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There’s a lot going on at TARG; so here’s a summary:

The training dates have been released:

  • Foundation: (one weekend) 16/17 February 
  • Intermediate: (two weekends) 27-28 April and 4-5 May
  • Foundation: (one weekend) 20/21 July

Picture of Field DayThe Field Day on Dec 30th was so well attended and so useful it’s a shame it may soon seem as “so last year”! Twenty-five people braved the cold in a capacity as operating, learning, experimenting or simply turning up to see what’s going on and support the club. At one point it was quite a sight seeing 13 cars lined up each with the appearance of a weird antenna projecting from the roof.

Huw, M0LHT was there from the crack of dawn (bottom photo) and, like others later in the day, knew the advantage of manipulating chunkier bolts and screws with frozen fingers. He used his home made, 3D printed coil loaded vertical antenna, among others.

Having ‘experienced members’ on hand to inspect your kit helped identify (with hindsight) simple errors like connecting the earth to the wrong terminal (name redacted to avoid embarrassment).

Photos from Field DayThere was an experiment using a 80m and 40m and 10m HF mag-mount antenna in isolation, then with an earth to chassis, then putting the same antenna on a stand with long wire radials (photo): what a difference in performance.

Gareth (M6MZC) and Jenson (M6OIU) brought their Clansman Radio (photo) which always attracts attention. Birthday Girl Dorothy, M0LMR, posed with Kenny (M0XGK) and wife Alice for a photo. Kenny used an end-fed antenna; while John G4LTH used a SotaBeam Dipole to make contacts as part of ‘Worked All Britain’ (after all, Two Tree Island, our operating location, is an “island”).

We were delighted that so many members and XYLs came simply to visit and show an interest. This included two non-amateurs who have now signed-up for our Foundation course in Feb. We were joined by 3 of the 4 new Full Licence holders who passed their OnLine exam earlier this month. 

Whether it was learning to pack extra kit (who would have thought we needed a coax switch), or having a laminated copy of the bandplan (as the cold affects the memory), or spare plastic bags to wrap connections to keep out the damp, or putting small bits in boxes to stop them rolling into the grass, or seeing different types of Antenna Analyzer (Sark 110); or, simply being sociable and chatting about what’s on the agenda for the new year: As always, a big thanks to the Committee for planning this event and making it so productive for all those who attended.

TARGet Nite on 14th December.  

The format for training has been updated with all exams being OnLine (but held at TARG which is a registered exam centre) so that candidates can get instantaneous results – as happened with the OnLine Advanced exam in December where all the candidates passed. There will still be the option of a paper exam if needed. We will continue with the popular weekend courses, but have optional one-to-one mentoring and practical aspects developed at TARGet Nite. A new slide set is under development following the RSGB revision of the syllabus.

Andrew M0ONHThe theme of the Field Days are being arranged in response to the requests from the membership to focus on particular aspects of radio.

There seems a fresh interest in construction and ‘understanding through participation’; hence the rise in the popularity of TARGet Nite. DMR was the prevailing theme in 2018 with several club events focusing on that mode; now we seem to be moving over to Raspberry Pi, Arduino and circuit boards. Andrew, M0ONH, has been demonstrating a countdown timer from a RF sniffer connected to a Arduino that gives a visual and audio indication of when their time is running on a repeater. These kits will be available from January.

Club talks are being tailored in advance to the audience’s questions. So, for example, we will be arranging for questions to be submitted in advance of the “Going Macro” (eg Raspberry Pi, Arduino) presentation, and for the “Why does this work?” presentation on circuits. More will be explained at the January club meeting. This sort of tuition at a collage would be very expensive and yet all TARG members have to do is turn up at a club meeting!

Thanks to Vice-Chair, John M0LFX, who has PAT tested all the club equipment as part of our Health and Safety Review. Remember, there is a load of equipment on short term loan to members on request to help them develop their hobby. 

Don’t forget the “Slow Morse” on 144.250 USB from 7.15pm when there is not a club meeting. For those learning, the callsign (so you can practice) will either be GX0TRG or M0ICH. Call in – make loads of mistakes – who cares? You can only improve with practice. 

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