RSGB Convention Lectures

Below are details of the lectures that have been confirmed so far

NOTE: The provisional timetables have now been published click here to see them

Following a number of requests we have categorised each talk as General Interest, Introduction or Advanced. These categories are subjective and much depends on your background and experience so feedback after the event would be helpful for future years.


Saturday Lecture Room 1

“The K3LR Super Station” – Tim Duffy, K3LR.
We are delighted that Tim Duffy, K3LR has agreed to be our Keynote and after-dinner speaker. As the summary below reveals, Tim is amongst the leaders, if not the leader, in the contesting field of amateur radio. He will be talking about his contest station but also, as he puts it, focusing on ‘keeping Ham Radio fun and alive’.

Tim has been a very active contest operator for over 46 years.  He has hosted over 130 different operators as part of the very well-known K3LR Multi-Multi DX contest efforts since 1992 – making over 700,000 QSOs.  He served on the ARRL Contest Advisory Committee as a member and multi-year Chairman and has been an active member of the CQ Contest Committee for 28 years.  Tim was moderator of the Dayton Contest Forum for ten years and of the Hamvention Antenna forum for 35 years. He is President of the Radio Club of America (RCA) and was elected to the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 2006.

Tim says: “The very best part of this hobby is the people you meet and the long-time close friendships that happen as a result of the common interest in amateur radio. It is no surprise that nearly all of my best friends are amateur radio operators. There is no question in my mind that this is the best hobby in the world! I am thrilled to be a part of more than 95 multi-multi team operations from the K3LR station in the last 25 years. These extensive competitions test the capabilities of the K3LR station and its operators to communicate effectively with other amateur radio stations around the world. I am looking forward to meeting old and new friends at the RSGB Convention in October.” (General Interest)

“Transmit/Receive switching times – why they matter” – Chris Tran, GM3WOJ.
As a DXer calling in a pileup or working a pileup, as a Contester or as a Datamodes operator, the time taken for your equipment to change from Rx to Tx (and back) will have an impact on the efficiency of your operation. This applies both from an operating point of view e.g. missing the first character of a calling station’s callsign on CW and from a technical point of view e.g. damaging an amplifier by ‘hot switching’. This presentation covers both the operating and technical reasons for minimising the T/R switching times and which peripheral devices may be responsible for lengthening these timings. (Advanced)

“Electronic kit design for the masses: HF WSPR transceiver” – Dan McGraw, M0WUT.
A look at the design process of converting a personal project into an open-source electronics kit using an HF WSPR transceiver as an example. (Advanced)

“LF Forum” – Dave Pick, G3YXM and David Bowman, G0MRF.
The presentation will examine the status of the LF and MF bands in the UK and around the world. It will summarise popular routes of entry onto the bands, looking at modes of operation and available hardware and kits and will feature a review of the receive performance of selected current radios from the major manufacturers. The session concludes with a look into the future, and possible ways of encouraging more band activity and QSOs. (General Interest)

“KH1/KH7Z Baker Island DXpedition” – Don Greenbaum, N1DG.
Baker Island is an uninhabited atoll about 2000 miles south-west of Hawaii.  Until recently it was one of the top ten most wanted DXCC entities on the planet. Don, one of the team leaders, will describe the planning process, setbacks, solutions and outcomes from the July 2018 DXpedition that made around 70,000 QSOs and tested the new FT8 data mode under DXpedition conditions for the first time. The expedition also commemorated Amelia Earhart the aviation pioneer who disappeared near Baker Island in 1937 and the Hawaiian students who attempted to found the settlement of Meyerton on Baker in 1935. (General Interest)

“Magnetic Loop Antennas” – Rael Paster, M0RTP.
Magnetic Loop Antennas offer the Amateur Radio enthusiast a compelling option for chasing DX and having access to all the HF band’s when restricted by size and height of antenna system at your QTH.  Construction tips, tricks and traps and how to automatically tune a magnetic loop will be covered along with a look at FT8 and WSPR performance achieved with Magnetic Loop antennas in the last year. (General Interest)

