Skip to content The Open University


G0OUR Affiliated to the OU Club and the Radio Society of Great Britain

Its been some time since the last news letter. After last years activities relating to Open Day and the O.U.'s twenty fifth Anniversary, plus the installation of the HF triband beam, this year has seemed relatively quiet, although the club continues to develop nicely.

Last Sunday we attended the annual 'Cranfield' boot sale, run by Milton Keynes and District ARS. This year however there was a change of venue to Bletchley Park where the club is now based. We arrived around 8.30 am in pouring rain, and continued to sit in our junk laden vehicles for an hour or so until the rain became just tolerable. By this time some vendors had already given up and gone home. All in all however it turned out to be an enjoyable and amusing event as always, despite the continued heavy showers. We managed to shift three quarters of our junk stock pile, making a clear profit of 81 pounds and 82 pence for OUARC funds. Although we have done better at previous sales we were quite pleased considering the adverse conditions.

Earlier in the year we were involved in another charity Sixties Disco, organised by the O.U. Disco Club along with Oxfam, Milton Keynes Wild Life Hospital and ourselves. We were pleased to make 50 pounds for OUARC funds from the disco proceeds.

I am pleased to report we have managed to purchase a second hand 70cm multimode rig, an Icom model IC451 for 340 pounds. Unfortunately it transpired that the P.A. block had an intermittent fault which appeared when the rig warmed up. Icom quoted 76 pounds for a replacement, but we managed to trace and obtain a replacement Mitsubishi part for 46 pounds which took the sting out of it a bit. We have also purchased a hefty 13.8V power supply for the VHF/UHF 'corner' of the shack. The 2m and 70cm rigs both give a nominal ten watts output, so we hope to add power amplifiers as funds become available. Higher power is certainly necessary for the proposed satellite station, at least for working through existing transponders. Jim G7HUE has fitted a small mast and rotator on the side of the shack, and has loaned us a 7 element Special. Using this arrangement we are able to work through adjacent repeaters on 70cm. We are still lacking in the VHF/UHF aerial department. It would be nice to erect decent 2m and 70cm beams on a dedicated mast, plus a dual band vertical colinear. We certainly intend to do so when funds are available.

The 286 computer in the shack has been moved to the VHF 'corner' and Jim has provided us with satellite tracking software from AMSAT UK. We have had six 386SX25 motherboards donated to the club from ACS following a round of upgrades. We therefore intend to upgrade the shack XT and 286, and the 286's that run the node. Unfortunately the PC cases we have won't easily accommodate the new boards, but they will be upgraded as time and resources permit.

The HF station continues to work well, the aerial farm being pretty much unchanged since the description in the last news letter. Several years ago when we were in between masts, we managed to put a rope halyard over a tree branch behind the shack with the aid of a large home made catapult. This gives a useful support some 45 feet high. Since taking down the Cobweb we still don't have any WARC band aerials, so it may be worth pressing this support into service again. Perhaps a 30m delta loop for starters. We have so far not replaced our stolen ladder, but we will have to do so in order to facilitate routine aerial maintenance.

On the packet front we have purchased a 4m Westminster for use in the shack, and the loan rig we were using has been returned. The new rig is crystalled for two packet and two voice channels on 4m, and we have a home made 5/8 vertical ready for erection on the shack to replace the old dipole. A second hand G0BSX TNC has been purchased, and replaces the borrowed TNC which was used on the 2m TCP/IP port. The 9 element 2m Tonna/feeder on this port has developed a fault, so we are using a temporary homebrew vertical fed with rather lossy feeder. We hope to improve this in the near future. Ian G0TLB plans to set up a TCP/IP hub when he has time, and when we have a free 70cm frequency for linking on. Since the local EB node closed down we have been linking directly to GB7LWB in Northants on the old EB frequency, and that seems to work well. The local packet user group (Beds and Bucks PUG) is being reformed into the Milton Keynes and District PUG (MKPAC for short). The group intends to support both AX25 and TCP/IP in the area and we will be working closely with them. Ian is also investigating the possibility of a 'wormhole' packet link via the Internet. We still have our OUARC pages on the Web, note that the URL has been changed to: http://www-

