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22 Nov 2012 – The Club Quiz

The annual Club Quiz was held last evening. An excellent quiz was prepared and delivered by David, G0UOD.

It was a shame that nearby clubs who had been invited to attend, did not come.

The quiz covered various subject, including history, politics, radio, mathematics, and general knowledge.  There were three teams of four members, however, the past winners could only field three members which must have contributed to their downfall.

The four members of the winning team received a bottle of wine each and the team of four who found themselves in last place received wooden spoons!   In all, everyone had a good time and we now look forward to the next Quiz!

8 Nov 2012 – VHF/UHF

Tim Kirby, G4VXE from PW spoke about the use and propagation of VHF/UHF.

Various methods of signal propagation were discussed which differ somewhat from those on HF,especially meteor scatter, aurora reflections and various propagations via ducting.

The onset of digital methods makes communications at VHF and UHF less tedious than in the past, since signals too weak to be audible can be copied.

A small USB SDR was demonstrated and worked exceptionally well considering it’s very low cost and ease of use.

25 Oct 2012 – Propagation Predictions

A talk about propagation prediction by John, G4BAO from the RSGB, covering HF Propagation, 7MHz and above.

We learned what the various terms mean and how they were defined and used; Why some frequencies are better at different times of the day and which to use to transmit and receive  the greatest distance.

John discussed various computer programmes used in making the predictions, some for sale, but most were free to use.

TEP, trans equatorial propagation was also explained, and while not the best mode for those living in Northern latitudes, sometime useful for a North to South route during the day, but only when near the sunspot maximums.

Autumn Junk Sale – 18 Oct 2012

Good turn out for the Autumn Junk Sale. We even had members from two nearby clubs attend.

All in all, it was a very successful evening, much enjoyed by all, even the bids and comments  that appeared to be by the visiting dog!

20 Sept. 2012- The Software-Defined HF Receiver

We had a very good turn out for our meeting including visitors from Cambridge, St. Neots and Huntingdon increasing our usual total.

We heard an overview of the company and their products and their users.

Software defined receivers have come a long way in the last few years and the unit of most interest was the G31DDC ‘Excalibur’ which, although expensive, was within the range of the amateur market. It is described as a high performance, direct-sampling, software-defined short wave receiver.

The frequency range runs from 9 kHz to 50 MHz which includes a real time 50 MHz wide spectrum analyzer with a 2 MHz wide instantaneous bandwith available for recording, demodulation and further digital processing.

The only downside that could be noted was the lack of RX/TX switching for those who would be using it with a transmitter on the same antenna, as most radio amateurs do. It transpires that even the smallest whiff of RF into the receiver will damage the front end, rendering the entire unit next to worthless since the building technique does not allow easy access to components.  Having said that, the receive facility is very impressive.

13 Sept. 2012 – Welcome Back and Project Check/Test

The first meeting of the new season saw members a bit thin on the ground, but those who did attend welcomed two visitors and then saw a demo of a commercially produced Noise Canceller under test.

Ian, G3ORG and Richard, G3NII had set up a signal generator and a spectrum analyzer to see just how much a signal could be eliminated.  The result was not all the way to zero, however, Ian then set up his own model of the  Club Project, The SADARS Noise Eliminator, which cost about a tenth of the price to build and that showed the signal being completely eliminated!  There were nods of approval all around. The group’s attention was then drawn to the one I had built.  A cheer went up when it also showed the complete elimination of the signal.  (to my great relief).

The success of this Club Project is due to the effort and expertise shown by Richard  (development) and Ian (testing) .Well done! and Thank you on behalf of the members who built the project.

2012 BBQ, 26 July

Last evening the club had the final meeting for the summer, the annual BBQ. For a change,the weather was glorious!  Warm sunshine, soft breeze, and thanks to Don, the grass had been cut.The warmth lasted right up to sunset and by that time the 19 members who attended were ready to head to home.  The fire, and something to put it in, was supplied by Bryan and the photos were taken by Paul.  All in all, a success!

We look forward to all members again when the club restarts on 13th of September when we will have the usual Welcome Back and Richard and Ian will do the final project check and test.