At Septembers meeting we were entertained by Roger, G4BVY, who is very well known in contesting circles and headlined his talk as one not having any equations in it! His trip to Suriname operating as PZ5K which, of course, we all knew to be at the top end of South America, was their location for the CQ WW SSB Contest.
Having rented a ‘Shack’ from a guy they had never met, at a place they had never seen added quite a lot of risk to the venture. However, the whole experience turned out to be very successful, especially when the shack comes with two multiband beams on two large lattice towers in a 400m x 80m plot. In addition, they also had 80m dipole, 160m ‘T’, a Beverage and a Butternut vertical and some big amplifiers to play with. Their logging programme (not Roger’s favourite) was ‘Win-Test’.
Roger described the interesting collection of boxes from the weighty hand luggage linking the aerials to provide diversity operation. They had the pleasure of W6s in the left ear and W1s in the right! Quite a lot of analysis on good QTHs to maximise contest points had preceded the trip. Certain spots in the world work consistently well, although PZ did rely on double hop propagation quite a bit. They came creditable 6th.
My highlight of Roger’s talk was the 100 seconds recording of the contest station on 15m working US stations at a rate of 320/hour. The calm efficiency and relentless attention to keeping each contact to the minimum time was fascinating to hear.
So, for about $1000/person, they enjoyed full board and lodgings, a shack and an aerial farm. A return visit is on the cards.
In August we saw yet another auction of, mainly, Silent Key (SK) stuff. It was another success with, from memory, all the lots being sold thanks to the persuasive powers of Tony G3YYH who once again did a superb job as the auctioneer and entertainer! It’s been suggested that the next auction should be advertised as “An evening of hilarious entertainment accompanied by some selling of equipment”! Tony was ably assisted by Barry M0HFY who kept track of the successful bidders, Peter G3YJE who collected the monies due, Tim G8PZD who acted as gatekeeper whose job was to ensure that everyone took away everything they bought (believe it or not, some do forget to do so!) and Derek G3NKS who collected and catalogued the lots beforehand.
Thanks also to everyone who turned up and so helped to make the evening the success it undoubtedly was. Colin G3TA manned the tea bar, thanks go to him too.
Iain M0PCB is probably the club’s most travelled and experienced DXpeditioner. His experiences range from his first solo trip in 2007 to Jersey when he made just 90 QSOs to the big DXpedition to Ghana earlier this year when as part of the 9G5X team he made several thousand QSOs. At the meeting on 20th July he spoke to us about planning and preparing for such a trip. He suggested starting by considering the following points: Where to go, people to take with you, time of the year to go, what kit to take, travel arrangements, definition of success (which may be simply to have fun). Other factors include: how easy is it to get a licence? Is a visa needed? How easy is it to find a site and what’s the QRM/EMC situation like? Can radios be easily imported? Is the country safe to visit? When considering the best time to go, a study of propagation forecasts is necessary to pick the optimum band conditions between the DX location and the parts of the world you wish to work most. Finally Iain showed photos of various DXpedition stations and locations. A really interested talk which was well received by those present. Many thanks to Iain for his time and trouble.
Jon M0JMM reminded us about the CARA Fun Activity Challenge which started on 1st July and announced the leaders to date – top of the table was Simon G6AHX.
Derek G3NKS then lead a short discuss on communications within the club. Were members satisfied with current methods of communications. Could communications be improved, if so how? Unfortunately time did not allow a full discussion, so this topic will be probably be raised again at a future meeting.
Jon M0JMM introduced a new challenge for club members. This challenge was initially devised for newly licensed members but was widened to included all members of CARA. Its aim is to encourage members to get on the air more often by trying new activities such as different bands, different modes and different locations. It’s known as the CARA Fun Activity Challenge and has a start date of 1st July 2017. Regular reporting by members is encouraged, and a leader board will be displayed at the monthly meetings and on this website. (Subsequently, an email describing the challenge in detail, along with a score sheet, was sent to members by email. The contents of that email will be posted on this web-site shortly.)
Derek G3NKS then displayed and spoke about the three project kits which have been described in CARA News and invited members to place orders. If there is a demand, Assisted Construction meetings will be held later in the year where members can build the kits with help and advice.
Over 30 people attended the auction on 18th May. With some 120 lots it was a busy meeting and the auctioneer, Tony G3YYH, did well to get through that number of lots in the time available. He worked hard, encouraging bidders to come forward and may be even to bid when hesitant to do so! Some of us think that Tony could even sell snow to those living within the Artic Circle! However, several of the transceivers remained unsold as the reserve prices were not reached. These items may well be advertised for sale here
– so watch this space,
Barry M0HFY did a super job recording bidders and prices, and Peter G3YJE a super job collecting monies owed. Thanks to those who arrived early to help set-up the room and to those who stayed on to help clear away at the end of the evening. Their efforts were much appreciated.
