October 28, 2009

The G-QRP Convention 2009 Review Part 2

Before getting into the main part of this section of the review, I thought I would emphasise again one of the important parts this convention plays in bringing amateurs together within the QRP. It lets people with a common interest meet up with people they may only meet on air, and its not uncommon to see them taking a break from the vendors to discuss what they have been up to within the hobby. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Gordon Gibson G3ZFZ and Jim O'Sullivan G4PPG shown here just to the right of Frank Burrow G8BME and all are members of G-QRP.

In part 2 of the review I thought I would concentrate on some of the items available with traders at the convention, where everything form components to collectables were available.
I am going to start with some of the items that caught my I on a stand sited on the stage run by Francis Norris. I first encountered this gentleman earlier this year at the Atherton rally and included pictures of items on the stand in a review I did earlier this year in the blog.

His stand at the QRP convention had everything from old books & magazines to spares for various radio along with some collectables. Now on to some Classic Radios

RCA VICTOR Model 3-BX-671

This model was produced in 1954 and is bound in a leather case This site can tell you just about all you wish to know about the radio http://www.portabletubes.co.uk/portables/rcastrat.htm The set is really well made inside. There are quite a few sites you can find with information if you do a quick search with Google.

Another nice link showing a similar model in use is available at

Hallicrafters 8R40 General Communications Receiver

This set was produced between 1950-55

I found information on it thats well worth reading at http://www.portabletubes.co.uk/boats/h8r40.htm

I have no idea what set this RF Unit 22B was connected too if you have any idea please drop me a line.

BayGen Free Play.

I picked up a Modern Collectable in the form of the BayGen Free Play.

his was the brainchild of inventor Trevor Baylis who was inspired to create a clockwork radio in 1993 after watching a program on the devastation Aids was creating in Africa. There are a number of sites available that will take you through the evolution of this radio but here's one to start with. http://windupradio.com/trevor.htm

Replica Para-set

This set was for sale priced at £100. There is a little work to do on it and a few parts to buy to complete the project in the form of two 6SK7 or 6SJ7 Valves. The set was described as working on the 40m/80m bands, but does need the correct PSU to run it.

If your interested in seeing what the replica's are all about then pay a visit to http://www.paraset.co.uk

The Wander Key

Coming more up to date I found the Wanderkey a novel item, and as with any key connected to an oscillator the tones of CW echoed around the room as amateurs tried it out.

Finally back to Rex W1REX

It was great to hear him talk on the subject of the Picaxe but back in the hall he was selling his Tuna kit radio's between drying his eye's as the red cabbage took effect as he tried to eat lunch between customers.

I couldn't resist the challenge and bought a Super Tuna ][ as a little winter project.

Rex asked me which band I would like to operate on and I opted for 80m.

Well that completes my review of the 2009 G-QRP Mini Convention and I know Frank G8BME, Hughie G4UME, and myself Brian G0RDH will be joining with many others to thank the Organisers, Speakers, Traders along with other people who gave up their time to make this event work, our gratitude and thanks for a great convention..... Roll on 2010

Brian G0RDH
G-QRP member 12541

October 27, 2009

New Top Table

Following our Annual General Meeting we are pleased to welcome Ian G0VGS as our new Chairman for 2010 and Mark M0DGK as Vice Chairman. All other posts remain the same and we would like to thank both Frank and Brian for their continued hard work as treasurer and secretary. A warm welcome to our new members who have joined us for our sixth year.

Yearly Visit To The QRP Convention

Rishworth School is the new home for the convention since George Dobbs retired from the ministry a few years ago. At first glance access to the first floor hall in the school seems forbidding to disabled amateurs but access to the talks and hall were available at other entry points where steps were not a problem.

Frank, Hughie and myself travelled down to the convention without any problems on the roads arriving just after 10am.

The rally itself is small by normal rally standards with around 30 traders sited around the sides and middle of the hall. There was ample room for people to move around the room and, should they wish, tables and seating were available for people to have tea and toast and chat with friends.

