Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) 2016

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JOTA is the largest Scouting event in the world with over 1 million Scouts participating across 150+ countries.

The event is held the third weekend of October – for 2016 it was 14th, 15th & 16th October.

A few pictures from the event last weekend are below. Thanks to everyone who helped make this event possible.

Talk/Demo – ‘Autodesk Eagle Tutorial… from idea to PCB’ by James, M1DST

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eaglepcbThis week we see James, M1DST explain the basics of CadSoft Eagle to help you design your schematic and PCB layout with the plan to fabricate the PCB. Whether you are used to dead bug or stripboard you will certainly benefit from something in the talk. James is only a hobbiest but will share the features he has learned over the years of using the software. We will be using the very latest version and exploring some of the cool new features.

The talk will be 5% PowerPoint and 95% demo!

Starts at 8pm.

Talk Cancelled

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cancelledThe planned talk ‘Simple Satellite Operating’ by Tim Kirby, G4VXE has had to be cancelled. We will try to arrange a new date as soon as possible.

We will instead be running an activity night where an HF antenna will be setup and in operation.

Members’ Equipment Sale

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For SaleThis week at Pine Trees, we will be holding a Members’ Equipment Sale.

With Winter fast approaching, many turn to projects to help fill those long, dark nights. Our sale is just the place to find that obscure part or perhaps a restoration project to work on.

Bargains are to be had, as sellers tend to keep their prices to a sensible level and there is always the option to haggle a bit!

You may wish to bring along items to sell or just browse the tables as a buyer – all are welcome to attend.

Fees are as follows:

  • SDARC Member Seller’s Table – Free
  • Non Member Seller’s Table – £3
  • SDARC Member Entrance – Free
  • Non Member Entrance – £1
  • Refreshments – £1 (all)

For Sale: Yaesu FT 920 AF – £550 ovno

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100w HF and 6m Multimode Transceiver c/w FM option board.

Often referred to as the FT1000’s little brother, the FT920 has been widely reported in reviews as being on a par with its big brother. It is my “go-to” rig because it does everything so simply & really well.

ALL the day-to-day controls are on the large well laid out front panel. Menu contains set-and-forget items. Read more

Thursday 15th September @ SDARC

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‘On Thursday 15th September, we kick off the Autumn/Winter programme with a film documenting the 2014 World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC).

So, what is the WRTC you ask?

Well, it is a competition between two-person teams of Radio Amateurs using their skills to make contact with other Radio Amateurs around the world.

The championship lasts for 24 hours and all teams from each geographic region use the SAME antennas – so It’s all down to operator skill!

The 2014 championship had 59 teams from 38 countries competing from 29 qualifying regions around the world.

The eventual winners were Daniel Craig, N6MJ and Chris Hurlbut, KL9A from the USA.

This documentary film of the WRTC 2014 has been professionally produced by James Brooks, 9V1YC and he has kindly uploaded the film to his pages on Vimeo. James also has also enabled its downloading for use by individuals and clubs such as ours. There are a number of other films which James has produced here:- https://vimeo.com/user36455730. These include DXepeditions such as Midway, K4M; the Kingdom of Bhutan, A52A and Heard Island, VK0IR and all are well worth watching.

Please join us at Pine Trees from 7pm on Thursday 15th to view this excellent documentary and to find out more about our future talks and events.’

Mills on the Air August 2016 at Wilton Windmill

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Mills on the Air was activated for the second time this year, callsign used was GB1WW.

We arrived on site Saturday morning to erect antenna masts, with the help of three club members to whom I say a big thank you for your help in erecting the masts and putting up the safety barriers. We managed to erect everything and start operating before the weather turned against us. We had made several contacts on HF but as the oncoming thunder and lightning storm could be heard on the rig we were using it was thought to be prudent to disconnect antenna from HF rig.Our operator decided that this was a good time to

Our operator decided that this was a good time to attempt making contact over the DMR repeater GB3TC which has given us contacts down under in VK land. When the heavens opened, (which produced rain coming down like stair rods as the old saying goes) we were very thankful for having the most palatial of SES habitats, a modern version of a ‘Shepards Hut’ so we kept dry and warm.

