OPEN UNIVERSITY AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
NEWS LETTER no:30
G0OUR Affiliated to the OU Club and the Radio Society of
Apologies for the lateness of this newsletter, but better late than
never I suppose. The AGM seems a very long way off; in fact it wont
be long before the next one rolls around. We had a good turn out of
fifteen members. Copies of the minutes can be obtained from the
Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org .
The last newsletter reported on the complete lack of aerials following
the October storm. Im pleased to say that, thanks to the effort of a
dedicated bunch of members, we are now operational again on most
bands. Following the lengthy clear-up and salvage operation we set to
work, first replacing the winch cables on the mobile mast. Following
that the topband and 80m dipoles were put back up, along with the
bi-square for 40m. The topband dipole is now fed with an electrical
halfwave of low loss 75W coax, (better than W103). The 80m dipole is
fed with 450W ladder, so can be used across the whole band with a
tuner, and pressed into use on the other bands too. A temporary nest
of dipoles for 20/15/10m was suspended between a tree and the mobile
mast, and these have given good service. These are fed with flat twin
cable, through a choke balun on the shack roof, and give a good match
except when the feeder gets wet in the rain.
During the spring a new heavy duty P60 was erected in front of the
shack to replace the old mast. It was actually quite difficult to site
the P60 and leave space for the guys and tilting/beam assembly, since
an area had been prepared for some Biology experiments, and was sited
incorrectly too close to the shack. In the end we just squeezed it in
with some careful measurements. In July the new HF beam, a German made
Optibeam OB16-3 was assembled and erected, and is now giving great
service. This has a similar length boom to the old KT34XA, but has
individual full size elements for each band. Thus it is far easier to
put together and maintain. The KT34XA always gave a very good account
of itself, although the SWR on 15m was a bit iffy. The Optibeam does
appear to have a cleaner pattern, with deep nulls, so we will keep the
dipole up as a fill in aerial for the moment.
The new beam does need some slight adjustment to get it tuned just
right, in particular on 20m where it is resonant at the top edge of the
band, and we plan to do this before the weather turns. Weve put a
couple of halyards on the new mast, one to hold up the end of the
topband dipole, and the other for a delta loop for 40/30m, so once the
beam is tuned they will go up. We have a longer term plan to reinstate
the old mast for light / experimental aerials, e.g. for WARC and VHF
bands. The new beam and rotator (PST61) is somewhat heavier than the
old setup, so to be on the safe side we upgraded the luffing winch and
cable, and when funds allow will probably upgrade the other winch and
Fortunately the OU Clubs insurance covered most of the costs, but we
also needed to use the grant monies (with permission) we had obtained
to upgrade the amplifier, plus our club reserves. At one point our
bank balance was down to about fifteen pounds, but is now a bit
healthier following the MKARS boot sale in August. We also had a
successful stall at the Stockwood Park sale earlier in the year as
Back in May we had a visit from members of the Northampton Radio Club.
Adrian takes up the story:
Northampton Radio club members paid a visit to the OUARC shack on 22nd
May. First to arrive were Steve and Devina (M3DEW) who made use of the
talk-in on Channel 22. Other members arrived shortly afterwards,
including Dennis (G7OGN/M3OGN), Chris (M3DOL), Andy (M3AMF), Mike
(M3MGC) and Reinhardt. Fraser, Bert, Linda, Les and Adrian gave the
visitors a guided tour of the shack and antenna farm. Fraser explained
the plans for the new 60' tower and the 3-band 16-element beam that we
were planning to erect. Steve and Devina gave an impressive display of
OM/XYL teamwork, taking turns to handle a pile up on 80m SSB, and keep
the log. All in all, it was a very pleasant occasion, and we look
forward to hosting another visit before too long.
