At NARC we cater for a wide variety of interests within the hobby of Amateur Radio and our membership ranges from complete beginners to those experienced in operating and building electronic equipment.
Beginners have the opportunity to participate in courses run by NARC for all three licence levels. The Social aspect of the club is thriving with family events such as Radio by the Seaside and Radio Active weekend, NARC also operates in various contests and in the last two years we have won the RSGB Club Championships on 80m.
We have a comprehensive club programme running throughout the year, the complete list can be seen on the diary page. We also try to cater for youngsters with our "Bright Sparks" evenings when we dedicate an evening to assist the younger members in construction and operating techniques. We offer club trips and also run the annual Barford Radio Rally which falls on July 3rd 2016
We have a shack at NARC which has HF, 6M , 2M and 70cm along with laptop for data modes and CW on HF along with D-STAR on 70cm the shack is open on informal evenings. We also have a comprehensive loan system available to members including TX/RX, Test Equipment and a library. We run nets on GB3NB on a Monday evening and HF nets with our Twinned Club in Koblenz.
So take look around and we look forward to seeing you at the club one evening.
Once again the sun looks very spotless, other than one tiny smudge. As a result, this week saw the solar flux index drop below 80.
We're beginning to sound like a stuck record, but ongoing coronal hole activity pushed the K index to five on Wednesday 22nd. Noisy electrical storms across most of Northern Europe didn't help either.
Next week the USAF predicts the solar flux index will be in the range 70-80, with the potential for unsettled geomagnetic conditions on Saturday the 2nd and Sunday 3rd July. As the solar flux index at sunspot minimum doesn't fall below about 66 this gives you some idea of the state of the sun.
As it is mid-summer we can't expect fantastic HF conditions either, with lower maximum usable frequencies during the day, compared with the Autumn and Winter, but higher MUFs at night.
But if you want a challenge, try listening for the Alexanderson alternator at station SAQ in Grimeton, Sweden on 17.2kHz CW at 0900 and 1200 UTC on Sunday 3rd July. The Twente SDR on the web can cover 17.2kHz or you can hook an antenna up to your sound card and use some special software.
Amateur station SK6SAQ will also be active on 80m SSB and 40, 20 and 15m CW during the day.
VHF and up
Sporadic E may be poorer next week as the main Atlantic jet stream activity has already migrated north, leaving much of central Europe under a much slacker pattern.
The absence of active jet streams over Europe probably means that one of the main Es triggers, gravity waves, may be missing or reduced. These waves propagate up from the turbulence of the jet stream at 12km height to the E region at 120km.
This absence will make Sporadic E hard to come by except perhaps for the more northern paths across to Scandinavia where the jet stream may be slightly more active.
Next week we will find a big high with a very large East-West extent just north of the Azores and covering much of the Atlantic. This could give some interesting Tropo paths down the western side of Europe from the UK to Spain and Portugal and onwards to the Canaries or Cape Verde.
It may also be a tempting week for those seeking the more unlikely options of trans-Atlantic Tropo. This is very much a long shot, since there are fronts involved which can easily break any ducts.
Moon declination goes positive on Monday and losses are falling with perigee on Friday, so EME conditions will improve as the week progresses.
We produced a handout supporting our talk on Wednesday but despite me printing 50 copies they ran out, so please see below the contents of the flier.
We hope it inspired you to have a look and experiment in the fascinating world of Software Defined Radio.
73, David G7URP
SDR - Software Defined Radio NARC Club talk 22nd June 2016
SDR essentially means that many of the aspects of a radio which were traditionally implemented in hardware such as detectors, demodulators and filters are under software control from a computer. One of the main advantages is that so many functions and settings can be directly controlled and tweaked allowing the user to configure their radio to exactly what they want it to do, even writing and modifying software to control it.
Until recently most Amateur radio SDRs consisted of a hardware circuit board or box which is connected to a traditional Windows, Mac or Linux PC.
SunSDR have an all in one MB1 (sunsdr.eu) but at over £5000 is too high end for the average amateur. However Icom have just released the IC-7300 which looks just like a traditional radio but is in fact an SDR radio fitted with an internal computer and touch screen and at just over £1000 seems to offer a lot for the money - reviews coming soon.
Many believe that SDR is the future of amateur radio rigs…...
FlexRadio is one of the most popular Commercial SDR Transceiver systems which Jim G3YLA and several others use at home as their main rig. They are mainly used with Windows software although Jim uses his with an Apple iMac in ‘bootcamp’ Windows mode. FlexRadio Transceivers start at just over £2000.
More information from www.flexradio.com and the usual UK radio retailers.
The Funcube dongle looks like a large USB memory stick but contains a high performance SDR radio receiver with a range between 150kHz to 1.9GHz!
Originally designed as a satellite receiver for the Funcube satellite project and supported by AMSAT UK and the RCF. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux and now has a Pro version and will also work with the Raspberry Pi 2.
It costs £150 and the club owns one which can be loaned to NARC members to try.
More information from their website at www.funcubedongle.com
The £6 DIY SDR!
