All posts by John Gumb

Stephen Coleman G4YFB, SK

Steve G4YFB


It is with a tremendous amount of regret that I have to let you know that club member Stephen Coleman, G4YFB, passed away on Friday 4th January aged 66.

He had been battling cancer having been diagnosed only 9 weeks ago.

Steve was a supporter of the Club and recently had been helping Ray with the Intermediate and Foundation courses. Going back to the 80s, he taught the RAE course.

Also, he was a member of the Thames Valley Repeater Group (TVRG) and had used his software talents to provide modern programming software for old PMR radios we had for sale. Those of you that were into packet radio may remember that for a period most of the U.K. mailboxes used the YFB software.

A man of hidden talents who will be very much missed.

” It is very sad to learn of this news. Steve always had a lot of time for anyone. I know he dedicated a lot of time to writing the programming software for the VX-10 before TVRG set about selling them a couple of years ago. He will be missed. ” – Jonathan M0JSX / K6JSX

“Steve gave a talk to the Farnborough and District Radio Society In 2016 and always greeted me when he saw me at rallies. RIP Steve gone too early.” – Phil G1LKJ

“Sorry to hear the sad news about Steve, much to young.” – Min G0JMS

“I am very sad to have lost an old friend and enthusiastic supporter of everything. His dry sense of humour and ‘can do’ attitude was always an inspiration. He will be a great loss to the club and the wider Amateur community.” – Baz G8DOR

“I knew Steve initially through the talk on the Development of Radar and Virtual Radar he kindly did for the club in May 2017. From that it was clear he was a prodigious software talent developing his own ADS-B decoding software. He was very thorough in the prep he did for the talk bringing along examples of kit and demonstrating them. He made it look easy. Anyone that’s ever tried to demonstrate stuff will know, it’s really not.

He was completely self-taught in software. With the hard stuff he was tackling and the results he got, that’s quite remarkable. I was hoping to learn more of the magical things he was doing with TVRG particularly in the area of software for commercial PMR sets.

Someone with Steve’s talent, experience and kind unassuming nature getting involved with training was always going to be a perfect match. I will very much miss him” – John G4RDC

The funeral will be held at the English Martyrs Church, 67 Liebenrood Road, Reading, RG30 2EB, Berkshire at 13.30 on Tuesday January 29th. This will be followed by a burial at Caversham Cemetery, All Hallows Road, RG4 5LP at 15.00. Dress code is informal – what you feel happy with.

Chris G4CCC and John G4RDC

Memories of Peter, G4JNU

Peter G4JNU talking about his valve display 2017.
Peter in full flow at a RADARC meeting 2017 with his valve display.
Peter G4JNU at the McMichael Rally in 2008
McMichael Rally 2008
Peter G4JNU at RADARC's 70th.
Ever the creator, a demonstration for RADARC’s 70th year (2004). Some beautifully made equipment and some work in progress? Maybe someone can remember.
Peter's celebration of RADARC history at Reading Rugby Football club, 2014.
Peter’s consummately professional display celebrating our club’s history at RADARC’s 80th event (2014), Reading Rugby Football Club, Sonning.
Construction Contest 2013 - Peter presenting first prize to Jim G0LHZ
Construction Contest 2013 – Peter presenting first prize to Jim G0LHZ
Construction Contest 2014 - Peter presenting second prize to John G4RDC
Construction Contest 2014 – Peter presenting second prize to John G4RDC
RADARC AGM 2008
RADARC AGM 2008
Knowl Hill Steam Rally, early 1980s.
Knowl Hill Steam Rally, early 1980s. I can identify Peter, I think. Not sure who the supporting cast are! Health and Safety? Well it was the 80s….

Page to be updated as we get more photos and memories. If you have more to add or further information for the stories above, please use the contact forms via the Contact page.

meeting 10th Jan – Equipment + Alignment evening, Spectrum analyser Intro

Folks,

Happy RADARC New Year to you!

Next meeting is Thursday 10th January, Woodford Park, Woodley.

Eyes down 8pm.

This time it’s the club equipment that’s the star of the show with the new Rigol spectrum analyser and the Icom IC7300 transceiver “Top of the Bill”. However Ray G3SCZ will also give a short introduction to the spectrum analyser and what it’s capable of. Many thanks to Ray for that.

