Category Archives: Uncategorized

Operating on QO-100

Heard of QO-100? Also known as Es’hail 2, the first geostationary satellite carrying amateur radio transponders launched from Kennedy Space Center at 20:46 GMT on Thursday, November 15, 2018 and is now in a geostationary orbit at 25.9° East. These are the first amateur radio transponders to be put into geostationary orbit and the satellite footprint covers an area from Brazil to Thailand. The transponders are very wideband indeed, and have been designed to be relatively straightforward to access. Being a wide linear transponder, there’s plenty of room, but also plenty of activity, and the activity is in all sorts of modes, including digital ATV, digital voice, CW and SSB. The downlink is 10GHz and the uplink is 2.4GHz. These frequencies are no coincidence…

Receiving QO-100 is a matter of connecting an inexpensive commercial LNB, like you’d find on the arm of any Sky dish, to a suitable power supply via a bias-T, to an inexpensive SDR connected to your PC, including the RTL USB dongles, or indeed to any wideband multi-mode receiver that covers 7-800MHz. An unused Sky installation could be used pretty much as-is, by simply tweaking the dish to point to a very slightly different point in the sky – 25.9°. Indeed there are reports of QO-100 being heard via Sky dishes while the dish is still aligned on the Sky constellation at 28.2°E. PLL-equipped LNBs are better, but not essential.

Once you have a receiving setup sorted, it’s time to turn your attention to the transmitting side. The uplink is in the 13cm amateur allocation, adjacent to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. There is a lot of room for creativity here, and lots of options. OE5HSR has pulled together an excellent PDF, which is pretty much a must-read for this topic. You can find this here.

I’m sure that some of our members will be having a go at working this unique satellite, and if you’re one of them, we’d absolutely love to hear from you at one of our show-and-tell evenings, or even better a live demo!

72000km+ SSB QSOs using a couple of watts and some recycled gear? Yes please!

Credit: AMSAT-UK for orbital and footprint information

meeting 14th February – TELL US WHAT YOU’RE UP TO!

14th Feb Woodford Park meeting is a chance for us to catch up on the
various projects/activities we’re up to – in particular any follow ups
to the Great Construction Contest but not limited to that.

If you’d like a short (5 minute or so) slot let me know.

Doesn’t have to be stuff – could be contest updates or how RADARC
contributes comms to events like 3 towers etc.

Also – what would you like to see and I’ll try and arrange?

We can take contributions on the fly on the evening if need be.

  • Min G0JMS will kindly bring along a RigExpert HF to VHF SWR meter (Digital display) RigExpert to show you and VHF to UHF swr power meter (Cheap unit) which includes frequency. He will also do a brief demo of Yaesu Fusion – Wires X technology RF paths permitting.

If necessary, I’ll bore you for a few minutes before the bottles and
tomatoes start flying:

  • Geostationary satellite project – es hail 2. Mike G4CDF (and possibly others???) is making the running on this one but I will present on his behalf a very short overview. iirc it’s 2.4GHz up and 10GHz down. tx/rx is based on an SDR transceiver (lime sdr mini).
  • Adventures with FT8 internals and taxi radios (generating FT8 tones by pulling a carrier around) – update. TBH anything that generates a stable carrier and can be pulled a bit maybe down to 1Hz resolution looks like it might work – eg. voltage controlled oscillator.
  • cheap RTL-SDR dongles (£15 delivered). Mine does work but probably better to get the real ones rather than fakes like mine.
  • short gnuradio demo (maybe)

We’ll have the ICOM IC7300 out for people to have a play with and the spectrum analyser.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be in plentiful supply all evening.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

73

John

G4RDC

Tribute to peter smith G4JNU

Read by his son in law Peter at the funeral, a fascinating read.

Tribute

Peter was born in Reading, the only child of Eric and Winifred Smith, and lived all of his life in Caversham, attending Hemdean House, Caversham Primary and Wilson schools. His early years coincided with the second world war and Peter recalled vividly the occasion in which their Caversham home was hit by 2 incendiary bombs – one of very few houses in Reading to suffer damage in an air raid. Peter’s father was a machine workshop instructor with the REME at Arborfield and Peter was proud that, with a lathe and other machinery specially installed in the back bedroom of their modest home in Rectory Rd, both of his parents helped the war effort by manufacturing aircraft parts. It became clear only recently, that they were part of a clandestine network throughout the South of England that secretly built thousands of Spitfires hidden in garages, sheds and barns. The story is now told in the recently released film, Secret Spitfires which includes Peter recalling some of his wartime memories. He enjoyed being filmed, and the family will treasure the footage.

