News

G100RSGB; Thursday and Friday (19-20th July)

On Thursday and Friday (19-20th July), we will be activating G100RSGB, the RSGB Centenary callsign from Worts Causeway. Everyone is welcome.

The location: http://bit.ly/WortsCauseway

We’ll be on air from 0000Z (1am local time) Thursday until 2359Z Friday (1am Saturday morning), which means we will be setting up from 6pm (local) Wednesday evening, and clearing away on Saturday morning.

Please do come and visit at any time throughout that period – you’re welcome to operate if you wish (we’ll have several stations on 80m-10m, 6m, 2m and 23cm), or you can enjoy the sunshine we’re predicted to have.

We’ll have a BBQ on the go for much of the time – feel free to bring something to cook if you wish (though don’t bring an excess, please – otherwise we end up with a lot of wasted food at the end).

One small point – because there’s no mains power on site, we’re running everything on generators. Not a problem, but it does mean that over the 48 hours of operation plus setup, we will burn somewhere around £250 of petrol. If you’re visiting and are able to make a small contribution to this, that would be much appreciated.

If you can’t visit us – please work us instead!

We’ll try and monitor GB3PY when possible, and will keep our Twitter account (http://twitter.com/g3pye) updated throughout.

73,

Rob, M0VFC

23cm Contest Station

One of our main objectives in the Camb-Hams contest side of the group is improving the technical aspects of the stations.  For 23cm Gavin M1BXF done just that by building a masthead system which incorporated the preamp and transmit amp.

2012-07-30 21.11.22

2012-04-01 21.14.53

Our average adjudicated position average jumped from 4.4 to 2, happy days…

Positions

See the full project details on Gavin webpage.

Flossie Insulation

Back in September 2012 Joe M0ZRN and Gavin M1BXF started insulating the roof on Flossie as at times on UKAC’s it got a little chilly.  The walls have wood panels so have some insulation already.

Joe donated some thin wood panel which we cut to size to fit the spaces in the roof.

DSC_1059DSC_1066DSC_1069

DSC_1064DSC_1072DSC_1061

To hold it all in place we mounted 4 lengths of electrical conduit the length of the roof.

DSC_1074DSC_1076DSC_1075

DSC_1031DSC_1033

Before we mounted the wooden panels we put pipe insulation in the top side to act as air traps.  As expected with Camb-Hams we used hot melt glue to hold this in place.

DSC_1050DSC_1051DSC_1043DSC_1040

6m Human Beam

Camb-Hams on ICQ Podcast

Martin Butler (M1MRB) and Colin Butler (M6BOY) produce a great podcast for radio hams and for some time the Camb-Hams have been talking with them regarding an interview which Lawrence M0LCM, Dominic M0BLF and Gavin M1BXF managed to have a few weeks back.  The podcast has just been released S05E09; http://goo.gl/NgL7K

Repeater Signal Strength Reports

The CRG have created a form to allow Repeater Signal Strength Reports as it is always useful to receive reports of how well our repeaters are being heard and we really appreciate it when people take the time to tell us. If you have time please fill in the form to provide feedback on repeater strengths in various locations:  http://www.cambridgerepeaters.net/repeaters/

Final 4m UKAC of 2011

After catching M0NUT/P briefly during the 6m event last week, they reminded us it seemed to be between us and them in the restricted section of the 4m event, so the race was on this Tuesday…

A slightly late arrival in Flossie (it took longer to buy the custard-topped mince pies than we expected…) bought us on site for about 1930, so it was all hands to work – initially Lawrence M0LCM, Gav M1BXF and myself, but soon joined by Joe, M0ZRN. Moderately strong winds meant that we deployed the guys and ran one section lower than maximum, but thankfully didn’t cause us any real problems.

With the mast still pumping up at 1958, we cut the start a little fine, but made it on for a very nice start to the evening – 15 stations in the first ten minutes. This proved to be something of a pattern – some good runs followed by quiet periods. GI4SNA and GM4JR were most welcome additions to the log around half an hour into the contest, and we managed a steady stream of new squares throughout, ending up with 17, certainly a best for us in a 4m contest.

