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Activating Mauritius

November 24, 2023 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

Jamie, 3B8/M0SDV in Mauritius, has been contacted by several Wythall Radio Club members.

Now a very experienced DXer and contester, Jamie was a member of our Club as a young person at the start of his amateur radio exploits.

Besides several trips to Mauritius, Jamie has also operated from Curacao, Togo and Bonaire – amonst other DX locations.

He’s also been very active in helping to secure the future of our hobby by promoting youth amateur radio – especially through YOTA.

He’s seen here on a previous dxpedition to 3B8 – sitting next to the 40m vertical.

Dave M0IFT and Mike G4VPD were amongst the Wythall club members catching Jamie on SSB this week, before he puts his mic away and turns to CW for this weekend’s CQ WW CW contest.

Best wishes for a great score, Jamie!

 

A year in the Life of Wythall Radio Club

October 28, 2023 By: john daws Category: Club, Fun, News

 SOMETIMES IT TAKES  AN AGM TO REMIND MEMBERS OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PREVIOUS YEAR ,

AND SO IT CAME TO PASS THAT CLUB CHAIRMAN, CHRIS G3YHF REMINDED US.

The chairman in his natural habitat: out doors and portable!

An abbreviated version of his report follows

NOVEMBER  ‘How  low can you go?’ asked CW/QRP obsessive 2E0XET and a week was spent on low power , highlighting the ever popular FT817/8 and the Wonder Whip.. Kev on the South Coast reporting his results on the reflector.

        Lee addressing the RSGB Convention.

 Later in the month Lee G0MTN gave a presentation to the RSGB Convention on HF antennas and repeated this for the benefit of Club members at one of our regular Tuesday night meetings.

DECEMBER:  Lee G0MTN hosted several members at his well-equipped contest station to use the special call G5AT in the 10m SSB/CW Contest. (G5AT celebrating the first European amateur contact with the USA in 1922.)

MARCH: The Club hosted a lively and fun evening for the local Beaver colony: Roger M0WGM ran a phonetics session using licence-free handhelds, John 2E0XET and Chris  G3YHF inducted the eager Beavers into the mysteries of Morse Code and Les 2E0LRV stole the show setting up a digital voice link enabling the Beavers to talk to amateurs in Seattle.

Les and the eager Beavers at the March Event- with Seattle at the other end of the line.  

APRIL: We put GX4WAC on the air on a Tuesday night to celebrate World Amateur Radio Day.

JUNE:  GB0BUS was a special event station at the Transport Museum Wythall to celebrate International Museums’ Weekend. A team of 9 members erected 2 wire aerials for HF with Dave G3YXM again impressing with his catapulting skills. The team had QSO’s with stations in 20 countries with the best DX being Texas. Ian M0LQY’s FT8 operation attracted a steady stream of visitors and the weather stayed kind.

AUGUST:  Chris G0EYO took on the challenge of coordinating the many responses to the OFCOM consultation regarding amateur radio regulations. Thanks also to Chris for the tremendous amount of work updating and spring cleaning the Club’s website: an onerous task and long overdue.

      Neil and some fascinated onlookers

SEPTEMBER: Our Plug and Play in the Park involved 12 members setting up portable stations : Phil 2E0WTH and Peter M5DUO disappeared into the shade of the trees in what turned out to be improbably the hottest day of the year. Neil G1TZC QO100 portable satellite station impressed the many visitors and included a contact with the St Helena’s island in the South Atlantic Ocean. A few days prior to the Plug and Play Ian M0LQY and Clive 2E0IKN hosted a ‘come and meet us’ evening with aim of attracting several potential new members.

OCTOBER: Clive 2E0IKN and Chris G3YHF  (mountain goats both) gave a talk on SOTA, POTA and WWFF schemes highlighting the attraction of the great outdoors and amateur radio.

OTHER EVENTS IN THE YEAR

Meanwhile   Lee’s G0MTN ever popular DXCC Challenge has continued with some great DX worked particularly the stand out performance of  M0IFT (216 countries); as we approach the peak of this sunspot cycle expect scores to rocket!   

