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This Friday evening there will be a demonstration and discussion of various radio hardware and software at the hall, and where some typical modern equipment will be available to see up close. Various shack upgrade options and their relative merits and drawbacks can be discussed and evaluated. If the club is seriously considering updating its radio equipment, the discussion may as well start here. Come along and join the forum. Everybody and all opinions welcome.

Berni M0XYF

I had a visit yesterday from Franco IV3BMV who some of you may remember visited us at Cyprus Hall whenever he came over to visit his daughter, who lives in Burgess Hill.

Franco sends his 73s to all MSARS members, whose activities he follows via our website.

This may well be Franco's last visit since his daughter and her family are returning to Italy soon, but once HF conditions improve he has promised to join us on our nets whenever possible. Until then, listen out for IV3BMV on 40m CW.

Regards and 73s

Ken G3WYN

President

MSARS

Stella has produced a newsletter for June 2022

You can download it here: http://msars.org.uk/downloads/newsletters/june_2022.pdf

73

Berni M0XYF

I'm going to start by saying what an absolute pleasure it was to sit around in the beautiful sunshine this afternoon just leisurely playing radio. If I'd have spent my last moments on Earth in this place today, it would have been an honour.

Huge thanks to Simon and the other mill staff that helped us with setting-up, fencing-off and otherwise accommodating and hosting us. Thanks too to the lovely ladies serving the tea and cakes inside the mill. We were given prime position inside the grounds of Jill Mill where we could both operate safely and also chat to the public about radio stuff.

 

 

Having learnt my lesson yesterday, I'd cut a new length of wire for 40m today, and whilst I'd only roughly measured a 20m length, once I'd strung it up in somewhere between an inverted L and a pointy inverted V configuration, it was found to be resonant at around 7.115MHz, so very happy with that. Unfortunately (and I can only think that it's because I had it at too acute an angle at the apex) the SWR at this frequency was around 2.5:1. To be honest, I didn't want to waste all afternoon trying to diagnose and rectify this issue, so I just let the tuner handle it for today, which it just about managed on 40m, 30m and 20m. I didn't look at any other bands during this session.

Now, as soon as I powered on the radio, and without even touching the VFO knob, I heard GB2KM chatting with another Mills station. I quickly checked the basic radio settings before calling in and making my first proper Mills contact!

Ironically, it was on 20m - at whatever frequency I'd left it on yesterday!

There was an awful lot of QRM, and John gave me a 4 and 7 signal report. He had my name in the log as Barry, and my location as Chatham in South Devon as opposed to Clayton on the South Downs, but I don't care - I had fulfilled my mission. GB0JJM had gone into Keston Mill's log. I could move back into my comfortable machine-controlled world.

 

 

Merv meanwhile had found a convenient disused alpine cable-car station with a flat roof on which to place his fancy new Tarheel screwdriver antenna.

It was the first outing of this very nice piece of kit since its purchase, so it was good for him to prove that it operated correctly and pulled in some signals, although he was plagued a little bit all day with a less than ideal battery voltage (spare car battery, like myself). He was also suffering from Mac computer gremlins preventing the use of WSJT-X, so no digital modes.

For Merv, I think today was more about some general shake-down testing and just to get out in the fresh air.

In fact, as long as you don't tell anyone, we spent most of the afternoon sitting around talking tech and swapping stories of past adventures and experiences. I kind of wish I'd met Merv a long time ago. I think we'd possibly have got into a fair bit of trouble together!

 

 

Not sure how this photo managed to capture a part of my car that wasn't completely buried in junk, croissant crumbs, a profusion of cables and a collection of empty tea and coffee cups. I later had my laptop set up alongside too for more FT8 action - this time on 40m and 30m.

 

 

Merv praying to Ra for more photons for his little solar panel. Behind him is a perfectly good camping chair, still in its bag...  smile

So anyway, I couldn't be bothered with social media reports and the like. It was a day for just kicking back and not worrying too much about anything in particular, and we both had a blast. The Mills Weekend event wrapped up at around 5:00pm, and so we cleared out at the same time. Simon asked after some photos and radio reports for the Jack and Jill website as we left, so I'm not sure what he'll make of some PSKREPORTER screenshots... maybe we've started a new thing?

You never know, we may get some interest from one of their website visitors, or from one of the many many people that came up to us and asked what we were up to over the weekend. Any which way you cut it, it was good publicity for both the windmill society, and for amateur radio in general.

Looking forward to next year, and I will seriously expect a few more club members to come and support this incredible opportunity in one of the best locations you could wish to operate a radio.

Berni M0XYF

A few of us attended an impromptu get-together up at Jack & Jill windmills today, to celebrate Mills Weekend.

