Time has flown by since the Christmas break, and it’s hard to believe Easter is now over too. If there is a red cross at the top of this newsletter it indicates that your 1999 subscription has not been received. If so, your continued support of the club would be much appreciated. Subs remain at five pounds per anum. Cheques payable to OUARC should be sent to the Treasurer, Fraser Robertson, Venables Building, OU, MK7 6AA.
The club held its AGM at the end of January. One of the items discussed was the possibility of buying a portable mast for aerial experiments, and we are looking into this. It was also proposed and agreed that the club should subscribe to QST, the monthly journal of the ARRL (American Radio Relay League). This only costs £29 per annum by surface mail for RSGB members and affiliated clubs. However, our first issue has yet to arrive, so presumably is still somewhere aboard ship mid Atlantic! Copies of the minutes are available from the Secretary, Adrian@euroneta.com.
At last years AGM it was suggested that the club Secretary should look into the callsign G2OU with the view to having it transferred to the OUARC. Extensive research by Adrian showed that this was the callsign of one Gilbert White. Gilbert’s first license was BRS 4, which he received in 1919. In the early 1920s he was issued with his transmitting licence of G2OU. The Radiocommunications Agency state that callsigns can only be transferred out of a family with the express wish of the next of kin. Further telephone calls located his nephew, Peter Tatlow, who is a physics teacher in Wiltshire, and also a licensed amateur. Peter plans to use the callsign for the school's radio club. The OUARC wish Peter every success in this venture.
Touch wood all the aerials are still in good shape and working well. In February we put up a delta loop for 12m. This is supported by a rope halyard in the trees behind the shack, about 40’ high. Thanks in particular to Bill Mawson for helping to put it up. The loop is fed with 75W coax, which was carefully trimmed to be a multiple of electrical quarterwaves using the clubs MFJ259. This transforms the loop’s circa 100W feedpoint resistance down to 50W . The loop itself was cut for resonance at 24.9MHz and has a Q of 13, giving an almost unity SWR across the band. Conditions on 12m have been very good some lunchtimes, with contacts to Australia, Japan, India, USA and across Europe, so the loop has proved to be very effective.
The next project is to put up a bi-square for 18MHz, by modifying the existing 7MHz vertically polarised quad loop which is hung from the tower. This loop has never been found to outperform the dipole for DX working, no doubt due to it’s lower average height, and for short skip contacts the dipole wins every time. The modifications will involve shortening each side of the loop by 2.86m, inserting an insulator at the top, and replacing the coax feed with open wire line. The bi-square aerial is horizontally polarised and bi-directional, with 5dB of broadside gain, so should be an interesting and useful aerial to try out.
The last lunchtime video back in January was called "Skywatching". This gave an informative look at the daytime sky, discussing the sun, clouds, wind, precipitation, weather hazards, and including sun spots and aurora. The next video will be shown on Tuesday 25th May at 12.30pm in N2028 Venables Building, and is entitled: ‘VHF – All you need to know to pass the VHF Marine Operator’s Examination.’
Most of you will by now have seen the new QSL cards, which have turned out very well. These were paid for by the O.U. Club and sport the club’s logo on the front. We have just sent a batch of 350 cards off to the bureau, so the backlog has been cleared. Batches of cards arrive for us every couple of months or so, and Ian does a good job sorting them out and filing them alphabetically. We must by now easily qualify for DXCC (DX Century Club Award) for having confirmed contacts with one hundred countries.
The packet node continues to provide reliable links for the adjacent BBS’s. Chris, Robert and Fraser recently moved the six metre beam back up to the top roof, since the lower roof is now due to be resurfaced. We plan to replace the six metre beam soon, probably with some kind of home made vertical, so that the beam can be put to better use over at the shack with the IC756. The 6m port was originally used for a dedicated horizontal link to EB node in Earls Barton, Northants, which has since closed down. It is now only used to link to GB7BEN a few miles away, so a 5 element beam is a bit of an overkill, as well as being the wrong polarisation.
We have been approached regarding the removal and disposal of the old two metre diameter satellite dish that’s on the lower roof, but on investigation it proved to be too big a job for us to tackle safely. We already have another dish for disposal, which was donated to us and dismantled by club members a couple of years ago.
Over recent months we have been collecting a large quantity of ‘junk’, so we are fully stocked up ready for the boot sale season. Like last year we plan to have stalls at two boot sales this summer. Firstly the Dunstable Downs RC sale at Stockwood Park on 16th May, then the MKDARS sale at Bletchley Park in September. Assistance at either event would be appreciated.
73 for now…