Author - Chris Cloclough G1VDP

What Being A Member of a Club Means – Team Antenna Erecting Party

Last weekend (Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th May) members of the HARES club met at one of the other members houses – Tony, G7FSD – to get his antennas in the air for VHF, and to do a repair to his G3TXQ Hexbeam 40M element. The team consisted of Mark (2E0SBM), Ady (G6AD), Dave (G1VNB), Tony (G7FSD) and myself.

For safety and ease of working at a height on the Hexbeam we erected a scaffolding tower to allow us to lower Tony’s original mast and then erect a small tower to mount the antenna on. This was the hardest part, and we had to do some crafty engineering to lower the poles down safely, but with a little brain power and muscle it lowered easily. As soon as the Hex was at the height easily to work on we moved on to the VHF array so we could make room in the garden to sort out the Hexbeam.

This was going to be a lot easier as Tony had a wall mounted Tennamast that has a winch to assist with lifting to the vertical, and he had already attached all the necessary wall mounting brackets. A 2M (144MHz) 11 element cross yagi and a 11 element 70cm (340MHz) yagi were then mounted on a short pole and attached to the rotator, again which had already been mounted to the mast. With the mast now attached to the lower mounting point allowing it to be lifted easily, we connected the winch to assist with lifting. Again some brute force was employed to initially get it moving while Dave used the winch to assist to get it to the vertical. Once in place and bolted up we did a quick test to check all the antennas were still resonant with the analyser and we moved back to the Hexbeam.

This is where it got difficult. When the antenna was removed from the tower we started to lower it down, but with the trees and bushes it soon got caught up and took a lot longer than first anticipated. When we eventually got it down one of the spreaders snapped so I came home and grabbed a spare one I have and took that back to Tony’s. Ady also had to go to his place to pick up another part that we needed so we lost an hour working on the Hex.

During this time Mark, Dave, and Tony tested out the VHF array, and found an issue with the rotator – this had been working fine before going on to the mast as we had set it to the North – where it would only turn about 30 degrees. Testing showed that the rotator itself was trying to turn as this could be heard. So we stripped down the controller to find a nylon cog had broken and a potentiometer looked to be intermittent. This we left for Tony to get repaired.

As soon as we made the repairs to the Hexbeam it was late in the day, Tony had cooked some Pizzas and we relaxed for a short while before heading home to return on the Sunday to complete the job.

Upon arrival, I was a little late, Ady and Tony were already getting the cables ready and sorting out the final parts for the Hexbeam to get it back in the air. We lifted it to a point where we needed just one more body to get it to the top of the scaffold tower and into the rotator on the stub mast. A quick call to see if Mark could come and assist, and thank you to his lovely wife Lorraine she allowed him while she did the weekly food shop. So with Ady and mark at the top, Tony and I lifted the antenna up to a pivot point and they then lifted into the stub mast. Antenna in place and again checked with the analyser it was tidy up the cables and check with the radio.

Back in the shack a final check with the analyser and everything was way out of tune. Tests on the cable found a PL259 had come loose and was the cause of the problem. It also identified that Tony had the 2 cable runs – the 40M element has it’s own feed – had been mixed up and he had been using the damaged 40M element rather than the other 6 elements of the Hexbeam. With this now sorted we left Tony to play on HF and get another controller for his VHF array.

Tony commented that he had never been in a club of any sort before where other members were willing to give up their time at a weekend to help another member out. Not just a radio club but any other club he had been a member of. Our comment was, “well that’s what it means to be a member of a radio club”

Hinckley Amateur Radio & Electronic Society – Recent activity and future event.

I am a member of HARES and on the 1st May 2024 we had a night on the air and demonstration of digital modes by myself an Cezary (2E0HUP). We set up the HF radio and 2 laptops to show what can be done. A 40M end fed antenna in the school playground and the clubs Icom IC7300 for the RF part. I did a quick demo of  FT8 making contact with OH1FOL in Finland using 50W, and then let other members have a go and explain the features of the WSJT-X software.

Cez then demonstrated a phone app that decoded and can transmit FT8 which some members then downloaded and used to decode from the radio speaker. This encouraged them to have a go from Home. As can be seen from the images we also had time to chat and catch up with other happenings. 



We also put Mark (2E0SBM) in a cupboard to fit some N-Type plugs to the coax for the VHF/UHF antenna we have up at the school, we will be having an evening on the air again soon using these antennas, and maybe see if we can get some contacts using Meteor Scatter, which is bouncing the signal off the trails from meteors hitting the earths atmosphere. An enjoyable evening at our club.

We would also like to invite any one in the area to come and pay us a visit anytime, but especially on the 15th May 2024 (our next club night) for a presentation by Lee Volante (G0MTN) on the upcoming World Radiosport Team Championships 2026 here in England. This is where teams of 2 operators operate from the same area using virtually the same equipment in a contest. The teams are made up of operators who qualify over the previous 2 or 3 years qualifying contests. 

