Conrad_G0RUZ

Jan 112015
 

It has been a while since any updates have been posted here but there have been a number of things going on. The club has been steadily making improvements including remote control of some aspects of the shack. This work is ongoing but should be fully operational for the Spring. The use of remote control of club stations is being debated quite heavily at national level but it is anticipated that there will be changes. NWRC will be ready once the remote operation of club stations is allowed.

A new 2m antenna and mast head preamp has been installed and it is working very well. A few stations have been worked on EME with only 100W!  Also lots of excellent meteor scatter contacts have been made. We also have a 7 ele up for 4m which is also working very well indeed.

The AGM will be held at the end of February, more news to follow.

2m Yagi (23)

The new 4m and 2m antennas at G4NOK

 

 

Mar 062014
 

G4NOK racks up another contest win on during the Tuesday night RSGB UK Activity Contest. You can see the info from the image below:

NOK_6m_Feb

We entered the DX’ers section this time by accident! Had we entered the section I wanted to we would have been in 3rd place but we would have been further up the club tables, section AX does not count towards the Affiliated Society Score. Never mind.

These contests have very high activity levels now and any club member who can come on at all on 50, 70, 144, 432 and 1296 MHz on a Tuesday night between 8PM and 10:30 PM could really help our score. We are making some big improvements on all bands over the next few months and hopefully this will attract a few new members to have a go. Even 10W to a small antenna will make 30 QSOs or so on the bands below 70cms. On 23cms we only have about 3-4W at the antenna and we are making 16 QSOs at distances of up to 450kms!

Improvements are as follows, this is not idle talk the parts are either here or on the way.

6m
Mono band antenna instead of dual band antenna – 6 elements on a 7m boom and a high dynamic range filtered mast head preamp to eek out those really weak contest stations.

4m
Mono band antenna instead of dual band antenna – 7 elements on a 7m boom and a masthead preamp, this  antenna will make a significant difference

2m
Big change – 6 antennas (yes 6)  Antennas are 2wl Xpol (H and V polarisation) 2 x masthead preamps and fully adaptive software defined radio, this means that when we are called by anyone on vertical or horizontal polarisation we will get the optimum signal from them. Power will increase to 400W (the amplifier is built and tested – needs a box), we currently have 100W from single 3wl yagi and no masthead preamp. This antenna system is going on a new separate mast. The rotator will be here this week and the antennas in 2 weeks time. This system should be really good! Feeder will be LDF5-50A to the tower base then Ecoflex15 up the tower.

70cms
We will have 2 x 21 ele tonnas initially and 400W from a new amplifier and transverter. Also a very low noise masthead preamp this will be on the same tower as the 6m and 4m antennas (maybe this is TBD). At the moment we have 45W at the antenna which is a single 21 ele tonna.

23cms
At the moment we have a single 55 ele tonna with about 3-4 watts at the antenna, we are due to collect a new 4 section 36ft versatower on the 4th April and we already have a 1.5M dish with a dual band 23/13cms feed. I have a new transverter, very low noise LNA and 60W amplifier on the way early next week.  Later on this will be increased to 250W, I have the bits to make such a beast.

13cms
A new band for G4NOK, we do not have an amplifier yet but I am looking at something around 60W, I also have a transverter and mast head preamp for this band. This band will use the same dish as the 23cms station. Problem is this band is on the same night as the 6m contest so I will need another operator.

3cms
Another new band for G4NOK, I have a 48cm Procom dish with a waveguide feed, transverter and 5W PA (although I need to raise £200 for the PA). I will build a preamp from some surplus stuff that is around. This will go on the same mast as the 1.5m dish.

So as you can see there is a lot of work to do but by the same token there is a lot of work being done. The preparation for the towers will start within the next week, the back of the shack will be cleared out, holes will be dug, concrete laid and coax will be buried. I can’t wait to see how that lot goes in the contests. It should be really good.

73

Conrad G0RUZ

 

 

Feb 032014
 

North Wakefield Radio Club won the 70 MHz section of the RSGB Christmas Cumulative Contests 2013.

G4NOK_contest_award

The results are out and as band leaders the club gets a certificate which will be proudly displayed on the wall in due course. Let us hope that it is the first of many. We have achieved a lot on 4m from very humble beginnings in 2013 and so it is now time to turn our attention to the other VHF bands. The Tuesday evening RSGB UK Activity Contests (UKAC) are really good fun and there is plenty of activity.  The next band to get a major upgrade is likely to be 1296MHz (23cms) with a mast head preamp and an increase in power from 5w at the antenna to 30W (later 125W), this will be closely followed by 144 MHz which will be an EME capable station. It is hoped to be 6 x 1.8WL yagis which have very short booms (3.73m or 12 feet 22732 inches) and will be stacked in a 3 x 2 array which will not make the antenna too sharp for contest use, in fact not too different from the single antenna (6.265m or 20 feet 6 3/4 inches) that we have up on 2m now. As the system will have vertical elements as well as horizontal it will be ‘interesting’ to see which repeaters can be accessed.  Probably French, Dutch and Belgian repeaters on a flat band!

