1. SRCC members are reminded that the 2018 Club Calls Contest takes place this coming Saturday 10th November from 2000 – 2300 UTC on 160m. This is one of the AFS Superleague contest series. The rules are at https://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/rules/2018/rclubcalls.shtml

    I will be on from home using my own call.You are encouraged to come on to support the club by either submitting an entry yourself or alternatively coming on and working G3WRR. Please note that working ONLY your own club station is regarded as not terribly sporting so if you work G3WRR please take the trouble to work one or two other stations!

    I look forward to working you…

    73, Quin G3WRR

  2. Not a ‘reply’ as such but I can’t seem to find a ‘new topic’ button or similar. Just wondering if there has been any progress on securing a ‘private site’ access arrangement for members to use? I could do with somewhere this weekend for 5.8GHz….

    • Hi Gareth,
      Sorry but no.
      There is something I’m working on but even it comes to fruition, it will be well into the New Year.

  3. In 1980 I sat the RAE after going to a college evening class in Eltham. Our teacher was Norman G3ZCV and at the end of the college course he said that if some of us would like to learn Morse we could go to his house one evening a week to learn. A group of us continued our Morse lessons and I managed to get to the required 12 words per minute and subsequently was examined by a radio officer at North Foreland Coast Guard.
    Although we all acquired our Full licence we still continued to go to Norman’s every week to continue our practice. Norman used to send Morse from a book called ‘Fanny Hill’, written in old English that could be considered risky in both the story line and language. Norman maintained that because of the old English you could not anticipate what word was coming next. It worked because I, on a good day managed 20 WPM. However, the Fanny Hill Radio Club was born. We were not affiliated to any other organisation but continued as a group of amateurs.
    As time went on, business and family commitments meant that I could not spend so much time on radio and my CW practice dropped off and for some years I only turned the rig on at intermittent moments. Since then I have tried many times to learn CW again using different methods but it does seem that the brain does not work quite as well as it once did. I have always been aware of machine Morse and apart from the experiments with different software I have never taken it seriously. Indeed, I have always been aware that an experienced operator would probably be more of a purest and would know the difference between an operator using a key or computer. I tell this story because of a letter that was written in the February edition of RadCom. The letter was written by Ted M6UYF with a heading “Contest Advice Needed”. It seems that Ted who was a previous radio operator was still using a straight key and was surprised to find that contests were now mostly using machine morse and he was further informed that in order to seriously compete you needed to use a modern rig and computer together with the necessary logger. The RSGB comment at the end of the letter agreed that computers were in general use and stated that “our hobby has to engage with innovations in technology” which, I agree with. However, I was also surprised by the use of computers in CW contests and I wondered what other members thought. Maybe, it is a way of tuning up operator skills and leading to a better use of the key be it straight or some kind of bug.
    What do you think?
    Colin G4LZE

  4. I read Ted Martin/M6UYF’s letter in RadCom and knew exactly what he was talking about knew that he and I have very similar feelings on this subject.
    . . . Something like six decades ago I remember reading a short story in one of the US ham radio magazines about two guys who were wondering about a constant high scoring winner in all the contests. They tracked the guy down only to discover the station was a computer in a bunker on the top of a hill. The station was making contacts entirely automatically. Calls were decoded by a computer, responded to by the computer and logged by the computer. The computer printed out QSL cards and boxed ’em up for the post. A physical human being was nowhere to be seen.
    . . . All those decades later the short story’s premise has become reality.
    . . . CW contests are now the realm of computers & computer operators. CW speeds well above 30 WPM are common and god help the guy who does everything with a pencil and a Begali paddle sitting at a desk with a radio with knobs and switches on it.
    . . . I suspect from my now less frequent forays into phone contests that there are plenty of guys running voice synthesizer/canned recording exchanges on those too. If Alexa can order me a pizza, I’m sure Alexa can run my radio . . . if I had a radio hooked to a computer.
    . . . Because of this, I no longer engage in contesting. I barely get on the air any more. Why should I? I got into ham radio to learn how radio works, to experiment with stuff, to build things and use those things to talk to people. You know, human beings. And when contests came up, it was fun to talk to someone on the other side of the planet using my voice and my ears to hear the other person’s voice. I didn’t get into this to become the IT guy for an accounting firm that kept track of who talked to whom at >30 WPM.
    . . . Of course, it didn’t help any when I came down with Essential Tremor a couple decades ago. That took me off the air on CW for a while until Piero Begali showed me one of his paddles. So I got back on the air and, though I was not as speedy as I was sitting at the op’s chair in the USN, I could still talk with folks on CW. At least until I thought about getting on and playing a contest.
    . . . That’s when I discovered that contest ops had made the short story of six decades ago a reality. I turned off the radio, disconnected the antennas and have not sat for a contest since. In fact, I haven’t even worked a DX station in decades because many DXpedition stations are just portable versions of the short story’s main character: a guy running a computer running a radio.
    . . . All of this means that I will probably never work another contest, unless, of course, somebody sets up a contest that forbids completely any computer managed QSOs, logging and exchanges, a contest where real people make contacts with real radios and real keys using their fingers on a key & not a keyboard & mouse.
    . . . My hopes of that happening are about as low as expecting a firm date on the Second Coming or the arrival of aliens from another planet. It ain’t gonna happen. Which means that I am sidelined in a hobby where someone in a supposed position of authority thinks I’m a Luddite and does not for one moment consider that there are folks who refuse to dehumanize what was once a very human yet technologically advanced hobby. Which means we’ve lost our way and we’ve lost ourselves and all this hands-on stuff is gonna be pretty dusty and unused when they gather it up for my estate auction.

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