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The M0LQY Guide to the World of FT8 at Wythall Radio Club

December 06, 2023 By: john daws Category: Club, Fun, News

“The best laid schemes of Mice and Men

Gang oft a-gley”

Despite an unavoidable late alteration to the programme  Wythall Radio Club hosted a  very successful and informal session on HF, Digital  Radio and FT8 at their recent very well attended meeting on Tuesday Night.

Visitors Gary , Derek and (very much hidden) Paul with Ian M0LQY in the operating seat. Clive 2E0IKN and a rather sceptical looking John M6KET

With numbers boosted by three very welcome visitors from  Sutton Coldfield, Gary, Derek and Paul, Ian M0LQY took us through the basics of  FT8 radio on 7074, the 40m band, and even obliged with a QSO with a Ukranian station to prove the point.

M6KET had previously warmed up the Kenwood TS 590 with some 40m CW and a QSO with SP2DGV on 7027 but thereafter  it was the After8 show (FT8!) with Ian at the helm, answering questions and demonstrating the potential of this mode.

There was also an  very welcome opportunity for more wide-ranging Amateur radio chat after Ian’s presentation and it was good to hear animated conversations still going on past 9.30 p.m.

Many thanks to Ian for his expertise and very clear demonstration of HF Digital Radio.

The session on Allstar node, Fusion and D star will be rescheduled for another Tuesday night  and all visitors will again be very welcome. 

LOOKING AHEAD WE HAVE OUR INFORMAL XMAS GET-TOGETHER IN THE BAR NEXT WEEK FROM 8.00 PM (MINCE PIES FROM ANY SOURCE WELCOME) AND LEE WILL SOOM BE CIRCULATING DETAILS OF THE XMAS CONTEST TO RUN FROM TUESDAY 26TH-31ST DECEMBER


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!

 


Coming soon to Wythall Radio Club 2023-2024

November 16, 2023 By: john daws Category: Club

Here’s our fun-packed programme for the next year!  All events at 8.30pm unless stated otherwise.  There is also an informal meeting each Tuesday, 7.30pm, Wythall House bar.

The list will be updated as new activities are finalised – and these will also be posted on the web site. 

Tuesday 5th Dec  2023

NB: 8.00pm start.  RF + Internet: DX contacts with a handheld – demo of AllStar node with Les 2E0LRV and discussion of Fusion and D-Star

Tuesday 12th December 2023

From 7.30pm …The Xmas Social in the bar at Wythall House

Tuesday 26th Dec 10.00 a.m. to Sunday 31st December 8.00 p.m.:  

The Famous Wythall Radio Club Xmas Contest 

Monday 1st to Wednesday 31st Jan  2024

How Low can you go? QRP month – all modes and bands;

 And the DXCC Challenge continues to the end of 2024

Tues 9th Jan 2024

Open committee meeting

PLUS join this month’s QRP challenge using the Club rigs and doublet before and after Committee.

Tues 16th Jan. 2024 

Xmas Contest results – Lee G0MTN

Tues 6th Feb 2024 

Satellite QSOs from your sitting room? Demo of Neil G1TZC QO-100 gear

Tues 5th March 2024 

Activity: to be announced!!

Thursday 28th March 10am to Monday 1st April 8pm

The Famous Wythall Radio Club Easter Contest

Tues 9th April 2024

Open committee meeting AND preparation for SOTA day

April  2024

“Climb every Mountain!”

Date to be announced for Club SOTA day on suitable local SOTA summit

Tues 23rd April 2024

Easter contest results – Lee G0MTN

Tues 7th May 2024 

Activity to be announced

Tues 4th June 2024 

Preparation for GB0BUS

Friday 14th June morning

Setting-up GB0BUS at Transport Museum Wythall

Sat 15th June 2024

All day GB0BUS Museums on the Air at Transport Museum Wythall (to be agreed with Museum)

Tues 2nd July 2024 

Open committee meeting PLUS on-air evening using Club rigs and antennas before and after Committee

Tues 3rd Sept 2024

Open evening for prospective members or activity to be announced

September 2024

Plug and Play. Possibly 7th or 8th September (SSB NFD)? Date subject to availability of field/members

Tues 1st Oct 2024

Pre-AGM Open committee meeting

Tuesday 22nd October  2024

The Wythall Radio Club AGM


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  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!
 
