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

Sorry for the long delay in producing this newsletter. We have had some EMC problems with the HF station setting off alarms in the nearby Security Lodge. I had hoped to be able to report some progress, but things have been dragging on, so I thought I’d pen this anyway. We have carried out some tests ourselves with the co-operation of security staff, and are now waiting to have our station checked over by the local RIS before proceeding further. That seems to be taking an age, although I have been promised it will be in the next week or two, so I’ll continue to chase it. In the meantime we have not been using the HF station at all to be on the safe side.

On the packet front, the recent gales blew down and damaged our 4m beam, so the 4m node port is not currently usable. Since the DXH Cluster moved further south that port has had little use anyway, so it’s not caused any real problem. However, at the recent MKPAC AGM it was requested that we provide a 4m link to the new NWBUKS node in Buckingham, run by G4ZEC. So we plan to repair the beam and put the rig on 70.4875MHz. We already have the crystals as we have used that channel in the past. NWBUKS is providing a much needed back up route for mail forwarding, which takes some pressure off the OU/AVN link. Our link north to GB7LWB failed recently, but after checking out our end, it transpired that a filter at ‘LWB had ‘fallen apart’! Incidentally, the OU node got a mention in the Data Stream column of April’s Radcom.

The topband dipole also suffered in the gales, with the bottom end of the ladder feeder being ripped off it’s connections, and now most of the feeder is entangled in a nearby tree. We will have to drop the tower down to fix that, and will probably replace the home made feeder with 450W slotted ribbon. As we are currently off the air there has been little incentive to do this work, I guess we’ll wait for the better weather! The 4m vertical on the shack roof was also damaged, but the rest of the aerials on the tower survived unscathed. We will probably be making some changes to the wire aerials so as to reduce the field strength at the Security Lodge.

The AGM went smoothly, and we welcome Adrian Rawlings M0ANS as our new Secretary. Many thanks go to Ted G0CGC who had held the position since the club was formed, especially as he only originally agreed to take it on temporarily! Ted minuted the meeting, copies of which are available from Adrian. All other club officers remain unchanged. Among other things Adrian is planning to bring our Web pages up to date. It was decided to reduce the annual subscription from £6 down to £5 in order to try to boost membership figures, and this has also proved to be a much easier amount to collect.

There was a suggestion from Tom G3LMX that the club should be equipped for six metres, since it is a good novice band, and activity will be increasing with the advent of repeaters and improving solar conditions. One possibility would be to change our HF rig for one that includes six metres, and we will look into that, although it was noted that the cheaper HF+6m rigs tend to small mobile types which are not ideally suited to a club shack, and may be more prone to ‘walk’. Tony G0LAX suggested that we produce a list of contests that the club station will be active in, so that other members might be encouraged to participate. There are currently no plans until the EMC problem is resolved, but we hope to be in the Club Calls contest again towards the end of the year. You may have spotted G0OUR in the April Radcom contest results. We just squeezed in to the top half of the table, not bad since the station was only active for the last hour.

The last lunch time video was ‘Amateur Television’ which gave an interesting insight into that aspect of the hobby, both in the UK and Aurstralia. The next video will be ‘Space Shuttle W0ORE Tony England’ on May 13th at 12.30pm in N2028 Venables Building. This is an account of the first amateur in space by the man himself.

We welcome two new members, Barbara G7OVA (@ GB7BEN) wife of member G4BJM, and Alan Cragg G8YKN (@ GB7ZZZ). Alan lists an impressive course profile: T102, T202, TM282, T292, T322, T223, T363, T301 + Bsc. Hons. Thank you to our new Secretary Adrian for providing the following member profile:

I have been interested in most forms of communications since I can remember. I don't know why this is, but it seems to have occupied a lot of my life.

At the age of ten, I would cycle down to the Edgware Road in London and pick up old bits of telephones from the various surplus stores. From these bits I put together intercoms around the house and to the bottom of the garden.

I was introduced to a local radio amateur (G3RIW) and she fired my interest in radio communications. She showed me QSO’s around Europe and beyond. Even now, I still get the 'buzz' from communicating around the world - using only a box of electronics with a piece of wire hanging out of the back.

When I joined the Open University in 1981, my principal job was to set up a wide-area network that could be used by students at the OU study centres. Later this was extended to enable students to work from home, using their Acorn Atom and BBC Micro computers. My interest in radio was momentarily surpassed by data communications and electronic mail.

I sat the RAE in 1985 and got my B-License (G1NIQ), but never got to the point of owning a transmitter. It wasn't until February 1996, when I went to an open evening with the MK & District Amateur Radio Society at Bletchley Park, that I got bitten once again. I signed up for the Morse classes, and started learning CW under the fist of Bill Collier (G0TGU) and Steve Anstey (G0GGU). I took the Morse Test in the following September, and got the A-License (M0ANS) in October 97.

Since then, I've been using Fraser Robertson's (G4BJM) homebrew QRP sets, one for 80m and another for 40m. I made my first CW QSO from home using the 40m rig and QSO’d with a Ham in Warsaw! The most distant contact using this 10w rig has been to Saransk in the Former Soviet Union, over 3000 km away. The antenna is a 56 ft long wire.

And the telephones? The interest is still there. I belong to the Telephone Heritage Group, and have installed a 1930's vintage manual telephone exchange at home. This is made out of wood with 'dolls eye' indicators, and switches two exchange lines and four extensions; you have to crank the magneto to make the extensions ring. Curiously, the exchange comes under the heading of 'legacy equipment' and, since it was made to the Post Offices specifications, it could still be connected to the public network.

Adrian has recently been given an old National NCX5 transceiver which is in need of a bit of TLC, so he hopes to be exploring other bands with that soon. If you haven’t already written your members profile for the club it would be appreciated for inclusion in a future newsletter. Please send it to Fraser Robertson, Electronics, Walton Hall. Any other items of news to the same address please.

Right, that’s about all the news for now. If there is a red cross at the top of this news letter it means your subscription for 1997 is due. Your continued support of the club would be much appreciated. Again sorry for the long delay with this newsletter, and I hope there will be some positive news to report next time about the HF station. 73 for now…

Contact: Adrian Rawlings