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Summer SOTA on the Sussex Downs

July 05, 2024 By: john daws Category: Club

 

 

On a rare day of Summer this year our intrepid chairman Chris G3YHF braved speeding lorries, the threat of flying golf balls and angry golfers  and searing heat to operate  SOTA from an inaccessible peak on the Sussex Downs : his report follows:

 

 

 

FORE!! Chris risk life and limb in this SOTA activation.

“Down here in Sussex I unfortunately chose the hottest day of the week to activate Cliffe hill, near Lewes, for a new SOTA summit.  This is also in the South Downs National Park and so counts for the WWFF scheme.

The summit’s in the middle of a golf course and previous activators report dodging golf balls and angry golfers – but the activation zone extends a little beyond the golf course boundary in places -so that was my target.

The footpath to my chosen spot is carefully concealed by undergrowth off a busy road with no pavement, but having managed to find it and dodged some speeding lorries there was a climb up through woods to a beautiful meadow covered in marbled white, common blue and meadow brown butterflies, and multiple orchids  and with wonderful views across Lewes and to other parts of the South Downs.  

It was a very hot ascent up the meadow to a copse next to the golf course fence where I found some shade.  There were some branches about 7 feet off the ground, so I threw my End Fed Half Wave antenna for 20m across these and called CQ SOTA/WWFF using 5w cw from the lab599 rig.

X marks the Spot: a small prize offered to the first to identify the efhw for 20m.

Delighted to be called by W2WC in New York- nice dx for /p qrp – with a 529 report! Also worked about 10 European stations, best DX eastwards being Ukraine.

Fortunately I’d taken a lot of water, and after an hour’s operating in the shade I’d cooled down enough to walk back down and catch the train to Eastbourne for a welcome dip in the sea!  Maybe Clive gets a dip in some mountain pond after his Lake District SOTA activations?”

Undercover and ready for a quick getaway.. is that a golf ball under the branches??

 

 


Radio Club Foxhunt fun in Wythall Park

June 29, 2024 By: john daws Category: Club, Fun, News

Whilst the nation dozed in front of their football screens on Tuesday night a very different and dynamic team (11 players ) assembled in Wythall Park for their much trailed Foxhunt organised by Neil G1TZC. The evening was warm and the almost deserted Park looked lovely in the midsummer light.

Wythall Park in the late evening sunshine

Their mission: to find a needle in a haystack or more specifically the location of a very small transmitter putting out milliwatts (see picture).

The Fox!!

There it is!! the ‘needle in the haystack’

But first 70cm tape measure antennas had to be built from  individual kits provided by Neil.. these to be attached to our hand -held radios via a length of coax before venturing out into the wilderness in search of the ‘fox’.

The individually assembled ‘tape measure antennas’ and kits ready for distribution at the start of the Foxhunt

Dogs and dog walkers alike quickly sought cover at the sight of 11 members of Wythall Radio Club , antennas held aloft  combing the wide-open spaces of Wythall Park.

In the end the ‘fox’ was discovered at the foot of a tree by Derek G1INC who returned to base triumphantly holding the trophy aloft:

A triumphant Derek (centre) returns to base with his trophy

Phil and Lee have slightly different ideas on the direction to take

Mike and Pete have just heard the England score

The assembly .. Gary in the foreground gets to grips with the screwdriver

 

A great evening’s entertainment superbly organised by Neil and Debra and we were able to return to the long faces in the bar with smiles on our faces and a spring in our steps.

“It was good fun – I was definitely out of practice working out what was a reflection and how strong signals should be a particular distance from a very low power transmitter. Great mid- summer evening entertainment.” Lee G0MTN

A Midsummer Night’s Team

The team on the night: Neil G1TZC, Winston 2E0EGP, Derek G1INC, Gary G5RGS, Pete M5DUO, Phil M6PCN (2E0WTH), John M6KET, Mike G4VPD, Lee G0MTN, Ian M0LQY, Martin M7XFD.

NEXT EVENT TUESDAY 2ND JULY.