The first talk was made by Rex Harper W1REX on the subject of The Picaxe Micro- The Perfect Micro for QRPers!

Rex Harper W1REX "the Tuna-Tin man" (see qrpme.com) will be speaking about the Picaxe kit.

Rex started by giving all the people in Lecture Theatre a small printed circuit board on which Picaxe projects could be built. Rex then explained the many functions the Picaxe could be used for that would benefit the QRPer starting with an introduction to very basic programming. W1REX is internationally known for his Tuna Tin projects where a QRP transmitter can be built that fits on a purpose made Tuna Tin. He gave an interesting talk and at the end George thanked him and announced that Dinner was being served in the main hall and it was not long before amateurs were queuing for the famous home-made potato and meat pie served with peas and red cabbage, followed by home-made apple pie and cream, should you like it.

The Eden Valley Project

The second Lecture was by Ron Taylor G4GXO from Eden Valley Radio Society Ron's talk was very interesting as he described the "Eden Project"

Ron explained how the society wanted a project that would develop the technical skills of all members, regardless of experience and produce something that was useful. The end result was an easy to build 70MHz SSB Transceiver with good performance. Ron started by showing full circuit diagrams that he broke down into sections and explain he explained not only how he had come up with the circuit design but why he had chosen to use particular components within the design. This made for an interesting and informative talk and there were many questions from the audience that he was happy to answer towards the end of his lecture.

Our second speaker from the USA was Ken Evans W4DU (President of QRP ARCI) www.qrparci.org

As with all the speakers George Dobbs introduced Ken who since his last meeting had become President of QRP ARCI and George told us something of how they had come to know each other. Ken's talk was very informative covering the work of QRP ARCI including an insight into how "4 Days in May" came about and the Buildathon, an activity that was being run at our convention for the first time. Ken went on to tell us of the Awards and activities that QRP ARCI has to offer. Ken also told the conference about a request he received from an Indian YL and how she desperately needed a transceiver for a group of her students who had recently become licensed This was to become a joint effort between ARCI and G-QRP the full story is available here GQRP Club helps Indian hams. Read the report here.. (Link taken from the G-QRP Website)

The Art of QRSS www.hanssummers.com

The final Lecture of the day was given by Hans Summers on " The Art of QRSS"

Hans explained the theory of QRSS and how he had got up at 3am on the morning he was going on holiday abroad and built a beacon in a tin that was not much larger than 1.5 inches in two hours. The Art of QRSS He described it as easy to pack. He then went on to explain the modes used and how signals from this low power device were detected. It worked very well on his holiday and also on a holiday to Turkey when he sited it on top of his wife's parents apartment block where his chief concern was shielding it from the intense heat... his solution was to place it behind a satellite dish. Hans finished the talk by showing us a simple circuit and CW ID chip that he offered us at cost with our callsign programmed on the chip .

This concluded a great set of lectures and a very enjoyable convention.... We left the convention contented along with video footage that George was good enough to agree to us taking. This was the brainchild of Frank G8BME who asked at one of our meetings why the lectures had never been recorded.... It seem such a waste.... Its hoped that the footage taken will be good enough for putting on DVD and that G-QRP can raise a few funds from them. Also for the first time the the lectures were streamed via the internet and questions were answered live by the speakers to people watching over the internet.

This is part one of a two part report on the G-QRP convention part 2 will look at some of the historic radio's on offer by traders.

I hope you enjoyed this review

Brian G0RDH
G-QRP Member 12541

October 18, 2009

On Air With MX0SCG

Brian enjoying a spell on 20m

Paul M1PAF at MX0SCG

Ian G0VGS at the Microphone

So far it has been a great weekend as we celebrate our fifth birthday! Saturday was a busy day with people coming and going all weekend, including a visit from Paul M1PAF, who came down from the Workington Club. A good time to socialise and to get chance to work some radio under the Club Callsign. Chance, also, to get to grips with the Elecraft K3, Ranger 811H amp and the WinTest software in a relaxed enviroment! First time for Martin M0ZIF to take part in one of our events ( thanks for the chilli sausages as well)
We are operating from the home of our new Chairman, Ian G0VGS, who was voted in for our sixth year as a group. Calm and sunny weather allowed us to get the Force12 HF beam to a reasonable height and contact some good stations. It is also JOTA weekend so there are no shortage of stations on the bands. So far things are going very well and we look forward to a pleasant Sunday playing radio and having a good natter with friends.

