NWFG Network News

Good News Story

North West Fusion Group is proud to announce the launch of our second network primarily for the use of the members of The Blind Veterans Amateur Radio Society. Members of the society have regular morning nets on 80m SSB but due to current HF conditions, some of their members identified a need for a second way of using Amateur Radio.

After support and advice from Doc, G4ZJO in Morecambe, Lancashire, an active and very supportive member of The North West Fusion Group, we have now completed the instigation of a Yaesu WiresX room, number 44222, named BLIND-VETS–NWFG. This is linked to YSF42233-GB BLIND-VETS-Blind Veterans Reflector available through most hotspots.

The first contact after testing by our Admin team was between Andy, 2E0THP, and Doc, G4ZJO this afternoon, 3/7/2020.

The main North West Fusion Group Network remains unaffected and there may be short periods where the Blind Vets network is down, these will be kept to a minimum and will only be for minor technical changes to take place.

To learn more about The Blind Veterans Amateur Radio Society check out their website.

MoNWF - Musings of a radio amateur


Hmmmm, now this is interesting. You know how when you buy a nice new FTM400 and you switch it on, type in your callsign on the wonderful touch screen, dial up the frequency of your local gateway or Fusion simplex frequency and chat? Very simple, no set up required, easy. No codeplugs, no dodgy downloads of every repeater in the world except the one up the road, just dial up and chat.

Well, DMR, I am told, is moving on. I have a DMR radio, I mainly use it to monitor a local FM frequency and the local DMR repeater and it is OK, the audio is fine etc etc, it isn’t a 400 though, not by any means. Anyway, apparently DMR is moving on. They give you a 2inch non-touch screen and apparently it is as easy to use as any other radio. Non of this having to fire up the PC and spend four hours on the codeplug when someone puts on a new gateway any more, no, you can do it on the radio apparently.

One of the nice features of Fusion is the location system. Out of the box, no menu changes, once your 400 locks on to GPS, the distance and direction of the other station are instantly available (in DN mode). In fact even the 100 does this too.

I recently had cause to read the manual of probably the very latest DMR Amateur Radio. Now this is about the same price as an FTM400 so it must be as good. I am told the audio is excellent, well actually DMR audio should be as good as DN Fusion, and my TYT9600 DMR radio does have nice audio, not as nice as a 400 on a decent speaker, and no where up to the phenominal audio received on the FT991A when connected to a half decent HiFi speaker, but the 991A is a lot more expensive, but anyway, I will take it that the new DMR set has superb audio. However I will paste an excerpt from the manual with regards to the GPS location function on this new radio, and how you can instantly see direction and distance.

(3) Get GPS info

Select Get GPS info, and it will send out a signal to the target radio which will start the GPS positioning

and send a message of its GPS position to the transmit radio.

**You have to check on the function in CPS-Optional Setting-GPS/Ranging- Get GPS positioning first.

Now, personally. to me, that doesn’t sound overly simple. Maybe it is? Maybe I have this wrong?? But I will stick to Fusion, it is simple to use, works out of the box, and I like the way the GPS works out of the box too.

Maybe 2in non-touch screens are the thing this year, the FTM300 has one? No, I will stick to my 400.

MoNWF - Musings of a radio amateur

What do a Lancia Beta, an Electronica Special, a class 9F locomotive, and an On Digital Box all have in common?

Blog Time:

Well, Monday again, it doesn’t half come round quick!!

Right, question: What do a Lancia Beta, an Electronica Special, a class 9F locomotive, and an On Digital Box all have in common?

Answer: Non were usable to anywhere near their designed life. But, for different reasons:

The class 9F was due to a decision by the powers that be that suddenly steam traction was old fashioned so perfectly serviceable and relatively new steam engines were just scrapped, what a waste of money and energy that it took to build them, not to mention the energy taken to build a new one.

The On digital box was (arguably) the result of the general public wanting something for nothing that was being charged for. The abundance of (allegedly) freely available pirate cards and an old fashioned (by the time it was released) encryption system doomed the idea of subscription terrestrial TV in the UK. Income dropped from subscriptions as people bought pirate cards and suddenly there wasn’t enough money to make the service pay. The public got what they wanted as despite a couple of attempts to start a subscription service, for the main UK Digital Terrestrial TV is free. New compression rates to squeeze more channels in the space quickly rendered the boxes as unusable for the new Freeview service, long before their life expentancy was reached.

The Lancia Beta. An attractive family saloon with four doors, a hatchback, and sparkling performance from a well respected Italian car manufacturer as a time when people wanted ‘’hot hatches’’. What could possibly go wrong? I don’t think anyone really knows on this one. The cars were perfect for their time and should have wiped the floor with the competition, but unfortunately in the UK they started to (allegedly) rust and almost none remain now in the UK as most were bought back by Lancia and certainly never reached their design life even by 1970s standards.

So that leaves the Electronica Special.

Now, many people by now will have asked as to what this blog so far has to do with radio? Many wont even know what and Electronica Special is, and many will have forgotten.

The Electronica special was a very VERY good performing CB antenna available from about 1981 in the UK onwards. It was a basic 5/8 wave with longish radials but as we all know, some stuff just works better than others and these were probably the best performing 5/8 wave available to CBers at the time. So, why do we not see them now? There are many remnants (and sometime complete) relics of that time still fastened badly to gutters or more likely on strong T and K’s so that the people of the 1980s in the UK can get the ‘’fix’’ now enjoyed by the almost universal abundance of mobile phones. It was the iPod of it’s day, THE one to have. SO, I ask again, why do you not see them? Well the majority (if not all) never lasted for their designed life expectancy. Why?

This brings us right up to date and brings us to my point; the point of today’s blog. The reason you don’t see Electronica Specials is all down to the UK weather. Not the rain, that never bothered them, not the sun, no…..the WIND. As soon as the shipping forecast mentioned that long running character from Coronation Street, you know the one, married to Brian who went to Canada, and many other dodgy husbands since, she has a mother who was a much liked Witch in the 1970s on kids TV?? Gayle (Gail??); yes as soon as the word Gail was mentioned well Electronica Specials all over the country (or at least near the coast) just bent over from the plastic bit at the bottom where the coil was and that was that. They pretty much all snapped even before a storm was given a name; but they weren’t named then, it was just windy.

So, the point of this week’s blog; probably the talking point of many a chinwag, net, conversation, whatever you want to call it on the radio, the most common question asked of Radio Amateurs and CBers at the moment: Is your antenna still up?

Now, these days I am astounded. The majority of Radio Amateurs in the UK have a co-linear up and these are not expensive in the main, the most expensive models being around £120, and many being £50-80 depending on size. They all have a little pole at the bottom and a screw (or two in some cases) that hold the antenna in place, compared to the probably quarter of a month’s salary to buy an Electronica back in the day, so we don’t pay much for them, and the wind at the moment seems to just carry on… I don’t remember the last day that we had no wind, and what a wind, 70, 80, 90mph gusts!! I can hear my antenna creaking now. But guess what, most of them are still up? Most WILL probably reach their expected design life.

The point of this blog is simple, the winds are worse, but antennae are cheaper and stronger, so not everything used to be better, sometimes things ARE better made now.

Anyway, hoping your antenna stays up (mine will probably snap now!!) and pick up that mic; an antenna works better with RF being shoved in to it through that bit of wire you shoved in the bottom of it. That wire seems to be dearer now ‘for the good stuff’ but that is for another time.