THE CATSWHISKER – MARCH 2000

Greetings to all members and readers

Here’s yet another action-packed club magazine – lots of snippets this month.

Now, what about the newcomers to Amateur Radio? Well, in the current (March 20000) edition of Practical Wireless a letter from a 14-year old lad shows exactly the right attitude.

Hearing about Amateur Radio on a Scout JOTA day, Iain was keen enough to make further enquiries; so keen, in fact, that he is doing his RAE shortly.

Especially noteworthy is his pragmatic attitude to Morse: “If someone really wants to operate HF don’t you think they should be bothered to learn Morse, or at least try rather than just sit around complaining about it?”

Absolutely. Do it – then complain!

Even better perhaps his parents are now, from being half-hearted and not very keen, fully in support and think he has picked the best of all hobbies available.

John, M0BQO

MARCH MEETING

Please note there is a change of date for our March meeting, which ought to take place on March 7th. This happens to be Pancake Day and the Hall will be in use for the festivities thereof.

Our meeting date has therefore been put back to March 14th.

March 14th – SDRS Club meeting: Neville 2E1HFY and others will tell us about the NRAE courses and future plans. There will also be some discussion of arrangements for International Marconi Day.

March 19th (Sunday) – Bournemouth Radio Society’s annual sale at Kinson Community Centre., talk-in operating.

APRIL MEETING

April 4th – South Dorset Radio Society’s Annual General Meeting. The major formal event of the year, hopefully with major attendance.

INTERNATIONAL MARCONI DAY

IMD this year is to be held on 29th April. This is a departure from the accepted norm as the Saturday nearest Marconi’s birthday coincides with the Easter weekend.

Please keep the date free and your help will be appreciated.

HEAR THE PENNIES DROPPING

Just a preliminary notice – with the AGM next month, a new Club Year is upon us and the Treasurer G3EAT will be collecting your annual subs after the Meeting.

SOWING THE SEED

An idea from Carol Hodges and Neville Bridle 2E1HFY

Spring is nearly here, so it’s time to sow the seed.

Soon we will be having the AGM and then will be the time to discuss and vote on all sorts of important things.

So what’s new? Is amateur radio dying? If so, why? Where are the new people coming into the hobby?

I believe I can answer some of these and you will be able to answer the ones that I can’t.

Over the last twelve months we have had at least fourteen people pass their RAE or NRAE exams in the Weymouth area.

Most of these people, once they passed were then left out there to fend for themselves. I realise that they could always join one of the Radio Clubs so that they could meet others who enjoy the hobby. Some have, but most are still out there and some are hardly heard at all.

Those people I refer to are mostly the younger element. So read on to see what this is all about.

People below the age of 21 get their licence free of charge. ( Why? )

So how about the following, two fold suggestion.

1. All people under the age of 21yrs who have passed their RAE or NRAE upon applying, get free membership of the SDRS until they reach 21.

2. All such members form a junior branch of the SDRS and run their meetings themselves.

These meetings could then be used for them to discuss the topics that interest them and if they had an evening arranged that sounded interesting to members of the senior club, they could attend and vice-versa.

Their club meetings should be self financing, ie they the members would have to find the cost of the hire of premises etc. Also they would be responsible for keeping their own accounts etc.

They would have their own Secretary and Treasurer and could report at the AGM of the SDRS.

This is why I called it, ‘Sowing the Seed’, because I am sure that a lot of alterations are needed before anything like this can get off the ground.

If we give it a go and it fails, then at least we can say we tried.

But if we don’t, then we will never know, and who knows what the future of Amateur Radio holds.

Any comments, please?

LINKING WITH THE INTERNET

In case you thought, as I did, that this was going to be a cheap and easy way to get into the Internet and all its facilities, it appears that this is not quite the case. There are practical and legal obstacles which are now being addressed.

The RSGB is currently in conversation with the Radiocommunications Agency over it.

Basically, at this present exploratory stage the objectives seem to be:

1. To investigate what practical purposes can be served by an amateur radio to internet link;

2. To establish how a link can best be achieved;

3. To explore the legal implications (in terms of licensing, etc.).

RSGB is concerned to fix safeguards to ensure that only amateur traffic is carried over amateur radio frequencies, which effectively rules out contacting anybody except fellow hams.