It will be less formal than ‘normal’ talk evenings. This is more a chance for you to play with stuff – and have a natter, of course.

Also note the “humble support acts” are very capable (antenna analysers etc.). If you haven’t used one and you enjoy messing with antennas do come along.

This is a great opportunity to see how test equipment can make your life much easier and what radio equipment we have that’s ready to use.

Bring along any filters you may need aligned, also attenuators and dummy loads to find out what they’re really doing, and antennas within reason. Alignment evenings reborn!

On show will be:

  • Icom IC7300 transceiver
  • Rigol Spectrum Analyser + tracking generator + VSWR attachment
  • MFJ259 + MFJ269 Antenna Analysers
  • FT100D HF Rig
  • Marconi radio test set (combination of sig gen + spec analyser iirc
    donated by Mick G8ZWN. Need to get to know this better.)
  • FL2100Z linear – even if we just admire the glassware on it. Needs bringing up on a variac.
  • FT757GT transceiver
  • Advantest 1GHz spectrum analyser

+more, will keep you updated.

This will also be a good opportunity to discuss what our next equipment purchase should be. One obvious thing I’d say is missing is a decent, modern (i.e. small, light, capable) RF signal generator. Others:

  • 10MHz GPS locked frequency source
  • Decent Frequency counter i.e. accurate and wide range.

Would be good to chat about what makes sense to purchase as a club and what not.

Tea, coffee, biscuits will be in plentiful supply – perhaps a bit
earlier than usual. But only for humans/our membership. A valve linear at full throttle drinking a cup of tea doesn’t bear thinking about! As ever, keep your meetings ideas coming. If you mentioned something to me before and I’ve not done anything about it, please nag me.

Season’s greetings all,

73

John
G4RDC

(Hopefully you can read this. I’m battling the new ‘wordpress’ interface as you may be able to tell.)

New 4 metre web SDR IN South herts.

John G3VHH notes we have a new 4 metre web SDR available to us covering 69.492 – 71.028 MHz

http://81.111.70.181:8091

IP address may change so look at http://websdr.org/ for a definitive address. Text is “4 Meter WebSDR Located in south Hartfordshire UK using a RTL Dongle”. Antenna is a 4 metre quarter wave ground plane.

Many thanks to John and Steven M0XVT for making this available.

73

John G4RDC

Peter G4JNU, SK

With a very heavy heart, I must report that Peter G4JNU died peacefully on Sunday 23rd December.

Peter was held in the highest regard by everyone who knew him. Here are just a few of the tributes:

“As usual I had an amazing demo of a magnificent piece of early 30 line TV equipment he had been working on” – Vin, G4JTR

“Terribly sorry to hear about Peter” – Sean, 2E0ZIP

“Very sorry to hear the passing of Pete, we will miss him” – Michael M0MPM

“I also have very fond memories of Peter, G4JNU. He will be remembered for his re-creation of Baird’s mechanical scanning TV system and the transmission by amateur radio to the USA of these images from the Amberley Museum. He has always been a great experimenter and home constructor.” – Harry G3NGX

“What a shock. Such a nice man and regularly saw his car (registration G4JNU of course) parked here in the village, visiting family or out walking.” – Don G3XTT

“What a huge shame. Peter was a stalwart of the club for as long as I can remember. A true gentleman and a real engineer of a kind you so rarely meet. He will be greatly missed.” – Baz G8DOR

“I mourn the passing of a gentleman in every sense of the word. Peter had so much to teach us all. ” – Ray G3SCZ

“Truly a gentleman in every sense and an inspiration to me and many, many more.” – Dave M0PMZ

“I am truly devasted by this news. Pete was a rock at RADARC and had energy and helpfulness which few could match. RIP Peter, I shall miss you.” – Robin G4IWS

“Peter was a master engineer and always ready to lend a helping hand where needed. The equipment he built and demonstrated were an inspiration to us all. A loss to RADARC. RIP Peter.” – Jim G0LHZ

“He was normally an early starter at the rally helping out where ever he could always with a smile and then going on to the club table. At meeting he would busy himself with getting the room ready before chatting to all. I was astonished by his knowledge on mechanical TV and was able to help him with a presentation he was doing. He gave more than he took.” – Min G0JMS

“A very sad loss. I have many fond memories of Peter over the many years that I have known him. A great enthusiast for all thigs radio and mentor to newer members of RADARC. RIP Peter” – Andy M5ALG

“I never heard Peter complain or judge any one, he always came to the Club Meetings with warmth and a smile. Following on from Min’s comments may I add the tables for the sound and projector were always in place in ample time for the AV. set up . He braved the pull up/fall down finger crushing screen on many occasions! Peter was a regular for NFD set up and tear down and the McMichael junk sale tables , in mature years struggling valiantly with heavy boxes and boat anchors. In memory of a true gentleman. Sadly missed” – Graham G3XYX.

