CARS Skills Workshop – 17 March 2014 Summary

The third Skills Workshop held by the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society took place last night on the 17th of March 2014, giving local amateurs the chance to chat and try something new.

An impressive number of amateurs turned out to the Village Hall in Danbury for a good mix of practical demonstrations, show-and-tell activities and the opportunity to ask questions. On this page, you’ll find a summary of some of the activities, and a few photos from the evening – slightly more photos than usual, due to the large number of activities on the night…

CARS Skills Night - March 2014
CARS Skills Night – March 2014

Soldering & Construction

The events are put together based on feedback from attendees, and one of the most commonly-requested items was Soldering / Construction. Thanks to David M0HBV and Chris G0IPU for hosting this part of the evening and allowing people to have a go at soldering for the first time, as well as get an introduction to surface-mount construction.

David M0HBV and Chris G0IPU busy with the soldering practicals
David M0HBV and Chris G0IPU busy with the soldering practicals
Chris G0IPU getting stuck into the soldering demo
Chris G0IPU getting stuck into the soldering demo

Show and Tell

It’s so good to see people turning up with antennas, rigs and bits of home-made equipment to show to others. Peter G0DZB brought along his Elecraft KX3 and antenna, and was able to receive some strong 40m signals. James 2E1GUA brought along his /P portable equipment, and a selection of microphones, books and antennas were also passed around. Slim Jim antennas, the easy-to-make 2m antennas, seemed to be the order of the day, being used for the Echolink demo, the Essex Ham 2m voice station, and being demoed by Charlie M0PZT.

Annie M6NHB and Nev M6FNR checking out antennas demoed by James 2E1GUA
Annie M6NHB and Nev M6FNR checking out antennas demoed by James 2E1GUA
Peter G0DZB with his Elecraft KX3 on 40m
Peter G0DZB with his Elecraft KX3 on 40m

Echolink

Back by popular request for a third time, Jim 2E0RMI had more queues of people looking to give Echolink a try. Using a combination of RF and Internet, Jim’s Echolink station was busy throughout the evening, showing Foundation licence holders that International QSOs can be had with a simple £25 handheld.

Jakub M6HRT, Wayne M6WTT, Tony G6EEE and Jim 2E0RMI
Jakub M6HRT, Wayne M6WTT and Tony G6EEE impressed with Jim 2E0RMI’s Echolink

Workshop

Many thanks to Bruce M0XBS for showing what the spirit of cooperation is all about. During a recent CARS training course, Bruce noted that the club’s 2m vertical was missing a radial. Taking the concept of a skills “workshop” literally, Bruce came armed with tools to fix the antenna, with help from G3PEM’s vice-like grip. Thanks Bruce!

Bruce M0XBS fixing a missing radial
Bruce M0XBS fixing a missing radial, and taking “workshop” literally”

Essex CW Club

Thanks to Steve G4ZUL and others from the Essex CW Club for coming along with some demo kit – CW QSOs were quietly wafting across the hall on-and-off throughout the night, making the event feel like a Morse contest at times, and it was good to see a few friendly faces picking up the paddle to get in some practice.

Steve G4ZUL, representing the Essex CW Club
Steve G4ZUL, representing the Essex CW Club
Rob M0KCP calling CQ with a CW paddle
Rob M0KCP calling CQ with a CW paddle

Antenna Advice

Thanks to Carl G3PEM for returning to offer his antenna expertise – Armed with various accessories and a trusty whiteboard, Carl was able to help with a range of antenna questions – not only for those looking for advice on getting started with HF, but also for M6s looking to make the trip to GB3DA out in the fringes on low power.

Carl G3PEM offering HF and VHF antenna advice
Carl G3PEM offering HF and VHF antenna advice

Quiz

Trialled last month, the quiz returned with a series of questions from Clive G1EUC and Murray G6JYB. Well done to Trevor M5AKA for spotting the “deliberate” mistake!

Data Demo

Following a successful demo of PSK31 by Charlie M0PZT last month, Pete M0PSX brought along a scrolling display of PSK31 QSOs recorded on 20m meters, so everyone could see what traffic has been sent earlier in the day. Pete took the opportunity to explain the basics of data connectivity using his Digimaster Pro CAT/Data interface. James 2E1GUA’s interface was also on display on the show-and-tell table throughout the evening.

Other Highlights

Thanks to everyone who turned up – we had 38 people at this session, which is great. Thanks also to those who brought stuff along, and to the evening’s helpers, notably: David G3SVI, Myra M0MYR and Ann (Mrs 2E0RMI) for the excellent work on the evening’s refreshments (tea, cakes, and for the chosen few, some posh coffee!). Thanks to the Essex CW Club, David M0HBV and Chris G0IPU for the hard work in setting up the soldering demo, and to everyone else who helped to make the evening a success.

Nick M0NIB with his scrolling callsign badge
Nick M0NIB with his scrolling callsign badge
Tony G6EEE with his JT65 QSO timing devices
Tony G6EEE with his JT65 QSO timing devices
Pete M0PSX, making the evening's announcements
Pete M0PSX, making the evening’s announcements
May the Bruce be with you!
May the Bruce be with you!

Next Skills Night

Date for the diary is Monday the 21st of April 2014, which is Easter Monday.

Add a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *