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Talk by Mike Gloistein – British Antarctic Survey

Recently RADARC was privileged to be given a talk by Mike Gloistein GM0HCQ of the British Antarctic Survey about his experiences past and present with said survey, on board the newly commissioned Research Vessel Sir David Attenborough.

Mike has worked for the British Antarctic Survey for over thirty years. Initially sailing as a Radio Officer until GMDSS came along, then as a Communications Officer and now as an Electronics Officer on board the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

In 2004 Mike was awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty the Queen.
During his time with the Survey Mike has operated as GM0HCQ/MM, VP8CMH/MM, VP8ROT, VP8SGK and VP8SIG.

Mike shared with us a hugely illuminating exposé of what it’s really like to live and work in this kind of environment – from technical, through practical and all the way to dealing with the local wildlife, of which there is plenty!

We are delighted to share our recording of Mike’s talk right here:

Don’t forget that RADARC have a YouTube channel where more of our talks and other content get posted when we can.

Farewell Bill G4WJS, SK

We are stunned to hear of the sudden loss of Bill G4WJS:

“Sad news and so suddenly for him to be taken from us.  I remember when Bill moved to Stokenchurch and his tower went up and I spoke to him just before we moved from that high location. Bill treated everyone the same and would help with his knowledge, a sad loss to us all. “ — Min G0JMS

A most helpful gentleman. I had several contacts with him on the Bracknell 70 CM repeater using a Baofeng BFT-1 mini walkie talkie on the Sunday 1700Z net. SK was most unexpected.  DE G4ELD

“That is very sad news indeed, he helped me a lot and he was always available. Even when his status on Discord was set to offline he was often still monitoring and answering. I worked him many times from home and from S5 in different modes, not just FT8, and only last week we discussed possible solutions to my windows-10 laptop crashing repeatedly. He will be missed,R.I.P. Bill G4WJS” — Michael M0MPM

“Bill was humble yet definitive at the same time! He is very well known in Amateur circles because he got involved in lots of conversations with new and old amateurs a like. You’d not necessarily know, that this man was instrumental in one of the leading digital modes that is used by many ham radio enthusiasts on the planet. Bill made his mark in so many ways. He is a seriously clever bloke! His depth of knowledge and understanding of a myriad of topics was outstanding. When Bill gave an opinion on something, you’d get the feeling that he had played through the thought process that came to the decision like a master chess player. Checkmate every time. Bill really knew his stuff. He was very kind with sharing his knowledge. He held strong to things he believed in. Bill was a star. The shiniest of stars, but he wouldn’t subscribe to that opinion of him. He would just carry on shining. ” — Brett 2E0HFW

Bill helped me with many activities including testing my new 2m and 70cm antennas, my first MS contacts and my first EME contacts.   He even persuaded me to try a 2m Ionsospheric scatter contact (yet to be achieved).  We had lots of discussions both on the air and via Discord and Zoom.   Bill was a true inspiration. RIP Bill” — Mike G4CDF

“I first met Bill around 20 years ago when he moved to Stokenchurch and became active on the VHF Bands. We had a common interest in VHF dxing and Contests. Bill was degree educated, Chemistry if I remember correctly, but worked as a Software Engineer for local companies. My background was in mechanical engineering, so we were able to readily exchange ideas. During the following years we did many contests together from 160m to 70cm with the Maidenhead Amateur Radio Club of which we were both members and of which he eventually became Chairman. Following the clubs demise, we both joined the Reading club of which he was an active member until his death.

During our early exchanges I mentioned that I was using a piece of software called WSJT which had originally been given to me in 2002 at the Prague EME conference and updated at subsequent EME conferences. We spent many hours discussing this and my hardware disasters trying to use it. Following a call for help by Joe Taylor sometime around 2008, we discussed how he may be able to help. That led to his involvement with the WSJT-X program.

Bill had endless patience and had the unique ability to resolve issues over email in a way that very few people could. I remember one evening, we were doing a Pub Quiz, in the interval he was answering questions posed to him on the WSJT reflector, and there were many, all answered with the same patience and understanding.

More recently during the recent SV5/HB9COG EME dxpedition, there was a problem with the way Q65 was treating compound callsigns, Bill was able to remote into my shack PC and effectively sit on my shoulder and see what was going on in the software that was causing the decoding problem.

RIP Bill, you will be fondly remembered. ” — Dave G4RGK

Terrible news, hugely shocking. In amongst the tributes flooding in, there is a very touching tribute from Paul G4YKQ on the WSJT-X mailing list which I would like to draw people’s attention to: https://wsjtx.groups.io/g/main/message/30558. On November 14th, Bill sent the following photo of the birds on his mast to the antennas channel on the club’s Discord. It stood out from the noise to me somehow. I wanted to share it a little wider, I hope you don’t mind. — Tom M0LTE

Bill said “Getting to that time of Year when the Starlings really like aerials to perch on.”

