Welcome to the website of the Sheffield & District Wireless Society. Due to the kind generosity of our hosts The Rutland Hotel we are able to offer FREE membership and no subscriptions. This should be a huge welcome to new members who are interested in getting involved in amateur radio, particularly those members who want to be a part of our growing and vibrant contesting team, whatever your level of experience, so don’t be shy!
Feel free to visit our website and Facebook pages anytime, or better still, come along to one of our Society meetings where a very warm welcome awaits. Do come and join us on in our Member’s Hub where most of our daily activity takes place. There are no member fees to join the society, just bring yourselves along, your ideas and together we can enjoy a great hobby!
Some of you may know of this project fund but most will have never heard of it. The project fund was set up and is administered by Maurice Deighton, the owner of the Seal Shore Campsite on the Isle of Arran and good friend of SDWS. Without Maurice’s kindness and co-operation we would not enjoy the facility of being able to set up a full IOTA contest station each July on the Isle of Arran. At the end of July, we invade his campsite for a four day period, put up a variety on antennas on his beach and take over his private “Man Room” at the rear of his workshop! ALL OF THIS IS AT NO EXTRA COST over the standard camp site fees!
Maurice, a Yorkshireman, is a really nice bloke and is caring enough to feel concerned about the plight of children in West Africa. Some years ago he set up his schools trust and set about building a school in the Gambia and helping to renovate others. He spends many weeks each year there, over the winter season in Scotland when his campsite is closed.
Over the years that some of us have been going to Arran for the IOTA Contest (both in our former roles at SARC and these days at SDWS) we have tried to make a substantial donation to Maurice’s excellent fund, as a way of saying thank you for his help over the IOTA weekend and in some small way compensate him for the use of the warm radio room during out stay. Last year those of us on Arran had a “whip round” and, with the addition of a small sum from club funds, were able to give £150 to Maurice’s project fund.
This year we would like to increase the amount of our donation….maybe to £200. The Arran contest team will still dig into their pockets this coming weekend and we will top up the amount with something from club funds if possible. However we would like to extend, to all SDWS members, the opportunity of helping Maurice and, at the same time, foster good relations between him and SDWS.
If you feel able to help please let us know. We can collect small donations at club meetings (please give your donation to any committee member, esp. Krystyna, Graham G3YJR or myself). Alternatively you could donate by post. G3PHO, SDWS Secretary, is OK in QRZ.com. Our Chairperson, Krystyna 2E0KSH, has offered to set up a Paypal account especially for this. As a first measure, please indicate your interest with comments to this post.
If successful this year, we could even consider SDWS sponsoring the project on an annual basis but that would only be done after full member consultation and approval. We are not talking large individual sums here …. you give what you can afford.
Although I know of no one who has done so, I’m certain individual SDWS members would find Maurice most accommodating when approached for permission to set up a camping holiday style portable radio station. Just tell him you are member of SDWS!
A few things regarding Foundation, Intermediate and Full Training. We welcome new members who join us and participate to take up continual learning, one of the huge benefits of free society membership.
The main news is that 2E0 Intermediate students aim to attempt for the exam at the end of July or beginning of August for those ready to do it. Those students taking part will need to ‘ramp up’ and increase their own background reading, and continue to lia…ise with and communicate with Trainer Mark M0TGW either before activities on the main society nights or in training sessions. Intermediates will continue with their sessions on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays in the bar with the practical’s sometime on a Saturday at end of May or early June, TBC. This will leave those students free to enjoy society meetings and events on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays.
Foundation Training by Krystyna 2E0KSH is now being provided on a drop in and roll over basis on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays in the bar at the Rutland Hotel using structured PowerPoints and discussion. Students can start to drop in on any session, picking and starting the course at any time in the year. There is currently one M6 student taking part. If you know anyone who wishes to get involved in the society to take part with the foundation then please extend an invitation for them to join in.
Andrew G0HSA is currently providing some 1-2-1 training to Krystyna, but any 2E0 in the society who wishes to do their full licence should come and have a chat with Andrew.
Huge thanks to other SDWS members who pitch in, especially Peter G3PHO with the occasional Morse, and the Dave’s M5DWI and G8EQD who support with practical’s and occasional presentations.
Please respect that all trainers are volunteers who have work, family and other life commitments, and who freely give up their time when they are able, and therefore offer a flexible and relaxed approach to ongoing, lifelong learning.
