14 Nov 2019 – Don’s report on CQWW and IOTA contests

Don, G4LOO began by giving an overview of the IOTA contest this year. Some problems arose due to incorrect serial numbers being recorded and it was found that when entering the callsign and report, the operator must tab to the next field (in N1MM+) in order for the reports to be updated and logged properly. The club placed 15 out of 30 entries in our class.

The overview of this year’s operations in CQWW SSB began with a look at what went right and what went wrong.  The club’s effort was thwarted by numerous equipment and electronic faults.

Discussions followed as to how these may be addressed for future contests. Although the final results have not been published yet, the raw scores indicate the club might come 118 out of 255 in the world and 77 out of 145 in Europe and fourth out of six entries in our class in England

7 Nov 2019 – one hundred years in the game

David, G8UOD gave a well researched and presented history of this country’s security services now celebrating one hundred years of keeping us safe. The history began just after the First World War and detailed the setting up of the Security Service as a government department.

On 1 November 1919 the GC&CS (Government Cipher and Code School) was formed. The duties assigned  included cryptographic service, Naval code breakers and monitoring of messages by cable companies.  In 1921 the Foreign Office took control of GC&CS with an increased workload including the inception of machine generated     ciphers in 1925. The service’s remit included the censorship of news papers and books being published that included possible sensitive material from the war.

Included in the overall structure of the organization in 1924 were overseas radio and communications monitoring stations.  At about this point in time, the Rotor Cipher machines were invented, the most widely known was the Enigma machine which the Germans improved in the early thirties. Other countries, including Poland and France, began working on methods to break the code. During the build up of hostilities in the 30s, the GC&CS moved out of London to Bletchley Park.

Other parts of the service had grown and also moved out of London to larger sites. David explained various early computers and organisations working on post war signals intelligence.

In more modern times, GCHQ have been working on Cyber Crime in connection with government departments, financial Institutions, and banks.

On 14 Feb 2019, the Queen unveiled a plaque during a visit to Watergate House in London celebrating the 100th anniversary of the intelligence service. The plaque is said to contain secret coded messages!

31 Oct 2019 – A Video Evening

Good attendance assembled to watch an RSGB convention video by Steve Nichols, G0KYA about propagation.  Members were dismayed at the length of solar minimum predicted which seemed to be the consensus of numerous methods of predicting.

Steve explained aspects of predicting and the various methods being examined to make the printed predictions in RadCom more readable and understandable.

The meeting ended with Tea and biscuits while members reminisced about the good conditions  experienced in years gone by!