2016 AGM Agenda

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On Thursday 26th May we are holding the Annual General Meeting for SDARC. We will be starting at 8pm.

Agenda Items

  1. Welcome from the Chairman (M1DST)
  2. Summary of the 2015 AGM (M1DST)
  3. Secretary’s Report (M0ACM)
  4. Treasurers Report (M5CBS)
  5. Committee Nominations (M1DST)
  6. AOB (All)

RSGB May 144MHz Contest 2016 Report

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Wow! What a weekend ! …and Wow ! What a team !

SDARC went “/P” this weekend to do something it hasn’t done properly for a number of years ! We took part in a 24 hour 2 metre contest ! A large team appeared on Saturday morning and, as per the “Plan”, we set about constructing a /P Contest Station ready for a 3pm BST Start.

The Station – modified in time honoured fashion as we went along (!!) – was set up in a truly superb fashion in a large mess tent (We even had a second tent to act as the “Generator room” !!) The set up quickly took shape to become a single TS2000 powered from both battery and a Generator powered mains PSU. This fed 30 Watts of RF into a solid state linear and on up to one of two compact yagis mounted at about 25 feet (both equipped with separate rotators). Signal routing was controlled by a remote switch and a sequencer to protect the masthead RX preamp shared by both yagis.

Thanks to superb teamwork by those setting up the kit, the whole station was READY and tested by mid day!! THAT was a incredible !!

We had a very good match to the aerials, getting well over 400 Watts out of the Linear! This was looking good! We stopped for lunch ! … another major accomplishment for a new team! ….and then tidied up wiring and even organised the ergonomics of the operating position and logging !

An Operating Schedule was agreed for the 8 operator team with everyone doing a one hour operating stint with the support of a second operator doing the logging on a laptop.

What we planned all went very well. We have to accept that we cannot organise the weather and it ‘precipitated’ down on Saturday afternoon big time! Being VHF, propagation conditions therefore seemed a bit flat.

Nevertheless from the 3pm start time until we stopped (due to a lack of contacts shortly before midnight) we worked stations all over the UK including GM, GW, GD, GU and even EI. We also worked several stations in F, DL, PE and ON! The station worked faultlessly and the Operators were very effective on the air, despite many being very new to this kind of operation. Well done lads!

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We kicked off again early this morning (Sunday) in much better weather and the same Team of Operators worked a second one-hour session to complete the Contest at 3pm. Again all equipment performed without fault. By the end of the Contest, we had worked a total of 180 stations (2,194,840 total points with a best DX of DF0WD in JO42FD at a distance of 708km) – a truly superb effort which didn’t seem an effort – due to the excellent teamwork.

On behalf of the Committee, we would like to publicly thank everyone involved – the 8 Operators and the additional support team who provided that extra “oomph” to set things up on Saturday and strip things down Sunday afternoon – both in record time.

We would also like to thank all those Members who brought along all sorts of vital equipment and the expertise to deploy them that made the weekend the success it was. Nothing would have been possible without these resources. Many thanks to all.

If you were NOT with us this weekend, you missed a really good weekend !

Watch for details of our next /P contest and plan you weekend Pass-out now !

QSOs 180
Recorded Dupes 2
Total Points 29,660
Total Postcodes 65
Total Countries 9
Grand Total Points 2,194,840
Best DX DF0WD – JO42FD – 708km’s
Prefix Country Count
DL Germany 8
EI Ireland 2
F France 2
G England 139
GD Isle of Man 1
GU Guernsey 2
GW Wales 17
ON Belgium 6
PA Netherlands 3

Pictures provided by James Patterson and Matthew Williams.

Mills on the Air (May 2016)

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DSC_3844This is my second SES, for 2016 and third time for activating Wilton Windmill.

Myself (G1NCG) and John (G1OQV) activated the special Event call-sign of GB1WW for the week-end. The weather was very kind to us as we had a wonderful sunny week-end with no rain and a very gentle breeze. The week-end started on Friday afternoon for the pair of us, erecting the masts to haul the antenna into the air. We arrived early on Saturday morning to setup the the radio, but the initial radio decided not to play so we had to opt for the backup radio which John supplied. We have to note that this location is an ideal for operating a Special Event Station, one could almost say palatial in eventing terms as we had a warm and enclosed modern Shepard's hut with all mod cons including running water and power. Propagation conditions were reasonable but had a lack of G callsigns to begin with, being heard in favour of rather more distant ones from DK, F4, PA & GM.

