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meeting 12th April “Radios and systems used by the Soviet Reconnaissance Forces and Spetsnaz forces in the Cold War” by Tony Helm G4BCX


On Thursday 12th we welcome Tony Helm G4BCX back to Woodford Park Sports Centre, 8pm to deliver a talk entitled “Radios and systems used by the Soviet Reconnaissance Forces and Spetsnaz forces in the Cold War”.

He is very much looking forward to this and enjoys RADARC company.

Tony’s special interests are around former eastern bloc countries and
their modern military/political history. He as traveled extensively
there and collected many tons of radios on the way. A few hundred
weight, at least, of those will be with us on the evening. So Tony will
need a hand getting set up. It goes without saying, Tony is an authority on military radio and an engaging speaker.

The talk content will be:-

1. How SOE and the Germans listening to them operated in WW2
2. The pitfalls for both sides in doing the job.
3. How the Soviet Russian Army got round some of the problems.
4. Burst morse and how it was developed by both sides.

Tony says “Please note that I will be only talking history up to the end
of the Cold War.”

Informally, I am sure Tony would be willing to give a view on very
recent events in Salisbury.

Refreshments to be served as usual.



Exercise Blue Ham – this weekend

As happens every so often, this weekend the Royal Air Force Air Cadets will be organising and running a military style national radio exercise named ‘Exercise Blue Ham’. The Cadets invite all amateur radio operators to take part, making this the biggest radio exercise that the Cadets are involved in.

The exercise will take place on the MOD 5MHz (60 Metre) band and a significant part of the exercise will be on the section of the band that amateurs are authorised to use.

Locally, at least Woodley Air Cadets are taking part and will be active 9.30am to 2pm Sunday- I know they would appreciate good strong local signals since they live under a blanket of S9 noise.

Some important notes if you’re interested:

This exercise does not give amateur stations permission to operate outside of their normal licensing conditions.

– the allocation is not continuous- refer to for full details if necessary

– the allocation is for full licencees only

– maximum PEP 100W and 200W EIRP

– max antenna height 20m AGL

– secondary allocation, no interference to MoD stations

A summary of suggested spot frequencies in the 60m amateur allocation follows:

5278.5kHz USB

5298.5kHz USB

5301kHz USB

5304kHz USB

5317kHz AM

5320kHz USB

5335kHz USB

5354kHz USB

5363kHz USB

5379kHz USB

5395kHz USB

5398.5kHz USB

5403.5kHz USB

Note upper side band, against convention.

Selecting a USB frequency from the list above will ensure compliance and is largely compatible with allocations in other countries. Please do not transmit USB on 5330.5kHz, 5357kHz, or 5360kHz.

Various Cadet stations will be operating on each of the days, mainly from 08:00 to 20:00, but could also be outside these times, and will be on various frequencies within the band. Where possible stations will advertise which frequency they are listening on live on this website as the exercise is in progress and amateurs are welcome to check this page and call in on the advertised frequencies.

Cadet stations will call ‘Alpha Charlie’ which is the equivalent of CQ, and amateur stations are welcome to reply. Exercise Callsigns will all be in the range MRE01 up to MRE98 although other MR, MF and MA prefixed callsigns may be taking part.

The information exchange to score the contact will be

Your Callsign,

Signal Report,

Antenna Type,

Transmitter Power

Your Location. 6 Digit Maidenhead. Need not be precise.

As Cadet stations change frequency contacting them again on a different frequency will score as an additional contact, as these frequency changes they will be reported on the exercise website where possible.

The contacts will be plotted almost live on the exercise web server.

The ACO will issue certificates for amateur stations that contact 10 or more Cadet stations during the period of operation using your callsign contact details on Contact with the same station on different days count as separate contacts. Email your callsign and contact details to claim a PDF Certificate to:

The ACO looks forward to operating as many amateurs as they can during the period of the exercise and it will give their young operators an ideal opportunity to utilise their radio operating training on HF equipment to a different audience.

Once a contact is logged into the system it shows up onto a map which can be accessed at

Thank you in advance from the Cadets for taking part and giving the operators plenty of ‘Air time’ which cements their radio training that they have received.

RSGB Commonwealth Contest (BERU)

The RSGB Commonweatlh Contest is on next weekend, starting at 10:00 Saturday 10th and ending at 10:00 Sunday 11th. This is a CW contest.

Details of the contest including rules can be found at

If you are not normally active in this historic contest then please consider taking part. The Commonwealth Contest (where CQ Beru is used to solicit QSOs) is a great opportunity to work Commonwealth DX stations without the normal EU wall of contesters to contend with. Often the DX stations can be worked at marginal signal levels which would be quite impossible in the big international contests. For stacks of background information see Bob G3PJTs excellent website.

UK HQ stations

This year we will have seven RSGB HQ stations using the regional variations of G6XX the RSGB Contest Club callsign. This is following clarification from Ofcom that a Club Callsign can be active from multiple UK regions simultaneously. See for the history of G6XX.

 Chris is also using GB5CC under the new rule that other HQ stations may be active to celebrate or commemorate events of significance to the Commonwealth. This will be to recognise the forthcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Megan Markle in May, unless Chris can suggest an alternative justification.

Next Meeting: Key processes in modern oil refineries. Where your favourite motor hydrocarbon comes from.


Happy New RADARC year!

John Turner (ex-BG Group) joins us once again with an insight into the oil and gas industry to give us a view of the key process at the heart of most modern refineries: “Fluidised Bed Catalytic Cracking”. About 30% of the world’s petrol comes from this process. The talk will give an insight into the various parts of the process by someone who spent many years designing, upgrading, operating and optimising this strategically important plant. You can guess who that is.

If you’ve not seen John before, he’s an entertaining speaker. Given the technical challenges faced keeping such volatile substances safe, there should be some good stories. Not something you’d want to get wrong.

So…if you want to hear about excellence in engineering here’s where to be:

Venue: Woodford Park Sports Centre, Haddon Dr, Woodley, Reading RG5 4LY
Time: Thursday 11th Jan 8:00pm

Refreshments to be served as usual but with safety precautions probably not at a level acceptable to BG group. I’m sure John will tell you all about that. Won’t be quite as good as the nosh we had at the AGM (Min G0JMS/James 2E0JPM truly excelled themselves there) but hopefully the biscuits will be acceptable.