We caught up with M0NUT/P shortly before 2100, and waited with baited breath for his serial number – were they thrashing us, or did we have a chance? Amazingly, we sent and received the same number!

So things continued, with a quick detour into FM land later in the evening to work those who didn’t have SSB kit available, but then back down the band for a few more before the end. Just when we thought we’d worked as many as we were going to, GM4ZUK/P called us in CW – at which point I must apologise, Allan, if you’re reading this – my difficulties weren’t through your lack of signal strength, but my poor CW skills! Many thanks for your patience! That’s definitely on my list of “things
to improve” for next year. A quick QSO with G7HAH just made it into the log before the clock ticked over to 2230, and we were done.

A few moments later, we found M0NUT/P for a quick chat and swap of scores after the contest… we claimed 166k, they 119k. But I’m not sure that’s enough to do it for us over the year! It’s going to be very, very close indeed. Whatever the result, thanks guys – it was great fun!

Thanks everyone who we’ve worked over the course of the year, whether 6km or 600km away. Thanks to everyone who has said hello to Flossie – David, GI4SNA, I just wish I’d taken a photo when you told Gav to give her a kiss the other week. It’s be a great year on all the bands, and fantastic to see such high activity levels all around the UK, something which seems only to be increasing with every passing month.

73,
Rob, M0VFC

SSB Field Day & 144MHz Trophy Contest

Last year, we entered these contests for the first time, and despite doing reasonably well on 2m (7th in our section, and best placed for a single antenna entry), we thought we could improve on our HF score of just under 200k points significantly this year.

With that in mind, we assembled on site on Friday evening (after Flossie made a quick run around Cambridge collecting a couple of Scam 12 40′ masts, and the CRG’s trailer mast), and began preparation. The tri-band HF beam for 10/15/20m was assembled on the ground, the main 17 element 2m beam on Flossie, and a short 20′ mast supported a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi link back to Gavin, M1BXF’s QTH, providing us with Internet access for the weekend. Two tents (thanks G4ERO and G3VFC) provided a social area and the HF operating positions, whilst the 2m station was in Flossie.

Darkness upon us, the pizza oven was pressed into service, the campfire lit, and an evening’s relaxation began, with marshmallows, and a batch of “Field Day Mild” specially brewed by Dom, M0BLF.

Saturday morning soon arrived, along with more visitors to the site, all helping to get antennas on masts. The tribander went on one Scam 12, a further 9-ele 2m beam on the other pointing up country on a fixed heading of around 320º, and a 60′ high 80m vertical erected. The transceivers were set up, HF comprising M1BXF’s IC-756ProIII driving G3ZAY’s Yaesu Quadra linear, and M0VFC’s IC-7000 as a second “spotting” receiver. Two sets of 5B4AGN’s band-pass filters (built by M1BXF and M0VFC) ensured there was no interference between the two stations. The 2m station featured M1BXF’s IC-910 and linear.

With the 1300Z start of the HF contest approaching, everything seemed remarkably calm – there were few last-minute scrambles, and everything appeared to work as planned. The same held true for the 2m contest an hour later – both of these being a welcome break from the frantic running around of last year.

The HF bands proved something of a struggle for us throughout this contest, with many stations on the band more interested in the “All Asia” contest that ran concurrently, and those outside of Asia refusing to work us (we gave them no points, which was a shame as they would have been very useful multipliers for us!). Nonetheless, 20 and 15m showed significant improvement from last year’s totals, and although 10m wasn’t in great shape, the 9 QSOs we did manage is an infinite improvement on the zero previously achieved.

Saturday evening, aside from the now-traditional BBQ, also gave Jason, M0YJW the opportunity to play with some much higher frequency kit – around about the 532nm mark – in the form of a scanning laser. This allowed us to project “G3PYE” on to the side of the adjacent barn in letters around 20′ high! There could be no missing whose contest site this was…

Back to HF, 40m was, however, something of a disappointment. We initially installed two dipoles at 90º to each other, supported at their centres on Flossie’s mast. Although these appeared to be in order before the contest, the SWR sometimes rose to a little over 2:1 at the top end of the band, causing the linear to get upset. Moreover, they just didn’t seem to work that well! As a result, our overnight score on 40m was poorer than last year, and we missed out on what should have been some easy multipliers – despite working the US on 20m and 80m, we failed to on 40m. At dawn, a 40m vertical was added, the rate instantly increased four-fold, and we made up some lost ground.