Peter’s lifelong friend, Tony Halford, recalls their pre-teen exploits, including making soap box go-carts and testing them out on the hill at Bugs Bottom. Sadly, Tony is unable to be here today – but he told us that as they moved into the teen years, Peter shared with him his interest in the wonders of electronics which in those days centred around the thermionic valve. They spent many happy hours in the shed at Peter’s parents’ house, constructing and modifying “Government Surplus” equipment, and it was during this time that Peter taught Tony the skill of soldering the correct way – a skill that Peter later taught to both his children and all of his grandchildren. On one memorable occasion Peter and Tony assembled a 3 valve audio amplifier, with an old loudspeaker frigged to act as a microphone, so that from the shed they could listen to the ticking of the hall clock. They also discovered that because of the wondrous sensitivity of their creation, they could listen to Peter’s parents’ conversations as well – all over the house – a scientific achievement which, as you can imagine, was not appreciated by Winnie and Eric!

Peter would say that his school career was undistinguished but it was here that he first met Ann, who was to become his lifelong companion and soulmate. He also gained the qualifications that he needed to start an electrical engineering apprenticeship working at Taplow Court for British Telecommunications Research. He loved his days there and told many apprentice prank stories – such as the time when he had the job of wiring up a circuit to test a very expensive prototype valve – the only one in the country. When ‘switch on’ time came, much to Peter’s horror, wisps of smoke started to rise from the wiring. On closer inspection, Peter found that someone had placed a resistor across the valve supply which blew a few seconds after switch-on – just to trick him. He and Ann also enjoyed the social aspects of Taplow such as the tennis courts, boating, rifle range and Christmas parties.

Peter then moved to work at the Rutherford labs at Harwell. He was never a lover of bureaucracy and recounted stories of his frustration with the Civil Service. Seeking promotion, he moved temporarily to Daresbury in Cheshire, but after a brief and unfulfilling soujourn there he returned to Rutherford where he gained his Chartered Engineer status. While at Rutherford he met his future business partner, and in 1968 they set up their own electronics company- CONTECH – where Mac was in charge of the drawing office and Peter the design. Colleagues, who became lifelong friends, recall not only a brilliant engineer but also a kind, calm and generous boss who was always happy to pitch in whatever the task.

Peter relished the freedom of having his own company and enjoyed working on many interesting projects – a key one being the design, development and production of equipment for TV audience monitoring, subsequently employed widely around the world until the advent of digital television.

To say that he was an engineer does not really do justice to his affinity for mechanical and electrical things. He had the wonderful ability to understand how things were supposed to work, even if not all the parts were there. He could picture whatever was missing – go to his workshop and make them. A talent that will be greatly missed by his family and friends. As an engineer, his passion was to unravel unnecessary complexity in favour of elegance and simplicity. He had a very similar approach to everyday life!

Outside work too, Peter was always busy. At 21, he and Ann married (Tony was his best man!). Peter built the first marital home by purchasing a caravan shell. He installed heating and lighting and built the fitted furniture inside. Just prior to the arrival of Wendy a year later, they moved in to live with Ann’s father and aunt while Peter planned his next project. This was to build the house in Kidmore Rd where they brought up their family and where he lived for the rest of his life. Peter familiarised himself with building regulations and taught himself the necessary skills such as bricklaying and plumbing. He broke ground on the build in 1960, aged, 23. Holding down a full-time job and only working evenings and weekends on the house, they completed it with virtually no outside help of any kind 2 years later and moved in in October 1962. 6 months later, the house was complete and following a couple of years R&R, Helen was born.

Family was always a priority and Wendy and Helen’s mum and dad had a very long and happy marriage, celebrating their Golden Wedding in 2008. Their mum suffered with ill health for a number of years and their dad became a kind and devoted carer for her until becoming a widower in 2009.

