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.

Annual General Meeting – Report

CARA’s 43rd AGM took place on Thursday 12th December 2019 at the Robin’s Nest, Cheltenham Town FC, with Tony G3YYH in the Chair. Tony welcomed 33 persons to the meeting, There were 22 apologies for absence

The Minutes of the 2018 AGM were approved unanimously. The Chair’s Report, published in advance of the meeting, recorded another successful year for the club and highlighted many notable events including two enjoyable Fun Field Days, Foundation and Intermediate courses and the relocation of meetings to the Robin’s Nest. There were no questions. The Report was taken as read and approved unanimously.

Awards: The Bernard King Memorial Cup awarded for noteworthy and praiseworthy on-the-air activities was presented to Stewart G0LGS and Matt 2E0MDJ for their active involvement in VHF, UHF and microwave contests. The John Holt G3GWW Award for notable work for the club went to Rich 2E0KXL for his enthusiasm and services to the local amateur radio community through the provision of a 70cm digital repeater. A special award for the safe erection of antenna masts went to Stewart G0LGS and Matt 2E0MDJ.

The Treasurer’s Report, also published in advance of the meeting, was approved unanimously. There were no questions. Given the healthy state of the Association’s finance the Chair, in the absence of the Treasurer, proposed that the annual subscription remain at £13. Simon G4SGI asked why it had not been raised to £15, the Chair replied that there was no need. Simon then suggested that the subscription could be raised to fund major projects, the Chair replied that if there was a justifiable need then the Committee would review the case for an increase in the annual subscription. The Chairman reminded the meeting that the Committee was always open to feasible proposals for expenditure of club funds. The meeting then approved, unanimously, that the subscription remain at £13 for 2020.

Committee Elections for 2019: In the absence of other nominations, the following were declared duly elected: Chair – Tony G3YYH, Secretary – Derek G3NKS, Treasurer – James 2E0RLE, Membership Secretary – Andrew M0MVA. The Chair took the opportunity to thank the retiring Treasurer, Peter G3YJE, for his valuable services over an extended period. Ordinary committee members – Alan M0NRO, Christopher M0YNG, Rich 2E0KXL. Accounts Examiner – Tony G3SNN (not a member of the Committee).

Any Other Business: Christopher M0YNG proposed a vote of thanks to the Officers for their work during the past year. Approved unanimously with acclamation. The Chair commented that the Committee was always receptive to ideas for meetings and events, and would always welcome offers of help.

Following closure of the formal meeting at 8.30pm, members enjoyed a light finger buffet and lots of chat.

October Meeting Report

Our last meeting was well attended, with an excellent display of QRP equipment, old and new, brought along by members.

Mark G4MEM showed an Elecraft KX1 portable QRP HF rig which he uses for SotA (Summits on the Air) activations.

G4MEM kit Mark’s KX-1 with wire antenna and support pole.

Graham exhibited an Icom IC-703 10W HF transceiver and a Thunderpole T-3000 modern CB rig.

G8XRS l-r Nick 2E0NRW and Graham G8XRS

Peter G4ENA produced an FT-70G 2 to 30MHz 3W AM/SSB/CW tx/rx which was designed for use by emergency and commercial organisations particularly overseas.

FT-70G Peter’s pint (or what’s left of it) and the FT-70G

Simon G4SGI had several QRP rigs on display, some build from kits and some neatly fitted into wooden boxes.

G4SGI kit Some of Simon’s kit.

John 2E0POE showed his BITX40 QRP transceiver which he built from a kit.

2E0POE l-r Tim G8PZD and John 2E0POE

Peter G3YJE had brought along a large selection of his QRP kit, including a GQ 40m CW tx/rx, a Heathkit HW-9 5W transceiver covering most of the HF bands with matching wattmeter, and an elderly Heathkit HW-30 2m AM rig,

G3YJE kit G3YJE’s HW-30 2m AM rig.

Derek G3NKS exhibited a number pieces of QRP kit, most of it home-brewed.

G3NKS kit l-r 80m dc rx with an active aerial, ATU, OXO tx, wattmeter, valve tx (on its side).

Tim G8PZD showed his Yaesu FT-817 3W HF/VHF transceiver. (Sorry, no photo.)

Apologies to anyone I’ve may have missed in this report. It was a busy and interesting evening, I’m not sure I managed to get round to all the exhibits.

Fun Field Day – 31st Aug/1st Sept

We assembled on the Friday afternoon to erect Smurf’s large, ex-Hungarian military, tent for use as the “mess”, to use a military term, and the “loo” tent. Three of us camped on site overnight. Early on the Saturday morning Tony G3YYH arrived to join the VMARS 80m AM net, as he did again on the Sunday morning.

The above photo shows Tony G3YYH in his Landrover preparing to join the VMARS 80m AM net. He had an “interesting” experience that morning. The wiring inside a “dog-bone” cable link between two pieces of his military kit short-circuited, producing a loud bang and lots of smoke. But no humans were injured!

