On Wednesday 19th June, CRDARS hosted a talk
by Peter, G4VUN, on his experiences in amateur radio.
Peter brought along a variety of classic radio equipment,
including second hand and ex-military transceivers and ATUs that had been
repurposed for use on the amateur bands. He was keen to point out that he’s had
many successful contacts with people all over the world, using cheap equipment
and simple wire antennas, fed with ladder line. There’s plenty of older but
perfectly serviceable equipment in circulation, and getting started with
amateur radio doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Peter was also keen to discuss the challenges facing
amateur radio in 2019, from weak propagation and high levels of noise to the lack
of apparent activity on many of the amateur bands.
All present were encouraged to get on the air and operate
as much as possible. Whether by calling CQ, or coming back to other people’s
calls, any activity on the bands is welcome, and the more people we have making
even basic, boilerplate contacts, the better.
When it comes to HF, Peter recommends taking the time to check
whether the higher frequency bands, such as 21 or 28MHz are open, as propagation
may be possible even if the band appears to be dead. When it comes to the 28MHz
band, Peter suggests tuning down and listening for Citizens Band signals around
27MHz, as if the CB users’ signals are propagating, there’s a good chance that the
28MHz amateur band is also open.
Regardless of our individual opinions on amateur radio, the
evening was certainly thought provoking, and prompted some interesting
discussion. On behalf of our members, we’d like to extend our thanks to Peter
for coming to visit, and for his perspective on our hobby.