The ever competitive Christmas and Easter Contests have continued ,, expertly run by Lee G0MTN. The Easter All band winner was Chris G0EYO and,  appropriately the 2 metre/70cm section was won by Jim 2E0BLP.

Don G0NES receiving the Christmas Trophy (All bands/all modes) from Club President Mike G4VPD

In the Christmas Contest Ian M0IDR won the 2m/70cm Trophy and Don G0NES won the all modes Trophy.

An effort has been made by John 2E0XET to regularly update the Club’s website and Radcom has been provided with a steady stream of Wythall Radio Club reports and photos.

Other achievements during the year include Neil G1TZC’s great success with with his QO100 satellite operation and  his bronze award for working 50 DXCC . G0MTN was just pipped into  place second place in the QRP unassisted portable section of National Field day  but at the time of writing in the CQ WW RTTY contest the raw scores suggest he may be the leading European operator in the single operator, all band , low power category: some achievement.

Clive (ex M7OCB) is now 2E0IKN and studying hard for his full licence. Chris G0EYO has dusted off his CW skills through regular schedules with John M6KET and thriving with both  straight key and paddle.

Sadly the Club lost two of its much loved and longstanding members with the passing of Vic M0AEJ and Jim 2E0BLP. Vic joined the Club in the 1990’s and was always very supportive of the rallies and field days; he was always there as a volunteer and highly dependable: a wonderful member of the Club Jim, the Voice of the Midlands, was a big presence in the Club a mainstay of the Easter and Christmas Contests and a regular at our Plug and Play events; he was also a regular on the club frequency 144.225 , often chatting to Peter M5DUO whilst mobile on the way to work: both will be very much missed.

 

and so what of the next year?

Well for starters..

TUESDAY  7TH NOVEMBER.. THE VENUE : THE DARTS ROOM AT WYTHALL HOUSE. THE TIME 8.00 P.M..

AN ACTIVITY EVENING FEATURING THE CLUB EQUIPMENT (AND OTHER ) WORKING DIGI MODE , HF, CW AND  SSB.

NEW MEMBERS AND INTERESTED PARTIES VERY WELCOME TO ATTEND

COME ALONG AND MEET OUR EVER OBLIGING CLUB MEMBERS!!

 

 

Signals from Space with a Handheld

September 22, 2023 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

The ISS (international space station)’s digipeater can be heard with a 2 meter handheld when one of the ISS passes is overhead.
 
And if you can connect your 2m FM rig to a computer, you can send and receive messages through it – and receive the special ISS QSL card!
 
Now is a good time to try as the ISS is passing over the UK at a good elevation twice most early evenings.
 
Find the ISS pass times HERE – remember to add 1 hour as times are UTC.  Ideally, look for 70° or 80° elevation when ISS is passing close to overhead.
 
The live ISS locator is useful to track its position and digipeater footprint.
 
Tune to 145.825 FM with squelch OFF and listen for the short bursts of data.  You will only hear these for a couple of minutes during each pass.

The contents of data packages received by the ISS are instantaneously retransmitted by the digipeater and received by one of the SATGATEs where they are automatically uploaded to the ARISS web site HERE along with the list of stations whose transmissions were received and maps of their locations.
 
Only short messages can be sent, and here are some examples from earlier this evening:
 
00:00:01:12 : G0GOO]CQ,RS0ISS*,qAR,ED1ZBF-3::G7HCE :QSL and 73 via ISS
00:00:01:32 : G6UQZ-1]APDW17,RS0ISS*,qAU,DO6DD-10:!5204.75N/00034.94EyPHG200073 de Andy in Clare, Suffolk
00:00:01:39 : G3YHF]CQ,RS0ISS*,qAU,DO6DD-10:=5226.15N/00152.30W-IO92BK 73 de Wythall RC {UISS54}
00:00:01:41 : RS0ISS]0P0PS3,APRSAT,qAR,ED1ZBF-3:’v&l SI]ARISS-International Space Station=
00:00:01:42 : G7HCE]APK004,RS0ISS*,qAR,F1ZRP-3::G0GOO :Copy 59{5
 
The highlighted message is the one I sent this evening that was received and retransmitted by the digipeater after 6 or 7 attempts!
 
