June Meeting

A change to the previously advertised meeting – an auction will be held at the Churchdown Club in Church Road on Thursday 15th June to dispose of the contents of three local shacks belonging to recent Silent Keys. Doors will open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start to the auction. There is limited carparking at the club which should be reserved for those delivering equipment and those who are disabled. There is a carpark further up the lane beside the club.

If you are likely to bid, on arrival please sign-in and collect a bidding card. Bids will be accepted only from those with bidding cards. Lots will be sold strictly as seen. All purchases must be paid for before the items are remove from the room.

The auction is a join venture between the Cheltenham Amateur Radio Association and the Gloucester Amateur Radio and Electronics Society.

March Meeting

Annual Constructors’ Exhibition

The aim of this meeting is to encourage home construction and to help demonstrate that amateur radio remains a technically based pastime.

Members are invited to bring along as many exhibits as they wish which must conform to the following rules:

Entries must have some relevance to amateur radio.

Entries must not have been shown at a previous CARA exhibition.

Entries must have been constructed within the previous few years.

Entries must have been built or heavily modified by the exhibitor.

Kits built by the exhibitor are permitted.

Exhibitors must be members of CARA.

The following awards will be available for presentation:

The Bill Brown G5BK Memorial Cup for “Best in Show”.

The Pat Moore G3IKR Memorial Cup for “Innovative Construction”.

The Roger Kendall G0UPU Memorial Cup for “Best Software or Computer Related Project”.

An exhibitor winning the same award for two consecutive years will not be eligible for that award in the following year.  However the judges may reward such an entrant with a certificate in lieu of the award.

Thursday 16th March, 7.30 for 8pm at the Premier Suite, Cheltenham Town Football Club, Whaddon Road, Cheltenham GL52 5NA. Visitors and prospective members are welcomed to attend.

February Meeting

A “Skills Evening” is the title of this month’s meeting.  The format will be slightly different from previous such meetings as it will start with a short presentation to the whole room by Mike G4GHL, he will be explaining to us how to use VNAs (Vector Network Analysers) to measure things like antenna impedance and feeder loss. 

After this we will be able to look at the various tables around the room where other members will demonstrating or showing various skills.  Needless to say there will be plenty of time to chat and to visit the bar if you wish.  Do come along, it promises to be an interesting evening.

Thursday 16th February 2023 at the Premier Suite, Cheltenham Football Club, GL52 5NA.

Doors will be open by 7.30 for an 8pm start.

Visitors and prospective members will be made welcome, as always.

January 2023 Meeting

Radio for Navigation by Mike G3TSO

Mike G3TSO is a long standing and well known member of CARA.  He is a former professional aviator who spent many hours airborne making sure that the aircraft that he was in arrived at the correct destination and on time!  Needless to say he accumulated much experience and is hence well qualified to talk to us about how radio systems are used in the field of navigation.  His talk will be illustrated by PowerPoint type pictures. 

.We look forward to an interesting meeting.  The bar will be open as usual for the sale of tea and coffee as well as alcoholic drinks.

Thursday 19th January 7.30 for 8pm at the Premier Suite, Cheltenham Football Club, GL52 5NA

Visitors and prospective members will be made welcome.

Fun Radio Weekend

At the last Fun Field Weekend in the autumn it was agreed that we would hold another such weekend on 9th, 10th and 11th December. At that time we had no idea that this would turn out to be so cold and snow bound!

The site chosen was high up in the Cotswolds between Brockhamton and Hawling. The weekend started out well on the Friday with tents and masts being erected in passable winter conditions but come Saturday the weather turned cold and by Sunday the snow had started to fall, and fall heavily.

The above photo, taken on the Sunday, shows the main operating and “mess” tent complete with flue from the in-tent log burning stove.

Some fun was had on the Saturday playing radio, including by Tony G3YYH who turned up early to join the VMARS 80m AM net on 3615kHz. which starts around 8am. The main tent was kept warm(ish) by a log burning stove and members gathered inside to eat and to socialise.

