OPEN UNIVERSITY AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
NEWS LETTER no:28
G0OUR Affiliated to the OU Club and the Radio Society of
If there is a red cross at the top
of this newsletter it indicates that your subscription for 2002 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, S1021 Venables Building, OU,
MK7 6AA.This newsletter is
longer than usual thanks to submissions from Paul G0WAT and Adrian
very sorry to report that Frank Owen G3ACT passed away in January after
suffering a heart attack at Christmas.Frank
was a volunteer reader of OU course material for visually impaired
students and had been a club member for two years.
AGM was held onFriday 18th
and we had a good turn out
again with twelve members attending.Jeff
Walsh 2E1AOJ has taken over from Tom G0PSU as Equipment Officer.
The other club officers remain
unchanged.Copies of the
minutes can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org
discussion at the AGM, we purchased a used FT8500 in February for use
on the packet node.The OU
club agreed that we could use the money we had been granted towards a
replacement HF linear (which we had been unsuccessful in obtaining) to
buy this radio.The radio is
now in use on the 9k6 link to Bedford, where an identical radio is used
at the other end of the link.The
TM441, formerly on the Bedford link has been switched to the Didcot
link, finally freeing up the clubs IC471 70cm multimode rig.
This has now been returned to the
shack and shares the colinear with our TR9130 2m multimode via a
diplexer.We’ve been using it
to monitor a FM voice repeater/internet gateway (GB3BN), which has
stations as far afield as New Zealand regularly working through it.
activities earlier this year were somewhat curtailed due to mains power
being cut to most of the field site, and hence the shack.
This was due to part of the 3-phase
supply system being deemed unsafe by electrical contractors working for
Estates Division.I’m pleased
to say that following a period of complaints, arm-twisting and
negotiation, the necessary refurbishment was carried out and power was
restored on 27th
We have been
reminded of the Edgware & District ARS straight key evening,
which is on Friday 10th
May starting at 7pm on
80m, around 3.54MHz.This is
not a contest but a chance to enjoy a leisurely Morse contact or two.
It is an ideal opportunity for
anyone feeling a bit rusty on HF CW to have a go.
pitch booked at the DDRC boot sale, Stockwood Park, Luton, on Sunday 12th
May.This will be our first
sale of the year and any help on the day will be appreciated.
Open Day is
on Saturday 22nd
OU Physics dept. whose observatory is near the shack, are planning to
have a marquee on the field site, so we can expect lots of visitors.
The radio club will be publicised in
both the Science and Technology open day booklets. We hope as many
members as possible will be able to make
it, and all are welcome to take a stint at operating.
has taken over from Ian G0TLB as the clubs QSL manager.
Linda comes will lots of experience as she is already QSL manager for
YB0ABB, GM0F, 2S0F and GM4AFF, and used to do the honours for the
Northampton club – G3GWB/G8LED.
well as dealing with our paper cards, Linda has cleared our backlog of
EQSL’s, which seem to be getting increasingly popular,
received QSL cards are now kept in the shack and thanks go to Linda and
Les for bringing the sorting up to date.
the cards are now in alphabetical order.
with the 80m delta loop proved
to be disappointing, with very little improvement in DX reports when
compared with the inverted vee dipole.In
fact the dipole usually had a slight edge.This
combined with its high receive noise level due to being vertically
polarised, meant it did not stay up for long!
In January it was replaced with a bisquare for 40m.
This is a diamond shaped loop, open at the top, each side
being one wavelength long, and is reputed to give up to 4dB of
For 40m it’s
quite a monster and with the top up at about 115 feet we can just about
fit it in, the feed point being about five feet above ground level.
This aerial has been a success and
does give a noticeable improvement over the dipole for DX in its
the dipole beats it for short skip European contacts.
The bisquare is fed via coax. and a balanced matching unit
at its base.
work entailed Tom and Fraser dropping the 60’ mast down when the
topband dipole got blown into and twisted up in the HF beam during the
gales in February.This
involved standing on top of the shack balancing Tom’s portable
telescopic mast with a hook on top of it – quite a hairy experience.
A few weeks later in yet another
gale one leg of the 40m dipole came adrift and got tangled up in the
trees behind the shack.This
has also been repaired.
Field Site User meeting was on 19th
although there is not a great deal to report. The new
library is definitely to be built on the area of the field site
previously destined for additional car parking.
Completion is anticipated for Xmas 2003.
