Seasonal greetings to you all.
It was brought to my attention and I thought you guys should be aware of this unbelievable web site.
I thought that Google Earth was good, but this is even more precise. Check it out, pretty scary to know they can find you anywhere.
Actually I'm not surprised to learn that such technology exists though, as it uses your IP address and finds the exact location of any Internet user in seconds. Apparently it uses a sophisticated geo based algorithm to do so.
Try it and find your precise location on the earth, then watch your screen as the system briefly analyzes your data...then displays your precise location. Your location will pop up in a new window in about 10 seconds or less.
It only took about 5 seconds to find me and it was spot on. You give it a go chaps.
Click on the link below......
Enjoy & Merry Christmas
The club is now getting settled into its permanent QTH. October has seen more members getting on the air with several contacts in Eastern Europe.
We ran the Foundation course and exam for our new member’s Ivan and Terry, as well as the Intermediate Course and exam for Nigel M6NJT. These exams took place on 24th November 2013.
I am happy to report that all were successful, passing with flying colours. Congratulations to you all.
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Felicity M0MBW our first female member for some time now, we hope that you enjoy your time with us.
By Christmas we expect to have the masts up for a long wire or G5RV with a connection into the shack. This requires that trees at the front and rear of the building are taken down and I understand that Tom has bought a chain saw. So we can expect some results.
Les and Tom spent a weekend organising the cataloguing of the equipment, including the kit which belonged to silent key Frank G3CPH, with a view to having a junk sale hopefully before Christmas.
These projects all need people helping to make it happen. So please offer your help and services to TOM and PETER so these jobs can be completed before the winter sets in.
I hope that you all receive from Santa what you are hoping for. Why not bring it round in the New Year and plug it in down at the club.
May I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year
As a new year approaches, I'm reminded of the foxhunts that the club held in decades past. Although mostly held during the Summer, there were some outstanding ones held later in the year, when the mornings had a distinct nip in the air.
There are many variations of foxhunts; mostly held on foot, but for those who have never taken part in a radio foxhunt, the rules are incredibly simple. Silverthorn foxhunts took place with car assistance. Several teams of two met up outside the club on a Sunday morning; one pair would be the 'fox', and would leave 15-20 minutes before the hunt commenced. After the fox team had found where it wanted to hide they made regular transmissions, and the groups set off to find the fox.
In the mid-1980s, nearly everyone who took part had access to, or had, a 2M set permanently installed in the car. 2M was very busy, and a Sunday morning offered the best chance of finding a clear frequency for an extended period of time. Sunday mornings then were also very different affair, as very few shops opened on a Sunday before the Sunday Trading Act of 1994, and many bus services either started later or had no Sunday service. The lack of traffic before lunchtime made it ideal for groups in cars to pull over at regular intervals, and take bearings on the transmissions of the fox, with hand held mini beams to find out if they were getting closer - or even heading in the right direction!
Assumptions were made from the first transmission by the various teams, and the passenger navigated the driver to where he thought the best place to check on signal strength and direction. Some teams preferred using a local street map and
local knowledge, whilst most used an Ordnance Survey map. Most teams had a very different opinion of the location of the first transmission they heard, and the teams generally disappeared from the club in different directions.
Some of the best locations for the fox weren't necessarily that far in distance from the club, but the many hills and dips in our area often make for conflicting or misleading assumptions from the signal strength and direction. It was very possible to almost pass the fox at times, without being aware of how close you were. Finding the fox usually took under an hour, and the transmissions became less frequent as the teams found the fox, leaving only those teams still searching, until everyone had located their hiding place. One team, on one of these hunts had the most outrageous good fortune. They decided to drive a good way from the club before taking the first bearing, only to find as they put the map on the roof of the car, they could see the fox transmitting!
Hopefully as the club gets larger once more, we will be able to hold these events again. You really need three or four teams in addition to the fox team, and today for the same clear roads, the event would have to be held earlier on a Sunday morning. Despite the expansion of building that has taken place within our area in the passing years, there are still numerous excellent places for a fox to hide.
Foxhunts are easy to arrange, are good fun - and particularly helpful in getting radio experience in for new licensees.
Bargins to be had !
RSGB Special Offers.
From their on-line catalogue
Some of the current special
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Buy today whilst they last!
Michael recommends …
JAB Electronic Components for Radio Hams
We normally despatch items twice a week Mondays & Thursdays. We aim to complete all orders within 14 days from receipt.
Silent Key Peter Clarke G4IUV
Peter died on 8th August 2013 after a short spell in a hospice at Ipswich.