Sunday was a better day with a fair few members of the public visiting the site as the Windmill was open for business. The windmill sails have been removed temporarily for refurbishment. We made several contacts, mainly distance contacts, with little inter G working avaiable. We had our club chairman visit with his family which we think they enjoyed.

Monday was the best day of the weekend as we had sunshine and quite hot weather and it was good day for contacts made.

  • Not Yet Verified: 13
  • Verified Contacts: 73
  • Total of Contacts 86

Country breakdown for contacts :-

Country QSOs
Australia 2
Austria 1
Belgium 2
Denmark 1
England 19
Faroe Islands 1
Finland 1
France 3
Germany 13
North Germany 1
Italy 4
Netherlands 9
Northern Ireland 5
Scotland 8
Spain 2
Sweden 1
Switzerland 2
Wales 1

I would like to thank these amateurs for helping and visiting the SES.
Andrew M1CJE, Charles G0TLI, Russell M0RFI, Mathew 2E0WLF, James M1DST, Bill M0TDW and of course John G1OQV who was our main stay operator and to the others thanks for your help it was very much appreciated a big thank you to all.

Ken, G1NCG

Activity Night 4 of 4 – Barbury Castle 2016

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Despite the rather gloomy and threatening skies, some 12 club members attended the final activity evening at Barbury Castle last Thursday. There was some concern that storms over Northern France which were heading northwards earlier in the day might mean we would have to abandon the event. Not so. There were no thunderstorms on the weather radar and we enjoyed a pleasant, comfortably warm evening, freshened by a light breeze. Eight stations were active whilst another five members were helping and enjoying the evening of radio fun.

Once again, Ed M0OSM arrived early to try and catch some DX using his FT857 and 20M portable Rotary Dipole set-up. Alas, although stations could be received quite well, Ed struggled with poor propagation and only managed log a few QSOs.

Phil M0PBZ, used his FT897D rig with a 40m inverted-V dipole supported by a rather well-used fibre glass pole – well, to start with. Shortly after Phil put out a few CW CQ calls, we heard a loud crunch!! The thin top section of the fibre glass pole snapped at the joint leaving a rather saggy antenna. Phil quickly went to his aerial bag and used a much stronger solid fibre glass sectional pole set more suitable for supporting heavier wire antennas. Phil went on to work stations in Germany, Italy and Spain. Unusually, Phil also brought a short 2m/70cm mobile antenna so he could legitimately work James M1DST for the club Worked-All-Members competition. Last week’s 40m QSO was invalid as the only the 6m, 4m 2m and 70cm bands must be used.

James, M1DST brought along the multiband portable dipole supported on a proper 33 foot fibre glass pole. The antenna was set-up for 80m, allowing James to participate in the 80M Sprint competition. Using the Elecraft KX3 – with Win-Test logging program – James and Andy G0UWS worked some 21 stations by the time that darkness fell.

Also on HF was Phill M6FVJ, with his long wire antenna hidden in the trees.

It was good to see VHF in use this week. Tony G4LDL spent much of the evening programming his rigs for RAYNET work whilst Tim M6XTB, used worked several local stations through the local repeater using 2M FM and DMR.

Also on the 2m band was Jonathan, M0ZGB, who moved to Barbury Castle’s hill fort area to gain a little more height. Jonathan used his homebrew, frame-mounted FT817nd with 2/70 dual band whip and a Halo antennas. Despite trying SSB without success, the FM section of 2m was actually crowded allowing Jonathan to work Andover, Winchester and Oxford with just 5 Watts.

Others who attended were Phill M6FVJ, Russell M0RFI, Frank G3JOT, Viv M6VPW, Andrew M1CJE, Roy G4VWG, Matthew 2E0WLF, Mike M5CBS

So what could have been a wash out, turned out to be a great night of activity to end to this year’s Barbury gatherings. It was also good to see newer licensees joining in, too. We were lucky with weather and lucky with conditions with some good DX along the way.