The 80m vertical worked well, and provided us with a nice stream of German field day stations (each worth 5 points) through most of the night. Around 50% of our 80m and 40m QSOs were with Germany – something sure to keep the QSL bureau busy!

As night turned to morning, more visitors arrived, allowing those who had operated through the night a little sleep, and also bringing a much-appreciated supply of Camb-Hams doughnuts (filled with custard, of course) and some excellent home-made chocolate brownies, courtesy of Linda, G0TPX.

The 2m score steadily increased throughout, with the addition of the backpackers’ contest, which overlapped with the last few hours, providing some fresh callsigns on the band towards the end of the contest. Although there were no spectacular openings, it was nice to get some reasonable distances, and several stations in Switzerland were worked at around 900km, as well as well into France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. M1BXF, M0MJH and G6KWA in particular did a fantastic job of keeping the station going through what can be the very long hours of the night on VHF.

With the end of the HF contest approaching, so was the rain – quite visible by this point to the west of us. We got everything that wasn’t essential out of the HF tent, and were literally pulling pegs out around Dom, M0BLF, as he made the last few contacts at 1259Z. With the radio switched off, the tent came down and got rolled into its bag just as the downpour started! Sadly Colin, G4ERO’s tent wasn’t so lucky, but did provide welcome shelter when not running around outside pulling down antennas. (Or re-filling a rather large socket set after you’ve just picked it up without realising it wasn’t locked shut – sorry Dave, G6KWA, we’ve all managed it!)

The cars got packed, the site swept for any bits of missed kit or rubbish and, of course, the rain then stopped – typical! Good-byes said, a great team of largely sleep-deprived amateurs headed home, and I suspect all rather rapidly hit their beds, with the sound of “CQ Contest!” no doubt still ringing in their heads.

Scores wise, there’s still the adjudication to go, but on HF we should have easily exceeded the 300k mark from over 700 QSOs – a 50% improvement – and on 2m, our 250-odd QSOs and around 70k points should keep us well up the results table.

There are too many people who were involved in some way for me to list everyone here, and any attempt to do so would inevitably result in my missing someone, but special thanks to Gavin, M1BXF for once again ripping his shack apart for everyone’s benefit, Martin, G3ZAY for doing likewise, Dom, M0BLF for his expertise on the HF side, and Lawrence M0LCM for all the help with the logistics, both pre- and post-contest. Thanks to everyone who came along, helped set up or clear down, operated, made tea, bought petrol, tents or doughnuts, worked us from home, or even just wished us the best of luck on ‘PY as we were driving around!

I certainly had a most enjoyable weekend, and I hope everyone else did too. Now, with that out of the way, it’s nearly time to start thinking about the AFS season…

73 all,
Rob, M0VFC

March 144/432 Contest Results

In March, we entered the RSGB March 144/432MHz contest, with 2E0SQL, M0LCM, M0MJH, M0VFC and M1BXF manning Flossie for the our entry in the “6 hour other” section. The results have just been announced, and we came second in the 2m table, and second overall in our section – so two new certificates will shortly be winging their way towards Flossie’s walls!

Pleasingly, we lost less than 4% of our claimed score on 2m, and only 0.3% of our claimed score on 70cm – meaning the latter was an almost flawless log entry!

AFS Super League Certificate

We’ve just received our certificates for the AFS Super League result – well done again to all those involved!

AFS Super League: Final Results!

Last October, the RSGB announced the creation of the new Affiliated Societies “Super League”: the combination of the results in the four AFS contests starting with 2m in December, then two 80m (CW and SSB) events in January, and finally 70cm in February.

