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Archive for the ‘Training’

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!

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


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


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. 




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


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



Wythall Beavers’ Transatlantic Contact!

March 01, 2023 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

Beaver Scouts from Wythall chatted with radio amateurs on the west coast of the USA during their communications evening. 

Fifteen 6-8 year-olds talked with Doug KK7BRS and Olivia KK7HDO from Lake Washington Ham Club in Seattle.  This radio club is very focussed on young radio hams, one of whom is Olivia.

The QSOs were hosted by Les 2E0LRV from Wythall Radio Club (photo left).  He used a Yeasu FT8800 mobile radio with a patch lead as an antenna into an All Star node tethered to his mobile phone, using the phone data to connect to the internet.



Matt KN4ZXV in Florida kindly stood-by in case of any difficulties getting through to the Washington repeater.




The Beavers – from 1st Tidbury Green (Wythall) Scout Group – also sent and received simple messages using  Morse code buzzers, helped by John M6KET and Chris G3YHF, two of the Club’s CW enthusiasts.

And Roger M0GWM ran a session in which groups of Beavers used licence-free handhelds to exchange messages via the phonetic alphabet.

This communications evening is a regular event for Wythall Radio Club.  We held similar ones in 2018 and 2019.

At the end of the evening, each Beaver received a certificate confirming the communication skills they had gained. 

They went away buzzing, and several were overheard excitedly telling their parents about speaking across ‘the pond’ – and right across the American continent too!


We’d like to thank our friends in the US for assisting with the QSOs – they showed the real Ham Radio spirit!



Update on Wythall Radio Club Training Programme

March 23, 2022 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

We have paused our Foundation and Intermediate Training Programme due to recent RSGB syllabus changes that require major updates to our training materials.

There is an update from Chris G0EYO, our Training Coordinator, and suggestions for alternative providers on our training page (click here).

Foundation licence exam successes

June 15, 2021 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

New Foundation licence holders will hopefully soon be on the air, reports Chris G0EYO, our Training Coordinator.

“In our last on-line Foundation course, which finished in May, 9 students completed the course. 

Seven have let us know their results, and 5 passed – the youngest was 10 and the oldest was 80.   Most of our candidates were Midlands based.

We send our congratulations and hope to contact you ‘on the air’ with your new call signs!”

Our next online Foundation Course will start in August 2021.

Please contact Chris G0EYO at  g0eyo@blueyonder.co.uk  if you would like to take the course – more details on our Training pages.

Commitment to learning Morse Code

June 12, 2021 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

Stuart M0SRZ is the 2021 recipient of Wythall Radio Club’s Lew Williams Shield.

This annual award recognises a member’s progress with CW (Morse Code), and is in memory of Wythall Radio Club’s former CW tutor and President. 

Stuart obtained his Foundation Licence in 2016, followed by Intermediate and Full in the same year.  He took the CW Academy Beginner Course in spring 2019, and has been making great progress ever since. 

Stuart won the Lew Williams Shield in 2020, but his commitment to continuing with the CW Academy course since then means he holds the award for another year.

Stuart tells us: “The CW Academy courses have been instrumental in my progress. However, the vital element is the support, encouragement and example of a club such as our own.

The gentle introduction to the mysteries of Morse, and the inspiring, consistent example of John 2E0XET, began my present endeavour to learn and, hopefully, attain some degree of proficiency.  And that banner is now carried on by the Club’s current CW tutor David G0HVN.  

A history of CW teaching that started with Lew Williams, long before I joined this Club, continues to this day. 

Reading about the CW exploits of many club members provides further encouragement.

I shall try to earn that honour during this year by taking the CW Academy Intermediate course during September/October – and that is going to demand a lot of practice between now and then! ” 

Stuart commends the free CW Academy courses: “They are quite intensive – two online hour-long sessions each week – and you really have to put in the practice every day. If you’re interested take a look at https://cwops.org/cw-academy/


Amateur Radio Courses available now

June 02, 2021 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

Latest News from Training Co-ordinator, Chris G0EYO is that the next on-line Intermediate Course is planned for a 28th June 2021 start and will last for 10 weeks and the next on-line Foundation course is expected to start in August.

Please register your interest now with Chris G0EYO at g0eyo@blueyonder.co.uk

The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) is now offering remote invigilation in people’s own home for online examinations at Foundation, Intermediate and Full Licence level. You can read further information on the RSGB website here

We are not yet in a position to offer paper examinations at the Radio Club.

The RSGB have also permanently removed the need for practical assessments for the Foundation course at this time. Practical assessments at Intermediate level are currently suspended until such time as the Covid lockdown regulations permit their resumption. We hope that they will remain suspended for the duration of the next Intermediate course.





ONLINE FULL LICENCE COURSE.  We will not be running our own Wythall Radio Club online Full Licence course but I am a tutor on the Bath Based Distance Learning Group’s Full licence course, run by Steve Hartley. Steve will run two courses per year, March and September. Contact me Chris G0EYO on g0eyo@blueyonder.co.uk for up-to-date training news

New Resources for Radio Amateurs

March 15, 2021 By: Chris G7DDN Category: Club, News, Training

Wythall Radio Club is pleased to announce a new section to our website.

Training & Beyond can be found here or from the Training menu at the top of our homepage.

Divided into 3 sections, General, Training and Operating Resources, there is a veritable cornucopia of web links to really useful resources and information – all to help you in your Ham Radio journey.

Compiled with care by Chris G0EYO & our training team, we hope you enjoy them.

Online free Foundation Course starts March 1st

January 30, 2021 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

Wythall Radio Club will be running their next online Foundation Training course starting on March 1st 2021.

The course lasts 8 weeks and candidates can book their own online, remotely invigilated, examination direct with the RSGB.  There is no charge for the course but there will be a limit to how many candidates we can accommodate.

The Foundation course is delivered via a virtual learning experience (VLE) software called EDMODO which is free to use and has gained world-wide acceptance as a safe and easy way for tutors to connect with their students at home via the internet.

Basically you sign up for the course and you get notifications via e mail that the course material and quizzes are available for you to download.

This will take place over an 8 week period with two lessons per week in the comfort of your own home and in a time of your choosing. We will deliver all the course material you need to complete the course but you will have to purchase the RSGB book “The Foundation Licence Manual” from the RSGB shop https://www.rsgbshop.org/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Training_19.html

You will also have to book and pay for your remotely invigilated examination (£27.50) direct with the RSGB but we will advise on how to do this when you register to do the course.

So, if you or someone you know wants to do this course then contact Chris G0EYO our training co-ordinator on g0eyo@blueyonder.co.uk as soon as possible to get your name on the list.