Skills Night June 2015 Unofficial Wrapup

June the 15th 2015 saw another very successful Essex Skills Night take place at the Danbury Village Hall. With just under 70 people turning up, this was the second highest attendance since the CARS training team launched Skills back in January 2014.

You’ll find the official event write-up over on the CARS site here. On this page, you’ll find a collection of notes and photos from event coordinator Pete M0PSX

Skills Night June 2015 - Steve M0SHQ working the ISS
Skills Night June 2015 – Steve M0SHQ working the ISS

The Danbury Village Hall saw an impressive amount of visitors come through the door, with amateurs and SWLs from a host of local clubs, as well as from the not-so-local MARTS club in Kent (thanks for the support!) As ever, there was a good mix of demonstrations, show-and-tells sessions and hands-on practicals. Here’s a summary of what was on offer:

Construction

A very busy Peter M0PSD, David M0HBV and Chris 2E0CUU were working away on various construction projects in the smaller of the two rooms. Helping people to make their first 2m or 70cm Slim Jim antennas still seems to be popular, with several Essex hams walking away with a new antenna. Help was also available for project work, patch leads and technical advice.

Chris 2E0CUU, Peter M0PSD and David M0HBV hard at work on Slim Jims
Chris 2E0CUU, Peter M0PSD and David M0HBV hard at work on Slim Jims

Essex RAYNET

It’s been a whilst since Essex RAYNET were able to pay Skills a visit, so thanks to James 2E1GUA for brining along some of the Essex RAYNET tools and leaflets to help explain what they have to offer. Of particular interest was the 2m APRS beacon, which is normally given to those operating the “sweep” at charity events, as well as in vehicles to help Control know where key personnel are at any one time. If you’re interested in putting your radio skills to good use for the community, find out more at www.essexraynet.co.uk

James 2E1GUA demonstrating the Essex RAYNET ARPS tracker
James 2E1GUA demonstrating the Essex RAYNET ARPS tracker

Working Portable

This coming Sunday sees the longest day of the year, and the longest CARS field event of the year so far – GB1JSS (June Summer Solstice). With /P very firmly on the agenda, Charlie M0PZT was back at Skills to demonstrate his portable kit (inc. his crate-mounted Yaesu FT-857 and LDG YT-100 auto ATU). Also on show, some of the latest ham goodies now available to buy online here in the UK.

Charlie M0PZT's table of portable kit and ham goodies
Charlie M0PZT’s table of portable kit and ham goodies

Amateur Satellites

Back with help and advice on satellite tracking software, satellite antennas and weather satellites,  Steve M0SHQ performed a first for Skills Night… sending a message via the ISS. Just after the quiz, the building emptied as around 50 people watched Steve send a packet to the Space Station, and watch it digipeat across Europe.

Steve M0SHQ working the ISS at Skills Night
Steve M0SHQ working the ISS at Skills Night

Here’s a screenshot of the message, which was received by David G7HCE in Exeter (amongst others). A message just before the Skills Night opened was confirmed by IW6ATQ in Italy. Thanks Steve for getting the Skills Night into space!

June 2015 Skills Night - Making contact with the ISS
June 2015 Skills Night – Making contact with the ISS

 

KX3, Loops & “Stuff”

Skills Night regular Peter G0DZB filled his car with various bits and bobs, to see what the attendees were interested in seeing and trying. In the end, his trusty Elecraft KX3 was pressed into service with his mag loop antenna. Always a good source of advice and some great toys – Thanks Peter

Peter G0DZB's table of bits, including the lovely KX3
Peter G0DZB’s table of bits, including the lovely KX3

Echolink

Whilst his XYL slaved away serving home-made cakes in the kitchen, Jim 2E0RMI was sitting comfortably offering Echolink advice, demoing software on his laptop, and playing extracts from his radio show, Chelmsford Calling World Service, received on shortwave via a webSDR, and featuring a guest appearance from a certain Chelmsford-based radio club’s chairman!

Morse & More:

Rob, Steve, Colin and others from the Essex CW Club once again working the world and helping to promote their mode of choice. The doublet antenna used by the team was kindly supplied and set up by Peter G0DZB.

Colin M1OCN, working the world for the Essex CW Club
Colin M1OCN, working the world for the Essex CW Club

Digital Badges

Back with a new batch of scrolling callsign badges, Nick M0NIB also brought along his programming kit to allow people to add some creative scrolling messages

Nick M0NIB, back with digital badges
Nick M0NIB, back with digital badges

Essex Ham:

Demos of SSTV, a Windows Tablet, and updated video showing Essex Hams in action (played from a Raspberry Pi), plus the event’s wi-fi and IT support (thanks Sarah)

Data, tablet, video and leaflets on the Essex Ham stand
Data, tablet, video and helpful leaflets on the Essex Ham stand

The Skills Quiz:

A rather fiendish set of questions (set by Murray G6JYB) in the evening’s quiz, hosted by Clive G1EUC.

One of the more fiendish questions, courtesy of Murray G6JYB
One of the more fiendish questions, courtesy of Murray G6JYB

Group Photo

We tried, but traffic and trees got in the way. Well done to Mark 2E0RMT for being able to get a show of us all in, without stitching – and for the traffic for stopping to allow the final photo:

Skills Night June 2015 Group Photo (stitched version)
Skills Night June 2015 Group Photo (stitched version)
Skills Night June 2015 Group Photo
Skills Night June 2015 Group Photo

A great evening – lots of fun, and as always, great to catch up!

Personal thanks

A big thanks to everyone who helped out or brought something along to show. A big thanks also to David and Myra for the hard work backstage, to Ann Salmon (Mrs RMI) for the excellent cakes once again, and to Sarah M6PSK for the logistics and IT support.

Also, a big personal thanks to Dave G0NAX for brining along some RSGB articles about Gordon ‘Dicky’ Bird G4ZU. Dicky was a world-renowned radio amateur who designed a number of beam antennas in the 50s, 60s and 70s, and is the grandfather of Sarah M6PSK. Excellent articles are greatly appreciated by the family – Thanks Dave.

Photo Gallery

 

Prepared by Pete M0PSX

The next CARS Skills Night takes place on Monday the 20th of July 2015

 

Related Links

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *