Amateur Radio – Where are the under 25s?

Copyright Essex Hams:
“Essex Ham’s been trying to find new ways to promote the hobby online, and to make “getting started” information as easy as possible to find online. Our most recent example is our two-minute video designed to get across what we do in a short-and-sweet package. It’d be great to see this shared by the community via Youtube, Twitter and Facebook (Now referred to as YouTwitFace!)… that’s where youngsters hang out – on the social media platforms, and it’s often all about video.”

May Meeting – Report

Iain M0PCB told us about his March trip to Montserrat where he rented a villa complete with antennas and spent a week working the world with a rare’ish DXCC callsign – VP2MXI. He took his own gear, a K3 and amplifer, plus laptop of course. Although VP2M is not that rare on the DXCC most wanted list, when he appeared on the bands he faced large pile-ups and a seemingly never ending queue of stations wishing to make contact. The main reason for his trip was to take part in the RSGB’s Commonwealth Contest, a 24 hour CW event during which stations in the British Commonwealth work each other. He managed to spend some 22 hours in front of the rig during the contest and made over 1200 QSOs. In the “Claimed QSOs” list Iain is in 4th place worldwide – a superb achievement. As well as photos of his station he also showed photos of the island and told us something of its recent history.

Very many thanks to Iain for a really interesting and very inspirational evening.

G3NKS

80m CC Contests – May

The dates for the next series of the RSGB’s Club Championship Contests are:
5th May – SSB
14th May – Data
22nd May – CW

Each contest runs from 1900-2030utc. Exchange RS(T) and serial number.

The full set of rules may be found on the RSGB website at:
https://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/rules/2014/r80mcc.shtml

CARA is doing reasonable well in the Local Clubs category but more support would help the club to climb further up the results table! All scores, no matter how modest, will be welcomed.

G3NKS

April Meeting – Report

In a change to the earlier published programme we were treated to three short presentations.

Simon G4SGI began by telling us about his /M activities on two wheels, describing his radio set-up and showing a short video of him pedalling away and in QSO – a sort of video “selfie” perhaps!

Simon then went on to talk about HackRF, an interesting new Software Defined Radio with open source software which transmits and receives over the range 10MHz to 6GHz. He may buy one and return to the club later with a longer talk and demo.

Finally Doug G4IGN related his plans for Railways-on-the-Air (RotA) in September when we’ll be operating two HF stations from the Cheltenham Racecourse station of the GWR Heritage Railway, with a tower and an HF beam. One of Doug’s main aims is to encourage our newly licensed members to come along and operate on HF from a station with a decent antenna and may be work some interesting DX. There then followed a G4SGI video of an earlier RotA operation.

All three presentations were well received and much enjoyed. Many thanks to Doug G4IGN and Simon G4SGI for filling in the gap in our meeting programme at short notice.

There were 28 members at the meeting.

G3NKS

Silent Keys

It is with much sadness that we record the deaths of two local radio amateurs:

Roger G0UPU at the age of 72, a CARA member, an avid experimenter and talented constructor of “home-brew” equipment.

Douglas (Gerry) G3BCC at the age of 95, a long term Cheltonian, journalist and past member of CARA.

Tributes will be published in CARA News.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to their families.

G3NKS

80m Club Championship Contests

This year’s RSGB 80m Club Championship has been running for a couple of months now. CARA is climbing up the league table but more support would be much welcomed. The next contests are:

7th April: CW 1900 to 2030 utc
16th April: SSB 1900 to 2030 utc
24th April: Data 1900 to 2030 utc

Full rules may be found on the RSGB’s website.

Please get on the air, support your club and have some fun!

G3NKS

Railways On The Air

Advance Notice! This year Chairman Doug G4IGN is planning a big operation for Railways-On-The-Air. As usual we’ll be at the Cheltenham Racecourse Station of the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway. However this year we’ll have two stations on HF plus tower and beam so there will be plenty of operating opportunities. He hopes that many club members, and especially those newly licensed, will wish to take part and join in the fun. The event takes place over the weekend of 27th/28th September with set-up on Friday 26th. Please earmark these dates in your diary now!

