The fifth annual Scottish Microwave Round Table, organized by the Lothians Radio Society, was held on Saturday 7th November 2015 at the Museum of Communication in Burntisland.
Report by John Cooke GM8OTI. Photos by Alan Masson GM3PSP.
GM Microwave Round Table 2015
A record number of participants (49) had registered for the fifth Scottish Microwave Round Table (GMRT), held on Saturday 7 November 2015 at the Museum of Communication (MOC), Burntisland. Peter Dick GM4DTH was on duty at the reception desk.
Test and measurement facilities were set up by Brian Flynn GM8BJF, Dave Nugent, David Stockton GM4ZNX and joined in this photo by Briain Wilson GM8PKL. They were kept busy during the many breaks in the programme, organised to allow lots of time for socialising and checking out what was available for sale on several tables.
Among those having equipment measured was welcome visitor from the USA, Derek Kozel AG6PO (R).
Prof. Tom Stevenson from the MOC welcomed us, and we were well supplied with tea, coffee, biscuits and jam scones (those went down well!) throughout the day.
The morning session of the formal programme was chaired by John Cooke GM8OTI, UK Microwave Group (UKuG) GM representative.
The first talk was given by Stan Frey GM8ZQY on "Meshers". He described experiments around the Firth of Forth area for a high speed communications network on 2.4GHz (website http://www.feednet.org.uk ) intended for use by Raynet for emergency communications, but also available to radio amateurs as an open network. The nodes are self-discovering, and "mesh" together.
Stan Frey GM8ZQY
Bernie McIntosh GM4WZG is also a member of the Meshers group.
After a short break Alan Dimmick GM0USI talked about "Getting started on 24GHz". Alan initially borrowed 24GHz gear from Brian GM8BJF but soon had his own setup under way, and described the work undertaken on path planning for what might seem to be a tricky band, but which produced some amazing successes; the recordings of a 240km SSB contact with Tony G4CBW (including a successful test on open waveguide!) were impressive.
Alan Dimmick GM0USI
Attendees had brought along six entries for the GM4LBV Projects Trophy, which were available for perusal during the next break. These were: "CANFI - Cheap Automatic Noise Figure Indicator" (Ian White GM3SEK); "6cm transverter" (Jon Joyce GM4JTJ); "10GHz GW4DGU system" (Jim Davidson GM3UAG, brought by Robert West GM4GUF); "24GHz Transverter" (Peter Bates GM4BYF); "24GHz signal source" (Brian Flynn GM8BJF); and "10GHz preamp for £5" (Peter Bates GM4BYF).
The usual excellent buffet lunch (included in the entrance fee) was then provided by the MOC staff - Winnie Stevenson and Dorothy Brankin.
Dorothy and Winnie were later presented with chocolates by Andy MM0FMF.
Thanks were also expressed to Tom Stevenson and Andrew Starling (not present) of the MoC for a lot of work preparing the museum for GMRT.
Dealer Kevin Avery G3AAF was selling his wide range of microwave components and units during the intervals.
Pete GM4BYF was one of Kevin's customers.
One of several tables of Bring & Buy microwave (only) items brought by participants.
More microwave goodies for sale.
The afternoon session was chaired by Lothians RS President Andy Sinclair MM0FMF
The first afternoon talk was given by Chris Bartram GW4DGU who spoke on "Solid state 23cm PA design". Chris went through aspects of design, explaining the importance of critical features such as linearisation, protective sensing, reproduceability.
This was followed by Martin Hall GM8IEM who talked about "Microwaves at the fringes", particularly from his remote location in the far northwest of Scotland. Martin's location has a good UHF/microwave take-off only in the direction of Northern Ireland and the Hebrides of Scotland, so has to make extensive use of aircraft scatter for the relatively small number (18 over 5 years) of successful 23cm contacts, although his first two contacts were via tropo scatter, with OZ and DL! Martin described the techniques needed for setting up successful contacts from his location.
After a further break, Ian White GM3SEK gave a talk on "Weatherproofing RF equipment - from DC to Microwaves" which was followed by some keen discussion. He explained the specifications of enclosures, and spent some time on describing how to combat condensation and water ingress.
Andy MM0FMF holding the GM4LBV trophy.
The formal part of the meeting concluded with the award of the GM4LBV trophy for the GM Construction Competition, judged by David Stockton GM4ZNX and Dave Nugent (both press-ganged into the job earlier in the day). David picked out good points from each of the entries, noting that judging was difficult.
After considerable consideration the judges had decided that the trophy should be awarded to Jon Joyce GM4JTJ for his 6cm transverter with "a wonderful amount of plumbing". Jon will be expected to write up the entry for "Scatterpoint", and it will be taken forward to next year's UK Microwave Group G3VVB Projects Trophy competition. GM microwavers remember to submit something next year: built, modified, hardware or software.
Many attendees (and some YL/XYLs) moved on to the Kingswood Hotel in the evening for an excellent meal.
The dinner was followed by an auction of microwave-related publications and soem very interesting bits and pieces. This was conducted by Roger Blackwell GM4PMK and raised money for MoC funds.
The auction was followed by musical entertainment provided by the "Microwave Band": Ian White GM3SEK, Nadine White MM0WNW, John Cooke GM8OTI and Chris Bartram GW4DGU.
Ian White GM3SEK (accordion).
Nadine White MM0WNW (autoharp)
John Cooke GM8OTI (nyckelharpa)
Chris Bartram GW4DGU (fiddle).
LRS President Andy Sinclair wound up GMRT-2015 thanking everyone for attending and to the committee for all their hard work, and concluding that it had been one of the best events in the series of five GMRTs.
The "organising committee" (Pete Bates GM4BYF, Roger Blackwell GM4PMK, John Cooke GM8OTI, Brian Flynn GM8BJF, Ray James GM4CXM, David Stockton GM4ZNX, Ian White GM3SEK and Colin Wright GM4HWO) thanks the MOC Staff Tom Stevenson, Andrew Starling, Winnie Stevenson and Dorothy Brankin for all their efforts before and during the event, and Lothians RS members Peter Dick GM4DTH, Andy Sinclair MM0FMF and Alan Masson GM3PSP for local support.