A few months ago, in anticipation of the Rugby World Cup coming to England, the Worked All Britain group approached CARA and asked if we would host the Special Event Callsign GB0RWC for a few days around one of the matches taking place at the Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester. The fool I am, I thought this sounded like a good idea, and agreed to head up the effort to put on the station.

Leading up to the days we’d agreed to host the callsign life was easy, it mostly involved being ignored by almost all of the rugby clubs in and around Cheltenham I contacted, apart from one. Cheltenham Tigers, and their club house at the Newlands Sports and Social Club were willing to let us invade and fill their fields with RF.

Sadly, we didn’t get quite as much access as I’d have liked, as the club is a voluntary organisation and couldn’t unlock just for us to play radio. As a result some of the operating was conduced from a tent in my garden, luckily in the same WAB Square, so hardly anyone noticed!

Day one we had issues, the 3 month old power supply Giles and lent me kept deciding to stop working, which cut one QSO short mid transmission, and forced a long lunch break later on in the day. We also had an s9+20 noise floor on 40m, worse on 80m, and I was all but ready to give up. Then I unplugged my (brand new, Chinese replacement) laptop power supply, immediately the noise dropped to s5. Not perfect, but not bad for the middle of a modern housing estate.

During a few sessions, one being a  3 hour long pileup on Thursday, we worked 117 QSOs, mostly on 40m SSB. Not bad for what was mostly just one operator, who’d never run a Special Event Station before! My trusty ICOM IC-735 served me well, although I did get one station tell me I wasn’t on frequency…

GB0RWC listening on 40m

Many thanks to Giles and John  for their help operating the station and other logistics, and to the team at Cheltenham Tigers for putting us up. Not forgetting the WAB team for putting on the callsign relay!

For more information, GB0RWC is on QRZ

July Meeting – Restoring an Air Ministry T1154 and R1155

This month we had a very interesting talk by Tony, G3YYH, who is working to restore an Air Ministry T1154 transmitter and T1155 Receiver, or, as I tweeted at the time;

The radio was designed in the late 1930s, around 1939 it went into production at various manufacturers, with production continuing throughout the war.

Around 75,000 R1155 were produced, Tony tells us

I can’t tell how old mine are, but I’m fairly sure the R1155 is an early one because it has the early tuning knob that W/Ops hated and was therefore replaced

Tony discussed the various issues with restoring these radios, from difficulty finding suitable screws (apparently BA or British Association aren’t hard to find, but new ones aren’t dirty enough) to lack of spare parts.

Because so many were made, it was common for hams, and other  hobbyists, to butcher the radios for parts, or even just to get a good box. Sadly there were some guilty parties in the room.

As these radios were designed or, and used in, aircraft, they have some interesting and unique features, such as a Morse key specifically designed to be immune to vibrations, and not produce sparks, as the operator would be sat between, and often in, the aircraft’s fuel.

The radio would also be directly connected to the aircraft’s internal headset system, and as Tony doesn’t have a whole Lancaster in his shack, he’s had to produce his own.

Tony’s radios are mostly in fully working condition, although no one replied when he called CQ in voice, or CW

And finally, for those who like to see the inside of things…


Welcome to the website of the Cheltenham Amateur Radio Association (CARA).

The club holds at least one meeting a month, currently on the third Thursday of the month (except in December when we meet on the second Thursday) at the Brizen Young People’s Centre, Up Hatherley Way, Cheltenham, doors are open by 7.30 for an 8pm start.

We are always please to see visitors and prospective members at these meetings.

Members take part in several regular locals nets and newcomers will always be made welcome.

View the CARA Promotional Video

For more details of our regular meetings and other activities please browse this site.

UK Microwavers Field Day

On Sunday 3rd August G5BK/P will be active from Birdlip between 1000-1800 BST. Operators will be Nick G4WLC and Matt 2E0MDJ, assisted by others. The station will be housed in Nick’s van.

We will be taking part in the UK Microwavers Field Day (Restricted section; 10W on 1.3 GHz and 1W on 10GHz).

G5BK won this section last year. Let’s see what we can do this year.

You are welcome to pop up and say hello and optionally do a bit of operating or logging if you wish.

QTH: From Barrow Wake Viewpoint go under the (A417) bridge, 60m on the left on grass verge.

CARA Evening Net

Malcolm G0TMP will not be available to run the CARA Evening Net for the duration of the World Cup, regardless whether England qualify from their group matches or not! If somebody else would like to take up the mantle, please feel free to do so.

7pm local time on 145.400MHz or thereabouts.

Amateur Radio – Where are the under 25s?

Copyright Essex Hams:
“Essex Ham’s been trying to find new ways to promote the hobby online, and to make “getting started” information as easy as possible to find online. Our most recent example is our two-minute video designed to get across what we do in a short-and-sweet package. It’d be great to see this shared by the community via Youtube, Twitter and Facebook (Now referred to as YouTwitFace!)… that’s where youngsters hang out – on the social media platforms, and it’s often all about video.”

Website Updates by G0TMP (edited 24/02/2014)

With the help provided by WillHosts Ltd, we now have the latest installation of Bootstrap, which makes front-end web development faster and easier.

We have added drop-down menus and as you can see, an image carousel. Simon G4SGI is kindly going to provide has provided some images in the form of montages, of photos from various CARA events. The CARA logo needs a tidy up and that is on my ‘to do’ list. A new shiny logo has been provided by Graham G3VKV.

On mobile devices the body of the site now proceeds the left column. You will also notice that we now have a sticky nav bar.

August Meeting – Natter Night Featuring Data-modes

As usual, our August meeting is a Natter Night with a theme. This year members are invited to bring along equipment relating to data-comms modes to put on tables for display and for demonstration if so desired.

We look forward to seeing, among other things, computer-radio interface units and laptops running data-modes programmes. Paul M0UTC has kindly agreed to bring along his mobile set-up and demonstrate PSK31 and may be DRM (digital pictures) – regarding the latter, he asks if another member could set-up a DRM station in the building so that pictures could be exchanged between the two of them. Any offers please?

Come along and chat to other club members, introduce yourself to our newer members and enjoy the displays and demonstrations. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available as usual.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 15th August, 7.30 for 8pm at the Brizen Young People’s Centre, Up Hatherley Way, between Morrison’s and the Shurdington Road, Visitors and prospective members will be made welcome, as always.

Derek – G3NKS