TheSkywaves


GB7CIP Amateur Radio International Gateway.

Mail forwarding over AX25, NetRom, IP and SMTP  via HF PACTOR over
Amateur Radio Short Wave bands, VHF, UHF, amprnet wireless and internet links.

G4APL MaintainedUK AX25 BBS Listings 
G4APL MaintainedGB7CIP Forwarding (pdf)

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G4APL History

Back in the early 1950s Paul's Parents purchased a Crystal Set kit, that had to be assembled in a bakelite case. Paul remembers the white aerial wire being run around the room. Tucked and pinned into the picture rail (Rail to hang pictures on). Using large black head phones to listen to the broadcast stations detected by the Crystal Radio.

We also listened to Journey Into Space tuning into the BBC Wireless Programme  broadcast each week, received in the 1950's on the Families Radio Gram.

Paul as a young lad in the early 1950's also played in the Purley Rotary Field. Where during the Fates (shows) and family sports events, he remembers on one occasion (maybe two) seeing a tent with men working on the wireless sets. Later he learned that this was the Purley and District Amateur Radio Club. Must be able to dig out an old photograph for this period.

Paul became interested in Short Wave listening after the family moved to Caterham On The Hill Surrey in 1957.
Tuning around the shortwave bands on his parents Radio Gram(Incorporating a record turntable and valve wireless).

Experimenting with tin cans joined together with wet string. Followed by using the old Crystal Sets black head phones by joining them with wire and a battery down the garden (Back yard). Talking to other members of the family.

Parents provided an Electronics Magazine, the content was too technical.

During the next ten years other interests took over. 1958-1964 Singing in the local St. Mary's Church Choir led by Choir Master Edward S Rex, and became one the of the two 'treble' Choir Leaders until his voice broke.
Enjoy singing choral works and various works from Handel's Messiah.
Never sung properly again as the voice 'box' did not pitch as a Bass or Tenor.

Other interests Photography, 'Frog' Balsa wood 'tissue paper and dope' Air Craft kits with the propella powered by an elestic band. Also built a free flight kit power by a fuel engine in the nose.
AirFix Kits, Train sets 'Model' Railways.

Playing Cricket for a local Warlingham Granville Club at weekends and other occasional 'work' matches 6 and 11 a side) up to the mid 1980's as an all rounder (pace bowler, fielder, batsman), as well as an active member of a Badminton club.

In 1967, Paul became more interested in Short Wave Listening (SWL) and started a correspondence course for the City and Guilds Radio Amateur Radio Exam.

In the mean time. An Eagle RX60n valve communications receiver with a Codar PR30x pre-selector, was used to listen to the Shortwave and Amateur Radio bands. Large wire aerial farm appeared at the bottom of the family home garden.

Until one day, he came across the Purley and District Amateur Radio Club (P&DARC) net on 1.980MHz 160 metres (1.8 2.0 MHz) using AM.(Amplitude Modulation) RSGB LogoPaul became a member (and is still a paid up member to this current day) of the Radio Society of Great Britain in April 1968 as BRS30258 (British Receiving Station). He has been a member of the RSGB for over 50 years.

Whilst listening to the P&DARC net when they were discussing arrangements for VHF field day to be held on Kenley Common (Adjacent to Kenley WW2 Aerodrome Battle of Britain fame. Photograph of Kenley Aerodrome Memorial August 2003 flypast) Also photograph 15 August 2004 over flying SKYWAVES. Further notes on Kenley Aerodrome. RAF Kenley Hardest day 18 August 1940.

Paul went over to Kenley Common to introduce himself. Joined the P&DARC in 1968 who were also group up with the South London Mobile and Wimbledon Amateur Clubs. Meetings were held in the Railway Club near Purley Railway Station. The rest is History. In 2018 Paul will have known some members of the club for fifty years.

Back to shortwave listening using an Eagle RX60 Receiver with a Codar R30x pre selector into a 200 foot long wire. Inspecting the logbook for the
31 March 1968 between 09:25 and 10:55 Hours

The following stations were heard on the Purley club net.

G3FTQ, G3GKF, G3TWJ, G3VLJ, G3XJO, G3WRR, G3XIF, G3PDK, G3WZR, G3VYI, G3SJX, G3EPU, G3XJG, G3VKI, G3PAZ

In September 1968 the Eagle RX60n receiver was replaced by a Trio JR500se. Which was an excellent Shortwave receiver. Listening to the Voice of America broadcasts of the early USA Space flights circumnavigating the Earth. "including we have a problem", and the return to Earth and recovery by the aircraft carriers when the Astronauts capsule landed safely in the sea. Recorded on reel to reel tape at the time. Paul produced monthly Short Wave listening reports for the P&DARC news letters.

