Raspberry Jam May 2015 Report

Saturday the 30th of May 2015 saw the sixth Southend Raspberry Jam take place at the Tickfield Centre, and a team of Essex Hams were there to promote the hobby.

The event is organised by the team from SOSLUG, the Southend-on-Sea Linux User Group, and was a great event aimed at encouraging people of all ages to get involved with programming, construction and technology. Activities included a Scratch hackathon, violent Python, 3D printing, digital badge making and a whole host of tech talks.

The hackathon at the Southend Raspberry Jam 2015
The hackathon at the Southend Raspberry Jam 2015 (Thanks to Ed G8FAX)

For Essex Ham, this type of event is a great opportunity to get amateur radio in front of people who already have an interest in technology, making the hobby a much easier “sell”. It also helps to demonstrate some of the other aspects of the hobby, so we typically focus on SDRs, Raspberry Pi and Arduino crossover projects, SSTV and data modes.

Kelly, Nick, Sarah, Pete & Charlie at the Southend Raspberry Jam May 2015
Kelly, Nick, Sarah, Pete & Charlie at the Southend Raspberry Jam May 2015

Essex Ham Demos

Always up for trying something new, Nick 2E0DVX came up with some interesting demos. Not strictly amateur radio-related, but a good draw for the kids, was his musical potatoes – touch a potato to play a musical sample, and get a tune going. Also on display, a cheap Morse key – a screwdriver and some elastic bands. The always-popular ‘Send Your Name in Morse” was running, and we also had a scrolling video explaining the hobby, plus loads of Essex Ham and RSGB leaflets.

Potatoes, Pis, Screwdrivers and CW at the Tickfield Centre in Southend
Potatoes, Pis, Screwdrivers and CW at the Tickfield Centre in Southend

We were next to Charlie M0PZT, who was very busy with his Ham Goodies hat on selling kits, components, SDR dongles and all sorts of items, as well as being on hand to talk about amateur radio.

Amateur Radio Talk

A new feature for this Raspberry Jam was TeachMeet – A series of lightning talks – up to 8 minutes on a topic likely to be of interest. Pete M0PSX gave a lightning talk on amateur radio and working the International Space Station, outlining that contact is possible for amateurs using voice, image and data, and explaining the challenges of making contact. This was a nice tie-in with the AstroPi – a kids experiment involving Tim Peake and his upcoming trip to the ISS.

Pete M0PSX giving a talk on working the ISS at the Southend Raspberry Jam
Pete M0PSX giving a talk on working the ISS at the Southend Raspberry Jam

Demo Station

In another first, we were able to set up a 2m station at the Raspberry Jam. Thanks to Jakub 2E0FTX for setting up the station, ready for sending guest messages. RF conditions in the building (plus a lack of openable windows), meant that the station wasn’t able to reach very far, but it served its purpose as a showpiece for the hobby and for some photo opportunities.

Sarah M6PSK and Kelly M6KFA on the 2m station at the Raspberry Jam
Sarah M6PSK and Kelly M6KFA on the 2m station at the Raspberry Jam

TX Factor

Bob G0FGX and Nick 2E0FGQ – two thirds of the TX Factor team spent the day with us at the Raspberry Jam, and it was great to welcome them back to Essex after their first visit back in March (See: TX Factor Visits Essex)

One of the key reasons for their visit was to get some footage of youngsters getting involved with amateur radio, and we were happy to help with getting some of the Raspberry Jam visitors to send guest messages, sample the hobby, try out some of the equipment and get hands-on with the activities at this busy event.

Charlie M0PZT doing some training, watched by the TX Factor team
Charlie M0PZT doing some training, watched by the TX Factor team
Essex Ham's youngest member getting hands-on with Scratch at the Raspberry Jam
Essex Ham’s youngest member getting hands-on with Scratch at the Raspberry Jam
Bob and Nick, filming Kelly M6KFA for TX Factor
Bob and Nick, filming Kelly M6KFA for TX Factor

A great day with the team at SOSLUG, and a great opportunity to promote amateur radio. Thanks to SOSLUG for hosting the event and allowing Essex Ham to be a part of it.

A big thanks to Nick 2E0DVX, Maj (still SWL), Charlie M0PZT, Jakub 2E0FTX (and Nikola), Mark 2E0RMT, Sarah M6PSK (and Kathryn), Kelly M6KFA, James 2E1GUA, Nick G4HCK from Thurrock Acorns, Paul M6PEQ, Laura T (awaiting callsign), Ed G8FAX and anyone I’ve missed, for coming along and helping to support the hobby.

Another Raspberry Jam is set for later in the year, so keep an eye out, or visit SOSLUG’s site.

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4 Comments

  1. John Bowen 31 May 2015 Reply
    • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSXAuthor 3 June 2015 Reply
  2. georgelee. G2ARY 1 June 2015 Reply
    • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSXAuthor 3 June 2015 Reply

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