I first met Peter when I joined the Silverthorn Radio Club in about 1979 or 1980, when I had my G8UHC callsign. He was a very pleasant outgoing man and very welcoming to new members, something that is very important when you are new to a hobby or a club. He was a regular on the Sunday Morning and Wednesday evening club nets on VHF 2 metres. He had a particularly unique and well known way of announcing his presence on the net, a long and rather audible snore instantly recognisable to the net members! I don't know if he was trying to say something about the nets
I became good friends with Peter and his partner, later wife, Dot. I visited them many times at their home in Thornhill Gardens, Leyton, and at Peter's shipping company office in Farmer Road also in Leyton. Visits were quite often whilst I was working and had a few minutes spare to go and beg coffee and biscuits! We had many discussions about amateur radio, technical things, and the world in general.
Peter ran a minibus which he had the seats removed from for his business and was always around to transport equipment and members for club events, and the camps at Carrol's Farm, Lippetts Hill, and sometimes took club members to radio rallies.
Peter and Dot moved to the Ipswich area in the early 1980's and so Peter's regular attendance at Silverthorn Radio Club ended. We maintained our friendship with occasional exchange visits,
Christmas cards, and sometimes managed to make a radio contact. When radio contact was not possible we used the phone.
We last saw Peter when he came up to Enfield for Frank G3CPH's funeral on 1st August 2011.
It was whilst making arrangements for a radio contact that I learned of Peter's passing. He had been club member Mike 2E0MDQ's (formerly M6MBM) first HF contact as foundation license holder, on 80 metres. Conditions had been average to poor but it had been a good contact and Mike had done well to complete it and was very pleased with it. Mike wanted to arrange a further sked with Peter to celebrate his recently gained intermediate callsign, and asked me for his contact details. Mike tried contacting him via email without success, and I found his landline and mobile phone numbers were both unobtainable.
Peter had been widowed for several years and lived alone. He had been not too well recently, and Tricia's (my XYL) internet research of Ipswich local papers showed that there was to be a thanksgiving service for a Peter Clark on 30th August 2013. A little more research confirmed this was our Peter Clark, G4IUV.
I went to the very well-attended thanksgiving service at Witnesham Baptist Church, Ipswich, in which Peter's life story was told by the four adult children from his first marriage, Michael, Margaret, Barbara and Frank. I spent a little while at the reception that followed and met the children, and also members of a local radio club that Peter had connected with in recent times.
Peter's passing is a sad loss to the Silverthorn Radio Club, amateur radio, and the world.
Whats up at the Shack ?
On the morning of Friday 25th October I took everything out of our radio store room at Friday Hall, Les photographed it and catalogued it and I replaced it more compactly than previously. Then on that same Friday, during club night, with Peter and Clive, I helped remove the computer racking from the room and dragged it across the floor to the foyer for later removal.
But what has this got to do with anything?
Well, now that we have a catalogue of the equipment almost completed we will soon be able to hold our junk sale. Anyone wanting some gear, from an HF rig to a flashing light box need not wait much longer. It will all be on sale in a shack near you soon!
What is more, with a bit of rearrangement of the stuff that's already there, we now have such a compact stash of junk that we can fit it into the front room at Friday Hall. This will allow us to clear the radio store and demolish the wall into the next room, as well as forming a temporary opening into the one beyond that. This will give a more cosy lounge with access to the room at the front which will become our radio shack.
The next step was to hang a door in the hole between the foyer and the new radio shack. No sooner was it thought of than it was completed as I unscrewed a door from one of the side rooms and with help from Clive and Ian had it fixed in place - and all within 30 minutes at the end of the Friday club night on 1st November.
So all that is needed now is for the lock on the new door to be turned around so that it locks from the outside, and for the other door to be changed for one which already has a number keypad, and then we will have our radio shack; secure - but still rather full of junk!
I wonder what Santa wants to bring me for Christmas?
Roll on the junk sale!
My QRP Experiences
It’s was another beautiful sunny winter’s morning,11.57am the sky was high and nigh on cloudless. I started the day using the 20 metre dipole on 14.168.90 MHz, I was hearing a couple of foreign stations one calling CQ.
So I tried to tune in to it and finally locked in on 14.194.88 MHz and heard IT9RYH.Then suddenly something quite unexpected happened, a recorded transmission started playing very clearly over the station that was calling CQ. It was effectively jamming the frequency and the Italian station was complaining of this to a station that he had made contact with over the noise. The recording was claiming that LA3FKA, ON4AEK and one other call sign that I could not decipher were the ones responsible for the transmission, that they were the "Matrix" and then directed abusive language towards them. I was quite surprised that registered amateurs would behave in this way and then realised that maybe it had been done to make people think that amateurs were responsible. Anyway who knows it was certainly uncalled for behaviour.