We meet every other Wednesday at 7pm local time. The venue address is

Burbage C of E Infant School
Grove Road
LE10 2AE

All are welcome who have an interest in anything radio related, and a welcome with a cup of tea or coffee is waiting.

IOTA-60 Dinner in Friedrichshafen on Friday, 28 June 2024

The following has been copied from the IOTA website. Thanks to the IOTA management team for arranging this along with Ric in Germany for doing the legwork and speaking with the restaurant. 

IOTA-60 Dinner in Friedrichshafen on Friday, 28 June 2024

To celebrate 60 years since the founding of the IOTA programme, an anniversary dinner will be organized on Friday, 28 June 2024, between 19:00 and 23:00, at the V2O Bio Restaurant in the Zeppelin MuseumFriedrichshafen. The event offers an opportunity for chasers and activators to share time together, chatting about topics of common interest, such as past and future expeditions, technology trends, and goals.

The dinner itself will consist in a three-course menu at a price equivalent to £38, excluding drinks, which includes a starter, main course, and desert, with a choice of two different main courses, as follows:

Starter: creamy parsnip soup with puff pastry;

Main course: Option #1 – Braised roast from Hohenloher pasture oxen cooked at low temperature for 18 hours with market vegetables and homemade spaetzle;
Option #2 – Thai red vegetable coconut curry with bamboo shoots and basmati rice (vegan);

Dessert: Chocolate cake.

Drinks, including still and sparkling water, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, will be additional, and paid by each guest, as ordered.

IOTA Ltd. booked the venue and will sign a contract with the restaurant, on behalf of the guests. Those interested to participate need to indicate their menu option and pay for it by sending £38 through PayPal to, by no later than May 31. Please type “IOTA-60 Dinner” in the subject line of your PayPal submission! We will confirm each payment received prior to deadline, following which you’ll need to visit the IOTA booth on Friday morning, June 28, to pick up your dinner tickets. There will be no on-site availability to join the dinner and/or pay for it. Note that we will reach out to everyone who has already expressed an interest to participate. Meanwhile, everyone else who wishes to join in is welcome, providing that he/she follows the procedure indicated above.

IOTA Management, 21 April 2024

Upcoming school contact with ISS

Something to listen for on Wednesday peeps. Tune your 2M rigs to 145.800 FM, and listen. This will work on any handheld/fm radio with or without the external antenna – yep even with your handhelds rubber antenna. Just do not transmit.

VK5FIL Expedition to OC-261

More DX info from Charles. Lets hope the conditions are good and we can work them over here in the UK.

VK5FIL Expedition to OC-261/VKFF-0175 DX News
Update from Grant (VK5GR);
”Its not long now and we will be off on another adventure! Our 6 man team is in the final throws of preparing to depart Adelaide and head to Flinders Island off the coast of Eyre Peninsula! Almost all of the planning is complete and gear is being packed ready for the crossing in the barge. Lets hope for good weather!
If all goes to plan, VK5FIL should be on the air by ~0800z 14th April from IOTA OC-261 & VKFF-0175. We will have 4 stations operating at the homestead and a number of the operators are also bringing their portable parks equipment as well to activate VKFF-4307 and VKFF-1717 in the days that follow while we are there.

2023-2024 Mailing Costs and Statistics

Following on from the Bureau Returned post below, the following is copied from Tim’s (M0URX) website just to show how much the costs are for sending out the QSL cards for the 2023 to 2024 year.

As the 2023 – 2024 financial tax year comes to an end, it is time to take a look at how our mailing facility has worked over the last year. Overall 28,936 items of mail were posted at a cost of £26,359.90. We post QSL Direct cards, bureau parcels and magazines using the various products as shown in the table below. With 13,751 more items posted this year, with Solar Cycle 25 this last 12 months providing much increased propagation on HF.
DX’pedition QSL costs are very competitive as always and we welcome talking to DX teams about mailing your QSL cards in the future.

The past 12 months though have been financially very challenging, postage costs up 10%, pulp paper costs up 15% and Customs charges across the board on QSL bulk shipments in and out through customs have hit us very heavily. We have tried to keep our QSL charges down to the lowest we can.

Standard postal rates have increased significantly in most countries worldwide due to the dwindling number of letters posted globally as people use electronic technology which has largely replaced the postal system in recent years. This means that the postal costs are spread over much lower volumes both nationally and worldwide and THIS is the driver of increased postal costs. In our hobby we still use the mail system to ship our QSL cards and therefore we must expect that increase to hit us. As an example, Royal Mail letter volumes in the last 12 years have dropped from 14.3 bn down to 7.3 bn per year.

While most people use OQRS (Thank you) we still get a number of incoming direct letters. The problem being is that most of the incoming letters do not include the correct QSL costs, because most fail to read either my QSL policy or the DXpedition QSL policy. This increases our costs further and also costs us time as we have to email to let people know that they failed to QSL correctly. My advice is use OQRS ONLY!

