On Thursday 16th June we’ll be “On-the-Air” at the Cheltenham Football Club. in Whaddon Road. Members are invited to come along and operate /M or /P from the car-park. If previous years are any guide, we’ll have members operating on bands from 1.8MHz up to UHF and may be even higher frequencies using voice, data and CW modes. With such a wide diversity of bands and modes on display, in past years these sessions have been good fun and instructive, and no doubt this year’s will be the same. Let’s hope though for favourable weather! Please come along and enjoy the evening whether you will be operating or not. The bar will be open as usual, serving tea and coffee as well as beer.
Derek G3NKS Secretary
In May we held another “Bring Something of Interest from Your Shack” meeting. And indeed there were some interesting items on display, ranging from state-of-the-art kit to treasured pieces from the past. Here’s a list of exhibitors and their exhibits.
Tony G3YYH – a Class D Wavemeter of WWII vintage, an essential item for amateurs in the post-war period.
Mike G4GHL – a Trio 9R59DS receiver and a TX88S, the matching transmitting which is a rare beast in the UK, both of mid-1970s vintage.
Alan M0NRO – a professional Trombone Line Stretcher.
Nick 2E0NRW – a home-made 2m halo for use on SSB, from an RSGB design.
Derek G3NKS – a selection of Morse keys, new and old.
Tony G4SNN – two electronic keyers, a PK4 Pocket Keyer and a Winkey USB Keyer.
Norman G6CFU – a “Shack Heater”, a display of two large thermionic valves as used by the BBC which require many amps heater current and so glow nicely in the dark!
Peter G3YJE – a GRC/9 USA Army transmitter/receiver, a Heathkit HW-9 QRP HF transceiver, an Icom IC-240 2m FM rig, and various other items.
We were pleased to welcome Barrie G4ZRD to his first CARA meeting, making a return to amateur radio after a long interval.
The attendance was slightly disappointing but nevertheless we had a good meeting, with much to look at and to chat about. Many thanks to all who took part.
Another highly successful field day was the general conclusion at the end of the weekend camp on Cleeve Hill – in spite of the chilly and windy weather. The event started on the Friday afternoon with the erection of a couple of gazebos and a mast. And with the positioning of the club’s newly acquired “portaloo” in a quiet spot.. A few of us stayed overnight and were joined by a few more for a superb breakfast cooked by Rich M0XRB.
Most of the weekend’s activity took place on the Saturday with a good number of members turning up to play radio or just to chat and drink beer or cider. One of the highlights was the WW2 military truck owned by Tony G3YYH and Martin M0MGA equipped with a fully working station – a Wireless Set No12 transmitter and an R107 receiver – which was put to good use on 80m AM. Tony and Martin accompanied by Rich M0XRB will be taking the truck to France in June for this year’s D-Day celebrations in Normandy by which time Tony’s WS52 equipment, which he spoke about at our April meeting, will also be fitted into the truck. (Hopefully we’ll have more information about this trip nearer the time.) Another highlight was the HexBeam erected on site by Peter M1TCP – and very impressive it looked too. He worked some interesting DX in the couple of hours that the antenna was up in the air. Mike G8NSZ was active on QRP for much of the weekend with either an FT817 or an IC-705 and with end-fed wires in inverted V configuration. Although the antennas were only some 4m high at the apex, Mike worked across the pond to North America as well as all around Europe. Mike G4GHL spent some time operating the club’s station, signing G5BK/P, and he too made a number of interesting contacts mainly (all?) on CW. Other members operated from their cars or with hand-helds, so plenty of RF was generated on the site during the weekend. Some kite flying took place but none supported an aerial. Saturday afternoon/early-evening saw us joined by family members and friends for the customary BBQ with a seemingly endless supply of pizzas cooked by Smurf M0URF. Chatting and drinking went on until late into the night – for a few at least!
Sunday was lower key but members still turned up to chat and play radio. We started to dismantle the camp around mid-day and by 3pm we had packed up, were clear of the site and on our way home.
It was a great weekend. Records show that at least 24 members visited the site, plus three radio visitors and eight family members and friends. Considering the poor weather conditions that’s a good attendance. Many thanks must go to the organisers: Rich M0XRB, Smurf M0URF, Tony G3YYH and James 2E0RLE and to their many helpers, especially those who turned up to help with the “uping” and the “downing” of the camp. They all did a great job. We look forward to the next Fun Field Day – 16th, 17th and 18th September. Let’s hope for better weather.