It has just been announced that our contest team has reached the top ten in the RSGB Affiliated Societies Super League. 104 clubs took part over the past twelve months, entering the AFS trophy contests on the 160m, 80/40m, 6m, 2m and 70cm bands. The results were entered into a nationwide league table. Our teams finished in 9th position, a fantastic performance. Because we entered all the contests we reached a high position and are rewarded by the certificate shown here.
When you look at the club names occupying the positions above us you realise just what company we are keeping, as all those clubs are top notch contest groups with most of the best contest operators in the country as members.
This just didn’t happen without a lot of hard work and sheer determination by our regular contesters, all of whom have invested in not only their time but finances in the shape of equipment and antennas as well as their ever developing operating skills. There is no doubt that contesting hones your operating skills and makes you improve your antennas and other equipment.
CONGRATULATIONS ALSO … to Krystyna 2E0KSH, our Society Chairperson, who has been awarded an RSGB Certificate for being the highest placed 2E0 station in the 432MHz AFS section of the Super League. This is indeed an excellent performance.
Now let’s see a similar effort by us all being rewarded with high final positions in this year’s UKAC series and in the RSGB 80m Club Contests series …. all it needs is YOUR regular efforts!
Full results are available at: 432MHz AFS Contest:
Join SDWS and enter amateur radio contests for us!The Society already has a very keen and capable core of contesters but we are always on the look out for more operators to take part in the many amateur radio contests we do each year. In most cases it doesn’t matter whether you live near our HQ or not as there are many contests you can do from the comfort of your own shack.
For example, if you live anywhere in the UK or in the near Continental countries such as France, Belgium and Holland you could enter the weekly UK Activity Contests on VHF and UHF. If you live within 35km of our “Virtual meeting Place” (IO93JM94 or National Grid Ref: SE 54810 02542) you can join us in the RSGB 80m Club Contests, which run from February to July inclusive.
There are many other contests we take part in such as HF and VHF Field Days, PW Low Power Contest, various RSGB Trophy Contests and Islands on the Air. In all of them we acquit ourselves very well, especially in the UKACs and the 80m Club Contests.
To reward Society members for their efforts, we run our own internal league table in parallel with the RSGB’s, so, for example, if you are the highest scoring club member in the UKACs or a band leader, you’ll receive a handsome certificate at the end of the contest season. At the recent Society Awards Evening we presented some 30 certificates to Society members, so there is plenty of scope to earn the odd “sheepskin” !
“But I don‘t have enough power or good enough antennas”, we can hear you say… well that is something you should put out of your mind straight away! Surely you have at least one band you work regularly, possibly on VHF or UHF. Why not give that a go? We have members with very restricted antenna facilities who regular take part and help to lift the Society’s league position each week, even though they only score a few points , using simple antennas, themselves. There are QRP sesctions in most contests for those of you restricted to 10 watts or less. You have a wide choice of modes. Most contests involve SSB and/or CW but there are contests (eg the 80m CCs) that inlude RTTY and PSK63.
If you are a newcomer to contesting you will have several very experienced contesters in the Society to fall back on for advice and help.
We are especially looking for more contesters with 23cm and microwave bands facilities but offers from anyone for any bands will be welcome.
Details of our contest programme for this year can be downloaded at:
Then click on “JOIN” at the top of that page and you’ll be referred to the Society committee for membership. It usually takes a very short time to become a full member. Once again you don’t have to live near Sheffield! You may live too far away from a club or your present club is not interested in group contesting. If so, you can enter for us, yet retaining all the other priviliges of your present club. Don’t feel you are letting your present club down …. you won’t be! Many of our members are also members of several clubs, all at the same time!
Once you are a member of SDWS you will be able to access our Society Facebook Hub, a vibrant and constantly changing page of posts, photos, discussions and chat about Society activities and amateur radio in general. If you have a radio problem you will very likely find the answer by posting on the Hub!
Join us for contesting and you’ll be working with a real club, not a nebulous cyber group formed just for the purpose of contests. We are a real club with a real constitution, affiliated to RSGB and holding regular monthly meetings at a Sheffield hotel.
For more info or help re SDWS Contesting, please email: SDWS(at)g3pho (dot) org (dot)uk
Every year certificates are awarded to members who have excelled in various contests and in service to the Society. A short video of the recent awards evening, held on January 6th 2016, can be found here:
On the same evening, Sheffield Wireless Society members were delighted to present a special award to Colin Wilson, CT7ACG (formerly G3VCQ) in appreciation of his contribution to the Nepal Emergency Net after the devastating earthquake that occurred there in early 2015.
