Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society

CARS Meetings: Oct - Dec 2021

October Meeting
Tuesday 5th Oct 2021, 7:30pm
Online by Zoom
By CARS Members

The CARS 2021 AGM was held on Tuesday 5th October, beginning with the officers annual reports.

This was the second time the AGM had been held using Zoom and on this occasion John IMS hosted the proceedings having been guided well by John JOC who had previously set up all the parameters. Having checked members in John IMS then passed the screen in succession to the Club officers for their reports, starting with Chairman Elliot Riddle M0JBY.

Chair: Elliot referred to the Club activities of past year, which had been rather few due to the effects of Covid, physical meetings had of course been suspended at Oaklands and monthly Zoom talks took over and have continued to the present. Elliot said the social aspects of live meetings were sadly missing but he hoped things would soon return to normal. Elliot thanked all members of the Committee for the work they had put in during the past year. He then asked Andy IBN for his report.

Membership Secretary: Andy Kersey G0IBN explained that the paid-up membership stood at 79 and 17 honorary members with free membership. Andy said that one new member had paid up for year 2022. As agreed at the last AGM, members paid £5. Discussion again took place if the subs should be set at £0 for the next year, as it may cause possible admin problems - £5 was again chosen.

PMN. Andy subsequently reported that we now have two paid up members….77+ to go.
PS (subs are due at the AGM.)

Treasurer: Elliot then invited Treasurer John Roe G4IMS, he spoke briefly about the very healthy state of the Clubs finances. John suggested that it might be prudent to place some of money in a separate account. He would look at possibilities.

John also spoke further of the previously discussed decision to move our account to Metrobank and we would receive a bonus in doing so. Much discussion has taken place with bank personnel over a long period, John has made several trips to the bank to arrange the necessary paper work and the form in which transactions were carried out and what rights Colin TRM has as CARS Secretary and what rights John had IMS as Treasurer. John said the changeover is almost complete. He did not see any problems with the new bank and we have now received the bonus as expected.

Training: The next item on the agenda being Training, but in the absence of John O'Connell, Colin TRM read the report John JOC had sent to him: Face to face amateur radio training would resume at Danbury Village Hall on the following dates:

The possible cost would be; Foundation £15; Intermediate and Full £20.
See CARS website for details ( )

Throughout the Covid period, John JOC had continued to arrange on line training arrangements. On air Morse, classes continue under Andy Kerseys' supervision... All CARS training slides are gradually being upgraded to suit the changing Syllabus.

From the floor, John Bowen G8DET proposed that for a trial period CARS training should be free to all candidates. Following a discussion it was thought that candidates would be less inclined to complete the training course if it was free than if they had paid a fee. It was decided a fee of some sort would be paid. The actual amount to be agreed at the next CARS committee meeting.

QSL manager: Oliver Prin M0WAG stated that he is undergoing hospital treatment and would like to pass QSL manager's job to another person. Oliver then proposed that Paul Tittensor G4PVM (pictured) take over the post, this proposal was seconded by Colin TRM. The proposal was unanimously accepted by the committee. Colin then asked Oliver if would convey the result to Paul.

President: With the reports finished, the proceedings were handed to CARS President Tony Gilbey G4YTG for his contribution. Tony said he was very proud to be President of such a famous and active Club as CARS and thanked those who had made it such, they had done a tremendous job, long may it continue. He said that new committee members are required and urged all other members to consider standing for election or persuading others to stand. Tony then took on his other role as President and stood down all current Committee members. Tony then asked that Elliot should be re-elected as Chairman of CARS. This was proposed by Andy G0IBN and seconded by Chris G0IPU. Elliot was re-elected un-apposed as Chairman.

Elections: Elliot resumed his Chairman's role and instituted re-election of all current committee members. This was proposed by Tony G4YTG and seconded by Andy G0IBN. All members were re-elected. Vacant posts include Equipment Manager. Despite requests, no other new members stood for election to the committee.

Tony Gilbey again gave his thanks to everyone for their input and to John IMS for hosting the meeting very well.


Being no other business Elliot then closed the meeting at 8.45pm.
Date of next Annual Meeting October 4th 2022.

Minutes compiled by Colin Page G0TRM CARS Secretary

November Meeting
Tue 2-Nov-2021, 7.30-9pm
Online by Zoom
"AllStar Gateway MB7ISX"
Oscar Wood 2E1HWE

A turnout of over 40 attended online on Tuesday November 2nd for Oscar Wood 2E1HWE who talked about the MB7ISX 145MHz AllStar Analogue Simplex Gateway and the wider FreeStar network it connects to.