Finally 70cms will get a revamp with a new transverter, masthead LNA, a new PA (the PCB’s have just been ordered today) and a pair of new antennas.

The intention is to make G4NOK a competitive station on VHF and above contests. Anyone who wants to learn how to do the contests or who can operate on any of the bands in the UKAC please let us know as we can also enter the affiliated society section of the contests as well.

73

Conrad G0RUZ

 

Jan 162014
 

The annual AGM of North Wakefield Radio Club will be held at East Ardsley Cricket Club on Thursday 13th February commencing 8.00 PM

All members and prospective members are encouraged to attend.

Elections will held on the night, nomination paperwork is available in shack from tonight.

Reports for the previous year will be given on the night as well as proposals for the next 12 months.

Topics for discussions.

  • Training
  • Special Events
  • Talks
  • Station developments for next year

 

 

Jan 062014
 

North Wakefield Radio Club put an entry into the RSGB Christmas Cumulative Contest on 4m this year. The contest comprised of 4 sessions of 2 hours each on the 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th of December. Getting 2 hours to operate isn’t easy on Boxing Day but deals were struck with the XYL and G4NOK was on the air. Conditions were poor as you might imagine with the awful weather we have been having of late and activity was very low – much lower than the activity contests on a Tuesday night for instance.

This is for several reasons:

  • Many had their antennas luffed over to prevent storm damage
  • Some were away with family
  • Some have less forgiving wives than I do
  • Portables won’t operate in such harsh conditions

Anyway we plodded on and did well all things considered.  On the 27th there was a rare winter Sporadic E opening and SP3RNZ was worked during the contest, this is quite uncommon. The opening continued for a couple of hours after the contest during which time SP8NCJ, SP3RNZ, SP5CCC and S52OR were worked. The opening started at 15:30 and the last station worked was at 17:22.

On the final day there was a problem with the RX which lost us QSOs with GM4JR and GM4FVM which would have been valuable multipliers. I thought that the the receiver was being desensitised by a nearby but slightly out of band signal. Further investigation over the next few days showed that the problem was the new Ecoflex 10+ coax that we had installed during the summer. It does not appear to be able to take the constant flexing caused by the strong winds we have been experiencing. The braid had more or less given up after another battering by the wind.

Robert, Mick and I have replaced the coax with some good quality RG213 which has a much thicker braid and is much more flexible. There is some extra loss but being on the air is more important than having a theoretically better receive sensitivity!

The claimed scores for the contest may be viewed here:

RSGB Xmas Cumulatives 2013 Claimed Scores

There were some stations missing that always do well in the these contests, nonetheless an effort was made and the club seems to be the overall leader, so hopefully we will be able to download our own pdf certificate. The RSGB no longer sends out parchments for contest section winners, you have to download your own!

It has been a few years since the club has won anything but if all goes according to plan next year we should be there or thereabouts on a few bands.

We also got 2m operational again after a long lay-off the results during the Quadrantids meteor shower were very impressive – report to follow. Meanwhile the QSO maps for each of the sessions may be seen below.

QSO Map Session 1 26th December

View Larger Map
QSO Map Session 2 27th December

View Larger Map

QSO Map Session 3 28th December

View Larger Map

QSO Map Session 4 29th December

View Larger Map

Dec 192013
 

I hope to be on for 3 of the 4 sessions of the RSGB 50/70/144/432MHz Christmas Cumulatives Contest.

The times are 14:00-16:00 UTC so nice short sessions. I hope to activate the club call on the 26th, 28th and 29th, I can’t do the 27th as I’m visiting relatives but if someone else wanted to have a go feel free.  We will be entering the single operator fixed section of the contest which is what we did in the 70 MHz cumulatives. This contest is a little more interesting because it also includes country multipliers, that means that I will be trying very hard to work PA, ON, GM, GI, GW and EI stations! All are possible, it depends on activity.

