May Meeting Report

by Alan M0NRO

The CARA evening was attended by 22 members some of whom brought along test equipment and gadgetry to demonstrate. Notable items were VNAs, LCD oscilloscopes, a Quansheng UV-K5 modified for morse and FT-8, and a JPC-12 portable HF antenna.

It was a popular night and the informality of evening allowed the social aspect of the club to get going with lots of tips exchanged regarding the usage of the kit.

The G6CJ Aerial Circus – A demonstration by Peter G4ENA

Report by Tony G3PJQ

The demonstration and talk by Peter at the March club meeting was very interesting and well delivered. I had not seen the original talk given by G6CJ in the 1940’s to an audience of the IEE and subsequently by others, but it was a novel way of demonstrating the performance of various antenna types.

The demonstration used a microwave source of 3000MHz (3 cm) and model antennas were tested on this scale over a copper ground plane using a sense antenna and oscilloscope. Antennas ranging from a simple quarter wave vertical, through dipoles, yagis, quads and a rhombic were tested and their radiation patterns demonstrated. It was very clear how the spacing of parasitic elements could be introduced and surprisingly even the effect of the ionosphere on fading.

It proves that a practical demonstration is worth its weight in gold compared to sitting through hours of theory. Well done Peter.

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

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.

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.

February Meeting Report

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. 

CARA AGM

The 44th AGM of the Cheltenham Amateur Radio Association was held on 10th December, on-line using Jitsi. Some 30 members joined the meeting.

The Minutes of the 2019 AGM and the Chair’s Report were approved unanimously without comment.

Chairman Tony G3YYH announced the following awards: The Bernard King G3CEG Cup for noteworthy and praiseworthy on-the-air activities to Ken G3LVP. The John Holt G3GWW Trophy for exceptional service to the club to, exceptionally, three members who individually had helped members to keep in touch during the past difficult year:: Christopher M0YNG for IT support; Alan M0NRO for his webSDR  which is used by members to overcome their local noise problems, and to Tim G8PZD for bringing members together at the regular Monday morning coffee mornings. The G3IKR Rose Bowl, a special award, went to Peter G3YJE for extended services as Treasurer and for scanning in 500 copies of CARA News for CARA’s archives and countless numbers of magazines for the World Radio History website. All the above awards were met with warm applause.

Treasurer James 2E0RLE said that the club had moved to digital on-line banking. His Report was approved unanimously without comment.

Chairman Tony G3YYH explained that, as the club had incurred very little expenditure during the past year, the Committee was proposing that members in 2020 should have their membership carried over to 2021 without further payment.  The proposal was seconded and passed unanimously.  Nevertheless several members expressed a desire to pay a subscription in 2021; it was recommended that instead they make a donation to the club.

The were no nominations for the post of Chair or Secretary.  The present incumbents, Tony G3YYH and Derek G3NKS respectively, were, having served the maxi,um period of five years allowed by the Constitution, not eligible to put themselves forward for re-election but the meeting unanimously approved a proposal that they continue in post for another year. James 2E0RLE was re-elected as Treasurer and Andrew M0MVA as Membership Secretary. Alan M0NRO, Christopher M0YNG and Rich 2E0KXL were all re-elected as Ordinary Committee Members. Tony G3SNN was re-elected as Accounts Examiner.

Under Any Other Business:  Max M0VNG asked when the GB3RC 70cm repeater on Cleeve Hill would be operational, Rich 2E0KXL replied that the project was well underway but he was currently very busy with other work.  New member Michael G7PTV introduced himself to the meeting.

Members expressed their thanks to Tony G3YYH for chairing the meeting and to Christopher M0YNG for providing and managing Jitsi. The Chair thanked members for joining the meeting and closed the AGM at 20.38.hrs.

CARA-On-The-Air Thursday 2nd July

Just a quick report on the 145.400MHz “COTA net” last Thursday evening.

An excellent turnout of members (13,  from Malvern, Chalford, Highnam etc).  Several subjects were discussed, have to admit only remembering the usual favourite – “antennas” – and therefore who can hear who! Should have made notes on my “Log” but that amount of multi tasking while being net controller was beyond me that evening! (how did I manage volunteering for that executive position). I think a couple of stations who are antenna restricted are off to experimen,t improving their “metal” in the air after the evening conversations, look forward to reporting on their signals in due course.

I certainly enjoyed the evening and after 1 1/2 hrs a wee dram was called for! Roll on the next on air meeting and of course face to face at the Robins Nest, when permitted!

Many thanks to Tim G8PZD for this report.