Smurf M0URF, as usual, provided an excellent full English breakfast. Here’s a photo of Peter G3YJE tucking in and enjoying his first meal of the day.

During the morning more members arrived; tents/gazebos were erected and portable stations set-up with varying degrees of success but all with great fun.

In the afternoon yet more members arrived along with a number of family members for Smurf’s barbeque, which as we’ve come to expect was plentiful, tasty and very enjoyable. We were please to see so many ladies present.

Sunday morning saw a few more club members put in an appearance and also a visitor Mike G4IZZ from Gotherington.

Dismantling commenced at noon and we were mostly clear of the site by 2pm.

Many thanks to everyone who turned up to make it yet another successful and enjoyable Fun Field Day weekend. Particular thanks go to all those who helped set-up and dismantle the kit, to Peter G3YJE for the “Loo” tent, to Tim G8PZD for the G5BK signs and the beer and to Rich 2E0KXL for the additional “beverages”. Last but not least a big “thank you” to Smurf M0URF for providing so much of the kit, the breakfasts and the BBQ.

August Meeting – Report

Last month our Chairman Tony G3YYH told us about his trip to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. He went with his friend Martin M0MGA not only to join the anniversary ceremonies but also to take part in VMARS (Vintage and Military Amateur Radio Society) nets.

The first thing Tony said was that he should have started to plan for the trip five years ago and not within the last year! For when they tried to book accommodation no vacancies could be found within a large distance of the site where the ceremonies were due to take place, Not only that but their plan to operate from the nearby D-Day landing beach was not possible because of security restrictions – on reflection understandable with so many VIPs attending the events.

In spite of these problems Tony and Martin had a great time. Prior to the visit Tony had written to a local French dignitary who was more please to provide assistance. Accommodation for part of the visit was arranged in a nunnery, which Tony said was better than some hotels he had stayed in! They had taken appropriate military kit to France and joined in several nets including the VMARS 80m AM net on the morning of the actual anniversary, which turned out to be a large net with some 85 participants. At one stage Tony used his Wireless Set No.46 which Beachmasters had used on the landing beaches, he was heard by at least one UK station with this very low power HF rig.

The above photo shows Tony G3YYH on the left showing his WS46 set to Graham G8XRS, Derek G3NKS and Barry M0HFY.

Tony and Martin attended a couple of ceremonies and functions and were made very welcome. The French, and the especially the locals, are still very appreciate and grateful for all the sacrifices suffered in the battles to free them of the Nazi tyranny. Interestingly the French treated the Anniversary as a celebration whereas the UK contingent saw it more of a commemoration of the lives lost.

It was a well presented, fascinating, informative and enjoyable talk with many excellent “slides” – for which we offer our grateful thanks to Tony. Unfortunately several members could not make the meeting, so Tony has offered to repeat the talk, probably sometime later this year. Watch this space!

July Meeting – Report

July Meeting report

The “On-the-Air” meeting turned out to be very successful and highly enjoyable with a large number of members setting up stations in the car-park or simply operating /M. Unfortunately I don’t have an accurate record of those who took an active part but here the list I do have with apologies to those I’ve missed and for any errors:

Graham G8XRS 2m /M
Rich 2E0KXL 2m /M
John 2E0POE 40m
Peter G3YJE 80m, 2m
Mike G6OTP 4m, 2m
Tony G3YYH 80m from his Landrover with a 40ft telescopic mast
Malcolm G0TMP 2m, 70cm /M
Simon G4SGI 40m with a magnetic loop.
Derek G3NKS 4m, 2m, 70cm
Peter G4ENA 160m /M
Ken G3LVP 4m, 2m, 70cm /M
Alan M0NRO 40m
Smurf M0URF
Christopher M0YNG 80m

Aerials ranged from dipoles and end-fed wires held aloft by push-up telescopic masts to mobile whips. Peter G4ENA flew a kite to carry a 160m wire aerial.

For me the highlight of the evening was being introduced to the use of my smart phone for listening to the Q0/100 geo-stationary satellite courtesy of the BARTC 10GHz SDR receiver at Goonhilly. I heard Graham G3VKV working Frank G3RMD – both stations were in Cheltenham about 2 miles apart yet their signals travelled some 46,000 miles each way to make the contact!

Our member in France for the summer, Peter G4IOA, listened for us on 40m SSB. I don’t think he worked anyone at the meeting but did work Giles G0NXA who was at home in Twyning.

The new “CARA CQ Alert” channel on WhatsApp was used it good effect, helping members to make contact on the various bands. ( If you wish to join the channel please email me at g3nks@blueyonder.co.uk )

Many thanks to everyone who took part in the meeting and especially to those who brought along interesting and impressive set-ups.