It sounded like fun, so a few of us decided we should put in an entry. My goal at the start was to get us a “certificate of achievement”, by coming in the top half of the table in each of the four events. I thought this was probably going to be tough, but was optimistic we could manage it. We teamed up with the Cambridge University Wireless Society to tap some of their HF expertise, and had a lot of fun over the next few months.

The final results are now out, and we came second out of 90 clubs – an outstanding achievement!

The series got off to a good start in the 2m event, with Gavin M1BXF and Colin G8TMV taking second place in the Open section, operating as G3PYE/P in Flossie. They were joined in the “A” team by Colin G4ERO and Lawrence M0LCM at Colin’s QTH, Geoff G0DDX and Tony G4NBS at Geoff’s, Rob M0VFC at his, and Martin G3ZAY, Dom M0BLF and Michael G7VJR operating from the all-new CUWS shack, G6UW. The Camb-Hams A team came third overall, and our B team, manned by M3YJW, G0BOE, G6KWA, G1SAA and G4BAO were 25th. Two teams weren’t enough, though, and G4HUN, M3ZCB and M1MAJ also helped fill a C team.

Next up was the 80m CW leg. This promised to be our biggest challenge from the start, and various factors conspired against us in the run-up. Martin G3ZAY operated from G6UW, and Dom M0BLF from Flossie. Michael G7VJR battled a horrendously painful ear infection, but still managed over 100 QSOs, and Andy, G4KNO joined us to complete the first team. Colin G4ERO dusted off the paddle, entering his first CW contest to give us a B team as well. We ended up 24th of 91 teams – plenty high enough to get into the top half of the table.

80m SSB soon came around, and with it a different linear for Flossie, this time allowing us to run 400w rather than the 100w we’d been reduced to for the CW leg. Sadly the generator noise was not cured. Rob M0VFC and Tom M0TOC operated as G3PYE, Martin G3ZAY put in a superb score from Bob G3PJT’s shack, Dom M0BLF likewise from G6UW, and Colin G8TMV and Gavin M1BXF operated from Gavin’s station. Of course, entering more than one team was becoming typical by now, and G4KNO, G6KWA, 2E0JYK and M3ZCB entered a complete B team, with M1MAJ and M0LCM forming a third C team. Our A team came 6th: a very good result in a most competitive contest!

Finally, it was time for 70cm. Those of you who remember the week of exceptionally strong winds in February: that was when 70cm AFS was! Suffice it to say, we were all rather nervous when it came to putting up the masts that morning. This time, Gavin M1BXF and Bob G1SAA operated from Flossie, Tony G4NBS joined Chris, G4VHF at Chris’s, and Dave, G6KWA operated portable from Thurfield, forming our A team, coming 7th. Colin, G4ERO joined Rob M0VFC at his, and they were joined by John G4BAO, and Martin G3ZAY and Dom M0BLF from G6UW for a very well-placed B team, coming 11th. M0LCM, M1MAJ and M3ZCB together came 27th, and a record D team of M6ROK and M0TOC finished 34th. Mike, M6ROK also got a certificate as the leading foundation station in the open category – well done, Mike! Icom also loaned us their IC-910 for this event, giving us more power at G4VHF – thanks, guys!

And so, with the series out of the way, we awaited the results. M0VFC may have spent rather too long with Excel spreadsheets and the claimed scores list, but nothing was certain until the official results were published – and at long last, here they are:

A huge well done, and thank you, to everyone who helped out, either by operating, providing equipment, shacks, tea and cake, moral support, or just for tolerating my spam on the mailing list while we were organising it.

Here’s looking forward to December when it all starts again!

73,
Rob, M0VFC

A small flavour of Cambridge105’s Red Nose Day

 

Camb-Hams Get Involved In Community Radio For Red Nose Day

The Camb-Hams, the social side of the Cambridgeshire Repeater Group, are going to be out in Flossie ( http://www.camb-hams.com/flossie ) to run an Outside Broadcast unit for Cambridge 105 ( http://cambridge105.fm/ ) on Friday 18th March. Cambridge 105 is a community station serving the city of Cambridge England, and the station decided to do some outside activities to raise funds for Red Nose Day ( http://www.justgiving.com/105 ).

