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

Firstly I’m sorry to have to report that founder member Jim Lee G1HUE, passed away on the 14th August. OUARC was represented at his funeral by Tom G3LMX and Fraser G4BJM. Jim had often spoken of starting a radio club at the OU long before we actually got off the ground, and he was a also a founder and initially very active member of the OU Astronomy club. Formerly an ITN cameraman and journalist, he spent time in Australia where one of his sons has settled, and on his return worked at the OU as an electronics technician until his retirement. Jim had a range of interests including photography, astronomy, radio and electronics, and was a keen home constructor in all these fields. He did a great deal of work in the club shack, among other things installing shelving and benches. Jim leaves two sons and a daughter, his wife Wenda having unfortunately passed away earlier this year.

Jim had previously disposed of his equipment, much of which he donated to the club for our ‘boot sales’. However more recently he purchased an Icom IC-T7E dual band handheld. His son has asked if any members would be interested in this, and said Jim would have liked it to have gone to a club member. Contact Fraser on 01908 655087 or for further details.

Following the decision at the AGM we have now upgraded our HF radio. The Corsair 2 was sold privately in June, and the following week we collected a second hand IC756 in mint condition. This radio gives us six metre capability, along with other useful facilities such as general coverage receive from 30kHz to 60MHz, spectrum display, DSP filtering etc. Members are encouraged to make good use of it; the new set is ‘state of the art’ and should keep us going for many years to come. A computer interface has been built for it, and optional filters ordered. The latter paid for by a generous grant from the OU Club, who also agreed to pay for a six metre aerial, as well as our licence fee and RSGB subscription. We are very grateful to the OU club for their continued support.

The last lunchtime video was ‘PJ9W – 1990 CQ WW SSB Contest’. Although not bang up to date this video gave an interesting account of a winning contest station, in the infancy days of computer logging and remote spotting. All the aerials were home made, including large stacked arrays for the higher bands, and even a full size rotatable three element beam for 80m. Those guys weren’t messing around! The next video is on Thursday 15th October at 12.30 in N2028 Venables Building. The video is "DX-Pedition Fastnet" and shows an account of the successful 1991 expedition to activate Fastnet Rock Lighthouse.

This year for the first time we had stalls at two ‘boot sales’, firstly the Dunstable Downs RC sale on 17th May, and more recently the MKDARS sale at Bletchley Park on 13th September. Both sales were good fun and very succcessful, netting £80.57 and £122 respectively. Many thanks to all those who donated to the sales and manned the stalls. We still have ‘junk’ left over and it continues to arrive in dribs and drabs. Please keep it coming for next year.

Some more good news, G0OUR took first place out of fifty two entrants in the RSGB Club Calls Contest (November 98), the results of which were published in the September issue of Radcom. We managed 138 SSB contacts, giving us a total score of 1754 points, and will be presented with the Ariel Trophy at the RSGB HF Convention at Windsor in October.

This years Open Day on 27th June was deemed a big success despite the changeable weather – there was a massive storm as we were packing up in the late afternoon. The club station was activated in the evening. That weekend corresponded with the U.S. field day contest, and many contacts were made with portable stations ‘across the pond’.

In August we had an interesting tour of BT’s Rugby HF transmitting station. Most of their transmitters run 10kW output, into a comprehensive aerial farm. The operation there is gradually being wound down and we discussed the possibility of inheriting some of their tower sections. From a staff of 150 there are now only three and they also maintain all coastal stations south of Whitby, most of which are VHF only. We came away with some of their scrapped VHF comms gear which we subsequently sold at Bletchley Park! Many thanks to our Secretary Adrian who organised the trip. Adrian is looking into other similar activities in the future, one possibility is a trip to the DTI monitoring station at Baldock.

No changes have been made to the HF aerial system. The tower could do with being dropped down to investigate the problem with the 2m/70cm colinear, although there is no great urgency for that. We will be buying a six metre vertical, and it may be worth going for a tribander so that it would replace the existing colinear. We do have a six metre beam that is used on the packet node. Ultimately it would be nice to replace that with a vertical and mount the beam above the tribander on the tower, we would then be in a very good position to take advantage of the improving sun spots and work some six metre DX. The O.U. has now purchased the land to the south of the existing field site, but any relocation plans are very long term.

Not much to report on the packet front. The OU node continues to run 24 hours a day with virtually no maintenance, and is much appreciated by the area sysops. The local packet group MKPAC are planning to install a node at nearby Sherington which will give 9600 baud BBS access on 70cm, plus faster forwarding links are planned on 23cm. This is good news for local users and will also take the strain off the OU node. Site tests will be carried out in the coming weeks and the first port(s) should be operational before Christmas.

Well that’s about all the news for now. Time is rolling by fast and it won’t be long before Christmas is upon us, and following that the next AGM! Any items for the next news letter to Fraser please.

73 for now…

Contact: Adrian Rawlings