Both Wendy and Helen have lived nearby for the majority of their adult lives and so raised their families locally. Because of this Peter and Ann were able to be an integral part of their grandchildren’s lives. Grandpa was always there to join the celebrations, encourage first Andrew and Elizabeth and then Christopher, Thomas and Matthew with their projects and endeavours – helping to fix anything and everything that needed attention. In addition to all the usual family events, Grandpa continued the tradition he and Nana had started, hosting two highlights in the family calendar. In the spring, he spent considerable time hiding mini Easter eggs around his wonderful garden for the grandchildren to find. Over the years he took great delight in finding new places to challenge the hunters – a task that became increasingly difficult as the grandchildren are all now over 20. Bonfire night too, was always organised meticulously in the typical Peter fashion. Fairy lights and lanterns provided a magical setting for bonfires, fireworks and sausages and soup.

Peter and Ann relaxed by walking in the countryside and family holidays were usually taken in Scotland, the Lake District, Cornwall or Wales. In retirement, the Pembrokeshire coastal path became a real favourite for the pair with many holidays in St David’s – and also Switzerland. Once widowed, Peter sought new walking partners by joining the Sonning Common Health Walks where he rekindled old friendships and made new ones. These times became an important part of his week and he always told the family about them, including owning up when they had got lost!

Peter’s interest in wireless began during the war, when his father gave him a crystal set and from an early age he was often called upon to help to fix sets for neighbours and friends. He was a frequent visitor to Bill Good’s wireless shop around the corner in Church St and later spent many hours at the ‘Shop on the bridge’ in Kings Rd and Bob Iles’s shop in Southampton St. In the late 1970’s he found time to resurrect his interest in amateur radio and he became a member of the Radio Society of Great Britain taking on the A license G4JNU call sign in 1980. He was a very active member of the Reading Amateur Radio club where he made many friends through shared interests and enjoyed demonstrating his restorations of all kinds of vintage electrical and mechanical curiosities.

Following from his love of wireless he also became a member of the Narrow-bandwidth Television Association devoted to all aspects of early television. He was fascinated by the technology and spent many hours restoring original equipment, constructing replica mechanical television apparatus and learning about the origins of early television by recreating the experiments of its inventor and pioneer – John Logie Baird. He became one of the most knowledgeable people in the country on Baird and early mechanical television. He supported museums, groups and individuals with his masterful engineering skills and with his passion for early radio and television technology. Through his efforts many museums can now display original radio and television equipment working again and he has enabled working demonstrations of original equipment to be featured on several television programmes on the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky, including the BBC’s recreation in 2016 of the 1936 opening night of television.

We will treasure memories of a loving, kind- hearted and generous man who was always willing to help whatever the task. He always had a project on the go either restoring or building something, researching or making something work – whether it was a family, a house or a Baird televisor.

The BBC’s – and the world’s – first regular television service started on Monday the 2nd of November 1936. The song you are about to hear was performed in the opening show and captures something of the mystery and wonder that must have surrounded the new invention at that time

‘Magic Rays of Light sung by Adele Dixon


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

Autumn Junk Sale, Thursday 25th October

It’s the Autumn Junk Sale next meeting (Thursday 25th October)!

Please bring along any unwanted broadly tech based items in order to support the club. RF based junk is always very desirable. Also bring
your cash along buy -er- lots of useful stuff!

Venue: Woodford Park, Woodley as usual. The auction will start 8pm sharp so it’s best to arrive early (eg. 7:30pm) to have a look at the wares.

Please note a couple of things:
* If you successfully bid on something, you’ll need to wait until the
end to settle up.

* If you bring junk along and it doesn’t sell then please be prepared to take it home with you.

Also please read the rules below.

If you have not been before – it’s a hoot. It is an auction run by the
club’s very own top auctioneers/jesters. Even if you don’t wish to buy,
the evening is always entertaining.

Prices tend to be extremely affordable – much better than rallies, for
example.