It gives the age of the retransmission, my call, the callsign of the digipeater – RS0ISS* is the Russian ISS call sign, DO6DD is the German SATGATE station that received and uploaded the packet to the ARISS site, and then there is my message: my APRS location in lat and long and Maidenhead square, and a few words of greeting!  The ‘ – ‘  instructs the ARISS site to add my QTH to its map.
 
Occasionally, the digipeater is temporarily shut-down for spacecraft operational activity like a spacewalk.
 
To send a message through the digipeater, connect a rig that can transmit 2m FM to a computer.  The rig will need an internal soundcard or if not use an interface like Signalink.  
 
I use my Yaesu FT7800 mobile rig on 5 watts with Signalink and a collinear. 
 
I also have an old Kenwood TH-D7 handheld with internal TNC and APRS functionality – this puts out 2.5 watts and I’ve been received by the digipeater again using my collinear.
 
Then download and configure UISS , which has been designed for communicating with the ISS digipeater.  Configure so it talks to your radio.  Then set ‘path’ to ARISS and add your APRS data and a short text.
 
There’s lots of on-line advice on how to set up UISS and use it to send a message – e.g.  on the AMSAT site
 
DON’T USE HIGH POWER!  ISS is line of sight, so 5 watts to a collinear will work very well.  High power will put exessive demand on the ISS rig’s batteries and block other stations from using the digipeater. 
 
The digipeater is simplex and lots of European stations will be calling so it may take several goes to get through.  On the current west to east trajectory of ISS, it’s best to try early on a pass before it’s in range of continental Europe
When your message is retransmitted by the digipeater, it will often appear as a highlighted message in UISS.
 
However, you may not receive this retransmit due to fading or other factors causing even one bit of data to be lost, so affecting the checksum.  
 
So it is always best to search for your call on the ‘Amateur Radio Stations heard via ISS’ page at ariss.net as a ground station operating a SATGATE may have received the retransmission and automatically uploaded it to the ARISS site.
 
Wythall Radio Club members had a go with conducting a brief QSO using the digipeater a couple of years ago, and two of us used it to score points in our Christmas Contest.  
 
Have fun!
 
 
 

Free radio demo this Saturday!

September 06, 2023 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

Visitors welcome at Wythall Radio Club’s free demo of short-wave and VHF radio communication, on Saturday 9th Sept. between 10 and 3.

We’ll once again be operating various radios from Wythall Park, using a variety of antennas – and hopefully we’ll have some contacts via a satellite!

You can find us on the far side of Wythall Park, furthest from the car park. 

Follow the tarmac footpath on the right hand side of the small playground, and keep going bearing right at any junction!

You’ll see vehicles, antenna masts and flags – that’s where we are. 

Here’s a report on a recent radio field-day in Wythall park.

Neil’s G1TZC Canadian Adventure

September 02, 2023 By: chris pettitt Category: Club, Fun, News

Neil operating in IARU HF World Championship weekend 11/7/20

Our resident satellite member, Neil G1TZC, amused us all recently with a tale from his past on the club’s group.io forum with a tale about a visit to Canada. We thought this would make good first addition to our Articles’ section in the Library folder on the club’s website.  READ IT HERE 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Listen to radio amateurs without a radio!

August 24, 2023 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to listen on amateur radio frequencies without a special short wave receiver.

There are many WebSDR (Software-Defined Radio) receivers connected to the internet, allowing multiple users to listen simultaneously.  