The struggle to defend HF against the rising digital tide” – Martin Sachs, G8KDF.
Any characteristic of a communication system that is distinguishable from white noise represents inefficiency in the use of the spectrum. This often leads to modern causes of RFI being difficult to identify or even detect. To measure RFI from digital systems such as VDSL2 broadband one needs to understand the coding techniques used and any aspects of them which are less random. Presented is graphical analysis software developed for the RSGB and its members that identifies, isolates, and measures these signal components even when buried in other noise. (General Interest)


Saturday Lecture Room 2

“Beyond 150 Countries on 144MHz – the science of extreme VHF DXing” – John Regnault G4SWX.
John has spent over 45 years chasing DX on 144MHz and is now one of the few stations in the world to have worked over 150 DXCC countries on the band. In the talk John will address the range of key technical issues that are important to working 144MHz DX, ranging from how to select the right equipment & antennas, through understanding your site to tools and operating techniques for both terrestrial modes and moonbounce. The talk is aimed at those who have some experience of weak signal VHF working and are interested in what it takes to go to the limits of propagation. (General Interest)

“PI4 the Digital mode for Beacons and why is it a success” – Bo Hansen, OZ2M.
Many digital modes have been tested for VHF beacon use and have been found to have problems. PI4 was developed by a team in Denmark to overcome these issues. The first PI4 + CW + carrier beacon, OZ7IGY, has been using the mixed mode for more than five years. The presentation will explain why PI4 has become a success both among many VHF beacon operators and users. Today more than 25 beacons use PI4 transmissions in their sequence with at least eight different hardware implementations available and more are planned. (Advanced)

“The Farnham WebSDR – DC to Microwaves on your smartphone”Noel Matthews, G8GTZ.
This presentation will give an overview of the Farnham WebSDR ( which currently covers the LF bands through to 10GHz – the presentation will describe the system architecture and antennas currently used on each band and how the team has used RTL dongle receivers, available for under £10, to give good RF performance on all bands from DC to 10GHz.  There will be a demonstration of the SDR in use on both PC and smartphone. (General Interest)

“The Dwingeloo Story” – Dick Harms PA2DW.
It all started in 2005 – the Dwingeloo Radio Telescope appeared to be in bad state and urgently needed restoration. No relevant scientific purpose was foreseen, so the owner intended to demolish the almost 50-year-old instrument. The CAMRAS foundation was raised in 2007 for the main purpose of finding a new future for the instrument. The first board consisted of the chairman of VERON (PA2DW), an ASTRON scientist (PA3EET) and the director of KNMI (PA3FYM). As you can see, these were all radio-amateurs so the future of the telescope was clear! The lecture therefore deals mainly with the ham-activities and the enormous restoration process. (General Interest)

“Sporadic E revisited – is it any clearer?” – Jim Bacon, G3YLA.
Sporadic E is a complex propagation mode so Jim will start with a review of where we are with current understanding of Sporadic E, ideal for the many newcomers to amateur radio.  We will develop an easy to use guide for operating during openings, using information readily available for the amateur equipped with internet access. The talk will also examine some of the events of the 2018 season to see how our collection of ‘rules’ stand up to the test of real events… or not! (General Interest)

“Iceni – a high performance 70cm transverter for the constructor” – Sam Jewell, G4DDK.
Home construction has been the bedrock of amateur radio, right from the very beginning. G4DDK will be describing a 70cm transverter that can be built from scratch, with the support of a professional PCB, or from a kit. Sam will describe the latest upgrades that mean that the receive converter side of the transverter has exceptional strong signal performance together with high sensitivity. The transmit converter side features high spectral purity and the ability to frequency lock the transverter for high stability makes it perfect for both digital and analogue operation. (Advanced)

“VHF Baluns – Fact and Fancy”Ian White, GM3SEK.
Our ideas about HF baluns have changed dramatically in recent years. The focus today is very much on suppressing unwanted common-mode RF currents, to reduce both the received noise levels and the risks of causing interference on transmit. Now Ian extends those ideas into the VHF-UHF spectrum, taking a critical look at some long-established methods for feeding Yagi antennas and identifying a new list of Do’s and Don’ts for modern conditions. Ian has received extremely positive feedback on his previous Convention talks and we are sure that this one will be no different. (General Interest)