March Meeting – Report

The annual CARA Constructors’ Exhibition took place on Thursday 20th March. A primary aim of the meeting is to demonstrate that home construction, or “home-brew” if you like, is alive and well in the Cheltenham area. This is certainly true as there was a massive turnout of projects, many of a very high standard.

The CARA constructors' exhibition 2014
The CARA constructors’ exhibition 2014

Two trophies were presented: The Bill Brown G5BK Cup for the “Best in Show” and the Pat Moore G3IKR Memorial Cup for “Innovative Construction”. Judges this year were Bob, M0NQN, and Jon, M0JMM.

Judges Jon, M0JMM, (left) and Bob, M0NQN, (right)
Judges Jon, M0JMM, (left) and Bob, M0NQN, (right)

Here’s some of what was put on show…

Doug, G4IGN's, halo antenna
Doug, G4IGN’s, halo antenna
Colin, G3TA's, brass key made from scrap
Colin, G3TA’s, brass key made from scrap
Derek, G3NKS, finished his project after 29 years
Derek, G3NKS, finished his project after 29 years
Bob, M0NQN's, ladderline 4:1 balun
Bob, M0NQN’s, ladderline 4:1 balun
A selection of Andy, M0JLY's, QRSS projects
A selection of Andy, M0JLY’s, QRSS projects
Peter, G4ENA's, 4m transvertor and dual band portable yagi
Peter, G4ENA’s, 4m transvertor and dual band portable yagi
Ken, G3LVP's, portable Pic-a-star project
Ken, G3LVP’s, portable Pic-a-star project
Jon, M0JMM, beats the commercial competition
Jon, M0JMM, beats the commercial competition

The winner for “Best in show” went to Colin, G3TA, for his Morse key constructed from scrap metal.

Colin, G3TA, being presented withthe Bill Brown, G5BK, cup for best entry
Colin, G3TA, being presented withthe Bill Brown, G5BK, cup for best entry

The prize for “Innovative Construction” went to Andy, M0JLY, for his magnetic loop made with under soil heating pipe.

Andy, M0JLY, with his innovative loop
Andy, M0JLY, with his innovative loop
Andy, M0JLY, being presented the G3IKR cup for best innovative construction by Doug, G4IGN
Andy, M0JLY, being presented the G3IKR cup for best innovative construction by Doug, G4IGN

Website Updates by G0TMP (edited 24/02/2014)

With the help provided by WillHosts Ltd, we now have the latest installation of Bootstrap, which makes front-end web development faster and easier.

We have added drop-down menus and as you can see, an image carousel. Simon G4SGI is kindly going to provide has provided some images in the form of montages, of photos from various CARA events. The CARA logo needs a tidy up and that is on my ‘to do’ list. A new shiny logo has been provided by Graham G3VKV.

On mobile devices the body of the site now proceeds the left column. You will also notice that we now have a sticky nav bar.

February Meeting – Report

A short talk and demonstration by Roger, G3REB, of a potential extra project for all those who completed the FoxDelta antenna analyser club project.

The February meeting about to start
The February meeting about to start

Roger described a graphical interface and controller to go with the FoxDelta SWR Analyser which some 20 members built from a kit last year under the club’s “Assisted Build” project. The Graphics Adaptor appears to be a very useful addition to an already very useful piece of test gear and, like the SWR Analyser, it is available as a kit so is a contender for another “Assisted Build” project.

Roger, G3REB, describing the graphics display and controller for the FoxDelta antenna analsyer
Roger, G3REB, describing the graphics display and controller for the FoxDelta antenna analsyer
A 'walkabout demonstration' of the FoxDelta SWR analyser display
A ‘walkabout demonstration’ of the FoxDelta SWR analyser display

Unfortunatelty the advertised talk entitled “A Day in the Life of an Air Traffic Controller” did not take place due to a last minute change to Tom’s work commitments.