A list of WebSDR receivers and links to them is at  http://www.websdr.org/   

To use WebSDR…

  1. Navigate to a receiver like Hack Green, Cheshire (one of the closest WebSDRs to Birmingham) or KFS WebSDR in California (where you can listen in to the US amateurs).
  2. Once on a WebSDR site, enable ‘allow keyboard’, which permits you to tune the receiver using mouse wheel or keyboard arrows.
  3. You may have to enable audio settings on your browser – see the advice on each webSDR site; eg for listening to Hack Green using Chrome: Click the Lock in the address bar of your Chrome browser. Click Site Settings. Under Sound, select Allow.
  4. Select the band you want to listen on – you will find most stations on 80, 40 and 20 meters, in the frequency ranges in the table below.
  5. When listening on 80 and 40 meters, select LSB (lower side band); when listening on 20 meters, select USB (upper side band).
  6. Once you hear a station, it may sound like ‘Donald Duck’ – tune slowly and the voices will become clear
  7. Once you become proficient at tuning in stations, try some of the other receiver functions – e.g. narrow IF bandwidth and IF passband can be used to reduce interference.

Over the next few months, you can expect the following radio conditions:

Amateur band

(meters)

For SSB (voice) tune these frequencies and select LSB or USB as indicated Expected coverage if listening to Hack Green

(More detail on propogation predictions here)

 

80m 3700-3800 LSB Daytime – UK; Evening – UK and continental Europe
40m 7100-7200 LSB Daytime – continental Europe (sometimes UK); Evening – Europe, and occasionally further afield
20m 14150-14300 USB Daytime – Europe; Evening – Europe and often further afield

CALL SIGNS

You can identify the countries from which stations are operating by comparing their call sign prefix (the first one or two letters/numbers) with those on the list of international call sign prefixes e.g. the Wythall Radio Club call sign is G4WAC – G means the station is in England. 

 

 

Q CODES AND OTHER SHORTHAND YOU MAY HEAR

You may hear the following…

CQ, CQ – I am calling for a contact; please reply to me

DX – long distance (normally, outside the operator’s continent)

QRZ? – is anyone there?

QTH – location of the station

QRM – interference on the signal

QSB – fading on the signal

QSL – confirmation of the contact or information passed

73s – best wishes and goodbye

GAINING AN AMATEUR RADIO LICENCE

The ‘Foundation licence’ is not difficult to obtain.  There is some simple electronics and radio operating to study.  You can find details of the licence levels and courses on the Wythall Radio Club web site and there is more information at the RSGB.

 

Come and meet us!

August 20, 2023 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

Visitors welcome at Wythall Radio Club’s famous ‘Plug and Play’ event on Saturday 9th Sept. between 10 and 3.

We’ll once again be operating various radios from Wythall Park, using a variety of antennas – and hopefully we’ll have some contacts via a satellite!

You can find us on the far side of Wythall Park, furthest from the car park.  Follow the tarmac footpath on the right hand side of the small playground, and keep going bearing right at any junction!

You’ll see vehicles, antenna masts and flags – that’s where we are. 

Here’s a report on a recent ‘Plug and Play’.

We are also holding an open evening for anyone interested in becoming a member of our Club, or in obtaining an amateur radio licence so you can transmit and make new friends locally and around the world.

The Foundation Licence Manual for Radio AmateursThe open evening is on Tuesday 5th Sept. from 8-9pm in the Darts Room, on the ground floor of Wythall House.  Follow the signs.

We’ll have some radios operating making contacts outside the UK, as well as members who can chat with you.

If you can’t make these dates, there are members at the Club most Tuesday evenings – email us to fix a date to visit at:  wythallradio@gmail.com

 

 

So close but just pipped at the post! G4WAC/P (GoMTN) runner up in the NFD CW QRP Class

June 24, 2023 By: john daws Category: Club, Contest, News

Was the break for sustenance (a sausage roll?) the crucial lost few minutes  the moment that Lee (G0MTN) just lost out to M0RYB/P  (Loxlot Club) in the QRP Unassisted Portable Station Section in the recent National Field Day Contest??

Lee endured extremes of heat and cold in his one man 24 hour operation

Lee writes:

“NFD results are out and  G4WAC/P *almost* won the QRP shield… I came second. I had more QSOs than the second placed entrant (and previous winner) but couldn’t find / work enough multipliers.  All the Russians that called are worth zero points too currently. Have a look at the attached chart to show how close the race was. It does show there’s no time for sleeping!  

