SDARC Christmas Quiz – Thursday 18th December 2014

The Annual Christmas Quiz will be held at the SDARC Clubroom at the Pinetrees Community Centre, The Circle, Pinehurst, Swindon.

In addition to the usual tea and coffee, there will be free mince pies.

In this Quiz, members form small teams to enter the quiz and give a team answers to the questions.

So, even if you do not know the answer to a question, hopefully someone else in your team will know the answer.

There will be rounds of both amateur radio and general knowledge questions.

No access to the internet will be allowed and the question master’s decision on each answer will be final!

”The Tour” (of Swindon in Old Photographs) by Robert Townsend

Have you ever perhaps wondered how a particular street in Swindon got it’s name or what a particular building was used for years ago – before its current use? Well, join us at Pine Trees Community Centre on Thursday 20th November from 7pm and hopefully you will get your answer!

Robert ‘Bob’ Townsend is a born and bred Swindonian and served his apprenticeship at Swindon Railway Works. After leaving the Railway, he worked for the Royal Navy on Wroughton Airfield, servicing helicopters and working on ground equipment in the workshops. Before retirement, he spent a number of years as a trained Conservator for the Science Museum’s outstation site on Wroughton Airfield, working on such objects as the prototype Austin 7 car and travelling to Japan with a Science Museum touring exhibition.

Bob has a keen interest in local, athletics and cycling history and has been heavily involved in the digitisation of the Swindon Society’s large collection of photographic slides.

This will be an excellent talk to attend for anyone who has an interest in Swindon’s history, so hope to see you there!

The Latest Somerset Range of Kits’ by Tim Walford, G3PCJ

KitThis Thursday, 6th November, we welcome Tim Walford, G3PCJ to our club.

Tim will be familiar to many as the proprietor of ‘Walford Electronics’ based in Somerset and the designer of many popular kits which are available to the Amateur Radio world.

Tim concentrates on the circuitry of the design with the aim of maximising performance whilst keep the cost of the kit to a sensible level. The kits are provided with excellent instructions which allow the kits to be built and tested in stages, avoiding the ‘build it in one go and hope for the best’ approach.

Tim also publishes the quarterly magazine ‘Hot Iron’ for members of his construction club and runs the annual ‘QRP in the country’ event from his farm in Somerset.

On Thursday, Tim will be speaking to us about his latest Somerset Range of kits and will have some on display with perhaps an experiment thrown in too!

So please join us at Pine Trees Community Centre from 7pm on Thursday 6th of November to see what is sure to be an informative presentation.

You can visit Tim’s website at

The Role Of Radio Amateurs In WWI’ by Dr. E. Bruton

Elizabeth BrutonThis Thursday our speaker at the club will be Dr. Elizabeth Bruton, who will be speaking to us about the role played by Radio Amateurs during the First World War.

Dr Bruton is the Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellow at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and a research assistant at the University of Leeds. Prior to these roles, she was the postdoctoral researcher for “Innovating in Combat: Telecommunications and intellectual property in the First World War” an AHRC-funded project at the University of Leeds and Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. In early 2013, Liz completed her PhD at the University of Leeds with a thesis entitled “Beyond Marconi: the roles
of the Admiralty, the Post Office, and the Institution of Electrical Engineers in the invention and development of wireless communication up to 1908″. She is a SWL member of the Oxford and District Amateur Radio Club and a member of the RSGB.

This is a talk not to be missed, so please join us at Pine Trees from 7pm on Thursday 23rd October to see to Dr Bruton’s presentation.

OFCOM Consultation

There was a very interesting presentation by OFCOM at the HF Convention today regarding the current consultation they are running on the Amateur Radio Service.

It is very important that each and every one of us responds to this consultation individually. The RSGB response only counts as one comment, despite the fact that they represent a large number of Amateurs. As was said today, the RSGB cannot make a submission on your behalf this time, you have to do it yourself.

There have been only 300 responses so far from a pool of over 40,000 licences that could respond. There is just over 10 days left to make your views known and have them taken into account when the decisions are being made. The consultation ends on the 20th October.

Make no mistake, there is a lot at stake and so it is very important that you do take the time to read and study the consultation and make your comments accordingly. The review is complex and the RSGB will publish on their website by lunchtime tomorrow ( Monday 13th October) a guidance document explaining the issues and providing suggestions on how to respond. You are urged to check into the RSGB Website (whether you are a member or not) and read the information/guidelines there before clicking the link to the OFCOM consultation website.