Saturday Lecture Room 3

“An introduction to 3D printing for the radio amateur” – James Patterson M1DST.
An introduction to the fascinating world of 3D printing where you’ll learn about the different printing methods with a focus on inexpensive FDM machines.  You will leave with an understanding of how the machine works and how 3D printing can be used as a tool to improve your Amateur Radio life. The talk is not aimed at printing experts and you’ll not learn CAD during this short session but if you have any interest in adding a 3D printer to your workshop or understanding the process, so you can use one in a makerspace, this is the talk for you! (Introduction)

“Meet the Board” – RSGB Board members.
A Board priority focus this year is to progress the strategic objectives set out in “Strategy 2022”. This is being pursued by both encouraging the development of new initiatives and supporting and driving forward existing strategic projects. After personal introductions, the Board Directors will each briefly outline some of their projects and update the meeting on their objectives & progress. Time is planned to allow for questions relating to any other matters of interest to the meeting. (General Interest)

 “So what has the IARU ever done for us?” – Don Beattie, G3BJ, President IARU Region 1.
What the IARU is and what it does is not well known to radio amateurs. In this talk, Don will describe what IARU is doing, how the challenges of representing amateur radio globally are changing, and what the world would be like without IARU. He will explain the work done on current threats to amateur spectrum allocations – including Wireless Power Transmission – and describe some of the “doomsday” scenarios if IARU is not successful. (General Interest)

“FT8 Performance Secrets”Neil Smith G4DBN.
Neil will investigate what really matters when you are aiming for the ultimate performance with FT8 and other digital modes. He’ll demonstrate and explain the most common problems which affect the receive and transmit paths on analogue and SDR systems. Using real-world examples of each of the pitfalls, Neil will present practical tools and techniques to help you improve your digimode performance from LF to microwaves. (NB – this talk will be repeated on Sunday at 09.15) (General Interest)

“Using drones to measure antenna radiation patterns” – Jenny Bailey G0VQH.
Antenna radiation patterns are difficult to measure because antennas are typically high above the ground, and the peak gain tends to be horizontal or above. In this talk Jenny will describe a practical method of measuring the radiation field around an antenna. This will cover CAA restrictions, Drone selection, Drone payload, Drone operation, Measurement antenna design and Plotting results. Jenny will also discuss the difficulties and pitfalls of doing this, and the lessons the team learned while developing this system of measurement. (General Interest)

“An Introduction to SDRs and GNU Radio” – Heather Lomond, M0HMO.
After starting with an overview of what is in an SDR, the types of tasks they can do for us and how to get started with them; Heather will move on to an introduction to some digital signal processing techniques such as IQ Modulation, Filters, DDS and FFT demodulation before finishing up with a look at how we can do some of these in GNU Radio (a language for developing SDR programs on your PC). (Advanced)

“Getting your Ideas into Print” – Eric P. Nichols, KL7AJ. (via Skype)
Nothing is quite as rewarding as seeing your ideas come to life in a magazine article or a book.  The demand for good articles, technical and otherwise, has never been greater.   Explaining how your brilliant idea works to a wide audience forces you to better understand the technology and principles yourself.   In addition, technical articles can and should be fun and literate.   There is no need to produce dry, humourless writing, even when talking about serious technical matters.  Eric believes that the RSGB, especially, has a long history of producing top-notch technical articles that are eminently readable.  The process requires dedication and diligence, but is well worth the effort. (General Interest)


Saturday Lecture Room 4

“Threat or Opportunity? An overview of the Network Radio phenomenon” – Chris Rolinson G7DDN.
A look at what Network Radio is, how it came about, what Amateurs are doing with it and in what ways it could be considered part of our hobby. The presentation will also examine how the Internet can be viewed as a man-made form of propagation and ask philosophical questions about the future of our hobby as technology marches forward into the 3rd decade of the 21st Century. Come prepared with an open mind and be ready to think “outside the box”! (General Interest)

The Worked All Britain Awards” – Dave Brooks, G4IAR.
Dave will cover the founding of WAB, the derivation of WAB Squares, the main WAB awards, with associated certificates and trophies. He will also talk about WAB contests, the rare square OV00 and the WAB AGM. Finally, he will cover charitable donations, photographs of activations and WAB membership. (General Interest)

