We heard tales of trips “home” to Cornwall from Bob Morris ZL2AVM. There was a pirate mentioned… just one as it happens, but Bob ZL2AVM took us on a fascinating illustrated communications romp through parts of Cornwall over several centuries. From coast-top beacons, flag signalling, telegraph experiments and undersea cables he lured us into his world as a lad growing up. His family links with the area helped set the scene for a discussion of Marconi’s activities (with special reference to Poldhu and Porthcurno, and to the impetus the development of railways gave to electrical signalling requirements.
There was even a glimpse of Goonhilly (further west) which began as a satellite telecoms tracking station, only to change its nature as reliable undersea cables and “stationary orbit” satellites became dominant. The site of Bob’s first amateur station G3KYB was disclosed, and he asserted that while he had been tempted, he never did run an antenna from the shack up the adjacent church tower.
The third in a series of “nosh n natter nights” was a cold and blustery evening. However a dozen members turned out, complete with a plate. There was plenty of food.
Excerpts from branch newsletters from the last 50 years were read out stimulating conversation. There was also a tape recording or two of silent keys talking about the “good old days” of amateur radio and the second district radio club (aka Branch 50).
Most people were able to contribute something nostalgic – whether it was about their first crystal set, the amateur op who introduced them to amateur radio, or commentary on some strange electrical object that mystified the experts abroad (George’s dielectric constant measuring device). The night went on until 9.30pm before the Chair thought he had better call an end to the meeting (after failing to stop the nostalgic contributions 20 minutes earlier. There were no boring tales, but maybe a porky or two (from Richard?)!
Did it lapse when you had to pay the annual renewal fee?
There are no annual fees these days … Get your licence back today!
John ZL2HD, our “resident” ARX, is issuing new licences for free to people who have previously held an Amateur Radio operator’s certificate (and callsign) that has lapsed. To regain your licensed status just join our club! John cannot guarantee provision of the original callsign, however, as it may have been reallocated.
About four people a month are approaching him to take up this offer!
Our last meeting on Wednesday 20 May built on the April meeting where we got the theory. The May meeting we got some insight into the practice … How to get Hamnet up and running at our own QTH.
James ZL2ET, Mike ZL1AXG, John ZL2HD and Bernard ZL2BD set up a multitude of Wi-Fi devices around the hall … then showed how the Amateur Radio software for these devices (each a node in a common network) could be used to do a variety of things – from checking on how many Wi-Fi links were out there (there are dozens in the building’s vicinity, and the display number grows as devices report on what they’re connected to) to a digital camera watching Col ZL2COL preparing supper out in the kitchen. In between James and Mike talked us through the control and application layers. These things are fast; the bulletin board software leaves Packet for dead!
There are a range of available devices (even using old Link Sys routers); with the right units and antennas line of sight contact over distances up to 15km is possible. Wellington’s problem is its hills and valleys, so more nodes are needed to propagate the signal.
A possible application (also being developed) is a “redundant” communications system for when the local civil defence network is compromised (in a major earthquake). Ham-net Wi-Fi using remote cameras might capture useful data for supply to the local authorities. With the Government moving to “social networks” for its emergency communications with the public in general, the possibilities for an Amateur Radio input appear endless.