The main issues from the responses so far are these, but you are encouraged to read the details on the RSGB website and OFCOM consultation website for the full picture.

1: RSL ( Regional Secondary Locators) The 2nd letter of your call ( eg the M of GM3WYW when I operate in Scotland). Currently this is Mandatory, but OFCOM are proposing that this become optional, so that even if my home station address was in Cardiff, I could use G3WYW when there, or GW3WYW when in England or Scotland. The use of the RSL would become optional and up to the licensee to manage. This would obviously make a mockery of DXCC, Contests and Award Schemes since there would no way of being sure that the station was operating from where they said they were. The message at the convention to OFCOM was “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, but this message needs to be communicated to them by s_ubmitting a comment to the consultation.

2 :Frequency of Station Ident. OFCOM considers that station ID’s every 15 minutes is adequate, but in practice we ident at the start or end or both of a QSO. Common Sense should apply here, OFCOM has no intention of changing the way we identify now, but needs to have some clarity in the wording of the conditions.

3: The allocations of extra bands at 471KHz and 5MHz. bands carry additional requirements (in the associated footnotes) for Amateurs to be responsible for ensuring that their stations do not exceed RF exposure limits not only on these two additional bands, but on ALL bands that are licensed. This means that if we agree to these additional bands, then we could also be required to provide evidence that our stations are within RF exposure limits on all bands. You can probably imagine the can of worms that this could open. We want the extra bands but not the extra baggage that comes with them!

Another very strong point from OFCOM is that there is a large number of licences that have not been renewed. Only around 55% of licences have been renewed so far and OFCOM now has an obligation to start proceedings to revoke those licenses that have not renewed. There are of course lots of reasons why they may not have been renewed. The holder may now be a SK, moved or a lapsed amateur, but those who are active and just have not checked their licence information on the OFCOM website could find that their licenses revoked. Its not hard and OFCOM does provide help in retrieving you login information if forgotten or registering if you have not done so before.

The bottom line is that each and every one of us should take the time to check the RSGB and OFCOM websites and make a submission to the Consultation before it expires on the 20th October 2014 and also ensure that we have checked and updated our details on the OFCOM website for our Amateur Radio Licences at the same time if not already done so.

Relevant websites:




de Paul G3WYW

Thursday 2nd October – Members Equipment Sale

This week at Pine Trees we will be holding a members equipment sale. This is the ideal place to find that Ham Radio bargain or sought-after part for your next Winter project.

Bring along any Amateur Radio related items you wish to sell or just browse & buy what others have for sale.

All welcome.

Visitor Entry : £1
Visitor Tables : £3
Refreshments : £1
Members entry & tables : Free

On-site parking available.

Talk – CASHOTA (18/09/2014)

This Thursday, 18th September, we welcome Chris Darlington – M0DOL, to our club. Chris will be speaking to us about the CASHOTA (Castles And Stately Homes On The Air) award scheme and his portable operating techniques and equipment. Chris is heavily involved in the CASHOTA scheme and I am sure many of us will have spoken to him on air whilst he has been operating one of his Special Event Stations.

CASHOTA encourages operators to operate portable from many Castles and Stately Homes here in the UK and abroad, with awards available for both activating and chasing. Locally, Barbury Castle, Liddington Castle (as Hill Forts) and Lydiard Park would all be eligible for activating once permission was gained.

Chris, a Taxi Driver from Northampton, has made a phenomenal amount of world-wide contacts whilst operating /P and he is hoping to drive down in his ‘Radiomobile’ – a vehicle he has kitted out and keeps specially for his portable operations.
Please join us on Thursday 18th September at Pine Trees from 7pm to meet Chris and see what is sure to be an entertaining presentation.

Members Equipment Sale (3rd April 2014)

This week at Pine Trees we will be holding a members equipment sale – a kind of Spring clear out! This is the ideal place to find that Ham Radio bargain or sought-after part for your next project.

Bring along any Amateur Radio related items you wish to sell or just browse & buy what others have for sale.

All welcome. Visitors £1, Tables £3, Refreshments £1 . Members entry & tables – Free. On-site parking available.

Every Thursday at the Pine Trees Community Centre, Pinehurst Circle, Swindon, SN2 1RF!