Bulletin: 9th May 2015

A link to the 60 M Net recording is below.

On Net today:

G3RE – Mike in Northampton

G4CMG – Tom in Hindhead.

G3WOV – Gordon in Nafferton

G3PWK – Jack in Harrogate

G3XWD – Derek in Hinkley

Calling in on 60M Bruce, G0DMB in Leicester.

Report by G4IYK – Stu in Gravesend.

My experiment with the Hack Green Software defined Radio continues (HGR) continues.

I discovered two novel features:  You can see people logged in on screen and tuned in on frequency which is handy.  But also you can give yourself a report:).

80M – 0730 – 0800 Local.

1st Over.  

After hearing mike call and others joining I opened up using the Kenwood TS570D, (Dipole and 60Watts).  Signals were fairly well under the noise from everyone on the receiver.  The noise was wavering between S7 and S9 on the S Meter.  Signal reports were quite mediocre at this point and I was straining to hear with headsets.

Regrettably I missed the opportunity to record the session, but subsequent to switching over to HGR, all signals were 5 and 9 Plus for the duration of the session up until 0800 when we changed frequency.

Noise vs Conditions – Listening Experience

I realised, listening to the quality of signals coming via Hack Green and reports others were giving that, where we were experiencing problems with “band conditions”, in the main signals were pretty well consistent throughout using the HGR which is located the Cheshire countryside and fairly noise free.

The conclusion I drew from this was that Urban Noise Level is the cause of poor listening experience and not band conditions.  This experience occurs when conditions are actually quite reasonable, (although checking the forecast, 80m conditions were to be poor this particular morning).

My experience was “Armchair Copy” i.e. no headset necessary.  Actually I was listening to the audio from HGR through the clansman headset sonovalve so I could hear both receivers.

This has implications for shortwave listeners and everyone trying to use local equipment with nearby noise sources.  Jack, Spike and Gordon are experimenting with local noise filters.  It should be interesting to compare results.

Net Content

Jack reported receiving a lot of political SPAM Mail and related his experiences with vibratory power supplies from various sources.

I was relating my experience with a neighbour who I caught on camera severing the end of my dipole.  I will post the video when I am sure it won’t prejudice my case but he now has a criminal record.  (Same guy who I caught off camera a few years ago when the police failed to act.)

I mentioned Alan M3XREs exploits.  Gordon  mentioned his exploits with HGR and some fun working Cyprus and various DX during the Royal Signals Contest.  Tom is restoring his Racal Sets.

60 Meters – 0800 to 0830 Local.  

It was a bit noisier on 60M but it was good to Hear Derek at reasonable strength where he reports problems with his 80m Antenna to resolve.  Using My PRC 320 was as difficult to hear anyone as the 570 but I got some good reports using the 200W linear and auto atu.  You can hear the complete session in the link below.