In a change to the previously advertised meeting, on Thursday 19th May members are now invited to bring along something or somethings from their shacks which will be of interest to other members. May be something old, may be something new. May be something built. Maybe a useful software package. May be pictures of shacks or antennas, now or from the past. Photos of past club activities would be good to see.
Please do bring along something and let’s have a successful meeting with plenty to see and chat about.
Last month Chairman Tony G3YYH spoke to us about his ex-Army Wireless Set No52 and the work he had done to restore it from a “wreck” rescued from a junk yard to a fully working piece of equipment. This involved a good deal of time, effort and ingenuity including the building of a completely new power supply unit and the construction of a cabinet to house the three separate units – transmitter, receiver and power supply. The cabinet was made from steel sheet and angle – and was appropriately heavy, very heavy! Tony entertained us well not only with the description of the restoration project but also with interesting radio related stories. Our thanks go to Tony for a fascinating and enjoyable meeting.
The annual Constructors’ Exhibition, held on Thursday 17th March, was well attended considering it was race week in Cheltenham and the consequential heavy traffic.
Ten exhibits were on display, ranging from the large to the small, from the complex to the simple. It was pleasing to see such a wide range of excellent exhibits showing that home construction is still alive and well among CARA members.
The Bill Brown G5BK Memorial Cup for “Best in Show” went to Keith G3XGW for his recently built 1930s 0-V-1 TRF(Tuned Radio Frequency) receiver using components from that era. 0-V-1 indicates that the receiver had no RF stage, a detector (V) and one AF stage. It was a fine piece of home construction which looked looked very authentic and so it well merited the Best in Show award.
The Pat Moore G3IKR Memorial Cup for “Innovative Construction” went to John G8CQX for his stereo code processor using a home constructed and built PCB. The processor feeds left and right signals to stereo earphones which gives the impression that the signal is moving from left to right, or from right to left, as the receiver is tuned across the signal. A very useful technique for separating closely spaced CW signals. An excellent adaption of a technique first developed many years ago.
The Roger Kendall G0UPU Memorial Cup for best software and computer related project went to Rich M0XRB for his remote controlled station set-up. Rich demonstrated how he could control and operate his remote station using an iPad and a DJ console. The station consisted of a Flex-6400 SDR transceiver with a Palstar auto-ATU and a 122m wire loop above a metal roof; the station being controlled by a Raspberry Pi. A very impressive set-up well worthy of the award.
Congrats to the three winners and many thanks to all the exhibitors for helping to put on such a good show,
We had a successful auction disposing of radio related items from the shacks, workshops and garages of a couple of local “Silent Keys”. A goodly sum was raised for the beneficiaries, the families. Not everything was sold, mainly through not reaching the reserve prices. These lots will be either be advertised locally or taken to a radio rally later this year. Many thanks to Tony G3YYH who did a super job as auctioneer coaxing bids from members and to all who took part. This was our first proper face-to-face meeting for many months and it was great to see such a good turnout.
25th December – Christmas Day Net at 10am on 145.4MHz or an adjacent 25kHz channel.
1st January – New Year’s Day Net at 10am on 145.4MHz or an adjacent 25kHz channel..
The AGM and Social Evening scheduled for Thursday 16th December has been cancelled.
The decision to cancel was taken for two main reasons. Firstly to safeguard the health and wellbeing of members in the current Covid climate and secondly in view of the number of apologies for absence being received, many quoting or implying Covid as the reason. The rapid spread of the latest variant was also a cause for concern along with its potency and lack of knowledge about the consequence of infection.
Subscriptions for 2022 do not fall due until 1st January. Information about payment options will be issued in due course. The Committee has recommended that the annual subscription should rise from £13 to £15 and in the present exceptional circumstances (the Covid pandemic causing the cancellation of the AGM) this will not be put to the usual vote of approval.
The 2021 AGM will be held on Thursday 16th December at the usual venue, the Robin’s Nest at the Cheltenham Football Club, Whaddon Road. Doors will be open by 7.30pm for an 8pm start. Here is the agenda.
1. Apologies for Absence.
2. Minutes of the 2020 AGM.
3. Chair’s Report.
4. Announcement of Awards.
5. Treasurer’s Report.
6. Annual Subscription for 2022.
Proposal by the Committee: That the annual subscription be raised from £13 to £15 with effect from 2022.
7. Election of Officers:
d. Membership Secretary.
8. Election of Ordinary Committee Members (maximum of three).
9. Election of Accounts Examiner(s).
10. Any Other Business.
Following the AGM there will be a social evening with a finger buffet and drinks.