G4WAC ACTIVE IN THE DARTS ROOM . COME ALONG AND USE THE CLUB EQUIPMENT AND THE 240’ DOUBLET AND SEE WHAT YOU CAN WORK

 

 


Tiny and huge antennas at Wythall!

June 20, 2024 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

Visitors welcome to join members next Tuesday 25th 8pm – 9pm at Wythall House ……

…. to build a 70cm tape measure antenna from the kits made up by Neil G1TZC and Debra, and use it to find a hidden transmitter in Wythall Park.

You don’t need to have an amateur radio licence.
 
All you need to bring is:
1. a hand held radio covering the 70cms amateur radio band
(if you don’t have one, you’re welcome to come along anyway and join-up with one of our members who will have one)
 
2. a small cross-head screwdriver
 
3. an adapter for your handheld SMA antenna socket so you can connect it to the PL259 on the antenna coax.
 
If the antenna socket on your handheld has a hole in the middle, you need a MALE SMA to SO239 adapter   
If it has a pin in the middle, you need a FEMALE SMA to SO239 adapter
Both widely available
 
Any questions?  Please e-mail us at   wythallradio@gmail.com
 
Come along for a fun evening!!

Meantime, our Club has said “Farewell” to our extending, 100 feet tall trailer mast.
 
The tower was used for amateur radio competitions and special event stations.  We festooned it with HF and VHF/UHF beams.
 
But now we’ve invested in smaller telescopic masts for our portable and special event station activities.
 
So our trailer tower has gone off to a new owner – thanks to the assistance of club members Lee G0MTN, Mike G4VPD and Ian M0LQY.
Here are some photos of it in use…  and leaving!
 
 
 

Wythall Transport Museum:On -the Air Activation. Saturday June 15th

June 18, 2024 By: john daws Category: Club, Fun, News

“Let’s do this again” some idiot said as we tidied away  in 2023 in the balmy conditions of a mid- June Saturday at The Wythall Transport Museum Activation.. it seemed a good idea at the time (and still does ) but we hadn’t reckoned on the jet stream and  some rather unseasonable weather..

            WHAT IT WAS ALL ABOUT

A sense of what’s to come .. storm clouds over the local cricket ground?

THE FRIDAY BEFORE

We had been well prepared as always with a briefing from Chairman the previous Tuesday involving a few paper clips and a piece of cardboard so the antennas went up effortlessly .. (the misnamed ‘Easy-Ups less so on the next day). Many thanks to Richard who turned up to help and of course we relied heavily on Dave with his catapult and fishing reel – always a good watch.

The Tuesday briefing before the mast rehearsal.. the team poised like a spring for action.

Roger’s cavernous Range Rover  proved invaluable as ever .. it’s like a Tardis- much bigger in the inside and we kept shoving stuff in there at Wythall House: luckily Ian M0LQY had a clipboard so were all right there and no doubting who was in charge.

THE SATURDAY:

A grim damp morning with thunder to follow but the visitors to the Transport Museum duly arrived as did our crack team of: Dave G3YXM, John M6KET, Phil 2E0WTH, Ian M0LQY, Neil G1TZC, Clive M0KNP and  Roger M0GWM

Dog showing no interest in digital.. Derek G1INC and Gary G5RGS with Ian M0LQY: Clive M0KNP looks impressed.

Neil’s impressive satellite log: to include OH5 and PY2 (CW) and ZD7 and 3B8 (SSB)

The day seemed to pass in a blur (!).. with red buses .. the problems  of digital and CW/SSB stations side by side.. (aerials or equipment?).. a VHF QSO with Simon G4VTR speaking in half sentences..Neil’s impressive satellite QSO’s with many stations including ZD7  St. Helena.. Phils antenna problems resolved by a good team effort.. the welcome visitors.. M6KET’s radio- friendly neighbour John, G4JSV , Gary G5RGS and Derek G1INC with a very obedient dog …M0LQY’s 36 digi contacts..the rare glimpse of M6KET on SSB … the longest wait for two bacon rolls .. chocolate bars and coffee throughout the day… and then the striking of camp.. the Easy-Ups no more compliant in Easy–Down mode and the organised  retreat to base and  much cursing of the spiral staircase in Wythall House as we returned the equipment to the basement..  ultimately everything packed away neatly(?) by 5.00 pm.

