Many said it was the best yet. With around 120 attendees on the Sunday, 80 on Saturday and 60 at the Dinner that evening, we’re inclined to agree! This report cannot do justice to the event since everyone present has their own perspective and story to tell. Microwavers from the USA, Belgium, Germany as well as the UK flocked to the British Telecom establishment at Adastral Park, Martlesham (pictured here left)to hear the talks, test their latest construction project, share experiences, trade at the fleamarket and enjoy the excellent socialising that only such an event can give.
The Saturday saw a most entertaining series of lectures, demonstrations of space vehicle reception and 24GHz antenna testing (courtesy of G4DDK shown on the right here adjusting the standard receive horn antenna), along with the usual test facilities. The strong demand for the latter is evident from the Noise Figure measurements chart (many thanks to G3XDY) found elsewhere in this issue of Scatterpoint.

Saturday’s lecture programme started with Murray, G6JYB, explaining the challenges facing us in the microwave spectrum. It’s understandable that one could come away from such a talk feeling quite despondent about the future of our frequencies but Murray gave us food for thought as to how we might meet the authorities half way in some of these problem areas …. for example by opting for narrower but more protected slices of the spectrum.

We were delighted to welcome our main speaker from overseas, Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, the most successful amateur sub millimetre wave operator in the world. He has made two way contacts and VUCC (5 grid squares) on just about every available band from 24GHz up. Some of the bands have since been changed or withdrawn by FCC but Brian and his pal have already made the QSOs and got the certificates! He treated all of us on Saturday to a most interesting lecture on basic oscillators and mixer design at these high frequencies and a look at some of the paths and gear he has used. If that weren’t enough, he gave another lecture on Sunday, this time on low noise oscillators, designs he has used to great effect to make narrowband contacts as high as 241GHz.

He's shown here on the left during his Sunday lecture

Our own Brian, G4NNS, treated us to a most informative talk on the subject of getting his EME dish into focus and how he has arranged to feed it on various bands.

One his feeds, a VE4MA type is shown here on the right:

Above: The Young and the Wise: Young Paul M0EYT (left) meets up with OT Doug, GW3ATM at the Saturday Night Dinner

Below: The Two Ians: Left G8KQW (UKuG Secretary) with his pal G8IFT in the right. These two are very active microwave contest people.

Saturday evening saw some 60 microwavers at the annual dinner held at the Court Yard Marriott Hotel, just a few minutes drive from BT Adastral Park where the microwave meeting was taking place. Most of us were staying overnight at the same hotel so some fairly serious drinking took place by one or two folk, such that at least one well known EME-er (not Brian!) had a sizeable ‘hangover’ on Sunday morning! Sadly, some of us made an unwise choice of main course and the UKuG Reflector was echoing complaints for days afterwards! Steps have been taken to make sure it doesn’t happen gain. Apart from that, the rest of the meal was very good and breakfast was it’s usual good value.

Sunday’s programme was tightly packed. The UKuG AGM batted first and two new committee members were elected. Committee reports can be found elsewhere in this issue. This was followed by G3PFR’s annual report from the RSGB Spectrum Forum for which he is Microwave Manager. He gave a lucid account of the recent IARU meeting at Davos, pointing out the valuable contributions made there by the UKuG Committee papers submitted via RSGB. He reiterated much of what Murray has said on Saturday regarding our need to change our attitudes to future demands for spectrum allocations.

Next in the lecture room was Dave Robinson, WW2R/G4FRE who spoke on digitally controlling surplus microwave oscillators His talk was very well received. After lunch we were treated to a most informative lecture on the latest AMSAT space missions, especially the Venus Express which Freddie, ON6UG, was able to receive out in the car park later that day (see photo right). He was aided in his lecture by James, G3RUH. Our thanks go to both of them.

Then came WA1ZMS’s second talk. The room was packed for this and most of us went away in some amazement over how he had succeeded so well in making narrowband DX contacts at frequencies up to and over 240GHz.

Above: John, G3XDY (rear)checks out the manual before helping to test the gear brought to him

He was followed by John, G4EAT, who whetted everyone’s appetite for 24GHz on hearing how he had put together an efficient home station on this band, such that he has been able to work into Holland and Belgium as well as the UK. His present DX exceeds 200km on this difficult band.

After G3PHO’s review of the past year’s microwave activity, including contests, some useful discussion on the 2006 contest programme, headed by Steve, G4KNZ, concluded a most excellent weekend.

Our thanks go to the Martlesham Radio Society for arranging the venue and the hotel. The unsung heroes of MRS include Graham “the MC”, Ian “ the food”, Robin “ the registration man” and John “the test man” (aka G3XDY) who gave up their whole weekend for us to have a good time. We can’t thank you enough!