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2013 EARS Club meetings

23 December 2013 Club members brought in something interesting for members to guess about.

12 December 2013 Exeter Raynet members participated in the West Devon Raynet Windsor House EOC Exercise by setting up UHF and VHF services on Christ Cross near Silverton.

Despite wind, rain, dung and dark, the team were able to contact a fellow team in Minions on Bodmin Moor. The link to Plymouth was not as good as expected on its return path to Plymouth.

11 December 2013 Skittles Night at the Moose Centre. All the pictures of the relentless competition are here.

25 November 2013 Club members talked about DC voltage characteristics of batteries when required to deliver a current surge. Alan G4TKV brought in oscilloscope traces showing the difference between a new and an old battery.

11 November 2013 Phil 2E0PCJ presented a fascinating talk and demonstration of Echolink. He explained how to connect and choose nodes or conferences then had a QSO with an amateur in the Grampians connecting via his smartphone version of Echolink.

Club members watched his demonstration using a 3G internet link kindly set up by Jon G8XTK.

The web resource at Port Forward is an excellent configuration summary for every type of home broadband router.

28 October 2013 Alan G4TKV gave a talk on his fascinating working life as an engineer with a major UK telephony operator. This is an illustrated PDF of his talk.

Here is Alan as a toddler on Kit Hill, Cornwall, learning about the wonderful world of RF!

14 October 2013 Skip 2E0TGT brought in his amazing ex-British Army Ptarmigan VHF antenna system and deployed it for the club to admire. Another eBay bargain!

The club was heard a short talk by Nick M0NRJ about the recent Juno mission fly-by. Then they debated the selection of meeting topics for the club for 2014.

23 September 2013 Keith G7NBU led the club in games of Morse Bingo so that we could practice our CW skills! Alan G4TKV provided an elegant calling chart and Morse Bingo cards to club members. Congratulations to Ivor G6ATJ and John G8XTK who won the two competitions.

Ivor also showed two interesting videos on the popularity of ham radio..

9 September 2013 Nick M0NRJ introduced club members to using their VHF receivers and PCs to tune to NOAA polar-orbiting weather satellites, to decode and display pictures. He explained satellite orbits, passes, antennae, free decoder software (wxtoimg) and illustrated the results he had achieved with little expenditure.

He showed a vintage 1990's Timestep Proscan receiver that he had recently modified by purchasing crystals for newer frequencies from CML.

Useful references can be found at G4ILO, software defined radio (SDR) dongle, double cross antenna, using an Icom PCR-1000 receiver and orbit prediction software.

Thanks to Ivor G6ATJ for the pictures.

18 August 2013 Club members and Exeter Raynet members visited Christ Cross to test the crossband repeater and antenna installed during the previous week. Photos of the event capture the unique blend of amateur radio accompanied with mud, dung and passing showers!

15 August 2013 Pete G3ZVI, Keith G7NBU and Skip 2E0TGT put in a herculean effort to install the old GB3EX antenna and mast onto the side of the barn at Christ Cross.

12 August 2013 "Ham Radio Deluxe". Nick M0NRJ explained the five programs that make up HRD 5.0, and then demonstrated their operation to the club. Along the way he covered the history of the RS-232C interface, how the CAT interface works and some satellite dynamics.

The club's Yaesu audio cable to the computer failed, so all hands went to the deck to trace the fault. The club oscilloscope sprang into life with John G8XQQ and Alan G4TKV hunting for the broken connection. In the end, a good old-fashioned multi meter found the problem.

Thanks to Ivor G6ATJ for the pictures.

22 July 2013 "Test Your Rig" with John G8XQQ. Skip 2E0TGT brought in his recently acquired second-hand Yaesu FT-290 so that John could check its lower power setting and transmit deviation. Using his test equipment John found that the power settings were set too high and the deviation had been altered to produce 6 kHz instead of 2.5 kHz. Both these errors were corrected and club members enjoyed seeing how decent test equipment and regular checking are important parts of the hobby.

