Editor: Malcolm Andrew G8NRP
Another first for HARS. The results of our first RCE Advanced exam is that the following have new callsigns. Martin Summers, M0HAH; Duncan Brown, M0ISS; Anne Andrew, M0NRP; Paul Matthew, M0PXM and Steve Hunter, M0SXH.
Some people avoid AGM’s like the plague. Historically HARS AGM’s have always been very well attended. I promise you that there is absolutely no pressure at the meeting for anyone to ‘volunteer’ for a post on the committee. However, the club is only as good as those that do volunteer and the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, treasurer and every committee post is elected annually. Once again the committee has decided to provide seasonal drinks and refreshments after the AGM so please make every effort to attend.
ANOTHER OVER FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Last month we had a talk by Tim, G4VXE about ‘My world of VHF’. As usual, Tim’s talk was entertaining and thought provoking. I did like his comment that ‘no CQ call should go unanswered’. As we were driving through France a couple of weeks ago listening to some of the local 2m repeaters, Tim’s comment came to mind as I decided not to answer a call through one of them. Unfortunately, my French is not quite up to that standard! Yet.
This month we were due to have a talk by Tom, G4TPH. Unfortunately, he has been unwell recently and has had to postpone his visit. We plan to re-schedule his talk sometime in the New Year. This is a shame as it should be an interesting evening, but at least he did tell us beforehand!
Contest activity still continues from a number of club members, not just with the VHF/UHF UKAC events, but also with some HF events. HARS had a presence on the CQWW event a week or so ago and a good time was had by all who attended. Unfortunately, Ann and I were travelling back from France that Saturday so missed the fun.
The VHF/UHF UKAC events are now reaching their conclusion for 2011 and HARS and its members are putting on a good showing. In all the bands we operate on, HARS is in the top 2 or 3 in most of the events, with some individual club members leading the pack in their sections. Let’s hope this continues for the remainder of this year and for the start of the new contest season next year. To do better, all it needs is for you, the members, to take part on the Tuesday evenings, work a few stations and send in your log. It is not difficult and the club would benefit by gaining more points. Sadly, the 70cm event clashes with our monthly meeting, so maybe we should move the meeting night? As members, what do you think?
Due to urgent other priorities, JOTA wasn’t supported by HARS or members this year. The plan was for Steve, 2E0GDH, (Steve has passed the advanced exam but I’m not aware of his new callsign yet!) (M0SXH, Ed) to run the event from Manor School in Didcot. As I understand it, he had urgent personal issues to deal with at the last minute so the local event had to be cancelled. I think that maybe next year we may re-instate the event at the RAL site where, at a minimum, the event wouldn’t be so dependent on just one individual.
Our first Advanced RCE course completed last month with 5 candidates being successful. Congratulations go to those that passed, support, help and good wishes to those that will be retaking the exam in December. (The new callsigns are listed on the members' page of www.g3pia.org.uk. Ed.)
We have one more RCE course this year which is an intermediate one in November/December. This course is getting pretty full as we have a limit of 12 candidates as that is all we can fit in the exam room! Next year, Tony, G7ETW, has a full timetable of courses organised at all 3 levels. The course dates and more information can be found on our web site www.g3pia.org.uk.
Ann, David and I enjoyed the firework display at the RAL Social Club last night (5 November!) and I did think it was a bigger and better event than last year. We counted at least 20 HARS club members who were there – and that was just those who we saw. If you did go to the event, I hope you enjoyed it. The beer tent was doing a roaring trade during the evening and the food, laid on by local scout groups, was pretty good too.
I mentioned above that Ann, David and I spent a week in France over half term. This was rather a last minute thing when the opportunity arose and we were lucky to have fine and warm weather virtually the whole week. We didn’t take our usual plethora of radio equipment this time, but just the ‘normal’ IC706 and a single vertical which we used mainly on 40m. I didn’t realise before just what an interesting band 40m can be. During the week, Ann worked at least 2 pages in the logbook, including a lot of stations in Europe, the old Russian states, USA and Israel. She heard and called (but didn’t work) Malaysia and Japan. This was all with a simple vertical (on a Clansman mast) with radials and 100W.