60M Net Audio

About admin

Enigmatic to the core I went to school in Bolton and Manchester and ended up joining up at Manchester in '69 enlisting in the corps of Royal Engineers. My aspirations were quite vague at that age and I was persuaded to drive for a living and occasionally operate radios instead of flying fighter planes:). Having then learnt my trade and obtaining my centurion tank driving licence, my early career saw plenty of action on Soltau tank ranges and the obligatory tours as a radio op in the infantry and engineer roles in Northern Ireland -2 years all in. Operating the radio took my fancy (even after a four month tour following a super fit troop commander around on patrols with a 43 pound radio on my back) - it was something I would eventually be able to teach. After 20 years I ended up in the position of QMSI (look it up) before diversifying into an IT Role with HQ Engineer in Chief. This was early days for IT in the RE and having studied it in my spare time to an acceptable level - aided and abetted by an elmer with excellent skills on the BBC Micro (G3WOV, See also below) and the Nienburg Computer and Electronics Club, eventually I became a CIS WO - one of the first in the corps with any Command, Control, Communication and Information Systems Experience - qualifying as a systems analyst and amongst other things, training at the school of military survey in Geographical Information Systems. In the history of the corps IT was so new at this time, the laptop was only just becoming cheap enough to afford and there weren't many people around who had one in the military. But when the UN went into Bosnia it became an essential tool no officer could be seen without. When this was realised I ended up purchasing a roulement scale of IT kit and devising the first ever Windows and office software training course in the RE, and then delivering it as pre tour training package - with Alan Lewis (Wordperfect, SuperCalc and Paradox). It was in those days that Alan Lewis introduced me to CIX and Compuserve. (No internet, just dial up bulletin boards then). Interestingly when TCPIP took off with email I was offered shares fairly early on in Demon Internet - oh how I wish I had taken that up. There was then this period when data communications became fashionable and I remember working a rear link via 300 baud packet between Chattenden Barracks and the Falkland Islands in the early nineties. At least three hundred packets got through before the novelty wore off:) Not much of a record, but interesting to see how packet took off and declined in quite a short space of time and how TCP\IP has flourished - so much so that the address space has already filled up when it wasn't supposed to:) I took up amateur radio whilst serving at Tidworth in '78 due mainly to a great elmer, G3WOV. Here, besides breaking my leg and taking up shortwave listening, I did four jobs of note; Detachment to Cheshire Police HQ during fire strike - signals corporal, Married Gillian, passed the REA and Morse test and promptly after that found myself abroad monitoring a ceasefire in Rhodesia. The newly acquired radio licence came in handy as they kindly lent me a brand new PRC320 with which to practice on during those lonely nights in the bush (and live ammo). See here http://5820-99-114.com/TCRU/?cat=48 - After that I spent the next 10 years in 21 Engineer Regiment in Germany where I held and used the callsign DA1CY and then DA2DI (on the second tour). Occasionally purloining the CLANSMAN Kit for the odd QSO. While stationed in Nienburg I had the lovely experience of raising my daughter - Sammy and on the second tour my son Tom was born. They reckon it was something in the water. While here on the first tour I had a sked with VP8API (look it up) on 1.10.82. Ian was on tour clearing up after the Falklands war. Interestingly - while calling him on my 100 watt TS120S transceiver and dipole I was called back by 4K1A in Antarctica. I could not believe he gave me five and nine. The cold war being what it was I think the operator was curious because he was asking me where my friend was - (not obvious). Between tours in Nienburg I had the great pleasure of teaching TA Soldiers in 75 Engineer Regiment (V) radio skills - I think I took away as much learning as I imparted. Worked PRC349 to PRC349 from Snowdon to the Cat and Fiddle in Cheshire on Whip Antenna for a bet (work that one out). One memorable part of this was spending a great deal of time designing computer software with a really good RSO who could program in Basic to generate Slidex and MAPCO Keys. We finally nailed what must have been the most boring job in the army, and then they supersede it with BATCO. I had the job of converting the regiment to that. While living in Failsworth, I encountered a lifelong friend, Ian, G6TGO for the first time. We have had occasional skeds ever since - we are still trying to get the 351/2 to work between Gravesend and Manchester - (Close). Notably on my second tour in Nienburg I got the time to practice combat engineering in between radio stags and having got the hang of command and control using BATCO which was fraught, I analysed the radio messages we were sending during an exercise and noted how much time it would save if we formatted them differently - BATCO was a problem and it was costing the corps days and hours it would not afford in a war. On realising this I produced the first Engineer Secure Orders Cards (ESOCS) on my Amstrad PC using DTP. Uncannily surreal, but I also lived for a time in the same flat as Spike, G4AKQ but ten years or so later, and then after becoming good friends with him even more years later I discovered we had that in common when I read the address on his QSL Card. Now settled in Gravesend I had the honour to further serve in both the police and the NHS. Firstly as a network manager - how cool? Straight out of the army and straight into a network manager's job with the same money and a half again. Then one day I spotted a project of note with the police, as technical lead on a county wide rollout project for their Digital AIRWAVE Radio system. How time flies, they are now planning its replacement. Since then I have had many exploits with cost saving IT Projects for the NHS and I can see them replacing some of those systems soon. It will soon be time to retire however not before I save them another few million. Now I work for a mental health trust - I can see both sides of that particular coin having acquired a little black dog at some time in my career, which is not uncommon - I am so glad mental health and the military mindset have become hot topics for discussion :) Check me out on Facebook and LinkedIn. My favourite quote: "What the fcuk do the engineers know about IT and communications?" Will let you guess where that one came from :). Having used and taught LARKSPUR, CLANSMAN, and now glimpsed the Bowman Radio Systems (which was being specified as I was in EinC) I realise that just about everything I have worked on in the Army, BATCO, MAPCO, Slidex, Griddle, VP, SOCs Morse Code, Map reading and Marking skills have been digitised and encrypted to the Nth degree. That's why I am creating a digital record, - before I become obsolete myself or worse - TRON.
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2 Responses to Bulletin: 9th May 2015

  1. Gordon MacNaught says:

    Hi Stu,
    Thanks for the info. I am unable to play the recorded Saturday 60m session on this PC. Not sure why? Anyway I put the link into my old laptop I use for logging on Amateur Radio and it worked as good as gold!
    I have Hack Green all set up now and it is very interesting. I shall be running it in parallel with my rig in future. I have a CW net on Monday nights and have difficulty in receiving one of our regulars who is in Stockport. It will be interesting to hear how he comes through next Monday with the HGR on. I liked your very interesting bit on your career to date. Very impressive CV there Stu! Anyway all the best from here and all the best to you and family, 73 Gordon G3WOV

    • Dixx says:

      Thanks for the compliments – Aye the distance from Stockport to Nantwich is interesting…Still tweaking my CV at my age, tsk tsk:) Thanks for being in my CV BTW 🙂 You can always download the file and play it from the PC you might have a firewall issue or something…

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