Colin, who used to be a local club member when he lived in the area a few years ago, was one of the first members to welcome the redevelopment and rebirth of the Wireless Society back in late 2013, and has supported our Society as an international member ever since.
Among the numerous amateur radio stations that were involved in the emergency network aiding Nepal was SDWS member Colin Wilson (CT7ACG), who was very encouraging at the time to engage a small number of wireless society members with various ‘gopher’ and research ‘tasks’ in a supporting role to ensure he could provide an effective and very efficient network lead.
Colin’s station is currently located in São Bartolomeu de Messines, Algarve, Southern Portugal and together with an Israeli colleague Emir (4X6TT) they both played a very admirable and important role in the Nepal Emergency Net – recognized worldwide in various international forums.
All hams involved in assistance to earthquake victims in Nepal are unanimous in highlighting the dedication and efforts of stations CT7ACG and 4X6TT, particularly in maintaining such important radio network active, providing communication assistance to the affected nation.
This is not the first time that Colin is documented for his dedication to amateur radio, with thanks to his special call CR5CW, well known for contests performance.
Thank you Colin and many congratulations for your commitment and effort at this very critical time. We are very proud to have you as a long standing member of the Sheffield & District Wireless Society, and very warmly humbled by your staunch efforts to support the unfortunate peoples of Nepal; you are a true credit to Amateur Radio, calmly, and without reservation, putting others first. Well done!
Colin is seen pictured here being presented his award by Society Chair, Krystyna 2E0KSH.
SSB FIELD DAY REPORT:
It was a great weekend with excellent weather (though cold overnight!), a great social atmosphere as well as a serious attitude to the contest. Band conditions were very poor indeed and the hourly contact rate was very slow and only exceeded 50 an hour at the end of the contest.
I hadn’t much hope of a good result until I checked our scores against other groups who have already sent in logs and I’m very pleased to see we haven’t done badly at all! So far we are second in the list of stations entering the Restricted section, with G3WOR/P just above us. They are usually in the top two or three each year so if our log proves to be a good one this year we might stand a chance! The photos above and below shows the SSB FD summary score and the hourly contact rates. In other contests such as IOTA, these are usually double the rate.
This weekend, as usual for SSB FD, we entered the Restricted Section which, under the rules, limited us to 100 watts o/p from an FTDX950 transceiver to a single wire antenna, a 132ft doublet inverted V doublet. Unfortunately we had severe noise problems on 20 and 15m and only found the cause after the contest was over.
Operating in the Restricted Section means stations don’t usually have enough ERP to run pile ups and make loads of contacts. It was interesting to listen to G3TBK/P, in the Open Section, working a pileup of USA stations on 20m. Dave and his team were using 400 watts to a beam antenna. We could barely hear the ones calling him! A good Open Section entry would show well over 1000 QSOs for the 24 hour contest but Restricted Section logs are usually half or less than that.
I doubled checked our log for mistakes this morning and was pleased to find only 5 over the 439 entries had obvious callsign errors. I cannot check the received serial numbers for errors so there may be a few incorrect ones there. However, I believe our overall error rate will be very low. Well done to all the operators!
Many thanks to all who helped and to those who came up to visit us or contact us over the air, on HF or on 144MHz.
A special thanks to Mike G0NEY and John G4LKD, of the 93 Contest Group, who once again joined forces with us to put on a G5TO/P station for the 144MHz Trophy Contest which ran in parallel to HF SSB Field Day. Co-operation like this is very nice indeed. A report on that contest will appear in due course.
The weekend of the 25-26th July this year, 2015 saw members of four local groups join up to field a strong contest team in the annual RSGB Islands on the Air (IOTA) Contest. They travelled independently up to the beautiful Isle of Arran in the Scottish Clyde estuary and stayed at the excellentSeal Shore Campsite at Kildonan on the south coast of the island.
The groups were: Sheffield & District Wireless Society (SDWS), The 93 Contest Group, Worksop Amateur Radio Society and the Sheffield HF DX Group. As far as we know it is the first time such join venture has been undertaken in this area and demonstrates the excellent relationships these groups have with each other. Indeed the 93 Contest Group and SDWS had already worked together previously, in the July VHF Field Day and in the 2014 VHF/UHF UKAC contest series when the 93 Group members graciously entered their logs on behalf of SDWS as they had only come together as a contest group at the end of that year.