“I always remember the first time I entered a construction contest and thought I was in with a chance with my MSF clock… only to have Peter lift a large box off of his built-from-scratch replica of a Baird televisor which immediately dashed everybody else’s chances. His knowledge of original TV systems led to him making things for a BBC programme a few years ago if I recall correctly. Rest in Peace Peter. You will be sadly missed.” – Des, G8FIF

“A sad loss to the club and to amateur radio. Peter had a great depth of knowledge and experience, he was always willing to listen to the other persons point of view and was greatly respected by all.” – Dave G4BOO

I will close by noting Peter was awarded the Bingham Shield at the RADARC AGM for his tireless support for the club and in particular for sorting through and testing hundreds of valves which raised a considerable sum at the McMichael Rally. Most recently he gave a beautiful demonstration of his ‘Marconi Detector’ at Dr. Elizabeth Bruton’s talk in October.

He was thrilled to bits with the award – particularly as it had his name on it. Peter – it’s yours for that and so, so much more.

I consider it a privilege to have known Peter. Brilliant engineer, gentle soul.

The funeral service will be at St Andrews Church, Caversham Heights, on Friday 11th January at 2 pm followed by a wake at a local venue to be decided.

See https://www.standrewscaversham.org/ for details on St Andrews.

73

John G4RDC

Graeme G4XOF, SK

Graeme G4XOF lost his battle with cancer Monday 26th November 2018.

Here he is last June proudly showing me his mobile HF antenna, mobile mount and describing how it can be used very effectively as a base station antenna. Ever the enthusiast.

Some tributes:

Sad news and he will be missed with his upbeat attitude on the radio to everybody He made the most out of the time he was given – Min G0JMS.

Still a shock even though I knew about Graeme’s condition. He was such a pleasant and helpful person –  Mike G4CDF.

I heard him many times on the local repeaters during my journey to and from work, and his great personality and sense of humour always came bounding over the air waves, often making you laugh out loud. He will be missed. – Simon M0ZSU

Very sorry to hear about Graeme’s passing. A really nice chap to buy  a radio from. Honest and very thoughtful. A pleasure to do business with. – Harry G3NGX

In a multi-way QSO, late comers with the same name as established operators, would add a 02 ident to keep things simple for the life of net. I was always touched and humbled by Graeme 2 referring to me with respect for an old timer  as Graham 1 whatever the situation, eyeball or net. A font of shared knowledge at the informal Rugger Club gatherings. A help with e-bay bulk purchases saving time and trouble all round for the less adventurous net users . He was dynamic, pushing forward with technology , but always could take time out to explain something I did not grasp about new technology , a true gentleman . A great loss to amateur radio. – Graham, G3XYX.

I didn’t know Graeme well which makes this all the more difficult. I wanted to know him better. It feels like we’ve been friends forever which is a measure of Graeme’s warmth of spirit. We always had a laugh whenever we spoke either on air or in person. That said, Graeme knew his stuff. I affectionately knew him as XON/XOFF (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_flow_control). He visited me at home last June where we just talked for 20 minutes or so about 5MHz mobile contacts we’d had, the up-and-coming network radio technology and how he used his mobile HF antenna to great effect mobile and at home. We had a drink or two at Reading Rugby Football Club in Sonning during the summer and the last time I saw him was at the Flight Refuelling rally at Wimborne, Dorset in early August with a number of the RADARC crew where the weather was dreadful but he was chipper as ever.  Something to think about, that. A true radio man; one of a kind. I will miss him greatly.

The funeral is on Monday 10th December 3.15pm Reading Crematorium, South Chapel All Hallows Road, Reading, RG4 5LP.

