G0MWT, GX0MWT, GB5HF, GB5SM, GB100MWT & M2T
Skills Night - Apr-2017
Easter Bank Holiday? Not for the Essex Skills Team! Monday evening, 7pm April 17th, saw over 50 attend Essex Skills Night. Skills Coordinator Pete M0PSX had been successful in getting a particularly wide variety for the month despite it being a Bank Holiday.
Thanks to all those who filled in a survey last month. We're pleased to report that we're able to meet several of the requests this month - thanks to supporters who've stepped forward as a result.
Skills is a great opportunity to get "hands-on" with aerials, datamodes, construction, our famous Quiz and more. A variety of "show and tell" tables with something for the new and experienced Ham alike. This is a FREE event and open to members, non-members and visitors - all are welcome and there's tea/coffee, too!
Peter M0PSX giving an overview of the evenings activities
Activities for April included:
- 10GHz demo: Graham G8HAJ who joined us in November for a popular Hellschreiber demo, returned with a 10GHz SSB setup. The Foundation licence deliberately has this band and a generous 1W power limit (as there is plenty of antenna gain) to get experience at shorter wavelengths. You can start with a simple low-cost 3cm receiver using a standard satellite LNB and an SDR dongle. The kit in the photo has a higher performance popular DB6NT transverter and interface board. Other items include home made 23cm circuits
- Digital: The survey also asked for Digital Voice and Raspberry Pi. So this month, Steve M0SHQ took a break from satellites to show us his personal D-Star Hotspot running on a Raspberry Pi-3 via DV-Mega board with Blue Stack.
- DFing: Two requests for this in Essex Ham's survey, and as a result, Roy Emeny G4JAC returned with some DF kit to encourage some fresh air radio direction finding activity in 2017. Roy had both top band DF beacons and receivers with him and has plenty of advice on hand at www.forjac.co.uk/df/df.htm
DF receiver and beacons
- Simulation: CARS Editor Steve G4GHO is soon to become DX. For his final appearance at Skills, he ran a 'Getting started in simulation' session. Nowadays several sophisticated programs are available to assist in circuit and antenna design Examples that Steve had were drawn from LTSpice, QUCS, Microwave Office for circuits and MMana or 4NEC2 for antennas.
- Essex CW Club: The CW club were present to promote and encourage the Morse mode. The club is also canvassing interest in a proposed CW Bootcamp that would be in the autumn
A polished chrome Bencher ST-2 style single paddle keyer
- Testing, Testing: Mike G4NVT brought an oscilloscope and spectrum analyser for testing circuits, measuring frequency and filters. If you have anything you'd like tested, please bring it along in future. This month, Mike built a Colpitts Oscillator and tested it on the night, using an Easter Egg box as a circuit substrate!
Easter Egg Colpitts Oscillator
- Construction: Melvin 2E0DNS had been busy building a linear resistance meter and sine wave oscillator. Alan M0IWZ brought his assembled SWR bridge (see last month for circuit). This uses an Arduino AD9850 synth and Ardiono-nano controller to form a much cheaper combo than commercial products. And... 2m Slim Jims made a return as well
Alan M0IWZs SWR bridge based on Arduino boards - and DIY Slim Jim
- Getting Started - and Inspired!: Advice and leaflets from Essex Ham, were on display including details of the very successful online Foundation training course. Also running was a Raspberry Pi Zero playing Essex Ham's latest video. We were also priviledged on the night to have a youngster who had not only done Foundation, but had gone on to complete all three levels! - George M0UKK from LEFARS
- Balloon Tracking: EssexHam and Chris M6EDF had information on High Altitude Balloons (HAB). These often use small 434 MHz modules for tracking and a lot of guidance for balloons (inc NOTAM aviation permissions) is available from UKHAS - UK High Altitude Society
HAB - balloon tracking info
- Callsign badges: Another regular, James 2E0JTW brought his machine for engraving badges and pens. Dorothy M0LMR who runs the local YL net was having a new call badge engraved below:-
A new badge being engraved for Dorothy M0LMR
- Skills Quiz: Chris G0IPU was unable to be quizmaster this month, so Murray G6JYB stepped to pose the quiz questions. Radio-related items on Easter, Marconi Day and the Titanic were amongst those topical for April
Our thanks to the various members of CARS, Essex RAYNET, Essex Repeater Group, Essex CW Club and Essex Ham who were on hand to help with questions as well as David & Myra in the kitchen doing the tea/coffee and nibbles.
Next Event: Monday 15-May-2017
Venue: Danbury Village Hall, CM3 4NQ
Skills Night takes place at the Danbury Village Hall – Entrance is free, and the event is open to all. Tea/coffee is also available.
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