It is still likely that the field research site will move
to the south field, but the goal posts keep changing.
The next step is for the different users to get together
and put a co-ordinated case/proposal forward to Estates, but there
doesn’t seem to be much progress being made with that at the moment.
Our own proposal was submitted
months ago, but we’re not exactly in the driving seat on this one.
video was ‘World at their Finger Tips’ back in January, which was quite
an interesting look back at the development of the hobby.
The next video will be shown on
May, starting at 12.30pm in N2028
Venables Building.This is
actually two videos of 20 and 27 minutes duration by the Ayr ARG, about
putting the island of Ailsa on the air.Everyone
March, Fraser G4BJM operated as GB5CC (the RSGB ‘HQ station’) from the
OU shack during the RSGB Commonwealth Contest.
This is a 24-hour CW event on 80 through 10m. A total of 869
contacts were made, including 228 band/commonwealth call areas outside
At the end
of March Paul G0WAT operated from the club shack as G5W in the CQ WPX
SSB contest.Over to Paul to
tell us how he got on:
but over the years I have been doing Radio Contests I have always done
SSB events as part of a multi-operator team...I thought it was about
time I changed this so looking down the contest calendar I saw that CQ
WPX SSB was coming up at the end of March.A
quick check with Fraser gave a provisional yes for using the OUARC
station...provisional because of the problems with lack of power to the
shack!...was it going to be ready in time?...the jury was out but it
looked as if all was going to be OK.
a bit nip and tuck almost up to the off, but on the Wednesday I got the
green light (probably powered by the electricity now hooked up to the
shack!) and it was all systems go.
It is a 48
hour contest of which the single operator can do 36 hours...the Sunday
was Easter and even though I had received dispensation to be out for
the whole weekend I felt that I did not want to be away for the whole
Sunday...that meant virtually 36 hours straight through and pack-up
early on the Sunday afternoon.
I got to MK
at about 10.00pm and proceeded to set-up the station...the only problem
being I had forgotten where the computer on/off switch was...I must
have been having a senior moment as I found it staring at me bold as
brass after 10 minutes of searching...I think this must be the radio
set-up equivalent of forgetting how to spell easy words...Hmmm
sure I should know how to spell that one!
So Radio on,
Linear-fired up, Computer time checked (see later) and 00.00 and
they’re off..quite good rates to start with although as I am sure
Fraser has mentioned before very noisy LF....I was working split on 40m
to get Stateside which was quite successful with the 40m Bi-Square...I
managed to get through the whole of the night without falling asleep
and kept a reasonable rate up...however disaster struck at about 05.30
when logging a station I looked up to see the clock displaying not
05.30 but 17.30!....Aaargh! when I had re-set the computer clock I had
put in 11.xxrather than
23.xx.This was not a problem
I fancied tackling in the wee small hours...but it needed to be done as
the whole log from there on would be out!...I had about 400+Q's in the
log at this point...I had to come out of the main program I was using
(Super-Duper) go into the log and edit all the times...change the
computer time...re-boot the log praying that I wouldn't get a
error...phew! it booted up OK and that was my biggest cock-up out of
proceeded well until the afternoon when I had to crash out for an
hour....when I got back on things went OK up until about 01.00 on the
Sunday morning when I was going a bit cross eyed and had to sleep again
for about 4 hours...coming back on at about 05.00 I started working
split on 40m again, however it was absolute bedlam on 40m and between
7.100 and 7.300 (American 40m SSB band)...whilst scanning up to find a
nice clear listening frequency I alighted on 7.310...that’s nice and
clear I thought, no Broadcast stations to fight through...and I
proceeded to call...'This is G5W listening this frequency and
7.310'...s'funny no-one coming back...well this approach worked fine
last night?...a few minutes later a U.S station came up on my lower
frequency and said' Hey buddy you’re listening outaa band up
there!'...jeez what an idiot, in my pleasure at finally finding an 'up'
frequency that was clear I had omitted to clock the fact that I was
listening out of band...a real forehead slapper that one!
off at about 13.00 on the Sunday as I wanted to get back home to the
family...in all I did I suppose about 32 hours but the log says I did
35....not sure where those other 3 hours went...maybe I was asleep at
the keyboard (not unknown!)
The scores on the doors were: -
Claimed Score: 3,077,184
I entered was Single Op All Band High Power (Tribander/Wires).