 
 

Fun in The Sun in the Park Part 3: The Radio Club’s ‘Plug and Play, Day in Wythall Park

September 20, 2023 By: john daws Category: Club

Our previous two reports described our  visitors’ interest shown in Neil’s and Ian’s  satellite and digital operations respectively.

Our final reports reflect the successes of  Lee ( GoMTN ), Chris (G3YHF ) and John (M6KET) on the HF bands using SSB and CW.

Chris working Canada on 20m SSB

The Lab 599 TX500 lightweight all band all mode transceiver+LIFEPo battery

 

Chris (pictured right) brought along his rig-in-a-rucksack ( previously spotted on the summit of Bredon Hill)…The Lab 599 TX500 lightweight all mode transceiver and a LiFEpo battery along with a homebrew 20m delta loop on a 7m telescopic pole.

 

Chris reports:  “tuning on 20m SSB the Worked All Europe Contest produced some strong signals and I worked VE3AJ in Canada first call-not bad for 10 watts!!” Lee G0MTN also worked Canada on the same rig whilst John M6KET borrowed Phil’s operating table and Portable  HF dipole and worked a number of Spanish stations on 20m  with 5 watts CW and his KX3.

By 2.30 many were beginning to wilt in the heat and it was time to pack up, lower the gazebos  and return  the equipment  to our nearby store. Chris writes: “Like all Plug and Plays I found the social side as much fun as seeing other Club members’ gear. and operating portable is always enjoyable.”

This was a great opportunity to showcase the Club and the diversity of Amateur radio; I think our visitors were genuinely interested in our operations and I include some of  visitor Martin’s comments below 

“A shared passion that unites the member… the welcoming nature of those present….the enthusiasm and thrill of connecting with fellow operators across continents….a celebration of a shared love for amateur radio… warm hospitality.”

A big thank you to Club member Martin G8VXX for providing the generator; this entailed a one hour round trip to deliver and collect and a big thank you to Phil 2E0WTH and Peter M5DUO for helping the day run so smoothly. Phil and Peter’s experiences in field operations continue to be invaluable to the club.

Phil, 2E0WTH dispenses some wisdom to an attentive chairman before providing this scribe with an outstanding sausage sandwich. Thank you Phil !!  

Among the visitors, members and operators recorded were: Chris G3YHF, Phil 2E0WTH, Peter M5DUO, Lee G0MTN, John M6KET, Ian M0LQY, Don G0NES, Winston 2E0EGP, Martin G8VXX, Neil G1TZC, Debra SWL, Mike G4VPD and Chris G7DDN.  (Apologies if I missed anyone.)

 

COMING SOON!!

WYTHALL RADIO CLUB AGM

TUESDAY 24TH OCTOBER

WYTHALL HOUSE 8.00 P.M.

 


Fun in the Sun in the Park Part 2: The Satellite Connection

September 14, 2023 By: john daws Category: Club

Neil contemplates the radio world through the medium of Satellite QO-100

The next episode features Neil G1TZC who attended his first Wythall Radio Club ‘Plug and Play’ last Saturday and despite the very hot conditions calmly erected  the gazebo, installed the satellite dish and wasted no time in attracting a captive audience as he introduced them to QO -100 communicating with amateur radio stations through the use of satellite. His report on the day follows:

“For my part the Plug and Play event was important on so many levels. Apart from visiting the new members night on the previous Tuesdays, all of my interaction with members had been over the air or via the internet group, so it was great to meet people in the arena of an organised event. It was also a chance to test the portable satellite setup in the real world with various changes and repairs that had been made. Once everyone had arrived and things started to get going, something struck me straight away. Debra and I were made to feel like we had always been members of the club.

It was great to see everyone help everyone else, something that can often be missing from clubs. Often people turn up with the expectation that it will just appear, but not at the Wythall club. People pitched in and helped each other. Four people do a gazebo and erect a mast. People going back and forth between stations to help where needed.

