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Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 12th February 2017

The sleet was being driven against the shack window as I tuned across an apparently quiet 80m band. Therefore it was very reassuring when John (G3OGE) responded to my initial call from his Hornsea QTH. He was closely followed by Peter (G3RQZ) from Redhill. Both stations were extremely readable, although Peter’s transmission +20db over. Peter said that all the snow had thawed and his current ambient temperature was 3.8c, he went on to say that he was using his TL922 linear this month just to ‘keep the damp out’ of the unit as he had not used it for several weeks.

John (G3OGE) said he was a little surprised that he was radiating such a good signal as he was using 60ft of wire as an antenna without an earth or counterpoise.
I told John he was a respectable 57 here in Norfolk albeit occasionally his signal took a dive in QSB.

John (G3FNZ) thumped in with a 58 signal from Rochester with the news that he and Beryl had attended the Clifton dinner at the Miller and Carter restaurant in Bexley. John went on to say it was good to meet with other members although he was saddened by the ‘winding up’ the Clifton as he was one of the original founder members from 1946.
He was also a little disappointed that only six club members and their xyl’s attended the dinner also the Clifton diners were split between two tables across an aisle making conversation a little awkward. But all in all it was a good opportunity to reminisce.
Our thanks go out to Lawrie (G4FAA) who was the prime mover in organising the dinner. With our membership spread from the south coast through to Yorkshire, and across as far as Switzerland. It is extremely difficult to find a venue, as well as a time to suit the majority.

The following feed-back was posted by Lawrie on the ‘G3GHN Yahoo Group’.
6 club members and their xyl’s attended – Martin (G0DCG), John (G3 FNZ) with Beryl, Clive (G0PPO/ G8APV), Keith (G4TJE), Steve (G4 RFC) with Liz and Lawrie (G4 FAA) with Maureen.  A number of other  club members were unable to attend due to work commitments etc. but sent best wishes to the gathering namely: Peter (G0 NGP) ,Tony (G0HUZ),Suzanne (G0LUZ) Peter (G7 ULL), Colin (G0UJK) and Bob (G4 DBW).

A hearty meal was enjoyed by all.  John (a founder member of the club) brought along his Clifton club photo archive which dates back to 1946 which was passed around the tables with great interest!

At the end of the dinner it was unanimously agreed by the committee members present that the modest costs of the meal should be met  by the club which led on to a discussion as to what to do with remaining club funds ? Several “Amateur radio charities” proposals were put forward including donations to an appropriate RSGB fund ,the  Wireless for the blind charity or the Radio amateur invalid and blind club but no firm conclusion was reached.

Thus please forward any support for or alternative suggestions on this subject to Martin who is both club secretary and treasurer—.

And finally a tentative idea was put forward for a future barbecue style get together one weekend in the summer so watch this space!

Best 73’s all

Lawrie (G4FAA)

I have reproduced Lawrie’s circulation as unfortunately not all “Cliftonaires” are members of the G3GHN Yahoo Group. As a result some were unaware of the function and have stated that they would have attended if they had known. I will be passing the details of the G3GHN Yahoo Group to those concerned.

At this point Peter (G3PJB) announced his presence from Swanley with 58 signals at my QTH. Although this was not reciprocated in Peter’s report. Unfortunately he was still plagued with the high levels of noise and gave me a 54 at best, with my transmissions occasionally submerging below his local QRM, this made life very difficult. However Peter (G3RQZ) was an easy copy, although John (G3OGE) was not audible due to noise. Peter (G3PJB) had to utilise Hack Green remote SDR to stay in touch with the group. He also had intended to use his solid state linear, but unfortunately his computer or router would shut-down if he exceeded 100w output; leading to the loss of reception via the Hack Green SDR. Don’t worry Peter you were very readable here without the linear.

John (G3OGE) stated that Peter (G3RQZ) was an ‘armchair copy’, being strong enough to override John’s local noise. Unfortunately the noise was having a detrimental effect on my signals such that John could only give me a 54 report. To receive Peter (G3PJB) he too had to resort to Hack Green.

John went on to say he had joined the local radio club at Hornsea. This was so close to his QTH that he could walk to the meetings. Although they were looking for new premises as the owner of their old venue had suddenly decided to increase the rent.

It was quite an active club with about 30 members (Err! that sounds like the Clifton in 80’s & 90s). John stated how pleasing it was to be able join the CC Nets now that he was back in the UK, unlike being ‘continental QRM’ when he was in France. John went on to say there was a fair level of activity locally; he often joined nets with club members as far away as Scarborough.

Peter (G3RQZ) said that all stations were a solid copy at his QTH, again this due his low noise environment. This confirmed that John (G3OGE)’s random 60ft wire sans counterpoise or earth was certainly radiating.

Peter went on to say it was his intention this year to get out and about during the ‘contest season’ with his portable micro-wave kit. He had in the past been involved with G4ALE in contests and is still custodian of the G0ALE call.

With John (G3OGE) mentioning Scarborough, it linked nicely to an e-mail I received before the net from Frank (G3WMR) who sent his apologies as he would not be available as he was currently in Scarborough?………..The only difference is that he was some 5000miles west of Yorkshire in Tobago (9Y). However Frank said he hoped to be listening on-line via Hack Green.

In my reply e-mailed to Frank I said Suzanne and I had visited Tobago on 20th January 2016; a lovely island with wonderful people.  During our visit we cycled from Scarborough to Pigeon Pt and back along the coast roads and over Mason’s Hill dropping down past Fort King George to the port, a distance of some 60 miles of stunning tropical scenery in temperatures of 28C.

After the net I received confirmation from Frank that he had listened to the net whist sitting in café on the beach. He had copied everyone involved via Hack Green until his laptop batteries died. Frank passed on his best 73s to all.