While we were there we also visited the Caen Radio club for their monthly meeting.
This was conducted all in French (naturellement!) but we did get the gist of what was being said. We were made very welcome and we even got invited to visit F8BRK, whom many of you have probably worked on VHF/UHF. He is a very big signal here and when you see his aerials you can see why.
We have also been invited to join them next year, not only for their ‘concours d’été’, (summer contest), but also to join F8BRK (and family) for a meal. What you have to remember is that very little, if any, English is spoken so this will really tax our knowledge of French. It sure keeps the mind active though!
Here are some of the contests that might interest you, that take place over the next 2 months.
All times are CLOCKTIME
Wednesday 9 November - 20.00-21.30 - 80m Club Sprint SSB
Saturday 12 November - 20.00-23.00 - Club Calls Contest
Tuesday 15 November - 20.00-22.30 - 1.3GHz UKAC
Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 November - 21.00-01.00 - 2nd 1.8MHz Contest
Tuesday 22 November - 20.00-22.30 - 50MHz and SHF UKAC
Thursday 24 November - 20.00-21.30 - 80m Club Sprint CW
Tuesday 29 November - 20.00 22.30 - 70MHz UKAC
Sunday 4 December - 9.00-17.00 - 144MHz Affiliated Societies
Tuesday 6 December - 20.00-22.30 - 144MHz UKAC
144MHz Affiliated Societies Contest
This popular contest will be held on the first Sunday in December from 0900-17.00. There is normally a good deal of UK activity and it is an ideal contest to have a go at from the warmth of your shack!
There are a few special rules to be aware of:
You do NOT have to be a member of the RSGB to enter this contest as we will be put in teams of 5 and it is the Club that has to be affiliated.
Your station needs to be within 50km of our usual meeting place (sorry G4CXJ!)
You need to exchange report, serial number and your locator as usual. There are no multipliers, scoring is one point per km.
Enter your contest log as normal, making sure that you have filled in our Club Name. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ENTERED AS I HAVE TO SUBMIT A LIST OF ALL ENTRANTS FROM HARS. Ann.Stevens@btinternet.com
Full details of this contest can be found at:
If anyone would like to use the Clubroom for this contest please let me know ASAP.
JUMPING INTO AMATEUR RADIO
I am one of those lucky people who enjoy their full time job. I exude confidence in a classroom full of 30 seven year olds, can hold an intelligent conversation about current education methods and spend most of my evenings planning lessons or marking exercise books. I have a wonderful husband, two cats, three chickens and a pond and tank full of fish. So what more does someone like me need in life? The answer is obviously Amateur Radio. Why? And what challenges could it possibly hold for me?
Amateur Radio has been part of my life for many years. I remember my father, G3YMA, attending evening classes for his licence, the evenings at the kitchen table learning Morse code and his station in my parents’ bedroom! My sister recently found an old photograph of me ‘playing radios’ in our garden when I was about ten years old. It wasn’t long after I met Malcolm, G8NRP, twenty years ago that I discovered his interest. So I suppose it was inevitable that one day I should feel the need to join them. With all this background, surely it should have been easy to obtain my licence and start making contacts with other amateurs.
The Foundation course/exam was a real challenge last October, as I had lost my voice the day before running a residential visit for 46 children during the preceding week. You may think that doesn’t matter but you need to remember that part of the assessment for the Foundation course involves making radio contacts. I could whisper and I could shout but do nothing in between. Although I was successful at this level, it left me feeling somewhat lacking in confidence in the practical aspect of Amateur Radio and I didn’t make any real contacts, just the odd one or two when the locals were taking part in contests to give some points away.