“YOTA 2018” – Mike Jones, 2E0MLJ.
Mike will describe the YOTA event held in South Africa earlier this year. It will include the activities for the week including the BACAR Balloon Launch, how in 2 days, the team did what would normally take 6 months of planning to send a balloon into ‘near space’. (General Interest)

“Digital storage oscilloscopes – their use and misuse” – Alan Messenger, G0TLK.
The current generation of digital storage oscilloscopes are remarkable instruments for their cost. Alan will demonstrate some of the features of a 2 channel instrument with 200MHz bandwidth, frequency counter, simple spectrum analysis and decoding of serial communications among other facilities, all for less than £400 delivered. However, the DSP employed imposes some limitations that aren’t found with traditional analogue scopes, which need to be understood for optimum benefits.  Alan will demonstrate what happens and explain how to avoid these, with little or no DSP maths needed. (General Interest)

“RSGB IARU HF Championship HQ station planning meeting (GR2HQ)” Nick Totterdell, G4FAL.
The team welcomes any contest enthusiasts who would like to consider taking part in the national team in 2019. (General Interest)


Saturday Lecture Room 5

“ARISS and STEM Outreach” – Ciaran Morgan, M0XTD.
Ciaran is a retired Microsoft engineer, who, in recent years, has become the RSGB’s and AMSAT-UK’s representative on the ‘Amateur Radio on the International Space Station’ (ARISS) controlling board. In 2017 he coordinated the ten direct radio contacts with UK’s first ESA astronaut aboard the ISS, Tim Peake. Ciaran will speak about his experiences in getting young people interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and also describe the possibilities that are being planned for the future for amateur radio activities on the ISS. (General Interest)

“ESA Microgravity Research on Parabolic Flights and Drop Towers” – Neil Melville, PA9N.
ESA has a mandate for microgravity research, which is met by utilising a variety of platforms including the ISS, Orbital Capsules, Sounding Rockets, Parabolic Flights and Drop Towers.  This presentation will provide an overview of the relative benefits of each of these platforms, followed by a detailed explanation of Parabolic Flights and Drop Towers in particular. (General Interest)

“50 Years of AMSAT and Beyond” – Joe Spier, K6WAO.
Joe will cover the beginnings of AMSAT, the successes, failures, lessons learned, partnerships, and regulatory processes from North America. He will include the recent success of the FOX CubeSat program and the outlook for GOLF (Greater Orbit, Larger Footprint). Joe will also include where and what amateur radio in space may be able to achieve looking towards the future. (General Interest)

Es’hail-2 and its amateur radio payload” – Peter Gülzow, DB2OS.
Peter is a professional electronics engineer, with a long standing passion for amateur spacecraft. He has a wide and extensive knowledge about space engineering given his very long and active participation in the amateur space program over many years. Peter will talk about Es’hail-2 and its amateur radio payload. This spacecraft was due to be launched last year, but latest information as at the time of writing is that it should be launched during 2018. It will be the first satellite to carry an amateur payload to be launched into geosynchronous orbit. It will have two analogue transponders, one of which will be wide enough to support some forms of HD TV. (General Interest)

“Jy1Sat and FUNcube Next” – The FUNcube Team.  Awaiting synopsis (General Interest)

Distributed Groundstations (InfoStellar)” – Naomi Kurahara, JE6GXN.
Naomi is the Founder and CEO of InfoStellar Inc. During her career she has been a researcher at the University of Tokyo, and she has previously studied at the Surrey Space Centre and the International Space University in Strasbourg. Naomi will be speaking about the activities of InfoStellar Inc, which is partly amateur and partly commercial. The aim of the organisation is to set up a global network of satellite receiving stations to enable satellite owners to receive telemetry from their low earth orbit satellites when they are not in view of their own ground stations. (General Interest)

The avionics in the Copenhagen Suborbital Nexø II rocket” – Alexandru Csete, OZ9AEC/Peter Scott, OZ2ABA.
Copenhagen Suborbitals is a crowd-funded, non-profit, amateur space programme with the goal of sending one of us into space, on a sub-orbital spaceflight, using a home built space capsule and rocket. Since the beginning of 2008, we have flown five rockets, two mock-up space capsules and reached significant milestones like building bi-liquid rocket engines, active guidance and establishing a framework for regular sea-launches. In this presentation, we give an overview of the mission, the technology, and our extensive use of the (ham) radio spectrum. (General Interest)


