Arduino Beginners Course

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

This week I have received a number of parcels from the great electronics store in the East. The contents of which is the majority of the parts required for the Arduino beginners course. I’m now only waiting for three items. The photo below shows the contents.

And a less cluttered photo showing:

  • Jumper wires to be split into kits
  • A breadboard
  • The all important NodeMCU (ESP8266 or ESP12-E)
  • NodeMCU base
  • USB cable (yes I know you have one already, but at 29p each!)
  • Two speakers (one in each kit)
  • And a bag of LEDs to be split up.

As most of the items have arrived so quickly, I may be able to bring the course date forward slightly.



TSGARC visit to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum Yeovilton

On Saturday 29th July the TSGARC visited the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton.

A good day was had viewing aircraft from the start of flight through to models of the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers and the new F35B Joint Strike Fighter. Aircraft viewed included the iconic Wessex helicopter seen below.

Some members also got to try out the exhibits.


Visit to Fleet Air Arm Museum Yeovilton

During the summer months I propose a visit to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton.

If you would like to come please let me know your available dates from those listed below.

10th or 11th June
29th or 30th July
12th or 13th August

Online entry is either £12.80 or £11.20 for concessions (Military service personnel with a valid MOD 90 go free).

Closer to the selected date I will press gang for drivers, for which each passenger will need to agree a fare with.




Today we had three candidates taking the Foundation and Intermediate tests. All three candidates passed.

Congratulations gentlemen.

Group 2 50percent

The photo above shows Rex (G4RAE), Ron , Mark (Intermediate pass M6KMJ), Peter (Intermediate pass M6KVA), Ron (Foundation pass), Peter (G4OST) and Paul (M0ZMB).

Thanks go to Ron and Rex for invigilating also to the Woodhouse Park Amateur Radio Group for providing the space.



Cable Access Kit AKA Hexbeam parts

Some members are building Hexbeams out of the cable access kits to be found at Aldi this month. Knowing that the Thornbury Aldi only had 6 packs left I went to the Bradley Stoke store to find they have approx. 30 left. So anyone wanting them get yourself down to Bradley Stoke.



Pedestrian Fox Hunt 2016

Wednesday evening (6th July) saw this year’s pedestrian Fox Hunt in and around the Thornbury area. This year it was decided to use 70cm instead of the usual 2m. It was found by the hounds however that it was much more difficult to locate a 70cm signal. After approximately an hour most of the hounds were in the local area of the fox. However the final few hundred yards proved very difficult.

At around 9pm most of the hounds were suffering with fatigue leaving just two in the running.

The fox was eventually found after a number of clues and instructions, by Garry G7NVZ with Peter M6KVA meeting us on the way back.


Friedrichshafen visit

Below is ongoing detail. I will add more to this post as the trip unfolds.

Click any of the photos in this post for bigger versions.

Day 1 – 22nd June 2016

Graham and myself are on a European adventure to Friedrichshafen (link). We embarked on our journey at 11am UK time on Wednesday 22nd. An easy journey to Dover was followed by an earlier than planned crossing (at 3:15pm) to Calais via DFDS.

Waiting to board at Dover

The ferry couild have been named the Marie Celeste as we were 2 of 4 people using the aft lounge.


On investigation we realised that the majority of the travellers were truckers, filling their lounge to capacity. We arrived in Calais at 5:50pm local time and proceeded through Calais passing the Bleriot memorial on our way to the Formule 1 motel. Following check in an evening meal was had at Flunch a short walk away and a browse through the Auchen Hypermarket. The night was pucntuated with Thunder, Lightning and HEAVY Rains.

 Day 2

We awoke at 7am and were on the road by 9am proceeding to Dunkerque followed by Steenvoorde where an uneventful crossing into Belgium was undertaken. Then on to Epres, Kortrijk, Tournai, Mons, Charleroi and Namur with a stop just after Liege for Lunch and the first part of this post. On the way we drove through many storms some with the biggest hailstones ever, passing out into glorious skies and 30+ degrees Centigrade.

Continuing after lunch saw us past Aachen to Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler on the river Ahr. after settling in at a spenldid, clean, tidy and welcoming youth hostel (Below) we joined approximately 150 schoolchildren and their handlers for an evening meal.

Bad Neuenahr UHA

After dinner of three courses we took a stroll into Ahrweiler along the river. The town of Ahrweiler has a restored wall and cobbled streets as below where a pleasant evening was enjoyed.


Day 3

started as day 2 at 7am for ablutions and a continental breakfast, once again with the cast of Oliver Twist. It is to be remembered however that we were in their territory as neither of us could be considered to be youths!

Travelling saw Koblenz with stunning views at a stop of the Moselle Valley (below) then Stuttgart followed by loads of scenery.

Mosel ViaductMosel Valley

Lake Constance then came into stunning view followed by a drive down the eastern side arriving at Friedrichshafen YHA at approximately 4pm. We have found that we are 2 of 212 people staying here. Everyone of which appears to be an amateur or XYL.

Friedrichshafen YHA

Bicycles have now been rented for tomorrows short ride into the Messe for the 2nd day of the rally.

