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Solar Cycle 24

Welcome to the Havering and District Amateur Radio Club website. We are based in Hornchurch Essex, around 20km East of London UK. We use the calls G4HRC, G8HRC and GX4HRC and have been serving the needs of local amateurs for over 40 years.
HF SSB & 144 MHz Trophy, 6-7 Sept 2014
Posted on:
15th September 2014
144MHz antenna
Click to enlarge

This weekend Dave M0TAZ took part in the 144 MHz trophy contest as well as a few HF stations in the RSGB HF SSB Field day from the Bunker site. He kindly provided this report.

The contest attracts activity from all over Europe, and on Sunday it also coincides with the low power back packer series. The contest has a number of categories from 24 hours to 6 hours. Dave M0TAZ decided to opt for a casual entry on Saturday only, operating for just under 4 Hrs. The contest was very busy, with a lot of high power multi-antenna UK stations with exceptional signals.

Using a Icom IC-7100 with 50w and a 12m mast supporting a 9-element tonna, Dave was able to work 41 stations.

Some VHF DX highlights for the day were:

DL0GTH in JN50 @741 KM.
DA0FF in JN40 @ 688 KM
DL0GM in JO31 @520 KM

You can view the claimed scores here.

On Sunday, Dave decided to work a few HF stations, the RSGB SSB Field day continued
until 2PM local, so set up a simple station using 100w from the Icom into a doublet antenna 20m per leg fed with 300 Ohm ribbon cable.

HF antenna
Click to enlarge

With the able assistance of Fred G3SVK we worked 35 stations quickly before getting sidetracked by some JA stations calling on 21 MHz.

After a few calls I was able to work: JA7NVF, JA1OGI and JM1PLN.

I also operated on 5 MHz and was able to work Mal G3KEV/p in Scarborough and Peter G4LNA in Hertfordshire.

A map showing the QSO completed on 144 MHz can be seen below.
73, Dave M0TAZ.

Click to enlarge

Work The World, 23-24 August 2014
Posted on:
26th August 2014

This weekend sees activation of GB0SNB for the Havering & District Amateur Radio Society’s Work the World Weekend.  A chance for club members to operate outside of a contest and to experiment with equipment and to have a less intensive style field day.

Taken just as the sun was setting, the two large antennas can be seen with the club caravan and members vehicles.  The black dot suspended above the caravan is part of the 40 metre dipole configured as an inverted-V.

Work The World Weekend
Click to enlarge

In total, we made just shy of 1000 QSOs during the weekend.  The total was 973.  Not bad going at all, and I think the RSGB Bureau will be busy!  The breakdown goes something like this:

40 metres 120 0 0 0 120
20 metres 138 221 36 39 434
17 metres 72 347 0 0 419
Totals 430

It is worth noting here that all of the CW QSOs were made by Fred G3SVK!

During the weekend we managed to work 68 separate DXCC entities, 16 on 40 metres, 47 on on 20 metres, and 41 on 17 metres.

The weekend saw a few firsts for GB0SNB.  First QSO with Anguilla (VP2E), Bahrain (A9), India (VU2), China (BY), Mongolia (JT) and Puerto Rico (KP4) to name a few.

Some more images and further reading can be seen on the GB0SNB.com site.

VHF Field Day, 5-6 July 2014
Posted on:
28th July 2014

VHF Field Day, 5-6 July 2014
Click to enlarge

Members of the Havering & District Amateur Radio Club took to the air this weekend operating as G4HRC/P for the 2014 VHF national field day. Members activated 4 bands, 6 metres, 4 metres, 2 metres and 70 centimetres.

Band Transceiver Antenna
50 MHz Icom IC-7400 6-element Yagi
70 MHz Icom IC-7100 8-element Yagi
144 MHz Icom IC-7000 16-element Tonna
432 MHz Yaesu FT-847 27-element Tonna

Two masts were used.  Pictured left are the 6 metre and 2 metre antennas on the SCAM 12 metre mast.

During the 24 hours of activity, starting 2pm UTC on Saturday, we managed to rack up 20 QSOs on 50 MHz, 53 QSOs on 70 MHz, 76 QSOs on 144 MHz and 24 QSOs on 432 MHz (173 QSOs total). Maps of the QSOs made are shown below for the 4 bands.

