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2012 EARS Club meetings

19 December 2012 The EARS club members held their annual Club Christmas Skittles Night.

Two clubs members had just been awarded their Advanced Level (Full) Amateur Licences. Congratulations to Andy M0ZCM and Nick M0NRJ! This was the first Advanced exam held at the club for four years.

10 December 2012 Bring In Something Interesting tonight. Club members brought in curious gadgets so that their purpose could be guessed at, then finally explained.

John G6XQQ began with this curious tube, and Steve M6BYO offered these tools for identification.

Nick M0NRJ shows a bundle of electronics and Steve inspects a USB microscope.

Keith G7NBU gave some insights into his role as the RSGB AROS coordinator.

The following morning all EARS club members met for their Christmas Breakfast at Bills in Gandy Street, Exeter. Lots of pictures here.

26 November 2012 19:00 PC Clinic Night. Club members swapped experiences about solving PC issues and discussing new technologies such as using SSD drives for operating systems, levels of security, password management, cloud data storage, installing Fldigi on a Raspberry Pi and Linux operating system alternatives.

12 November 2012 Many activities going on tonight: Steve M6BYO and Skip M6TGT were both completing the practical aspects of their Intermediate RSGB Licence exam.

Examiner Alan G4TKV cross-checked their frequencies using the club's loaned oscilloscope and frequency counter.

Steve ensures his home-built Variable Frequency Oscillator (VFO) is really generating frequencies on 80m by tuning a club receiver to hear the beat frequency. This is a convenient method to prove that the VFO does tune across the 80m band, without using expensive test equipment.

Exeter Raynet members used the outstanding propagation software, Path Profile, developed by Mike Willis G0MJW. They profiled a path from the prospective new repeater site at Christ's Cross to Tregantle Fort near Plymouth.

22 October 2012 CW practice night and operations. Alan G4TKV ran Morse practice for the attentive club members. Keith G7NBU was also up for the challenge of copying 12 wpm that he had set himself in the summer. The club has a set of Morse Code training CDs available.

Members also planned the 2013 meeting topics and Ivor G6ATJ brought in two short files about amateur radio as a hobby and the Clansman radio set.

8 October 2012 Crystal sets, valves and vintage radios. Discussions about specialised components for valve equipment led us to the boxes of components in the store. Younger members were introduced to high power, high voltage parts and how to use them in equipment with 250 volt rails.

Steve M6BYO continued with practical part of his Intermediate examination. Using a breadboard circuit he demonstrated to Alan G4TKV, the required answers and instrument readings for the test.

7 October 2012 Exeter Raynet members provided communication logistics for the 2012 Teign Valley Toddle. These photos show the team members setting up the UHF, 2m, 4m and PMR links so that the 80 runners on the ten mile route were in continuous touch with the race organisers.

24 September 2012 Designing "My Dream Shack". On the blackboard, club members enthusiastically listed all the topics that were important in getting a radio shack just right. The resulting document "My Dream Shack" only manages to summarize 90 minutes of boisterous discussion.

Many thanks to the club members for producing such a useful guide for us.

10 September 2012 Exam and Video Night. Stephen sat his Foundation Class exam tonight in somewhat unexpected surroundings. The Examination Room had been overbooked as a theatrical costume store! This did not stop him from passing with an impressive result. Congratulations, Stephen!
Afterwards we watched videos selected by Ivor G6ATJ. Some of the titles we watched were "What is a Ham?"(1950), a recently designed and built homebrew valve radio from a ARRL 1948 Handbook design, "How to build a low cost 10/12/15m magnetic loop antenna", a one-valve radio, inside a real R1155 radio from a Lancaster bomber and finally a US Army and Navy promotional film from 1942 to recruit radio amateurs.
Thanks are also due to Pete G3ZVI for his loan of an Amtron UK552 Frequency Counter to the club.
13 August 2012 Fldigi data modes tutorial evening. Nick 2E0NRJ gave a talk about getting up and running with Fldigi with a suitable interface unit. He explained the BPSK31 data mode and emphasized the need to understand Micros*ft Windows fundamentals such as Driver installation, USB port numbering and the use of the audio mixer. He referred to documentation on this website for Fldigi installation and configuration, Southwest Raynet Fldigi Operations and USA NBEMS guides.
Elsewhere John G8XQQ and Alan G4TKV continued his faultfinding of the Yaesu 290-R audio output stage from the previous meeting.

23 July 2012 John G8XQQ helped Skip M6TGT to fault-find a dead audio stage in his Yaesu FT-290R transceiver. Using loaned test kit he showed how to trace a fault, look for unexplained voltages, identify how the fault occurred and obtain a replacement part.
John also introduced club members to a loaned 500 MHz Marconi signal generator. Matt M6ULP studies the controls.

While new member Stephen does his Morse test for his Foundation licence in an adjacent room, a quick furniture shuffle and the signal generator joins our line up of operational and test equipment.

Matt then started to learn how to program his ex-PMR transceiver with a new serial programming cable connected to his PC running Tait software.

9 July 2012 4m ex-PMR night. John G8XQQ brought in a selection of his ex-PMR radios converted to 4m operation. Club members took the opportunity to bring along and discuss the merits of VHF/UHF handies.
Products such as the Baofeng UV-3R for about £35, Wouxuns and Puxings were compared. We wait for a single 6m/4m/2m/70cms unit to be made!

John G8XQQ demonstrated his T2000 programming software to update the ex-PMR for amateur use. Matt M6ULP looks on to see how it is done.

Ivor G6ATJ donated a TV set to the club so that the club members could watch some fascinating videos of radio and television manufacture in the 1960s.

