RSGB Convention

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Join us between 11 and 13 October at Kents Hill Park, Milton Keynes for a weekend of the very best amateur radio lectures, and much more. With a wide range of lecture topics, there is genuinely something for everyone.

The following talks have been confirmed for this year’s Convention.


HF Stream

Dave Sumner, K1ZZ – Keynote lecture: ‘Our Global Amateur Radio Community’. For its entire history, amateur radio has transcended the barriers and boundaries of geography, nationality, culture, and class. Keynote speaker Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, has been involved with the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) for half of its 94-year history, first as a member of the ARRL professional staff and currently as its volunteer Secretary. Along the way Dave has worked with hundreds of radio amateurs in dozens of countries to protect, promote, and advance the unique access to the radio spectrum that we all enjoy. He will share why he believes a bright future awaits generations of radio amateurs to come.

Prof. Chris Scott – ‘The ionospheric response to intense bombing during WWII’

Chris Duckling, G3SVL – ‘Lessons from the 6Gs VK9XG DXpedition: logistics, 160m & FT8 Fox and Hounds mode’. Chris will take a retrospective view on mounting this DXpedition, the challenges of getting sufficient kit there, enjoying 160m rates of five per hour (!) and maximising the rate as the Fox in FT8 DXpedition mode.

Gwyn Williams, G4FKH – ‘HF Propagation’

Jim Loughlin, G4DKQ – ‘A Brief History of Baldock Monitoring Radio Station’. From its opening in 1929 as a receiving station for the Imperial Wireless Chain, Baldock Monitoring Radio Station has seen many changes throughout the ninety years of operation. Under GPO control it included circuits to all the major continents of the world before WWII. Following a number of changes in operations under the GPO, MPT and as an executive agency of the DTI the station became part of Ofcom in 2002. The talk will cover the milestones in its history up to the present very different operational capabilities of the station.

Don Field, G3XTT – ‘Guest Operating’. Being part of a multi-operator contest or DXpedition effort can be fun, it’s a great learning experience as to how others operate and how they configure their stations, and can expose you to different propagation (and, indeed, different cultures when operating from overseas). Don has been involved in many such operations from more than 50 DXCC entities and talks about how to get yourself invited and how to make the most of such opportunities.

Roger Balister, G3KMA – ‘IOTA News’

David Deane, EI9FBB – ‘DXpeditioning – 5V7EI and lessons learned from previous activity’

Tony Canning, G2NF – ‘Urban QRM: What can I do?’

Nobby Styles, G0VJG – ‘DXpedition to Wallis Island’


VHF Stream

Marcus Walden, G0IJZ – ‘Tropo Ducts: A Strategy for Records?’ Marcus will talk about propagation via elevated tropospheric ducts. He will present analysis of radiosonde data and show propagation predictions that explain some of the long-distance amateur links made through ducting. The talk will cover VHF through to mm-wave bands.

Alwyn Seeds, G8DOH – ‘Coax and connectors, the forgotten ingredient of high-performance VHF/UHF stations’. Alwyn will draw on his long professional and amateur experience to explain many of the pitfalls and mistakes made when selecting feedlines and coaxial connectors. Although focused on VHF/UHF issue this talk should be of interest to all radio amateurs.

Chris Deacon, G4IFX – ‘More on the polarisation of 50 MHz signals via sporadic-E’. At VHF we tend to assume that our signals arrive at the other end with more or less the same polarisation as they left with. But how many of us know what’s really happening, particularly via sporadic-E which suffers from such dramatic fading? In this session Chris, G4IFX will initially reprise some of the results from his 2016 and 2017 Convention presentations, which showed that the effective polarisation of sporadic-E signals is constantly changing over timescales of seconds to minutes. He will then go on to describe the results of his more recent experiments using new more comprehensive measurement techniques.

Jenny Bailey, G0VQH – ‘Measuring Antenna Profiles with Drones’

Neil Smith, G4DBN – ‘Choosing the right digital mode for the job’

Chris Whitmarsh, G0FDZ – ‘122 GHz and up’. Chris is a very well-known and respected microwaver who is constantly ‘pushing the frontiers’ in the higher microwave bands. His talk will cover the 122, 134 and 241 GHz bands and beyond and the equipment that is typically used. He will also cover the operating challenges to enable the record breaking contacts to be made.