Our evening meal was taken at a restaurant over the road and co-located with a campsite on the shore of Lake Constance. Some discussion of the menu contents was discussed until an English menu was provided. A brief walk along the shoreline was completed before bed.

Day 4

Day 4 started at the usual time with the usual routine. We then took a short ride on the bikes (missing the queues and parking) to the Messe. Shown is Hall A1 and A2 in the distance.

Messe Friedrichshafen

The rally is split into four halls/hangers as follows;

  • Hall A1 is for Manuafacturers, Associations and non-flea market traders with a huge DARC stand
  • Hall A2 is for the talks and association meetings
  • Hall A3 is the first flea market hall (14 rows by 40 odd tables)
  • Hall A4 is the second fleamarket hall with test equipment auction (14 rows by 30 odd tables) Where can you get 1,000 tables?
  • Hall A5 is an added bonus of the Bodensee Maker faire.
  • Other areas included a stage for talks and presentations, QSL wall and special interest groups including an ARDF contest

Full details of the halls and traders can be obtained at the link above.

We then spent the whole day having our first look around and trying to ensure we walked every gangway. It did take us all day to view A1, A3, A4, and A5 just once. Halls A1 (where we signed in with the RSGB) and A3 were completed before lunch with A4 and A5 after lunch. Many purchases were made with some return to stalls previously dismissed.

We then returned via bicycle to the YHA to rest and recuperate after a day on the hoof.

Our evening meal was taken at a local Italian fish restaurant along the river from the YHA. We then returned to the YHA for coffee and discussion with other HAMS (the place being full of them) and then to bed.

Day 5

Day 5 started at the usual time with the usual routine.

Travel to the Messe was by car today to allow for antenna purchase. Parking was a mere 4€ (£3.20) and then into the halls for another walk through to see everything missed yesterday. Those who have been to rallies with me will know that I’m not fast, except for when in the car. More purchases were made with some bargaining as it is the last day.

Major manufacturers were there including;

  • Yaesu (who were very free with their freebies)
  • Kenwood
  • ICOM
  • Hillberling
  • Lusso
  • Hytera
  • FlexRadio Systems


There was a wide range of items to be purchased including;

  • New and second hand transceivers (at least 4 large stalls selling new Transceivers)
  • Lots of Valves and restored/un-restored equipment
  • lots of Microwave bits
  • loads and loads of components
  • Vacuum capacitors
  • some tool stalls
  • some computer stalls
  • Cable and rope
  • Antennas (at least 6 stalls in A1 plus stalls in the flea market)
  • 3D printers and supplies
  • The obligatory XYL gift stalls (only 4 I think)

Our evening meal is planned for the local Italian fish restaurant (Fischerstuble €20-25 per head) along the river.

Day 6

Day 6 started as usual at 7am. We then began travelling towards Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler however we had agreed an initial detour to avoid some of the 5 Autobahn and then agreed an additional detour through the Rhine valley with some stunning scenery.

Day 7

Day 7 will see a return to Dunkirk for the ferry crossing with arrival home late on Tuesday night.

Other Items

Some prices at the rally were more than you would normally pay. For example a PL259 was 80 pence (£1:€1.25) compared to the best rally bargin in the UK of 65 pence. But you don’t go to Friedrichshafen for the prices.

Many photos and videos are available from me in addition to those within this post.

The youth hostel nights cost on average €35 and included a breakfast with optional packed lunch. An evening meal can also be purchased where it is available. Breakfasts consisted of cereals, fruit, yogurt, meats and cheeses with breads. Accommodation was either on or off-suite depending upon the hostel and availability.

The route taken was fairly painless with good continental roads and knowledge of where the hold-ups may be.

Entry into the Rally was either €9 per day or €18 for all three days in advance.

The third day did however see some stalls leaving early including the RSGB packing up at 9am!


Raynet Talk

This Wednesday we received a talk by Mike G0JMD about the formation of Raynet groups and Mike’s experiences in and as the controller of the North Avon Raynet group.

We learnt that the idea of Raynet came about after the 1953 North Sea Floods.

Back then there were different types of group, either independent, affiliated to the RSGB or affiliated to each other. Things changed and progressed with most groups affiliating to the RSGB and then falling away as funding changed.

Mike then moved on to the North Avon group and its activities over the years. The group has only been called upon once where Avon Fire found themselves without coverage in the Severn Tunnel. However before Peter G4OST could arrive they found channel 2 on their radios allowed back to back Simplex use. The fact that the group has only been called out once is surprising considering the motorway and rail networks in the area along with chemical, gas, fuel and nuclear plants.

The main activities of the group are around support local sporting events including the Sodbury Slog, and Bath Half Marathon. Within the group a standing competition is held for the operator with the most emergency services equipment and personnel.


The talk finished with a round of questions all suitably answered by Mike.

In all 18 people attended the evening including 1 visitor.


Steve’s Foundation Test Pass

‘Young’ Steve took and passed his Foundation Exam this Friday evening.

Steve - Test 25%Steve  completed the test in 25 minutes with an indicative score of 23 out of 26. Steve now needs to start thinking of a suitable callsign. The test was invigilated by Peter G4OST and Rex G4RAE, who both kindly gave there evening. Steve received most of his training from Andy and Peter.

Thank you gents.

Well Done Steve.