Essex Skills Night Jan 2017 Wrap Up

Amazingly, the Essex Skills Night is now in its fourth year, and it’s still generating lots of interest.

Monday the 16th of January was the first Skills Night of 2017, and attracted just under 60 visitors, including amateurs from London, Kent and Cambridgeshire, and a good percentage of M6s and potential new amateurs.

Some of the attendees at the first Essex Skills Night of 2017
Some of the attendees at the first Essex Skills Night of 2017

The rather busy evening consisted of the following demos and activities:

LOG4OM PC Logging:

For the first time, we were joined at Skills Night by Terry G4POP. He’s one of the team behind the development of the PC-based logging application LOG4OM. Terry demonstrated the software’s connectivity with an Elecraft KX3. You can find out more and download a free copy from www.log4om.com

Terry G4POP demonstrating LOG4OM and a KX3
Terry G4POP demonstrating LOG4OM and a KX3

Ham Goodies

Charlie M0PZT brought along a good mix of essential items, connectors, adapters, leads and the popular RTL SDR dongles, all available for purchase on the night. If you’re looking for a radio, accessory or a kit, take a look at www.hamgoodies.co.uk for the full range of products on offer.

Charlie was also available throughout the evening to help with programming Baofeng and Yaesu handhelds, as well as adding updated codeplugs to the TYT-380 (and its clones).

Charlie M0PZT, with a collection of essential Ham Goodies, at the January Skills Night
Charlie M0PZT, with a collection of essential Ham Goodies, at the January Skills Night

Testing, Testing:

Thanks to Mike G4NVT for bringing along his spectrum analyser once again to help with testing antennas and handhelds, VSWR measuring, and checking frequencies and filters.

Mike G4NVT at the controls of his trusty analyser
Mike G4NVT at the controls of his trusty analyser

Modelling:

It seems a couple of regulars saw the heading of “modelling”, and were disappointed by the lack of catwalk. Steve G4GHO brought along his laptop loaded with various simulators to demonstrate several aspects of modelling, including linear or non-linear analogue, and RF antenna.

Steve G4GHO , talking modelling with Richard, who'll soon be taking his M6 with CARS
Steve G4GHO , talking modelling with Richard, who’ll soon be taking his M6 with CARS

Getting Started with Essex Ham:

On show at the Essex Ham table was the latest video – a look back at the group’s activities in 2016. Also on offer, the full set of Getting Started guides, a rolling demo of getting started with data modes, and the Raspberry Pi Zero video player. For the first time, a virtual reality headset was on trial, which we’ve been using to test the vTime social media chatroom, something we’ve trialled on a recent Monday Night Net.

Group photo at the Essex Ham stand at the January 2017 Skills Night
Group photo at the Essex Ham stand at the January 2017 Skills Night

Motor Speed Controller Challenge:

Melvin 2E0DNS brought along his full wave motor speed controller that has gone wrong, and with help from the experts, it looks like the culprit was identified as a duff capacitor.

This month's challenge - identify the problem with Melvin's controller
This month’s challenge – identify the problem with Melvin’s controller

Construction Corner:

Chris G0IPU and Alan M0IWZ were busy in the Hawkins room, helping with soldering, construction of Morse oscillators and some Arduino projects. Also in the back room, Andy G7TKK, modelling antennas, and Ray 2E0GVE collecting CARS membership subs.

Essex CW Club:

Thanks to Dean G4WQI, Rob M0KCP and Oliver M0WAG from the Essex CW Club for operating a live HF CW station from the Village Hall

Dean fro the Essex CW Club, live on HF at Skills Night
Dean fro the Essex CW Club, live on HF at Skills Night

Callsign Badges:

Skills Night regulars Jim 2E0JTW and Glynis 2E0CUQ were on hand with their engraver to create callsign badges on demand.

CARS Quiz:

This month’s quiz was hosted by CARS Training Manager Chris G0IPU – just for fun.

Essex RAYNET at Jaywick

Pete M0PSX presented a short overview of Essex RAYNET’s involvement in providing comms for the previous week’s flood evacuation (See: Essex RAYNET Deployed for Jaywick Evacuation). 

If you’re interested in putting your amateur radio skills to good use to help the community, go to www.essexraynet.co.uk

Radio Emma Toc LogoTwo Emma Toc

Jim gave a quick overview of an exciting Internet radio project for February 2017. 95 years ago, some long low people in a long low hut started broadcasting from here in Essex. 2MT will be commemorated with a special online radio station and some ham radio activity.

Take a look at www.emmatoc.com for more details.

Logistics

As always, a huge personal thanks to Myra and David for their continued logistical support in the kitchen providing the free tea and coffee. Also, a big thanks to Ann (Mrs 2E0RMI) for the top quality home-made cakes, and of course, to Essex Ham’s Sarah M6PSK (the event’s “dedicated greeter”).

Thanks all, and 73,

Pete M0PSX

Event Photos

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