RSGB disapproves of linking amateur radio to private e-mail facilities on the Internet. It would support using the Internet to control a remote amateur station, and can foresee voice linking over the Internet via the repeater network – firstly on 70cm and 23cm, later on 2m – this system being managed by a suitably appointed control operator.

Development of the initiative will be monitored by an RSGB task group – so, watch this space!

“This Space” being the RSGB web site, in particular the GB2RS News Extra.

Thanks to G0EVW for sending me the full text of a letter from RSGB to RA.

John, M0BQO

SOUTH MIDLANDS COMMUNICATIONS

SMC sent out a Press Release at the end of January confirming what many of us had heard – closure of their retail division as far as Amateur Radio is concerned.

They will continue with Government contracting and the manufacture of domestic receivers, (Fairhaven and Lowe) which will still be available.

I rang Reg Ward’s at Axminster but they weren’t sure when or whether there would be a closing down sale.

Whither now?

A COURSE IN SOMERSET

There will be a radio and electronic course at Kilve Court, near Bridgwater, from April 24th – 28th. The cost is £189 inclusive. It seems quite interesting and wide-ranging. The course will operate a Special Event Station, GB2KRC.

For more details contact M0BQO.

RADCOM

As SDRS is affiliated to RSGB, we receive Radcom monthly. For anyone who wishes to read or borrow it Radcom is available at the monthly club meetings, or contact me (M0BQO) at any time.

February’s Radcom had an ‘Old Timers’ Roll of Honour, listing members of over 50 years standing. From SDRS we had G2EAT Bill Burden (54 years) and G3EFK W. Clegg (52 years); some other local names were there too, including G2DGB George Short (55 years).

GUEST NEWSLETTERS

The latest offering from Poole Radio Society (PRS TIMES – I wonder if there is a Radio Club that would dare to call its mag the TELEGRAPH!) is available.

There is also the Radio Enthusiast newsletter from Neville 2E1HFY, as usual ‘keeping those out of touch in touch’.

THE TWO METRE NET

The late Bill Dean, G0NRQ ran the Monday Evening 2-metre net for some time. Now he has sadly departed, the Net has found itself seeking an enthusiastic director.

Fortunately Pat, G1XJH has stepped into the hot seat, so we thank him gratefully.

The proceedings always start on Monday evenings at 2000 UTC with initial contacts made on the calling channel, then QSY to 145.350. We can usually expect about half a dozen in the group: it ‘s good that novices also enter the fray, and there seem to be some SWLs listening in too.

In tribute to G0NRQ

The callsign G0NRQ will always be in my heart and in my thoughts.. Bill was a great guy, loved by everyone. We all hold different thoughts of Bill and should hold onto those fond memories.

Words would not be enough for me to express, so all I have to say is this one thing:

The body might have gone but his spirit lives on, cheers Bill for being part of all our lives one way or another.

Pat G1XJH

Dear Friends of SDRS

It was with a great deal of sadness that we received the news of the passing of our Dear Friend ‘The Mayor of Chickerell’. It was our privilege to have known Bill, not for as long as many of you have but I would think of him as a “Transfusion”. From the first meeting he got in your blood stream and will remain there as long as we live.

We met Bill when we came to Weymouth for the 50th anniversary of D-Day and had the privilege to be with him and his lovely wife ‘Dolly’ We spent a wonderful day together, visiting the places I had been during my war time there. So maybe each of us will profit having been touched by ‘The Jolly Fellow’ G0NRQ ‘The Honorable Mayor of Chickerell’.

Thanks and 73 de Doug, K8APD, Franklin WV USA

PEGASUS BRIDGE

Do you remember Pegasus Bridge? It was the first major tactical objective for the airborne glider forces as D-Day was starting. The battle was fierce but short, with many casualties.

A bigger, modern bridge replaced the original one; the latter was not scrapped but was put aside until recently, when it was refurbished and given a permanent home nearby as a war memento-cum-tourist attraction.

But – The old bridge is out of bounds to pedestrians, being unsafe to set foot on!