WSPR Talk & Demonstration by Viv Williams, M0IEP

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This Thursday, 28th September, we welcome along one of our own members, Viv, M0IEP, who will be WSPRing to us!

One of the things that makes communicating with amateur radio more fun than using the Internet or the phone is that you never know where your signals will be received. Short wave radio propagation is never completely predictable, and can often surprise you. If this is an aspect of radio that fascinates you, then you’ll enjoy using WSPR.

Viv will be giving a talk and demonstration on the Weak Signal Propagation Reporting tool or WSPR ( pronounced Whisper ) for short. WSPR is used by thousands of ham worldwide on a daily basis for understanding propagation and their stations performance .

The talk will cover a brief history of WSPR followed by a demonstration of setting up the software and concluded with some examples of how WSPR can be useful.

Please join us at Pinetrees from 7pm on the 28th September for what is sure to be a fascinating talk and demo.

Railways-on-the-Air 2017 – Swindon & Cricklade Railway

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I would like to invite all members of the Swindon & District Amateur Radio Club to Blunsdon Station this coming weekend – 22nd/23rd/24th September.

We will be operating as GB0SCR.

Friday afternoon from about 15:00 we will be setting up, getting the antenna over the lake is always a challenge and we may operate afterwards.
Saturday we should be operating from about 09:00 until we run out of steam/stations to operate/get hungry, probably about 19:00.
Sunday we should be operating from about 09:00 until we start to tear-down at about 16:00 (all times are BST).

You are all invited to come and see us/meet us at Blunsdon at any time over the weekend. Come and support our effort, bring along a mug and have tea etc.

Just hoping the weather stays good!


Talk: Marconi and the Wireless Reporting of the Kingstown Regatta 1898

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Our Summer operations at Barbury Castle have now come to an end and so we return to Pinetrees on Thursday 7th of September and the start of the Autumn/Winter talk evenings.

On Thursday, we welcome back Dr. Elizabeth Bruton who many will remember gave us the fascinating presentation previously on Radio Amateurs operating during WWI.

Elizabeth now works for the Science Museum in London as the Curator of Engineering and Technology after a spell as Heritage Officer at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.

Elizabeth on this occasion will be telling us about an event which took place in 1898 and heralded the arrival of wireless journalism.

After setting up a radio link at Rathlin Island in Ireland, Marconi accepted the challenge to give live reports by wireless of a major yachting event; namely the Kingstown Regatta.

After dismantling the equipment at Rathlin Island, it was erected on a hired tug boat which was used to relay the reports of the regatta to the Harbourmaster’s office in Kingstown. From there, the reports were passed to the press offices with a total of over 700 reports being sent during the Regatta.

The reporting was a great success and ensure plenty of publicity for Marconi and his Wireless system.

As those who saw Elizabeth’s last presentation will know, she has an incredible depth of knowledge on this subject matter and this will be a presentation not to be missed, so please join us from 7pm on Thursday 7th September at Pinetrees to see Dr. Bruton’s presentation.

Activity Nights @ Barbury Castle During August 2017

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Comments Off on Activity Nights @ Barbury Castle During August 2017 2015-07-28 21-17-06Throughout August we will be meeting out and about so the normal club room will not be open. We are meeting in the car park at Barbury Castle. If you don’t know where it is and you have a GPS… 51.483822,-1.777436 or see this map

Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort situated in Wiltshire, England. It is one of several such forts found along the ancient Ridgeway route. The site, which lies within the Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been managed as a country park by Swindon Borough Council since 1971. It is situated on Barbury Hill, a local vantage point, which, under ideal weather conditions, commands a view across to the Cotswolds and the River Severn. It has two deep defensive ditches and ramparts. The Old Ridgeway runs close by and the modern Ridgeway crosses through the castle. In the surrounding area are to be found round barrows, Celtic field systems and 18th-19th Century flint workings.

We will be returning to Pinetrees from September.

See you there.

Finally Secure By Default!

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Sorry for the delay with this.  We are now secure by default.  You will no longer be able to access the website unencrypted.  We now automatically upgrade your connection to a secure one.  You shouldn’t even notice anything…  unless your browser used to warn you.  If you find any issues, please make contact and we’ll fix as soon as we can.

The reason for the delay was I had to manually hunt down all of the mixed-mode content issues and fix them.