Videos of week 4 will published in the forthcoming weeks.

We return to Pine Trees from Thursday.


Activity Night 3 of 4 – Barbury Castle 2016

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The windless, brightening evening saw a good turnout for week three of our August gatherings at Barbury Castle. Some sixteen members attended, with six active stations – each with its own rig, antenna and power. It was Yaesu’s night as there were four stations using portable FT87x series transceivers. Others used Kenwood and Elecraft and an Icom IC 7400 was brought along for testing. The car park was full and members seemed to land-grab, with three stations M6FVJ and M5CBS occupying the Eastern end while the West end boys, M0ZGB, M0PBZ and M1DST, erected dipoles orientated North-South. Ed, M0OSM was in the middle.

Ed, M0OSM came along in his recently equipped mobile station based on an FT857 and ATAS, but to make the best of the location, Ed set-up his homebrew rotary dipole for 20m. With very favourable conditions on the band and using just 50W, Ed managed to work ER4DX (Moldova), ZS3Y (South Africa) and BD7BM (China) – very nice!!.

Phill M6FVJ, used his ultra-small FT817 and operated the rig, necklace-style rather like Mr. Spock’s tri-corder in Star Trek. Phill used a simple 22m long, end-fed wire antenna with an automatic ATU. Using just 5W, Phill managed to work Henry N1HEN in Maine on 20m – one of those QRP magic moments that you get from time to time.

Jonathan M0ZGB, using 100W from an FT857 into an inverted-V dipole for 17m worked 5B4VL, Andreas in Cyprus, and SM0OWX, Chris in Sweden. As sunset approached Jonathan managed to work VP8LP, Bob in the Falkland Islands likely due to Grey Line propagation.

Phil M0PBZ took his FT897 out for its second /P outing with fully charged batteries this time. Using a standard, 40m inverted-V antenna, at about 24 feet at the apex, Phil managed to work IU1VZF (SSB) and OH2AH (CW) and M1DST (CW) – who was just 10 feet away!!

James M1DST used his special band-selectable portable linked dipole antenna along with the Elecraft KX3. This antenna, supported at its centre with a 33 foot fibre glass pole is purpose-designed for portable activities. It offers resonant dipoles for several bands. James mainly used the event to test the KX3 but managed to work G4LDL on 70cm, Tim M6XTD using DMR and M0PBZ (CW) ten feet away just to raise his ‘Worked All Members’ CW score.

Mike M5CBS brought along his Kenwood TS 440S and used a short vertical with wires attached to its base, raised about 1.5 metres above the ground on a platform. Mike’s best dx for the night was R8FF in Moscow.

Michael G4HGV (note the call sign) recently acquired an Icom IC7400 from a lorry driver (interesting coincidence – HGV etc… ) and wanted to test it using one of the antennas. Initially, results on 80m using the long wire were not good as the ATU failed to get a workable match. Indeed the SWR was so high that Mike thought maybe the rig’s ATU might have been at fault. Ably assisted by Jerry M6JJG, the rig and battery was moved to Phil’s 40m Inverted-V. Instantly the ATU achieved a near perfect match, not surprisingly, and the rig burst into life with scores of stations right across the band. Michael allowed Phil to plug in his paddle key into the ‘7400 and immediately worked Finland on just 30W with a 599 report.

All in all, an excellent evening of playing radio with some nice DX in the process and with a variety of different antenna designs. Others who attended were Tony G4LDL, Andy G0UWS, Frank G3JOT, Tim M6XTB, Kevin G6FOP, Paul G0EPC, Russell M0RFI, Andrew M1CJE and Matthew 2E0WLF with his dog, Angel.

Next Thursday (25/08/2016) will be the last of the SDARC /P Barbury gatherings for 2016, so if you are a member, it’s well worth the trip. If you are thinking about exploring the hobby, take a trip up to Barbury Castle, weather permitting and see what Amateur Radio is all about.