Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society

Past Club Meetings: January - June 2003

June Meeting - The Annual Constructors Competition

There were a good number of entries with a high standard.
Colin, G0TRM produced a range of Morse Keys based on the older round 3 pin mains plugs. A nail file was the paddle.

Colin's Morse Keys

Colin, G0TRM's Morse Keys using 3 pin mains plugs.

David MOBQC built and introduced a QRP transmitter to the design of G3OXX and of course it had to be in an Oxo tin, supplied by his XYL Jill. David demonstrated how brave he was by telling us that whilst he went to the Maplin shop at Southend to buy the 14.023 MHz crystal and some other bits to complete the project, he allowed Jill to make a visit to Marks & Spencers. He did not tell us which place had the most damaging effect on his bank balance.

David's QRP TX

David's QRP TX built in an Oxo tin.

Denis, M3BIA produced a lovely machined, brass Morse Key mounted on a wooden plinth & a Mains PSU.

Denis's Morse Key

Denis's PSU & Morse Key.

Anthony, produced a series of slides to explain the reasons behind his choice of 110Hz oscillator for CCTS access on an old 2-metre handheld.

Anthony's CCTS tone burst

Anthony's CCTS Tone access oscillator.

Geoff, G7KLV gave a presentation of why a variable width IF Bandwith receiver is so desirable. He then demonstrated one he has designed & built. It uses a number of filters & mixers.


Geoff, G7KLV's variable IF RX.

The assembled company was issued with voting slips and in the interval the votes were counted and the results announced in the traditional reverse order. The prizes were presented by Dick Brocks, G3WHR, a previous Club President. The very prestigious certificates will be presented at the AGM at the October meeting.
The third prize was awarded to Coln for his mains plug Morse keys.
The second to David for his very neat and tidy Oxo transmitter.

Dick presenting Anthony with the winning Prize

Dick presenting Anthony with the winning Prize for his tiny CTSS tone unit.

The prize for the "first time winner category" went to Dennis for his brass traditional style key.

May Meeting - Preparing for DX Expeditions by Neville Cheadle, G3NUG

Neville was well qualified to present this subject as he is the President of the Chiltern DX Club, The UK DX Foundation (around 600 members). Team leader 1998 9M0C Spratly Is and 2001 D68C Comoros Island DXpeditions. 365+ DXCC countries and 925+ IOTA island groups confirmed. Several mini-DXpeditions to Malaysia. Former member of RSGB Council, Management and other committees. Former Chairman RSGB HF Committee, Manager of the IOTA 2000 Programme. Joint Editor of "DXpeditioning Behind the Scenes". Director - Island Radio Expedition Foundation. Chairman CDXC: 1994-2001.

His talk was be divided into three parts:

1. Organising a DXpedition. He ran through the main headings of the book "DXpeditioning Behind the Scenes" that was written after the 9M0C DXpedition and of which he was joint Editor and a major Author.

2. He then showed one of the IOTA rigs so that members can see all that is needed to put on a one-man DXpedition anywhere in the world. It used a Yaesu 900 because of its ability to tune in stations

3. We then jumped to the other extreme - the world's largest ever DXpedition. This was to the Comoros as D68C in 2001. He introduced the video which ran for 30 minutes. They won the World record for 150,000 QSOs in 2 weeks besides a number of other records.

Picture from the DXpeditioning Book

Picture from Neville's book - DXpeditioning
Note, Don Beattie, G3OZF is a Hon Member of CARS & Past President of RSGB.

It really showed how a major expedition should be carried out - thank you Neville.

April Meeting was 'Picatune' Auto-ATU by Paul Berkeley, M0CJX.

Paul used to live locally in Braintree. He is currently RSGB Region 9 Manager and is organiser of the Epsom and Kempton rallies.

A keen constructor, Paul embarked on constructing the Pica-Tune HF Auto Antenna Tuner unit that appeared in RadCom 3 years ago. The original article did not provide a PCB for the unit so Paul produced his own which he now makes available to other Amateurs.

PCB of Picatune

PCB of Picatune, designed by Paul.

He has given a number of talks around the country on the Pica-Tune and following his enthusiastic talks many clubs embarked on building Pica-Tunes as club projects.

CARS Members looking at Picatune

CARS Members looking at Picatune, Paul is on the right

Details of the Picatune are available at

CARS Chairman, John thanking Paul

CARS Chairman, John thanking Paul for a very good presentation

Trevor, M5AKA, CARS Committee & Publicity Member has indicated he would like a years Sabatical due to work committments.