50MHz - Click to enlarge

70MHz - Click to enlarge

144MHz - Click to enlarge

432MHz - Click to enlarge

50 MHz Trophy Cup, 21-22 June 2014
Posted on:
28th July 2014

Members of the Havering & District Amateur Radio Club took to the air operating as G4HRC/P for the 2014 50MHz Trophy Cup. Equipment was an Icom IC-7700 transceiver, 6-element 6 metre beam and 12 metre SCAM pneumatic mast.

During the 24 hours of activity, starting 2pm UTC on Saturday, we managed to rack up around 150 QSOs in conditions which where a little above average.  Best DX was a tie between EA8 and IZ1 both very close to 3000 km.  Splashes of sporadic-E were noticed, but these patches where few and far between (hence sporadic!).

50MHz Yagi
Click to enlarge
A map of QSO's can be seen here.

Holyhead Mountain SOTA - GW/NW-069
Posted on:
8th March 2014

Click to enlarge

On this occasion we chose Holyhead Mountain, this is SOTA ref GW/NW-069 and at just 220 meters is a real little summit with an interesting walk. Its on the Isle of Anglesey, over looking the Irish sea with good view North into Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man and South into England. The antenna was a new portable design 6 element from John M0UKD, using a light weight aluminium boom and a quick release element system never before seen in the UK.

John had designed the antenna to be easy to assemble, having learnt on the activations to date that its often cold and hard work to tighten screws and secure elements. The new revised (mark 3) design makes use of textile secure spring loaded gripping devices, some will know these better as clothes pegs. The pegs are secured to the boom on a wooden plate, so the elements simply need to be clipped in place making the entire assembly around 60 seconds. On this occasion we used the Yaesu FT 897 and internal battery at 20w on 144 MHz SSB.

Despite our best planning the SSB part of the band was almost all filled with s9 of harsh electrical noise, in some directions we could null out the noise but it soon became apparent that SSB would not be possible from this summit. The back up plan was to move the beam into the vertical polarisation and operate on FM. This proved much more successful, with the noise reduced and we had soon worked 10 stations, including 3 summit to summit which are listed below:

GM7PKT/P (Robin) GM/SS-060 Meall Buidhe 719m (SSB) - a distance of 348 Km
M0NJW/P (Nigel) G/NP-004 Whernside 736m (FM) - a distance of 184 Km
MW6GWR/P (Ricky) GW/NW-048 Mynydd Nodol (FM)- a distance of 78 Km

A short video clip showing a few pictures from the summit and our /P HF activation can be seen here on YouTube. Also a video of some operating on 40m from our accomodation location is here.

DX Corner - by Fred, G3SVK
Posted on:
17th February 2014

'DX Corner' by Fred, G3SVK. A new regular feature containing information on HF propagation and DX.

I had noticed that 10M had some nice openings although I didn't listen late at night like Bob, MD0CDE. The HF bands seemed to close by early evening with all but the strongest EU station coming through. Some prop to SA until around 20.00 on 20M and 30M after which you were stuck with the LF bands. I have no antenna for 160M or 80M although I heard that FT5ZM (Amsterdam & St Paul’s Island) had been worked on 160M AND 80M but not by me! The TO Reunion Island DXpedition don't seem to be very strong with me although I did make it on 20M with them. The S79TF is not very strong with me neither have I heard the V73 from Marshall Is. I’m looking forward to Don's (G3XTT) trip to TX6G in the Australs in April.  I was pleased to get FT5ZM in the log. I worked them on 10M using a sloping dipole and cracked them again on 12M using the same 10M sloping dipole. I hooked them on 15M using my 40M folded dipole, but just couldn't crack them on 20M 40M or 30M pile-up. It seemed that, just as their 30M signal was building nicely, they called for NA only.

Anyway, here goes with my crop for this month...

Read the full article by clicking the PDF link »»»

Click to open full article
(PDF Document)

GB3VHF talk by Chris G0FDZ
Posted on:
23rd January 2014

Chris, G0FDZ gave us an excellent talk on the inner workings of the beacon GB3VHF on Wednesday. Chris explained how the beacon had evolved from valve based equipment using paper tape keyed morse, right up to the present beacon which uses the latest digital techniques including GPS frequency lock, JT65 and carrier phase reversal.

