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Colloquium Report

Report on the Amsat-UK Colloquium, 26 to 28 July 2002.

Over 90 delegates attended from 16 countries and four continents; numbers 
have increased again. This may be because amateur radio, as a hobby, is 
attracting more people; there have been over 2000 new amateurs (plus 1000 
upgrades) in the UK since January, and 500 of them were under 21. About 
20 people said this was their first Colloquium (about the same as last 
year ... hmmmm). 

Our Beginners' sessions were well-attended too; it looked like we had a 
few more than last year - about 25 in each session; G7HIA, W2RS, and W3IWI 
all had audiences. And the Beginners' live demonstrations on UO-14 proved 
to be popular again; thanks to W2RS and G7HIA for doing them - contacts 
across the Atlantic were made with the hand-held equipment. QSL via G7HIA.

I thought this year's event was about as good as last year's but other 
people told me they thought it was better. Certainly it was up to the high 
standard we set here in Amsat-UK anyway. 

We have competitions at the Colloquium; this year we had the usual Quiz 
plus the "Smallest AO-40 Station" and "Best Speakers" awards.

The quiz was won by Pieter PA3FWM with 29 correct answers out of a possible 
40. Paul, VP9MU, will be putting this year's questions onto amsat-bb soon.

There were two categories for the AO-40 award: one for the best station 
demonstrated "live" and one for other submissions. Well, the best AO-40 
times were in the middle of the night and no-one wanted to get out of bed 
so that half was not possible. The winner in the "non-attending" class was 
PE1RAH; take a look at his (and other) submissions at:

The Best Speaker prize was awarded to Craig Underwood, G1WTW; Craig is on 
the staff at Surrey and has been talking to Colloquia for many years. He 
always puts his presentations across in a way that everyone can understand. 

The Best New Speakers award went to Mike Tyrrell, G6GAK, and Phil Masding 
for their presentation about space photography; fascinating images backed 
up by many neat software accessories.

This year the G3AAJ Trophy was awarded to Fred and Jenny Southwell, G6ZRU 
and G1LIT, in recognition of the hard work they put in to Amsat-UK for many 
years. Amsat-UK would not have survived without their labours; we wish 
them a well-earned rest.

Microwave equipment and antenna measurements were introduced last year; 
they turned out to be so popular that we repeated them again this year 
and they will probably feature in all future Colloquia. Thanks to Sam, 
G4DDK, and David, G0MRF, for their labours.

Measurements were, this year, limited to antenna gain and matching on 
1269MHz and 2400MHz. After providing noise figure measurements for the 
last 5 years it was decided that the noticeable drop in the number of 
converters and preamps being presented for measurement would warrant 
missing out one year. 

Antenna gain measurements were made with reference to a Polarad CA-L 
standard gain horn antenna, supplied courtesy of the Martlesham Radio 
Society (G4MRS). In all over 30 measurements were made on the University 
of Surrey sports field where the antenna test range was set up. The vast 
majority of measurements were made on 2.4GHz antennas including dishes 
with helix and patch feeds. The other common antenna type was the multiturn 
helix. On 1.2GHz just four antennas were measured. It is to be hoped that 
more antennas for this band will appear next year as the range appeared to 
work well in this frequency band and some interesting lessons were learnt.

A few spot frequency matching measurements were made using the sources from 
the antenna range and a high directivity Narda coupler. A deeper report 
containing results of the various measurements will appear in Oscar News.

The Colloquium wouldn't be the same without practical activities:
Command station and UoS clean-room visits were, as usual well supported. 
The barbecue took place in balmy weather out on the grass beside the lake. 
We were joined here by a swan with babies; they enjoyed the UoS bread as 
much as we did. Another activity which is becoming a "regular" is live 
firing demonstrations of UoS propulsion systems. We weren't disappointed 
this year; very noisy.

In "The Old Days" we used to get lots of real news at the Colloquium but 
this has declined over the years. 

Bdale, KB0G, made the following points in his talk about RUDAK on AO-40:
There are no plans to use RUDAK as an fm repeater (as happened on AO-21).
The 9k6 hardware system is about 10dB less sensitive than expected
If the current DSP tests are successful, there could be a  return of the 
    'ZRO tests (weak signal reception) on AO-40

AO40 goes far enough out in space to pass through the earth's magnetic 
bow-shock sometimes (CEDEX talk by G1WTW)

Work has resumed, with some success, on the Israeli GO-32 spacecraft with 
a view to putting it into amateur BBS service. The Technion Institute 
decided to hire a radio ham to help them promote the Techsat's BBS issue, 
and fulfill their promises to the Amateur Radio community ASAP. 

Their first goal is to finish debugging the BBS code and load a stable 
BBS server to the spacecraft. At the moment they're experimenting with an 
alpha version in the labs and upload these versions to the spacecraft 
just to let the users "play" with GO-32 . It is not an official version 
and there is no "alpha group" of testers so they do not want bug reports. 

Tidhar Teucher, 4Z5CA, is the man doing the work with assistance from 
Peleg 4X1GP,Ofer 4X6OJ, Shlomo 4X1AS, and Assi 4X1KX. He has updated the 
IARC's Techsat page, <http://www.iarc.org/techsat>, and will do his best 
to keep everyone informed about changes and progress in TechSat's status.

Has anyone heard about the Amsat-ZL project ? I hadn't until last week. 
Check out KiwiSat at <http://www.amsat-zl.org.nz>

Amsat-UK Annual meeting: new member Howard, G6LVB, joined the rest of the 
committee who were re-elected en-bloc. Full minutes will be published 
soon in Oscar News.

The (unconfirmed) date of next year's event is 25 to 27 July 2003; put 
it in your diary NOW.

The Proceedings document will be made available within a week or two both 
in electronic and paper formats. We will make an announcement on amsat-bb 
when it becomes available.

Images from the event are currently being uploaded to:
<http://www.uk.amsat.org/colloquium/colpix02.htm> I am interested in any
pictures any other delegates took as well (I had an accident with my
camera, losing some out-of-doors photos). Anyone with images to share
should contact me BEFORE sending them.

Richard W L Limebear G3RWL
Communications Officer, Amsat-UK
Via the amsat-bb mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
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