Fun Field Day

Over the weekend of 16th to 18th September CARA held another one of its popular Fun Field Days, this time from a field between Colesbourne and Wittington. A good number of members set up and operated their own portable stations and enjoyed the benefits of a very low noise rf environment, so quiet in fact that at times some of us wondered if our antennas were still connected! We also benefited from a spell of very good hf propagation conditions with some interesting DX being worked on QRP.

Early on the Saturday evening we were joined by a few family members and friends for one of Smurf M0URF’s excellent pizza BBQs. This was followed by much chat in a tent warmed by a lovely wood burning stove (with chimney exhausting through the tent roof) and by modest quantities of beer, cider and coffee!

Most of us packed up and departed early Sunday afternoon after a very enjoyable time spent playing radio and conversing with fellow club members. Very many thanks go to Rich M0XRB and Smurf M0URF and their helpers for all their hard work planning, setting up and clearing away the field day operation. There was talk of holding the next one in December!

September’s Meeting

On 15th September at a well attended meeting Tony G3YYH and Rich M0XRB told us about their trip to France in June to join the D-Day commemoration events there. They took with them (drove) an ex-WW2 CMP (Canadian Military Pattern) vehicle full of appropriate ex-military radios including an R107 receiver, a WS-12 transmitter, a WS-52 set, an R109 receiver and several other pieces of kit.. By prior arrangement they operated from a number of WW2 related sites, mainly on 80m AM. Tony and Rich’s talk, accompanied by many “slides”, was well presented and well received. Many thanks to them both for a very interesting evening.

August Meeting

In August Alan M0NRO will talk about Antenna Erection and Field Day Safety.  This is a topic which should be of interest to all of us as we need antennas at decent heights in order to be able to radiate strong signals, and to receive well of course. 

In these days of the propensity of people to sue for damages when accidents occur, plus the need to take note of Health and Safety rules, regulations and advice, it’s best to be well informed on such matters.  The Committee is very mindful of safety problems at our Fun Field Days, and we hoping that this talk will result in greater awareness among members of the issues involved.  So please come along if you can.

Thursday 18th August, 7.30 for 8pm, Premier Suite, Cheltenham Football Club, GL52 5NA.

July Meeting Report

In July we had a change from the published programme and instead of a talk we had a social evening with a “Bring & Buy” option.  (The talk by Tony G3YYH and Rich M0XRB on their radio visit to France earlier this year has been rescheduled for September.)  We were pleased to welcome Surendra G4UEZ to the meeting, he had been a member of CARA when the club met in Charlton Kings – that’s some years ago now!  We look forward to seeing him again.

The social evening went well, attendance was good and many members spent much of  the time sitting around a table discussing matters of interest, mostly radio related of course!  Mike G4GHL stimulated further chat by asking members to air their views about the future of amateur radio.  This was popular and may well form the theme, or one of the themes,  of November’s meeting – more details later.

A few members brought along radio items for sale and this attracted attention too.

In all, another successful gathering.  Great to see so many members taking part in the round table discussion.

July Meeting

A change to the July Meeting – unfortunately the previously advertised presentation by Tony G3YYH and Rich M0XRB on their recent radio visit to Normandy has had to be postponed.  Instead we will be holding a social get-together at the usual venue to which members are invited to bring along items they wish to show or sell.  This will be a good opportunity to chat to your fellow club members as well as to look at some interesting bits of radio equipment and perhaps to do a bit of selling and buying.

Thursday 21st July, 7.30 for 8pm at the Premier Suite (formerly the Robin’s Nest), Cheltenham Football Club, Whaddon Road, Cheltenham GL52 5NA.

June Meeting

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

May Meeting Report

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.

Fun Field Day Report – 22/23/24 April

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.

May Meeting

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.

April Meeting Report

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.