The talk was enjoyed by all club members that were present and the club thanks Chris and all who maintain GB3VHF for their work.

Chris, G0FDZ giving the club a talk on the GB3VHF beacon
Click to enlarge
For further reading, visit the beacons website at www.gb3vhf.co.uk

DX Corner - by Fred, G3SVK
Posted on:
6th January 2014

'DX Corner' by Fred, G3SVK. A new regular feature containing information on HF propagation and DX.

Propagation has been a bit sporadic (no, not E) this last month. On the higher bands there have been some interesting openings to the Far East and quite a lot to work especially on 10M and 15M. I don’t personally have an antenna for 15 but I did string up a sloping dipole for 10M which had a modicum of success.

Due to the high winds lately, my dipole antennas have been blown all over the place and have caused some variable SWR’s as the feed points interact with each other. However, due to the long hours of darkness, I concentrated on 40 and 30 metres which seemed to show some interesting DX early evening especially around our sunset time to coincide with the grey line propagation. Then, later in the evening, there seemed to be a wipe-out and the band was almost devoid of any signals until our sunrise time at around 8am.

However, here’s what was bagged on the various bands. Again, you can look up the prefixes to see what countries were worked on CW.
Read the full article by clicking the PDF link »»»

Click to open full article
(PDF Document)

Working some IOTA DX
Posted on:
28th July 2013

As you would have noticed the IOTA contest was on over the last 24 Hrs. For the first time ever I decide to have a go away from home, and see what I could work in 12 Hrs.

The setup was the Racal push up mast 12m,
Icom 7000, Linear Amp UK 1200,
Honda 2K Generator,, 2E Quad.

Assisted by John M0UKD we set the mast and quad up early afternoon. The forecast was rain for the afternoon, so it was important to get operational by 4PM so we could ensure everything was packed away and dry in time for the rain.

Once setup we tested the quad and the Linear Amp and found that was reasonably happy driving the radio (around 25w) into the linear (around 300 to 350 out)
Again the mast was hand rotated, in the maim we only had 2 or 3 ways to beam.

The objective was to try and work some rare Islands, or indeed some nice DX. It was much more around quality than quantity.

Operating from the car, it was quite interesting when the storm hit around 8pm, quite a bit of lightning but nothing too close (mostly over 2 km away) so we pushed on !

Hunting around we managed to work quite a few nice countries and islands, including New Zeland, Ecuador, Australia, Columbia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Honduras, Chile, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, Dominican Republic, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, Indonesia, Japan, China and Market Reef.

The highlight for me was China, although I have never managed to work so many VK and JA stations and working ZL was quite special on phone.

All together we worked 53 DXCC and 64 IOTA and 167 stations worked.

73 Dave M0TAZ

50MHz Trophy Contest
Posted on:
17th June 2013

The Havering and District Amateur radio club using G4HRC took part part in the 50MHz trophy cup over the weekend of 15th and 16th June. The clubs equipment includes a linear amplifier and 6 element beam, mounted on a 12m pump up mast.

Over the course of the weekend we worked 128 stations, with the best DX of TF3ML in HP93KU, 1842 Km. In common with other stations the band provided very little sporadic E over the course of the weekend, with a few openings to the East.

Some photos from the weekend can be seen in the gallery. Our QSO map can be viewed here.

50MHz Field Day 2013
Click to enlarge

HF Portable On 20M With A Two Ele Quad
Posted on:
9th June 2013

The 20m quad on the Racal 12m mast
Click to enlarge

Having just returned from Scotland, I decided it was about time to dust off the 20m Quad antenna and do some QRO with John M0UKD.

The antenna has undergone a few modifications since the #1 version last year. The mounting plates for the roach poles are now heavy duty aluminium.

The plan last night was to setup the Quad and try out a new mast (12m [40ft] Racal push up mast) with the antenna. The antenna assembly takes a while, as the antenna was designed to be portable, with everything fitting into the car in preparation for HF portable.

Power would be provided by the Honda generator, and so this would enable me to take the Linear Amp and run QRO with 400w.

