Club Night Diaries – October 2018

25th October 2018

Welcome to the last Club Night Diaries for October.   It’s been a quiet night here with several members staying at home to take part in the 80m contest.  However, that did not prevent some joyous exploring of some of the boxes that Olly had brought down.    Whilst, sadly, these were from a Silent Key, it was a pleasure to see things going to new homes to carry on being used.

Jeff and Jack discussed the benefits of Grey Coax over Black Coax.

The Intermediate Training Cohort were back to full strength again, and much delight was had by all.  Honestly.

The exams are crawling inexorably closer.   They will be ready.

Ron looks happy and comfortable with this idea.  This is the natural state of the Training Cohort, because Kev is an excellent teacher. (This is a true fact and I have not been paid to say this.)

Meanwhile the Antenna Crew were building something.  It was tall.  It was spiky.  And it ended up in a discussion about bitcoins. (Amazing, but true.  We are a multi-purpose club.)


Clive informs me that this is a PBX100, and it’s an HF antenna for 80m-6m.  Jeff would like to see it next to a G5RV.  That discussion got technical, very quickly.

There were significant gaps tonight.

Mike, Ted and Peter were at their respective homes, doing the 80m contest.

Jack and Geoff were in the Shack, doing the 80m contest.  We kept them going with tea and chocolate.

By the end of the evening, when most of the contesters had returned to base, everyone was very pleased with themselves.  Lots of contacts had been made (final number available next week I think!) and aside from a German contest for Worked All Germany that was running at the same time, the band was clear.

There was some small discussion on reorgansing the computing aspect of the shack,  and that will be further discussed.

Finally, a new event was added into the diary as Olly has arranged a talk for the 6th December, from Roger.  Full details are in the Events calendar.

And that was tonight!

Next week we shall be in November, and a new page of Club Night Diaries.



18th October 2018

Tonight’s Club Night Diaries is dedicated to Marshall, who was unable to join us as he was, in his words, ‘a walking ball of disease.’  Nice.

It’s a shame, because he missed some exciting stuff! (It was exciting.  Ian was just overwhelmed by the excitement.  Honest!)

There was unboxing.

After the unboxing, there was lots of standing around and looking whilst there was plugging in and poking and stuff.

Ah.  The turning on moment!  Angels sang, glitter fell from the heavens, and the world was A Better Place.

It took a bit more wiggling to get the cat controller to work (it turned out to be the baud rate) and there are no photos of that, because it was yours truly who got it to work!

Meanwhile, in the rest of the club…


There was a demonstration of kit from the Morse Brigade, modelled here beautifully by Ian, (who wants an Equity Card for appearing in here).

The training cohort learnt to wire a plug for their practical, and then worked on transmitters and receivers.  They are heading to exam time soon…


There was a heated argument about the nature of digital radio, the best forms to use, the best logging software to use, and how not to mess up contesting.  N1NM was favourite, if you knew how to use it, which Mike didn’t.  He preferred FLDigi, which Ted doesn’t.  Airlink Express was also mentioned, before the technical details of Cabrillo files overwhelmed all concerned.

The Antenna Crew had a new creation to show off, larger than anything Clive had produced before.  Again, beautifully modelled by Ian. Clive said “It’s a 2 metre log periodic beam.”  And then he went off to rescue his cup of tea before it got washed up by Eric.

We also planned for JOTA/JOTI, which is this weekend, and anyone who can help is welcome from 0900 onwards both days.  There will be limited pictures of that because of the Cubs/Scouts/Guides/Rainbows involved.

And that was tonight’s Club Night Diaries


(P.S. Get well Marshall!)

11th October 2018

Tonight was the night of the committee meeting.  Tables were set up, and the sensible people were ready.

Other people were playing with the 101ZD, a beautiful, if somewhat older, radio, with lots of twiddly knobs and not a waterfall in sight.  The issue was that we could receive but not transmit.



The answer seemed to be that the microphone wasn’t working properly.  Swiftly, the answer was to look for a wiring diagram and go from there.

(For anyone interested, this is it!)

Jack was picking the brains of Kev before the Intermediate Training Cohort exhausted him, and there was deep discussion on inline fuses and wiring going on.

However, it became clear that the committee meeting was due to start, and so everything was paused whilst people made tea and ate kit-kats (other chocolate is available) the agendas were given out and we read them most assiduously.  Honest.  We did.

(By the way, proper notes for meetings will be available on the members side, as soon as that is possible. Until then, it’s just vagueness from me!)

There was much agreement about things, which was a bit of a shock for lots of people, but it did make for a quick meeting.  We even voted.

The meeting finished and BOOM! There was an explosion of people as they scattered to the four winds.

The 101ZD boys were into the shack before anyone could raise anything else, this time having persuaded Peter to help with the technical bit.

Peter was most successful, and the microphone had the gremlins removed, and began to work.

Contacts were made on 80m, and everyone was very pleased with themselves.

Meanwhile, the Intermediate Training Cohort were using the latest equipment to get to grips with a very technical subject.

It turned out the big whiteboard that is usually used by the Antenna Crew was not magnetic, and therefore Kev improvised, adapted and overcame, and used the radiator.

The Antenna Crew were not upset however, and discussed whether a particular item was two antenna in one.

And so another night of Club Night Diaries comes to an end.  (Officially ratified by the committee now as well!)

Next week could bring exciting news….


4th October 2018

The bands were dead, and so were the lights.  Well, dying.  It was like a 1980’s discotheque in a bad way.  Reduced to a single lamp, we met anyway, and debated whether putting the kettle on would destroy all of the power we had left…

Olly made some phonecalls and sorted it, and lo, there was light.

It’s been a night of much discussion.  The future of the online and paper log (of which more later), the death of the bands, sunspots, and the fact that Cycle 25 hasn’t started yet, according to some.

There was much discussion in the shack.  Paper?  Online?  Something else?  Who knows?

A decision was made. (Of which more later!)

The Antenna Brigade were out in force, with Clive demonstrating his antennas to his audience. I will add technical details to this later.  I was called away to help with something in the shack.


The Intermediate Training Cohort were in a noisily joyous mood, and then Kev said “Let’s do the maths!” and that was that.  Doom, Gloom, and Headscratching ensued.

Meantime, Peter was doing something with one of Clive’s creations.

And Mike, Geoff and Jack were still in the shack… poking… until they got it working.  Computers and online finally won out over paper logs, and LOG4OM was installed onto the shack computer.  (Jack is struggling with just one screen, but he’ll be ok!)


Lastly, a big thanks to those who turned up to the Scotty’s Little Soldiers walk on Sunday.  It wasn’t an official club thing, but it meant a lot, you special, special people you!

Next week is the committee meeting, to which all are welcome.  7:45, at the club.  And after that, there’ll be more of this!