In the Early 1970's this was replaced with a National HRO500 series 75 communications receiver.
The first fully transistorised receiver from NATIONAL. This has plug in transistors. This is still in regular use today.
Some HRO500 Service maintenance notes by KI6QP

Also in the 1970's, Paul also used one of the two Daiwa Search 9 VHF FM 145MHz when away from home. 
All 11 Channels crystaled up for the 2Metre Band.
It also had a VFO to allow tuning around the 'band' .
These are still hanging around in a box in the Radio Shack gathering dust.

Paul completed the correspondence course in 1970 after two and a half years of studying on his own, and passed the three hour written City and Guilds Radio Amateur Exam (RAE). Thus became known as G8DYZ.
After which he built the 2 Metre Heathkit HW17a valve and transistor transceiver (valve transmitter, solid state receiver) in seven days, to be used on the band.

Becoming very active for the next 13 months. Aerial was a home made dipole, clipped to a broom handle propped up by a ladder. In early 1971 this was upgraded to a 144MHz Jay Beam 14 element parabeam aerial. This excellent Jay beam aerial was used for 37 years before being replaced with a 5 element Jay Beam yagi during 2008.

He took the 12wpm (words per minute) morse test 6 August 1971 at the Wireless Telegraph Section Post Office building near St. Paul's Cathedral in Central London.

In September 1971 the callsign G4APL was allocated. Paul bought a British made KW2000B Transceiver, KW VFO4B and KW Ezee Match Aerial Tuning Unit (ATU) from the manufactures KW Electroncs in Kent England.
The HF aerial was Mosley TA31Jnr and a 200ft long wire. He even built a Nixie Tube digital display for the KW2000b, using TTL 74## series logic (IC's) for it..
January 1973 saw the additon of the KW1000 linear amplifier (still in use today).

Later this was replaced with Yausu FT101ZD, FT901DM, FC901, YO901P, FTV901R(2m,4m,70cm Transverter) SP901P lineup
During late 2000's this has been replace with Kenwood TS2000e TS-480-SAT Transceivers.

During in the early 70's. Located his 'Radio Shack' on the Hill at 'SKYWAVES'. With a suitable aerial farm of VHF UHF and Shortwave aerials for communicating anywhere in the world over the Amateur Radio Frequencies.

It was not until Paul gained his Radio Amateur Radio transmitting licence.  That he learnt about the importance of International Amateur Radio Broadcasting from Caterham On The Hill.

The Amateur Radio station 2NM run by Gerald Marcuse from Coombe Dingle (Now a Nursing Home) Queens Park Road, Caterham On The Hill. Started International broadcasts in 1927. These became popular and shortly after their start the BBC started broadcasts from an experimental station. It was not until 1932 before the BBC Empire service, now the BBC World Service was officially opened, broadcasting from Daventry Central England. 2NM QSL Card can be view at the qslcollection

Image of an Amateur Radio TransceiverPaul is still a keen DXer on the 10, 15 and 20 metres (Short Waves) when time is available.
Has been very active from 1970 to date. With over 63,810 contacts logged from all over the world.

In early 1975 took himself off to Kenya East Africa. The Kenyan Post and Communications authorities allocated the Callsign 5Z4AL  (5Z4PL was already allocated) Paul stayed and operated on the Amateur Radio bands from his friend's 5Z4NT home in Nairobi. Whom he first met on the air. It was nice to have the experience of being the wanted 'DX' Station. That was a holiday of a life time. When not on the air he was on safari and filming with his 8mm Super8 Cine' camera and tri-pod.

In the Autumn 1975 Caterham Radio Group was formed, following the closure of the Purley and District Radio Club in July 1975, and became affiliated to the RSGB in March 1976.

In 1984 Paul became hooked on the Digital Amateur Packet Radio He had been experimenting with 'Personal' Computers since 1980.

Starting with the Sinclair ZX80 computer, then added ZX81 eprom software, extra 16Mbyte (wobble) memory module, external keyboard. Built Input output interface linked to Amateur Radio Equipment coding (pick,poke) in Z80 machine code. Proved that he could send and decode morse code. 

Later acquired a BBC B (1984-1986) computer experimented with Cambridge Packet Radio comminucating locally with others on 2Metres.
This was followed by an IBM XT and PC Clones(Computers). Sending and receiving text and small programs over the Amateur Radio airwaves.

1986 Paul got a PacCom TNC200 (Terminal Node Controller) Kit of parts which he soldered up. With this controller running it's AX25/PMS (Personal Mail System) allowed comminucation and 'node hopping' further afield to friends in the Isle of Man and elsewhere using large beams and Digi-Peater relays on the 2metre band.
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Over the next six years the Packet Radio data network developed and became very organised. Replacing the firmware in his eight PacCom Tiny2's with thenet X1J's and t

TheNet miniconvers  called APLCHT.  All connected via two five port back to back diode matrix with a single link to the server (PC).
Paul concentrated on providing wireless network links for other Radio Amateur's to use..

