Next event – Sunday 21 July 2019

The next Branch 50 event will be held at Mike ZL1AXG QTH on Sunday 21 July from 1pm – 3pm. Mike will talk about sunspots – what they are, what the next cycle may hold, and possible impacts on climate.

All Welcome. Afternoon tea/coffee will be available.

There will be no Shed Workshop in July, but Shed WOrkshops will return in early August with everybody getting to construct an Active Antenna. This will be spread across two workshop events. Costs will be covered by the Branch.

Shared lunch @ Mike ZL1AXG QTH

Branch 50 had its annual mid-Winter shared lunch on Sunday 23 June 2019 at Mike ZL1AXG’s QTH (2 Derry Hill, Churton Park, Wellington).

Plates of hot and cold food were shared alongside memories of Ralph ZL2AOH (now regrettably Silent Key as of Friday). There were also tales of the diminutive alternative to the Magnetic Loop, the Poynting Vector Antenna. When it was shared that the antenna was just 3/100 of a wavelength long, there was some disbelief about its properties. However, Bernard ZL2BD and Mike ZL1AXG noted that there seemed to be genuine research about this antenna, and given it is intended to receive magnetic waves (as opposed to electric waves) this may indeed improve reception. Also discussed were the challenges in making conical elements that are quite sizeable (albeit short).

There were also memory prompts from the past from members

  • A device of unknown purpose (Magnetron?, Phaser?)
  • A Creed latching relay (somewhat larger and heavier than you might think)
  • tales of great DX as a schoolboy when visiting the local ham radio operator in Cornwall, and a special QSL card from a Penzance Pirate
  • Two giveaways …
  • A tale of a repair of a Japan Radio Company (JRC) transmitter

Shed Workshop: Vintage Radio

At our shed workshop in the afternoon of Saturday 13 April, George ZL2AG opened up his garage and museum to the club to host a workshop on vintage radios. We were intrigued by the progression in designs – from expensive crystal sets (with galenium cat’s whisker diodes, through to feedback designs like the TRF, before the age of superhets.

George ZL2AG talking to his homebrew vintage-style radio, with John ZL2XJ and Don ZL2BL assisting

There were also changes also in the shape of cabinetry – from cathedral, through to tombstone and chest designs. George was lamenting the sharp fall off in interest in vintage radio, and was concerned about where all the beautifully restored vintage sets will end up. Tea and coffee was served at the conclusion of the workshop. A further workshop on vintage radios will take place in May.

A most unusual German set, with 3 valves in one enclosure

Test equipment Shed Workshop – Saturday 9 March

On Saturday 9 March a shed workshop was held at the QTH of Mike ZL1AXG from 1pm – 3pm on the topic of test equipment. A number of speakers gave brief presentations (Mains power analyser and Vector Network Analyser by John ZL2JPM, a logic analyser by Kenneth ZS6KEN, a digital oscilloscope and spectrum analyser by Bernard ZL2BD, a Megger by Malcolm ZL2UDF, and analogue scopes by Don ZL2BL). This included a brief description of the purpose, indicative cost and tips and tricks in using the equipment. Eleven turned up and found plenty useful in the talks.