Spike Bernard G4AKQ remembered on the Airwaves
A small group of amateur radio enthusiasts who regularly met with Spike G4AKQ when transmitting from his radio shack in Gillingham – gathered on the international short waves this morning to pay their respects to him and his wife Dora Bernard RIP. A short article describing the funeral was read out over the radio.
From the Service
As a founder of the REA Radio Branch and a keen professional and amateur radio operator Spikes life in our community was highlighted during the service together with his military history and his achievements in the NHS as a Dementia Champion. The order of service proudly bore his photograph as well as the branch badge he designed.
With the branch standard in the backdrop, together with that of the Southampton and Medway Branches of the REA on parade alongside our Standard Bearer Tom Milne, about a hundred people lined the avenue as he drew up to the church, many of his comrades wore the veterans uniform – corps head dress, insignia and medals to show their respects. The radio branch was well represented at the funeral and two branch members acted as pall bearers and escorted the family, while a small contingent of members were present in the congregation.
The service was conducted by a personal friend, padre Steve Spencer and during the service he related a particular story from the cold war era. Spike answered a radio call for help after hearing an amateur radio transmission from Poland about a young woman in difficulty during pregnancy. She and the unborn child were in danger and needed drugs which weren’t available behind the iron curtain. Spike relayed the message to various agencies who located the drugs and then delivered them to a border checkpoint on the Inner German Border to be handed over to the East German authorities for onward transmission. The outcome was never recorded. (His action is quite remarkable given the high degree of security, the official secrets act and various restrictions around amateur radio during the period. It was a mark of his skill and compassion that he carried it off – ed.)
Read a transcription of the service here.
In among the tributes laid out in remembrance, were photographs of spike operating his radio stations DL5XW and club station DL5YQ. He also operated under many calls from various locations as can be seen here
A VETERANS HOPE
I hope there’s a place way up in the sky,
Where veterans can go, when they have to die.
A place where a guy can buy a cold beer,
For a friend and comrade, whose memory is dear.
A place where no doctor or lawyer can tread,
Nor a veteran affairs type would ere be caught dead.
Just a quaint little place, kind of dark, a little smoke
Where they like to sing and have a good joke.
The kind of place where a lady could go,
And feel safe and protected by the men she would know.
There must be a place where old vets go,
When their pain is finished and their walk gets slow.
Where the cognac is old and once again we are young,
And songs about war and comrades are sung.
Where you see all the fellows you have known before and,
They call out your name, as you come through the door.
Who would buy you a drink, if your thirst should be bad,
And say to the others “He was quite a good lad”.
Then through the mist, you spot an old guy,
You have not seen in years and you realize the past has gone by.
He would nod his head, and grin from ear to ear,
And say “Welcome buddy, I’m pleased that your here”.
“For this is the place where veterans come,
When their journey is over and the war has been won.
They have come here to be happy and get a good rest,
This is heaven, my son…you’ve passed your last test.”
(Poem Anonymous) – reproduced with permission Paul Finnis who read it during the service.
A proposal that the branch make a contribution to Dementia UK in Lieu of any flowers was made by Tom G4CMG and voted at a committee review during the Christmas break. Personal contributions in memory of Spike can be made at the link above.
Radio Conditions Today
The 80 meter amateur band supported good communications with a little interference off to one side of the frequency making for relatively good reception from the remote receiver at Hack Green, Nantwich in Cheshire where the recording above was made.
The remainder of the the net was dedicated to engineering communications and a study of the propagation which was typical for the time of day and year on two frequencies.
It is proposed Skype is used as an engineering channel for the Radio Nets and tomg4cmg is the Skype Name of Tom G4CMG who is coordinating that.
Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio – D-STAR
A number of branch members are now equipping with D-STAR.
How D-Star works. As a computerised service the call sign and various other details of transmissions are registered in a worldwide database (on the the web) so that stations can be located automatically and linked to, wherever they are in the D-Star network. Instead of being transmitted using the old analogue frequency modulation (FM), the voice is digitised and sent in data packets containing information about the sender and receiver as well as the voice information. Text is transmitted simultaneously. Apps can be used to send text and pictures. The global DSTAR network facilitates worldwide communications using radios or computers.
Radio Nets (two way conversations between 2 or more radio stations) are conducted around various remote repeater sites (aka) gateways. Once formed, a net may operate around the gateway locally, or a user can link to another gateway across the internet. Alternatively he or she may choose to communicate via computer servers known as reflector sites. Direct communications are also being made on various amateur bands including Short wave.
Several Branch members are known to have D-STAR and the club station G3RE will operate on D-STAR eventually.
When it is ready the branch will publish its details. At the moment Reflector DCS005 has been suggested but equally the international reflector REF001C is a good starting point.
In the mean time you can locate various branch members in the network and work directly. At the time of writing G4IYK is listening on his local repeater GB7OK in Bromley, Kent. G6TGO is active as well as G6XRE.
NB. D-Star is one of three digital networks being constructed by radio amateurs.
40 Meter Band
Proposals have also been made to form a lunchtime net on 40m. Most regular Net Operators are now equipped for PSK31.
73 and Best Wishes,
Stu – G4IYK