I'm pleased to report on the success of our two 'boot sale' stalls this summer. Firstly the DDRS sale at Stockwood Park back in May, where we cleared £225.88, and more recently the MKDARS sale at Bletchley Park where we cleared £208, making these our best sales to date. As always the sales were good fun, and we seem to have built up a clientele of regular customers who appreciate our peculiar assortment of 'junk' at bargain prices. The Bletchley sale was quite a get together, with a good turn out of members, along with friends from the Northampton club who came to visit. Many thanks to all those who helped, in particular to George from Bedford who donated a large quantity of quality junk. We have continued to build up our stock, so much so that we plan to attend the Rugby sale next year in addition to the other two.
I'm pleased to report that we took first place in the RSGB Club Calls contest for the second time, see the July issue of Radcom. We won by a very small margin, with 1603 points against Wigtownshire Amateur Radio Club, GM4RIV, with 1595, only eight points difference. G0OUR was also activated in the RSGB six metre contest in April, and during the WPX (worked all prefixes) contest in May using the GX prefix.
A big welcome to new member Linda G0GNZ. Linda has studied with the O.U. for nine years, obtaining a degree in mathematics and technology, and is now working towards a PhD in the Design department of the O.U. at Walton Hall; "I started in January 1998 and have at last got around to joining the radio club. I became interested in radio through an old friend and enjoyed messing about with long wires etc. and picking up signals from afar on an old radio. In early 1985 I became G1SMQ and used an FT290R on SSB to take part in WAB awards, and QRP contests. I found another YL to practice CW with on a regular basis and gained my new licence in 1986, G0GNZ. I had a TS751 and mainly used CW on the HF bands. Since 1992 I have not had a radio so am very rusty!"
Congratulations to Paul O'Connor who now holds the callsign M5ABU, making him the first OUARC member with one of the new Class A/B licences. This licence class allows access to the HF bands with a power limit of 100W. Paul previously held the calls G1ZCY and 2E0AAV. Since he had already passed the 5wpm Morse test applying for the new licence was just a formality. Paul says he is looking forward to becoming active on HF.
We finally received the May and June issues of QST together, but nothing has arrived since. We are chasing this up (again) with the RSGB and hopefully QST will be arriving on a regular basis in the near future. These magazines along with the clubs copies of Radcom are kept in the shack. We also have copies there of Practical Wireless and Radio Today, which are passed on to us by Tom G0PSU.
The 18MHz bi-square is now up and performing well. This is hung from the top of the tower, with the bottom of the loop just a few metres above the shack roof. The two side corners are pulled out taut using nylon string. It is fed via a short length of open wire feeder, then via a balanced L match tuner in the shack. There is some interaction between this and the 7MHz dipole, resulting in a bad swr on 7MHz. This problem is solved by disconnecting the bi-square from its tuner when working on 7MHz. Some good DX has been worked on 18MHz, and the aerial does appear to exhibit useful broadside gain, working very well into the States. This means that for the first time we now have dedicated aerials for all the HF bands.
The HF station was recently activated by Peter, OZ6XT. Peter came over from Denmark for a month to attend an update course on aeronautical accident investigation, held at nearby Cranfield University. During his stay he visited the O.U. shack several times.
The last lunchtime video was ‘VHF – All you need to know to pass the VHF Marine Operator’s Examination.’ The next video is on Thursday 23rd September at 12.30pm in N2028 Venables Building, and is entitled North Texas Contest Club – 1983. This is billed as 'big beams and big stations, to win contests in Texas style', so although a bit dated it should be interesting and inspiring. As usual anyone is welcome to attend.
Following our visit to Rugby transmitting station, Adrian M0ANS has been keeping in touch with goings on there. He informs us that the HF station was to have closed by now, but has been given a stay of execution by OFTEL. British Airways HF SSB traffic (Speedbird) has been moved over to another operator in anticipation of Rugby closing down.
Touch wood the packet node continues to pretty much look after itself, although we did have a strange failure on the 70cm link to Northampton. It transpired that builders working on the roof had loosened the aerial support and left the beam pointing in totally the wrong direction. If only all faults were as easy as that to fix. Little has happened locally to improve links, so the O.U node remains the main forwarding route through Milton Keynes.
The main shack PC has been upgraded to a 486DX66 with 20M ram. Windows 95 is installed, along with Word and Excel, plus various logging programs and other useful amateur radio software. There are plans to upgrade the old 286 PC that is used for packet in the shack. Once that has been done we will be in a position to run Winpack. Finally, the club's web site has been updated, at least as far as putting the latest newsletters on there.
Okay, that's about all the news for this time.
73 for now…