2018 Club Competition Details (Updated)

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Club is now ‘back’ from the Christmas hols and the last two weeks have been well attended. Last night we went to Africa with Tony – a really interesting Talk but not until we had presented the somewhat delayed Awards for the 2017 Worked All Postcodes competition.

The number of entrants was down on 2016 but some of the Overall winners ramped up the number of QSOs well above 2016. Clearly once the bug bites……

  • The 10w section was again won by Chris AJA with 50% more QSOs than in 2016 – all CW too!.
  • The 50w section was won by Viv IEP with 113 QSOs (Well done..perseverance pays off!).
  • The 100w section was won by Andrew CJE with 76 QSOs, with Tony CPA and Jonathan ZGB taking the Autumn and Spring Awards respectively.
  • The 400w section was won by Tony LDL with 41Qs and Paul PMV took the Spring award.

Well done to everybody!

We also took a few minutes to announce the 2018 Award which returns to the popular Worked All Squares format (looking for 4-characters… e g IO82) but with a couple of Rule changes for 2018 to “spice things up”.

  • Those with Short Contest Callsigns (SCCs) can include QSOs made using them, but the entry should be made under your FULL Callsign
    (So G4L can include QSOs made with that call but enters them in the online table under G4LDL)
  • The RF Power category will be that set by your Licence.
    So the 10w section is now exclusive to M3 and M6 Members, the 50w section is only usable by 2E Members and everyone else uses the 400w section
    ( …yip, we’ve removed the 100w section as very few people have access to linears and for a UK/EI QSO the impact is marginal. A decent aerial provides better gain!!)
  • To allow the Autumn Period to go to the end of November, the submission deadline dates have been shortened after the end of each period.
    • The Spring months are now dedicated to Qs on 160, 80, 40 and 30m (The LF months).
    • The Summer months are now dedicated to VHF and up (6, 4, 2m and the cm bands).
    • The Autumn months are now the HF months (20, 17, 15, 12 and 10m).

The months for each Period, the revised submission dates and the complete Rules for 2018 plus a check sheet for your own use and a ‘squares possible’ map will appear on the website soon.

Remember, the 2018 Award begins with the LF bands on 1st February, so you have only a week or so to repair your aerials after the recent winds!

Let’s see if we can see more members getting involved in 2018. In previous years some sections have been won with less than 10 QSOs, so we are not talking about staying up all night! Look for the UK/EI, the UKAC and the AFS contest dates to plan when an hour on the radio could net you a serious number of QSOs ! ….And, unless you are in a fast-moving contest, remember to tell stations you work why you want their Square details. Local non-members may think, “I would like some of this” and join us. That would help funds and benefit everyone.

Start planning, Start chasing the Squares – there about 53 in all.

See https://www.sdarc.net/worked-all-uk-ei-locators-2018/ for full rules, submission form and realtime league table.

Den, M0ACM

UPDATE: January 27th 2018

Following lots of enthusiastic interest in the new Award for 2018 and some requests for clarification from members, we responded to those last Thursday evening and this email is a confirmation of the clarifications made – especially for anyone who missed it …and the excellent “Secret Wireless War” movie.

  • The term “Squares” refers to the VHF-familiar Maidenhead Locator Squares system that involves (for practical day-to-day use) 2 letters + 2 numbers + 2 letters. Eg Pinetrees is IO91RF.
    For the 2018 Award, we need only the 1st 4 characters (eg IO91)For CW use and as a spoken abbreviation, the Maidenhead system is often referred to as “QRA” Squares. Although the original OLD (and no-longer-used) system) has been superseded by Maidenhead, the “QRA” abbreviated name persists but is exclusively applied to the Maidenhead system.
  • The “Power according to your Licence” rule was intended to provide “protected” categories for M6 and 2E Members and so encourage activity without QRM (!) from Full licensees.As “wrinklies” who did not come up the M6/2E/M0 ‘ladder’ we were unaware that those licences permit the continued use of the ‘lower’ callsigns. THAT was not part of our plan for this Award, so to clarify, your permitted power for this Award is your HIGHEST licence ‘class’.However, conceding that there IS a possible disadvantage where a Full licensee with no linear is chasing squares in the same power category as someone with 400w, we have re-inserted the 100w category so FULL licensees can now opt into either the 100w or the 400w category – and this is FLEXIBLE…. you could enter 400w in the Low Bands Spring months, 100w in the VHF and up Summer months and then either 100w or 400w in the Autumn HF months.
  • The 3 periods and the Bands acceptable during these are confirmed. Whilst we concede that we do not all have farms and 100 ft towers littered with steerable aluminium (U.S. readers please note the CORRECT spelling!!), one of the aims of the 2018 Award was to encourage innovation. So if I don’t have an aerial – or the space – at home for an 80m aerial, my challenge is either to seek a /P location where I could string one up for a couple of hours OR see if I could make something tunable and reasonably efficient at home.
    After all, it doesn’t have to work NZ … just IO82NZ !!

