ODARS Field Day, 2-3 September 2017

By Chris G7IVF

Many thanks to all those who helped make last weekend’s VHF contest 
event possible. I have submitted the log and for those who are 
interested, here is a link to a map of the contacts we made: http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/vhfresults.pl?kml=/2017/wyfWgIfHOx4MEm34JqFCwnDIcyYwu24

The bulk of the interesting DX was obtained on Sunday morning, which was a pity, because just as it was starting to get interesting, the weather 
came and chased us away!

The list of claimed scores for comparison is at http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/claim.pl?Contest=144MHz%20Trophy&year=2017

Demonstration of making contacts from the club meeting, 5 September 2017

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There were seven members present at the meeting on Tuesday 5 September 2017, plus an unexpected but very interesting guest.

After a bit of general discussion, Chris G7IVF gave us a report on the weekend activities in the 2m Trophy Contest. The set-up went well using a guyed 11m mast made of scaffolding pole sections for easy transport. This was mounted at the bottom on G4AZN’s rotator, supported by bearings made by Ted G3LPU, and using a new clamp specially purchased for this type of activity. The 2m aerial was Colin M0DDT’s 16 element yagi. This was attached to the K3 transceiver and Elecraft 2m transverter with LMR400 cable and powered from the club generator. However, on Sunday morning the weather worsened and with the prospect of rain, it was decided to abandon the attempt.

Our guest was Jim 7J1AJH. Originally from the USA he now lives in Tokyo Japan and is in Oxford attending a software conference, so looked us up and dropped in. Jim gave us some interesting insights into ham radio operating in Japan.

For the first time, I think, we then set up a live station and made some QSO’s from the hall! Chris brought in his portable apparatus he normally uses for 2m activity contests and was originally planning to set up in the garden outside. However, once again the rain came down so he set up inside to see what would happen. The equipment was the Yaesu FT-857D running 25w battery powered to a portable 5 element yagi which could be broken down for easy transportation. As the evening coincided with the 2m activity night a few local stations were heard at good strength. Chris then tried calling some of them and made 3 or 4 QSOs. To support the antenna, one or two members initially held it aloft, but it was eventually connected to a fibreglass pole, supported valiantly by Jim, our guest.

Marconi and history of wireless talk at ODARS by Liz Bruton, May 2017

Liz Bruton before her talk
Liz Bruton before her talk

13 Members and 1 guest were present to hear a fascinating talk by Liz Bruton on Marconi and the 1898 Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) Regatta.

Marconi, ever eager for publicity, readily accepted the invitation of the Dublin Evening Mail to report by wireless the progress of the races. Liz described some of the details of the extensive preparations and the equipment used. During the three-days of the regatta, over 700 reports were sent by wireless from the Flying Huntress to the Evening Mail and its sister paper The Dublin Daily Express. The operation was an outstanding success and secured great publicity for Marconi and his wireless system.

ODARS teaches Morse Code for Marconi Day 2017 at the Museum of the History of Science

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Once again ODARS members set up a special event station at the Museum of the History of Science to celebrate the birthday of Guglielmo Marconi. It is quite a challenge to do this as the museum is in a listed 17th century building in the centre of the City of Oxford and we are no longer allowed to use the roof for antennas. So we used 3 fibreglass poles attached to the railings supporting an off-centre fed dipole for 40 and 20metres. However, our location in the basement was adjacent to the cabinets containing some of the historic Marconi collection, so we were well placed inside.

Conditions were difficult – as well as the usual high noise level the K index was also high but although propagation was poor some contacts were made around Europe and into Asiatic Russia. As well as the GB4MHS station, we ran a very popular Morse code hands-on experience, and Brian G2KQ’s excellent demonstration of early wireless equipment.

Many visitors dropped by and talked to us and seemed interested in what we were doing. We hope that some of them may develop an interest in amateur radio.

World War Two marine radio operator and RSS voluntary interceptor speaks at ODARS, April 2017

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Update, July 2017: We are sad to announce that Peter Stewart is now a Silent Key.

17 members and 10 guests met at the Gladiator club on Tuesday 18th April to hear a fascinating talk from Peter Stewart about his early career as a wireless operator in the merchant navy and the wartime Radio Security Service (RSS) during World War Two and post-war career in the Diplomatic Wireless Service.  We were privileged to hear a talk from one of the few remaining Volunteer Interceptors and RSS operators from World War Two.

Highlights of his talk included it being decided by his family, without any input from him, that at the age of 16 he should be sent to sea as a deckhand, his progress to wireless officer, having an appendectomy after swinging the lead in order to avoid a posting, being enrolled in the RSS and subsequently the Army and the boredom of sending and receiving 5 character code groups all day.

Peter is now 91 and in the days after his talk he let it be known that earlier in April he had been fitted with a pacemaker which due to complications required two hospital stays. We are very grateful to him for making the special effort to come and talk to us.


SSB Field Day, 3-4 September 2016

SSB field day was held in the field next to Thomley Hall. This was convenient as our tower is kept there in a barn. We used the C3 beam for 20, 15 and 10m plus 40m separately fed. 80m used an inverted V from the top of the tower, some 20m agc. A 5-band vertical was used for the spotter station.

The site is about 70m asl and useful for VHF so we put up a 16ele Tonna at 8m with the help of a gin pole and rotated from the base. Andrews Heliax fed Chris’s (G7IVF) FT-857 with 50W. Call sign was G8PX/P and Scotland, France and Germany were worked although conditions were not very good and there was a shortage of operators.

For HF we used Colin’s (M0DDT) K3 and Expert amp with 400W op. Power was from the club’s new generator that behaved excellently throughout. We used the club’s FT-950 as spotter station.

We had a few difficulties with IT, some rain and solar storms overnight but managed 513 QSO’s in all with105 multipliers for an entry to the open section.

Operators were G7IVF, G8EWT, M0DDT and guest G7IXU and used the G5LO/P call sign.

The operators wish to thank all those that helped in setting up, supply of tea and efficient clearing up at the end. Overall it was a very enjoyable club activity.

RCE Advanced Examination

Harwell ARS (G3PIA) have been asked to facilitate a RCE Advanced exam. We are contacting you to see if you would like to take the exam on either of the following dates: Sunday 18 September at 1400hrs or Sunday 25 September at 1400hrs.

Both would be held at the Didcot Guide Hall. The cost would be the exam fee of £37.50 plus the cost of the hall and other expenses shared equally amongst the candidates.

If you are interested then you will need to have paid the money for the exam by Monday 15 August, at the latest, in order to be registered for the exam. The offer is just to take the exam with no formal help or tuition beforehand but we can supply you with our own club on-line support.

If you are interested please send an email to info@g3pia.org.uk with your preferred date and whether or not you can manage the alternative as we can only run one. Do not pay any money at this stage.