Harlow Amateur Magazine

Spring 2000


Air Traffic Control

January saw two events focussing on air traffic control. On 11th January we had a talk at the Barn by Terry White (G0BXL). Terry told us about his experiences, both on the ground and in the air, and demonstrated maps and computer programs used in the business.

This was followed up just two weeks later with a visit to Stansted Control Tower. We were given a guided tour of the facility and, the highlight of the evening, a visit to the tower control room.

Terry has agreed to show his video of the event at a future meeting.

Training Roundup

Four members of the club took their RAE in December after studying with the help of Doug (G7SST) and Ron (G0WUZ). The exam was hosted by the Harpenden club at Aldwickbury School. We are pleased to announce that all four passed.

Mark (2E0APH) has since taken and passed his 12 WPM morse test and is now M0DXR. Derek (M1EOI) and Alex (2E1GZY now M1EPR) are already using their new callsigns. Chris is busy preparing for his 5 WPM morse test and holding out for an M5 callsign.

Congratulations are also due to Daniel (M1CTL now M5AGV) for his 5 WPM pass and Philip (2E1HAN now 2E0AUU) for passing both the 5 and 12 WPM morse tests at an RSGB Morse Camp.

Following another course of novice training, congratulations to Nick (2E1IDX) and Neil (2E1VHF) for their new calls.

Training for the RAE started in April with Phil (M1BTB) leading the group. Lets wish them all good luck.

Marconi Museum

Instead of lounging around The Barn on 28th March club members visited the Marconi & GEC Archives at Great Baddow, Chelmsford. The Archive is not open to the general public but hosts a (staggeringly) wide range of products from the GEC and Marconi stable. Our host, archivist Louise, gave us an interesting talk which reviewed the company’s history.

QSL Report

Philip (2E0AUU), our new QSL Manager, is getting to grips with the job. He now has to deal with six callsigns; G6UT, GX6UT, G6BUT, GX6BUT, M5BUT, and MX5BUT. You can see some of the cards we have recently received on the club notice board and on the club web site.


An interesting talk was given by David Johns (M1CZY) of KitMaster. David’s educational kits can be built in traditional or ‘easy-build’ using a novel take on surface mount technology. The visit certainly ignited further interest in construction in some of our younger members. Pictured below is a two transistor FM bug under construction by Alex (M1EPR).

Presidential Visit

On 11 April we had a visit from the President of the RSGB Don Beattie (G3OZF). Don ran through the activities of the Society and answered questions from the floor.

Contest News

The club’s entry into VHF Field Day 1999 was reported in the last issue. The results are now out and we are pleased with our showing.

Pictured above are the team which operated the club station during the RSGB 50 MHz contest. This year we ran four times the power and found the band much more lively.

Harlow and District
Amateur Radio Society

Chairman: Len (G7UFF)
Vice Chairman: Alan (G7WAD)
Treasurer: Phil (M1BTB)
Secretary: Chris (2E1GZX)
Contest Manager: Mike (G7OBS)
Training Manager: (M0DXR)
QSL Manager: Philip (2E0AUU)
Rally Manager: Alex (M1EPR)
Safety Officer: Terry (G0BXL)

HADARS on the web
Tel: 0793-1207184
Email: g6ut@qsl.net

Harlow and District
Amateur Radio Society
Meetings every Tuesday
8pm local time
Mark Hall Barn, First Avenue

For Sale

Homebrew ‘whirly-gig’ hidden HF antenna. High performance, multifunctional solution which lessens environmental impact. Best offer accepted for quick sale. Contact club secretary for further details.