Hope this clarifies and encourages activity.

Den & Tony

DVD – ‘The Secret Wireless War- Beyond Bletchley Park’

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This week at Pine Trees, we will be viewing a DVD entitled ‘The Secret Wireless War’ which is in two parts. The part being show this week is called ‘Beyond Bletchley Park’ and deals with the role of Voluntary Intercepts (VIs) during WWII, many of which were Radio Amateurs. The film contains interviews with several wireless operators such as Bob King, Maurice Richardson and Wilf Neal who tell of their wartime experiences. The Whaddon spy set is examined and also the story is told of why a number of Packard automobiles were acquired to become mobile transmitter/receiver units.

The film was originally produced in 2002 and was remastered in 2014 with some new footage. The second part of the DVD, ‘Black Propaganda’, which deals with the secret British broadcasts against the Axis forces in WWII will be shown in several weeks’ time.

The DVD is being shown with the kind permission of David & Debra Rixon of Grindelwald Productions Ltd. and I thank them for their quick & polite response to my E-mail request to show their films to SDARC.

The DVD is available from their Amazon store here :- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Wireless-War-David-Rixon/dp/B000ECXBFK and their main website, which includes many walking and other DVDs, is available here:- http://www.grindelwald.co.uk

We hope to see you Thursday night from 7pm at Pine Trees to watch the film!

Talk – ‘Pile ups in Africa – the A25UK Story’ by Tony Bettley, G4LDL

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This week at club we have Tony, G4LDL giving us a talk about A25UK.  He will be looking at the history of Botswana, why go there?, decisions about & acquisition of kit, actual set up and operation, results plus “It wasn’t all radio”.

Please join us at Pinetrees from 7pm on the 15th January for what is sure to be a fascinating talk.

2017 2M UKAC Results

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Thanks to efforts from G4HGV, G4LDL, M0IEP, M1CJE, M6XTB the Swindon club achieved a position of 15th in the General Section.

Talk – Practical 3D Printing by James Patterson, M1DST

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On Thursday, 23rd November, our Vice Chair, James Patterson, M1DST presented a friendly, discussion led, practical demonstration of what is involved with 3D printing.

James originally built his 3D printer from a kit and has undertaken the journey of upgrading it whilst discovering what these printers can do for makers.

He covered the design, CAD, slicing and printing steps with practical demonstrations.  James discussed how the technology is changing at a rapid rate and that there is now a much lower barrier to entry than there was in the past.

Twitter: @m1dst

Web: https://m1dst.co.uk

Members’ Equipment Sale – 9th November

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

With Winter fast approaching, many turn to construction 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 – £1.50 (all)

Club climbing the league table again. We need your support.

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With good scores this month from Tony G4LDL and a bit of extra help from Mike G4HGV we have moved up another two places in the 2m UKAC league table. If we can get a few more club members involved we could soon be knocking Harwell off that top spot.

Talk to Tony, Andrew or Mike if you want to get involved.

Talk: Where Do Our Wavelengths Come From? – by Peter Chadwick, G3RZP

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We welcomed Peter Chadwick, G3RZP, back to our club as he explained to us where our wavelengths come from.