Would we do it again? Of course we would: a  great team club event , many good contacts made in CW/SSB/Digital and Satellite.

Many thanks to the team.. the unfailing good humour in  the face of some climate challenges, and of course to our Hosts Wythall Transport Museum

THE NEXT EVENT. TUESDAY 25TH JUNE ; FOXHUNT IN WYTHALL PARK WITH SELF- MADE ANTENNAS;

MEET 7.00 PM

ALL WELCOME- MEMBERS AND VISITORS ALIKE

 

 

 

 

 

 


It’s that time of the year again when all roads lead to Wythall Transport Museum…

June 09, 2024 By: john daws Category: Club, Fun, News

 LONDON BUSES COME TO WYTHALL TRANSPORT MUSEUM WEEKEND

As part of the The Wythall Transport Museum Special  Weekend on June 15th and 16th Wythall Radio Club will be activating the site on the Saturday 15th July with the special call sign GB0BUS.

This is also part of the Interactive Museums weekend 2024 and like last year we shall be showcasing our Club and its many styles of operation.

As well as SSB, Digital and of course CW one expected attraction will be the satellite station operated by Neil G1TZC

Neil writes:

Neil’s satellite dish in rehearsal

Chris explains a few basic facts to the usual sceptical audience ..

“My plan is to use to use the FT-991 on data modes, including an SSTV station. That will be transmit and receive via RF and have a tablet attached to run the software.

The FT-817 is for voice and will be a hybrid station using RF up and webSDR for the downlink.”

In preparation for the event Club volunteers met last week to rehearse the erection of the mast for the event and were well drilled in the process by Club Chairman who had even prepared a model involving paper clips and cardboard  for ease of understanding. 

THE CLUB WOULD WELCOME ANY VISITORS TO THIS SPECIAL EVENT FROM 10.00A.M. ON THE DAY..AMATEURS RADIO ENTHUSIASTS  AND  INTERESTED SPECTATORS ALIKE, SO PLEASE COME ALONG AND SAY HELLO AND SEE WHAT THE HOBBY HAS TO OFFER; YOU WILL BE MADE VERY WELCOME.

 

 


Programme of activities updated

June 07, 2024 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club

Visit our updated programme of activities here


The UK in 1967 – Colour TV.. Girls in mini skirts..a ruined filming ..Glasgow night life ..and strange licensing laws!

May 21, 2024 By: john daws Category: Club, Fun

It’s not often I ask for QSL cards.. but this one came direct following  a 20m CW QRP QSO with Adriano IV3DRP. He accompanied it with a letter detailing some of his memories of a visit  here 57 years ago: a vivid snapshot of life at sea  and two great UK Cities.
With the Adriano’s permission I reproduce it here.

Pictured ‘Elettra’- A model of Marconi’s Yacht in the Civico Museo del Mare in Trieste

 
“In November 1967 on my first boarding as trainee R/O on the M/T Paranà/6ZSZ, we loaded molasses in Durban, intended for feeding cows. We unloaded half the cargo at Avonmouth and half at Greenock. It was my first time visiting the UK. I had a very good impression of the places (also visited Bristol and Glasgow) and the very friendly people. I really liked England and Scotland.
 
Still underway, a few hours before arriving in Avonmouth, Customs Officials had come on board delivering mail for the crew: a pleasant and much appreciated surprise! From the sea you could see the large Portishead Radio/GKA station, with whom I used to exchange many messages.
 

       Bristol Docks and Dockers 1967

   In the afternoon/evening we went to Bristol by train or bus 98/99, a truly splendid city. Here I saw a colour TV for the first time (it did not arrive in Italy until 1972 with the Munich Olympics), perfect images and colours; and for the first time I saw girls in miniskirts, not yet in Italy.
 
