Editor: Malcolm Andrew G8NRP
Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year! I think we can safely say that 2011 is a year that HARS can be proud of. We started a couple of years ago when Alan, G3RTW ran our first RCE course and exam and this year we have managed to run all three courses very successfully and have introduced a considerable number of people to the hobby.
I hope you have all experienced the good propagation on the HF bands in recent weeks and that you will all enjoy listening to, and hopefully working, some exotic stations. Please remember you don’t need a megawatt linear and a multi-element antenna to work the rarely heard countries – just a little patience and perseverance.
ANOTHER OVER FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Unfortunately, the planned talk for last month didn’t take place as Tom, G4TPH was not well, so we had one of John, G6LNU’s fun quizzes! As usual, much entertainment was had by all.
This month is, of course, the AGM where we have to elect a new committee, officers and ordinary members alike.
The usual contest activity continues, mainly on VHF, but also on some HF events. On the VHF events the club is doing well, even beating Bolton Wireless club in one of the events! More in the January 2012 QAV.
Coming up this month are the Christmas Cumulative Contests. These take place on the 26, 27, 28 and 29 December, each day on 6m, 4m, 2m, and 70cm, in all 16 separate contests. We plan to activate G8NVI again so if you need something to do apart from eating turkey, do come on and see who you can work. It is quite surprising how much activity there is!
It has been reported to me that some members would like to see less contest content in QAV. I accept that we do often write about contests, but to be fair, it is a fairly continuous activity by a number of members from which the club itself benefits. We could of course reduce the QAV contest content, but then QAV would just be smaller. What is published is what is written by the members, so if you want to see something else – then write it!
In the last month another Intermediate RCE course has started and is due to complete over the weekend of 17/18 December, with the exam on the 18th. I, of course, wish all the candidates good luck. I will naturally be watching them in my role as lead invigilator. I, with the invigilator team, also mark the papers then and there, announcing the results as soon as we can. Those advanced candidates who didn’t quite make it last time retook the exam on 5 December. The results must be due any day now, so here’s wishing them good luck!
We have planned the RCE timetable for next year. This includes a mixture of all three RCE levels and the dates can be found on the HARS website. If you want to move on yourself, or know anyone who does, do visit the website and see which courses are for you.
HF propagation has been improving and 10m (other bands are available!) has been particularly active. What have you been working? Do let Malcolm, G8NRP, our QAV editor know – it is always good to see in print what other members are achieving.
Don’t forget that coming up in January is the Chairman’s DF hunt on the 2nd (note the date) and the club dinner on the 21st. Ann, G8NVI or I will be collecting names for the DF hunt at the AGM and you must let Colin, G3NNG know if you are coming to the dinner by filling in the form and returning it to him with the money by the January club meeting on the 10 January. The form is also available on the club website. You can if you wish pay electronically by contacting Angus, G0UGO for details. If you do use this method, please indicate it on the form so Colin can keep his records up to date!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. Don’t forget the DF hunt on 2 January!
Here are some of the contests that might interest you, that take place over the next 2 months.
All times are CLOCKTIME
Tuesday 20 December - 20.00-22.30 - 1.3GHz UKAC
Monday 26 December - 14.00-16.00 – Christmas Cumulative (see below)
Tuesday 27 December – 14.00-16.00 – Christmas Cumulative (see below)
Tuesday 27 December - 20.00-22.30 – 50MHz and SHF UKAC
Wednesday 28 December - 14.00-16.00 – Christmas Cumulative (see below)
Thursday 29 December – 14.00-16.00 – Christmas Cumulative (see below)
Tuesday 3 January - 20.00-22.30 - 144MHz UKAC
Sunday 8 January - 14.00-18.00 - 80m AFS Contest CW
The Christmas Cumulative Contests will be taking place on the 26 -29 December from 1400 – 1600 hrs each afternoon. In the VHF/UHF Contest Calendar, these short contests are unique in that they take place on 4 bands (70cm, 2m, 4m and 6m) all at once. Operators work on all 4 bands over the 2 hours and you will hear a lot of QSYing as stations leap from band to band, once an initial contact has been made. Please come on and see what you can work. They are friendly contests and second only to the 80m sprint in their ability to numb the brain! G8NVI and G8CUL will be active and G0MJW is threatening to take part from his parents’ IO83 QTH. Please come on and give us all some points!