As for the satellite station it was nice to have such an interest from the visitors to the site

Neil’s commentary and operations soon attracted an  audience,  including our very own 2E0EGP

 

     

Equipment did struggle with the heat but we made a few contacts, but that actually ended up being somewhat secondary. I felt I spent more time talking and explaining how QO-100 differed from other amateur satellites. There was a keen interest in the fact that geostationary operation still kept roots in traditional forms of communication, such as CW and SSB as well as embracing a whole range of digital modes. Also pointing people in the direction of internet resources via the printed sheets in the satellite tent. Several people were pleased that the QR codes were on the bottom of some resources for them to take the pages with them for later reading.

 

The fact that the system also has an emergency frequency that covers half the planet was explained with the practical example of the earthquakes in Turkey and how the amateurs were able to pass information from the disaster areas to major cities via the satellite without having to worry about any propagation issue. As far as contacts, we had contacts with Finland, India and St Helena Island.

All in all a very positive even and I would be delighted to participate again at any further events.”

 

    Peter M5DUO and Phil 2E0WTH in                         assembly mode

Coming  next  and soon

In the final report on the ‘Plug and Play’ Event …

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF HF CW AND SSB and….

One of these two pictured left makes a fine cup of tea

 and the other a wicked sausage sandwich..all will be revealed in

                           

                                                                                            Fun in The Sun in the Park  Part 3


Fun in the Sun in the Park-1

September 11, 2023 By: john daws Category: Club

Dressed for the occasion and the sweltering heat  the hardy members of Wythall Radio Club took to the great outdoors at Wythall Park on Saturday and operated G4WAC/P in all its various  modes: Digimode, Satellite, CW, SSB and VHF.

                            The operating site in Wythall Park on a sunny Saturday

In this first instalment Ian M0LQY, operating digimode takes us through his thoughts on the experience.

“What a glorious day was had by all at our field day with the weather being perfect and lots of people dropping in to see a real range of radios and operating methods great stuff. For me I wanted to try out a few things a new antenna which I purchased last year and was waiting for the right opportunity and in particular a project I had been working on for a while to use a specially built operating system for my raspberry pi. The experience of using it in the field for my favourite digital modes was informative and a real lesson in what I got right and more importantly what was not.”

                 Ian cheerfully going about setting up on Saturday

“My aim was to have a working setup that I could use portably contained within a single carrying case. Back at the shack I set about building both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of the raspberry pi operating systems from source rather than using prebuilt binaries. Having had a number of Raspberry Pi’s I find that building the software from source produces better performance and stability. Therefore, I decided to do everything that way to produce a bespoke purpose-built Pi that suited me and my exact requirements.”

“So how did it go? Like all things it was a mixed bag with the main aims achieved but unexpected niggles and self-inflicted incompetence’s  all conspiring to make the day interesting. My requirements for the Pi were as follows:

Only have the software loaded that I would actually use. Mostly, digital mode applications. Logbook and other useful Amateur Radio programs.

  1. Be able to operate without a monitor (Headless).
  2. Remote operation from another computer, tablet or even a mobile phone.
  3. Have automatic availability of my home NAS shares with read and write capability in both directions. Any Connection must be able to pass username and password , so no guest access.
  4. Ability to use the programs installed with two Radios (Yaesu FT991A and Xiegu X6100) both of which have USB CAT control and built in sound cards”

“Having spent time building the operating systems at home and getting the radios to talk to the pi with audio, CAT control it was all working well. So the field day was the ideal chance to test out the antenna a 80-10 40 metre EFLW from UKAntennas which was supposedly to work on all of the bands and did not require an ATU. Also, I could test the pi setup with the bare minimum before choosing a suitable carrying case with foam inserts.”

 Ian goes on to detail some of the problems on the day: the voltage  and an issue synchronising the clock to the NTP server  (no internet connection in the field) and a full account of the challenges and solutions  can be read on Saturday’s posting on the Repeater

“As for the antenna, well it works and does indeed allow operation on all of the advertised bands without an ATU. My issue is that I like to operate with low SWR and at 40M it was showing 1:1 as I went to higher bands the SWR crept up and on 17M reached 2:2 although that was with 50 watts at 20 watts my normal operating power this became 1:9. So yes it works and was surprisingly quiet although the location must have helped.”

IN THE NEXT EPISODE :WHY ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE GATHERED ROUND A GAZEBO IN THE MIDDLE OF WYTHALL PARK?? (AND IS THAT REALLY WINSTON?)

 


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!