January 2023 Meeting

Radio for Navigation by Mike G3TSO

Mike G3TSO is a long standing and well known member of CARA.  He is a former professional aviator who spent many hours airborne making sure that the aircraft that he was in arrived at the correct destination and on time!  Needless to say he accumulated much experience and is hence well qualified to talk to us about how radio systems are used in the field of navigation.  His talk will be illustrated by PowerPoint type pictures. 

.We look forward to an interesting meeting.  The bar will be open as usual for the sale of tea and coffee as well as alcoholic drinks.

Thursday 19th January 7.30 for 8pm at the Premier Suite, Cheltenham Football Club, GL52 5NA

Visitors and prospective members will be made welcome.

Fun Radio Weekend

At the last Fun Field Weekend in the autumn it was agreed that we would hold another such weekend on 9th, 10th and 11th December. At that time we had no idea that this would turn out to be so cold and snow bound!

The site chosen was high up in the Cotswolds between Brockhamton and Hawling. The weekend started out well on the Friday with tents and masts being erected in passable winter conditions but come Saturday the weather turned cold and by Sunday the snow had started to fall, and fall heavily.

The above photo, taken on the Sunday, shows the main operating and “mess” tent complete with flue from the in-tent log burning stove.

Some fun was had on the Saturday playing radio, including by Tony G3YYH who turned up early to join the VMARS 80m AM net on 3615kHz. which starts around 8am. The main tent was kept warm(ish) by a log burning stove and members gathered inside to eat and to socialise.

Inside the main tent with Mike G8NSZ on the left and Rich M0XRB warming themselves by the stove.

Come Sunday morning with the snow thick on the ground the decision was taken to “bug out”, as the military saying goes. The site was abandoned in quick order with most of the non-radio kit left in situ for collection later. The journeys home were slow and difficult. For example Tony G3YYH took some two hours to complete what should have been a 15 minute trip, and Rich M0XRB took much of the day to return to Cheltenham. The kit abandoned on site was collected over the course of the following week as road conditions improved.

One CARA member, hearing of the problems encountered, remarked that those at the site must have been slightly mad to venture out in the winter; the riposte from one who was there was: “No, not slightly mad, but completely mad!” Nevertheless it hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for another winter weekend camping out to play radio!

CARA Festive Season Nets

Christmas Day:  10am on 145.400MHz FM , or if busy up or down 25kHz.

Boxing Day: 10am on GB3RC, 70cm analogue repeater.

New Year’s Day:  10am on 145.400MHz FM , or if busy up or down 25kHz.

Rich M0XRB has suggested the use of the new 70cm analogue repeater GB3RC over the festive period.   So let’s try it at 10am on Boxing Day.  The repeater is on RU69, output frequency: 430.8625 MHz,   RX frequency: 438.4625 MHz,  CTCSS tone 103.5 Hz.

These nets are an opportunity to exchange seasonal greeting with your fellow club members.  In recent years the net have been popular with many members taking part, some for the whole time while others briefly.  The nets usually last well over half-an-hour so if you can’t make 10am try calling in a bit later.  

The nets may well be large, so please keep your overs short so that everyone gets a turn without having to wait too long.  Also, please respect the net controllers as they will be working hard to ensure that everyone gets a turn in the right order.  Many thanks.

CARA AGM December 2022

At the AGM on 15th December the Chair, Tony G3YYH, welcomed 24 members and one prospective member to the meeting – a good turn-out considering the freezing temperature and slippery road conditions.  A further 20 members had sent apologies for absence.  These numbers reveal a healthy interest in the activities and wellbeing of the club.

The reports from the Chair, the Treasurer and the Membership Secretary were all taken as read and approved without comment.

The Bernard King G3CEG Memorial Cup was awarded to Simon G6AHX for his noteworthy and praise worthy activities on the VHF and UHF bands.  The full citation will be published in January’s CARA News.

The Committee recommended that, in view of the healthy state of the club’s bank balances, the annual subscription should remain at £15.  A motion to this effect was proposed, seconded and duly carried without dissent. 

The following were elected as Officers:

Rich M0XRB – Chair.

Alan M0NRO – Secretary

Tony G3YYH – Treasurer

Andrew M0MVA – Membership Secretary.

The following Ordinary Committee Members were elected:

Larry G0SDG,   Mike G8NSZ,  Smurf M0URF

The Chair noted that Derek G3NKS would be co-opted at the first meeting of the new committee.

(The new committee takes over on 1st January 2023).

Simon G4SGI was elected Accounts Examiner.

The chair expressed the committee’s grateful thanks to Tony G3SNN for serving for many years as the Accounts Examiner and expressed their disappointment at his understandable decision to stand down this year.

Rich proposed a vote of thanks to Tony G3YYH, Derek G3NKS and James 2E0RLE for all the valuable work they had done while in post as Chair, Secretary and Treasurer respectively.  This proposal was approved and endorsed by warm applause.

The meeting was closed at 20.26.

A social evening followed with a plentiful and wholesome buffet provided by the bar staff.

Posted by Derek G3NKS

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.

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.

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.