The IOTA team consisted of the following people: From SDWS: 2E0KSH, G3PHO, G8EQD, M5DWI, M0GDX, M6JIJ From the 93 Group: G0NEY & G4LKD From the Worksop A.R.S: G0EAK, M0PJA, M6XAK, M6ZCA and the following wives/partners: Judy (with G3PHO) Pat (with M5DWI) Bea (with M0GDX), Anthea (with G0NEY) and Carrie (with G4LKD)
The unlicensed ladies very kindly saw to the catering over the period (Friday to Sunday), preparing a nice BBQ on Friday evening and another communal meal on Saturday while the contest was in full flow.
Entering the IOTA Contest as an Island DXpedition station, we used the SDWS callsign GM5TO. Outside contest hours the Sheffield HF DX Group call, GM2AS, was used to work a couple of hundred contacts to test out the equipment and antennas. After several months of planning, including contest logging training at SDWS, it was decided to use simple antennas rather than unwieldy tower mounted yagis.
Peter, G3PHO had spent some time during March to July constructing and testing a series of low angle vertical antennas based on the well known Spiderpoles, available from Germany.
The antenna used for 10/15/20m was a vertical fan dipole, three centre fed dipoles on a common 100 foot RG8miniXX coax feeder. The dipoles were cut to size, separated at 3 inches apart from each other by a series of thin fibreglass rods, with the 20m element being taped to the spiderpole and adjusted for lowest VSWR using a Sark 110 VNA.
The 40m vertical was a single quarter wave wire taped to a 12 metre spiderpole so that the base of the antenna was some 7 feet above ground. Two quarter wave elevated radials and another 100 feet of coax completed this antenna. The 80m antenna (also usable on all the other bands if required) was a 136 foot centre fed wire doublet, held up inverted V style on a 40 foot telescopic aluminium mast belonging to Paul, M0PCF.
The excellent GM3SEK choke balun design used on the 40m vertical
Today’s DXpeditions, even those to remote areas of the world, tend to favour Spiderpole mounted vertical dipole arrays rather than yagis for the verticals radiate at very low angles if located on or very the beach, as they were in our case. Yagis , while having gain over the dipoles, have to be rotated and during a contest this can take time and often lead to lost contacts. Though less gainy, the verticals do perform very well and, of course, need no rotation!
The station equipment consisted of G3PHO’s FT5000MP, with his FT950 as a standby rig. In addition a Microham Keyer MkII was used for CW contacts and a Yaesu manual ATU, pretuned to 3.7MHz, for the doublet. Throughout the contest, each operator had to merely change bands and antenna and start to send, no other adjustments to the antennas being necessary. A refinement would have been to include automatic antenna selection …. maybe next time!
We were fortunate to have internet access courtesy of the campsite owner, so that we could run the DX Cluster with our Wintest logging software. While it was unreliable at times we did manage to have this facility running for most of the contest.
Scottish weather can be variable as even the Scots have to admit. This weekend was no exception. Those members of the team who went up to Arran early in the week were rewarded with sunshine and warm weather. However, things started to change on the Friday when the antennas were erected in drizzle conditions during the morning. Friday evening saw the sun out though for the communal BBQ, at which everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. The forecast for Sunday was not good but we were lucky to have a dry spell after 1pm local time when the contest finished (it had started 24 hours earlier on Saturday) and we were able to take down and pack all antennas in just 40 minutes after the end of the contest, leaving just the indoors equipment to be dismantled and packed in the cars ready for an early start back to South Yorkshire on Monday morning.
To round off a thoroughly enjoyable weekend we went out for dinner at the Lamlash Bay Hotel, just 15 minutes up the east coast from the campsite.
Monday saw most of us leave (a few stayed on to hopefully enjoy a few days of holiday time) but by then the rain started to lash down and what would have been, for the writer at least, a 5 hour 15 minute journey turned out to be a stressful 8 hour one. The road conditions were extremely hazardous with torrential rain washing across the roads and causing trucks and cars to send out sheets of spray behind them, so dense that at times it seemed as if we were driving in a a car wash! Once back in the home region things seemed more settled and it was long before all the equipment and antennas were reinstalled in the radio shack or stored in the shed.
