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OPEN UNIVERSITY AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
NEWS LETTER no:35

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


Please make a note of our forthcoming 2008 AGM on Thursday 17 th January at 12.30pm. As last year, the AGM will be held in Central Meeting Room 7, which is on the ground floor and is very close to the Airport Bar and Green Room. It can be accessed from the Airport Bar area, or outside via the West Central Meeting Rooms entrance. An email reminder will be sent nearer the time. Local members are urged to attend if possible.

A reminder that subscriptions are due on 1 st January, and remain at £5 per annum. Subs can be paid at the AGM, or a 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. Copies of the 2007 minutes can be obtained from the Secretary, adrian@euroneta.com.

Bill, GI4OYM writes: I just got your interesting newsletter no34. I must say it was such a pity that I didn't know of the existence of the OU radio club till after graduating. I did study the RF engineering courses T202 and T327 as part of my degree. They were challenging but I thoroughly enjoyed them, particularly the kit building in T202. I continue to work abroad on a 6 week on and 6 week off basis as an electronics engineer. Do you know of any radio scheds that the club keeps too and I shall listen out? My station consists of a lot of old and relatively new equipment for 70cms, 2m and HF and this Christmas I'm dabbling with a homebrew Softrock 40 digital receiver.

Congratulations to Danny Waite M3OOW on passing the Intermediate Licence Examination on the 9th February 2007. Danny said he would wait until his Foundation Licence is due for renewal then apply for the new call sign.

This year we welcome two new members, firstly Steve Bunting M0BPQ, who is a visiting research fellow in the Science Faculty. And more recently , Adrian Poulton, Lecturer in Embedded Systems in the new Faculty of MCT (Maths, Computing and Technology). Adrian passed the last of the old style RAE exams.

We’re very sorry to report the passing of Les Taylor, M3TAY/2E1EOT, on Monday 26th November. Les was a regular visitor to the shack each Thursday, along with his wife Linda M0CMK, prior to their move to Wisbech. Linda is now planning to move back to Milton Keynes to be closer to her family, so we hope to see her back in the operating chair often at G0OUR. Tom G0PSU and Fraser G4BJM attended Les’ funeral.

Unlike recent years, we did not host GB5HQ or GB5CC this year. A quieter location with better antennas (including a four square) was used for the 80m SSB GB5HQ station this time, resulting in a better score. Unfortunately we are still suffering from the high local noise level on the LF bands. Congratulations to the team who amassed 13,472 contacts during the 24 hour period, with a resulting claimed score of over 15 million points. Both these figures are considerably down on last year, but that is no doubt due to us being at the bottom of the sunspot cycle. The 80m SSB station finished with 1327 contacts, which is a significant improvement over our previous performances here (our best being 1184 contacts in 2005). Even with such a huge number of contacts GB5HQ struggles to compete with the major efforts of some other European HQ stations.

G0OUR put in an appearance as usual in the RSGB Club Calls contest on topband in November, and also in the CQ WW contest and ARRL 160m contest, among others. We were also were pleased to work the highly successful UK 3B7C DXpedition to St. Brandon Island on all nine HF bands. St. Brandon is in the Indian Ocean, North East of Mauritius. URL: http://www.3b7c.com/ Congratulations to the 3B7C team, who made a total of 137,500 contacts, with 33,760 different amateurs around the world.

At last years AGM it was decided that the club should purchase a general purpose HF/VHF multimode radio for use in the shack, and also to be available on loan to members. Following a generous contribution from the OU Club, we were able to purchase a used Icom IC7400 in mint condition. This gives us multimode general coverage receive capabilities, plus HF, 6m and 2m transmit at 100W output. This radio was chosen in preference to smaller rigs, that although include the 70cm band, are lower powered, do not include a built in antenna tuner, and rely on multi level menu control through a few small buttons. Also the IC7400 employs full DSP filtering so there are no additional analogue filters to buy. We also purchased an Alinco DM330MW SMPSU for use with the IC7400 on special offer through the RSGB. The radio together with the PSU are available for loan to club members. It is the borrower’s responsibility to return the equipment in the same condition it was borrowed in.

As usual, this year we had a stall at the DDRC sale, and cleared £213, which contributed towards the above purchases. We were not able to attend the MKDARS sale, but cleared a further £125 though the sale of other ‘junk’ locally. Many thanks also to Adrian Poulton for delivering a particularly large piece of ‘junk’ to Wales. We have inherited a large number of surplus components following a clear out of the Wellingborough Warehouse, which we hope to dispose of next year.

Unfortunately we have lost our DXCluster access in the shack, which was via a 2m AX25 packet link to GB7IMK in Bletchley (http://www.gb7imk.co.uk/). IMK suffered a hard disk failure, and is in the process of being rebuilt. We will investigate the possibility of internet access in the shack via WiFi. The OU’s packet node is still operational.

Finally a fence was erected this summer to define and protect the Field Research Site where the shack is located. This has helped, but we still have frequent problems with contractors using the access track as a dumping area, and to park their vehicles.

The last DVD was about the M2000A special event station – Amateur Radio into the New Millennium, and proved to be very interesting. We do not have a club DVD currently booked. However, we have obtained a free copy of the SO2R Clinic DVD (Single Operator two radio). This was produced by the Northern Californian Contest Club. The DVD is best viewed with stereo headphones, and shows how to operate two radios simultaneously to advantage in contests, with examples of un-prearranged contacts with the same station on different bands within seconds of each other. We can arrange a club viewing if there is demand, or the DVD is available for loan to members.

This year we renewed our three year CQ magazine subscription, and annual ARRL/QST subscription. We also remain affiliated to the RSGB, although that no longer entitles the club to receive Radcom; instead we get an annual complimentary copy of the RSGB Yearbook (Callbook). We have purchased a copy of the RSGB Prefix Guide for the shack.

Touch wood the aerials have survived this years weathering with only minor maintenance being required. However, when the better weather arrives we plan on taking down the big M100 mast for general maintenance, and to replace the guys. We anticipate that this will take place over several weekends.

That about wraps it up for another year. We hope to see you at the AGM. Seasons greetings…


Contact: Adrian Rawlings adrianrawlings@googlemail.com