Members’ Construction Competition Rules 2019

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Soldering IronWe are holding the Construction Competition next week!

The aim of this annual Spring contest is to encourage members to build either radio equipment or ancillary items which enhance their radio operations and to exhibit these to encourage others to follow their example.

Entries can include any radio-related equipment or software, for example, Morse oscillator, test unit, QRP rig, computer/radio interface, PSU, Tx/Rx, linear, antenna, ATU…..

Entries 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.

If YOU have built something that helps you operate, why not enter it?  Remember it is not necessarily the most complex equipment that wins!

Provide sufficient details with your entry to help judges understand the purpose and operation of the entry….”Sell” the concept and its usefulness through your description, diagrams, circuits etc!

The contest will have five principal Product 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.)

Kit – This will be for equipment built from a kit. The kit should require some soldering to component level.

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

Antenna – 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.

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

In addition, three Constructor categories may be brought to bear:-

Novice – This will be for those members who have not previously built or exhibited any equipment.

GeneralThis will be for those members who have built and entered previously.

Professional – This may be awarded to experienced constructors whose work is of an exceptional standard.

The number of Awards will reflect the scope of entries and may include awards made to deal with tie-break situations.

The judges’ decisions on all the awards are final.

Please complete an entry form beforehand so you can bring it on the night. You can download the entry form here.

Worked All Prefixes 2019

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After the announcement last Thursday of this year’s award scheme we have now published the rules and submission form. Please see for more information. You can also access the page at any time from the menu “Worked All…” at the top of the page.

A printable copy of the rules is also available on that page.

At some point later in the year we MAY enable a table indicating who has worked which prefixes. Until this point you will only see a unique prefix total per entrant, per award.

Good luck!

Snowdonia SOTA Expedition

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Fri 1st Feb.

Club members M1CJE and 2E0XRB along with fellow amateur M6XPE set off from the deep snow of Wiltshire looking for some better weather and a bit of adventure in North Wales.

Saturday 2nd February

Saturday morning we were up for an early start, planning to complete the Snowdon horseshoe, a classic Welsh route including a traverse of the infamous Crib Goch, a knife-edge ridge.  Unfortunately, the crowds beat us to it and the main Snowdon car park was already full when we arrived at 8:30am.  A quick re-plan and we headed down to do the Watkins path instead.

MW6XPE learning a bit of history at the Gladstone rock on the Watkins path

A few hours later we arrived at the summit of Y Lliwedd at 898 metres.  With temperatures well below freezing and an additional ten degrees of windchill, we didn’t want to stay there for too long.  We set up the radios and worked stations from the Wirral through to Eire, a few in Anglesey and over to Manchester and Bolton. 

From Y Lliwedd, it’s just over 150 metres of decent back to the Bwlch Ciliau and then the long climb up to Snowdon summit.  The snow was fairly deep in places; on some of the steeper sections we were cutting steps to make the ascent.  Once we reached the ridge at the top of the Watkins path though we were greeted by the masses that had come up via the Pyg track from the main car park.

MW1CJE on Snowdon summit

The wind on Snowdon summit was stronger and the temperatures even lower but we found a little shelter beside the summit cairn and soon logged contacts into Dublin, Telford, Anglesey and around the North West of England.

By the time we left the summit we had all lost contact with our PTT fingers which were now frozen solid.  Our return route was back down Bwlch Main, over Alt Maenderyn and down to the lake at Bwlch Cwm Llan where we turned East to regain the Watkins path and back home.

MW1CJE and MW6XPE as sunset approached on the Bwlch Main

Sunday 3rd February

Another early start, this time planning to ascend the Devils Kitchen and up onto Y Garn.  Normally a long but quite easy paved route, today though, the path was barely discernible under deep snow and ice.  Eventually reaching Llyn Cwn we turned North in conditions approaching white out at times. 

MW1CJE and MW6XPE on the devils kitchen ascent.

After making twenty QSOs from Y Garn we were all pretty cold and pleased to head back down to the col.  Conditions were deteriorating for the afternoon with rain forecast lower down but blowing blizzard conditions on the tops.

We reached Glyder Fawr a couple of hours later where we found shelter beside a few large rocks marking the summit.  By this time the other two were fairly cold and wet so they weren’t over pleased when I put another seventeen contacts into the log. 

It was still a long walk out but as we started to lose height the wind dropped and the weather improved.  We finally got back to the car just as we lost the daylight.

The team on the decent towards Bwlch Tryfan

In total over the weekend we activated four SOTA summits worth 48 points and made 53 QSOs over much of the North West and Midlands regions.  We climbed nearly 3000 metres of mountain and spent 17½ hours out walking. 

What did you do last weekend?

Andrew – M1CJE

RSGB 432Mhz FMAC – 3rd Place & Intermediate Winner

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The results for the RSGB 432Mhz FMAC 2018 Contest are in and Dom,
2E0WHQ managed to achieve 3rd place in the 50 watt section and was the overall Intermediate Licensee winner. Well done Dom!

Video: Digital Modes (for Amateur Radio) by Viv M0IEP

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Viv describes various software tools to receive and transmit digital information. We also learn how these tools can monitor and log contacts and contribute to a live global picture instantly being able to see where your contacts have been heard just using a web browser.

Merry Christmas!

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Our next meeting is January 10th. Hope to see you then!

Last Thursday was our annual club Christmas dinner.  It was very well attended and as is usual we used it as a way to present the winners of the club competitions their certificates.  Congratulations to all who won and thanks to everyone who took part.

If you were a winner but unable be presented your certificate, it will be presented in the new year.

I was also advised the Andrew CJE helped two more hams through their foundation exams.  Congratulations to Chris M7CKB and Peter M7KAV.

Our next meeting is January 10th. Hope to see you then!

Quiz Night is Coming…

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Don’t forget, this coming Thursday (6th Dec) is the Members Christmas Quiz night.

Get your brain batteries charged and a good refreshing night’s sleep on Wednesday !!!

    • The quiz is a TEAM event – no individuals will be identified.
    • Teams of 4 or 5 are best.
    • We start Round 1 at 20:00.

Get in early enough to get yourself into or to form a winning team.

Mince pies available at half time.

A quick reminder for the following week (13th December) is the Members Christmas Dinner. We are meeting at 19.30 at the Harvester, Blunsdon.

See you there in both cases.


Dom, 2E0WHQ achieves a distance record from the club

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Dom posted on Facebook:

Absolutely chuffed! This evening is club night at the Swindon & District Amateur Radio Club. Like most Thursday evenings we set up a modest station to operate, just a Kenwood TS590S and a 40m inverted ‘V’ about 7m off the ground at the apex. Several members of the club operated on 40m both on SSB and CW using the club call G8SRC. I decided to jump on the radio at around 21:15 and promptly worked Greece. I then tried to work Israel for about 10 minutes but failed. I tuned up the band and heard VK6APZ (Australia); he was quite busy, but my persistence and waiting paid off and I finally worked Peter using the club call G8SRC. I then let him work a few more stations before going back and working him with my own callsign, 2E0WHQ. Absolutely fantastic to work him twice and set a new distance record for the club! A great night of radio at the Swindon & District Amateur Radio Club. Thanks to Philip Bond for providing the inverted ‘V’ antenna for the evening and Jonathan Hobbs for helping set up (sorry you didn’t get to work VK6APZ)

Photo credits: Phil Bond.