THE CATSWHISKER – OCTOBER 1999

THE NEWSLETTER OF THE SOUTH DORSET RADIO SOCIETY

Greetings to all members, friends and readers.

I entered Catswhisker for the PW ‘Club Spotlight’ competition. The entry was made with the May, June and July 1999 issues. It didn’t win – not by quite a long way with 34 points out of 50, compared with the 43.5 scored by Crowborough & District ARC.

Full results, and discussion of the entries, are promised in the December PW and adjudicators sheets will be available to entrants. Hopefully there will be some constructive and helpful comments to take on board. If we can learn from their advice and produce an even more attractive, dynamic offering, the entries for next year’s competition will be that much stronger, but the bottom line still is that Catswhisker keeps members of South Dorset Radio Society in touch with people, events and matters concerning the Club.

I’ll give more details when I receive them.

John, M0BQO

October’s meeting

South Dorset Radio Society meet on October 6 with more on aerial and feeders as members of SDRS join discussion on their own systems. It will focus on specific aspects rather than be wide ranging (hopefully!)

– 2E1HFY has had trouble with a heavy array atop a flimsy mast – but is it satisfactory now?

– 2E1FWP has become a dab hand at homebrew beams – how have they performed in practice?

– G0NEV wants to explain why he can’t do without a folded quad.

– M0BQO wonders how sloping a sloping G5RV should be.

PORTLAND RALLY

Portland ARC holds its annual rally at the Royal Manor School on Sunday October 17 starting at 10 am.

BRITISH WIRELESS FOR THE BLIND

I have received notice of a sponsored event during the weekend of October 9 -10, Transmission 99. The aim is to provide specially adapted radio and audio equipment to needy UK-registered blind people and the means is to get sponsorship for every contact made during that weekend.

The information will be on the Club notice-board for those interested.

Once again it was too late for September, leaving too short a time to disseminate the information and act upon it.

CHAIRMAN TO STEP DOWN

Dear All,

The time has come for me to remind you, I shall be stepping down as Chairman and committee member of our super radio club at the April 2000 A.G.M. I have been a member since 1987, joined the committee in 1994, and been the society’s Chairman since 1995. I have enjoyed every minute. During those years the membership has fallen and slowly risen, the club’s V.H.F. activity has declined and H.F. increased. The reason for my stepping down is that from the middle of the year 2000, my commitments outside of the South Dorset Radio Society, WILL increase, hence I will NOT be able to manage. Remember that my business is open seven days a week: it has been said by many of my retired friends “I don’t know how I had time to work”. Well I want to make sure I live to find out what they mean, as my Doctor mentioned recently, “You need to take things easier!”

I have considered holding the Chair a privilege, and thank all the members, in particular those who have served on the Committee, David GOROX, Robert GORYL, Jonathan G1TGM, Bill G3EAT, John G7BRU, Jim G7JIM, Graham G8DJW, John M0BQO,( Joyce MIBTH – SILENT KEY), Ken O’brien.

SSB FIELD DAY  (G0NEV’s version)

Mike, G0NEV raising the mast for SSB field day.

The morning arrived, ring, ring, the alarm went off, “It’s 6 o’clock dear, time you were up”, “Oh!” I had arranged with John M0BQO to meet at my QTH and go up to the New Barn Field Study Centre at Bradford Peverell, which lies just outside Dorchester, our county town, at 6.30 am. So up, into the shower, then out to the van, just as John came up the drive on his moped. “Morning looks like it’s going to be a good one” “Everything ready Mike?” “Yes”, I replied and off we went. We were the first to arrive shortly followed by Alex G3KKJ and Bill G3EAT.

The van was quickly unloaded and the Scam 40 Clark Mast, with a 5ft extension pole slid into the top, pumped up. (I will mention at this time I tried to use a four way 2 mtr extension lead purchased at a recent rally for 50p; it did not work due to loose pin holders. I thought I suggested it required looking at.) Alex and Bill soon had the dipole unfurled, I fixed the halyard while John dealt with guy ropes. With the mast erected, aerial hauled to the top, guy roped taut, cooking stove connected and tried, “We might as well turn the generator off, we don’t need it at the moment do we”, said Bill.

“Are we going, only it’s nearly 8.30.” “Be with you in a moment John, I just want to push the mains reel back through the half open window into the Caravan. – Have you got it Alex” “I think so”

“Mike and I are going now, see you later”, said John and we left.

(G3KKJ’s version)

Despite a few minor problems, it all happened. Being the start of the learning curve in contesting for most of the members who participated we generally did very well.

Firstly our thanks go to our very excellent chairman, Mike, for supplying the mast, generator and cooking facilities and for time spent erecting the mast. Tks Mike.

Problems with the generator etc. caused a few minutes delay at the start but we got under way at 1308 UTC.

We started the run with the FT101ZD but as it was not producing the punch we needed the TS 850S was put into service with I believe some improvement. As the TS 850 had auto tuning for each band it would also prove easier to use with the ‘Z’ match ATU and Extended Zepp combination, especially for those not familiar with this system.

The band conditions were not as good as we would have liked, with very few ‘G’ stations on any band.

The first hour produced 26 contacts which was not good but keeping to that average we would have accumulated 624 contacts. However it didn’t happen for various reasons, for example changing over rigs in the first hour cost us 6 minutes.

We had operators to cover the 24 hours but we were not organised. If we enter further contests we must have at least two meetings prior to the event to arrange specific periods of operation for each operator. Some spent very lengthy periods of activity which often slows down the contest rate and causes some operators to digress from the contest theme.

However thanks go out to all who participated and well done on your first HF contest, special thanks to those who covered the dark hours.

