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

Firstly, sorry for the delay in producing this newsletter, it has been on the cards for a couple of months, but there always seems to be a constant flow of other things that need doing. Still, better late than never I suppose.

For those of you who could not attend the AGM, the main outcome was the desire expressed by those present to obtain radio equipment for the club. As you know we have had an FT401 HF rig on loan for a considerable time. Most members present expressed the view that the purchase of a 2m rig should be a priority, in order to cater for our class B contingent. An application was made to the O.U. Club to help with funding, and although like everyone else, they are limited to a strict budget, we were fortunate in obtaining a grant from them.

In January a second hand Icom IC251 was obtained at a very reasonable price, which included an 8XY beam (brand new), a rotator, and some cable. For good measure some PMR gear and a few piles of radio mags were thrown in! The rig is an early 10W multimode, and is somewhat primitive by today's standards, but nevertheless is a good starting point. So far the rig has been used mostly on FM, using a ground plane and a 2el HB9CV beam. It is hoped the 8XY will be erected in the near future which will greatly extend coverage, and perhaps a small linear can be built or purchased.

In the last week a Ten Tec Corsair 2 has been purchased for HF. The rig is 3 years old and in very good order. Part of the money for this rig has been borrowed, on the understanding that it will be repaid by the end of the year. We have a few fund raising ideas, so we should be able to end the year in the black, 'nothing ventured nothing gained' as the saying goes.

Further news with regard to the shack: Jim continues to make use of his wood working skills, and has fitted additional shelving, and some more bench space. However, it seems we are able to fill the extra space faster than Jim can provide it! There is always the possibility of obtaining larger, or additional premises to our present shack, and where possible hints are dropped in the appropriate places.

Tom G3LMX is our resident Amateur TV expert, and is presently collecting equipment that can be modified for the clubs use. There is a fast scan colour TV repeater on 10GHz within a few miles of the O.U., and we hope in future to be able to send and receive pictures through it, and apparently for a very modest outlay. This will make an interesting project, being one of the more specialised aspects of our hobby. Now that we have the 2m rig, perhaps we should also think about making use of the Amateur Satellite Service?

Most of you will have seen the club mentioned in either Sesame or Open Graduate recently. As a result, we received a large number of enquiries from students and graduates of the University, both by 'snail mail' and packet. In fact Chris, the Sysop at GB7BEN, jokingly suggested we could justify running our own BBS. We even had a packet message from an O.U. student studying in Cyprus. Ted has been sending out info sheets, and Ian is keeping a data base of O.U. student hams, and we hope this will enable them to use the hobby to contact others with similar course profiles. The list is available freely to members, and to non members on receipt of an A4 SAE. It may also be available as a file on GB7BEN shortly, (BEN is now running FBB software).

On the packet front, Ian has been experimenting with node software, firstly running the G8BPQ Packet Switch program on the PC, and latterly using NET/ROM firmware in our BSX TNC. The 'OU' node has been running on 4m, and at one stage was providing the North / South DX Cluster link when the normal link was out of commission. We have a Pye 'Wessie' which will be modified soon for 2m use, including linking to GB7BEN, so we should have at least a two port node operational. It would be great to extend this to four ports, adding say 6m and 70cm when funds are available. Not only is this an interesting and educational project, but it is nice to be able to put something back into the hobby. The amateur packet system exists solely due to the vast amount of time and equipment provided freely by dedicated amateurs, and our club has already benefited greatly from this. In addition, the OU node is another means of raising the profile of the club, and the University as a whole.

Now that the weather is improving, the aerial work (that was imminent at the time of writing newsletter 2!) will be done. Firstly there is some welding to be carried out on the tower, and secondly both the HF and VHF aerials need sorting out. Some members have asked about the possibility of erecting a second mast. This point was put before the Field Site Users Group back in March. No objections were raised, and Estates were to mention the idea to the local planners. However it is likely to be some time before funds could be raised, and the existing mast is not yet being fully exploited.

It was agreed at the AGM that it was time we had an Equipment Manager, and Tom G0PSU was press ganged into the post. Tom's roll is to provide co-ordination between the different projects we are involved in, in particular with respect to the shack and aerials. This will ensure that members can work together for the common good of the club, rather than flying off at tangents on our own (usually me!).

Next year is the 25th anniversary of the Open University, and we plan to activate a special event station GB25OU, for a period that will include Open Day. This idea has been welcomed by the General Facilities Council, who have agreed to fund special QSL cards. While on the subject of QSL's, we have received several more batches of cards from the bureau, and we continue to QSL 100%.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to the following new club members: Bob Lambourne (Physics), Roger G4IUH, Ian G4JXZ, I. White G8TLI, Martin G4TOO, Peter G0PWZ, Paul G1ZCY/2E0AAV, Richard G0REL, Elizabeth G0RJX, Rowena 2E0ADA, and E. Wolfenden G7OJT. Congratulations to Graham and Ian who both sailed through the RAE. Graham is delaying his licence application since he is busy studying for his degree. Ian was G7ORQ for a couple of days prior to being issued with G0TLB. He assures me that rumours of him donning short trousers and applying for the Young Amateur of the Year Award are completely unfounded.

Finally, we are collecting 'junk' for the MKDARS boot sale. Last year this proved to be a very successful fund raising event for us, so we would welcome any contributions. You would be surprised what we amateurs will buy at these do's!

Please send any items for inclusion in the next newsletter to Fraser.

73's for now...
Contact: Adrian Rawlings