I have not seen any higher scores in
this section posted from the UK so it looks like I did pretty
well!...although who knows until the results come out next year.
Many thanks to Fraser for his help
in getting the station ready and to the OUARC for letting me use the
6m Repeater Tests.
Two OUARC members carried out field tests last year for the Northampton
Repeater Group, and Adrian has written up their experiences:
the Northampton repeater group (NRG) carried out some field tests to
see what the coverage of a 6m repeater would be. Bert (G3FVO) and I
took part and went /M, setting out from Milton Keynes and making our
way southwards, ably assisted by Leon (G3HDJ) as interlocutor.
I wanted to explore propagation on
6m. How does 6m compare to 2m for propagation? Is height as important
on 6m as it is on 2m and higher bands? I also wanted to get a feel for
the performance of my newly acquired handheld.
equipment was modest. The rig was an Icom IC-T8 tri-band handheld,
which provided a solid 3.5 watts when powered from the vehicle’s 12v
socket. There were two antenna. The first was a 2m 5/8 wavelength
magmount whip. This had a 1:1.2 SWR on 6m, but I can’t understand why
since 5/8s at 145 MHz doesn’t scale to anything interesting at 51 MHz;
I put it down to luck! The second antenna was a dedicated 6m sleeve
dipole in combination with a secret weapon – a 19-foot roach pole.
Opinion was divided as to whether or not the roach pole would work,
since some are loaded with carbon fibre that might absorb the radiation.
Bert and I
set off from Wavendon (S. Milton Keynes) which is located at the foot
of the range of hills known as the Brickhills. We then drove up to the
top of Bow Brickhill and operated from a spot quite close to the large
broadcast antenna. From there we drove to Great Brickhill, choosing a
high spot close to the cellular phone mast, then down the A5 to the
Little Chef south of Hockliffe. The final site was on high ground just
south of Leighton Buzzard.
the signal in received in Northampton are shown in the table below.
sleeve dipole & roach pole||
whip antenna on car roof||
bottom of hill; not line of sight|
top of hill; clear line of sight||19 miles; top of hill; line of sight, but obscured by trees|
Brickhill (A5)||599||21 miles; top of hill; clear line of sight|
level ground; surrounded by trees|
top of hill; clear line of sight.|
show what I had suspected. On 6m, antenna height and a good
line-of-sight path are the dominant factors. Given an adequate path, it
doesn’t take much power to establish a workable link. We concluded the
tests at Leighton Buzzard because we had run out of time. Had we set
off earlier, I would have liked to have gone further, say to the
Chilterns at Ivanhoe Beacon.
is alive and well
anecdote shows that Morse is a language that, far from dying out, is
alive and well. When we arrived at the Little Chef car park just south
of Hockliffe we could hear nothing with the whip. We erected the roach
pole and transmitted again. The controller at NRG could be heard saying
that he could hear a transmission but couldn’t make out the callsign.
‘religion’ is QRP CW, and I have spent many an hour picking out very
weak signals around Europe and having CW QSOs with 5 watts or less. I
well remember a QSO with a Belgian amateur near Namur who was getting
in with 559 using 800mW into a rhombic on 80m! My thoughts immediately
turned to CW; but how? This was an FM handheld. The rig has a separate
microphone with several control buttons. I realised that I
could send CW using the 1750 Hz tone button, in the little-used F2A
mode. With the microphone on my knee, I could key with my
index finger at a comfortable 4 wpm:
ur rst 539 qth nr hockliffe qrx 10 mins ar de m0ans va
The NRG controller replied ‘Help!
There’s no one here at the moment who does CW’. At this point, Leon
came in and translated, ‘It was m0ans who is /mobile at the moment. He
says that your signal strength is about 539, and that he is located
near Hockliffe. He asks if you could stand by for ten minutes’. Such
eloquence. It took less than ten minutes to drive to the nearest high
ground and find a spot that was clear of trees. This was just to the
west of the railway cutting where it’s crossed by they A418 to the
south of Leighton Buzzard. By this time Bert and I were well drilled in
erecting the roach pole, so we were QRV in under a minute.
a delight to receive a 599 report with the sleeve dipole. We did a
quick check with the whip antenna and were unsurprised that the report
was only 529. With that, we concluded the tests, saying that this would
be the edge of the NRG 6m repeater area. Not many /M operators would be
driving around with a 19-foot roach pole mounted on the roof!
That’s all for this time.
73 for now…