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

Firstly a slightly belated happy new year to all members. Please note that our AGM is to be held on Tuesday 30th of January, in the Green Room above the Lecture Theatre. It would be nice to see as many members as possible. Subscriptions are now due and remain at six pounds per year. Please send a cheque made out to OUARC to the treasurer, Fraser Robertson, Electronics, Walton Hall MK7 6AA. As usual subscriptions will be accepted at the AGM.

This summer the Open University will be holding it’s bi annual open day on Saturday 22nd of June. It is hoped that we can put on a display of amateur radio and activate the club station during the day. This will be on a smaller scale than the GB25OU operation, but will be a good opportunity for some of our less local members to air the club call GX0OUR.

Since the September boot sale we have had a steady stream of ‘junk’ donated, amounting to about half a garage full so far, so we are on course for a bit of fund raising when the weather gets better. Any further donations are very welcome.

The club station continues to work well, little has changed with regard to aerials and equipment. Our VHF/UHF aerials still leave a lot to be desired, so hopefully this will be the year to finally sort things out. We really need to erect a dedicated mast for this as the existing tower is pretty much used to capacity, and is difficult to work on. The 270’ doublet which we use on 160/80m has developed a fault, one side of the open wire feeder has become disconnected from it’s dipole leg at the top bearing. This was caused by the beam stub mast spinning in the rotator when it was first put up, which pulled the feeder and stressed the joint. After nine months or so of rotator use the joint finally broke. Repairing this is an awkward job best left for the warmer weather, and when we have replaced our stolen ladder. In the mean time a pair of home made 7MHz coaxial traps and extensions have been added to the 40m dipole, allowing it to be used on 80m as well, and the remaining half of the doublet has been pressed into service as an inverted L for topband. Two quarter wave elevated radials have been installed which run along the wooden fence near the base of the tower. The triband beam continues to do an excellent job, and neither it’s performance or matching appear to have altered since it was put up a year ago. The club station is on the air most Thursday lunch times. Recently there have been some very good openings to North America on 20m at around that time.

The club station was active during the annual RSGB Club Calls Contest on the 11/12 of November. Unfortunately we were not in a position to put in a serious entry due to the problem with the topband aerial. However many club stations, including a number of other universities were contacted, as well as a number of European stations.

We now have a 386SX25 in the shack, with a monochrome VGA monitor on loan from Electronics. This has a variety of amateur radio software loaded. The XT has been dedicated to packet on 4m with a Baycom modem, with the AT286 on the VHF/UHF bench. A second 386SX25 has been put together, which is running LINUX and is destined for the packet node for TCP/IP operation. Ian G0TLB has been busy on this front, and is working on providing an Internet wormhole link to the OU node. This will provide chatnode facilities and mail forwarding. The system more or less ready but he is awaiting formal permission from the O.U. powers that be. Ian still maintains our Web pages, and we have links to other popular ham radio pages and newsgroups.

The packet node continues to function well. There was a problem with the 70cm link to Oxfordshire during the very cold weather due to the transmitter drifting off frequency. It had been adjusted during the summer heat wave and required a tweak back in the other direction! There has recently been talk of completing the 9K6 star network in Northants, so hopefully we will finally be able to test and use our end of that link.

Back in October we hosted a meeting of MKPAC, the Milton Keynes Packet User group. Some interesting discussions took place with a view to improving the network locally, and perhaps taking some of the strain off the OU node, which handles almost all the mail in out and through this area. A further MKPAC meeting has been provisionally arranged for Wednesday 31st. of January at 7.30pm in the Cellar Bar, Walton Hall (the day following our AGM). Any OUARC members are most welcome to attend.

Now to our members profile, this time from Fraser G4BJM:’ I have had an unhealthy interest in amateur radio for almost as long as I can remember. I started messing around with bits of wire from about age four, my mother put it down to her receiving an electric shock during pregnancy! By the time I was eight I had made a crystal set and a transistor amplifier on which I could pick up local amateurs on topband AM. I was hooked. I soon graduated to a

Heathkit GR64 receiver. One of the locals (G3EFS) used to send slow Morse transmissions which I listened to avidly, and the man in the local radio shop gave me an ex WD Morse key which I still use today.

In 1969 we moved from London to Milton Keynes where my father started with the brand new Open University as Manager of Correspondence Services. It wasn't long before I had the back garden festooned with aerials, and radials were buried the length and breadth of the lawn. I obtained my licence in 1972 at the age of 14, after attending evening classes run by G3LCS (whose wife is now an OU employee) at Wolverton College. I took the Morse test shortly after the RAE results came out, at Waterloo Bridge House in London. When I was 15 I met up with my friend Vince WB2EZG in Monaco where we generated some pileups as 3A0GY.

My main interest continues to be CW operation on the LF/HF bands, but I am operational on all bands from 160m up to 70cm. I enjoy many facets of the hobby including contesting, packet radio, construction, and playing with aerials. I have been a member of RSGB since I was 11, and am a member of various other clubs, including FOC, G-QRP and of course OUARC! My wife Barbara is licensed as G7OVA and we have three young children. For my sins I work in the Interfaculty Electronics and Computing Dept. at Walton Hall. This is a small department which provides an electronics and computing facility mainly for the Science and Technology faculties. The work is very varied and includes both hardware and software development for research projects, summer school experiments, home kits and so on. I obtained an O.U. degree a some years ago, so have seen the O.U. from both sides of the fence. My ambition is to retire young, and live on top of a hill with a few acres, preferably somewhere warm where the booze is cheap.’

That’s about it for another newsletter. If you haven’t already sent in your members profile please spend a few minutes to jot something down and tell your fellow members a little about yourself. Have a great 1996. 73...

Contact: Adrian Rawlings