Liaising with other interested Radio Amateurs to extend radio network coverage, experimented with Network Operating System (NOS) software as it was developed. The original written by Phil Karn KA9Q.

The Amateur Radio Service Provider was born. (The early stages of what is used on the Internet today).
Paul is the amprnet TCPIP co-ordinator for London, Home Counties, Hants, Dorset, South Wilts. After being asked in 2001/2 by the previous co-ordinator for these area's if he would take over this task, as he was moving away from the UK.

In 1994 Paul upgraded his server from MS-DOS to use the Linux operating system Slackware version 1.1.50. (Supplied on 50 x 3 1/2 inch floopy disks). Upgrading the Linux kernel and testing the AX25/IP new code as it was being developed and released.

The system was to be run in 'Unix native mode'. Built up with many standard Unix applications to be integrated into the System to provide the required facilities. That was not available out of a box or software package.

This was a better way of learning, instead of installing a complete package as the 'Radio Amateur' does not know how 'it works', in the event of a failure.  As seems to be the case today with others following the alternative approach than the one Paul took.

This system is privately run and funded by Ann G7BSF and Paul G4APL over 25 years as a service for all Licence Radio Amateur's. Is still running today with the callsign GB7CIP/MB7NCR. (In November 2014 GB7CR was replaced with MB7NCR).

Paul is still supporting and assisting other Radio Amateurs (when a request for his assistamce is made). Answering questions, Giving advice, installing, configuring  their Linux and Raspberry Pi Amateur Packet Radio Networking software. Configuring routing tables (The G4APL Stage by Stage method that 'you do'  the work hands on).
Co-ordinatiing with other main 'Packet/Packet System Operators' and providing links and forwarding of automated messages, Locally and to other parts of the world using VHF, UHF and HF Pactor (HF Packet 300baud Robust 600baud) is now operational if required for testing).

During 2013 after a lot of testing virtual machine software in the previous five or so years. Paul decided to start a new rebuild of the Linux system using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS using a real hard disk for reliability.

This updated system hard drive was switched over from the test machine and went live on the 31 March 2014. This took another two months of fault finding software conflicts with the 8 port serial card. Now Resolved. 1 October 2014 operating system upgraded to Ubuntu 14.4.2 LTS

In 1993 Paul was contacted by the Local Girl Guide District Commissioner to assist the Guides in Radio Communications Thinking Day On The Air. This was soon extended to cover Jamboree on the Air

October 2007 was the 9th Caterham Guides 22nd visit to 'SkyWaves' and the 10th Anniversary (1997-2007) of the Partnership of running the Radio Communications Day for them.

The 25th TDOTA/JOTA guide event held February 2010 would be the last to be held at Ann and Paul's home SKYWAVES.  There were 599 entries (Rainbows, Guides, Leaders) in the Guides visitors log during the past 25 TDOTA/JOTA events held at SkyWaves.

During our work with the Caterham Guides seven of of them went on courses and passed the Radio Amateur exams. Six attaining their Radio Amateur Licences M3 callsigns and one passed the City and Guilds Novice exam and was assigned a 2E1 licence. Who went on to assist in Operating the Amateur Radio Stations during their TDOTA/JOTA's.
Follow the links above to read all the reports.

Professionally, Paul started life working as an General Clerk (1962), Auditor in an Insurance company. Moved into the Computer department to work on the Mainframes and 'networks' in 1969 in the Private sector.

From the mid eighties working for Local Government supporting the computing, data networks and security infrastructures. Retiring in December 2010.

If there is any spare time, Paul likes to do some walking, Lake District, East Coast and Jurassic Coast Dorset paths. Paul also enjoys doing  some Genealogy, in tracing the extended  family tree for Lewis (Traced back to 1795), Elliott(Traced back to 1790), Smith(Traced back to Luke Smith (1813) Hobday(Traced back to 1830),Cavanagh Clarke(Traced back to 1845), Coney(Traced back to 1795), Thurston (Traced back to 1805). Worsfold. Franklin(g)(Trace back to 1800) Does get emotional at times when locating another ancestor.

If you are interested in the history of Parishes of Katterham follow the link.

2018 is a special year for G4APL Paul Image 40 years Anniversary Ann G7BSF

This web site content was manually converted from FrontPage to Expression Web with the excellent tutorial assistance from online expression web help team.

Without this help I would have given up and stayed with FrontPage. The conversion has taken in excess of hundred twenty hours and still counting. This has been a hard learning curve to convert to using CSS DWT structure.  Have also worked out how to use JAlbum for the replacement photographic gallery.

At lot of time was spent trying to get the top of the page to view the same in Mozilla's Firefox, Opera and Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 Web Browsers.  After having used the simple features of FrontPage drag and drop.