Dear Sir,
I write both in thanks for your recent article entitled "Antennas to Suit All Neighbours" and to contribute, in my own small way, to the pool of knowledge on this subject.
The 'whirly-gig' Hidden HF Antenna certainly suited my requirements. Having tried and failed to maintain a G5RV in my garden I was quite desperate for a solution which would be acceptable to council, neighbours, and wife. Using the materials suggested I was quickly able to re-wire my wife's whirly-gig clothes dryer and, burying the feeder under the lawn, soon had a secret antenna which a WW2 spy would have been proud of. I even found the advice regarding flowers and chocolates to be of extreme good use. My wife was not only won over to the idea of sharing her clothes line but finally seemed to accept my long hours of isolation in my basement shack.
Performance of the new antenna was a little lack-lustre. It fell somewhat short of the results I saw before my neighbour took his garden shears to my G5RV. In hind-sight I suppose the acquisition of a linear amplifier and the associated jump from 10 watts output to a full 400 watts was a little hasty. But oh, what a difference! Finally I could talk to stations which before I could only listen to.
My warning was clear and obvious although at the time both my wife and I took it as another advantage of my set-up. One morning, working into VK on top band, my neighbour's wife came breathlessly to the door. She reported with alarm that the washing, which was drying in the back garden, was on fire. We hurried to the spot to discover not flames but steam rising into the cool morning air. Even as we stood examining my steaming underpants, the neighbour's wife had no idea she was standing next to the best HF antenna I had ever owned. Thankfully my own wife saw the funny side and, I suspect, was secretly pleased that she had the fastest drying line on the estate.
Of course every silver lining has its cloud. There I was, in the middle of an interesting and prolonged chat with a grapefruit grower from Guam when, on keying to send my reply, there issued forth a scream of such blood curdling finality that I jumped back from the microphone. In a flash, I reached over and switched off the station main power and entered in my log "station shut down and dismantled".
I suppose that, living in England, I should have been more aware of the weather. On that fateful day the heavens had opened and my wife had, quite naturally, rushed out to rescue her steaming smalls. I must say that I find it very lonely now my wife has left me. However I am still unable to face returning to the hobby. I hope that my sorry tale will help other amateurs to avoid making the same mistake as me.
Name withheld by request

Memories of the 60's

The writer's first introduction with Amateur Radio was during his last year at school in 1965. One lunchtime early in that year I wandered into the school library to investigate what the notice "Amateur Radio Station inside" was all about.
I found a one Peter Bridgeman, G3SUY sat at a desk with some eager school kids excitedly listening in on the QSO in progress. It was another G station somewhere in Surrey and his AM signal on the 160M band (Top Band) was 5 and 7 with a lot of noise. Nothing exceptional I hear you say, but believe me, to us at that time IT WAS impressive.
For those of you reading these lines that would not remember the 1960's, and were probably born a long time after, imagine a world with no mobile 'phones (even the suggestion of these would have been too incredible to believe ever possible!!). Imagine a world where to make most telephone calls it was necessary to make contact initially with the operator by dialling 100 and then you prayed!
Although none of us watching Peter operating knew much about radio, we did realise from the explanation that the signal was being radiated through the air from the long wire aerial which was loosely connected to the back of the transmitter and ran out of the window up to the top of the four storey block. This was nothing less than fascinating to us and it was from this initial encounter that I was determined that Amateur Radio was for me.
The gear on the table consisted of a homebrew AM Top Band TX made by G3SUY himself (he was only 16 years old at the time) and a R1155 RX. For those of you not familiar with this receiver they were those used in the Lancaster Bombers in the 2nd World War (Dam Busters and all that!) If any one would like to see an R1155 I have five of them in my shack (my shack, NOT M0DXR's shack - Hi Hi) so come round to the WRO shack for a glimpse. I have an affectionate regard for the R1155 as it always reminds me of that first encounter with our hobby.
Also on the desk was a callbook. I thumbed through while Peter was still chatting to the guy in Surrey and found an address just round the corner to where I was living at the time in Romford. On the way home from school that day I made a detour to this address and there, proudly in the garden was a mast supporting a long wire. Got to get one of those I thought! I was hooked well and truly.
Hope I haven't bored the socks off of you all. Next instalment in the autumn issue. Bet you can't wait! Nor can I. I'm longing to get all of this down so I can read it!!
Keith G3WRO

Harlow Amateur Magazine

Spring 2000


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