Acorns Meeting October 2019

Four Parts to One Meeting

The Acorns’ October meeting was a very useful exercise in sharing expertise.

Firstly, there was a demo of two useful gadgets for measuring SWR on a hand-held transceiver and checking the frequency it was transmitting on. Secondly, two products of 3-D printing were on display – a straight key and an iambic Morse code key (photo). Thirdly, a table top sale with an explanation of what the various items were for. Finally, a convivial social gathering helping each other with advice and expertise. More photos…

Article by Nick G4HCK (Chair), Photo by Nigel MØICH

Acorns Meeting August 2019

Ex-lorry driver and CB operator, Jonathan GØFDS explained how Citizen Band was his route into obtaining a Full Amateur Radio Licence. His entertaining talk started with practical advice; don’t put your hand into the back of old electrical equipment even if it has been off for several years as the capacitors can still discharge a sizable electric shock! Peter described how CB radios work on FM, AM and even SSB but etiquette is unregulated and they have a very limited range. In addition to his collection of CB radios he brought a selection of CB antennas and explained the reason for their different designs. A very helpful summary of the evolution of CB in the UK. More photos…

Article by Nick G4HCK (Chair), Photo by Nigel MØICH

Essex Wildlife Trust Event August 2019

Go – No Go: Eddie made the right decision

The bad weather made national news on 10th August. In Essex there were gusts of up to 48mph – making it touch and go whether to risk going ahead with “GB1EWT” – a special event station held at the Essex Wildlife Trust’s Thameside Nature Park situated on high ground overlooking the River Thames. The difficult decision fell to the event organiser, Eddie GØBKL who assessed it was safe to erect three antennas – albeit at a slightly lower than ideal height.

Considering most people were taking down their antennas around the country we had a remarkably successful event. Twenty-one contacts on 2m temporary colinear antenna on the roof, 17 contacts on FT8 from a vertical antenna tied to a fence post; and a G5RV antenna hanging from the 3rd story.

The ferocious weather deterred some visitors but for those who made it they were presented with a live radio and an intriguing display promoting the hobby including a scale model in size and weight of a cube-stat (amateur radio satellite). More photos…

Article by Nick G4HCK (Chair), photo by Nigel MØICH

Acorns Meeting June 2019

Andrew MØONH, founder of was the guest speaker at the club meeting on 18th June. We were also pleased to welcome Pete MØPSX, founder of 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. More photos…

Article by Nick G4HCK (Chair), photo by Nigel 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.
More photos…

Article by 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.

More photos…

Article by 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. More photos…

Article by 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. More photos…

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. More photos…

Article by 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 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. More photos…

Article by Paul G4MJM (TAARC Chair), photo by Nigel MØICH

take a look at some of what we did earlier …