All posts by G4YRF

23 Jan 2020 – Construction Contest

Members are the Judges

It’s always amazing what members have been working on during the past year and enter in the Annual Construction Contest.  A good turnout for the evening provided the judging panel and the winners were:

Novice: (a class for any member’s first entry into this contest) was won by Rob, M0IXM with his submission of a touch sensitive CW key using surface mount components.

Rob’s touch sensitive key

The Weekend Special: was won by Don, G4LOO who made a Test Jig to enable testing of the pin in and out of the Racal amp control boards he wanted use in another project.

Don’s Test Jig

The Kit class was won by Alan, G4PSO who submitted a QRP Lab QCX CW transceiver.

QCX QRP Kit built by Alan, G4PSO

The Major Project was won by Don, G4LOO with a truly ‘Major’ project, A 500w 1296MHz Linear Amplifier.

Don’s 1296MHz Linear

The cups and plaques will be awarded at this year AGM on the 19th of March.

16 Jan 2020 – A change to advertised programme…

Since our speaker had been unexpectedly called away, the promised FT8 demo will be given at a later date. To help members know what they will be looking at, it was decided to have an evening introduction to finding and installing the programme, as well as a look at what is being displayed and how you might set it up.

9 Jan 2020 – Welcome Back

In spite of the wet and cold weather, a good turnout attended the club’s first meeting after the holiday recess. Members sat with chairs in a circle and had a general discussion ending with detailed info on separate RF earthing and how that can impact the radio shack that’s using the PME system.

5 Dec 2019 – Mince Pie evening.

The meeting last evening was the last of this year. We would have finished the following week except the election operation will be using the hall.

Have a very good holiday and we hope to see you back at the club on the 9th of January 2020.

28 Nov. 2019 – Raspberry Pi Mk4, by Alan, G4PSO

Raspberry Pi Mk4

This handy credit card size computer has been designed to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world.  Originally offered as a project for young students, it has been taken up by hobbyists, including radio amateurs everywhere.

Alan began with an explanation of the beginnings of the Raspberry Pi in 2012 up to the latest version in 2019 and listed the latest Pi4 capabilities. He covered programming options and amateur radio applications.

Members were welcomed to look at the various versions and set ups on display during tea and biscuits.

More information was offered at these links:  (copy and paste)

Raspberry Pi Organisation  https://www.raspberrypi.org/

MagPi Magazine (free pdf)    https://magpi.raspberrypi.org/

G4WNC website https://photobyte.org/

HackSpace Magazine (free pdf) https://hackspace.raspberrypi.org/

RSGB G4WNC Raspberry Pi Talk 2017   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvVkY_2DwTk

From Right: Alan, G4PSO, John Shipman, Andy, G4DAQ

21 Nov 2019 – Brian’s Audio Quiz

This year’s quiz consisted of cleverly assembled sound samples grouped into categories leading to quiz answers. There were singers to be identified, mystery sounds to name, CW to copy,  as well as dates to recall. All very challenging!

The members present on the night were divided into groups of three and the winning group, chose the name  ‘Jokers 3’ and consisted of  Don, G4LOO, Richard, G3NII and Gareth, M5KVK who each took home a bottle of wine as first prize. I won’t name the group awarded the wooden spoons!

14 Nov 2019 – Don’s report on CQWW and IOTA contests

Don, G4LOO began by giving an overview of the IOTA contest this year. Some problems arose due to incorrect serial numbers being recorded and it was found that when entering the callsign and report, the operator must tab to the next field (in N1MM+) in order for the reports to be updated and logged properly. The club placed 15 out of 30 entries in our class.

The overview of this year’s operations in CQWW SSB began with a look at what went right and what went wrong.  The club’s effort was thwarted by numerous equipment and electronic faults.

Discussions followed as to how these may be addressed for future contests. Although the final results have not been published yet, the raw scores indicate the club might come 118 out of 255 in the world and 77 out of 145 in Europe and fourth out of six entries in our class in England

7 Nov 2019 – one hundred years in the game

David, G8UOD gave a well researched and presented history of this country’s security services now celebrating one hundred years of keeping us safe. The history began just after the First World War and detailed the setting up of the Security Service as a government department.

On 1 November 1919 the GC&CS (Government Cipher and Code School) was formed. The duties assigned  included cryptographic service, Naval code breakers and monitoring of messages by cable companies.  In 1921 the Foreign Office took control of GC&CS with an increased workload including the inception of machine generated     ciphers in 1925. The service’s remit included the censorship of news papers and books being published that included possible sensitive material from the war.

Included in the overall structure of the organization in 1924 were overseas radio and communications monitoring stations.  At about this point in time, the Rotor Cipher machines were invented, the most widely known was the Enigma machine which the Germans improved in the early thirties. Other countries, including Poland and France, began working on methods to break the code. During the build up of hostilities in the 30s, the GC&CS moved out of London to Bletchley Park.

Other parts of the service had grown and also moved out of London to larger sites. David explained various early computers and organisations working on post war signals intelligence.

In more modern times, GCHQ have been working on Cyber Crime in connection with government departments, financial Institutions, and banks.

On 14 Feb 2019, the Queen unveiled a plaque during a visit to Watergate House in London celebrating the 100th anniversary of the intelligence service. The plaque is said to contain secret coded messages!

31 Oct 2019 – A Video Evening

Good attendance assembled to watch an RSGB convention video by Steve Nichols, G0KYA about propagation.  Members were dismayed at the length of solar minimum predicted which seemed to be the consensus of numerous methods of predicting.

Steve explained aspects of predicting and the various methods being examined to make the printed predictions in RadCom more readable and understandable.

The meeting ended with Tea and biscuits while members reminisced about the good conditions  experienced in years gone by!

24 Oct 2019 – Military Intelligence during WW2

Our speaker for the evening’s talk was Bill Steadman, Curator of the Military Intelligence Museum based at RAF Chicksands.

Bill’s very comprehensive talk began by outlining the attributes of the enemy, those which were positive and also negative. This topic was expanded to Intelligence and communications and how they affected happenings on the ground.

Next to be examined were planning aspects; looking at what went wrong in the past. This set the question about intelligence: what does it need to do? The answer was protect our secrets and discover the enemy’s.  Bill then went on to detail how this was accomplished. Also pointed out was the fact that intelligence could be used to deceive and confuse the enemy. He then listed the many aspects of intelligence that were carried out in Bedfordshire.

It was shown that years of planning produced the largest ever seaborne invasion and the most complex military operation ever undertaken.

D-Day Landing