Thursday, August 20, 2009

GB3ZY 50MHz repeater: An update

I wrote a few weeks back about the GB3ZY 50MHz repeater coming on air from Dundry Hill near Bristol. At the time, I could hear it pretty well, but hadn't succeeded in getting into the repeater.

A couple of evenings ago, I was driving home, listening to the GB3FX repeater on 50.810 when I became aware of an interfering signal off to the site. I tuned down 10khz and found the GB3ZY repeater much stronger than usual, around S7 to S8.

I found I was just about able to get a signal into the repeater over a distance of 50-60 miles, although it was clear that I was hearing the repeater better than it was hearing me.

In conversation with Roger, G4HZA, it turns out that he occasionally hears the repeater from Surrey and on one occasion, even managed to get into it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Catching up with W4CK

It was a real pleasure this week for Justin, G4TSH and myself to catch up with Mark, W4CK who was in London on business. Despite our arrangements to meet up almost being foiled by technology, we had a great time.

Left to Right: Justin, G4TSH; Mark, W4CK and Tim, G4VXE

Mark is a keen CW operator and has operated from many interesting locations such as KH6BB in Pearl Harbor and V73BL in the Marshall Islands.

Meteor Scatter and Astronomy from Trafalgar Square

Justin, G4TSH drew my attention to this happening later on today. Looks fun!

If anyone goes, try to grab some video - it would be good to see..

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Should your radio club be using Twitter?

The Perseids Meteor Shower has had plenty of publicity in the media this year and a 'Meteorwatch' has been taking place on Twitter, where observers tweet what they're seeing (or not).

This turns what could be a rather solitary pastime into quite a social one, which seems good - as well as having opportunities for help and advice to be givem.

I was impressed to see that the Newbury Astronomical Society have been using Twitter to publicise some of their activities.

It occurred to me that more radio clubs might want to be doing similar things to publicise their activities to both hams and non-hams alike. Maybe you could use it to remind people of upcoming talks, field days and so on. During events you could use it to send pictures or audio of what's going on. It's really simple and will almost certainly generate new interest.

Some amateur radio organisations such as NCDXF, TWIAR and so on have already embraced Twitter. The K5D expedition used Twitter too.

Be careful not to overload your followers! Personally, I found the K5D status tweets every hour a bit too frequent. It's great to have frequency information available, but in my opinion (which may be wrong!), that's better located on a website - leaving tweets for 'news/photo updates' as well as the occasional reminder of where to find definitive operational information.

Equally, I wouldn't want to see DXClusters tweeting DX spots - or people tweeting a list of QSLs received! All good information, but probably better disseminated through different channels. In my opinion, at least!

Of course, the nice thing about Twitter is that if you don't like how someone is using the service, you can simply 'unfollow' them and you don't see the updates anymore. Result!

Either way, it's clear that radio clubs and organisations can benefit from using Twitter to keep people informed of what's happening, in a topical and exciting way.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Perseids Meteor Shower

If you're interested in astronomy, VHF DXing or both, then the Perseids Meteor shower, peaking around 11/12th August is going to be of interest to you. Reflections are starting to build up and this morning, as I was sat listening to 144.300 there were already some sizeable reflections.

If you've not tried meteor scatter before, why not set your receiver to one of the calling channels; 144.300, 50.150 or 50.110 or even 70.200 and listen for a while. With any luck you'll start to hear some reflections.

Read more about the Perseids here:

Friday, August 07, 2009

Update on Contest University UK

Mark, M0DXR asked me to let you know that the CTU 2009 programme has been updated. You can see the latest and greatest version (and it DOES look good) at

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Team Thunderbox's Latest Video

A few days ago, I posted news that the guys from Team Thunderbox were planning to be active for a week from the Marlborough Downs near Swindon. Sure enough they were and this morning, I received news that they'd put a video together. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


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