Northampton Radio club is the fifth oldest in the UK, after Derby,
Liverpool, Birmingham and Newcastle. The first meeting of 30 wireless
enthusiasts took place on 4th June 1913 at the Northampton YMCA. Mr
Wright, head of Bugbrooke School, was the first president, and had the
honour of operating the Eiffel Tower transmitter in June 1914. He
successfully transmitted the message "Wright is here" from the tower,
which was picked up by the school and members of the Northampton Radio
Also in May, the club was asked if we would be part of the
RSGB HQ entry into this years IARU contest.
The weekend of 12/13th August saw the International Amateur
Radio Unions annual HF Championship. The OUARC was approached to host
one of the stations that would comprise the UK headquarters entry,
using the special callsign GB5HQ. This year, being the 90th
anniversary of our national body, the Radio Society of Great Britain, a
big effort was made to win this prestigious event.
The aim of the contest is to make contact with as many different
stations as possible in a twenty four hour period. The world is
divided into 75 zones, and the final score on each band is multiplied
by the number of zones contacted. There are also bonus points for
contacting the HQ stations and other special stations run by IARU
The RSGB HQ station actually comprised of ten different stations dotted
around the country, each dedicated to particular frequency bands or
transmission modes. All stations in the team were linked together via
the internet. A dedicated server, based at the BT Research Centre at
Martlesham Heath in Suffolk, was used to synchronise the computerised
logbook of each station, so that all members of the team were
constantly up to date with what the others were doing. The main
advantage of this being to pass multipliers from one station to the
next, so as to boost the total score. A private DXCluster was also
set up via the internet, which provided the team with information on
where to find rare and long distance (DX) stations throughout the event.
Our particular station proved to be highly successful, and made a very
respectable contribution to the overall effort. Despite poor radio
conditions over the weekend, GB5HQ made a total of 12,876 contacts and
a final score of over 17 million points. So the UK HQ team stand a
good chance of winning, and eagerly await the results, which will be
available once each entry has been crosschecked.
We are indebted to AACS who kindly provided us with a temporary public
network connection for the contest, and also to the OU Club for their
longstanding support. The clubs participation in this event was
featured in the OUs staff magazine OpenHouse. More information on
GB5HQ can be found at www.gb5hq.com .
Congratulations to OUARC member Bill Mawson, who retires from the OU at
the end of September. We wish him all the very best for the future.
Although not a licensed amateur, Bill has supported the club for a
number of years, and has often lent a willing hand with aerial work
etc. He is currently making plans to visit his wifes family in Peru
to kick off his retirement in style.
The construction of the new library is coming on fast, and we
understand it is due to be finished around Christmas and operational by
the spring. Although access to the field site has been improved, it
still means driving up a very high kerb, and we look forward to having
proper access restored. Estates have arranged for a couple of skips to
be made available, as part of a general clear up of the area, and we
have bean able to dispose of our worst junk those items weve carried
to and fro to one too many junk sale!
One of the shack PCs was upgraded to a P200 earlier in the
year, but has been having power supply problems, and now the hard disk
has failed. So that's due to be replaced shortly - the price we pay
for using cast-off PCs. The OU node is still running, although the
BBS linking between Oxford and Bedford is now done via the internet, so
not much traffic comes our way. Most ports are still active, but only
the 9k6 Bedford link gets any significant use. The OU node has been
running almost continuously for over ten years now, and given stirling
service to the network. However, with the drop in packet activity we
are considering selling off some of the equipment and putting the money
to better use for the club.
The last club video was back in January; Legends of Amateur Radio W6HX, W6EA, W6OJ. The next video will be shown on Thursday 2nd
October, starting at 12.30pm in N2028 Venables Building. This is
titled: Getting started in DXing. Everyone welcome.
Weve been asked to give a plug for the Midlands ARS Radio and Computer
Rally. This is on Sunday 16th November, 10am - 3pm, at: King Edward
Camp Hill, Grammar School, Vicarage Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Admission is 1.50, with free parking. For more info contact Peter
Haylor on 0121 443 1189, or visit http://midamradio.members.beeb.net.
Map available on request.
That's all for this time.
73 for now