Gavin Nesbit, M1BXF – ‘Hints and tips to get the most out of Digital Modes including FT-8’

Richard Banister, G4CDN – ‘2m Ionoscatter’. Using digital modes to open up paths that are usually unworkable. The push for everyday 1500km.

Noel Matthews,  G8GTZ – ‘EME Adventures using the 32m dish at Goonhilly’

Sam Jewell, G4DDK – ‘Icom IC9700: How does it measure up as a VHF DX transceiver?’

Simon Watts, G3XXH – ‘Airborne Maritime Reconnaissance Radars for the RAF, 1946 – 2010’. At the end of WWII microwave airborne maritime reconnaissance radar (known as ASV) was widely in service with RAF Coastal Command.  New systems were subsequently developed, but based closely on their wartime heritage. During the 1970s there was a major change in technology and design, resulting in the Searchwater radar, incorporating advanced signal processing, computer control and sophisticated wide bandwidth waveforms.  This talk will describe the evolution of ASV radars from the end of WWII up to Searchwater in the Nimrod MR2. (Note this talk has been moved from the General stream)



Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, President of AMSAT-DL – ‘Report on the Es’hail-2 / QO-100 activities of AMSAT-DL’

Achim Vollhardt, DH2VA, AMSAT-DL – ‘Narrow band operation for QO-100’

Iain Young, G7III – ‘Ranging using the QO-100 Satellite’

Bill Crofts & Julia Hunter-Anderson, Warwick University – ‘WUSAT-3 – a novel wildlife tracking satellite’

Pat Norris, Former Apollo Engineer – ‘Apollo 50 and return to the Moon’. Pat Norris FRAeS, FRIN, AIAA, CITP is a retired space and IT engineer. Pat spent 50 years working on space projects including the Apollo Moon landings as a NASA contractor and the Hubble Space Telescope as a European Space Agency program manager. From 1980 until 2018 he worked for software multinational CGI. He is the author of two books on space surveillance as well as many articles, book chapters and conference presentations on all aspects of space. He was awarded the Apollo Individual Achievement Award in 1969 and the Sir Arthur Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. His latest book Returning People to the Moon After Apollo: Will It Be Another Fifty Years? was published in June. His talk will be entitled ‘Returning to the Moon 50 Years after Apollo 11’. The question of why we haven’t sent humans to the Moon since 1972 is explored by identifying the success factors of Apollo and the failure factors of the contemporary Soviet programme. This provides a basis for assessing today’s programs and plans for sending humans to the Moon, including those of NASA, the two American billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, China and Russia.

Dave Crump, G8GKQ – ‘Use of the QO-100 Wideband Transponder for DATV’

Dave Johnson, G4DPZ – ‘Report of the Current FUNcube fleet of satellites and FUNcube Next’

Dr. Chris Bridges, Surrey Space Centre – ‘Student satellite hardware developments at SSC’

Ciaran Morgan, M0XTD – ‘Annual review of ARISS Operations’


General Interest

Mark Jones, G0MGX – ‘The future and growth of Amateur Radio.’ The demographic of the UK and international amateur radio population is trending older, the spectrum is under constant threat – is our hobby in decline? What is the IARU (internationally) and the RSGB (nationally) doing about this trend? Do we ‘cut it’ as a modern 21st Century hobby? Where will the next generation of radio amateurs come from? Does the IARU, the RSGB and your region or club do a good job of promoting the hobby? An interactive discussion session will be held explaining at a high level what the IARU and RSGB are proactively doing in this arena welcoming input on the current thinking and focusing on three key areas of Attraction, Promotion and Retention.

Derek Hughes, G7LFC and Alan Messenger, G0TLK – Beyond Exams

Dean Pesnell, Project Scientist at the Solar Dynamics Observatory – ‘Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Sun and the Ionosphere’ (via Skype)

Elaine Richards, G4LFM – ‘Writing for all variants of RadCom’

Steve White, G3ZVW – ‘Making Waves’. The BBC’s South Atlantic Relay Station on Ascension Island

Meet the RSGB Board

John Rogers, M0JAV and David Lauder, G0SNO – EMC Workshop

ICQPodcast session – ‘Grow, Merge or Disband your Club – Is your club relevant in today’s society?’