More customs charges on Bureau shipments outgoing continue, many Bureaus refuse to accept the shipments and we will not guarantee any cards requested using the IARU Bureau system. Customs demand a recipient name on these shipments but the IARU refuse to provide this for GDPR reasons. Well, this will inevitably close the Bureau system as we know it going forward. Someone has to take responsibility for this if the Bureau cards are to be securely sent and received by the IARU Bureaus. It is now completely out of our hands. If you want a QSL card use the direct option on OQRS is the only advice i can give.
Enjoy your DX! We as a team promise to provide you with a QSL service that works for both the DX’er and the DXpedition Team.

Bureau Boxes Returned

The following are both taken from Tim’s (M0URX) website. Both these have been returned this week, this is not because of BREXIT but because of the International Customs Union not allocating a commodity code for “used postcard” so they can freely pass through the borders. The one from URE is a silly one as there is a customs declaration to the right of the sticker they have attached in Spain (the pink label).

Both Tim and Charles (M0OXO) have said it is now getting to the point where they will not accept cards through the bureau and they will soon be considering to not send out through the bureau due to the expensive costs – I will post a full update from Tim with the cost breakdown.

DARC Bureau Box Returned

One of the two Bureau parcels that we posted to DARC German QSL Bureau back in February has been returned endorsed as “Non Reclaimed” 
We are currently working with DARC to have this shipped back to Germany soon. Sorry for the delay this has caused. 





URE Bureau Box Returned again!

It is with regret that i report that the Spanish URE Bureau Box failed to get through customs for the second time. Endorsed “Missing Customs Declaration” I have reported this to URE. At this time we will not be sending this again.

Can anyone in Spain help?

We will now have to seriously consider if we are able to continue to accept ANY bureau requests in future?


7P8EI Now on Air

While out in Ireland at the DX Feile visiting my Irish friends, it was announced that the group this year (2024) would be making the trip to Lesotho7P – in Africa using the call sign 7P8EI . The group left Dublin on Monday to Heathrow, then had an overnight stay until their flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. Once in J’Burg they then boarded a bus to take them to Lesotho arriving yesterday (Wednesday 20 March 2024).

Today they started their operation on 10M SSB, with more bands to follow throughout the day. Though not a new one for me I will try to work them on a few bands to fill some band slots especially on CW and Digital modes. QSL route is via Charles, M0OXO, via his OQRS system. Good luck guys and hopefully see you in Friedrichshafen in June. 

Bouvet 3Y0K 2025 & Peter 1 2026 Update

Today we have had an update posted by Ken, LA7GIA, the team leader on the upcoming expedition to Bouvet in January 2025, on the website and his Facebook page.

Bouvet 2025

Peter 1 2026

”I want to share some updated information about 3Y0K Bouvet
Our plans are firm and we have everything setup for the January 2025 trip where we plan to depart early January.
We have set all contracts we need which includes vessel contract but also a logistics and landing contract, and we’re the only group with a valid DXpedition license for that period. No other group has a valid license, as such there is only one team with an official plan and with all license and contracts in place.
However, the fundraising has been a bit bumpy and this has impacted the Bouvet DXpedition negatively. All major EU clubs have supported us with the amounts we have asked for, but some major US clubs are on the sideline. Due to this we have made the following decisions
* Bouvet vessel inspection and deposit have been postponed with two months until May 2024
* ALL purchases have been postponed until May.
* The remote RIB operation has been cancelled, there is no time to deal with that. The 7 man team will operate locally on the island with 6 radios and amplifiers and there will be NO remote radios.
* Budget has been cut to bare minimum of what we need and reduced to $400,000, we can only spend more money if we get sufficient support.
The team needs more support, and with the adjustments we still need *a minimum of $85,000 to make it to Bouvet*. We ask all individuals to continue to support our mission to activate Bouvet and Peter I Island. Our Peter I DXpedition plans are on track. We have a letter of commitment from the owner of the vessel and we are waiting for the landing permit to be issued by NPI. We will execute Peter I through an experienced expedition company with previous experience from Peter I Island. The expedition leader and the pilots have landed several times on Peter I. We expect to be in the position to sign the vessel contract shortly.
However, at this stage it is important to understand that Bouvet is the priority and should we have to postpone or cancel the Bouvet DXpedition due to lack of donations, this will also similarly impact Peter I. We are in a good position to execute Peter I as we have signed a sponsor agreement, and together with the 19 operators participation fee we have already secured 80% of the Peter I budget.
But, Peter I DXpedition will not take place unless we raise sufficient funds and activate Bouvet. We will use March and April to see how much of the $85,000 we can raise, and will make a decision in May depending on the funds raised.
We’re inviting all individuals who want to see Bouvet activated again to support our DXpedition, please visit Donation Form – 3Y0K Bouvet Island DXpedition 2025 ( ). You can also donate directly via paypal
73 Ken, LA7GIA”

New QSL Card

Seeing as it has been a number of years since I last had a QSL card designed, I thought it was about time I got a new one for myself. My friend Marcel, PD3MR, designed the front and I used some of my own photos on the back – sending them to Charles, M0OXO, for his QSL printer to design the rear. I am hoping to have them soon so look out for them in the mail if you request one.