This is the report of the GMRT that has been distributed to Scatterpoint and various other places.

 

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.

Test and measurement facilities were set up by Brian Flynn GM8BJF, David Stockton GM4ZNX and Dave Nugent. These 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.

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.

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 very impressive.

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.

The afternoon session was chaired by Lothians RS President Andy Sinclair MM0FMF, the first talk being 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, and reproducability.

This was followed by Martin Hall GM8IEM who talked about "Microwaves at the fringes", particularly from his remote location in the far north west 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.
 
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, but 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 please remember to submit something next year: built, modified, hardware or software.

Again many attendees (and some YL/XYLs) moved on to the Kingswood Hotel in the evening for an excellent meal, followed by an auction of microwave related publications and some very interesting bits and pieces which raised money for MOC funds. This was followed by musical entertainment provided by the "Microwave Band": Chris Bartram GW4DGU, Ian White GM3SEK, Nadine White MM0WNW and John Cooke GM8OTI.

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 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.