Yet Another Member

A warm welcome to Martin M0ZIF who parted with his membership money yesterday. We hope Martin will enjoy taking part in the events and contests we have planned for the coming year.

October 15, 2009

GD1JYB in The Isle of Man

GD1LAT/M doing SOTA on 2M

Myself GD1JYB or the "Mad Monk"

A Holiday in the Isle Of Man

“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.”

And so Saturday 3rd October 2009 saw the Slithy Toves Gyreing and Gimbleing in a gale force 9, south westerly, heading for Mann on the “Ben my Chree” to do a bit of SOTA, a bit of Geocashing, some Hill walking and downing some “Okells” The IOM is a wonderful Jewel perched in the middle of the Irish Sea and it never fails to amaze me whenever I make the trip over there and I have been on many, many occasions. The only interest to the Group would possibly be the SOTA activations that we achieved and two of these would not have been possible without the help of G6CRV, G0YLM and G0VGS, thanks ever so much to you Guys. There are 5 SOTA summits on Mann and we managed 4 of them, unfortunately the weather was not good enough to do Slieau Freoaghana, don’t ask me to pronounce that one and so it will have to wait a little longer, a good excuse for a return trip to the Island. We only took 2 metre equipment with us, a Puxing 5 watt handheld, a 7 metre GRP fishing pole and a 5 element SOTA Beam and homemade J pole. The 5 element beam was by far the better antenna and worked very well once I had pointed it in the correct direction. The first summit we activated was Snaefell at 2036 ft the summit is not a pretty site having various telecomm towers and a Mountain Railway Station, fortunately the railway was not working and we had the summit to ourselves only seeing 2 other people on the way down. Next day we attacked Bradda Hill only 766 ft but with the best views on the Island, a magnificent cliff top walk from Port Erin and a really enjoyable day out, a must do if you are on the Island, it definitely has the WOW!!! Factor. South Barrule was the next one to go and a definite hill with wonderful views of the Island, here again we had it to ourselves, just as I like it. By far the easiest is Mull Hill only 556 ft and only just scraping in to attain SOTA status but with wonderful views of Calf Sound and a stunning Stone Circle just down from the Summit. Calf sound is my favourite place on the Island and I had sailed my Yacht “Pisces” through it many years previously, my memories being of seeing Basking Sharks, Seals and catching both Herring and Mackerel, putting them straight into the Frying Pan and eating them whilst completing the passage to Port St Mary. Needless to say we visited the place many times on this holiday but we were too late in the year for Basking Sharks but saw loads of Seals. Being a definite ANORAK, I thoroughly enjoy “Geocashing” we found lots of them and were beaten on only two occasions, it goes hand in glove with activating SOTA summits and takes you to some wonderful places, I recommend it to the Group. If anyone has a few days to spare I can also highly recommend a trip over to the Island, the Ferry operates from Heysham, just down the road and it only takes 3½ hours. If you find it too expensive to take a car over, get on yer Bike like I did in 2003, it’s a great place for cycling and a very cheap way of having a holiday, I can’t wait to return. Hope you enjoy the Photos!!!!

73s Baz g1jyb

October 14, 2009

MX0SCG This Weekend

To celebrate our fifth birthday Sands are going to be airing our club callsign this weekend 17/18 October. Listen out for MX0SCG on the bands during the weekend on various bands. All QSL's will be answered on request. We will be using an Elecraft K3 with the Ranger 811H amplifier. Depending on bands available the Force 12 C3SS beam or a simple trap dipole will be used. Depending on conditions we may well work 2 metres and 6 metres as well!