Conrad G0RUZ

Dec 182013
 

I had a go in the Geminids meteor shower on 4m. I was active in the evening of the 13th until early on the 14th December. As ever it was a very good shower but the activity on 4m was disappointing. I have to conclude that the best band for Meteor Scatter is definitely 2m where there appeared to be a lot more activity if the QSO maps on the ON4KST pages were anything to go by. We will have a good 2m station some time in the Spring.

Anyway I managed the following 7 QSOs, the last one was tough with plenty of other callers as SP7VC/8 in KN19 was a DXpedition. Pleased to work the new square.

DATETIMECALLLOCTXRXBAND QRB (kms)
13/12/201319:20SP9HWYJO9026R274M1444
13/12/201320:07S52ORJN76HER26264M1423
13/12/201320:24SP2JYRJO92II26R264M1357
13/12/201321:48I3VWKJN55VR26R264M1303
13/12/201321:56OZ8ZSJO55RTR26264M864
13/12/201322:38SK5AAJO89IT26R264M1295
13/12/201323:58SP7VC/8KN19AX26R264M1663

Mick and Robert were there for support as they often are. Thanks as ever lads.

73

Conrad G0RUZ

 

 

Oct 012013
 

G4NOK managed a very creditable 4th place overall in the RSGB 4m cumulatives. This is excellent considering our humble beginnings in the contest way back in February.

You can see the results here:
RSGB 4m Cumulative Contest Results 2013

We can do even better next year. G4NOK will be entering the 6m, 4m and2m cumulatives at the very least and maybe even 70cms and 23cms.

There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to make this happen. Thanks to all the supporters of this cause, you know who you are.

Aug 052013
 

The Perseids Meteor Shower has started and it is already obvious that there are a few Perseid meteors around. This gets VHF operators all excitable because when the shower peaks meteor scatter can be a very effective means of communication indeed. It is quite entertaining as well especially on 2m where the traditional VHF free for all takes place at the peak of of the major meteor showers.

The 2013 peak is due to occur between 18:00 UTC and 21:00 UTC on Monday 12th August. The Zenithal Hourly Rate  of the Perseids is 100, which means that given a clear sky an observer should see 100 meteor trails in an hour. In my experience when the Perseids peak it is always cloudy! The best visual display that I ever saw was the Leonids meteor storm on 17th November 1999. In the short drive from up the M1 Barnsley to Wakefield I counted over 40 bright meteors. It really was incredible. At that time the club had a battered and broken 14 element MET yagi and a barefoot Yaesu FT736. I worked 110 stations and literally heard F/G8MBI and 9A1CCY continuously at S9 for over 7 hours. It was truly amazing.

Here is some video footage from 2001 which was no where near as good. I remember the meteors burning up low to the horizon and being quite green in colour.

First a bit of background for newcomers or people who have never even realised that Meteor Scatter was viable for them, rather than re-invent the wheel I will direct you to an excellent explanation of the ‘science’ behind what meteor scatter is and how it works.

Just follow the link below

G3WZT’s Meteor Scatter Page

The G3WZT page is biased slightly towards 144 MHz operation which is very popular in Europe. However MS reflections on 50 MHz and 70 MHz are typically stronger and longer. Successful QSOs can be made with very modest equipment indeed, even if you don’t feel ready to make QSOs it is definitely worth a listen. You can also listen to meteor scatter on a simple car stereo. Find a clear frequency (I use 87.5 MHz) and just listen late evening or early morning, you will hear the meteor bursts coming through from various parts of Europe.

Meteor bursts will be mainly short but many can be over 10 seconds for instance I heard a 20 second burst from a station on 4m on Saturday.

  • During the GJ4NOK operation we worked a station running 10W to an indoor dipole at 800 kms on Meteor Scatter.
  • I have worked a station in Belarus who was running 10W to a 4 ele at the peak of the Perseids shower on 144 MHz – I was using a 9 ele and 100W.
  • In recent months I have worked many stations on 4m with just 16W to a 6 ele on 4m

Because of the short nature of meteor reflections high speed data methods are regularly employed nowadays, by far the most popular of which is FSK441 mode. This can be accessed by using the excellent WSJT software from Joe Taylor W1JT. FSK441 allows the exchange of both calls and a report in a short time, this is obviously variable depending on the length of the call-signs used but in my experience both calls and a report are available in less than 0.2 seconds with a clean decode. It works very well indeed.

Have a look here:

WSJT Software

This is what we used at GJ4NOK for the MS QSOs. As there was no Sporadic E propagation FSK441 accounted for 50% of the contacts we had.

If there is sufficient interest I will set up a demo of meteor scatter using 6 and 4m using FSK441 on Thursday night.

If you are interested just leave a comment below.

73

Conrad G0RUZ

 

 

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