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This is John (G1OQV) manning the microphone for most of the week-end in which he did a very sterling job of making contacts, especially that he made contact with 12 mills on the air stations, so congratulations and well done John. We’ve since heard from other stations that were operating over the weekend, that propagation was at best difficult for most of them. We made some interesting contacts, Crux Eastern Wind Engine in Hampshire is one example as I remember these devices when I was a child seeing them around mainly near farms as they were used to pump water up out of an under ground well. Also the Dutch mill station De Oude Molen (Translated means The Old Mill) this is located at Oudemolensedijk, The Nederlands, which is registered with Denby Dale and counted towards our mills count for a certificate. Putting these mills on the air each year continues to keep some of our heritage in mind lest we for get our engineering achievements from years past.

The count for stations contacted was 46 in total with 44 verified.

Equipment used for this event was a Kenwood TS480 with an off centre fed dipole with short leg grounded for the antenna, and gave us reasonable results.
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We had several Radio amateur visitors including Andrew M1CJE, Bryan M0SWL, Ian G0GRI , Rob G4XUT, Dave G4XIB, as well as a group of ramblers that used the mill as a resting point, on the Sunday.

A Big Thank You to the Windmill Society for allowing us to use their facilities at the mill and a thank you to them for keeping this Windmill working and producing flour.

By – Ken Powell G1NCG

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2016 Construction Competition Photos

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Here are some photos from last weeks Construction Competition. Well done to everyone who took part.

CQ CQ CQ Club Constructors 2016!

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Soldering IronJust to remind you that this year’s Construction Contest will take place on Thursday 5th May at Pine Trees from 7pm. There is still plenty of time to construct an entry if you haven’t done so already.

Never built anything before? Then now is the time to have a go! There is a category for ‘1st timers’ who are new to construction.

Construction Contest 2016 – Rules

The contest will have six general categories:-

Homebrew – This will be for equipment built completely by the club member. (If the equipment is a magazine project with a PCB available, then, the PCB may be used.)

Antenna Installations – This will be for special homebrew antenna systems. For this type of contest entry, the member will just need to provide photographs of the antenna together with a specification, a drawing and details of the construction. A list of countries worked with the antenna should also be provided.

Kit – This will be for equipment built from a kit.

Hybrid – This will be for homebrew equipment, which contains one or more kits.

“First Timers” – This will be for club members who have not previously built any equipment.

“IT” – This category will be for radio-related software. This can be either be, a piece of “stand-alone” new software, or a piece written to add extra features to some existing software.

There will be a total of eight awards allocated to the six categories; the number of awards per category will be up to the judges to decide.

In addition there will be a special award:- “Professional” – This prize may be awarded to experienced constructors whose work is of an exceptional standard.

The judges’ decisions on all the awards are final.
Items can have been built at any time, but to be accepted as an entry, they must not have been entered in any previous SDARC construction contest.

The entries can be any radio-related equipment or software, for example, morse oscillator, test unit, QRP rig, computer/radio interface, PSU, Tx/Rx, linear, antenna.

The most complex equipment may not necessarily win!

Entry forms will be available on the night, but if you wish to complete one beforehand, please download the entry form.

Thinking Day On The Air 2016 by Ken, G1NCG

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For me this is the start of the yearly special event stations, which I always look forward to, as we can show our hobby and to others and what Amateur radio is all about.

Our preparations where hastily put together but it all came together very well. I wouldn’t say a well oiled machine, just a bunch of like minded people that acted as a team. I would like to thank all those involved for their help and efforts put into this day. I think we’ve found some skills that some people didn’t know they were capable of.

We arrived at site on Saturday with the intention of putting antenna up but after installing the ropes to hoist antenna in the air we decided that it was possibly to windy to leave antenna in place over night and decided to install the antenna first thing Sunday morning.

