CARS December 2013 Meeting Report

CARS LogoThanks to the team at CARS for an excellent club night in Chelmsford tonight. Here’s a short summary of some highlights, plus some links from tonight’s talk.

The December meeting was held at Oaklands Museum on Tuesday the 3rd, and the turnout from club members and guests was very good. The evening was a combined talk and Christmas social, and was a good positive night.

The evening started with a few housekeeping announcements from John G1UZD, including a request that the members give some thought to talk topics, especially content aimed at helping those new to the hobby. The importance of keeping the new M6 operators in the hobby, and helping them out when possible was stressed in John’s opening remarks.

The floor was then opened to Peter G3SUY for the main topic, “Circuit Design using Computers”.

Peter’s talk was essentially a getting-started walk-through using his design tool of choice, Circuit Scribe, which is a free application that can be used for non-commercial use. The software can be freely downloaded from here 

Getting started with Circuit Scribe
Getting started with Circuit Scribe

Peter walked through the process of creating an on-screen circuit and putting the design tool through its paces. Peter also fielded some tricky questions very well, and was able to demonstrate how to re-design a component from the program’s library of symbols, should the need arise. The only feature sadly lacking in Circuit Scribe, appears to be an undo, and I fear that Peter’s overwritten Exciter circuit design may now be gone for good!

Although Circuit Scribe is now getting a little long in the tooth, it’s still a very competent package, and I’ll be finding it very useful to help update some of my training material’s circuit diagrams, which were cobbled together in Photoshop.

Peter G3SUY, at the controls of Circuit Scribe
Peter G3SUY, at the controls of Circuit Scribe

As an unplanned piece of bonus material, Peter gave us a quick walk-through of a piece of antenna-modelling software he’s been playing with. The package in question is MMANA-GAL (from the maker of MMSSTV and MMTTY), and you can download and try this package here: hamsoft.ca/pages/mmana-gal.php – Again, free for non-commercial amateur radio use.

Pictured here is a wireframe of Peter’s car antenna, and its polar plot. Not bad for free software, and the package seems to be pretty fully-featured and able to cope with all sorts of antenna variants, combinations and ground conditions.

A wireframe of Peter's mobile antenna
A wireframe of Peter’s mobile antenna
The plot of  Peter's car antenna, shown in MMANA-GAL
The plot of Peter’s car antenna, shown in MMANA-GAL

After the talk, time for the social… with lots of tea flowing, and some seasonal warm mince pies. Whilst everyone was chatting, and ahead of the ever-present raffle, a collection of stunning photos from Peter G3SUY was scrolling away, followed by a slideshow of images of Ongar Radio and an old Marconi promotional video appeared, courtesy of David G3SVI and Myra M0MYR.

CARS Xmas Raffle - December 2013 (Pic 1)
CARS Xmas Raffle – December 2013

Great to see so many faces at tonight’s meeting, including a few I’ve worked but never met (hello David!). Apologies to those whose conversations got cut short tonight – the sign of a good mingle meeting is one where you never get to finish a chat, or to say goodbye, because both parties are nabbed by someone else. I spent the last half of the second half in the adjoining room, for an impromptu meeting, leaving many to wonder where we were all hiding.

CARS Xmas Raffle - December 2013 (Pic 2)
CARS Xmas Raffle – December 2013

Thanks again to the team at CARS for a very good night’s entertainment and chat.

Pete M0PSX

 

Handy links

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