John

G4RDC

meeting 22nd November: A brief history of RAF ASV radars 1940 to 2010 by Simon Watts G3XXH

All,

Next meeting (22nd November) Simon Watts G3XXH joins us to give us a brief history of RAF ASV radars from 1940 to 2010. (ASV = airborne surface vessel, radar for maritime patrol aircraft)

Venue: Woodford Park Leisure Centre, Woodley, RG5 4LY
Time: 8pm

The history of airborne radars developed in the UK for long range
maritime surveillance by the RAF spans from 1940, when ASV Mk. I entered service on Sunderland and Hudson aircraft, through to the 1980s, when the Searchwater radar entered service on the Nimrod MR2. This history came to an end in 2010 when the Nimrod MRA4 programme was cancelled and the Nimrod MR2 taken out of service. The early radars operated at VHF. Following the development of the high power magnetron, operation moved to S-band and then to X band. Searchwater was a complete departure from earlier radars, incorporating a TWT transmitter, modern signal and data
processing and computer control.

This talk will give an overview of the design and evolution of these
radars, the aircraft they were used in and the performance they
achieved, detecting ships and submarines.

Simon Watts G3XXH is Visiting Professor in the department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College London and formerly deputy Scientific Director and Technical Fellow in Thales UK.

Whilst googling ‘ASV’ I found this interesting link:
https://uboat.net/allies/technical/uk_radars.htm

Min G0JMS also spotted “The Secret of Tuxedo Park” on PBS America talking about the development of radar by Wall Street tycoon Alfred Lee Loomis:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/secret-tuxedo-park/

Thankyou to George M0GXB for making this meeting happen.

Refreshments afterwards as usual.

73

John
G4RDC

Construction Contest thankyou!

Firstly to Robin G4IWS for hosting yet another successful event.

Also to EVERYONE who entered,  but in particular a callout to two first time entrants:

Guy 2E0GDC: “electrical noise detector”

Bernard M0PIK: “Iambic CW Key – Capacitive Touch” (homebrew PCB + surface mount) + inspirational talk on surface mount and making PCBs.

Also to:

Michael M0MPM: shaver mic adaption. Now, if you google that, you may come up with “pye shaver mic”.  Believe me, it wasn’t that. Mike gave us a beautiful light hearted short talk encouraging us to check the legal aspects of using fist mikes whilst mobile. And shavers.

Roundup:

  • Dave G4BOO: compact  MF/HF receiver
  • Robin G4IWS matchbox sized TTL two tone oscillator
  • Guy 2E0GDC: electrical noise detector
  • Mike G4CDF: multiband SHF antenna feed (1.2/2.4) demonstrated using the club’s new spectrum analyser + VSWR bridge.
  • Bernard M0PIK: surface mount CW paddle circuit and homebrew PCB. (3rd).
  • Michael M0MPM: shaver mic adaption/hybrid
  • Jim G0LHZ: remote control ATU (1st)
  • John G4RDC: FT8 from mc micro taxi radio (2nd)

If I missed anyone or got anything wrong my apologies – let me know and I’ll fix it.

Jim deservedly took first prize and I was very deeply honoured to take second place.

Most importantly we have ideas, enthusiasm and passion for what we do which will undoubtedly result in more developments next year.

I will make sure we have other events during the year where people can share what they are up to.

If anyone has pictures, send them to me and I’ll put them up.

73

John

G4RDC

Construction Contest on Thursday 8th November!

It’s the RADARC Construction Contest on Thursday 8th November!

Venue: Woodford Park

Start time: 8pm

TWO trophies to be won (1st and 2nd prize).

Just bring your “thing” along on the evening in good time (plan to arrive before 7:45pm) to get a place on the tables. If you need the projector (eg. for a video or a software entry) then please let me know.

Depending on number of entries, expect 5-10 minutes or so to present your entry.

Entries so far:

  • A multiband microwave antenna feed: Mike, G4CDF
  • Guy 2E0GDC: an electrical noise detector
  • Bernard M0PIK: CW dual paddle iambic key using SMD components
  • Simon M0ZSU: Construction group update
  • Jim G0LHZ: Mystery software entry (now with one less bug)
  • Robin G4IWS: Two tone test oscillator to check audio distortion on an HF rig
  • Adventures with FT8 and an FM taxi radio: me

Both Mike and I still have work to do so you’ll be in with a very good chance.

Have a go and support your club!

Many thanks to Robin G4IWS for running proceedings.

Homebrew Asda biscuits, tea and coffee afterwards as usual.

73

John

G4RDC