8 March 2021 – G0GGQ silent key

It is with sadness we report the passing of a club member, Gerald Redding, G0GGQ on the 18 of January 2021. Gerald last visited  the club in 2017 as he was looking after his wife at the time. Later we learned that he had moved into care facilities.

Gerald lived in Shefford and was first licensed as G6PTB then G0GGQ in 1986. He first jointed the Shefford club in 1984.  He worked in Security Alarms and gave a lecture on how they worked on 15 Nov 1984. He was a prolific constructor and won seven cups during his membership.

On March 4th  2021 at the start of the evening 2m FM club net, a tribute was sent in CW to mark his club involvement.

The text read:

G0GGQ G0GGQ de G3FJE G3FJE

To Gerald G0GGQ from your fellow members of the Shefford and District Amateur Radio Society.

Rest in peace Gerald. You will be with us always.

de G3FJE     SK SK   (end of transmission)

Zoom Meeting – 7 Jan 2021

Each Thurs. evening our club Secretary David, G8UOD invites all members to join in our Zoom/2m net meeting. Most evenings we have about 10 to 12 members participate, not all are in 2m range so David, who serves as our host, will relay their zoom audio over 2m to the 2m group. All members are licenced radio amateurs.

The Zoom meeting on 7 Jan 2021

Paul, G1GSN serves as net control on 2m. Come join us!

Dealing with your Lelantos measurement —–7 Nov. 2020

Well, the first thing is to have a good look at the results using Lelantos to show the graphs.  Of course, if you believe you are being troubled by VDSL QRM you will already know that, but this may prove the source. If you’re still unclear about the situation, read:

http://rsgb.org/main/files/2020/03/EMC-Leaflet-15-VSDL-v3-February-2020.pdf

The next step is to report the interference to Ofcom:

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/spectrum/interference-enforcement/interference-to-amateur-radio

This may seem a daunting task, but in essence it’s really a statement of facts. You may be asked to keep a log of the stations you cannot hear due to QRM from VDSL (!)  This may be accomplished by comparing what you hear to that of a nearby online SDR or comparisons with another nearby radio amateur. The QRM will not be dealt with if only a few radio amateurs report it.

It has been known that Ofcom do not always provide a usable answer to the problem, so what to do?  Take it a step further.

For solutions please access ‘Practical Stuff’ on this website

 

 

A club activity during the pandemic

This 12MHz graph using Lelantos shows detection of more than one VDSL timing signal indicating the noise floor will be raised.

VDSL QRM – Not Just an obscure problem!

After reading the May 2020 and September issues of RadCom, it became clear that almost all radio amateurs have been suffering QRM from VDSL, some without knowing it! The problem is that the transmission type is broadband and not the sort of QRM you can readily identify. It just raises the noise floor and obscures weak signals! However, help is at hand. To this date Ofcom has not done much about the problem because there have not been many complaints from radio amateurs. The May issue of RadCom is a Call to Arms!

The article details software (free from the RSGB) called Lelantos that has been developed to identify and measure the relative strengths and spectrum of VDSL2 RFI.

While some amateurs might be reluctant to learn to use the software and don’t have the necessary SDR at hand, one of our club members has the software and the SDR ready to use and can come to your QTH to make the VDSL check for you! These recordings can be made from your driveway or front of your house without connections to your house or shack.

The results will be passed on to you with the info necessary to make your own submission to OFCOM. This service will be free to all members and even other radio amateurs in our catchment area! Look out for an email coming your way to let you know how to contact the person making the measurements. The actual operation only takes about ten minutes of your time and could help save Amateur Radio for now and the future.

You can read the entire story in depth here: http://rsgb.org/main/files/2018/10/vdsl-RFI-Impact-interim-report.pdf

While it looks like the RSGB is doing lots of work on this, OFCOM will only be moved by reports from more than a few radio amateurs.

12 Mar 2020 – Meetings suspended

Due to Covid 19 and the attendant problems facing gatherings, especially by older persons. Our club meetings have been suspended until further notice.  Please check your email weekly or more often for updates.

