8 March 2017 The Exeter Amateur Radio Society held its 2017 Annual General Meeting. Club officers were unanimously elected to their positions.
Chairman: Keith G7NBU
Secretary: Slade M6SQB
Treasurer: John G4AP
Publicity Officer/Webmaster: Nick M0NRJ
Committee members: John G3WVM and John G8XQQ
Congratulations to all!
The Training Officer post is yet to be filled.
Afterwards Ivor G6ATJ put on a video show which drew from TX Factor and Radio Caroline's history. TX Factor Episode 3 featured the Exeter Radio and Electronics Rally.
The 2017 Exeter Radio and Electronics Rally attracted over 150 bargain hunters to America Hall, Pinhoe. Sausage baps and tea soon made everyone forget the blustery weather outside as visitors pored over new and used items on sale from dozens of vendors. Many acquaintances were renewed as old friends met again. Pictures show the scenes inside America Hall and the Sunnylands Room.
22 February 2017 Nick M0NRJ spoke to club members about hardware required for amateur radio digital modes. With a choice of hundreds of types of computers coupled with hundreds of radios, the interface between any pair is going to be a personally crafted solution. Manufacturers such ZLP Electronics sell units that have a range of connecting leads to cope with the permutations. The picture shows a mobile rig with a ZLP adapter linking a Yaesu FT-857D and a laptop running Fldigi.
Fldigi is one of the most popular computer programs for multiple data modes, especially as the solar minimum's poor propagation makes regular HF contact unpredictable. Nick has published a document about using the Fldigi data mode macros. It walks users through the sequence of commands needed to get the most from these invaluable shortcuts.
Some computer/radio combinations don't need protective isolating transformers and can be home-built such as John G8XQQ's device he is using in this picture. Nowadays, modern radios such as Kenwood KX-3 have USB interfaces so there is no need for special adapters.
20 February 2017The GB3EX repeater has been restored to normal operation again. Thanks to Pete G3ZVI, Allan G1JXI and Keith G7NBU for their quick response and deploying their engineering skills so effectively.
16 February 2017Due to a fire on the site GB3EX has been removed for safety; we hope it will be restored within 7 days.
8 February 2017 Project Night at the club, with members presenting a "show and tell" of their most recent work. Star of the show was Alex M6WEK and his two projects for college work. An Arduino Uno used a Ublox 7 GPS receiver to display five sequential screens of GPS data. His Portable Raspberry Pi ran Chirp, Fldigi, QSSTV, Xlog and Xastir using a USB sound modem.
Rob M6UJM showed his Watson Antenna Analyser covering DC to 2 metres. A review of its features appears in the RadCom October 2015 issue. It is self-calibrating and has "Easy" or "Complex" modes of operation. This will enable him to get his Buddipole tuned up.
Stuart G3XYO showed a switchable CW audio filter for reducing in-band interference. Pete G3ZVI showed a PCB board with a slit carved into it that is a 23 cm antenna.
Nick M0NRJ explained how he used a breadboarding kit to develop the next generation repeater controller. An ATMega328P processor uses a DS3231 real-time clock to maintain accuracy over years. As a surprise for CW enthusiasts he presented his latest woven scarf sample featuring Morse code characters of his callsign.
Finally Keith G7NBU described his Clansman 320 (2 - 30 MHz, 30 W) that he wants to convert to PSK-31 operation.
He showed why each module was needed to supply life support, science research, propulsion, storage, living quarters, health and happiness required by the crew. A dizzying array of acronyms on top of an orientation guide (forward, aft, port, starboard, zenith and nadir) helped members adjust to what was up and down.
If you are in Exeter, then you can see the ISS fly by at these times. Well done Slade for producing such a comprehensive talk and answering all our questions! Photos courtesy of NASA.
Paul G4RRA brought in clever addition to his iambic Morse keyer that allowed him to record and playback CQ calls, as well as play preprogrammed messages. Essential for competitions, it gives valuable catch up time for log entries while sending the next CQ call.
5 January 2017 Ivor G6ATJ brought his Icom 7300 and Keith G7NBU brought in his Elecraft K3. Ivor reports that they set up both radios next to one another and used Slade M6SQB's 20m HF whip to test reception. Unfortunately HF bands were completely dead. The Icom saw SWRs of well above 3 and refused to autotune, so transmitting was out of the question. Keith removed the top panel of his self-build and everyone peered in. He and Ivor both answered questions about their radios.
Keith praised Water & Stanton for impeccable customer service when he rang them to say that the delivered Elecraft kit had a few missing parts, and received them the following day.
Ivor praised Martin Lynch & Sons for their equally impeccable customer service as well. After he had returned from their premises with the 7300, an MFJ analyser, and a power supply (a “REAL” PSU, not a switched mode one!), he had connected everything up and much to his dismay, the 7300 exhibited some peculiar behaviour...it didn't work basically!. Discovering the cause to be the PSU, a call to ML&S resulted in an apology, and a courier that had been arranged for the following day to collect the faulty PSU AND drop off a replacement with no quibble. (The PSU was apparently current limiting far far too early, and not providing the promised 25Amps @ 13.8V)
Meeting Themes 2017
22 Mar: 60m on the Gray Line 12 Apr: Aerials for satellite tracking 26 Apr: To be decided 10 May: Planning for an Open Evening 24 May: DMR v Fusion v DSTAR 14 Jun: HF antennas 28 Jun: How to build a repeater 12 Jul: Morse practice/VLF Radio 26 Jul: Software Defined Radio 9 Aug: Hamnet 23 Aug: HF Propagation Prediction 13 Sep: VHF/UHF antennas 27 Sep: 60m on the Gray Line 11 Oct: Fldigi for Raynet 25 Oct: TBD 8 Nov: Filter theory/2018 Topic planning 22 Nov: Morse practice/ex-military radios 13 Dec: Bring in something interesting evening 27 Dec: No meeting