29 May 2014 – Top Band DF Hunt

Not a rx as used by members, but  R1155 WWll DF as used in Lancasters etc.
Not a rx as used by members, but an R1155 WWll DF as used in Lancasters etc.

It would seem the old ways and methods have been somewhat forgotten, or perhaps some members are not experienced in this type of contest. Ten members with 160M receivers turned out for the Spring Top Band DF Hunt, looking for Stewart, G3RXQ who was acting as the ‘Fox’.   Transmissions were made in mode A1A for one minute every five minutes starting and ending with a CW identification.  However, after an hour of searching, not a single member had managed to find the transmitter!   Members did, however, walk a very long way while looking and finally met up at the ‘local’ for a drink and chat. Almost everyone agreed it had been a good evening!

 The EU elections took place in the meeting hall the week before (22 May 2014) so there was no club meeting.  


15 May 2014 – ‘A Talk Out of a Hat’

Bryan (M0BIK) opened the evening by saying that the Talk out of Hat would take the form of interview by Brian (G8GHR) of Clive (G3CWV) as another Meet the Member programme.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClive was born in Birmingham in 1932 and went to Moseley Grammar School. He got his licence G3CWV in 1947 at the age of 15, which may have made him one of the youngest amateurs in the country. He started with a single valve crystal oscillator Tx and a two valve straight Rx, known as an 0-V-1. This was his station in 1955.

The Station in 1955Clive talked about the various companies he had worked for, including Joseph Lucas in Birmingham; Staveley Research Department in Clapham, Bedford; Staveley in Worcester; Birmingham University and finally BAe Space Systems in Stevenage.

In retirement he has continued his interest in amateur radio satellites. He has written many articles for OSCAR News and was awarded in 2001, by AMSAT-UK, the G3AAJ cup for services to the Amateur Radio Satellite Service.

Bryan then introduced Don (G4LOO) who talked about the Mills-on-the Air station (GB4JHM) which the Club had run over the weekend. He said that the location was not ideal for visitors, but that the Club members had enjoyed the event.

Finally Don gave a short summary of the Club’s previous VHF contest results. The view was that a 6m station rather than a 23cm station would be preferred.

8 May 2014 – Basic Astronomy by Steve, M0DYR

Photo by Paul, G1GSN

In this first talk to the club about his interests in astronomy, Steve described the fundamental methods and techniques for navigating and observing the night’s sky. Included were recommendations for making the right decision on equipment to aid observation. Steve pointed out what can be observed with such equipment, including the sun, moon, planets, nebulae and deep sky objects. He also touched on astral photography

The first of two telescopes displayed was a Russian built Tal1 110mm (4.5″) f/7.3 Newtonian Reflector Telescope, with a German Equatorial Mount and Slow Motion Controls, and the second was a Skywatcher EXPLORER-130P SynScan™ AZ with a ‘GOTO’ mount 130mm (5.1″) f/650 Computerised parabolic Newtonian Reflector.

10 /11 May 2014 – Mills on the Air

David and John on the air

Over the weekend of 10/11 May we operated our ‘HF field day rig’ at the Jordans Holme Mill site near Biggleswade.  This was a special events station using the callsign GB4JHM, issued as part of the National Mills on the Air weekend where over 60 UK similar call signs were in use. The event also included the participation of a number of European stations.  Activity on the lower bands was high on both days with several ‘pile ups’ to contend with towards the late afternoons. 

Our station included promotional ‘story board’ displays and copies of the club brochure to improve awareness of our hobby and our local club activities. Situated in the Mill Barn behind the main Mill building we had limited public attendance caused by being obscured from public view and the need to pay to visit their small garden area as a pre-requisite. Despite the low public attendance, those that did find us were surprised and interested in what we offer as a hobby and felt we were a well kept secret!

Club members who attended had a pleasant time and the guided tour of the mill gave us an interesting insight into our local history. 

Photo by Victor, G3JNB with text by Ian, G3ORG

1 May 2014 – Fiftyfive Years in Radio

The Ship

Members and visitors came to hear the story of the start of Pop Radio and Radio Caroline from one who was there!  Keith Skues, born in Cheshire started his broadcasting career with the British Forces Network in Germany. After a number of overseas postings, he was one of the first DJs on Radio Caroline in 1964.  Keith recounted his early days on the ship mi amigo, moored off the east coast and broadcasting mainly toward London. Life on the ship was very basic and not at all as portrayed in the film about Pirate Radio released around that time.  As Keith recounted, when his book was reviewed as a possible basis for the film, it was returned to him with a polite ‘No thank you’. When asked why, the reply was that the film was going to be about ‘Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll, your book is only Rock & Roll!   Keith described life aboard the ship in cramped conditions and all weathers. Then things took a turn for the worse when the government wanted to close them down and passed a bill making their operations illegal. Eventually, Keith moved on to Radio Luxembourg, Radio London and then BBC Radio 1.  Although now in semi-retirement, he can still be heard on Three Counties Radio on Sunday evenings, and also on BBC iPlayer Radio.

Keith SkuesPhoto by Paul, G1GSN