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

Season's greetings. Please make a note of our forthcoming AGM on Thursday 9th January at 12.30pm. As usual, this will be held in the Green Room above the old Lecture Theatre.An email reminder will be sent nearer the time. Also a reminder that subscriptions are due on 1st January, and remain at 5 per annum.Subs can be paid at the AGM, ora cheque made payable to OUARC can be sent to the Treasurer, Fraser Robertson , S1021 Venables Building, Open University,Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA.Your continued support of the club is appreciated.

The main news this time is the complete lack of aerials at the club station following the storm on Sunday 27th October, with gusts reported at 95mph.There was a lot of damage locally, with trees blown down across roads and brick walls blown over.

The worst damage we sustained was to the 60' mast, which partly broke and bent in the middle.This meant that we could not safely attempt to lower it down, and so in the end it had to be pulled over.OU Estates and Health & Safety staff were brought in to help, and the whole field site was closed off for a week while the mast was was made safe.Unfortunately, pulling the mast over meant writing off the KT34XA tribander, which hitherto was unscathed, but after much thought this was considered to be the safest and most economical solution.The plan was to move the caravan safely out of the way first, so the mains and aerial cables were isolated and disconnected. Tom and Fraser spent some hours freeing up and lubricating the levelling jacks, and inflating the tyres, since the caravan hasn't been moved for thirteen years.As it happened, the caravan wasn't moved anyway because building works prevented getting a towing vehicle onto the site. In the event, the beam broke the fall of the mast, which missed the caravan by about six inches.The three inch diameter boom burying itself two feet into the ground.Then followed a lengthy operation of dismantling the beam etc. and getting the remainder of the mast, which was dangling from 30' in the air,safely down on terra firma without causing further damage. Many thanks to all those who have helped with the dismantling and clear-up operation.

The upshot of the above operation is that the mast, beam and rotator were written off.Fortunately the VHF/UHF colinear and all the cables were carefully retrieved undamaged so can be used again.We are hoping to erect a replacement mast and HF beam, ideally in front of the caravan where maintenance will be easier since there is more space, and no trees in the way. The M100 mast, which carried a considerably lighter load, was undamaged in the storm, but the LF wire aerials it supported were yanked off by the wind.Even the modest 12m delta loop supported by a tree behind the shack ended up broken. The new topband receiving loop (11 square of RG62 ) in front of the shack had its aluminium support pole bent over double.

Adrian and Fraser have now taken down the M100 and are in the process of replacing the winch cables.The plan is to use this mast to support the topband dipole as before, but fed with coax cable instead of ladder line.Below that will be the 40m bisquare as this has proved to be effective, and being base fed is convenient and easy to set up. Finally we will fit an 80m dipole below the bisquare apex, fed with ladder line.This could also be pressed into use on 40m, and on 30m where it becomes a double extended zepp (two x 5/8 l in phase) giving a small broadside gain.Once this is sorted out we will put up some temporary wire aerials near the shack.Possibly a 20m delta loop in the trees for starters, so we should be up and running at least on some bands in the coming weeks.There are also plans to use the bottom section of the broken mast to support a temporary pole for HF wire aerials.

As mentioned earlier, access to the field site has been made very awkward in recent months due to the road that is being put in for the new library building.We were initially told this would take a couple of weeks, but due to all the cables and other underground services involved it has taken considerably longer. At last the tarmac has been laid, so we should regain vehicle access and hopefully the chance to park a car or two near the shack.The junk for the last boot sale all had to be carried by hand fifty metres across the field.

This year we had pitches at two boot sales; DDRC and MKARS, and the proceeds of these together with two other sales of junk netted us 240.67 for club funds.We were also successful in bidding to the OU Club and the General Purposes Fund towards upgrading our linear amplifier.We had been offered a generous trade-in deal. However this project is currently on hold until we sort out what's happening to the aerial systems. We are very grateful to the OU club for also paying our licence fee, RSGB and ARRL subs.We have recently subscribed to CQ magazine, starting with the December issue.