This wasn't an MSARS event, but several Mid Sussex members showed up including myself (obviously), Adrian M0TCD and wife Sue 2E0ZYL, Mike G8KMP and Chris M7VJE. It was great to see all of you, and thanks for lending your support to Mills on the Air, and indeed the Custodians of Jill Mill itself (herself?) who also showed a keen interest in our activities. I appreciated it personally too.

Adrian was set-up and ready to go at around 7:30am apparently, which is the middle of the night in my household. I was a bit behind in my organisation and casually rolled up at around 10:15am, whereupon I came across Adrian and Mike in the car park. Sue was busy hitting up a few stations on 40m, and had already clocked up several QSOs including a couple or three mills.

It was a beautiful sunny morning, and the wind was a mere breeze - perfect conditions. Adrian had his Hustler 6BTV superbly well dug-in on the westerly-facing front edge of the public car park, with its super-solid looking steel drive-on tilt-over baseplate pinned into the ground and with full double-height guy-wire support. Proper belt and braces, and it looked majestically SpaceX-like!

That little nubbin strapped to the 10m trap at the bottom is a bolt-on for 15m apparently?! I need to ask Ken about this, so I'm told.

 

 

I took up a position on the opposite side of the car park to try and avoid any interaction with Adrian's antenna. It was reasonably busy when I arrived, with the usual dog walkers, trail runners and cyclists, but at no point did the car park 'run out' of available spaces, and I don't think any of us ever felt that any member of the public were likely or even able to get within several feet of our kit, which made everything more enjoyable and relaxing. Adrian and Sue had their antenna location taped-off, and mine was in the dead-zone, near the rear hedge, so no foot traffic nearby.

 

Mike took me up to meet the guys working on Jill Mill. Nice chaps, and very welcoming. I think they really appreciate all the support and publicity they can get, especially on Mills Weekend, so it was good to show our faces and let our presence be known. They were performing some reparations today in readiness for tomorrow, but the way their maintenance schedule has fallen (based heavily on the prevailing wind conditions, apparently - who knew?) meant that we were invited into the actual Mill grounds to operate tomorrow (Sunday). Result! The Mill grounds open at 13:30 and close at 5:00pm, so perfect for my plans tomorrow, when Merv and hopefully one or two other members will drop by. Poor old Russell is a bit under the weather, otherwise he would have come, but we appreciate his support regardless and wish him a swift recovery. Mike got off home at around this time, but his presence was tremendously valued.

While Adrian and Sue were smashing their way through the logbook, I was still setting up and faffing about trying to get WSJT-X (which always runs in 'split' mode) to play nicely with my automatic ATU. They were confusing the underworld out of each other for some reason, but I made it work somehow.

I'd jury-rigged a resonant wire setup for the 20m band over the preceding couple of days, which necessitated adding 700mm of steel whip to the top of my fibreglass mast. I'd had this all working reasonably well at home, including the addition of a small coil to drop the resonant frequency of the wire on the 10m band to something more useable, and this continued to work at the frequencies required when up on top of the Downs, which was reassuring.

Unfortunately, the 20m band was a total washout as far as Mills was concerned. Nobody told me, but then I didn't think to ask anyone which bands to target either! Oh well. Living and Learning is still a thing for me. More wire in the air tomorrow then.

Adrian reported that 80m was pretty dead, but 40m was still producing results. Meanwhile, I'd ATU'd my lash-up to bear fruit on 17m, 12m and 10m. 15M was a no-go, as you might imagine. Later I also found that 30m tunes up really well too, but a test on 40m also proved impossible. All of this I expected, so fair dos.

I should mention that I was running FT8 the whole time, as I wanted to test my digital setup further, and also wanted to get the Mills callsign GB0JJM out as far and wide as possible to create some publicity for Mills in general. I realise that this probably isn't the done thing but I'm happy to wear the naughty badge. I did notch up a few good contacts into Japan and the US given the fairly poor conditions.

Cars came and went, and I wasn't really paying too much attention until Chris M7VJE popped up behind me. Great to see him up there. We've only ever met over Zoom, so cool to make that meet-up in the real world.

He settled up the end of the car park to save being swamped by stray RF, and had a good afternoon skipping around the bands using his neat custom-built 20m and 15m whips on a mag-mount.

 

 

We all enjoyed a good chin-wag throughout the afternoon, and put about 1% of the world to rights while we were at it.

I did manage to spit out a couple of tweets in reply to the MSARS tweet regarding MOTA, but I will try and do better tomorrow.

Thanks to Adrian and Sue for lending some credibility to the Mills experience. At least someone knew what they were supposed to be doing.

Now I'm off to charge many batteries in readiness. Join us in person or on-air between 13:30 and 17:00 tomorrow afternoon.

#MOTA #MOTA2022 #MILLSONTHEAIR

73's

Berni M0XYF