I took some sailors to the hospital to have their teeth treated. That time there was free treatment for anyone, even foreigners in the UK, and the shipowners took advantage of this to save money… Inside Avonmouth harbour they were shooting a film, my colleague and I entered the scene unknowingly suddenly appeared from behind some railways wagons, we ruined the scene but they did not insult us.

IV3DRP. Adriano FT 817 G5RV and dedicated QRP operator

   
We continued our journey to Greenock. In the roadstead before entering the port we caught some large fish (perhaps cod?) which we passed to the cook.
This is a beautiful town, birthplace of Samuel Watt, I remember the monument dedicated to him, and the city shrouded in fog and a pleasant smell of whisky on the street. In Glasgow we went to a brewery inside where there were many cheerful people singing folk songs, just like in the beer gardens of Trieste: it felt like home. In the city centre we were invited to a Casino where only members could play: they made us instant members and I think I still am, but we didn’t have much luck at the game.
In the UK it was strange to me that just before 10 p.m. a bell would ring in the pubs and all the customers would run to the counter to stock up on alcoholic drinks.
 
A lovely week in the UK that I won’t forget.
   
From Scotland we left for Canada and in Three Rivers on the St Lawrence River already partly frozen with ice blocks like small icebergs, we loaded up with wheat for Bombay. But that’s another story.”
        Best wishes, Adriano IV3DRP

Propagation forecast for the Solar Cycle peak and the Wythall Radio Club Brains Trust

May 10, 2024 By: john daws Category: Club, Fun, News

QUESTION TIME AT WYTHALL RADIO CLUB TUESDAY 7TH MAY

and in answer to many questions:

 A SUNSPOT CYCLE PEAK FORECAST BY TIM BEAUMONT

 

 

Transformers.. overheating baluns.. indoor antennas… the intricacies of FT8 foxhunting …safety and mobile car operation.. receiver sensitivity and the wise use of the filters.. 30m noise levels…DSP v analogue filters…solar panels and EMI emissions.. content and lay-out of the ideal shack.. current propagation and 10 metre pop-up surprises..G0KYA band forecasts and Tim’s M0URX very own Mystic Meg forecast for the coming year????

15 of the  great and the good (see picture right) gathered for a meeting of the Wythall Radio Club recently to share their collective knowledge on a variety of subjects and within the hour provided a pretty exhaustive unpacking of the issues above. One shared ‘question’ was over the impact of the current solar sunspot peak 2024/2025 and we were lucky to have our very own Tim Beaumont to send us his thoughts reproduced below

We could have gone on (!) but the bar beckoned and enough questions been made to tax the little grey matter..

Tim’s propagation thoughts for the coming year are reproduced below (with kind permission of the author) and should whet the appetite for those with HF in mind.

(At the time of writing the sunspot counts stands at well over 227)

“Certainly this summer will be full of easy Sporadic E propagation not just single hop 1,500 to 2,000 miles but also watch out for multi-hop multi path Es which will happen- but I am not a mystic Meg to say when. 

So 6m and 10m is a must this summer.  If sunspots are consistently high listen out at night time on all bands: you may be surprised.  

Also with Sporadic E there will be very short hop propagation- as little as 100 miles.  This is great for catching DX in your dead zone, like Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man and Scotland: this can be great fun to catch the short hop Es. 

Short hop summer  Es will also help work stations from many parts of England.  Many say this is “unusual conditions” but it isn’t just normal and happens every summer.   

There will be plenty of F layer propagation especially In the sunrise and sunset plus and minus an hour or two and should filter up to the higher bands too.  But this will be best around the autumnal equinox. 

 The Autumn of 2024 will definitely be a good one for DX.

Just tune around and watch the clusters. There will be times of band disturbances too.  Make advantage of these. You will often hear pre-geomagnetic enhancements where the bands just explode with great conditions just before a solar storm hits earth.  This can also cause excellent Aurora conditions especially on the higher bands listen for that distinctive rasping sounds of the aurora to the voice or CW tones.

So without doubt Autumn 2024 will provide some incredible conditions. 

