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.
We started with a mini-auction to dispose of a number of items from a former member who died earlier in the year. These were mainly of low value, most of which went under the hammer, but the most valuable piece, a Hunter 750 HF Linear Amplifier failed to generate any interest so will now be advertised more widely. Thanks go to the auctioneer, Chairman Tony G3YYH, who conducted proceedings in his usual efficient and humorous manner.
The auction was followed by a presentation by Matt 2E0MDJ on the work of the Gloucestershire Repeater Group. Matt was well placed to present the talk as he is the Chairman of the Group. He explained the Group’s history, described the repeaters currently maintained by the Group and spoke about future plans including the desire to introduce digital repeaters into the county. This latter proposal generated some lively discussion with arguments for and against! In all, a very interesting and informative session which enlightened some (many?) of the audience about the world of repeaters and digital voice. Many thanks to Matt for taking the time to prepare and present the talk.
Thanks also go to John G8TTJ for manning the kitchen and providing us with tea, coffee and biscuits.
This month we had a two short talks given by club members
Christopher M0YNG introduced us to the need for computer security. He spoke about the need for passwords to be long but not complex and to be easily remembered (so that we don’t need to write them down) and recommended the use of LastPass. He went on to describe some of the ways in which our privacy can be invaded by, for instance, the inclusion of mal-ware in adverts from certain sites. He urged us to keep our software up-to-date especially our operating systems and never to post anything on-line which we don’t want the whole world to know!
Tony G3SNN began by giving us a brief history of his DX’ing successes and showing us photos of the antenna at his previous QTH near Hasfield where he had a big HF yagi on top of a 60ft tower. Over the years he has worked 339 different DX entities (or countries, if you prefer) which puts him in the top league of DXers. On moving, several years ago now, to a house with a small garden he was at first disappointed with the prospects for on-going DX’ing but using a suitable multi-band vertical he has continued to be successful. His current challenge is filling in as many “band-slots” as possible (ie working each DXCC entity on each HF band).
Many thanks to Christopher and Tony for their very interesting and informative talks which were much appreciated by those present. Thanks also to Colin G3TA for manning the tea bar.