Category Archives: Member stories

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 G4RD

The funeral 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 approximately 15.00. A “reception” will then follow at the Travellers Rest Public House, 180 Henley Road, Caversham, Reading, RG4 5DL, at around 15.45 onwards.

Dress code is informal – what you feel happy with.

If you wish to send flowers, then these can be ordered via the A.B. Walker website www.abwalker.co.uk Alternatively donations can be made to the Sue Ryder charity, again via the A.B. Walker website, although at the time of writing this hadn’t been set up.

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.

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

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

Sharp Resonance: A Low cost Audio filter from Screwfix; mag loop update

Tony Canning G2NF has an intriguing evening lined up for us next meeting:

Thursday 12th October, Woodford Park Leisure Centre, Woodley, 8pm

Some of you will remember his superb talk on ‘Tricks with Coax’.

He states:

“Given my interest in coax related stuff and various tricks, I have been
playing with an audio filter that can give the user with no IF 200Hz
filter a similar tool in a pile up, and like wise for the SSB operator
an audio notch filter. There is no eltrickery, smoke mirrors or power
supply involved. I think its a great resonance demo, as the relationship to coax filters and tuned circuits is uncanny.

Can be made from house hold items or from Wickes / Screwfix or BnQ etc.

This is not about Audio DSP but my simple efforts do appear to offer
comparable performance to some at a fraction of the price but much more fun building and learning.”

Continuing the theme of sharp resonance, I’m trying to twist G2DD’s arm (Loz) into bring along the coax based magnetic loop antenna he’s been working on as I know a few people would be interested in having a go at making something. Or indeed – if you have been working on one feel free to bring it along and tell us what you’ve been up to!

Refreshments to be served as usual with an increasingly wide selection of biscuits of variable age.

73

John
G4RDC

X8.2 Solar flare

I was on 20m working EU and DX stations using FT8 this afternoon. Just after 16:00, I noticed all signals faded quite markedly and within a minute or two. It was sufficiciently ominous for me to check on http://dx.qsl.net/propagation/index.html and http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/goes-x-ray-flux. A couple of minutes later, I saw an X class flare reported. That explained the HF fadeout. About 5 minutes later I saw it was rated as X8.2, only a little weaker than the X9 flare we had on the 6th September. It will be interesting to see if the CME was Earth directed, and if so, how much aurora we’ll get for VHF propogation fun.

David M0DHO

Overdriven audio on FT8, or other data modes

This evening I came across a terrible signal on 15m FT8. The audio from a Cuban station sounded distorted. I won’t name and shame the station. The audio fundamental was about 600Hz, and the waterfall showed strong signals at 1200Hz and 1800Hz matching the 2nd and 3rd harmonic of the audio signal. This caused significant QRM across a significant part of the FT8 segment. Almost certainly the station was overdriving the audio, either causing distortion from their soundcard, and/or distortion in the rig’s modulation chain.

There are several things you can and should do to avoid this, especially when using significant power and/or gain antennas:

  1. Don’t use full output from your soundcard. Set at no more than 50% volume level. Play a pure tone at that level and listen to it on the soundcard output as you adjust the level.
  2. Some rigs, such as the Elecraft K3, have a dedicated data audio input and data mode that removes audio processing like compression or other ALC artifacts. Use this if possible.
  3. For rigs without dedicated data modes, disable all audio compression and set the RF power to a desired amount, say 25W, and start with a low audio signal so the RF power is much lower than that. Then increase the audio level using the soundcard volume and rig audio level  until just below the desired RF output while keeping the sound card level in the range 10% to 50%.
  4. Use an audio fundamental of at least 1400Hz. If necessary, tune the rig to adjust the dial frequency. For example, say you are using FT8 on 20m where the band segment starts at 14.074Mhz. You see a free frequency on the waterfall of 400Hz, and you want to start calling there. If you transmitted a 400Hz tone, then the 2nd, 3rd and 4th harmomics at 800Hz, 1200Hz, and 1600Hz will all be in the audio passband of the rig. Hence the rig will transmit the desired signal at 14.074400, as well as undesired signals at 14.074800, 14.075200, and 14.075600. To avoid this, retune the rig 1kHz lower, to 14.073Mhz and use an audio frequency of 1400Hz. This will generate the same RF for the audio fundamental, but the 2nd and higher audio harmonics will be mostly outside of the rigs audio passband and will be suppressed from the RF output.

Best regards,
David M0DHO