The evening kicked off at 18.30 hours with a visit to the anechoic chamber used to test aerials looking for nulls and unwanted problems. The chamber is completely isolated from outside RF interference to enable near perfect test conditions.
We were also shown some of the vehicles used to monitor different frequencies in remote locations. These vans have been specially designed to enable RF to reach the equipment through plastic panels in the roofs. The vehicles are fitted with a variety of aerials to meet the specific test needs.
After a short tea break we were taken to the Spectrum Monitoring Operations Room where Iain gave us a comprehensive guide through all the different types of equipment used to monitor and analyse the frequencies under review.
The facilities are very impressive with the ability to analyse different bands as well as DF specific frequencies to locate interference. This equipment can accurately give a heading to within a couple of degrees, however it can also give the inclination of the received signal.
Different parts of the spectrum are analysed over a 24 hour period to check for unusual signals, there is also equipment to look for RSGB Intruder Watch requests.
The Station communicates with other similar organisation globally to pass on data to help resolve problems.
The station is manned 24/7 to help reduce RF interference. The station also provides a monitoring service on 3G and 4G frequencies to ensure that the coverage offered by suppliers meets their claims.
A big thank you to the Ofcom team for a splendid evening.
The visit to Moonraker went well. There were 22 visitors who were given an outline of the business, their market and the size of their customer base, much of which is mail order, covering a large geographical area selling products all over Europe. (www.moonraker.eu)
The business has changed over the past few years and the old small shop/showroom has now become large with a very broad selection of amateur equipment, including many transceivers, both handheld and base station. They sell a large variety of antennas and the accessories to go with them.
Some visitors made purchases of equipment, while others asked questions. For this visit the group was split into two for a guided tour around the warehouse, offices and the workshop where aerials are made. The business has grown substantially over the recent past and Moonraker has become a market wholesaler as well as retailer.
Coffee, tea and soft drinks with biscuits were provided. All in all, an interesting evening.
This year David, G8UOD was the ‘Fox’ and was ready for the start at 2000 hrs.
There were six hounds:
Ian G3ORG >
Martin M0XMP >shared a car
Derek M0DLM *
Geoff G3XDE * Shared a car
Ian and Martin were the first to find the ‘Fox’ in 6.4 miles. at 20.38 hrs. Derek and Geoff were next, just in time at 10 miles. at 21.10 hrs.
Alan gave up and went home as did Paul, but he met up with us at the watering hole.
Everybody thought it was a good hunt and the hide was a good one.
A sudden change of plans for the evening. Instead of a video, Don brought ancillary radio items from Paul Godfrey’s bequest to the club for a sale. There were tripods and aluminium pole dipole supports along with many lengths of wire, coax and connectors. There were quality meters, speakers and dipoles complete with commercial baluns. When all the equipment has been sorted and or sold a donation to a charity will be made in Paul’s name.
Gareth M5KVK explained Summits on the Air (SOTA) and how the UK is divided into regions the same as the normal amateur regions, each region divided into areas. In England there are 10 districts with 175 summits. The summits are gauged by height to allocate a points system between 1 and 10, naturally, 10 being the highest.
This part of the hobby is well managed by associations for each region and information on who is on the air is uploaded to the web so those planning to participate have some idea of what activity there is. SOTA has world wide followers and, as we know, there are thousands of summits spread over Europe and other countries.
Gareth showed how his logging was done as well as going on line to show how much information there is on SOTA. He also showed his equipment which included a small Elecraft KX2 with an output of 10 watts on HF using a battery with a life of about 4 hours.
The evening was very interesting and members were surprised to find there is so much information and interest about the subject, in use and on line.