During the Club’s shutdown, each Thursday there will be a club net on 2 Metres at 20.00 BST Starting on 145.50 and moving to an empty channel.  In addition, there may be  a 160m ‘Top Band’ informal  meeting  each Mondays at 19.00 BST on 1.985, SSB

All members and visitors are welcome.

5 March 2020 – A history of Woolworths, by Brian G8GHR

Brian began with a short biography of founder Frank Winfield Woolworth born 13 April, 1852 in New York. In 1879 Woolworth borrowed $300 and opened the first five-cent store in Utica, NY, Unfortunately, it failed within weeks!  His second venture was in April of that same year when he opened another store in Lancaster Pennsylvania where he expanded the concept to include merchandise priced at ten cents.

Frank expanded into the UK market by opening his first UK store in Liverpool, the date was 1908. Brian detailed significant points in the company’s progress by playing records that were on sale at the time, starting with an acoustic recording supplied on a five inch disc which sold for six pence. Through the years many recording companies served the Woolworth market with records by ‘not so popular’ artists sounding like the records at the top of the Hit Parade. They were still selling at a marked down price.

The company survived most of the problems faced during the years, but lost out during the 2008 banking crisis, and with falling sales the company went into administration.

A few of Woolworth’s products Brian displayed
More of the  many items   Brian had on display

20 Feb 2020 – an Introduction to 3D printing for the radio amateur

This evening the members watched a video from the RSGB 2018 Convention Lectures  series. It can be found on the RSGB website (or YouTube). Just search “an introduction to 3D printing for the radio amateur  by James Patterson, M1DST”

While the technique isn’t new, it’s not a field many of our members have ventured into. A copy of the wrench that was printed on board the Space Station was passed around for inspection.  The files needed to produce this and many other items are on the internet for general use without charge.

13 Feb 2020 – An Informal Meeting

Members arraigned the chairs in a circle around some tables and had a general discussion.

While free tea and biscuits were served, members discussed various topics including propagation, wind loading on masts in strong winds and computer problems.

6 Feb. 2020 – Construction Contest winners’ talks

First up was Rob, M0IXM. This was his first entry into our contest with his Capacitive Touch CW key. The original design was published by M0UKD on his website.  The board is rather small and uses surface mount components. The board details were published on the website and Rob sent the Gerber files to China (where else!) and had several boards made. Using a hot air paint stripper, Rob was able to solder the parts on to the board, however, he found that too much air blew the parts off the board and resulted in starting over. He also found that trying to find the pin one on the ICs needed more power than his magnifying glass could provide, so he resorted to a stereo microscope, which worked fine. Rob was able to demonstrate the key’s use when connected to Alan’s QCX CW transceiver,

The winner of our Kit Class was Alan, G4PSO who built the QCX 5W CW transceiver. This is a one band unit and Alan chose to use 20M. Alan explained he bought the kit two years ago but didn’t make a start in building it, mainly because he spent a good while last year visiting New Zealand. He started by downloading the instructions from the internet, all 141 pages of it!  Rather than printing it out, he opted to read it on his tablet.  He did show a digital video version to members to show how much detail there is on offer to the builder. Alan explained the finished board can be used as a volt meter to measure various points on the board to confirm proper operation. The board also contains a Signal Generator, a CW reader and a method of measuring power out. Lot’s on offer from such a small board.

Don, G4LOO won the Weekend Special with a project that seemed more than a week end’s work. It was a Test Jig to enable testing the pin in and out of the Racal amp control boards he wanted to make use of in his 23cm 500W linear amplifier.  He had several surplus boards and wanted to test to find one that actually worked.  The end product ended up in Don’s Major Project winner. This project started life as an ex TV YD1336 cavity, modified as per Dubus article by G4DZU.  It was said to tune 70/23cm. Included was a valve with a slightly bent anode cooler, which proved to be unusable due to cracks in the ceramic base. The cavity was supplied without fan, chassis or circuits. Don provided the main case and everything needed to support the cavity. The finished project required a fan capable of producing much more air flow than usual,  2.5 cubic meters per second, to be exact!  The required control, monitoring and reporting is carried out using Arduino boards and the results are displayed on the separate control box.

A view insid Don’s amp
The control circuitry