Oscar is an enthusiast for analogue VHF FM connectivity as it is simpler and more accessible than many other Digital modes. He first introduced the general area of low power gateways which are one of the few NoVs that Intermediate licensees can apply for via RSGB-ETCC - the permits are typically ~1W and on shorter 12 month renewable terms (compared to the 3-year NoVs for Repeaters). Locally in Chelmsford, ERG has MB7IDA that has provided an Echolink service for many years, but in practice there are many more (mainly on 2m and 70cm but also 10m, 6m, 4m and 23cm)

Callsign: MB7ISX

Location: Southend-on-Sea
Frequency: 145.2875 MHz NBFM
CTCSS access: 110.9 Hz
Allstar Node ID: 53789

Echolink access:
Node 666727, MB7ISX-L

All gateways combine a radio with some form of logic controller and internet connectivity. Oscar showed how MB7ISX is based around a converted Motorola GM340 ex PMR radio with Raspberry Pi and external sound interface. The radio requires an external fan for long transmit cycles (even at low power) when on nets; and an external remote closedown unit to satisfy the NoV conditions. Users in range need to set the usual 110.9Hz CTCSS access tone (similar to GB3DA etc).

Radio - Motorola GM340 (ex-PMR)
with extra cooling fan

Raspberry Pi 3B+ Logic Controller with HAMVoiP

Soundcard to convert the radio analogue sound
into the RasPi

AllStar: Oscar then explained more about the AllStar network links. This is a full duplex system using voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP). If accessing it via the internet directly (as opposed to RF) you need to register as an amateur and have a node number assigned to you. Allstar is a network of amateur radio repeaters, remote base stations and hot spots. The software (based on open source Asterix PBX) runs on a variety of dedicated computers including a Raspberry Pi. Connections from Echolink and other VoIP systems are supported and it has grown globally to over 20000 nodes/users.

FreeSTAR: In the UK this was developed in early 2021 to manage/merge connections between analogue and digital technologies. Its ethos is based on 'Freedom to connect'. A key driver for this multimode initiative has been to interface/bridge to the increasing variety of fairly incompatible digital systems such as DMR, Fusion, P25, NXDN etc.

Activity: In June 2021 both MB7ISX and ERG-MB7IDA supported the Gateways On the Air (GOTA) event. The aim of GOTA was to encourage portable/mobile activity though the network to linked simplex gateways which are accessible to all licensed amateurs, especially new M7 Foundation licensees who only have low power. The event ran between 12th and 20 June 2021 and included the GB1GOA special event call and a couple of handheld radios as activity prizes.

Operating Tips: Oscar advised that to allow for latency etc to leave a 3 second gap between overs, have a 1-2s pause after PTT before talking and to keep overs under 3 minutes to avoid timeouts.

Our thanks to Oscar for a very well presented and popular talk and demonstration.

Useful links

December Meeting
Tue 7-Dec-2021, 7.30-9pm
Online by Zoom
"Unusual Clubhouse of the FBK"
Peter Ebsworth LB0K / G8CKB

Our December meeting featured a talk by Peter Ebsworth LB0K / G8KCB who left the UK and moved to Norway 40 years ago.

Peter provided a fascinating insight into a rather unusual club station LA1ASK situated in Bergen Norway, at what is now a museum, but was formerly the FBK - Foreningen Bergen Kringkaster LW/MW AM transmitter site.

Starting with predecessors in the 1920s, the broadcast station as now preserved started in the mid-1930s using Marconi and Telefunken transmitters and provided regional coverage around Bergen and the western coast. The main antenna system used a pair of 150m high lattice masts. The main Telefunken 20kW Tx broadcast on 266kHz LW. This was accompanied by a 1kW Marconi Model-1112 Transmitter that used MT7A PA valves - very similar to 2LO.

Marconi Transmitter front panel

Marconi PA Valves

Telefunken Transmitter PA Valves

Telefunken tuning and output

In the 1960s the equipment was replaced by a Philips 10kW transmitter with the service lasting until AM was shutdown in the 1970s. Nowadays it’s a Norwegian heritage site. A few sections of the original twin antenna masts have been restored to form the rather smaller tower for the LA1ASK resident amateur club station.

In addition to amateur band operations, the site continues to operate as a broadcaster on 1314kHz MW.

The original two 150m high masts,
195m apart (now dismantled)

Today - a few restored sections 24m high
- used for the LA1ASK HF antennas

The modern MW-AM transmitter with a 1kW Class-E PA is rather more compact and efficient!

From an amateur radio point of view, the club station is also well equipped including an Icom 7600 dual-SDR, ACOM linear and FT101D. Activities include weekly skeds, contests and the JOTA scout event.

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