Sunday, 26 April 2015

SES Ramblings

Just spent an enjoyable day assisting in the operation of GB5ROC, a special event station operated by members of the South Kesteven Amateur Radio Society at the Cold War Bunker site at Buckminster, on the Lincolnshire/Leicestershire border. Stewart (M0SDM), Andrew (M0NRD) and myself (2E0ENN) operated on 40m all day and a total of 151 contacts were made during the day. The majority of the operating was done by Stewart,  who provided the Yaesu FT897 and the off centre fed dipole, used for the activation. A Racal push up mast was used to support the antenna and contacts were made into Switzerland, Holland and Belgium, as well as UK wide.

The Bunker has been the subject of a restoration and the first public open day of the year was held today - the public having access for visits. It was the site of a Royal Observer Corps monitoring post and Nuclear fall out and other conditions associated with a Nuclear strike would have been monitored from there, if the need ever arose. There was a network of over 1500 such bunkers UK wide, and most were de - commissioned by 1991, the ROC being disbanded by 1996 after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Thanks to all who called in to the station and just a reminder that our next SES is Sunday June 28th for the Swaton Vintage Day,  GB2EGG and Eggsplorer 1 being the highlights of the days activities.

More details on our club website

73 de 2E0ENN

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Digital and other ramblings

Well, after much deliberation I have got hold of a DMR radio. I weighed up the options between DMR, System Fusion and DSTAR and plumped for the DMR - MARC system. DSTAR is great, well established and quite popular but the equipment is fairly expensive and the Yaesu system isn't yet proven and I hear varying reports as to its functionality. The radio I have I'd the Connect Systems CS700 UHF handheld. It is both digital and analogue and has an output of 1 or 4W.

The requirements for using the DMR MARC system include registering for a user ID which is transmitted with your QSO, giving your radio a unique identifier which can be checked against the DMR MARC database. It a a bit like a digital

The radio needs to be programmed using a data set called a codeplug which contains all the details the radio needs to access the network. My radio came pre programmed but I have had to adjust some settings for analogue repeaters but once programmed correctly the radio is quite impressive.

Digitally the audio is superb with no loss of signal quality but there is no degradation of signal as with FM - when the signal deteriorates to a level that the radio cannot receive then the entire signal drops out. As the network of repeaters increases there is a "roaming" option which will re tune you to the next strongest repeater on your route. Each repeater setting is known as a "zone" and in each zone there are "talkgroups". Talk groups are like individual channels and are available locally, nationally and worldwide, dependent on which talkgroup you are on so it doesn't matter which repeater you use, the talkgroups remain the same.

I have fitted a CTCSS board into my old Standard C5600 radio and now FM AV repeaters are now available to me again. The Icom IC-E208 now being installed in the car to maximise my 50W operating limit.

SKARS meeting this week (15th April) includes a presentation from M0OBL on the build of his Elecraft rig. Details on

73 de 2E0ENN