A real experimenters SDR radio. There are low cost chinese made USB receivers you can buy for under £6 on eBay which are primarily designed for watching DVB-T digital TV or listening to radio on your computer. Many are based on the RTL8032 SDR receiver chip and now enterprising amateurs have written lots of software packages for it, most of them free!
The one I demonstrated was one of the most popular and easy to use called SDR# (SDR sharp) but there are many and most listed here:
ebay has lots of suitable receivers but I suggest you search eBay for “SDR RTL8032”. I paid £5.25 for mine including delivery from UK! Have fun!
Or why not try someone elses SDR?
Finally you dont have to have anything other than a computer with an internet connection to try SDRs at home because many people all over the world connect their SDR radio stations to the internet for you to try! This is generally referred to as webSDR and as well as getting some feel for SDR is also useful for seeing what radio conditions are like in other parts of the UK or the world, or even using it as a kind of personal reverse beacon where you can see if your station transmission is reaching a particular destination - most stations can even record onto your PC.
There are hundreds of different stations you can try all around the world and many of the most popular can be found by looking at www.websdr.org
Whatever you do experiment and have some fun - it’s what our hobby is all about
73 de Jim G3YLA & David G7URP V2.1 DP
Tonight a Social Informal plus Construction and Bright Sparks for our young members, meeting 7-10pm.
As usual if you would like us to supply any special equipment please let us know beforehand.
NOTE - Trophy Foxhunt is next Wednesday 6th July so there will be no meeting at the school.
If you would like to make a DF100 Foxhunt receiver kit (£6) in time for this please order one from David G7URP before 10pm Saturday 25th June then you will be able to collect it from Kevin M0UJD on 29th June
73, David G7URP
A page of nets happening around Norfolk this week and open to all
19.30: Informal net and chat on repeater GB3NB - everyone welcome! (GB3NB - 145.625MHz receive)
20.30: NARC CW net on HF 3.545MHz +/- QRM
21.00: Raynet net on 144.650MHz FM - open to Raynet members & anyone wanting to find out more
19.00: GB2CW Advanced CW Morse class (145.250MHz) Roger G3LDI
20.00: Intermediate CW class Jim G3YLA (145.250MHz)
20.00: GB2CW Beginners CW Morse class (145.250MHz) Malcolm G3PDH
19.30: Beginners voice net on GB3NB - informal help and chat for newcomers to the hobby with Simon and Nigel
20.00: NARC Contest net (145.250MHz)
If you would like details of any other Norfolk net published here just let me know date, time, frequency, mode and subject and we will be happy to publicise...
73 David G7URP
Sunday week sees our annual Radio Rally and important as it is the clubs main fund raising event of the year. So as we are raising funds for all of the clubs activities and resources we hope we can count on some members to give us a few hours of their time that day to spread the load for others who will be working very hard. We book Barford Village Hall and grounds from 07.30 and the first couple of hours is when we need the most help parking traders, taking entrance fees, parking cars, catering, clearing, club stands etc....
If you are welcome to help in any way please contact Mark G0LGJ (catering), Kevin M0UJD or myself - we look forward to hearing from you.
73, David G7URP
At Barford you will also be able to book your place on our National Hamfest coach trip on Friday 30th September
You may recall Nick M0HGU's fascinating talk and demo of Very Low Frequency transmission a few months ago. Well Nick has forwarded us the following for anyone interested in VLF....
GRIMETON RADIO/SAQ TRANSMISSION
The annual transmission on "Alexanderson Day" with the Alexanderson
alternator on VLF 17.2 kHz with the call SAQ will take place Sunday, July
3rd, 2016 at 09:00 UTC (tuning up from after 08:30 UTC) and will be repeated
at 12:00 UTC (tuning up from after 11:30 UTC).
Amateur Radio Station with the call "SK6SAQ" will be QRV on the following
- 7.035 kHz CW or
- 14.035 kHz CW or
- 21.035 kHz CW or
- 3.755 kHz SSB
Two stations will be on the air most of the time.
QSL-reports to SAQ and SK6SAQ are kindly received via:
- or via: SM bureau
- or direct by mail to: Alexander - Grimeton Veteranradios Vaenner,
SE-432 98 ROLFSTORP
S W E D E N
Also read our website: www.alexander.n.se <http://www.alexander.n.se/>
The station will be open to visitors.
This is specifically for new licensees who are just getting started in the hobby and want a bit of help and a friendly ear.
It does not matter whether you are a member of NARC or not, we would just like to help.
So just join us each Friday from 19:30 on repeater GB3NB
With Simon M0TRJ and Nigel 2E0NLK
GB3NB is a 2 metre repeater which you can hear on 145.625MHz and transmit to on 145.025MHz.
You can find out more about many of the Norfolk repeaters from http://gb3nb.org.uk/wp/
The club meets virtually every Wednesday throughout the year in the sixth form centre of the City of Norwich School, Eaton Road, Norwich, NR4 6PP from 1900-2200.
We welcome anyone of any age, gender or ability and who enjoys experimenting with radio and electronics to come and meet us and see what we do in our hobby.
Please see above ONLINE tab for details of the club programme and below this piece for contacts of club officials.