As in previous years, I present my analysis of the Club’s HF nets for your consideration.
2021 proved to be a difficult year with falling band conditions making it difficult to maintain contacts with overseas friends and Covid preventing most of us from meeting face to face.
Nevertheless the determination of regular contributors to both nets, an influx of new members, and some new technology made the Nets popular throughout the year showing the determination of members to keep in touch.
The Sunday Morning 80m Net (From 08:00 clocktime on 3.742 MHz +/-)
17 MSARS members took part - 4 more than last year - and 14 non-members joined in including Alain F4GHB who has now become a very welcome regular participant. Even Bob, N4XAT tells me that he has heard us via a WebSDR on some occasions. Sean EI7CV and I completed another 49 weekly contacts making our total since our first contact on 5th of January 1977 up to 1992 on the 25th of December 2021 and, if things go as planned, our 2000th contact will take place on February the 20th 2022.
I would like to think that all MSARS members might like to join Sean and I to celebrate the occasion with a bumper turnout that Sunday morning!
The Weekday Lunchtime HF Net (at 13:30 clocktime Monday to Friday)
Here, due to some members working from home, the numbers on our lunchtime net increased dramatically with 21 members participating compared with 13 last year and another 34 non-members joining in.
David WB1EAD and Barry SA7GDB continue to support us and we're very glad to hear them. Several of our newer members limited by their licence conditions to 10 watts have made their first contact with David only to realise that it was their first ever American contact!
Bob N4XAT continues to join in almost every day and if direct contact is not possible on CW or SSB, provides useful SitReps via Messenger relayed through Ron G0WGP. These are very useful to us.
We operated on 20m for most of the year but are in the process of moving back to 15m to chase the propagation. At present our tests on 15m are inconclusive but, if the flux continues to rise we may be back on 21.345 MHz again as a permanent band change.
So, look for us on 14.345 or 21.345 Monday to Friday at 1330 clocktime but watch the website for the latest news.
MSARS members on the lunchtime net are using a variety of modes. Some are using SSB and CW, others are combining both modes operating from home or mobile. Several are going mobile and seeking the highest spots around for the extra elevation which helps a lot and Phil G4UDU has beaten us all by combining going mobile, seeking out the high spots and, on one or two occasions calling in from his car via his laptop or phone using a remote link to operate the FlexRadio HF gear in his shack.
Changes at the Club Shack
This remote operation may well be the way for us to go if we are prevented from using the equipment at Cyprus Hall and Phil has promised us a talk and demonstration showing how any MSARS member who cannot operate from home could access the transceivers in Cyprus Hall and use them via such a remote link.
Phil ’UDU has also just finished the design and construction of a Half Wave End Fed antenna to replace the existing HF antenna at Cyprus Hall which has been broken down for the whole of last year. Phil’s new antenna is much more robust, will tune all HF bands and does not use the 300 ohm feedline which has caused us so much trouble in the past.
We tested it out today and it is hoped that it can be installed on the roof of Cyprus Hall very soon. Phil has put a lot of time and work into designing and building this antenna and deserves all our thanks.
Whilst Covid has prevented MSARS having face to face meetings for most of last year, member’s ingenuity in using different bands and modes has enabled us to keep in touch on HF, VHF and UHF plus Zoom. The splendid website we now enjoy also enables us to read what is going on week by week so, join in one or more of the MSARS nets, look at the website on a regular basis and keep in touch!
MSARS is your radio Club, Let’s hear more of you on the air!
73, Ken G3WYN