It's been some time since the last newsletter, and quite a lot has been going on. Before we start I will give notice of our next AGM. As usual, this will be held in the Green Room above the old Lecture Theatre, at 12.30pm on Thursday 11th January 2001. Please make a note in your diary, local members will be reminded nearer the time. Also a reminder that subscriptions are due on 1st January, and remain at £5 per annum.
The portable mast was taken down in March, a little later than originally agreed. We put it back up in June, along with the same arrangement of parallel LF dipoles. Unfortunately these had been left on the ground at the base of the mast, and it took a lot of work to disentangle them from the growth of long grass - we won't do that again!
It now looks certain that the proposal to build a car park on part of the existing field research site will go ahead. Back in March we were told that extending the existing car park into the field site was the preferred option to provide extra parking capacity for the new Business School that is currently being built. We submitted comments in April, stating that our activities would be seriously impaired should these plans go ahead, and other users of the site raised similar concerns. With the car park and the plans to double the size of the Security Lodge, also into the field site, users felt they were being squeezed out. In recent years the University has acquired additional land around the campus, bringing the site area from 82 acres up to 111 acres. This includes land to the south of the existing field site, and the likelihood is that we will be relocated there. In July we were asked to submit a bid to the Director of Estates, which we did, along with other users of the site. The current plan is to relocate to the new site next summer, and this will obviously entail a great deal of work, especially in moving our fixed mast. There is an old bungalow on the edge of the new site, and there is a possibility of that being refurbished and made available to site users. That would be ideal since our present caravan 'shack' would not be secure enough at the more remote location.
In August we packed up and moved the mobile mast because work was due to start on the car park in September. As it turned out this work was delayed, but is due to start anytime now. In the meantime we have obtained permission to erect the mast temporarily on the edge of the existing site, some 30m to the south of the shack. With the space needed for guying there is just enough room there for it. The mast is now up in it's new position, supporting a topband dipole, with plans to try a sloper for 80m in the near future.
Welcome to the following five new members: Linda Waddoups, G0GNZ of Design & Innovation, Technology Faculty. Linda and Les Taylor, M0CMK and 2E1EOT. Linda is an ex OU employee, and their daughter and son-in-law both work on campus. Also to Geoff Walsh of Estates Division, who is taking the novice exam in December, and last but not least Frank G3ACT, who reads course material for the OU Audio Recording Centre. Linda M0CMK has been activating the station on HF SSB, and her female voice along with the club call has generated some hefty pileups. Frank has also been activating the call, mainly on 80m SSB on Sunday mornings.
The station was activated on Open Day by Linda G0GNZ, Paul M5ABU, and Linda M0CMK. Linda G0GNZ started off with a good run on 40m SSB, and later some good DX was worked on 20m, with Paul finally closing the station down at 7pm. The station has also been active in a number of contests, including the ARRL DX contest, WPX CW and SSB using the GX0 prefix, and during the RSGB Club Calls contest on topband.
This year we had stalls at four 'boot sales', the most we've attended before is two per year. The sales were good fun as usual, and enabled us to clear out a lot of junk, although we seem to have a never ending supply and the shed is almost full again. First we attended the British Amateur Television Club rally, which was held at Bletchley Park for the first time, and cleared £140 for club funds. This was followed by the DDRC sale at Luton where we cleared £93.56. We then went up to the RATS sale at Rugby, a first time for us, where we made £86.50, and finally we cleared a further £125 at the MKDARS sale at Bletchley Park. All in all nearly£450, a very useful contribution to club funds. Many thanks to all those who helped.
Adrian has collected some useful 'junk' that was being scrapped from Rugby Radio Station. This includes some nice PMR kit, and also a Racal RA1772 receiver complete with manuals. This has a PLL fault, although it does work after a fashion. We will probably sell it to an enthusiast, unless anyone volunteers to try repairing it.
I'm pleased to report that the local packet support group, MKPAC, have donated a radio to us for the 9k6 mail-forwarding link to GB7BED in Bedford. The radio is a Kenwood TM441E which has been modified for 9600 baud, and is doing a pretty good job. We are very grateful for this generous donation. The OU node continues to work pretty reliably and is much appreciated locally.
This year we put in a bid to the OU Club for funding to refurbish the fixed mast, i.e. replace the cables and winches, which are well past their sell by date. I'm pleased to say our bid was successful and we are very grateful to the OU Club for their support. As in previous years they have also paid our licence fee, RSGB affiliation fee, and QST subscription. Work on the tower will start when the weather gets better, either in the spring, or if/when the mast is moved to the new site.
The last lunchtime video was way back in May, when we showed Two Pioneers of Radio - G2DX and G6CJ by the Bristol TV Group, followed by Secret Listeners, a BBC account of the work of amateurs during the Second World War. Both these proved to be very interesting. The next video will be from Secret War - World War 2 Series 1991 - 1, Battle of the Atlantic, on Thursday 14th December. This will be shown starting at 12.30pm in N2028 Venables Building. Everyone welcome.
That's about all for this time. Please send any news items or 'member profiles' to Fraser for inclusion in future newsletters.
73 for now...