Monday 25 June 2012 Amateur radio test equipment night. The club MFJ antenna tester was brought in so members could see how to use it on their aerials. Skip sat his Foundation class licence exam and passed first time! Raynet members experimented with connecting a Yaesu FT-747 to the club PC and testing data modes on HF.

Monday 11 June 2012 "Construction for under-a-fiver night". Several members brought along exciting rewarding small projects that they were proud to show off. Geoff M0UWD's two-stage valve receiver, built from scratch was widely considered to be the best.

EARS members also looked on as Fldigi, Ham Radio Deluxe and EasyPal were demonstrated on the club's computer.

Monday 28th May 2012 The HF DX operations evening was postponed as the long wire HF antenna was no longer available for use. Alan G4TKV valiantly tried to return it to life with deft fishing tricks he had learnt in his youth. Meanwhile two new members, Peter and Skip, were welcomed to the club. The timetable for an Foundation Class Exam was discussed.
Monday 14th May 2012 Aerial design and construction. Keith G7NBU brought in a variety of whip aerials looking for a good home.
Alan G4TKV brought assembled his show-stopper multiband HF aerial. John G8XQQ gave a practical talk on aircraft VHF and HF aerials.
Nick 2E0NRJ brought in a refurbished PC (thanks to Mid Devon District Council) and with a screen donated by Ivor G6ATJ, the whole club moved a bookcase and computer desk to offer an integrated audio and data operations area.

Monday 23rd April 2012 CW Operations Night. Members brought their keys and oscillators. Alan G4TKV gave a talk about his experiences of learning Morse code and building up to 20 wpm. He offered welcome advice on direct tone-to-character learning without the use of mnemonics. His insights into shorthand, abbreviations, punctuation and operational speed-ups was very valuable. A few club members are now fired up to do their first CW QSO this summer.

Geoff M0UWD has a set of CDs containing morse lessons at various speeds, which club members are welcome to borrow. "Just Learn Morse Code" was mentioned as a useful software program for self-learning. It run under Windows or under Linux with Wine.

Nick 2E0NRJ showed video of his visit to the National Radio Centre and their luxurious "shack".

Tuesday 10th April 2012 At 09:30 a.m. there was an EARS Breakfast at the Fresha Cafe in Sowton.

 

Monday 26th March 2012 At 7 p.m. a club meeting was held in the Moose Centre to plan the club's participation in the WAB Olympic Torch event when it passes through Exeter on 20th May. It was decided that due to the last minute change of dates, that EARS would not have the resources to participate. The pictures and commentary of the meeting (seen below) are from Ivor G6ATJ.

Friday 23rd March 2012 Keith Bassett G7NBU, the EARS Chairman has been appointed by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) to be their new Amateur Radio Observation Service Coordinator.

Thursday 15th March 2012 Exeter Raynet participated in South West Raynet's biggest ever Inter County Exercise after 7 p.m. on Haldon Hill. Using Exeter Raynet's now famous "Hub" a network backbone of talk-through transmitter sites from Cornwall and the Channel Islands to Gloucestershire enabled operators at each County Hall to send voice and data messages.

 

At Exeter County Hall, Tony M0THJ sent simulated emergency messages with voice and data to the Mendip Control Centre via Haldon Hill and Purbeck. Sixteen communication posts had been set up in the preceding hours, which resulted in verifying that using computer data to send emergency messages was more accurate and efficient than voice traffic.

Monday 12th March 2012 The club held its Annual General Meeting in the Moose Centre. All the club officers were re-elected unopposed to their current positions.
Chairman: Keith G7NBU
Secretary: Geoff M0UWD
Treasurer: John G4AP
Newsletter: Alan G4TKV
Committee: Keith G6FXH, John G8XQQ
Publicity: Nick 2E0NRJ

Raynet members set up and verified their radios and computers for the SW Raynet ICE-10 Exercise on Thursday evening.

Sunday 4th March 2012 The Exeter Radio and Electronics Rally was held in America Hall, Pinhoe, Exeter. As usual a very full attendance and brisk trade in the Bring and Buy section.

Thanks to Ivor G6ATJ for capturing the moment with these pictures.

Monday 27th February 2012 A club meeting was held in the Moose Centre, where members talked about plans for the Olympics Torch relay, the SW Raynet ICE-10 exercise, Arduino and Xbee.

Monday 13th February 2012 A second Film Evening was held in the Moose Centre. It featured the second part of the crystal oscillator engineering and comparing it to ring oscillators. Thanks to Ivor G6ATJ for organizing this event.

Monday 23rd January 2012 A Film Night will be held in the Moose Centre. "VHF" made by Pye Telecoms in 1955 for the company's sales force was shown. Ivor G6ATJ also showed many other films about the manufacture of Mullard CRTs, early transistor radios and Cambridge in the 1960s. Thanks to Ivor and Phil 2E0PCJ for the loan and use of their video projection equipment.

Tuesday 17th January 2012 There was an EARS Breakfast at the Fresha Cafe on the Sowton Industrial Estate.

Sunday 15th January 2012 There was a very successful Raynet Data Working Group Devon-Dorset Test on Haldon Hill at 10 am in the Haldon Diner car park. Data was successfully transmitted from Kit Hill, Callington to West Creech Hill, Dorset on VHF/UHF using our Raynet repeater. BPSK500 was found to operate perfectly.

Monday 9th January 2012 There was a club meeting at the Moose Centre. Technical aspects of the Raynet Data Working Group Devon Dorset Test on Sunday were discussed.

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