Simple Satellite Operating by Tim Kirby, G4VXE

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UPDATE: Tim kindly provided his slides from the talk. You can download them here.

On Thursday, 8th June, we welcomed Tim Kirby, G4VXE to our club night at Pine Trees.

Have you ever thought about working through one of the many satellites which orbit our planet? There are a plethora of satellites which offer the radio amateur an opportunity to use their radios to join in with this fascinating part of our hobby. Some act as repeaters in the sky, allowing contacts far and wide on modes such as FM and SSB. Some carry digital data, SSTV and telemetry, while others may send experimental or other data which can be received by amateurs. There is also the ISS, with its worldwide schools’ contacts and its voice repeater on 2m FM and you never know, there may be the chance to speak to one of the astronauts on board!

Anyone who has searched the web for a simple ‘This is what to do’ Internet site will doubtless have encountered lots of partial, out of date and misinformation on how to make successful contacts via the ‘birds’.

Tim, with his talk on Simple Satellite Operating, showed how it can be done with simple equipment which most amateurs already own.

Tim worked through a satellite or two during the evening.

Thursday 1st June and the Magic Band was ‘Magic’ at Pine Trees!

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A quick E-mail from Phil, M0PBZ on Thursday 1st June re setting up a station for the club activity evening prompted Jonathan, M0ZGB, to suggest dusting off his seldom used Homebrew 6m antenna and giving the ‘Magic Band’ a try.

On arrival at the club, the antenna, a 6m HB9CV of DK7ZB design, was setup on the Pine Trees balcony and the club’s TS-590s connected to it via a length of low loss Heliax coax. The switch on and tune into the calling area of the SSB portion of the band revealed a number of strong signals emanating from central & eastern Europe.

Taking the Microphone first, Jonathan began to call one of the stations, OE3DIA in Austria. After a couple of attempts, Ivan answered our G8SRC call and we were given the locator of JN88HL and a 59 report. Aided by Dom, 2E0WHQ, another 7 stations were worked before Vivian, M0IEP took up the microphone whilst Jonathan went for a coffee.

Our resident CW fan, Phil – M0PBZ arrived shortly after but had been unable to find his paddle key at home. However, remembering there was a Junkers straight key in the cupboard, Phil quickly grabbed the key, connected up and hammered away to make three CW contacts with HA3HX, HG2DX and IV3SKB.
Back on SSB and a few CQ calls were put out, bringing in another two contacts before Vivian took to the microphone again to work IS0BSR/P in Sardinia.

An added bonus was Matthew, 2E0WLF flying his impressive drone from the balcony and providing some excellent footage of the amateur radio proceedings going on below on the 6m band.

By 20:15 UTC, the signals were beginning to fade and the band was closing down so the decision was made to switch off and pack away.

So, how did we do in the end?

Well, quite nicely thank you! We made 15 QSOs on SSB and 3 on CW, working into Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Sardinia. Several stations commented on us giving a very strong signal, which is always nice to hear.

A very enjoyable evening and great to get the club call on the air during one of our club evenings.


Mills on the Air 2017 – Wilton Windmill

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SK Sale 4 May – Update

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The Sale to Members of SK Items – scheduled as part of the regular Members Equipment Sale on Thursday coming, 4th May – has created quite a bit of pre-Sale interest!  This is particularly true of the “Major Items” listed on Pages 1 & 2 of the list you will have seen.

Our aim is to make the SK Sale as fair as possible to all Members and we have therefore refused to enter into pre-Sale reservations or to sell items ahead of the sale.

In addition, to enable members who live further away to get to Pinetrees without finding half the equipment already sold before they arrive, we are modifying the “First Come, First Served” mantra by delaying the sale of the “Major Items” on the SK List until 8pm.

During the past few days, we have also received emails that show that several Members are likely to be interested in some of the same “Major Items” !

We have spent some time considering how best to organise that situation in a way that is fair and have decided:

  1. Members first.    SK Items will be available to Members before being offered to Visitors.
  2. In the period to 8pm on Thursday evening, none of the “Major” SK items will be sold, but Members can register interest in items on that part of the List.
  3. At 8 pm we will review the list and immediately sell to those who registered their interest, all “Major Items” that are not the subject of interest from multiple Members.
  4. We will then discuss with those members about how to proceed.

Here’s hoping everyone has an enjoyable and profitable evening whether buying or selling.