 It is beyond my understanding whether we will get a double peak on this cycle like we have done in the previous cycles.  But if we do my guess either this Autumn 2024 or Spring 25. 

 In Winter 2024, of course head down to the low bands but keep a watch on all bands at sunrise and sunset for the DX.”

COMING SOON AT WYTHALL RADIO CLUB…..  

1.TUESDAY 4TH JUNE-MAST ERECTION REHEARSAL FOR GB0BUS!

2.FRIDAY14TH JUNE SET UP FOR GB0BUS AT WYTHALL TRANSPORT MUSEUM

3.SATURDAY 15TH JUNE GB0BUS ACTIVATION

4.TUESDAY 18TH JUNE DIY 70CM ANTENNA BUILD AND FOXHUNT

DETAILS AND TIMES TO FOLLOW.

 

 


SOTA Expedition to Titterstone Clee Hill G/WB-OO4 Thursday 2nd May

May 03, 2024 By: john daws Category: Club, Fun, News

Watched by probably 2 thousand sheep and dwarfed by the looming presence in the fog of the radio and radar installations  Clive M0KNP aided by his able assistant John M6KET activated Titterstone Clee Hill yesterday (G/WB-OO4) and were rewarded by some instant contacts on 2 metres with Clive’s Yaesu FT70d hand and a single 40m SSB contact with GM4ZMK nr Glasgow.

The operating station (no room for the morse key on there)

Clive in assembly mode

Conditions on 2m were good with stations worked and heard in Malvern, Telford, Shrewsbury, Redditch and portable in Wales

40m SSB was more challenging on the FT 817 and despite posting- and hearing stations in Belgium and Germany only GM4ZMK was worked.

M6KET provided adequate secretarial assistance recording all QSO’s , but declined the CW  opportunity citing cold hands and failure to remember his flask of coffee still standing on the kitchen table at home as a weak excuse.

Eventually the challenging conditions took their toll and the expedition retreated down the mountain by a safer route (tarmac road and gravel footpath) and dispersed happy to have achieved at least 4 SOTA contacts without frostbite and falling off the edge into Ludlow.

QSO’s 2m: MW0BG/P (Sota to Sota), M7SDO, M6NSV, M7WUK, M5JRC, G0EYO.

40m SSB (7090) GM4ZMK

Radios FT 817. FT70d

Antenna SPX 300 mounted on a camera tripod (G0EYO design)

 

Coming next…..

 

ASK THE PANEL EVENING: TUESDAY 7 TH. MAY 8.00 START VIA ZOOM OR IN PERSON. WYTHALL HOUSE.

PLEASE NOTE EARLIER STARTING TIME.


The Easter Contest Award Evening 2024

April 27, 2024 By: john daws Category: Club, Contest, Fun, News

The Easter  Contest 2024 Awards Evening

The David Dawkes G0ICJ Shield

The Colin Baker G6ZDQ Shield

 

Welcome  to visitors Andrew and son  Harvey  who came along to see what made Wythall Radio Club tick.

Gremlins (or a cyber attack from an unfriendly hostile state!!) did their best to disrupt proceedings but the results shone through and two of our most experienced Contest operators triumphed yet again.

Chris G0EYO won the David Dawkes  G0ICJ shield  for all band operation.

Keeping it in the family Kevin 2E0NCO triumphed again in the G6ZDQ Shield in the 2m/70cm  contest .

Martin M7FXD got a certificate for being the leading Foundation Licence operator.

A huge thanks to Lee G0MTN for yet again organising and encouraging: undoubtedly the contest weekend succeeds in boosting activity on the bands and getting folks to have fun with RF.

(It is hoped to publish the full results on the website very soon)

COMING SOON….. SOTA day on Titterstone Clee Hill on Thursday May 2nd (details from Clive M0KNP….Ask the Experts (a question and answer hour) on Tuesday  8th May …..GB0BUS activation at Wythall Transport Museum on Saturday June 15th and on Tuesday 18th June Neil G1TCZ leads a 70cm Foxhunt Evening in Wythall Park.

Interested visitors very welcome at all these events