I will report on HARS’ achievements in the 2011 UKAC in the January 2012 Contest Corner.
ALL AT SEA – A REAL MAYDAY DRAMA
We do not normally publish personal emails in QAV but felt we must make an exception in this case.
When G8CUL, G8NVI and M6YHS travel to France via Portsmouth, we usually make a sked with Bryan, G4CXJ who braves all weathers with Fran to chat on 2m FM and sometimes waves from his side of Portsmouth Harbour at Gosport. We were travelling to France on the afternoon ferry of 22 October and had made a sked on 145.550 to work Bryan on our way out. Bryan and Fran and some friends were scheduled to pick up a boat Bryan has just acquired from Eastbourne and sail it to Gosport – so the sked would be from ship to ship. Despite calling Bryan we didn’t hear anything from him at all and presumed that he was either on the wrong frequency (don’t ask) or otherwise engaged. On our return to the UK this email was waiting for us…
You are probably wondering what has been going on over the past week or so, first we missed the ‘marine mobile’ Sked on the 22 October and then we missed your return.
This is what happened.
We, (my wife Fran and I) Mike and Marg (long term friends of Bryan’s), drove down to Eastbourne Friday evening to get ourselves settled in, familiarise ourselves with the boat systems and be ready for an early morning departure.
The old owner of the boat helped us into the Eastbourne lock and I took it out. Beyond the lock is a small harbour protected by a sea wall. The forecast did not look too bad on Friday (I swear) or the five days before and it was quite a surprise to find a grey frothy heavy sea waiting menacingly outside the harbour. When I say heavy seas, I mean 8 foot waves which is quite high for a small boat. (Gale Force 6) The wind was around 25 MPH gusting 30MPH – also unexpected!
Nevertheless we decided that Renown was a robust little ship and that she could manage the sea. We set the engine at 1500 RPM and steered due south into the waves and then around the dodgy Beachy Head at a distance of three miles out to sea to avoid the rip tides. Speed across ground was reasonable – about 7 MPH and we were confident that in another hour or two the sea would moderate as we moved along the coast. (Thank goodness I’m not a pessimist) Meanwhile inside the saloon, cutlery, plates, empty wine bottles and anything else not bolted down became a ballistic missile. The IC-7000 took a tumble too but remained steady on 145.550 and the half wave mag-mount stuck like glue to the wheelhouse roof. So far so good.
It’s about now that things started to look a bit dodgy as both Fran (badly) and Marg started to be sick. Mike at this time was at the helm, but he too became more than a little ill, then a sizable wave hit the boat and Mike lost his grip and crashed against the wheelhouse ‘grab bar’. Later we discovered he had a fractured rib and bad bruising.
It’s decision time, go on or go back. I thought that I could manage the rest of the journey and lashed myself to the wheel - metaphorically. About two hours out, only a quarter of the distance back home, much to my horror the engine spluttered and died just as I was congratulating myself on the progress. This was not something that had ever crossed my mind especially knowing how well the previous owner had looked after the engine. Now, Renown under no power, was rolling badly in the sea and everyone became very seasick. Horrible really. Fortunately I was not too bad although even a few moments in the engine room with that smell of hot diesel made me feel pretty ill. About now I concluded that there was nothing I could do at sea and decided to call on the radio for help from the Dover coastguard. They are very polite people. “Can you lower your anchor?” – “No! Not enough chain...”....... silence........ “We have you on radar, are you drifting?”........ “Yes.. towards the coast”....
The Eastbourne lifeboat came to our aid about an hour later and towed us to Newhaven where the harbour master, coastguard and marina manager were waiting. I talked to the coastguard, and we decided that we could not go back out to sea no matter what because the weather was set to worsen.
While berthed I dismantled the main engine filter and removed an amazing amount of water, dirt and deposit from the bowl. I replaced the filter and reassembled the unit but the engine would still not start. I also noticed that the prop shaft was letting some water into the boat.
