This is the report of the 2017 GMRT that was distributed to "Scatterpoint", GMDX Digest, and other places.
The seventh Scottish Microwave Round Table (GMRT) was held on Saturday 3 November 2017 at the Museum of Communication (MOC), Burntisland. Over 40 participants attended the event during the day.
The MOC was buzzing with life soon after the doors opened at 9:30 AM – while the stalls were being set up there was lots of friendly chat over welcome cups of coffee. In fact, the museum staff kept us well supplied with tea, coffee, biscuits and scones (plain and jam!) throughout the day, as well as providing a splendid buffet lunch. Test and measurement facilities were set up by Brian Flynn GM8BJF and David Stockton GM4ZNX. They were in the museum display area as usual, along with the tables occupied by traders. As in previous years, plenty of time was allocated in the programme for catching up on the “craic”.
The “formal” proceedings started at 10:30 AM with a welcome to the venue by Professor Tom Stevenson from the MOC. The morning session was chaired by Martin Hall GM8IEM, UK Microwave Group (UKuG) GM representative, who asked those present to update the Directory of Scottish Microwave Activity (including stations from nearby areas) as a reference for those considering who they might be able to work on the microwave bands (especially when upgrading their stations).
The programme opened with a talk by Mark Hughes GM4ISM entitled “A 10 GHz Home Station”, in which he systematically described all the options open to a home station and the practical considerations and pros/cons associated with each. This prompted a stimulating question and answer session in which the experiences of those present were shared, and this continued though the break that followed.
Due to a cancelled flight, the talk by Geoff Pike GI0GDP was moved to the last session of the day, so a change in the programme was necessary. Andy Sinclair MM0FMF stepped in next and gave a lively and well-illustrated presentation on “13cm SOTA”, supported by Jack Hood GM4COX. He described the activity of a group of stations which had been prompted by last year’s talk on 13cm by John Worsnop G4BAO. They had gone ahead with a bulk order for the SG Labs transverter at a discount price, and followed it up by supporting each other getting going on the band. This intrepid band of activists has set up a group on groups.io primarily to publicise their SOTA expeditions, although it also covers 13cm activity more generally in Scotland and neighbouring areas – details at https://groups.io/g/gm13
Whilst lunch was being set up in the conference room, attendees assembled in the museum where the entries for the GM4LBV Projects Trophy were displayed. The usual excellent buffet lunch (included in the entrance fee) was provided by the MOC staff.
The afternoon session was chaired by Brian Flynn GM8BJF, the first talk being given by David Anderson GM6BIG about the development of “A High Quality 10 GHz Beacon”, designed to operate near an operational amateur station without causing interference due to phase noise and spurious emissions. This focussed on the architecture of a system using the ADS9852 DDS chip, and the techniques needed to clean up the noise and spurious signals. The spectrum displays showed clearly the benefits that were obtained by taking straightforward measures such as separating and regulating the different power supplies for each functional block, screening, filtering etc. It led to an interesting discussion in the Q&A session which covered the need for care in designing power supply earth returns.
During the break which followed, the judging of the entries for the GM4LBV Projects Trophy took place by John Worsnop G4BAO and Andy Sinclair MM0FMF As usual there was great difficulty in selecting the best project, and after much deliberation the judges chose the 13cm signal analyser by Kevin Avery G3AAF as the winner. Kevin 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. Microwavers in GM and nearby areas please remember to submit something next year: built, modified, hardware or software.
Brian Flynn GM8BJF then led a discussion about the future of GMRT events, and there was strong support for the next event to take place in November 2018 – with a request that the date be announced early so it could take priority in everyone’s diary. There was also discussion of the future of the GB3EDN Edinburgh 23cm beacon. Brian also advised those present that the organising committee would be issuing a call for papers for the 2018 event, and requested anyone prepared to give a talk to get in touch with him as soon as possible.
A big round of applause greeted the final speaker Geoff Pike GI0GDP, who arrived hotfoot from the airport just in time to fit in his talk before the end of the day. In this he examined various “Replacement LO Options for the DB6NT G2 Transverters”, based on his own experiences, describing the ease or difficulty of implementation, and performance. This prompted more sharing of experiences by those present in the Q&Q session which followed.
Brian Flynn GM8BJF made the closing remarks, and the museum staff were thanked and applauded for their support and each was awarded a gift. The organising committee were also thanked for their hard work in making this event yet another success, with more loud hand-clapping
Many attendees (and some YL/XYLs) moved on to the Kingswood Hotel in the evening for further chat and 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" , this year consisting of Ian White GM3SEK, Nadine White MM0WNW and John Cooke GM8OTI.
The "organising committee" (Roger Blackwell GM4PMK, John Cooke GM8OTI, Brian Flynn GM8BJF, 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, Alan Masson GM3PSP and Pete Bates GM4BYF for local support.
Prepared by Martin Hall GM8IEM and Brian Flynn GM8BJF.