Constructors’ Test Evening II

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Due to the recent success of the testing evening, we have decided to run another on the 24th May. If you have anything you want testing on the night, please let us know ASAP so we can ensure we are prepared.

GB1WW, Wilton Windmill – Mills on the Air 2018

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We activated GB1WW in May over the weekend of 12th – 13th for Mills on the Air.

This is Wilton Windmill with the Supermoon behind it from 2018 with our special event callsign added to be used as a QSL card.

The day started rather early on Saturday morning with the usual group volunteers putting up masts for the antenna, event shelter, and gazebo to house operating equipment and operators. The gazebo was used as a mess tent and second operating shelter. We started radio operations around 09:15 – 09:30 and continued all day, with our main operator taking breaks at various intervals. The stations heard and contacted were from Europe mainly to begin with, and working inter UK was changeable with Scotland, Northern Ireland being amongst our easier contacts.

We had a fair amount of visitors from several of the amateur radio clubs from around the area. Some even got into the spirit and operated for a while, for which I give them a big thank you and will list them at the end of this article. Around lunch time we had our flyover by the Yak-52 which is an ex-Russian trainer aeroplane and is owned by Dom 2E0WHQ. He said that he wanted to fly over the mill on his flight from Popham to Wales where he was taking the aircraft, to have its yearly airworthiness certificate inspection. One of our SDARC club members (Jonathan M0ZGB) took a wonderful closeup shot of this aircraft as he circled around and gave us a wing wave before continuing his journey.

The first day of the event was very successful in proving all our hard work building and testing the antenna setup prior to using on the day was correct as it performed extremely well. We had a visit from Ian G0GRI from the Trowbridge amateur radio club with his portable 2Mtr setup which proved a useful addition to our overall tally of stations contacted. We had Phil M0PBZ from SDARC setup an 80Mtr station and he made contacts on CW & SSB using a couple of different antennas built by himself that worked very well. We had M1CJE bring along his portable data station and was successful in achieving a fair few contacts on FT8 but got a lot of reports that he could be heard over a good part of the globe. The first day’s operating ended around 17:30 as we had to pack equipment back into our vehicle’s as it wasn’t safe to leave them overnight.

The Sunday started a little early but not as early as the previous day, and the first thing to get up and running was, of course, the kettle and a cup of tea. We had our share of visitors during the day and we had another visit from a Newbury club member Norman M0JEC with the intention of videoing the mill. We operated for most of the day and our tally of contacts for the weekend was 225 so well done everybody who was involved with this special event station. We’ve received 44 eQSL cards from our contacts at the time of this article going to press.

We’ve contacted enough UK MOTA stations to apply for the certificate from Denby Dale club to confirm that we have activated the station.

Let me say a big thanks to all the helpers involved with putting things up and operating plus all the other bits and pieces: – John G1OQV, Neil M6CUE, Bill M0TDW, Phil M0PBZ, Russell M0RFI, Mike M5CBS, Andrew M1CJE, Dom 2E0WHQ & of course his flyover.
Thanks to the visitors Roy G0VFS, Ian G0GRI who operated on 2Mtrs, Phill G6EES who operated for a while, Roy G4VWG, Jonathan M0ZGB, Matt 2E0WLF for his excellent drone footage of the event, and several others who visited.

Constructors’ Test Evening

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On Thursday, 3rd May, at Pine Trees, we ran a testing evening for projects built by our members. You may recall Phil, M0PBZ, suggesting this at the recent Construction Contest as a way of trying out some of the excellent projects built by our members for the contest.

Suitable test equipment was be provided for use, such as a Signal Generator, Frequency Counter, VNA, Multimeter, Dummy load etc. which allowed members to check and test their projects.

We tested antennas, a couple of preamps and we also tested the clubs TS2000 radios against spec with a radio test set.

Here are a few photos of the evening.

An update to the SDARC Privacy Statement

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With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Union’s new privacy law, coming into effect on May 25th, 2018, we wanted to be clear about the data we collect, how we use it and your rights to control that information, which is why we’ve made some updates to our Privacy Policy.

We made these updates to reflect the high standards established by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a set of laws passed in the European Union.

