continuity consultant rat exceeding its authority. The manager suggested it was clearly a rat that knew a lot about networks and perhaps he should give it a job. It went a bit quiet after that.)
LE TATTY PIECE DE PAPIER AWARD 2010
Yet again HARS members made strenuous efforts this summer to work the DX holiday expedition to Normandy. Are the biscuits really that good?
To add interest, there was the opportunity of working us on 3 different bands this year – 80m most evenings and 2m and 6m on the appropriate UKAC contest evenings.
For the statisticians amongst you 20 club stations managed to work us on 80m during the fortnight amassing a total of 72 contacts between them, 7 stations managed to work us on 6m (the clubroom must have been crowded that evening) and 5 worked us on 2m. Altogether 24 club members took part on either side of the English Channel.
Our 80m contacts were made from our holiday accommodation in Clecy in Calvados using a half wave dipole between 2 clansman masts in the gite garden. Our VHF contacts were all made from a hill 230m ASL in IN98SW, about 5km by road (1km direct) from the holiday house. Our 2m contacts were made using a 9 element Tonna on a Clansman mast and our 6m contacts on the same 9 element Tonna, adapted to be a 4 element 6m beam, supported with green plastic coated garden canes (no expense spared of course).
Amongst those who receive an honourable mention must be Bob, G0ADH, who despite having problems with his voice box (now thankfully resolved) managed to work us on 4 occasions on CW (just to keep Mike on his toes).
John G0FRO worked us on 80m on every occasion that we were on, and Mike G0MJW just missed out on us having to shell out for 2 bottles of wine as prizes by working us on all bands on all occasions except one.
The outright winner this year was Roger, G0AOZ, who worked us on every occasion we were on, on all 3 bands, with a particularly punchy QRP signal on 80m that managed to overcome the continental opposition every evening. Well done Roger.
Thank you all for setting your watches each night to remember to come on and try and work us. We apologise for those nights when some operators had had a little too much red wine with their meal, but we were on holiday!
If you enjoyed it, we are already planning our getaway next year so watch this space. If you have not received your certificate and packet of biscuits for taking part please speak to G8CUL or G8NVI!
A little brain teaser from John, G6LNU. When you rearrange the letters THE MORSE CODE what alternatives can you find?
Entries to firstname.lastname@example.org - answers next month
Do you have some tips that we could publish in this column?
The next Shack Night will be on Tuesday 26 October. So please 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!
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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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.
Please remember when replying to a message sent by the reflector that you should only use the ‘reply’ function on your email system if it is important that all subscribers see your reply. If you just wish to ‘send’ your reply to the author or a limited number of subscribers then just use the ‘forward’ function on your email system and enter individual email addresses.
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.
Don’t use the ‘reply’ function to send a message that is a change of subject from the original message - send a new message.
If there is anything you need help with or clarification, please contact me direct at:
The HARS revised constitution is now available at www.g3pia.org.uk or request a copy from the Secretary.
HARS EMAIL ADDRESSES
We have recently introduced new email addresses for the Officers in HARS.
Please use them rather than the personal addresses. They are as follows:
In addition, if any member would like a new email address, (firstname.lastname@example.org) with excellent automatic spam rejection, please sendyour request to email@example.com. There is no charge for this service, all you need is an Internet connection.