Our 120+ members are a very diverse group and their interests cover many aspects of the radio hobby. This is reflected in the variety of activities the club offers.
We hold two meetings per month at our club headquarters in Eltham, SE London. During the lockdown we hold meetings over Zoom.
Members at one of the regular club meetings
Meetings usually consist of presentations from a variety of speakers. We recently welcomed the journalist Laurie Margolis, G3UML who told us how the beginning of the Falkland War made it to the news in the UK via amateur radio. Earlier in 2020, Rainer, DF2NU from Germany explained the challenges setting up a radio station on an Antarctic research station.
Paul Hyde, G4CSD talks about practical radio astronomy
We are always happy to welcome guests to those meetings. If you are planning to attend, or join a Zoom meeting, just drop us a note via the contact form so that we can make sure you find us and have a contact number to call in case you struggle.
We also hold an annual construction contest during which members present the projects they have been working on.
In the time between meetings we keep in touch with regular member chats on the radio. We have about ten of these "club nets" per month; they are on a variety of frequencies so club members whether local or further away can tune in. For more instant communication, we maintain a members-only email distribution list and a WhatsApp group.
We have our own club station ("club shack") for the use of licenced members. During normal operations we use the callsign G3RCV, and M8C during contests.
The station is equipped with modern radios and we have antennas covering the major amateur radio bands.
Frank, G0FDP operating from the Cray Valley RS's club station G3RCV
- Icom 7400 radio for the HF, 6m and 2m bands
- Transverter for the 4m band
- Acom 1000 160 - 4m linear amplifier
- Lenovo Laptop for CAT control and logging
- Internet access for DX cluster
Antennas - 12m Tennamast supporting:
- 3-element Yagi antenna for 10/15/20m
- 13-element Yagi for 2m
- 4-element dual-band Yagi for 6m and 4m
- Wire dipoles for: 17, 40, 80 and 160m
We regularly organise events on the radio waves. These range from big scale like the station for the London 2012 Olympic Games to smaller scale like an annual exhibition of equipment produced by KW Electronics.
Cliff, G4HSU holding the relay torch at the station 2O12L for the 2012 Olympic Games in London
We also organise radio activities from other places than the club headquarters. During these we often showcase amateur radio to the public. We set up stations for example at Meopham Windmill (GB6MW) and Crossness Pumping Station (GB2CM).
Showcasing amateur radio to the public with a special event station at Meopham Windmill
Some members take radio even further afar; these are more expedition-style and include operating from places like the island of St. Kilda in the Atlantic or Les Minquiers off St. Hellier, Jersey.
Dave, G4BUO operating from Conachair, the highest point on St. Kilda
On a regular basis, members also visit exhibitions in the UK and abroad.
Members at the Ham Radio exhibition in Friedrichshafen, Germany
The more competitive members frequently take place in radio contests. This ranges from UK club team contests to international 48-hour contests. We are very proud that Cray Valley RS came 2nd in the county-wide 2020 UKAC contest series on both 144MHz and 432MHz.
On a regular basis, the club takes part in the co-called field day events where we set up a station independent from the existing building structures and mains power supply.
Cray Valley RS station during a field day event
Inside the club we organise an annual direction finding competition for our members.
But we are not purely focussed on radio. During our summer BBQ and Christmas events members and their families meet in a casual atmosphere.
Cray Valley RS summer BBQ