I continued listening in on 20 metres until about 12.47pm at which time I changed to my 6 metre dipole, unfortunately I didn’t hear anything at all on 50MHz so I tried 28MHz again not much luck at which point it did cross my mind that it may have been down to polarisation. I changed bands to 15 metres and started hearing stations on 21.300.00 MHz RD3AW, UT0NN, R3DL, OH2MZB. None of these stations stayed clear enough for any length of time. On 21.229.36 MHz at 13.06pm I briefly heard RW1CW but he fell into the noise just as quick. At around 14.15pm I changed to my 12 metre dipole and used “CW Get” to decipher a couple of Morse stations I was hearing on 24.895.22 MHz, they were R2PA and YO9FNP. I tried 15 metres again at around 14.40pm, again I could hear plenty of activity
On 21.027.86 MHz I heard I8PND, OH1JO and HA6ZM strong Morse stations and one also on 21.201.78MHz RM3Q. Tuning around the band trying to find a voice station I was lucky enough to stumble upon a contest station, he was very strong indeed easily RST 5/8. He was saying “This is romeo, whisky one charlie whisky contest. Romeo whisky one charlie whisky contest. “ This was the same station I had briefly heard earlier. He repeated this a couple of times and just as I was going to have a go at calling him another station got back to him. So I waited a while for him to start calling again then at 14.47pm he started calling again
“This is romeo whisky one charlie whisky contest, romeo whisky charlie whisky contest. “ I replied “Mike, Bravo, Mike” silence then. “Yes Mike, Bravo Mike go ahead”
I was in, wow he actually heard me. I got so excited that I almost forgot what to say back to him. “Ah hello romeo whisky one charlie whisky my call sign is mike, six, mike, bravo, mike QSL”. "Err mike six mike bravo mike yes I am receiving you 5 and 9. 5, 9 contest number 881 over.” “Ok Romeo whisky one charlie whisky I copy 881 my contest number is 001, 001 over." ” Err mike six mike bravo mike yes 001 I copy that thanks for the nice contact 73’s to you." And that was it, he was off again calling for another contact. I was grinning like a Cheshire cat and when he said 73’s I punched the air in triumph, I had just achieved my first QSO from my QTH to a Russian station based according to
DX View in Leningradskaya Oblast, Russia.
As the weeks passed and conditions allowed I managed many more QSo's and not just with European stations.
I recall the excitement I felt when I heard my first Brazilian station on 15 metres back in July 2012, I was using the grey line in an effort to contact my first American station conditions were reasonable and when I
deciphered the calling stations call sign to be PP5BS I quickly checked the prefix using DXView and the old heart started racing when it turned out to be Brazilian. I was only hearing him at something like RST 3/8, 4/8 and wasn't surprised when I could not get him to respond to my call. Rule of thumb, If I couldn't hear him well with my QRP station it was very unlikely that he was going to hear me grey line or not.
I kept checking the radio every evening after that encounter to see if I could hear anymore stations in that part of the world or whether it was just a one off. I wasn't disappointed. PY2WFG, PY2AMI, WA2NTK, KC20VW, LU9LC, VA6CK, Brazil, America, Argentina, Canada surely my luck wouldn't get any better and actually make contact with one of these stations.
Conditions were good around this time something to do with the solar cycle improving propagation. So good in fact I was able to hear Japanese and Israeli beacons on 17 metres even if the RST's were down in the 2/0
Then later that evening on 15 metres PP5BS was calling CQ on 21.280.00 MHz
I responded not expecting him to hear me through the pile up, so when he actually came back to me that first call excitement started to kick in. Unfortunately he wasn't deciphering my call sign and kept saying it as M6MMM rather than MBM we had several attempts at it but I couldn't make him understand through the pile up and noise, and even though I used many different ways of saying M and B it just wasn't to be. Even though he heard me I couldn't put it down as a QSO. This just made me even more determined to get that first QSO with an exotic station.
Then at last it happened Saturday 11th August 2012 at 22:08pm I made contact with KL1A/W2. It was only a brief encounter to exchange signal reports as there were loads of other stations waiting to have a go. I was hearing him RST 5/9 and he gave me the same 5/9 back. I was over the moon with this QSO and It just kept me going back for more. Over the next few days I heard Venezuelan, Australian, and even a Barbadian station.
The following evening I heard a Zimbabwean station Z2ILS not very well mind you something like RST 3/2 but I heard it, then on 17metres I heard Saudi Arabia HZ1TT and Namibia V55V again not strong enough to be able to contact them.
Saturday the 8th September 2012 I made contact with N1UR an American station based 3256 miles away in Vermont on 15 metres 21.400 MHz, he gave me a report of 5/9 I heard him 5/8. PW7T on 21.336.00 MHz another Brazilian station based in Pernambuco 4724 miles away whom I was hearing at 5/8 while he gave me a 5/9 report. WX3B on 21.205.08 MHz he was based in Florida, then just after this I made my first contact with Canada, a station based in Niagara Falls, VE3AT some 3463 miles away. Ron gave me RST 5/9 while I was hearing him at 5/8. The same evening I managed to contact a Tunisian station 3V8BB on 20 metres 14.180.00 MHz, he heard the end of my call sign but he didn't hang about too long trying to decipher it and QSY'd to 40 metres. I was not able to hear him again for another go but the fun wasn't over. My first Kuwaiti station 9K2HN on 14.174.05 MHz gave me a 5/9 some 2858 miles away, I heard and gave him 5/9 also.
