Author Archives: Andrew Thornton

18th March Meeting Cancelled, Club Net

Due to the rapidly developing situation with COVID-19 in the UK, we must unfortunately announce that the meeting planned for the 18th March has been cancelled. The planned talk by Mac, M0RIE, on audio settings for SSB will hopefully be rescheduled once in-person meetings are able to resume.

It has been suggested that club members may instead wish to hold a net on the GB3IR repeater, between 7.30 and 8pm. We hope that some of you will join us.

The committee has not yet had the opportunity to discuss future meetings, but an announcement will be made here once decisions have been made. Please keep an eye on the news and meetings pages, and on your emails if you’re a club member, as there may be further changes or cancellations in the weeks to come.

Video Night: The 2011 T32C Dxpedition

This week, Chris brought along a short documentary on the Five Star Dxers Association’s 2011 DXpedition to Kiritimati (Christmas Island), where they operated under the callsign T32C. This DXpedition was incredibly successful, even though the team’s initial shipping container of equipment failed to reach Kiritimati, forcing the team to acquire replacement equipment and antennas at short notice, and bring everything with them on their flight to the island.

T32C operated for four weeks, with two teams of experienced radio amateurs completing over 200,000 contacts on SSB and CW. The documentary covers the event from planning through to departure, including brief discussions of the island and its culture, as well as technical and logistical aspects of the DXpedition, and time spent on the microphone or morse key.

We’d like to extend our thanks to Chris for bringing this along.

Christmas Quiz and New Year Net

This Wednesday’s radio club meeting is the last meeting of the year, and will be Dave, G8YPN’s Christmas Quiz. The quiz is not an individual competition – everyone will be in groups so that no-one need worry about not knowing any or all of the answers.

Pauline, G8HQW, is bringing along some Glühwein and Mince Pies, as well as tea and coffee for the tee-totallers.

You won’t be surprised to learn that there is no meeting on New Year’s Day, so the first meeting of 2020 will be on 15th January when we learn from North Yorkshire Police about Cyber Crime, and how to avoid becoming a victim of it.

Sharp-eyed members who get RadCom will have seen that there is a club New Year’s Net to be held at 7.30pm starting on GB3IR on January 1st. A great opportunity for you to come on the air and wish other club members a Happy New Year!

Bishop Auckland 2019 Radio Rally

Colburn and Richmondshire District Amateur Radio Society have booked a table at the upcoming Bishop Auckland radio rally. This will take place at Spennymoor Leisure Center, on Sunday the 24th November 2019.

Dave, Paul, and Terry have all volunteered to crew the club table, where they’ll be selling a variety of amateur radio related bits and pieces. If you have any miscellaneous items you’d like to sell at the rally, either for the benefit of the club, or on your own behalf (for a small commission), feel free to contact Dave, G8YPN, to make arrangements.

Likewise, if you fancy lending a hand and supporting the club, then please let Dave know.

2019 AGM and related matters

The CRDARS Annual General Meeting took place on Wednesday 6th November 2019.

The following members were elected to roles on the committee:

Chairman Dave Lutman
Vice ChairmanPaul Hunt
SecretaryChris Kirby
TreasurerMartyn Vann
Additional Committee MemberPaul McGee

Ian Bell has agreed to shadow Martyn in his role as treasurer this year, and assist with duties where required.

We would like to extend our thanks to Irene Lyne for all her hard work as club treasurer over the years. Irene has served as treasurer since the club was founded, and we really appreciate her efforts behind the scenes to ensure that the club could continue to function.

Membership subs are now due, and remain at £20 per year for members over the age of 18, and £5 per year for under 18s. The club does not charge members for attending individual meetings.

It has been suggested that the club may not hold meetings in July or August 2020, as many of our members are on holiday during this time, and are therefore unable to attend meetings at this time of year. A final decision will be made closer to the time.

It has been suggested that we hold a club net on the GB3IR repeater on the Wednesday nights when no club meeting is scheduled.

Finally, the club has begun putting together the events program for 2020. If anyone has any suggestions for events or talks they’d either like see or offer, please pass your suggestions to the club secretary. Feel free to use the web site contact form if you’d like to submit a suggestion electronically.

Junk Sale and Annual General Meeting

Our events calendar has once again been updated with a few bits and pieces to tide us through the next few weeks.

On Wednesday 16th October, we’ll be holding an amateur radio junk sale. Whether you’re into building your equipment, or just looking to add a few extra bits and pieces to your shack, this is an opportunity to pick up a bargain.

The 2019 Annual General Meeting will be held on 6th November at Hudswell Village Hall.

The meetings page has been updated with the dates of the next few club meetings, but there aren’t any talks or events on the calendar yet. We’ll update the news and meetings pages once we have agreed our winter/spring schedule.

All meetings start at 19:30.

July Contest Nights

We’ve added a new meeting to our events calendar. On Wednesday 10th July, we’re planning to participate in the RSGB 3.5MHz Club Championship contest. As we don’t have use of Hudswell Village Hall on this night, we’re currently planning to operate a portable station, probably from the field behind the hall. Meeting times are to be confirmed closer to the day.

We have a proposal to operate a portable station for the RSGB 6m UK Activity Contest on Thursday 11th July, but there are currently no concrete plans in place. We’ll try to determine whethere there’s enough interest to warrant operating portable contest stations two days in a row, and update the web site once we know whether or not the 6m contest is still on the cards.

If you’re interested in taking part in one of the contest nights, please keep a close eye on the web site in the days before the meeting, as arrangements may change at short notice.

A Life in HAM Radio, by Peter, G4VUN

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.

Upcoming Talk “A Life in HAM Radio”, by Peter, G4VUN

On Wednesday 19th June, Peter, G4VUN will be presenting a talk “A life in HAM Radio”. We hope that many of our members will join us for what will hopefully be a fascinating journey through everything Peter has experienced during his many years as a radio amateur.

As always, our Meetings page is where you can find full details of our upcoming events programme. We’ve got a few other guest speakers pencilled in between over the coming months, and we’ll be updating the web site once we’re able to confirm that they’re available.