Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society

Past Club Meetings: January - March 2006

March Meeting - Andy Tyler, G1GKN - Weather Satellite Reception

Draft Report.
The talk covered the following topics:

A brief history of weather satellites from the early 1960's to the present.
What's up there - A description of current weather satellites and the technical challenge of receiving them.
Reception equipment - Receivers, antennas and other hardware.
Computers and software.
The future - The first digital weather satellite due for launch this year.

Andy erected an aerial outside & we watched live while NOAA 17 made a pass from North Africa, passing over UK to Iceland.

CARS President, Harry, G5HF also has a Weather Satellite system & he brought along print-outs to show - superb.

Satellite picture Satellite picture
Introduction pictures showing (left) Chris, G0IPU - Martyn, G3VAM - Andy, G1GKN & his Wife.
On the desk can be seen Murray's Laptop computer which was coupled to Chris's digital projector.
Picture, right shows Andy's PII, 350MHz computer which is tracking the NOAA Satellite.
Photos by John G8DET

Satellite aerial outside
Andy explained the different aerials which could be used
to receive the Satellites.

These included Crossed Dipoles but he favoured the home constructed "Plumbers Special".

In his version he had all elements the same length and a Phasing Box below to steer the direction of the beam.

Photograh of Andy's Satellite aerial outside.
Photo by Trevor, M5AKA

Plot Download
Picture left shows WXtrack tracking the Satellite as it comes over South Africa.
Picture right is from the screen showing the Infra-Red image
from 800kmls up and travelling at 17,000 miles/hour
as it passed over the UK. This was also before processing took place.

Picture of Gibraltar Picture of North Africa
Picture left shows clearly Spain, Portugal & North Africa.
Picture right shows Tunisia and a small area of Sicily.

Satellite picture of the UK
Picture of the UK covered in cloud which caused
rain to fall for a couple of days.

Satellite picture of Iceland
Picture of Iceland just before the Satellite went out of view, hence the noise bars at the top.

World sea temperature after processing
Sea temperatures displayed after processing.

Raffle stand with Trevor & Chris
Raffle stand with Trevor, M5AKA & Jim Smith, 2E0JPS.

Francis Bell, Director of Group for Earth Observations kindly donated a number of their quarterly magazines which were eagerly taken from the Raffle Stand as prizes.
He has also kindly offered to send anyone else in the UK, a Back-copy of their quarterly magazine on receipt of 4 (Four) First Class UK Stamps together with their Name & Address.
This offer is for only up to 2 (Two) copies - after that you are requested to join the GEO Group.
Write to: - Francis Bell, Coturnix House, Rake Lane, Milford.
GODALMING. GU8 5AB. Quote this Web Site offer.

Andy & Harry Andy & Alan Boswell
Picture left shows Andy & Harry, G5HF.
Picture right shows Andy with aerial expert Alan Boswell, G3NOQ.
Both photos taken by Trevor, M5AKA .

WXtrack - Satellite tracking software is avaible as a FreeWare Program from:-
Click Here to visit the Web Site (WXtrack part).

SatSignal - NOAA Satellite Decoder is also available as a FreeWare program from:-
Click Here to visit the Web Site (SatSignal part).

Another superb evening scheduled by CARS Programme Secretary, Martyn, M3VAM.

February Meeting - Tom Robinson, G3SBW - Portable Aerials

The meeting opened with CARS President Harry, G5HF presenting Carl, G3PEM with his certificate for his entry in the previous Constructor's Competition.

Carl G3PEM & Harry G5HF
Carl G3PEM & Harry G5HF
Photo by John G8DET

Tom firstly visited CARS with his really portable presentation - with his Manpack and his 2nd visit with his Arnhem Investigations.

Tom - Manpack
Tom in Manpack mode with a really portable aerial, picture by K2A.

Tom lecturing
Tom pointing to the screen which has the title says "Antennas for the Picnic Table"
Photo by John G8DET

Tom used a laptop computer & a digital projector to display his photographs.

Tom lecturing
Tom by his laptop

Comment by Alex, M0DWA from Loughton
"The talk by Tom was informative and practical and well worth the effort to drive over from Chingford. A bright and good quality projector helped the presentation, no end making it easy on the eyes.

Tom's home-brew aerials were thought provoking to say the least. I loved his pedestrian mobile 10m vertical and the J-Pole was lighter than a feather. Amazing".

Tom passed around the large audience samples of the aerials he was talking about.