We respect your personal data. We have never and will never sell it to third parties.

We need YOU to act to help us stay compliant with the GDPR. Please can you email [email protected] providing consent for SDARC to email you else you will no longer receive email from us after May 25th 2018.

You can read the full policy at If you have specific questions or concerns about the use of your data, please contact [email protected]

Talk – ‘Special Event Stations’ by Colin North, G4GBP

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This week at Pine Trees, we welcome Colin North, G4GBP, who will be delivering a presentation on Special Event Stations.

Most Radio Amateurs at some point or another will have likely worked one or more of the many Special Event Stations (SESs) that are frequently found on the air and which are activated from sites all around the world.

Up to date lists of those stations operating or planning to operate can be found online or in RadCom.

One such event taking place this weekend from 0000 UTC to 2359 UTC Saturday 21st April is International Marconi Day (IMD) where numerous stations will be on air from sites which are associated with Gugliemo Marconi.

Usually, special QSL cards and/or certificates are produced for such stations which are coveted by those who work them and huge pile ups can occur when the stations are operating.

There are a number of rules governing what constitutes a Special Event Station and how it is operated, such as licencing conditions, public access to the event and its significance to a person, event or place – but how do you go about participating or setting one up??

Colin G4GBP, an ex-Merchant Navy R/O, has a wealth of experience of operating such stations for events such as ROTA (Railways on the Air), MOTA (Mills on the Air) and IOTA (Islands on the Air).

Colin’s presentation to SDARC will be the perfect way to find out more about these stations and how to get further involved in their setting up and operation.

He is also our local (Wiltshire) RSGB Deputy Regional Manager and is hoping to spend a few minutes at the start of his presentation telling us about his role within the RSGB.

This is sure to be a fascinating presentation, so please join us from 7pm on Thursday 19th April at Pine Trees to meet Colin and find out more about Special Event Stations.

M1DST Talks to BBC Wiltshire

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James Patterson, M1DST was invited to talk about Amateur Radio with Graham Seaman of BBC Wiltshire. If you missed the show and want to listen again to just the interview it is available below.

Talk: 6m – The Magic Band’ by Don Field G3XTT

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The name Don Field will be known to many as the Editor of Practical Wireless, a role he took on in 2013. Don is also the author of several books, one of which is a handbook on the 6m band and it is this band that Don will be talking to us about on Thursday 12th April.

The band is not known as the ‘Magic Band’ for nothing and at certain times it can produce spectacular results and QSOs of thousands of miles. It can then disappear within minutes.

Please join us from 7pm at Pine Trees and Don Field will show you how to get the best results from the band

Mills on the Air 2018

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DSC_3844We are putting Wilton Windmill on the air again on 12th and 13th May 2018. The mill is one of the oldest working windmills in the country still producing flour.

We are looking for volunteers to help set up and operate the station.

You could bring family and make it a day out as the mill has tours around the mill, also the Crofton Beam Engines are just down the road. These are one of the last working beam engines in the country and does run on steam at certain times of the year.

If you can spare some time please email: Ken Powell (G1NCG) at [email protected]

Construction Competition Entries and Results

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We had a great turnout from members to see the projects that other members had built over the last year. We had seven entries spanning four categories and the judging was performed by M1DST, James who didn’t enter anything this year but is a keen builder.

James visited each project and talked in detail with the builder to gain further insight into the complexity of the project. Every entry had some kind of unique twist and the standard was very good.

Scoring was made and at the end of the evening the entrants were waiting to find out who had won in each category.  A summary of the entries and the winners is available at the end of this post.  A short video of the projects is below.

Thanks again to all the builders who provided their projects for scrutiny. Hope you enter more projects next year.


  • 2E0XRB – BitX 40m receiver – WINNER!


  • M1KDJ – 2M Yagi (6 element) – WINNER!
  • M1CJE – 2M Yagi (2 element)


  • M1CJE – 10MHz reference and NTP server – WINNER!
  • M0OSM – Brass CW paddle


  • M0OSM – QRPlabs QCX – WINNER!
  • G4AJA – FM Broadcast Receiver

Members’ Construction Competition Rules 2018

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Soldering IronWe are holding the Construction Competition this 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.