The plan was to use a leisure battery to run the radio, allowing the generator to breath and deliver the linear as required.

The generator would be capable of doing both, but I have the battery here and it seems logical to give the genny some headroom.

The mast was a new addition, and I was pleased to see I could set this up on my own, complete the guys and extend it to 12m without any assistance. Once the quad was in place assistance was required as its almost impossible to assemble to quad and mount on the stub without assistance. The antenna is quite light, but pushing the mast up was a little difficult but with care it was soon at 10m. It was a little windy last night, so kept a couple of meters in hand..

The antenna will free rotate on the mast, if you only guy at the top and the bottom you can simply hand rotate, we decided to use a rope on the back of the antenna so we could fix it at the USA and call CQ DX.

We stated operating at 8.45 and the plan was to finish late.... (we finished at 2:45)

The first call in the log was WA1LSH from MA and very soon we had a mini USA pile up! Over the course of the evening we worked 90 stations, 65 of them USA.

A quick look at the stats suggest 19 states DE, FL, GA, IL, MA, MD, ME, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA and WV.

We also worked a fair selection of other contries including Equador, Canada, Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. Only one VK but we was beaming at the USA.

I have included a couple of pictures from the evening, and now the "summer" is here its nice to do some weekend outdoor operating into the wee small hours. This is after all the solar maximum so best to make use of it while we can....

73 Dave, M0TAZ.
For live updates, follow M0TAZ on twitter.

Putting the aerial together
Click to enlarge

MM0TAZ/P Portable HF with a view
Posted on:
30th May 2013

Working portable from any location is always fun, but today I got the chance to work /p from the highlands of Scotland in the sun. The equipment was my basic portable setup, Icom 7000, 85 Ah battery, 12m roach pole and 24m (12m per leg) doublet. The operating location was Ullapool on the West coast of Scotland. I settled on a rural lay-by close to the A835 around 5 miles North of Ullapool, room for the doublet and away from the public.

MM0TAZ/P - Ullapool
Click to enlarge

I setup on 7 MHz, and quickly joined M0UKD John for a chat, the signal as expected was a push on 7 MHz with 5-5 to 5-7 from John. The noise level at my side was zero, so the signal to noise on everyone was very good. I operated for 2.5 Hrs and worked 26 stations on 7 MHz including Brian M0OAB and Wayne G4YOH from LEFARS. Having never worked from this far North I was surprised I could work into London, most of the stations I worked were from the Midlands, Cheshire, Runcorn, Leeds, Wolverhampton, Liverpool.

The operating location can be seen on Google Maps and more photos can be seen on Dave's Flickr Set.

Club Meeting Agenda
September 2014
• 3rd
TXfactor3 – Kite Antennas, Military Wireless Museum, DVD
• 10th
Informal Club Evening
• 17th
“MMNA Antenna Design Program” by Peter G3SUY
• 24th
Informal Club Evening

October 2014
4th Quarter Business Meeting
• 8th
Informal Club Evening
• 15th
“Millimetric Microwaves” by Chris, G0FDZ
• 22nd
Informal Club Evening
• 29th
“LOG4OM Update” by Terry Genes, G4POP

Dates for the diary
• 09-10th May 2015 Windmills On The Air 2015

• 6-7th June 2015 National Field Day CW

• 20-21st June 2015 50 MHz Trophy Contest

• 4-5th July 2015 VHF Field Day

• 23-24th August 2014 Work The World Weekend
As with last years event this will be a fun event running for 24 hours and it will be held at the Secret Nuclear Bunker in Kelvedon Hatch. As the title suggest we aim to chat with as many countries as possible, but its not a competition.

• 6-7th September 2014 HF SSB field weekend at the Secret Nuclear Bunker

Club Nets East London / South Essex area
• Mondays 8pm
Monday Natter Net
145.525 MHz* FM
• Thursdays 8pm
Havering Radio Club Net
145.525 MHz* FM
• Fridays 8pm
Friday Natter Net
145.525 MHz* FM
• Saturdays 2pm
Top Band Afternoon Net
160 Metres (1910kHz)
* Frequencies subject to availability. Find us usually between 145.450 and 145.550 MHz.
† All times are local time.

Web design by John MØUKD
© Havering & District Amateur Radio Club 2014