Some of us brought out our construction projects

The October meeting featured the annual Blackwood Cup.   Three entries were received – one each from Bernard ZL2BD, Ted ZL2TB and Mike ZL1AXG.   The trophy went to Mike ZL1AXG for his adaptations of the BITX40 transceiver.  But voting was very close.   Mike will be writing up his BITX40 mods on the Arduino section of this website as time allows.

Blackwood Cup 2017

The other projects included:

  • a 4 way antenna switch (from Bernard ZL2TB) which was beautifully presented (the case was made with 2 aluminium channels and a ).  Channel isolation was found to be around 70dB (i.e. excellent) with insertion loss in the fractions of 1dB;
  • a collection of home brew single lever paddle (from Ted ZL2TB) that use magnetic latching to provide a nice key “feel”.  Ted has a few for sale as well if anybody is looking for a nice non-iambic paddle.

Our annual report to Charity Services

The Wellington Amateur Radio Club Inc is a registered charity.  Each year we provide Charity Services (at the Department of Internal Affairs) with our financial reports.  This year we had to provide a lot more detail, including a statement of service performance. The information we provided to Charity Services is included in the documents below.

 

 

 

Mid-winter Nosh ‘n’ Natter @ Wright’s Hill Fortress

Bring food to heat up!
People brought food to heat up!

Wednesday 15 June at Wright’s Hill Fortress, 7.30pm.

Club members Don ZL2BL and George ZL2AG were our hosts for this event.

The Fortress is at the top of Wrights Hill Rd, and while the views from the top of Wright’s Hill are impressive, we weren’t up there for the views.  Instead we went underground to the rabbit warren of concrete-lined tunnels built in the second half of World War II as part of a protection system for Wellington from foreign invaders.   The big gun installed at Wright’s Hill could send shells around the harbour and further afield.

Members got to have a chat, peruse the old war recruiting materials, and then venture out of the meeting room to check out the restored radio shack, complete with ZC1s and other vintage equipment.   Overall it was a very enjoyable evening and not as cold as we had anticipated underground!

The wind down of Solar Cycle 24

solar-cycle-sunspot-numberThe current Solar Cycle has proved to be a bit disappointing for amateur operators and will descend to a minimum within the next 2 to 4 years.   We are already seeing dead bands in most daily forecasts.  But how does our current cycle compare to earlier cycles?

The following diagram shows peak sunspots from all observed solar cycles since the 1600’s when sunspots were first recorded by astronomers.

It turns out that cycle 24 is not particularly unusual in the scheme of things!

grandcyclesswsc120009-fig4

And for an even longer perspective …

The last 10,000 years of sunspots!
The last 12,000 years of sunspots!

So what will happen in the next cycle (cycle 25)?

You will find a number of predictions online.    Because of the peak sunspot number in our current cycle there seems to be a growing consensus that we are unlikely to see the really nasty outcome of a second “Maunder minimum” (a period of almost 70 years with virtually no sunspots at all).   It is likely, however, that we are exiting from the “Grand Maximum” period.   We may well be entering a regular period that will look a bit like the period from 1724 to 1924 (a whole two centuries in duration!) in which sunspots are OK, but not good enough to make the record books.   The result is that we can expect the next cycle to be somewhat similar to Cycle 24.

Sorry to bring you the bad news!   Let’s hope one of those mid  to late 20th Century sunspot highs comes again in our lifetimes!