For the Intermediate course in February, a new skill, soldering, was the order of the day. The day the plastic box with all the bits of wire and other components (with photos to aid identification) arrived was terrifying, in case one piece fell on the floor and it couldn’t be found. The material to be learned and understood was more involved than at Foundation level but still manageable. It felt good being a 2E0, instead of M6 but still the confidence to make the contacts eluded me. I would stand over Malcolm’s shoulder as he spoke to people around the world getting as excited as him when something interesting happened but I still couldn’t do it. I thought that I would say the wrong things, or worse, annoy a long standing amateur who understood all the protocols. How could speaking to another human being be so scary? But it would all fall into place once I had the Full licence so I enrolled on the course which began in August.
Learning is easy! Or so I thought. I had taught myself enough German to know what I was eating on holiday and taught myself to play the baritone horn quite well. But this was a totally different challenge. The subject matter just wouldn’t go in, despite the high quality training by Richard, G0REL, Ron, G7DOE and Tony, G7ETW. I had six weeks to get to grips with it. As well as marking books, planning lessons etc. I studied, and studied and . . .
After only a week of waiting I received the letter – informing me that I had passed! I could have a real M0 callsign now. Then came the realisation. What is the point of having a full licence if you don’t use it? At first I had an excuse. Work being done on the roof and the removal of some trees in the garden meant that our aerials had to be taken down for a while. I did make contact with Roger, G0AOZ/M via the 70cm repeater, GB3DI on my handheld. With work in the garden completed, we put the aerials back up. This coincided with the CQ Worldwide contest. We visited the shack on Saturday evening. Steve, M0SXH was operating. He had just made contact with Australia and soon after reached Antarctica! The atmosphere in the shack was both relaxed and exciting at the same time.
Later at home I admitted that I thought I could have done some operating ‘but not with all those people around’. Malcolm replied, “It’s a bit like jumping into a cold swimming pool. The longer you wait, the harder it gets.” So on Sunday afternoon, he turned on the radio and made some contacts very easily then handed me the controls. After my first contact, OK, I know it was only a German station, DR1A, he went away and left me to it.
In total I made 13 contacts in Germany, Belgium, France, Hungary, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Poland and Spain on 80, 40, 20 and 15 metres.
It was actually really good fun. The one off-putting contact from Denmark was completely made up for by the lovely Swede who said, ‘The young lady, please.’ Where’s the protocol there? (I’m not averse to using my feminine side when the need arises!) So now I have overcome my fear and will certainly be making more contacts very soon. By the way, the jump into the ice-cold outdoor plunge pool in Finland, in February, a few years ago was a piece of cake in comparison to making my first contacts in Amateur Radio.
Anne, M0NRP (ex M6YMA and 2E0CFH)
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 13 December. We need nominations for the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee Members. Nomination forms for any of the committee posts are available from the Secretary or (click here). HARS is only as good or as strong as those that volunteer to run the club.
ANNUAL CLUB DINNER
Once again the Club Annual Dinner will be held at Sudbury House Hotel, Faringdon on Saturday 21 January 2012.
The menu choices document is available (here) and must be returned to G3NNG at or before the January meeting. The cost of the dinner is £20 for 2 courses and £25 for 3 courses including coffee, which is the same as last year.
If you wish to stay overnight after the dinner, a special rate of £50 for a single room or £60 for a double room including full English breakfast has been agreed.
Further details also available from Colin, G3NNG.
If you are one of our members who has obtained a licence in the last year or so I have a slightly used RSGB 2010 Year Book that I will give to the first person to send an email with their name to firstname.lastname@example.org
CLUB MEMBERS PHOTOGRAPHS
There are still one or two members who have evaded having their photo taken for the club Internet pages. It is quite painless and there is no flash used and to date the camera still works. I would like to have all the photos with the same background and so I will not accept photos from other sources. It will also be possible to add, via a link, some information about you and your interest in the hobby and almost anything else you would like to add. THIS EXERCISE IS PURELY VOLUNTARY and I am anxious not to have a series of silhouettes used for those who do not wish to have their photo added so this method will not be used.
The next Shack Night will be on Tuesday 22 November. 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.