Tom lecturing Tom lecturing
Jim Smith, 2E0JPS (left) is holding one of Tom's aerials while Alex, M0DWA (right) is holding one made out of ex Army aerials.
Photo by Trevor, M5AKA

As Alex continued "I warmed to his practical approach in all aspects of portable aerials, tuners, bit of string, washing up liquid bottles and sticky back plastic.

An eye-opener was chatting to Tom during the break; I asked him about calculating the length of a counterpoise. He stroked his wise chin and advised: "cut it to 1/4 lambda then trim bits off until it works best, but no more than about 5 to 10% for the higher freq. bands". I was expecting some complex maths; but instead I received some very practical advice. Refreshing to say the least!"

I spent a little more Łnotes than intended purchasing the SOTA (2m) beam from the "used - for sale" box, which I have subsequently got going.
Hopefully see you all again in the near future, and thanks again."
Thank you Alex for your report.

Tom with group at break-time
Tom with group at break-time

Tom & Trevor
Tom with Trevor, M5AKA after his presentation

Thank you Tom for another interesting & informative evening.

If you would like to read the full version of Colin, G0TRM's write-up, click below.
It is a PDF File of only 11 kBytes.
Having read it, click on your browser's BACK button (top left) to come back to this Web Page.

   Click here for Colin's write up.

January Meeting - Carl Thomson, G3PEM presented his Illustrated Talk "Radio Caroline in the 1960s"

Invitation for more details
If you see yourself in a picture & would like to be identified - please E-Mail CARS with the details.

Chairman John, G8DET opened the meeting and welcomed Members, Partners & the many Visitors. They were encouraged to purchase a Raffle Ticket or two.

Large audience

Photograph of part of the large audience.
Photograph taken by John G8DET

Carl lecturing

Carl started his talk by giving credits to the many people who were involved in the production of it. They included his Daughter who could not attend as Frances, his Wife (the baby-sitter) was in the audience.

Carl lecturing.
Photograph taken by Trevor, M5AKA

Mi Amigo or Radio Caroline

Mi Amigo at sunset.
Photograph attributed to Ian Gorrie

Side view of audience Front view of audience

Side & front photographs of the large audience. From left to right.
Bob M0DTA, Murray G6JYB & Dave Penny G3PEN - Tony G4YTG & Geoff G3EDM
Photograph taken by Trevor, M5AKA

Carl at the TX Panel

Carl looking at the North Caroline TX Panel.
This and the following 2 photographs supplied by Carl

Some of the DJs at the rear of Caroline Some of the DJs at the rear of Caroline when it was aground at Frinton.

Tom Lodge at the top, then Dave Lee Travis & Graham Webb at the front. On the right is Engineer Patrick Starling (aka "The Child Scientist") in the duffle coat.

Tom Lodge remembered the photo being taken. He said "Yes. We were in high spirits. When we were hauled off the ship we had been taken to a store and given dry clothes and then put up in a hotel. The next day we went down to see how our dear old 'girl' was doing. And there she was on the sand, and so our picture was taken. We were glad to see that she was upright, because the waves had been pounding onto her side and could have knocked her flat over on the side. And that would have been game over for her. Yes, it was a good day. It was great to see her 'bottom' and be able to climb onto her rudder. It was in that moment that we all became a little closer to the old 'girl'."

Thanks to Trevor M5AKA & the information from Jonathan at

Sad state of Caroline while agound

Caroline at Zaandam, Holland on arrvial, after refloat and tow across North Sea. Notice the block ice - really cold.

Carl at interval

Carl with people looking at his scrap books during the interval.
Photograph taken by John, G8DET

Andrew & Daphne at interval

Left to right:- Visitor, Daphne, Wife of Andrew, Andrew G4KQE & Martin Fisher
during the interval looking at Carl's Scrap Books.
Photograph taken by John, G8DET

Carl & John

Carl G3PEM & John, G8DET.
Photograph taken by Murray, G6JYB

Clive G1EUC with his raffle prize

Clive, G1EUC with his raffle prize having been drawn by Carl, in the background.
Photograph taken by Trevor, M5AKA

Group after the meeting

Group after the meeting. From left to right
Dave Foster & Rob Ashard both from the Ross Revenge,
Martin Fisher & Jon White, G8CCL.
Photograph taken by John, G8DET

Click below to visit the Ross Revenge web site

If you would like to read the full version of Tony, G4YTG's write-up, click below.
It is a PDF File of only 11 kBytes.
Having read it, click on your browser's BACK button (top left) to come back to this Web Page.

   Click here for Tony, G4YTG's excellent write up.

To RETURN to the CARS Home Web Page - Click Here

©Copyright CARS 2006
Last revised:- 13th March 2006 to add GEO Offer in the March Meeting report.