It was a very successful and entertaining evening, with Tony and others injecting much humour into the proceedings. As we have a lot more SK stuff to dispose of, we’re planning another auction on 17th August – put this date in your diary now.
The monthly lunches at the Toby Carvery, at Brockworth, continue to be well supported and March was no exception when 19 people sat down for an enjoyable meal and lots of friendly chat. This was the largest number for some months; we were very pleased to welcome Mike and Jan for the first time.
A reminder that all club members and their spouses/partners are welcomed to attended.
Our annual Constructors’ Exhibition took place at the March meeting and was well attended. The number of exhibits was down on previous years as several of the club’s prolific home-brewers were not able to be present. Nevertheless we saw some very interesting and original exhibits, and were able to chat to the constructors at length.
Peter G4ENA and Colin G3TA were the judges and they made the following awards.
The Bill Brown G5BK Cup for “Best in Show” went to Tony G3YYH for his excellent home-built power supply unit for a WS19.
The Pat Moore G3IKR Memorial Cup for Innovative Construction went to Stewart G0LGS for his ingenious 5.7GHz Wideband FM Transceiver.
The Roger Kendall G0UPU Memorial Cup for “Best Software or Computer Related Project” was not awarded as there were no qualifying exhibits.
We were pleased to welcome several visitors to the meeting. Thanks go to Alan M0NRO and Geoff M6OGR for kindly manning the kitchen and providing us with the usual refreshments.
The 40th AGM of the Association was held on 15th December.
Tony G3YYH chaired the meeting which was attended by 32 members and 2 visitors. Fifteen apologies for absences were noted.
The Chairman’s and Treasurer’s Reports were approved without comment.
Certificates of Merit were presented to the section winners in the two CARA Challenges held during 2016.
It was announced that the Bernard King G3CEG Cup had been awarded to Graham G3VKV in recognition of his outstanding successes working through satellites and in particular through FO-29. Unfortunately Graham was not able to attend to receive the Cup, it will be presented to him later.
Exceptionally, the John Holt G3GWW Award went to three members of CARA in recognition of their sterling efforts and successes organising and running Foundation and Intermediate training courses: Ian G3TDT as the lead trainer for Foundation courses; Iain M0PCB as the lead trainer for Intermediate courses; Barry M0HFY for coordinating students, courses and exams.
Full citations will be posted separately and will also appear in CARA News.
It was agreed that the annual subscription should remain at £13.
The following were elected, unopposed, to serve on the 2017 committee.
Chairman: Tony G3YYH
Secretary: Derek G3NKS
Treasurer: Peter G3YJE
Tony G3SNN was re-elected Accounts Examiner.
Under Any Other Business:
The pros and cons of moving to Newlands Park were debated. Strong views were voiced for and against the move. The Chairman assured the meeting that no decision to move will be taken without further consultation with the membership.
The year 2017 sees the 40th anniversary of CARA, to celebrate the occasion a barbeque and special event station was suggested.
Jon M0JMM spoke about the desirability of, and difficulty of, encouraging youngsters into the hobby. Max M0VNG described his positive experience with National Science Week in schools. It was said that youngsters were often attracted by what might be regarded as peripheral, rather than mainstream, amateur radio activities eg DF events and Raynet.
We were delighted to welcome Tim G4VXE back to Cheltenham to tell us about “Simple Satellite Operating”. He explained how with relatively simple equipment, such as a dual-band hand-held FM transceiver for 2m and 70cm with a hand-held yagi type aerial, it was possible to work through certain orbiting satellites by selecting the most appropriate orbit and time. He went on to describe the current amateur satellites in orbit and their various frequencies and modes of operation. Finally he mentioned the exploits of some of the leading proponents of satellite operating and the distances they achieve. In all a very interesting, informative and stimulating meeting and our grateful thanks go to Tim for the excellence of his presentation.
There was a good attendance, 37 people signed-in, well above the average number for most CARA meetings. Many thanks to everyone who turned out to support this special meeting. We were pleased to welcome several visitors and we look forward to seeing them again.
Most of those attending seemed happy with the venue, which was “on-trial”, in spite of the unexpected presence of others – we had been promised exclusive use of the room. Before the Committee makes any decision to move, the desirability or not of transferring to Newlands will be discussed at the AGM on 15th December at Brizen.