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

Please make a note of our forthcoming 2010 AGM on Thursday 21st January at 12.30pm.  This year we are in Central Meeting Room 6, on the ground floor.  It is accessed from outside via the West Central Meeting Rooms entrance, near the shop.  Alternatively you can get there through the back of the old Lecture Theatre.  There is a lot of adjacent building work going on, so it may prove to be a noisy AGM.  An email reminder will be sent nearer the time.  Local members are urged to attend if possible.

A reminder that subscriptions are due on 1st 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 2009 minutes can be obtained from the Secretary, .

We have heard nothing further regarding the proposed car park extension and possible relocation of the Field Research Site where our club station is located.  Earlier this year a lorry turning road and Banksman’s office was constructed on the site, for use by the contractors who are rebuilding the catering block.  This does not significantly impact on the Radio Club.  It remains to be seen what will happen after this construction project is finished, but for now at least it seems we have a temporary reprieve.

Congratulations to Danny Waite on passing the Advanced Licence examination in July.  Danny is now M0GPJ (formerly M3OOW and 2E0BIV).  Danny says he has not been very active due to the problem of getting an efficient HF transmitting aerial in his small garden.

Back in May we had another very successful stall at the DDRC sale at Stockwood Park, Luton, where we cleared £400 for club funds.  We also sold the club’s Elecraft K2 and KX1 transceivers.  The proceeds of these sales, along with a generous contribution from the OU Club, have enabled us to buy a K3 transceiver.  This is the latest high performance rig from the Elecraft range.  Since buying and building the K3 kit we have also added some useful options.  These include the second receiver for diversity reception, general coverage receive, along with AM/FM and narrow CW filters.  We also have the Icom IC7400 set up in the shack, which is frequently used on HF digital modes by Paul, M0OOM.  The Omni6+ is currently waiting to be repaired.

As in recent years, we already have a large stock of ‘junk’ building up in time for next years sales.  We seem to collect it faster than we can get rid of it these days.

We are grateful to Steve M0BPQ for donating a better spec. PC for the shack earlier this year, along with a wireless card and antenna.  We have also swapped out the two CRT monitors for flat screen types, which makes a bit more room in the shack.  We’re a bit of a distance to the OU’s nearest Wi-Fi hotspot but we can get a reasonably reliable connection.  This means that we can now access the DXCluster on line.

Unfortunately our local packet station GB7IMK, which gave us DXSpider access on 2m, has now closed down.  Many thanks to David G0TWN for providing this service over many years.  So as it turned out, the timing of the shacks internet connection worked out well.

The OU packet node is still running, although in reality is little used these days.  We will probably decommission it over a period of time.  The node mostly uses surplus PMR transceivers, and it’s quite amazing how reliable these have been.  They had already served a long commercial life, and have since spent many years chuntering away 24/7 on the OU node.  In its heyday most of the local BBS traffic passed through the OU node, which was set up by Ian G0TLB.

We’ve spent a lot of time ‘gardening’ recently around the shack.  More accurately, clearing the overgrowth of weeds and bushes from around the guys.  Thanks go to Tom G0PSU for donating loppers/cutters, heavy duty gloves etc.  The cable to the remote receiving antenna failed again.  Fixing this entailed quite a few man hours chopping a path through to trace the cable.  When it was originally installed it was in an empty field.  The broken cable has now been replaced, and a temporary loop aerial hung in the trees at the far side of the field.  The preamp and filter unit has been removed so this loop can be used on all bands, although it’s not particularly sensitive on the higher bands due to the long run of lossy feeder.  The long Beverage receive antenna (pointing roughly West) is still working so is assumed to be intact.  It does pick up noise from the OU computer network, but still usually gives a better signal to noise ratio on LF USA signals than the big dipoles.

Not much else has happened on the aerial front.  The planned maintenance of the M100 mast has not yet been done.  All the aerials are working ok, touch wood.  Actually, the ladder feeder for the 80m dipole that had got wrapped around the mast has finally freed itself.  Some of the recent strong winds much have been blowing in the opposite direction.  We’ve added a bit more tension to the bottom of the feeder to hopefully prevent it from getting snagged again.

Once again a very modest entry was made in the November RSGB Club Calls contest on topband SSB, just to put the G0OUR callsign on the map alongside other UK clubs.  This activity was shorter than originally planned since the K3 refused to transmit on SSB using the newly acquired matching Elecraft microphone.  Finally the IC7400 was pressed into service instead.  It transpired that a menu item needed changing on the K3 to enable the bias voltage needed for that type of mic.  A case not reading the manual / instructions.

There is talk of the RSGB HF/VHF Convention being moved to a new venue in Milton Keynes for October 2010, although no details have been published yet.

Welcome to Andy Eggington, G7ONK, from Region 4 who joined the OUARC earlier this year.  I’ll leave Andy to say a few words about himself:

I got into radio at a very early age.  I was daring enough to move the tuning knob on our radio when about five years old and quickly became fascinated by what I could hear, particularly after dark.  I got into electronics when my father brought home a scrap radio chassis with the valves removed for me to tinker with.  I asked about the missing bits and what everything did and got my father to teach me how to solder.  It was then that he showed me a collection of books including "Amateur Radio” by F.G.Rayer, G3OGR.  

My first "proper" radio was a tired old Trio 9R59DS.  I quickly moved on to a Yaesu FRG7700.  I finally decided to get licensed after many years of persuasion by my friend Dave, G6CKJ and took the multi-choice RAE in 1992.  I was allocated the call sign G7ONK in 1993. I have not been "on the air" a great deal and I still consider myself more of a listener than an experimenter although I have built several transmitters including transistor and valve designs.

Current equipment is an FT950 for HF/6m base use (with a random wire up a tree/un-un/tuner arrangement adapted from the Rybakov 806 system - I can't have anything permanent as I share a garden), a DX70TH for mobile, FT817 for portable use, TR751E for 2m and FT780R for 70cm.  Like a lot of enthusiasts, I am waiting for the sun to wake up and start throwing a few X-class flares our way.

I am studying for a degree in law with the OU, awaiting the result for
W201 and the materials for W300.  I realised I was never going to make any money doing science.  Besides, I needed a bit of a challenge.   Speaking of which, I would be interested to hear from anyone who wouldn't mind helping me to re-learn and practice Morse.  I got up to about 5 WPM before I began the degree and I would really like try again.

That’s about it for now; hope to see some of you at the AGM.

Season's Greetings…
Contact: Adrian Rawlings