Neil G4HUN, the RSGB regional manager for region 12 (East Anglia), is actually also the DJ for Cambridge 105’s Breakfast show. He approached the Camb-Hams about providing facilities to do outside broadcasts, and of course Flossie makes an ideal radio platform, with her 20 meter pump up mast able to carry fairly extensive antenna head loads. In this instance, a very light V2000 tri-band co-linear will be used for a back-feed to the studio on a licensed commercial band, where Neil will mix in the content and broadcast it live on 105.0MHz FM.

Just for tomorrow, Neil will be staying on air beyond his normal 09:30 closedown, keeping Cambridge entertained until 16:00 and linking in the outside broadcasts, which hope to include live performances from some local unsigned bands, and interviews with local residents and minor celebrities!

The outside broadcast crew will consist of Rob M0VFC and Lawrence M0LCM from the Camb-Hams, the Cambridge 105 News team and Tim Willett, the Drive time DJ, as well as engineering support from Steve (also licensed) who is responsible for Cambridge105’s transmitter and studio engineering. Flossie will be beaconing APRS as G3PYE-9 as she navigates around Cambridge and the G3PYE twitter feed will be updated as the day goes on so keep an eye out on http://aprs.fi/?call=g3pye-9 and http://twitter.com/#!/g3pye.

Listen out for the station on 105FM next time you are in Cambridge!

March 144/432MHz Contest

This was the first time we’d entered the March 144/432 contest – indeed, looking back at our logs, it’s not quite a year ago that we first started playing in the VHF contests to begin with.

The usual suspects of M0LCM, M0VFC and M1BXF were joined in Flossie by the slightly less local but very much welcomed Jimmys 2E0SQL and M0MJH – thanks guys. We also received a steady stream of non-operating visitors, amateur and otherwise. Amusingly, all the non-amateurs who asked what we were up to invariably also asked how much power we were running. On hearing “3 to 400w”, they universally declared that to be “oh, not that much then…”

Most important was our early QSO with David, G8IDL. Whilst only netting us 12 points, it did mean that along with the report, serial number, and locator, he also got our coffee orders, and duly delivered these to the site. Thanks, David!

We weren’t initially sure whether we’d be able to get antennas for both bands up on the mast at once, and a few of the 2m elements ended up vertically polarised temporarily as a result of the lifting operation, but that was soon resolved, and the array went up nicely. The absence of wind meant that no guying was required – mind you, with the weight of M1BXF’s 2m linear in the van, I’m not sure much could have toppled us. The 70cm linear that failed in 432MHz AFS had a new cooling fan fitted, and this time performed admirably. There were, of course, a few last minute adaptors that needed making, but it seemed rude to start the contest on time in any case. One TFT monitor let its magic blue smoke out, but for some reason, M0MJH just happened to have a spare one in his car…

Being more familiar with the UKAC contests, we weren’t sure what to expect in this one, much less have anything you might call a strategy. After a good initial run towards the north and north-west, we turned our attention to Europe. This proved rather effective, accounting for about 40% of our QSOs on 2m and of course some decent distances as well, though at 838km ODX, nothing to rival some of the other claimed scores.

Opting for the 6-hour session meant that we managed to pack up and still find an Indian restaurant willing to serve five rather muddy guys who wandered in at about 11pm on a Saturday evening – spot on!

Claimed scores (6O section):
2m: 171 QSOs, 49,540 points
70cm: 59 QSOs, 13,464 points

Update: results are now out!

AFS Super League update

In 2010, the RSGB introduced a new contest series: the AFS “Super League”, combining the results of the 2m, 70cm, 80m CW and 80m SSB AFS events. The Camb-Hams have joined forces with the Cambridge University Wireless Society, and after an excellent result in the 2m AFS (with our “A” team coming third), we also entered the following three events.

The second set of results, for 80m CW, have now been released, placing us 24th of 91 teams – a very pleasing entry, considering CW is not our strong point!

This translated into 747 (of a possible 1000) Super League Points, positioning us second in the Super League table so far – an excellent result!

We now await the adjudication of the final two events…

Pages: 1 2