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

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, .

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 cables too.

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 usual.

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.
Historical note:
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 Club.

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 administrators.

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 .

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 Map available on request.

That's all for this time.

73 for now

Contact: Adrian Rawlings