Skills Night March 2015 Report

Monday the 16th of March 2015 – Another cracking Skills Night, hosted by CARS in Danbury. Here’s a short summary and a selection of photos:

It’s so great seeing so many people from Essex, Kent and Suffolk gathering together – With 65 people signing in, this was the second-highest attendance for the Skills Night. There was also a strong representation from M6 and 2E callsigns, which has always been one of the aims of the evening.

March 2015 Skills Night, hosted by CARS
March 2015 Skills Night, hosted by CARS

In no particular order, here’s a summary of the evening’s sessions

Resonating & Tuning

Thanks to Peter G0DZB for running another very popular demonstration. Overheard at the sign-in table from a newcomer: “I’ve been told to go and see the man with the beard first”, which shows his reputation precedes him. Peter brought a stack of Ls and Cs, to demonstrate resonating, and also looked at making simple ATUs. Peter will be the co-star of the April CARS talk on the subject of Raspberry Pis.

Peter G0DZB - Ls, Cs and ATUs
Peter G0DZB – Ls, Cs and ATUs at the March Skills Night

Radio Programming (and everything)

Charlie M0PZT was down for two roles – helping with programming radios (especially the Chinese handies), plus demonstrating his Morse Arduino/Logging project. It seems that the phrase “Charlie knows all about that” came up a lot, as he ended up offering help and advice on all things from Raspberry Pis to JT65.

Charlie M0PZT, multi-tasking with programming and advice
Charlie M0PZT, multi-tasking with programming and advice

Working Satellites

By popular demand, Steve M0SHQ returned with his home-made low-cost satellite beam and information on how to track and work the various ham satellites orbiting above us. A couple of new satellite books were also on display, for those keen to have a flick through.

Steve M0SHQ, helping with amateur satellite advice
Steve M0SHQ, helping with amateur satellite advice

Eclipse & Antennas

The UK encounters a solar eclipse this coming Friday morning, and in addition to offering antenna advice, Carl G3PEM was on hand to explain how Friday’s activities will affect HF, and to discuss the RSGB’s eclipse propagation experiments.

Construction corner

Once again, very busy with patch leads, soldering, repairs and advice, Peter M0PSD did a great job of manning the construction corner in the smaller of the two rooms. Hopefully at the next Skills Night, Peter will be helping attendees to construct their own Slim Jim antennas. More details to follow.

Peter M0PSD in the Skills Construction Corner
Peter M0PSD in the Skills Construction Corner

Morse and More

Steve G4ZUL, Rob M0KCP, Colin M1OCN and Oliver M0WAG were busy at the Essex CW Club’s regular table. The team was operating on 40m, and although the Village Hall is not great for RF, it’s great to have a radiating station at Skills. Various keys and paddles were on display, with information available on what the Essex CW Club offers, and the ongoing training Morse courses in Danbury.

Steve G4ZUL, on the Essex CW table at the March Skills Night
Steve G4ZUL, on the Essex CW table at the March Skills Night

CARS

CARS Membership Secretary James 2E1GUA was on hand to explain more about joining the club, and providing on-the-spot membership cards to the club’s newest members. CARS membership is now at a six-year high!

James 2E1GUA on the CARS membership table
James 2E1GUA on the CARS membership table

Essex Repeater Group

ERG didn’t have a table at this month’s Skills Night, but a sneaky quiz question from Pete M0PSX gave Clive G1EUC and Murray G6JYB the opportunity to explain the current situation with GB3DB, the 6m repeater. The cavity duplexer has been taken to Procom-UK in Kent for maintenance, and is operating in beacon-mode for the time being. Those wishing to support the work of the Essex Repeater Group can do so by visiting www.essexrepeatergroup.org.uk and either making a donation or becoming a member.

The ERG 'Cavities' Quiz Question
The ERG ‘Cavities’ Quiz Question

Essex Ham

On display this time around, SSTV images from the ISS (audio recordings of previous passes played into MMSSTV), the 8″ Windows tablet, and a slightly updated video showing highlights of amateur radio activities in Essex over the last 12 months. Plus free copies of Essex Ham’s Getting Started Guides.

Essex Ham - Demonstrating Raspberry Pi, Windows tablets and SSTV from the ISS
Essex Ham – Demonstrating Raspberry Pi, Windows tablets and SSTV from the ISS

Announcements

Pete M0PSX thanks all for attending and highlighted the various attractions, before running through some upcoming events in Essex.

Next, a one minute silence was held for John Wood G4EAT, who sadly passed away just a few days after last month’s Skills Night. John was a well-respected microwave band champion, and lived in Danbury.

The Quiz

Quiz compere Clive G1EUC ran through the evening’s quiz – some had am Easter theme, and for those who missed it – here’s the one that stumped all but one of the attendees:

“What have last Saturday, the video on the Essex Ham stand, a BCM2836 and an Onion got in common?”

As ever, good fun, and some stimulating discussion (quiet at the back!) on some of the questions.

Clive, with the March 2015 Skills Night Quiz
Clive, with the March 2015 Skills Night Quiz

Thanks everyone!

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.

Thanks to everyone for the ongoing support of the Skills Night, and thanks to CARS for hosting the event.

Graham, James, Pete and Fred - It's all about the branding, boys!
Graham, James, Pete and Fred – It’s all about the branding, boys!

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

Related Links

6 Comments

  1. Avatar Graham G7JYD 17 March 2015 Reply
  2. Avatar M0CLZ 17 March 2015 Reply
  3. Avatar Mr Dennis james 17 March 2015 Reply
  4. Avatar teodoro jaramillo 18 March 2015 Reply
  5. 2E1GUA james 19 March 2015 Reply
  6. M0LMR 2E0NCE 19 March 2015 Reply

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