Inside the main tent with Mike G8NSZ on the left and Rich M0XRB warming themselves by the stove.

Come Sunday morning with the snow thick on the ground the decision was taken to “bug out”, as the military saying goes. The site was abandoned in quick order with most of the non-radio kit left in situ for collection later. The journeys home were slow and difficult. For example Tony G3YYH took some two hours to complete what should have been a 15 minute trip, and Rich M0XRB took much of the day to return to Cheltenham. The kit abandoned on site was collected over the course of the following week as road conditions improved.

One CARA member, hearing of the problems encountered, remarked that those at the site must have been slightly mad to venture out in the winter; the riposte from one who was there was: “No, not slightly mad, but completely mad!” Nevertheless it hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for another winter weekend camping out to play radio!

CARA Festive Season Nets

Christmas Day:  10am on 145.400MHz FM , or if busy up or down 25kHz.

Boxing Day: 10am on GB3RC, 70cm analogue repeater.

New Year’s Day:  10am on 145.400MHz FM , or if busy up or down 25kHz.

Rich M0XRB has suggested the use of the new 70cm analogue repeater GB3RC over the festive period.   So let’s try it at 10am on Boxing Day.  The repeater is on RU69, output frequency: 430.8625 MHz,   RX frequency: 438.4625 MHz,  CTCSS tone 103.5 Hz.

These nets are an opportunity to exchange seasonal greeting with your fellow club members.  In recent years the net have been popular with many members taking part, some for the whole time while others briefly.  The nets usually last well over half-an-hour so if you can’t make 10am try calling in a bit later.  

The nets may well be large, so please keep your overs short so that everyone gets a turn without having to wait too long.  Also, please respect the net controllers as they will be working hard to ensure that everyone gets a turn in the right order.  Many thanks.

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

Fun Field Day

Over the weekend of 16th to 18th September CARA held another one of its popular Fun Field Days, this time from a field between Colesbourne and Wittington. A good number of members set up and operated their own portable stations and enjoyed the benefits of a very low noise rf environment, so quiet in fact that at times some of us wondered if our antennas were still connected! We also benefited from a spell of very good hf propagation conditions with some interesting DX being worked on QRP.

Early on the Saturday evening we were joined by a few family members and friends for one of Smurf M0URF’s excellent pizza BBQs. This was followed by much chat in a tent warmed by a lovely wood burning stove (with chimney exhausting through the tent roof) and by modest quantities of beer, cider and coffee!

Most of us packed up and departed early Sunday afternoon after a very enjoyable time spent playing radio and conversing with fellow club members. Very many thanks go to Rich M0XRB and Smurf M0URF and their helpers for all their hard work planning, setting up and clearing away the field day operation. There was talk of holding the next one in December!

September’s Meeting

On 15th September at a well attended meeting Tony G3YYH and Rich M0XRB told us about their trip to France in June to join the D-Day commemoration events there. They took with them (drove) an ex-WW2 CMP (Canadian Military Pattern) vehicle full of appropriate ex-military radios including an R107 receiver, a WS-12 transmitter, a WS-52 set, an R109 receiver and several other pieces of kit.. By prior arrangement they operated from a number of WW2 related sites, mainly on 80m AM. Tony and Rich’s talk, accompanied by many “slides”, was well presented and well received. Many thanks to them both for a very interesting evening.

August Meeting

In August Alan M0NRO will talk about Antenna Erection and Field Day Safety.  This is a topic which should be of interest to all of us as we need antennas at decent heights in order to be able to radiate strong signals, and to receive well of course. 

In these days of the propensity of people to sue for damages when accidents occur, plus the need to take note of Health and Safety rules, regulations and advice, it’s best to be well informed on such matters.  The Committee is very mindful of safety problems at our Fun Field Days, and we hoping that this talk will result in greater awareness among members of the issues involved.  So please come along if you can.

Thursday 18th August, 7.30 for 8pm, Premier Suite, Cheltenham Football Club, GL52 5NA.