We arrived Sunday morning around 9am to start the simple job of hoisting antenna into the air, Tony suggested we use a piece of Kevlar cord between the two ropes to give stability to the antenna. The antenna’s position was adjusted to put it’s feeder near to the entry point of the building. When the G5RV was tested it was found to be faulty so we quickly replaced it with another antenna which proved to work okay.

While the radio was set up and stations listened for we started the Brownies, Guides and Ranger on a small exercise of how to use the Phonetic code to spell their names to begin with and then a message, which was decoded and read out to show the use of the phonetic code. I know this is just simple exercise for us amateurs but to younger persons who had not used this before, it was interesting.

There were other exercises to show the Brownies, Guides and Ranger the world wide locations of Amateur Radio using QSL cards received and locations were checked on a map of the world. There was also a small demonstration of morse code using a crib sheet and a morse buzzer. There were several contacts made via the radio using the special event call sign “ GB1SGG” and each of the Brownies, Guides and Ranger had the opportunity to send greetings messages over the air to other Thinking Day on the Air stations. I think everyone had a good day and was enjoyed by all involved.

Andy G0UWS, Tony G4LDL, James M1DST, Mike M5CBS, Chris G4AJA and myself Ken G1NCG all participated in the event.

Of course we must give our thanks to the Guider and Brownies, Guides and Ranger who participated in the days events and allowing us to put on this special event station.

 

Worked All UK/EI Locator Squares (Club Comp 2016)

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MapLast night Den, M0ACM announced the annual club competition. For full rules and league tables please see the link at the top of this page or visit http://www.sdarc.net/worked-all-ukei-locators/

The competition is open to SDARC Members and is designed to encourage on-air operating, to have some competitive fun playing radio, to raise the profile of @SDARC on the air and to reward members making consistent use of their radio gear. Go on, have a go !!

DMR Mini Talk

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Tonight here will be a short explanatory talk on DMR usage at SDARC. The talk will include details of the recent changes to GB7TC.

Fancy a mince pie?

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5303024This is just a reminder that this Thursday at Pine Trees is the last club meeting of the year, after which there will be a 2 week break until the first meeting of 2016 on Thursday 7th January.

This weeks meeting is of course the annual club quiz which this year will be will be starting slightly earlier than normal at 7:45pm. It’s always an entertaining evening so please come along if you can, and don’t forget that as well as the usual refreshments there will be mince pies!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner (or Turkey)

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At the club Christmas dinner last night the results for the Worked All Counties competition were announced.

Thanks to everyone who entered, to Den for organising, to Tony for being an Adjudicator and to James for creating the on-line results table.

The aim was to encourage on-air activity and the Awards strategy was no-one wins >1 award.

10w – Period 1 (James, M1DST)
10w – Period 2 (Martin, G0DHL) – “you have to be in it to win it!” – He won P2 with just 1 QSO !
10w – Overall (Chris, G4AJA)

50w (Jonathan, M0ZGB) – NO other entries except Jonathan !

100w was most competitive section. Here we allocated Awards based on winner’s highest score. It resulted in Awards in all sections.
100w – Period 1 (Paul, M0PMV)
100w – Period 2 (Tony, G4LDL)
100w – Period 3 (Andy, G0UWS)
100w – Overall (Phil, M0PBZ)
Unfortunately, James’ 37 – a potential winning score had to be ignored as he had entered in 10W previously. “Your first Progress Form determines your chosen Power category for all periods”

400w – Overall (Steve, M0SPN)
Paul’s score (26 from P2) had to be ignored as he had entered in 100W previously. “Your first Progress Form determines your chosen Power category for all periods”

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Many thanks to everyone who entered. Hopefully these results will encourage those who thought themselves uncompetitive to enter next year.

Key advice – as shown is 1) to enter! and 2) to choose your category carefully !

So, folks…. What would you like next year ?

…Italian Provinces, UK Postcodes, US States, Maidenhead Squares, Irish districts, Scottish Pubs …?)
Still use Power categories? OR …should we have Mode categories instead? (SSB, CW, PSK, RTTY,SSTV…)