I hope you managed to receive the greetings sent by the group before your batteries failed Frank?

Staying on this theme of increasing local QRM, I received an interesting e-mail from Bob (HB9BDJ ex-G3OAW), which I am sure he won’t mind sharing with you:

Greetings Tony,

I shall be listening on 12th Feb with the hope of hearing something on 80 m.
During the interval between the Feb. net and that which should take place in March, I hope to become QRV with 1kW from a shack belonging to HB9ADJ. At my home location, persistent (and overwhelming) QRM makes it now impossible to continue on anything other than VHF/UHF, EME or repeater operation.

HB9ADJ’s shack is a caravan in the middle of wide open agricultural land with a good take-off path towards the north and excellent ground conduction thanks to underlying water. (Lake Geneva is quite close). Antenna will be a long wire of some kind – details still to be worked out. If we manage to hear the Clifton gang in March, we shall give you a call. Of course, lately, propagation on 80 and 40 has been very unpredictable and so we shall be in the hands of the gods.

In any event, please rest assured that I read your monthly summary which always arrives without a blemish and it is a great pleasure to know that the Clifton spirit is still alive.

73 QRO de Bob HB9BDJ (ex G3OAW)

Thank you Bob, it is a little perverse to say, but it is reassuring to learn that we are not alone in the UK in suffering the growing menace of local noise.

Looking back in the archive of Country Club Net summaries, it can be seen that the topic of disruptive local noise levels was first raised in 2014.Then it only affected a few of our members in specific locations for limited periods, annoying but tolerable. However, since the widespread introduction of high speed broadband via VDSL the scourge of wide-band noise on the lower HF frequencies (top band and 80m) has spread to the majority of the HF spectrum making HF reception impossible in many areas. In the March edition of Rad Com (p.56) Dr. John Rogers examines the issue of local noise from VDSL installations and what if anything we can do to mitigate the situation.

At this point in the afternoon Colin (G0UJK) called in from Swanley saying that I was only a 45 signal, again Colin was victim of a similar ‘noise floor’ as fellow Swanley resident Peter (G3PJB). Colin went on to say he was very disappointed that he could not attend the Clifton dinner because he was unable to take time away from work. He felt that some consideration should have been given to those members who were not retired. On this point Colin, I know that Lawrie (G4FAA) strived to strike a balance with the venue, availability and the date of the event. Having organised these functions myself in the past, I can assure you that there is a lot more involved than it first appears and it is almost impossible to please everyone. I am sure any advice and assistance you can give with regard to the proposed ‘summer barbeque’ will be greatly appreciated.

As Colin finished his over I just caught a weak station calling. This was Ed (PE1IQC) although not a Clifton member, he had been listening to our group for some time. Ironically he also was suffering from local noise that meant most of the group were very difficult to copy, with the exception of Peter (G3RQZ) and myself.  Ed was located in the medieval town of Schoonhoven, he was running 50w from an old FT107 that he had recently repaired. His antenna was an off-centre fed dipole at 15m above the ground. This set up was producing a fairly good signal here in Norfolk 55/57 with rolling QSB. Peter (G3RQZ) could also copy Ed well, although unfortunately Ed was not readable with the others, even via Hack Green.

We explained the background of the Clifton ARS to Ed and said that he was welcome to join our merry band.

John (G3FNZ) stated that his local QRM was so high that he was unable to hear what was being said. Therefore, regretfully he was going to sign out.  Thanks for coming on John and hopefully we will hear you next month!

John (G3OGE) said that he was sorry to have missed the dinner, and that he was willing to travel to meet with old radio pals providing he was given sufficient notice. He went on to say that he had not seen Peter (G3PJB) for at least 40years and the last time he had met with Peter (G3RQZ) was when he was domiciled in France. Because John was now experiencing increasing QRM from the near continent he was signing too.

Just before contemplating the closure of the net, Peter (G7ULL) put in an appearance from his elevated QTH in Chislehurst. Peter was his typical 59+ signal and said that I was likewise with him. During the last month he had been enjoying the weekday evening 2m and 70cm activity sessions giving him the chance to work several new squares. Meanwhile even with the HF bands in the doldrums Peter had made several contacts on 20m to the Far East including Papua New Guinea (P29). Just going to prove even quiet bands can produce surprises.

As the time approached 15.30 the skip on 80m was lengthening; European stations were just beginning to become intrusive. This was to the benefit of Ed (PE1IQC) whose  signals had improved to a clear 59. He went on say he enjoyed servicing and refurbishing old radios such as the FT107. Because he was retired he did not have the money to spend on new SDR and state of the art rigs. It had be very interesting listening to our net, especially how we were being affected by the burgeoning sources of local noise.

I told Ed that he was very welcome to join our next net scheduled for Sunday 19th March at 1500 Hrs. Hopefully this date should avoid most major contests.

Before the net I received an e-mail from Brian (G3OYU) with not only apologies but also some good news, in that he has been fitted with an ‘implant’ to correct his hearing loss. Since the procedure he has found the improvement in his hearing quite amazing. The technology of these modern devices is also quite stunning, in that all the functions of level, sensitivity etc. are controlled from Brian’s smart-phone via a Bluetooth link. All being well Brian hopes to be on the next Country Club net. We all look forward to that Brian!
As the clock reached 15.35 hrs most had signed, just leaving me to tie the ribbons on the CC Net until next month.

Hopefully we will hear as many of you as possible on Sunday 19th March at 1500hrs.
Until then, ‘catch you on the wireless’, especially if you happen to be in the ‘long grass’ near 5.262 Mhz.

73 es 88s de Tony es Suzanne.

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Clifton Country Club Net Sunday 12th February 2017


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