8 July 2013 The Summer BBQ and Bring and Buy Sale was held at Keith's shack at Marsh Green. All the pictures are in this photo album.

24 June 2013 Natter Night at the Moose Centre where topics as diverse as the Christ Cross repeater, VHF weather satellite reception, photo-reactive chemicals, policing and accuracy of weather forecasts were discussed.

10 June 2013 Digital Modes Evening. Nick M0NRJ introduced his document on using Fldigi macro keys. He explained the use of tags in macros and how a typical QSO unfolds with the operator using the macro keys between setting tag values. He went on to show more advanced feature in Fldigi such as the weather fax mode and how the product is becoming the cornerstone of all non-voice modes in amateur radio.

9 June 2013 Practical Wireless VHF QRP Day. Seven club members met at the Christ Cross site north of Silverton to participate in the contest. Output power was limited to 3 watts so it was a perfect occasion for profiling VHF propagation for Raynet activities.
Skip 2E0TGT participated in the contest from his portable rig in his car.

Meanwhile Keith G7NBU was noting the locator squares of participating stations to build a coverage map. About thirty stations were logged with distant ones in northern France, Channel Islands, Cornwall, Ireland and Wales being particularly interesting.

13 May 2013 A session on the EARS Club Field Day Planning decided to focus club efforts on the Practical Wireless VHF QRP contest on 9th June 2013.

22 April 2013 The group met to discuss many common interests. Alan G4TKV gave a short explanation about USB cable terminations that are used by device logic circuits to decide whether to supply DC voltages for recharging attached devices.

8 April 2013 Keith G7NBU, our club's chairman, gave an illustrated talk about his role as Coordinator of the Amateur Radio Observation Service (AROS). He described how they respond to reports of licence infringements and poor operating practice. His team of nationwide observers are able to gather information and he approaches amateurs who may be operating in contravention of their licence conditions. More serious cases are handled by Ofcom.

Thanks to Ivor for providing the pictures on his brand new digital video camera.

25 March 2013 CW practice evening with Alan G4TKV leading the club in learning frequent Morse phrases such as CQ and RST. Ivor G6ATJ brought in a collection of recent amateur radio videos including interesting ones about emergency communications in Canada and how UK pirate radio operators are tracked and caught.

Thanks to Ivor for providing the pictures.

11 March 2013 The club held its Annual General Meeting for 2013/4. The existing club officers were reelected to their existing positions. Congratulations to all!

Chairman: Keith G7NBU
Secretary: Geoff M0UWD
Treasurer: John G4AP
Newsletter: Ivor G6ATJ
Committee: Keith G6FXH, John G8XQQ
Publicity Officer/Webmaster: Nick M0NRJ

3 March 2013 Exeter Radio and Electronics Rally was held at America Hall, Pinhoe.

EARS members John G8XQQ and Ivor G6ATJ ran the Bring and Buy stall.

Everyone was searching for bargains this year as the stands spread up to the room beyond the stage.

25 February 2013 Our latest projects. Club members brought in their latest ham radio projects and shared their design decisions.

Alan G4TKV brought in three versions of his Band Activity Detector. This device closes a relay's contacts when nearby band activity is detected on 80m or VHF, enabling him to tune in, find local amateurs and contact them.

Alan also developed a versatile LED tester that used a D-15 connector to offer a range of resistor values to ensure an LED was working and that it was going to be used the correct way around.

John G8XQQ showed his "zero-cost" VHF/UHF diplexer made with hand -wound coils, spare trimmer capacitors and connectors.

11 February 2013 Digital Modes Evening. Members talked about their use of Fldigi and Ham Radio Deluxe.

28 January 2013 Marine Radio. John G4AP gave a talk about how marine radio differs from amateur radio and what similarities exist.

14 January 2013 Steve M6BYO and Skip M6TGT both passed their RSGB Intermediate Examinations tonight! Congratulations to you both!

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