Sunday Lecture Room 2

“FT8 Performance Secrets”Neil Smith G4DBN.
Neil will investigate what really matters when you are aiming for the ultimate performance with FT8 and other digital modes. He’ll demonstrate and explain the most common problems which affect the receive and transmit paths on analogue and SDR systems. Using real-world examples of each of the pitfalls, Neil will present practical tools and techniques to help you improve your digimode performance from LF to microwaves. (NB – this is a repeat of the talk at 13.30 on Saturday) (General Interest)

“Troposcatter on the VHF Bands” – Palle Hansen, OZ1RH.
Troposcatter is responsible for most daily QSOs and contest QSOs but is, perhaps, also the least known propagation. Troposcatter was used by commercial services and the military in 1950-80, so information on troposcatter was restricted in those days due to security reasons. For many years radio amateurs have worked many 7-800 km QSOs any day and now we know why. In this lecture troposcatter is examined inside and out in order for you to learn how to make best use of this propagation. Also we will discuss the limits for troposcatter and what the maximum range might be and how radio amateurs using digital techniques might be able to push the range above the maximum 1000 km shown in the commercial literature. (Advanced)

“The Wednesday Night Digifest” – John Worsnop, G4BAO.
John will explain why he initiated a regular Wednesday night ‘Digifest’ to encourage activity above 1GHz. The various digital modes will be covered and John will describe why the propagation path is critical. Doppler and other frequency shifts and spreading mean that certain modes will not work at these higher frequencies – in particular the popular FT8! John will cover the practical results from many experiments on 1.3GHz and 2.3GHz and suggest further trials that can be carried out on other bands. (General Interest)

“Microwaves: from Death Rays to Dinner” – William Eustace M0WJE.
The last century or so has seen the expansion of microwaves from physics research to every corner of our lives, from astronomy to communications.  A lot of this development took place around RADAR, with the groundwork laid during WW2. This talk will follow the British development of radar, along with a selection of subsequent advances in microwave technology, in a light-hearted and fairly high-level way. (General Interest)

“Moving your Morse Code skills from “5NN TU” to effortless casual rag chewing” – Ray Burlingame-Goff G4FON.
Nobody would claim that becoming proficient at Morse Code is easy but, once learnt, the results are very satisfying. In his talk Ray discusses the pitfalls of learning Morse and the work of the German psychologist Ludwig Koch which G4FON implemented in his freeware training software. Drawing on his own experience and over ten years of feedback by users of his software, Ray will offer practical advice on how you can move from simply working stations with a “5NN TU” reply to effortless casual rag chewing with them. (Advanced)


Sunday Lecture Room 3

“Hot news, announcement of new IOTA groups and the untold IOTA story” – Roger Balister, G3KMA.
In breaking news, Roger Balister, G3KMA, IOTA Manager will announce several interesting additions to the list of groups qualifying for the IOTA Programme. This will form the first part of the five-yearly review of the list scheduled for 2019. Also Roger will explain the way the programme rules developed during the early years, lifting the curtain on the reasoning that drove the decisions. (General Interest)

“Irish Islands IOTA Tour 2018” – Dave Deane, EI9FBB.
Dave will give an illustrated talk about the 2018 tour of Irish IOTAs (Saltees, Blaskets, Arans, and Irish Coastal Islands) by the EI DX Group. In his inimitable style he will describe the history of the islands, the problems of landing and operating, and provide tips for future DXpeditions. (General Interest)

“H44R & H40D: A Thrilling and Unforgettable IOTA Expedition” – Cezar Trifu, VE3LYC. (viaSkype)
Russell (OC-168) and Duff Islands (OC-179) were last on the air 17 and 25 years ago, in demand by 94 and 97% of the IOTA membership. There is commercial boat transportation from Honiara to Russell once a week, but travel to Duff requires special logistics. The only option was riding a 23-foot motor canoe from Lata over the Pacific Ocean, a 350 km return trip. It was an eventful journey, with its last leg from Pigeon Island to Lata utter madness. During the entire expedition Cezar logged about 8,000 QSOs with over 6000 unique stations in 76 DXCC using 100 W and a multi-band vertical wire antenna. (General Interest)