I keep saying it but all achieved using ½ wavelength homebrew dipoles and inverted vee in the loft on less than 5w of power from the FT-817. What could I achieve with just a little more power using a beam or perhaps a Magnetic Loop?
Who knows only time will tell ......
All about path profiles for VHF communications
One of the important factors in VHF communications is the path profile. Ignoring esoteric modes VHF is primarily line of sight. Put simply if there are hills, mountains etc in the way line of sight communications can be adversely affected. One way to do it is “suck it and see” which is fine up to a point but it would be better if there was some software we could use to do the job.
Many moons ago I used to use an old Amstrad PC and DOS programme for the purpose but both have long since gone to the technical scrap yard along with the dinosaurs. So I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a phone app for the Samsung S3 phone called 'path profile' by Drumgrange Ltd at a cost of £1.49!
It was hardly breaking the Yorkshire bank account so I thought I would give it a go.
It is essentially a radio propagation tool which covers 30-88 MHz but in my view is still a useful tool for the 145 MHz amateur band. It is a Google map based application in which the ‘from’ and ‘to’ points are entered onto the map by pressing the screen and then named in this case A and B as shown in figure 1.
Those that are local to the Chingford area will know that there is a slight bump about 90m above sea level in the topography called Pole hill.
Hence the result shown in figure 2 was very much what I expected.
The transmitter, receiver, power, system sensitivity and antenna gain can then be entered to give a heuristic model indicator. It sounds a bit complicated but it is simply a very intuitive visual colour indicator, similar to traffic lights to show whether the link is a “goer” or not.
On further investigation it was found that a similar thing could be done on Google earth using a standard windows laptop PC.
The instructions on ‘how to create the side elevation profile’ are available on a You tube video which last two minutes.
After a bit of experimenting I modelled a
36Km radio link from near Pole hill to Basildon with the result shown in figure 3. Although it would have been interesting to see the link from the actual top of pole hill the side elevation does clearly show that there are two major obstructions in the way, one at about 7Km and the other at about 25 Km which would block the radio link.
Indeed increasing the output power of the transmitter will have minimal effect. In this example alternatives to VHF would have to be used for example I would try HF using Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) and see if it works. Needless to say using that method of communication the topography becomes a lot less of an issue but that’s an article for another day.....
144MHz UKAC 3rd Dec 2013 2000-2230 (UTC)
144MHz AFS 8th Dec 2013 1000-1600 (UTC)
50/70/144/432MHz Christmas Cumulative Contests 26th-29th Dec 2013 1400-1600 (UTC)
144MHz UKAC 7th Jan 2014 2000-2230 (UTC)
RSGB HF AFS Contests 80m SSB: Saturday 18th January 2014 1400 - 1800 UTC
RSGB 80m SSB Club Championship 3 Feb 2014 2000-2130 UTC
144 /432MHz 1st-2nd Mar 2014 1400-1400 (UTC)
RSGB 80m SSB Club Championship 20th Mar 2014 2000-2130
More details can be found on the RSGB website
If anyone is interested in participating in any special events or contests please make this known at the Friday evening meetings
Why not organise a team. Operation from the Silverthorn shack is available at most times or go portable. The Club equipment is usually available if needed.
Is anyone up for one of the more unusual contests this year?
If so please contact me to see if we can get a team together.
Club Events This list supersedes all previous ones. Please note these events are subject to change and other events will be added as they are organised.
Future events in 2013
Junk Sale date TBA
Emergency General Meeting 13th Dec 2013 8.30pm
Xmas Party 20th Dec 2013 8.00pm
Future Events in 2014
Junk Sale date TBA
World Thinking Day on Air (TDOA) 15th -16th Feb 2014
National Mills on the Air Weekend 10th - 11th May 2014
International Museums Weekend 14th - 15th June 2014
International Museums Weekend 21st - 22nd June 2014
Local Rallies 2014
Don’t miss these rallies… Check details with the organiser before making the journey
29th CANVEY RADIO & ELECTRONICS RALLY – ‘The Paddocks’, Long Road, Canvey Island, Essex SS8 0JA (southern end of A130). Free CP, OT 10.30. C, DF, TS. Vic Rogers, G6BHE, 01702 308 562, firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRATS RAINHAM RADIO RALLY – Rainham School for Girls, Derwent Way, Rainham, Gillingham, Kent ME8 0BX. TI, OT 10.00/9.30, TS, SIG, C Darley, 0798 2244 788, email@example.com.