Ian White, GM3SEK returns to update his 2015 Convention talk about reducing RF noise levels and the risk of causing interference. The original talk called ‘Clean Up Your Shack’ has had over 7000 views on YouTube and many amateurs have successfully followed its recommendations. This year’s talk, ‘Clean Up Your Shack – Revisited’ reviews the practical user experience and updates the recommended RF chokes and filters. (It will help to have viewed the 2015 talk).

Nick Totterdell, G4FAL – ‘RSGB Cricket World Cup Radio Marathon – compulsive HF operating this summer’

Derek Kozel, MW0LNA – ‘Digital Homebrewing and the Schematics of SDR’

Tony Kent, G8PBH – Examinations update



More talks and further details will be added as they are confirmed.


Contest University (Saturday)

Contest University will return at this year’s Convention with a full stream of lectures on Saturday 12 October.

Steve Nichols, G0KYA – Propagation and Contesting . Steve will discuss how propagation plays an important role in contesting and present the tools available today for helping to predict for the big weekend itself. The session will show how time of day defines the productivity of the HF frequency bands available.

Dave Lawley, G4BUO – The M6T Multi-Multi Station. Dave will present on the world famous M6T contest station. This Multi-Multi (multi operator, multi transmitter) UK station holds a strong competitive edge both on a continental and global scale. Dave will run through the team and an insight to how they achieve such impressive results as well as a history of the Suffolk station.

Jonathan Mitchener, G0DVJ – ‘SkookumLogger – Contesting with MacOS’. Jonathan will cover how this feature-rich logger supports contest operators using the Mac, and will incorporate actual demonstrations. This software by K1GQ, supports a large number of contests, including most RSGB HF & VHF events. SkookumLogger was used by entrants in WRTC18 and also has an integrated CW contest simulator. It can be configured simply for beginners but also in 2BSIQ mode for the most advanced contester. It has developed significantly, and the number of Mac users has increased markedly, since the previous talk Jonathan did on this at the 2011 Convention.

Dominic Smith, M0BLF – Winning the RSGB AFS Superleague.  Dom will share how operators of the Camb-Hams achieved the winning club in the RSGB’s AFS Superleague. Undoubtedly, this award comes with some good operating, decent station engineering and some other secrets which promises to be interesting to hear about.

Dave Sumner, K1ZZ – WRTC (World Radiosport Team Championship) – Dave is a very well known DXer and contester from the USA. We have a unique opportunity for Dave to present this year. Dave will present what the WRTC (World Radiosport Team Championship) is all about, how it has evolved since the first event in 1990 and how to be a part of the next one in 2022. WRTC is the Olympics of Amateur Radio – a truly exciting and demanding programme, which is growing in popularity every time it is held.

Chris Tran, GM3WOJ – The GR2HQ activation in the IARU Contest. Chris will also focus on the IARU contests. Every year, IARU member nation activates HQ stations as part of the multiplier scheme within this contest. Organising participating HQ stations for the UK is a challenging job and Chris is at the heart for the GR2HQ UK stations. Chris will show how this activation is executed and how GR2HQ compares to other very competitive activations from around the world.


Awards/Contests (Sunday)

0915 to 1000 HF Contest Trophy Presentation
1030 to 1100 VHF Contest Trophy Presentation
1115 to 1245 VHF Contest Forum
1345 to 1515 HF Contest Forum



This year’s Convention will include the annual Construction Competition, an SMD Buildathon and a Pi workshop.

We will be running all three levels of online* exams at the Convention for Syllabus 2019 and the current syllabus (for resits only). *Special arrangements can be made for candidates with specific requirements, if we are notified at least one month in advance.

We are delighted that Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, will be our after-dinner speaker on the Saturday evening. Dave is Secretary of the IARU and was active with the IARU during his entire 44-year career on the staff of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

Making a weekend of it? Why not join us at the RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park on the Friday? Come and see the fascinating displays, chat with our volunteers and see the NRC’s radio station, GB3RS in action. Don’t forget RSGB Members can gain free entry to Bletchley Park and the NRC.

Following on from last year, we will have a dedicated room for partners.

It’s shaping up to be another great Convention! Book now to join us in October.


The RSGB Convention is proudly sponsored by Martin Lynch & Sonsmls_logo