Looking at the hourly rates, printed below, it will be noted that we did have some very poor results – e.g. in the 5th hour we had 2 contacts, the 6th hour 4, the 10th hour 1; which leaves room for great improvement in further events.

However, participation is the important factor and we did, with an accumulated score of 67275 points. As there were some errors in log keeping there will no doubt be a number of points deducted.

I have converted the paper log into disk format and via our Hon Sec John, M0BQO, it is now on its way to the RSGB Contest Committee for their attention.

For your general information, here are some statistics:

Hourly rates/QSO : 1-26, 2-13, 3-11, 4-9, 5-2, 6-4, 7-26, 8-17, 9-12, 10-1, 11-10, 12-6, 13-6, 14-6, 15-11, 16-7, 18-4, 19-9, 20-14, 21-9, 22-13, 23-5, 24-7

Band:            80m 40m 20m 15m 10m TOTAL

Valid QSOs:  57    74    66     33    3      233

We had 10 duplicates, 0 points each and a total for our efforts of 67275 points with the points for Bonuses and Multipliers.

Alex G3KKJ

WHY SOULD I JOIN A CLUB ?

Well why should you join the South Dorset Radio Society, in fact why join any club, why should you give up your time and as for paying why should you hand over your hard earned money? It’s your hobby, it’s your choice. You can do it from home, you don’t need any one or do you? What would have happened if I had said that? And all the people before me had said the same, how did you acquire the relevant knowledge? Did someone give up their time? Did they charge you £45.00 per hour? If you want something repaired this is what it may cost; of course not. People give of their time freely and gladly. That is how most hobbies continue. Are you a freeloader? Do you support your local club? Do you support the national society of your / our hobby?

If people support each other and the clubs that exist to support them, then their interests WILL BE LOOKED AFTER, so how about it?

This letter was NOT written to offend, it was written to make you think!

G0NEV Chairman SDRS

MEMBERS ABROAD

Mike Murphy G0LQI.

Mike has been working in Switzerland for a few years. His callsign is now HB9LFT. (Alex G3KKJ believes he worked him on SSB Field Day but didn’t appreciate the contact.)

Mike receives Catswhisker regularly. Keep well Mike and Joyce, why not send some pieces for publication?

GIORGIO ROMANIN

Giorgio is an associate member in Udine, Italy. I can’t think why it’s taken so long to catch up with this, but he wrote ages ago to say his e-mail address is xgeorge@tin.it

NOVICES BANDPLAN

Neville, 2E1HFY, has prepared a sheet giving details of the frequencies that Novices are permitted to use. It is on A4 size paper and regrettably can’t be incorporated into this Catswhisker.

If anyone would like a copy, would you kindly contact me or Neville.

John, M0BQO

FROM THE CLUBS

Yeovil A.R.C.

YARC NEWS edited by G3GC, is now in a full-sized A4 book format. Consequently demands on space mean that there should be enough for one, two or three sheets. Eric expresses disappointment at copy arriving too late for one issue, yet out of date by the next.

In the latest are many members’ reports. They organised an Eclipse Day research project, the results of which are published therein with signal reports and anecdotes from many of their members. In general, there certainly was a dip in signal strength at the critical time along with certain other phenomena.

If any of our members can get there, two meetings have been highlighted: Nov. 11 is an evening devoted to military radios, and Nov 18 has G3MYM talking about the 0-V-1 receiver.

IS THERE A CLUB POLICY ON SPECIAL EVENTS ?

A rhetorical question, perhaps, but appropriate should there be further opportunities for special events – we could well be running a few annually such as International Marconi Day, Carnival and HF Field Day. That they have been considered relatively successful up to now could be because Murphy wasn’t looking! (And I don’t mean G0LQI!)

Nevertheless there are some areas of the organisation that could be improved . I would like members to consider the following basic points and articulate their comments so that some guidelines can be discussed at Club or committee level.

One person should have overall responsibility for the Club’s total involvement in the Event. This is to include all the necessary organisation and documentation. He might be assisted by others with special responsibility for specific aspects such as:

Social and catering. Mainly ensuring that food is available and maintaining the BBQ (if appropriate). Members would give their contributions – money and/or provisions – to this person, forming a pool or kitty if possible for all to share. There may be some involvement too in care of visitors and guests. Carol, XYL of Robert G0RYL, has kindly offered her services at least for International Marconi Day.

Electrical Installations. Someone to ensure that the Station gets up and running, and stays that way. As a rider to this, it has to be the responsibility of the owners that the pieces of equipment they have supplied are in good order, working, properly installed and correctly used.

Operating Roster. Especially with the 24 hour events there is often confusion as to who will be available to operate. Whoever is in overall control of the event is probably the best placed to organise this, as people would inform him of their intentions. The main concern would be organising volunteers so that the whole period is covered, with a Class A licensee in attendance all the time.

What do you think? All comments will be sympathetically considered.

J. Rose M0BQO, Secretary, SDRS

AND FINALLY – HEAVENS ABOVE!

Forget Norman Wisdom accidentally orbiting earth in a rocket, never mind that James Bond took a trip in a Shuttle. This is the real thing! We (The Brits) are going to send a project to Mars in a few years time. It’s part of the European space Agency programme, the craft will be called Beagle as in Darwin’s ship of exploration and discovery, and it will search for evidence of life on the Red Planet. Just in case anyone up there is on the same intellectual wavelength as we mere earthlings, they will be able to listen to a specially written pop song by the group Blur and appreciatively study a painting by Damien Hirst (he of the cow’s innards etc.)

I knew these pop icons were way out, but never did I dream they were that far out!