Thanks to everyone who made this expedition so successful As you will see in the summary score, we did very well, 1008 scoring contacts in 191 IOTAs for a final total of well over 1.5 million points. This is an excellent score for a team whose members were 98% VHF contesters rather than HF ones. For a while they found the pile ups daunting (EU 123 is a relatively rare and highly desirable IOTA!) but they quickly got used to the racket on the bands and made this impressive score. The antennas worked very well and the accommodation, provided by Maurice Deighton the owner of Seal Shore Campsite, was very good. It was a warm, private room with table, chairs and a settee!
Finally we must thank Maurice for all his help in making the weekend such a success. If you ever want to have a camping holiday on Arran then his campsite is the place to stay. Anyone for ARRAN IOTA next year? Sure thing! We’ve already booked the site!
My thanks to the following members of the expedition for their photographs used in this article:
SDWS MEMBERS RECEIVE AWARDS IN RSGB 5OMHz TROPHY CONTEST…
Two of our members, G3YJR and M6JIJ have received certificates for their entries in the June 2015 RSGB 50MHz Trophy. Graham, G3YJR for the Highest Placed 25W/Single antenna station and John M6JIJ for the highest placed Foundation Licensee.
John used a very modest vertical antenna and just 10 watts. All entrants in the contest were help by the remarkable Sporadic E conditions at the time. Graham worked his best every DX NP4A (Puerto Rico) at 6761km while John’s low power and quarter wave groundplane bagged E7TT at 1886km.
Many congratulations to both!
If you would like to contest with a club but there isn’t one near to you that is interested in contesting then why not join us at the Sheffield & District Wireless Society? Once a member you can enter all RSGB contests apart from the RSGB 80m CCs from your own home even if you don’t live near our HQ in Sheffield. Just upload your log to the RSGB contest robot and choose Sheffield & DWS as your club! To become a member just apply by going to our open Facebook page and clicking JOIN under the banner at the top of the page.
The Society has completed its second successful VHF NFD over last weekend. Despite average to mediocre conditions, the operating team made contact numbers comparable or better than many clubs in their sections.
SDWS wishes to especially thank two members of the local 93 Contest Group, who are also SDWS members, for offering their services. They would have, in normal circumstances, been entering for their own contest group but were not able to do so this year so, in true “ham spirit” they said they could work with us!
Many thanks Mike G0NEY and John G4LKD ! These two experienced VHF contesters provided us with complete 432MHz station using a 20 element yagi and an Icom 9100 transceiver running around 75 watts. In photos below Mike is on the left and John on the right.
This shows what an excellent spirit of co- operation some clubs now have in this area … SDWS, Worksop Amateur radio Society, the 93 Group and the Sheffield HF DX Group, all of which will be shortly mounting a joint DXpedition to the Isle of Arran for the IOTA Contest weekend. Look for us as GM2AS outside the IOTA contest period and GM5TO during the contest.
On the other bands we had 100 watts on 50MHz (FT950 to a five element yagi), 40 watts on 70MHz (IC7100) and 350 watts on 144MHz (home made linear amp + Icom tx/rx) into a stacked 10 over 10 yagi system.
Adjudicated results are not yet published of course but here’s a brief breakdown of the scores we submitted soon after the Field Day. Some of the detailed info is not available at the moment: 50MHz (100W restricted section): 70 QSOs 13102 km points Best DX YL6BF/P in KO07 (Latvia) for 1514 points 70MHz (40W restricted section): 50 QSOs for 11597 points. Best DX 9H1CG (Malta) for 2313 points 144MHz (300W Open section): 184 QSOs (details later) 432MHz (75W restricted section): 50 QSos for just under 12,000points
These results will be updated as and when more information comes in.
Setting up the 50MHz and 432MHz masts and tent on the Saturday morning.
G3PHO’s four metre yagi waiting to be erected for the Sunday session.
During Saturday the mast carried M0GAV’s 5 element yagi for the 50MHz band….
The 144MHz station was located about 500 metres away to the South:
Andrew G0HSA operating the 50MHz station, an FT950 to a 5 element yagi at 10m above ground. On Sunday this was replaced with a 4 element yagi fed by an IC7100 for the 4 metre band producing 40 watts.
John M6JIJ logs the 144MHz stations while David M5DWI does the operating:
For 432MHz we used a very nice 20 element yagi and an IC9100