14 Feb 2013 – The Construction Contest Winners Speak

The Construction Contest winners spoke last evening.  There were three winners, the first was Victor, G3JNB who couldn’t be present but sent a résumé of his project, an audio filter built from two kits. The first stage provided shaping and narrowing of the audio from his small direct conversion receiver.The second stage, which was identical to the first, provided even sharper filtration to the CW signals.

The next project described was the winner of the Major Project class by Stewart, G3RXQ, who built a great circle map with LED lights to show the direction of the beam heading as derived from the signal at the rotator control unit. The LED lights were moved around the map by the use of Stewart’s own design using shift registers controlled by a PIC, which he also programmed.  The beam width could be varied to indicate a narrow beam width as found with UHF/VHF antennas or a wider beam width to indicate an HF beam.  The actual heading was indicated with a fully lit LED, while the beam width was shown by LEDs of a lower intensity.  A lone LED could be used to show the reverse or Long Path setting for each beam heading. The display was very elegant and the unit, as a whole, produced to a very high professional standard.

Rounding out the evening was a description of a Week End Special, a Desktop Active Loop built by Dennis, M0JXM. The loop itself was quite small, about 22 cms in diameter but was demonstrated receiving 40M CW signals as well as broadcast.  Turning the loop resulted in significant  loss or increase in signal strength.

7 Feb 2013 A “Natter Night”

It was what we used to call a ‘Natter Night’, but in reality, it was a round table discussion on topics which were set before the meeting.

The subject of Club Nets was brought up first; why are they not supported more and is it because we have chosen to use the wrong bands. Many members cited the large antenna needed for Top Band as a hindrance. Of course, there was a time when almost all members had something for Top Band as a matter of course, but these days the band has fallen out of favour somewhat, perhaps due to smaller gardens and antenna restrictions in places.

Most members do have the short antenna and rig to support a Club Net on 2 Meters, but other things seem to be happening at the same time. I can see that in the days before communications by the internet, these nets served a very useful purpose, but now, communications at a time and place more suited to the members seems to be the preferred method.  That said, there are a few members who still enjoy using both Top Band and 2M in the Club Nets.

On the subject of ‘Home Brewing’, various projects were discussed. This is, of course, in addition to the pending ‘Club Project’ which is still in development.

The G100RSGB callsign was the next item for discussion and several members said they had worked one of the current stations.  We, as a club, will have planning and operations later in the season.  (28-30 June on the air.)

The usefulness of the Reverse Beacon Network was discussed. Most members have heard of it but not all had actually used it.  It was pointed out that it could be a useful tool for antenna comparisons as well as checking equipment updates and propagation.

31 Jan 2012 – Video “Malpelo, DXpedition of the Year”

Malpelo Island

The tranquil view of an island at sunset belies the dangerous rocks, sheer, near vertical climb from the sea and the heat and bugs that beset the 20 man team of radio amateurs from six nations who spent the best part of 15 days making contacts throughout the world.  This was the story told in the video we watched last evening.  The Malpelo HK0 DXCC entity ranked number twelve in the all-time ‘most wanted’ list.

Club members were impressed by the numbers of QSO per hour and the final total of just over 195,000 QSOs.        The operation was a ‘Tent and Generator’ operation and little wonder it was chosen as  the ‘Dxpedition of the year, 2012’