At the Field Site User Group meeting on the 5th September it was announced that part of the field site is to be turned over to car parking. This apparently is due to a legal requirement following the setting up of the new Knowledge Media Institute (KMI) on campus and the consequent influx of new staff. Fortunately we are unlikely to be greatly effected by this since our shack and mast is at the opposite end of the field site. However it is likely that the grass area in front of the shack will now be used for biology experiments and a series of ponds will be installed there. A further meeting of the group has been scheduled for October 10th to discuss the proposals in more detail.

Our member profile this time comes from Martin Final G4TOO: I've been interested in radio, and science in general, since I was about eight years old. I was introduced to radio by one of my school friends who was mad on the subject and built my first radio, a crystal set, from a set of parts given to me on my birthday in, I believe, 1962 when I was ten years old. My family lived in police flats in Wanstead London at the time, and the aerial for the set ran from my bedroom on the second floor to as high up a nearby tree as my father could nail it. At that time, ex-government surplus was readily available, and I became the proud owner of the ubiquitous 38 and 19 sets a little later.

Although I was a member of Leyton County High School's amateur radio club, I did not become licensed until very much later. It was at the local archery club that I discovered that one of the other members, Gwyn Williams - G4FKH, was a radio amateur and lived on the same estate. I duly joined the R.A.E. class at the Chelmer Institute, got taught Morse by Gwyn, who had been in Tactical Communications with the R.A.F. and obtained my licence in May 1983.

I started on H.F. with a Yaesu FT200 and HF5 vertical and later upgraded the rig to an FT102, which I still have. My current set up is the FT102, a Trio TS120V connected to a set of fan dipoles in the loft for 10, 15 and 20 metres and an FT290 connected to a ground plane, also in the loft. The TS120V and FT290 are connected to my P.C. via a Kantronics KAM TNC.

I am not using the FT102 at the moment as I have to re- arrange my external aerials. These are currently a half-size G5RV and a set of fan dipoles for 10, 18 and 24 MHz. The feeders for these aerials go into the dining room, where I used to keep the FT102 in a small cabinet. However, it proved to be too awkward to operate properly from this, especially as my usual mode is CW, and the rig has been transferred to my study upstairs, hence the gap between rig and aerial. I also have some 50MHz equipment in the form of a P.W. Meon transverter and linear amplifier. I intend to use the TS120V for portable operation at some time and hope to use one of my kites to see what a full size vertical half wave on 80m can do! I am also a member of Chelmsford Amateur Radio Club and am one of their operators for CW N.F.D.

I also like to construct equipment, having built the Meon and linear and a lot of ancillary station equipment such as the antenna matchers. A future project will be the conversion of a PMR rig so that I can spare the relays of the FT290 from being overworked by Packet operation. I am also considering the construction of a 70cm transverter from the VHF/UHF DX Book.

At present, I am an Analyst Programmer for a locally based software house developing systems primarily for dairies. One claim that I have to notoriety is that prior to this I was Systems Programmer for B.C.C.I. until I was made redundant in 1990, a year before the Bank of England intervened.

I applied to study S102 with the Open University two years ago. I later found out that one of my colleagues (and another radio amateur - G0WFA) had also applied for S102. Well I heard two days before Christmas that I'd passed S102 with distinction and am now awaiting this year's courses. I had applied for S271 and S281 for this year but as S281 was over subscribed, I will be doing S280. My intention is to follow a Physics and Mathematics based programme for BSc Honours.

Well, thank you Martin for that interesting profile, I'm sorry it may be a little out of date by now though due to the infrequency of these newsletters. It would be nice to receive some more profiles for inclusion in the news letters, and on our Web pages too. That about rounds it up for this time, except to wish our student members all the best in their forthcoming exams.

73 for now...
Contact: Adrian Rawlings