30 Oct 2014 – A News Reader’s Viewpoint by Paul, G1GSN

Paul detailed the readers in our area, both main, standby and backup.  The scrip is supplied by the RSGB and according to the terms of the reader’s NOV, can’t be altered. The weekly script is made up of the header and trailer which doesn’t change much from week to week but the actual news which is sandwiched in the middle, does.

The main news is then followed by the ‘Local’ news. However there seems to be a problem at the RSGB in pinpointing just what is local to Paul’s QTH. For instance, Paul’s local news does not contain items pertaining to Shefford, Bedford, Cambridge, Huntingdon nor Milton Keynes; all areas within the boundaries of his transmissions. However, those listed as ‘local’ are all some distance away and for the most part are covered by other newsreaders actually in those areas.  While newsreaders need a good readable signal, running more power than needed for local reception can cause conflicts  in other newsreader’s territories.

Discussions followed which included our club programme details which should appear in Radcom, and the local news broadcast, but after numerous emails and phone calls still don’t appear on a regular basis.

Paul stressed the importance of feedback after each broadcast, which could be compiled and presented to those who co-ordinate the broadcasts in an effort to improve the service.

23 Oct 2014 – Practical HF Mobile

How one person, over the years, installed and tested a number of HF mobile transceiver was the subject of the talk given by Dave, G4ETG.

The first warning was to check the manufacturer’s manual to see what power levels they suggest shouldn’t be exceeded and where best to mount an antenna for VHF or HF.  Dave has found that most modern cars use a CAN-Bus wiring system that not only makes the power connections but also supplies data to the car’s electrical control system, including engine management, power windows, lights, in fact, everything electrical.  This system using just two wires can eliminate the need for up to 2km of the conventional old style car wiring!

Dave explained that using conventional mobile phone mounts he was able to mount a modern HF radio head on the dash and since he seldom has back seat passengers,  was able to put the body of the transceiver under the front seat. Of course, any item mounted on the dashboard needs to be out of the way of any possible air bag deployment!  To minimize noise pick up, the radio wiring was routed on the side of the car that didn’t have the main wiring. Since almost all hinges are painted they require bonding to ensure the entire body shell is electrically connected, which includes the exhaust, since on a large car can be almost a quarter wave on 20m!

After the installation, extensive testing on all bands, while stationary and moving,  will point out any interruptions or unexpected changes to the car’s normal operating systems and give an indication of noise experienced on the HF radio which may need further work.

As a way of indicating if all this was worth it, Dave explained he had made contacts with Tasmania on 40m as well as 20m contacts with Japan and the west coast of America!

16 Oct 2014 – The Autumn Junk Sale

Not the best of turn outs, and we were pleased to welcome visitors from Stevenage and Huntington clubs.  A slightly lower amount of junk was dispersed in the allotted time, followed by free tea and biscuits.

9 Oct 2014 – Planning CQWW SSB

Bryan, M0BIK presented a very good PowerPoint programme of our progress so far in this contest by looking back over a few years. He then went on to explain what we hope to achieve this year. Some recruitment followed as he filled in more of the slots in the operators rota. The rota can be seen by going over to the contest section of this site. The final slide showed that the production was assembled by Don, G4LOO with data supplied by Ian, G1JCC.

2 Oct. 2014 – Craig Fisher Tells of Being ‘Stranded in Gambo’

Craig explained the flight by United Airlines 929 started as any other from London to Chicago, except on this day it was noticed that the plane was still some way out from U.S. airspace when they started to descend and jettison fuel. The pilot explained they were being diverted to Gander in Newfoundland. Once on the ground they discovered what had happened in New York; the date was September 11, 2001.

Dumping fuel
Dumping fuel

Although named Gander International Airport, the facility is small and no longer used as a refuelling stop by the large jets now flying between Europe and America. Fortunately Gander is still the major airspace controller for the area. Planes that had only just started out from Europe were turned back but 38 nearing the U.S. were diverted to Gander.  Passengers were then bussed to Gander, Gambo and Lewisport where they were made welcome by airline staff and locals. Those from UA929 went to Gambo and were supplied with essentials like soap, toothbrushes, razors etc. and later even clean clothes. Friendships were established and grew between passengers and with locals.

38 aircraft crowded on the tarmac at Gander
38 aircraft crowded on the tarmac at Gander

In the years since those six days at Gambo, passengers have kept in touch, now through a webpage and Facebook.  One passenger said in 2012  “This time 11 years ago we were waiting on the tarmac without knowing what a special week in Gambo was ahead of us. How a terrible tragedy can cause so many wonderful memories is one of the wonders in life”.