Monday, 23 April 2012

GB0CMS makes nearly 500 contacts in 40 countries.

NARC member and local TV weatherman Jim Bacon, G3YLA,
operating the Caister station GB0CMS. (Steve Nichols G0KYA)
I was part of the team that operated GB0CMS in Caister (Norfolk) on Saturday as part of International Marconi Day. We had two stations - one on 40m and the other on 20m, operating both CW and SSB.

It turned out to be our best ever effort - we worked 487 hams in 40 countries and got as far afield as Austraila (VK5), Barbados (8P), the US (out to Ohio), Canada and Asiatic Russia (UA9).

The reason I'm telling you this is because we tried a new antenna for 40m - the W5GI "Mystery Antenna".  In fact, I only finished making it a day or so before the event so it was largely untested.

I've used one of these at home for a while and it works very well on 80m and 40m, especially if you can't fit an 80m dipole in. You can find out more on my W5GI post above, but everyone who used it was impressed and we got some very favourable reports. I find at home that it often breaks pileups on 40m even though it rests on the apex of the roof tiles!

On 20m we used my vertical end fed half wave (EFHW) design, but with a few tweaks. To stop RFI, which has plagued us in previous years, we mounted both antennas further away and I added four 10ft ground radials, earthed the matching unit to the screw-in base mount and also put a choke (line isolator) about 20ft back from the antenna. The radials are not as crucial as with a quarter wave design as it is a high impedance feed point. However, a few won't hurt and neither will the earth. The choke stopped currents flowing on the braid back to the radio. If I am operating just one radio this isn't quite so necessary.

It did the trick and we were able to operate the two stations with no mutual interference and no lost keyers or interfaces when RF gets into the cabling.

If you worked us on Saturday take a look at this short video shot by Kevin M0UJD.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Titanic 100th anniversary book - now available as an ebook too

The book "The loss of the Titanic - its story and lessons", which I helped republish, is also now available as an ebook as well as a paperback - just ready for the 100th anniversary!
Lawrence Beesley was a science teacher, journalist and author who was a survivor of the Titanic tragedy in 1912. In this dramatic real-life tale Beesley tells first hand what it was like to be on the Titanic as it plunged into the icy waters of the North Atlantic on that fateful night.
As well as describing the voyage, the collision with the iceberg and the subsequent sinking, Beesley documents what could have been done to save the 1,500 plus people who perished.
Cover of Titanic bookHis account, and others, resulted in many changes to maritime law and procedure in an effort to make sure that a disaster of Titanic’s proportions should never happen again. “The loss of the S.S. Titanic – its story and its lessons” was first published in 1912, shortly after the disaster.
Now republished by InfoTech Communications, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the accident, the 116-page paperback book is available via, delivered straight to your door wherever you live in the world.
Find out more