Acorns Meeting June 2019
Andrew MØONH, founder of HamTronics.uk was the guest speaker at the club meeting on 18th June. We were also pleased to welcome Pete MØPSX, founder of EssexHam.co.uk. The presentation was an introduction to Micro-Controllers with a helpful explanation of the difference between these and conventional computers.
There were many examples of practical applications from an Time-Out for a VHF Repeater to a remote control of a rotator for VHF antenna. He allayed fears of programming with a three step demo as applied to a light sensor to turn on or off a domestic light switch. Andrew’s easy style and obvious knowledge of the subject was inspiration for members to grasp this development in radio and electronics.
Nick G4HCK (Chair), photo by MØICH
Acorns Meeting May 2019
Eddie, GØBKL, gave a presentation on antenna modelling using a free software programme called MMANA-GAL. You input key parameters such as length and width of wire, height off the ground and then optimise, for example, for best SWR. The computer produces a plot of the radiation pattern. This was applied to a SOTAbeam dipole which is an inverted V with the two elements at 120º (rather than 180º) as they help support the central pole along with a guy rope. All plugged into the program which shows how this configuration of dipole is more omni-directional than a conventional figure of 8.
Nick G4HCK (Chair), MMANA-GAL image by GØBKL
Lightship Café Event 26th May 2019
A community run family-day on Sunday 26th May at the Lightship Café in Grays, Essex attracted hundreds of visitors to a diverse array of events including face-painting and a DJ. The Café kindly allowed Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club to set up a stall. In fact we had two stalls; one outside with the crowd and one inside with an array of radios on display.
We had a prime spot near the Café entrance with two noisy Morse Code oscillators, run by Stella GØEKP, to attract attention. Louis was one such visitor who was awarded a Club Certificate having successfully send his name in Morse Code. This enticed him and his Mum into the main display so see a range of kit from hand-held radios to a computer running advanced amateur band Data Mode.
The event was a very worthwhile opportunity to introduce people to the hobby.
Nick G4HCK (Chair), photos by Nigel MØICH
Dog & Partridge Event 12th May 2019
Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club was lucky enough to get the special event call sign GB2PUB when operating from the car park of the “Dog and Partridge” in North Stifford, Essex.
The event was well advertised but the problem was, come the day, it lashed down with rain, brightened up for a moment and then lashed down again. Did we allow this deter our event from taking place? Dead right we did! We would have had wet equipment, annoyed club members and no visitors.
Instead we postponed it one day when the sun was out and had a remarkably successful demonstration event where the operating doubled up as an opportunity to test antennas and we were open to visitors. The moral of the story; like many things in amateur radio; need to compromise and adapt to get it to work.
Nick G4HCK (TAARC Chair), photo by Eddie GØBKL
G4OAD Memorial Trophy 2019
Acorns Member Nigel MØICH (left) has been awarded the 2019 G4OAD Memorial Trophy for his contribution to Morse Code by the Chair of EssexCW, Dean G4WQI (Right).
Nigel contributes to three CW nets including the Acorns CW net every Monday on 144.180MHz. He is also a volunteer CW operator at HMS Belfast (GB2RN) having visited the ship as part of a Acorns Club outing in 2017.
Photo by Tony GØYJI
Acorns AGM March 2019
New Committee – New Direction
The AGM on 19th March elected the Committee for the year 2019-2020 comprising from left to right:
Dave M5ABP Secretary
Nick G4HCK Chair
Eddie GØBKL Vice-Chair
Simon M1GGY Treasurer
There followed an honest debate on what has worked in the club over the past 12 months and what has not; this helped shape the agenda for the next 12 months.
Broadly speaking the agenda is split into four themes: (1) Public Events with the aim of introducing new people to the hobby. (2) Field Events where the aim is to concentrate on operating radio at HF or VHF. (3) Club nights with a selection of speakers. (4) Surprise Bonus…. members-only visits, more information in the April Newsletter.
Photo by Nigel MØICH
Acorns Meeting February 2019
At the club meeting on 19th February, Chair Paul G4MJM (left) was pleased to welcome David MØMBD (right) who has recently taken over as the RSGB representative for Acorns. David gave a brief overview of himself and his role within the RSGB. In particular he summarised the many developments taking place around the county and asked for feedback so that the views of members can be taking into account. He was able to help with some of the challenges in trying to engage with schools on the topic of amateur radio.
The evening’s presentation was by another RSGB representative, Vic G6BHE, who relayed his adventures of “Not So Great Canal Journeys” which made an entertaining diversion from the usual radio topics. The new Acorns’ sign was shown to the group with the intention it be used at club events for publicity to help guide the public to our website. Statutory notice was given of the Annual General Meeting in March which should be a well attended event.
Paul G4MJM (TAARC Chair), photo by Nigel MØICH
Acorns Meeting January 2019
It isn’t very often that our members get to meet a celebrity, but on 15th January Thurrock Acorns were pleased to welcome Gwyn Williams G4FKH who created the popular website www.predtest.uk and is an authority on HF propagation. Gwyn is also the author the HF prediction chart that appears every month in RadCom (photo).
Gwyn explained how the program worked in terms of the automatic updating of key information and gave an example of how to predict HF reception between two locations. The reason the prediction program is so popular is that it was written to avoid the need for technical input to be entered manually and the output is displayed in easy to understand visual graphs and maps. His easy going style made the presentation entertaining as well as educational.
What Gwyn didn’t predict, being the first meeting of the new year, was to be invited to remain for a review of the many plans and opportunities that Thurrock Acorns has in store for 2019. This is going to be an exciting year and we got off to a great start.
Paul G4MJM (TAARC Chair), photo by Nigel MØICH