At the last Field Site meeting on 17th September we were finally told that is unlikely the field site will be relocated in the next two or three years, mainly due to the financial situation.In the meantime work has started on the new Library, so the existing field site continues to shrink, and be surrounded by tall buildings, which to our detriment spew out broadband noise from the computer network.At the moment however there is no obvious alternative location for us.

Open Day on Saturday 22nd June went well. We had more visitors than usual since there were other displays near to the shack, and our presence was well publicised.Many thanks to all those who helped, and who came along to say hello.A joint project between us and the OU Astronomy club to demonstrate receiving sun noise did not materialise due to the long UHF yagi being delivered late.We hope to sort that out for next time.

Both the shack computers have been upgraded to P75's running Windows 95, with sound cards and CD ROMs.These were built up from scrapped PC's.Not exactly state of the art, but more than adequate, and they will enable us to use PSK31 and other digital modes once were up and running again and suitable interfaces have been built.We now have more reliable access to the DXCluster since GB7KHW started up in Bedford .KHW runs DXSPIDER via an internet gateway, so provides plenty of DX spots from all over the world. Our own packet node is still kept busy, mainly with BBS forwarding on the 70cm ports.

The last videos were in May and showed the Ayr Amateur Radio Group putting Scottish islands on the air.The next video will be shown on Thursday 23rd January,starting at 12.30pm in N2028 Venables Building.This is titled: Legends of Amateur Radio W6HX, W6EA, W6OJ. Everyone welcome.

We welcome two new local student members, Dave M0BZK and John M0AWI.Thanks to both who have written a few words about themselves for the newsletter:

My name is Dave Mapeley and I have been a ham since 1996, when I was a scout leader and took the novice course run by Phil G0EYZ at the camp site in Cosgrove. I then took a correspondence course and passed the RAE in 1996 and had the call M1AGG.It was after this I was introduced to the Milton Keynes ARC Morse club where Mike M0AEQ, Bill G0TGU and Steve G0GGU spent 2 years trying to teach me CW.It was not until after 18 months I found out that I was tone deaf in one ear, but after being fitted with a deaf aid I did manage to pass the test and became M0BZK.I tend to use ssb/data modes on all hf bands and enter/give points away in most contests.Until a few weeks ago I had not used CW to any extent, because apart from my bad ears I have arthritis in my hands.However, recently I started to use N1MM logger as a contest logging program and after building a RS232 interface to the radio I can now use it to send CW, and use another program to check what I am copying. My radio equipment consists of:

Kenwood TS 850SAT

ICOM IC706 mk2 and AT-11MP ATU TRIO TR9000 TAIT T500 and pk232 tnc for packet Home built AMD 233 computer So far this year I have worked just under 2000 stations on HF and worked 148 countries and I need 12 cards for my DXCC award. I am also a member of the MKARS and the Chiltern DX CLUB.I am unable to work through disability so I have a lot of time to be on the radio, I have started S103 Discovering science this month and it is the first course I have done with the OU.

John writes:I have recently joined the ranks of OAP having completed a spell of 33 years with the Dixons Group.I started off as a field service engineer covering most of north east Essex.Finishing my time as Technical Training Manager based at Hemel Hempstead, hence my re-location from Colchester to Milton Keynes. I have always had an interest in ham radio and swling.Following an article in the local Parish Magazine about amateur radio I joined the MKDARS (now MKARS) and soon became licensed as G7TLI, it took a further two years to pass the Morse code test and I am now M0AWI.My wife and I have one daughter, Karen who is a Course Manager at the OU.In fact it was Karen who suggested that I embark on a course of studies with the OU to keep my grey cells moving.I am about to start the TU170 and MU120 courses.

Thats all for this time. Have a good Christmas break.

73 for now
Contact: Adrian Rawlings