 

 

I submitted the log to the German DARC society for their (and the IARU) Field Day – let’s see if it’s the same result there.

https://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/hfresults.pl?Contest=NFD&year=2023

A magnificent performance  and please see the previous report on Lee’s extraordinary marathon

Sitting on Top of the World

May 30, 2023 By: john daws Category: Club, Fun, News

 

Feeling on top of the world is Clive (formerly known as M7OCB) who recently passed his intermediate examination and has now become 2E0IKN

Inspired by his success Clive, a keen SOTA operator , will now go on to study for the full licence in the Autumn. Delighted to have passed Clive paid  tribute to the excellent on- line tuition of  Wythall’s very own G0EYO who has introduced so many  into the hobby; he is crossing his fingers that G0EYO may again be one of his on-line tutors for the full licence course.

The good weather has encouraged many operators to venture out and to prepare for future outings.

Down on the South Coast Kev has received the SOTA pole ordered and is actively experimenting with different antenna options, in particular getting down to the sea front (Torquay) to take the salt water advantage.

Kev writes “I’ve got three portable antennas I can use , a shortish 7m ish random wire, a 20m length long wire as well as the dipole: plan to test one antenna per evening and see which one works best”

He has also been out and about on the Moors (See picture right) operating mobile for the car.

Lee G0MTN meanwhile is planning a National Field Day   CW QRP entry from his garden but has warmed up nicely on Minehead Sea front making 32 CW contacts over the recent contest weekend (WW WPX CW) using only 2.5 watts and a FT817 to the much discussed Miracle whip.

To avoid unwanted attention whilst operating Lee can set up in minutes, croc clip a random wire to the back of the 817 and sit innocently on a sea front bench working the USA and Canada and many  European stations, all on his miracle whip.

In preparation for the NFD weekend on June 3rd and 4th Lee writes:

“I’ve built a linked doublet (see picture). It’s a commonly used idea in NFD- to have a longer antenna overnight for the low bands  and shorten it to make the antenna more efficient during the day on the higher bands. For QRP work my junk box phono connectors will hopefully suffice” 

 

 

And finally Chris G3YHF in Manjana is feeling the heat and  has taken the sensible option and retreating  for a cold beer planning to erect a 10m dipole in the near future!! (See picture below left)

All this recent activity has generated some very informed and lively discussion within Wythall Radio Club on  SOTA and portable operating; we are indeed lucky to have such expertise available in the Club

 

Watch this space as we prepare for the GB0BUS  operation at The Wythall Transport Museum on Saturday  17th June. We would be delighted to see interested parties so do come along , see our operating stations and enjoy a friendly chat and ask questions about the amazing Wythall Radio Club

 

More information on all our  events to follow

Coming soon – GB0BUS!.. Not just one operating station but three at once!!

May 18, 2023 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

GB0BUS will be on the air this Saturday, 17th June, celebrating International Museums on the Air day.

Wythall Radio Club is almost ready  for its special event station at the Transport MuseumWythall.  A team of operators will be on air throughout the day from 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m as the Club showcases Amateur radio in its many forms: operation will take the form of VHF.. HF (CW/SSB and Digital)- and members will be on hand to give out promotional material for the Club and hobby and answer any questions from the Public

Our ‘BUS’ call-sign suffix celebrates the Museum’s collection of vintage buses, and also the visit of Routemaster Association’s London bus collection on the same weekend.  

There is even more for vehicle fans, as that weekend is the 75th anniversary of Morris J-Type vans and many will be on display.

There will be nothing vintage abut the operating team though as they demonstrate the mental agility  and stamina required for this type of operation.

But before that on Friday our members will be erecting antennas for multi-band and multi-mode operation.  We will also be testing our rigs and associated gear.

We would be delighted to see any member able to come along and say hello and really welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our wonderful Hobby to visitors on the day.

 

We look forward  to seeing you there!!