The previous owner retained an engineer to look after the Renown and I gave him a call, his initial thoughts were that the sea had churned up deposits in the fuel tanks contaminating the filter. There was nothing to be done, it is now early afternoon on Saturday. We got the car from the car park Eastbourne and then drove home leaving the boat at Newhaven. Missed the sked of course, I don’t think that I had the strength to pick up the microphone.
The next day Mike, who was still sick, and I went back to Newhaven and sorted the leak on the prop shaft. We also put the battery on charge. This, by the way, is not a cheap place to leave your boat!
Monday the marine engineer phoned to say that he found water in the system which he said that he removed by pressurising the system. He also started the engine and ran it for about an hour. It seems that it is repaired now, but could we trust it.
All last week I fretted about leaving the boat at Newhaven (at £30/day) and was determined to bring it back to Gosport as soon as there was a break in the weather, which traditionally is never that good around Newhaven.
Friday last was the break, the Met Office predicted just one day of good weather so on Thursday I decided to go for it. Mike was not happy though, his ribs giving him hell (he said). I sent him down to Gosport boatyard to find a ‘salty’ to give me a hand getting the boat back – without luck.
While I was pondering if I could bring it back myself, nearly 60 miles at sea, Richard in the office here offered. So the trip was on. We drove down to Newhaven on Thursday evening and by 7.30am Friday morning I had Renown motoring due south out of Newhaven carefully avoiding the Newhaven – Dieppe ferry – just – ahem.
The trip took a little over ten hours to bring it back to Gosport at dusk but totally without incident and the motor which by the way is a Ford 6 cylinder 5 litre marinised tractor engine, worked wonderfully. Getting into the harbour was a little tricky because of the low tides when the sea rushes out of the harbour at about the same speed as you are motoring in! One reason why the last weekend was originally ruled out.
So that’s it, done. We featured on the Eastbourne Lifeboat Website:
listed as 2011 ALB launch No 54. There is also a video at
I have lost even more hair but they say that if it doesn’t kill you first then you end up stronger.... or knackered.
In the photograph you can see the mag-mount on the wheelhouse roof!
We are very glad that Bryan, Fran, Mike and Marg are all safe and hope they have recovered from their experience.
Our thanks go to Bryan for sharing this story with us!
Thanks also go to the Coastguard and Lifeboat services who endeavour to help anyone in trouble at sea.
CHAIRMANS NEW YEAR DF HUNT
We plan to hold the usual Chairman’s New Year DF Hunt – yes, but this year on 2 January 2012! Please let either Ann or I know if you want to take part. We will endeavor to get the envelopes with more details out to you before that date! Everyone is welcome and if you don’t want to join in the hunt – please join us for lunch. The exact times for transmissions, frequency etc. will be confirmed on the envelope that you will be sent but the start will be around 1000 hrs and the lunch will be available from 1200. All you need is an Ordnance Survey map, 2m receiver and a directional antenna and some G0ADH luck!
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.
IT’S MORE THAN DOTS AND DASHES
It’s a place, a sanctuary for those who’ve learned
to love the mysterious magic of
thoughts arriving in mile-long strings
on roads of ether or wire.
A shield from the disordered sounds
of traffic, angry people
and industrial clutter and clatter.
Within its warm mantle
we find soothing respite,
and patter of bright ideas it is,
the sharp focusing of others’ thoughts
from miles beyond our vision’s range,
as in a dream we sit so still,
it floats in our ears and stirs our minds
with concern, remembrance, speculation and mirth.
And code is music, from sounders and speakers it dances
in the shack to each sender’s inner clock
and comes butter-smooth, deliciously swinging,
or choppy staccato from a “Fist” praising definition
perfectly metered, flowing exquisitely
from the gentle hand of an artist.
A place, and peace, intelligence and music.
Troy Weidenheimer, W0ROF
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 24 January 2012. Unfortunately, because of access restrictions during the Christmas break, we are unable to hold this event in December. 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 acess 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, (email@example.com) with excellent automatic spam rejection, please sendyour request to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge for this service, all you need is an Internet connection.