Whilst most will know of Bill through WSJT-X, we were privileged to see many different sides to Bill. He loved amateur radio in all its forms. This shone through in his contributions to the club. He was equally at home encouraging newcomers or working through some tricky technical issue with the most experienced members on anything from RF/electronics to propagation queries. His knowledge and experience were truly vast.

As has been noted elsewhere, his clarity of thought was legendary. This wasn’t just evident technically. My phone QSOs via GB3BN with Bill when out walking were a delight. It’s a measure of the man that he could go to the most technically rarefied areas of the hobby such as weak signal work at VLF but still be quite happy to have a chat on 70cm FM.

It goes without saying his contribution to to WSJT-X is vast terms of code written. More often that not, Bill would be “pulling a release together” or working through some tests – never the easiest of tasks. His diligence and thoughtfulness in his support work speak for themselves.

Bill loved writing code. Any software engineers out there know what I mean. To this end, he had a few projects lined up involving microcontrollers, FPGAs and DACs. It’s impossible to believe they won’t now happen.

I only ever know Bill through local QSOs or through online media such as video conferencing or the club online discussion forum. His presence was always such that I can hardly believe this is the case.

Bill at home in his shack on zoom

A star that shone so brightly.

RIP Bill.

John

G4RDC

RADARC Secretary

McMichael Rally 2021 – CANCELLED

I am sad to say that once again I have to announce the cancellation of the 2021 McMichael Rally.There are many factors involved, but the main one is the delay in ‘unlocking’ the government announced on Monday, which means the government rules which will be in force at the time of the rally do not allow the event. The committees involved cannot with all conscience continue planning the event for 2021.

The rally is a unique type of event which is both social and commercial, and attracts a large number of people from all over the UK and this number would have been likely to be increased further by the lack of similar events for some time. Safety has to be the foremost consideration.

Myself and the committee are very disappointed as I am sure many of you are, but let’s look forward to next year.

73, Simon M0ZSU, RADARC

Andrew M5ARC SK

Andrew M5ARC became SK on the 17th March 2021 following his illness over the past 12 months.

Andrew and Alice had released a lot of his radio equipment to the club before he had to go into a care home.

Andrew did a lot of contests with Tom G0VQR and Andy M5ALC (SK) and the club in the past.

The funeral will be a private family one and Min G0JMS will pass on any thoughts or memories of Andrew to the family. The club’s thoughts are with the family.

RADARC on Discord

Hope you are all keeping safe and also well hydrated in this heat!

Some members may not know that RADARC is now running a Discord server. Discord is an internet-based chat tool that runs quietly in the background, and is great for those times between meetings that you just remember something you want to discuss, either to someone specific at the club, or as an open discussion. It’s much more lightweight and quick turnaround than email is.

It’s available for Windows, Macs, iPhones and Android phones, is free, and pretty easy to use once you’re up and running. There’s been lots of interesting chat already on lots of different topics, and you can mute what you’re not interested in. The only thing missing is you!

If you’re interested, ping someone on the committee directly for an invite, or email committee @ radarc.org.

Motorola MC Micro Audio Connector

I have designed a 3D printable audio adaptor for the Motorola MC Micro radio. The design cab be downloaded on Thingiverse here :-
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4495393

The design consists of 3 parts. The first is a grip which wedges between the internals of a 9 pin d-sub plug and the chassis of the radio. This isn’t strictly necessary but does help to avoid the plug vibrating loose. The internals of different plugs might vary so this grip might not always work but the design is made available in Tinkercad to tweak if required. I tried making a plug which would go all the way around but the minimum thickness of plastic most printers use is 0.4mm and there was insufficient space for this to work.
The second is a plate which holds the phono socket while making it easy to access the nut to do it up tight.
Finally there is a simple spacer piece to stop the end of the phono socket touching the d-sub contacts. This part is 20mm long and can simply be scaled to a different height when printing to compensate for a phono socket which has a much greater or shorter required depth.
All designs can be customised in Tinkercad :-
https://www.tinkercad.com/things/0ovB8h3qDyu
https://www.tinkercad.com/things/6fBdhwGSO4z
https://www.tinkercad.com/things/6zapnxmezA9

Parts Required :-
1* 9 pin d-sub plug
2* M3 * 30mm screws
1* phono socket

You will need to remove the metal surround from the d-sub plug. You might be able to snip it away using some cutters but I used a dremel type device with a small cutting disc to chop through it at the top and then peeled it back using a pair of pliers. If you do this please wear safety glasses as these small discs can shatter very easily if they catch and the sharp pieces can go flying off at quite a speed.

Step 1 is to push in the d-sub plug and then push in the grip behind it.

Next take the phono socket and solder wires to it and the solder ring. Make sure you do this before fitting as the heat will very easily melt the plastic.
Fit the phono socket. The plastic tends to deform a little under constant pressure so even with a spring washer it might loosen a bit after a while so I would suggest adding some silicone to fix everything in place and help stop the socket from rotating.

Feed the wires through the spacer and solder them onto the d-sub plug onto the speaker contacts.

Screw everything together and fit a phono plug onto the end of the speaker wires and it’s ready to test.