The standardisation of international telecommunications started in 1865 from a proposal of the French government for the introduction of standards to allow telegrams to be sent internationally without the necessity of writing them down and then re-sending on a different system. Regulation of radio started more than 110 years ago with the first radio telegraph convention meeting in Berlin. Following the Titanic disaster, the 1912 convention provided more standardisation, although still aimed primarily at the maritime service. By the 1920s with the dawn of international amateur radio, it was apparent that amateurs would have more influence as a body than individually and thus in Paris in 1925, the International Amateur Radio Union was formed.

IARU members are national amateur radio societies from around the world and provide lobbying and technical input to meetings not only of the ITU – the oldest Agency of the UN – but also to the regional telecommunications organisations such as the CEPT (Conference of European Post and Telecommunications). For example, a number of people are currently engaged in the technical issues of an input to the CEPT on Wireless Power Transmission.

G3RZP is a Senior Member of the IEEE, a Past President of the RSGB, a Honorary Life Vice President of RSGB, a member of the RSGB Technical and Spectrum forums, a Technical Consultant to the IARU and Secretary of the Vintage and Military Amateur Radio Society, and has held his callsign continuously since April 1963. He has a number of operating awards and is in the number one position on the DXCC Honor Roll, with all current entities worked and confirmed. He has 16 patents and over 40 publications in various places. Now retired, he was employed at Plessey Semiconductors through its various changes of ownership for 32 years. He is married to Lynne, G4FNC.

RSGB Convention – Will You Be There?

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The RSGB Convention is being held at Kents Hill Park Conference Centre, Milton Keynes on 13-15 October 2017. This year, two SDARC members have been invited to speak.

Tony is presenting about his trip to Botswana and James is talking about his “M1N the Middle” project. Some talks are being videoed and we’re not sure if either of these will be made available for viewing at a later time.

The RSGB Convention programme has exciting lectures covering HF and DXpeditions along with VHF and Technical ones. In addition, AMSAT will be organising some of the lectures as the AMSAT Colloquium will be incorporated into the RSGB Convention this year.

There is a broad mix of subjects across five streams. There will be topics to cater for all tastes.

As usual, there will also be lots to see in the exhibition lounge with displays from a wide number of special interest groups. Chiltern DX Club, RSGB ARDF committee, AMSAT, UK Microwave Group and UK Six Metre Group will all be present along with a number of others. Near the tea and coffee will be displays from Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu so you can see their latest radio offerings. ML&S will be present selling a wide range of radios and there will be an RSGB bookstall selling our latest publications. There will also be DXCC card checking in the exhibition lounge so don’t forget to bring your QSL cards if you need them validated.

It is possible to attend the Convention for just a day, either Saturday or Sunday, or even both days.

Ticket Prices
Saturday: £15.00
Sunday: £10.00
All weekend: £20.00
Under 21 – Free Day admission – No tickets issued – proof of age required. (Under 16s must be accompanied)

It would be great to see some of you there giving support to Tony and James.

The programme is available to download at http://rsgb.org/main/about-us/rsgb-convention/rsgb-convention-programme/

Talk – SOTA (Summits On The Air) by Michael Sansom, G0POT

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On Thursday, 5th October, we welcomed Michael Sansom, G0POT to our club.

Michael is a keen SOTA operator and he will be giving us a presentation on the subject as well as bringing along some associated items which he uses.

SOTA or Summits On The Air is an award scheme originally devised in 2002 and launched in the UK. Since then, the scheme has gone worldwide and has thousands of operators across the globe who can partake by either working the SOTA stations from home (Chasers) or taking to the hills and mountains with a radio to ‘activate’ a summit (Activators). Of course, it is possible to work towards both awards, with the main Chaser award being known as the ‘Shack Sloth’ for 1000 chaser points and the ultimate Activator award being the ‘Mountain Goat’ for 1000 Activator points. Many other award certificates are available before and after the 1000 point marks, making it a great scheme to operate in. The rules can be quite complex, but Michael will guide us through what can be achieved with the scheme.

Unfortunately, Wiltshire is fairly devoid of any qualifying summits, but we do have several 1 pointers fairly close by such as Walbury Hill near Hungerford and Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham. Each summit can only be activated by an operator once a year though, so a ‘Mountain Goat’ might take some time only doing 1 pointers!

Twitter: @DrOrthogonal

Web: http://peanutpower.co.uk/author/g0pot