“The top HF propagation questions – and some possible answers”Steve Nichols, G0KYA.
Over the past two years Steve G0KYA has completed dozens of Skype-based Q&A sessions with radio clubs up and down the country after they have shown the Propagation Studies Committee’s “Understanding HF Propagation” video. In this presentation he will look at some of the common misconceptions about propagation and try to answer some of the most commonly-asked questions. (General Interest)

“An HF DXpedition to the Andaman Islands” – John Warburton, G4IRN.
John will describe his recent HF expedition to the Andaman Islands as an unaccompanied foreigner. He will cover propagation, finding a suitable QTH, and obtaining a licence/permit with the assistance of Indian DXers. (General Interest)


Sunday Lecture Room 4

“Arduino, GPS, RF and the Si5351A for radio amateurs” – Bo Hansen, OZ2M.
Get inspiration to your next radio project by using a combination of Arduino, GPS and a Si5351A. The open source world of Arduino microcontrollers is one of the best things that have happened to amateur radio. More than one million Arduinos have been shipped and there is a big global community that can help and that also makes new programs that can be modified or used as inspiration to roll your own design. So don’t be afraid to get on-board either for the next club project or by yourself. The Si5351A is a really cheap way to generate RF and it can easily be controlled by an Arduino whereby you can make e.g. a signal generator or VFO for your homemade transceiver. Combine the Arduino with a GPS and you will have a cheap frequency counter or GPS controlled transmitter. But can you get a fair RF performance from a cheap circuit? (General Interest)

“Syllabus Update” (Simone Wilson co-ordinating).
Awaiting synopsis (General Interest)

“Tutor Open Forum” (Simone Wilson co-ordinating).
Awaiting synopsis (General Interest)

FreeDV – Digital Voice for HF and other low SNR channels”Matthew Phillips G6WPJ.
FreeDV is established as the digital mode of choice for voice transmission on HF and other bands with poor signal to noise conditions. FreeDV can now provide conversational voice on channels where SSB cannot be clearly heard. This paper presents information on what it is and how can amateurs can try it for themselves. Matthew will explain the pioneering work on the voice codec used and a new OFDM ‘modem’. Also, some insights on the future developments envisaged will be presented. A video demonstration will be included and a strong emphasis will be placed on practical ideas to get going and join in. (General Interest)

“Operating Advisory Service update” – Philip Willis, M0PHI.
The Operating Advisory Service (OAS) has been introduced to help amateurs manage on-air operating issues, including problematic behaviour by others. We discuss the background, what OAS can and cannot help with, and how advice will be made available. (General Interest)


Sunday Lecture Room 5

“Satellites for Beginners” – Dave Johnson, G4DPZ.
Dave and other members of the AMSAT-UK Committee will give a brief history of Amateur satellites followed by a description of the design, development, launch and operation of both communication and educational CubeSats. There will be an opportunity to see practical demonstrations of satellite operation during the course of the weekend. (Introduction)

“Cassini- Huygens: Odyssey to Saturn and Titan” – Prof David Southwood, Chair, UKSA.
More than 35 years ago, a small group of scientists in Europe met with American counterparts to discuss what might be done to explore jointly the outer planets – in particular Saturn, its rings and moons. In 2017 almost 20 years after Cassini-Huygens was launched to Saturn the programme finally ended with the Cassini mothership deliberately diving into the Saturn atmosphere.  The history of the programme and some of its highs and lows will be outlined. (General Interest)

“Goonhilly : Developing a global deep space communications network” – Matt Cosby, Goonhilly.
Matt will be presenting the technical challenges of converting a 32metre geostationary telecoms dish into the world’s first commercial deep space antenna. The upgraded antenna will be used to communicate with the current and future institutional missions from ESA and the world space agencies. In addition, the system will be used for the new crop of commercial missions to the Moon and Mars. Matt will also talk about the history of Goonhilly and its future plans, including opening sites around the world to expand the commercial deep space network into a 24/7 operation. (General Interest)

 “ESA ESEO Payloads” – Chris Bridges, M0IEB, and students.
Awaiting synopsis (General Interest)

“Automated reception of FUNcube and Fox Telemetry” – Ian Young, G7III.
Awaiting synopsis (General Interest)


The RSGB Convention, generously sponsored by Martin Lynch & Sons