CARS Chairman, John thanking Trevor, right

Chairman John is here pictured thanking Trevor for all the past work he has done for Amateur Radio & CARS. Trevor and the Foundation Team have run Foundation Courses which have resulted in a large number of newly Licenced Amateurs joining the hobby. CARS look forward to having Trevor back.

March Meeting - Practical Wirelesss Editor, Doctor Rob Mannion, G3XFD

Rob travelled from Poole, Dorset and brought along his "travelling archive" of Practical Wireless mags for members to read. This archive contained copies of PW going back to 1932.

Rob Manniam looking at a 1935 PW

Rob Mannion looking at a 1935 PW.

John, G8DET, Chairman introduced Rob to a large audience.

Rob saw service in the Royal Navy, Feet Air Arm but was invalided out after a air crash in an Early Warning Radar equipped Gannet in 1962. He obtained his G3XFD Call-sign in 1968 the same year he qualified as a Doctor.

He specialised in medical and scientific writing from 1969 to 1974.
He worked for ITV from 1974 to 1984.
In 1989 he joined Practical Wireless as Editor having first written for them in 1965.
He supports the Radio Amateurs Invalid & Blind Club. He is also (like a number of CARS Members) keen on railway, tramway and trolleybuses.

Rob then captivated his audience by relating the history of PW and in particular that of the past editor, F C Camm. Mr Camm at one time edited 70 magazines per week!. He mentioned the methods used to produce the PW from 1935ish to today. This involved a staff of 140 then to only the handful now used mainly due to the use of computers and digital links to printers.

Rob talking to some of the audience.

Rob talking to some of the audience.

Trevor, M5AKA; Rob and Carl, G3PEM Vice Chairman.

Trevor, M5AKA; Rob and Carl, G3PEM.
Photo by Anthony, M1FDE but Trevor took all the others.

John, G8DET Chairman; Rob and Carl, G3PEM Vice Chairman.

John, G8DET Chairman; Rob and Carl, G3PEM Vice Chairman.
John is holding a PW July, 1976 Transistor Tester.

Colin, G0TRM operating the PA & Radio Microphone.

Colin, G0TRM operating the PA & Radio Microphone.
Photo by Trevor, M5AKA.

February Meeting - VHF/UHF Propagation by Prof. Les Barclay, G3HTF.

Les presented a set of overhead slides of the absorbing subject of VHF & UHF propagation. To many this is a black art - Les showed how long distant propagation can be acheived.

Les was well qualified to present this subject having represented the UK at International meetings at Geneva.

John, G8DET introducing Les, G3HTF (right)

John, G8DET introducing Les, G3HTF (right). Photo by Trevor, M5AKA.

January Meeting - CARS Members Demonstrating

Various members set up tables to demonstrate construction aspects of the Hobby. Colin, G0TRM set up a working soldering station and displayed a range of multipin connectors showing the difference between well and badly soldered joints. Members also tried their hands when they felt inclined.
As well as connectors, Veroboard samples and varios components were on hand for inspection. Visitors to the table were able to practice stripping standard and coaxial cable.

Murray, G6JYB came prepared to discuss various topics including follow-ups on his recent Free-to-View talk. He also conducted his usual computer doctor's surgery we all look to him for.
He distributed the latest updates on the GB3DA/ER Situation and copies of the 2003 ERG Guide.

John, G8DET (Dont ear a thing!)our Chairman demonstrated capacitor testing using a bridge and the components for a receiver project he started when Adam was a G8!. At last years meeting he demonstrated measuring the resistors.

Brian, G3CVI used the club HF rig to illustrate his previus talk on feeders and matching, showing variable loads and the effcts on the VSWR. Finally, still demonstrating the system of the new rig, he energised an aerial system tuning unit, open wire feeder and a make shift doublet hung in the curtains. It all tuned up well but as it was in the building, it did not exactly sparkle as a receive antenna!.

Harry, G5HF (our President) in his presentation demonstrated that in the 1930s, current in feeders and aerials was indicated using car headlamp bulbs put into the circuit. Harrys models of antennas with wheatgrain bulbs inserted were tuned to two Metres but indicated the current distribution that would occur on a large HF version. He showed a quarterwave vertical and the effect on the currents by adding or taking away the ground plane. He also showed a colinear and tuned counterpoises.

This table was well attended all the evening by new and old callsign holders alike.

Chris, G0IPU concentrated on training aspects and he had a steady stream of M3s and others getting information on the new styles of licences and courses available.

The Society has to date run 5 foundation courses and is at present on the sixth. Chris is a leading light in these activities as an instructor and organiser.

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ęCopyright John, G8DET 2003
Last revised:- 8th July, 2003