73

John
G4RDC

RADARC Junk Sale Rules

1. All buyers must be in possession of a bidding number before the auction starts. Non-Members will be required to either join the Club or pay a fee (£2) for this number. Registering for a bidding number implies acceptance of these rules (Non-members bringing material for sale for club funds are admitted free);

2. On completion of a sale, the purchaser must make clear their number and the price paid before taking the goods;

3. Viewing is only allowed up until the point the meeting begins. Following this, all purchasers must keep away from the main selling area in order to allow the event to proceed in an orderly manner. Under no circumstances will bidders be allowed to view articles which are in the process of being sold;

4. It is assumed that all goods are sold for the benefit of the Club. For any person who wishes to have an item sold on their behalf, the Club charges a 10% commission. In the case of non-members, a minimum fee of £5 applies. The fact that it is a commission sale and the name / callsign of the beneficiary must be made clear by a label attached to each item;

5. In the event of item 4 not being satisfied, the Club will retain all proceeds of the sale;

6. Any reserve price, whether for a commission sale or not, must be made clear before the auction starts by means of a label attached to the item. Otherwise it will be for the auctioneer to make whatever price they can for the article;

7. For a commission sale (item 4) or with reserve (item 6) it is in the interest of the seller to ensure that the auctioneer is aware of this fact prior to the sale;

8. Settlement of bidders and sellers fees will only occur after the auction of all items ends. Attendees who cannot wait until the end of the auction should nominate someone who can settle on their behalf after the auction of all items ends.

9. At the end of the event, all unsold goods must been removed by the person who brought them;

10. The auctioneer’s decision is final;

11. All good are sold “as seen”

12. Caveat Emptor!

“Mr Marconi and his marvellous invention: Maritime wireless telegraphy from the Kingstown Regatta in 1898 to the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and beyond.” + demo!

Folks,

Dr. Elizabeth Bruton is back with us again to kindly give us a talk
entitled “Mr Marconi and his marvellous invention: Maritime wireless telegraphy from the Kingstown Regatta in 1898 to the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and beyond.”

Peter G4JNU with David M0DHO’s help will also demonstrate a Marconi detector in action.

Venue: Woodford Park, Woodley
Time: 8pm

In the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and the
subsequent enquiry, the then-Postmaster General Herbert Samuel publicly declared: “Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi … and his marvellous invention.” But what were the origins of this “marvellous” and life-saving invention and what impact did it have on maritime safety? From young Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi’s world’s first of live event reporting by wireless at the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) Yachting regatta in July 1898 through to Marconi’s experiments at Crookhaven between 1901 and 1914 and hence to the vital, life-saving use of Marconi wireless telegraphy on board the Titanic in 1912, this illustrated talk will uncover the practical and commercial application of wireless telegraphy for the maritime world and its potential impact upon maritime safety in the twentieth century.

Dr Bruton is Curator of Technology and Engineering at the Science
Museum, London specialising in communications. Previous roles include Heritage Officer at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, University of Manchester; Co-curator and researcher for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) project and exhibition ‘Dear Harry: Henry Moseley, a scientist lost to war’ at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford; and postdoctoral researcher for AHRC-funded project ‘Innovating in Combat: Telecommunications and intellectual property in the First World War’ at the University of Leeds. She was one of the 2014-2015 Marconi Byrne-Bussey Visiting Fellow at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and also catalogued and researched the Marconi Collection at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.

In case you haven’t seen her before, she is also a brilliant speaker and
communicator.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be in abundant supply.

73

John
G4RDC

Folks,

Thanks to Michael M0MPM, we have a talk entitled “An Introduction to 3D Printing for the Radio Amateur” by James Patterson, M1DST.

Date: Thursday 27th September
Venue: Woodford Park Leisure Centre, Haddon Dr, Woodley, RG5 4LY
Time 8pm.

From James:

“We will introduce you to the fascinating world of 3D printing where we will learn about the different 3D printing methods with a focus on
inexpensive FDM machines. You will leave with an understanding of how the machine works and how 3D printing can be used as a tool to improve your Amateur Radio life. We will discuss the tools used to take an idea from your head to become a finished item.”

Refreshments available as usual.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

73

John
G4RDC

Provisional Intermediate Licence Course – 20/27 October and 3 November

Dear Members,

Please note that Ray G3SCZ and his team are hoping to run a RADARC Intermediate Licence Course on 20/27 October and 3 November this year at Woodford Park, Woodley.

There are currently only a few signed up, so if you are interested or know someone who may be interested please ask them to fill in the form on the Training -> Intermediate Training section on the radarc.org web site.

Thanks and 73

RADARC Committee