A few months ago, my friends at the Oxford and Harwell clubs both asked if I could come and give a talk to them. It's something that I enjoy doing - it's always good to meet people and if in some small way that I can encourage them to try something new or take a deeper interest in the hobby, then I'm delighted. What could I talk about though?
I decided to base the talk around the VHF/UHF column that I write for Practical Wireless in which I aim to cover as many aspects of VHF/UHF as I can and perhaps encourage people to look at their VHF/UHF radios in a different way.
I presented the talk for the first time at the Oxford club on Tuesday evening and I think it went ok! If as a presenter you enjoy it, it's generally a fair sign! It's always interesting to hear different perspectives from people.
- A first reaction from one attendee, 'VHF? Is there anyone on it these days?'. It was fun explaining that yes, there really is!
- Another interesting suggestion was that the introduction of CTCSS on VHF/UHF repeaters had led to a decline in activity. I explained that although to use many repeaters you need to send a CTCSS tone, you don't have to have CTCSS Decode on. So, if another repeater comes up on your frequency, you can still hear it. That's certainly how I set my rigs up, although it sounded like not all rigs allowed this. I'd be surprised if CTCSS' introduction had singularly led to a decline, but I've been surprised before....
- A very interesting discussion and heartfelt plea from an attendee about the RSGB's VHF/UHF awards and how poorly supported they are. Obtaining QSL cards, on 432MHz in particular, apparently, had proven very difficult. But the member in question said that details of the RSGB's VHF/UHF awards had not featured prominently in Radcom for many moons - did the society still have a commitment to them?
An interesting and enjoyable evening - thank you, ODARS! And I'm looking forward to visiting Harwell in a couple of weeks - and I'll try and tweak the talk a bit by then!