A Ham For 63 Years

A Ham for 63 years – by Carol Fraley Laferty – K4SAF

My ham shack has been upgraded to my dream She-Shack, and I am having more fun in ham radio than I have had since a teenager.  I have been operating the digital modes for two years almost, and during the Corona Virus Pandemic I set some amateur radio goals.  I have accomplished more during this time than I ever dreamed possible.  I have finished DXCC, and received Worked All States on 160, 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, and 15, Mixed, Digital and CW.  I need only AK and WY on 10 meters. Thanks to all in the ham community all around the world for helping me achieve this.  I was never interested in completing these awards until now.

The hardest award for me to get has been the YLRL WAS YL (Worked All States).  I need only MT and RI now to complete it.  Many more of the licensed YLs need to get on the air more often.

I was 15 when I got my license in 1957 and will be celebrating my 64th year as a ham on 9/28/2021.  My brother, Fred Fraley, W4CHK > AA4FF > W4DF, who is now a Silent Key, was instrumental in getting me on the air. He taught me the code and shared his shack willingly with his younger sister.  I have kept the same call all my years on the air. My late father also got his license at the same time I did and was K4SAB.

I met my husband Don Laferty, K4GFY via radio in 1957. He is also now a Silent Key.  We talked for three years on cw and phone before we actually met in person.  We had been married for 53 years when he passed in 2015. Our son Don Laferty, Jr., who lives in Wisconsin, now has his Dad’s call, K4GFY.

I am a retired high school Business and Computer teacher. I also taught part-time in the CIS Dept at Morehead State University.  I am active in the Young Ladies Radio League (YLRL) and was the   U.S./Canada Receiving Treasurer for 11 years.  I enjoy seeing my YLRL and ham friends at Dayton Hamvention and at our national YLRL convention, which is held every 3 years.

I am also a member of QCWA, SKCC, and FISTS, and our local radio club, Morehead Amateur Radio Society, in Morehead, KY.  I received my Extra class in 2000, just before the 20 wpm code requirement was dropped. Hope to see you on the bands or possibly on Facebook.

QCWA  Quarter Century Wireless Association
SKCC Straight Key Century Club
FISTS  The International Morse Preservation Society

The Stirling and District ARS & GMDX Group Awarded The Al Slater G3FXB Memorial Award

The GMDX GROUP and the STIRLING AND DISTRICT ARS are delighted to be awarded The Al Slater G3FXB Memorial award.

This award originated and administered by FOC (First Class CW Operators Club) is in memory of AL Slater G3FXB one of the UK’s top DXers and Contesters.

Inscribed on the plaque are the words DXing, Contesting, Operating Standards, Friendship and Encouraging others.

GMDX Group and the Stirling Club have been awarded these plaques particularly for encouraging others with our participation in the CW Boot Camps.

This is a very prestigious award and we are delighted and honoured to receive it.

73 Rob GM3YTS

Chairman

GMDX Group

Slow Down To Bust A Contest Pileup

Slow down to bust a contest pileup – Observations By DAN KB6NU

In the Minnesota QSO Party last weekend, there was a big pileup trying to work a station in some remote county. The operator was working about 23 – 25 wpm, so I replied at that speed. I even sped up a little thinking that I might be able to slip my call in before the others.

Well, after several unsuccessful calls, and hearing the MN station reply to several slower stations, I decided to slow down myself. Bingo! I got a reply to my first call at the slower speed. My guess is that the slower speed made my call easier to copy and to stand out from the others. I don’t know if this tactic would work in a bigger contest, but I’m going to use this tactic again in a future QSO party.

Copy CW Signals More Easily With Two Tones

By –

In CQ – January 2018 – Pete, N8PR (SK) wrote that you should set up your receiver to produce two tones 65 to 80 Hz apart to make copying weak CW signals more easily. The theory behind this is that the dissonance between the two tones makes copying a CW signal more copyable than just a single tone. I like this  idea. I played around a little bit last night with this technique, and it did indeed seem to work better than using just a single tone.

Read original POST – HERE .

Snips – News For Scotland – 16th February

The news headlines:

  • Storm Ciara prevents 40m GB2RS news reading
  • Get involved in British Science Week
  • Second mock Full licence exam available

GB2RS Script – HERE .

RALLY

Today Lomond Radio Club are attending the Lomond Rally. On Thursday there’s a club night. More from Barrie, GM4HEL, by email to gm0kzx@googlemail.com.

CLUB NEWS

Stirling and District Amateur Radio Society club has a meeting from 10am to 2pm this Sunday and next Sunday including CW lessons. Thursday is the AGM. For details, email Jess, MM2RCR at secretary@gm6nx.com.

On Monday Edinburgh and District Amateur Radio Club has a club net operating evening. Contact Norman, GM1CNH, on 0774 094 6192.

On Tuesday Kilmarnock and Loudoun Amateur Radio has a club activity and training night. Contact Len, GM0ONX, via email to klarcinfo@gmail.com.

On Tuesday Livingston and District Amateur Radio Society has a training evening. Details from Cathie, 2M0DIB, on 01506 433 846.

On Tuesday Moray Firth Amateur Radio Society has a night in the shack, setting up the radio cabin for another year. Contact Paul, GM8HWZ, on 0796 717 1189.

On Wednesday the West of Scotland Amateur Radio Society has a Solder Group meeting, and on Friday there will be a talk by Craig – MM6ZKO on GUI and 13cms. For further information contact Jack, GM4COX, at wosars.club.

On Thursday Aberdeen Amateur Radio Society has a club meeting. Contact Fred, GM3ALZ, on 01975 651 365.

On Thursday Wigtownshire Amateur Radio Club is on the air. More from Clive, GM4FZH, by email to info@GM4RIV.org.

On Friday Ayr Amateur Radio Group has a club night. Please check club website for updates, or contact Derek, MM0OVD, on 0744 793 1941.

On Friday Mid-Lanarkshire Amateur Radio Society is having a club night, tuition and radio operations. Details at mlars.co.uk.

On Saturday Inverness and District Amateur Radio Society is having a club night with a CW class at 6.45pm, and the main meeting with a speaker from 7.15pm. Contact John, GM0OTI, via email to InvernessRadioSociety@gmail.com.

Snips – News For Scotland – 9th February

The news headlines:

  • Build a radio at Bletchley Park
  • Voting for RSGB AGM opens in around 4 weeks
  • GB3GV ATV repeater back to full power

GB2RS Script – HERE .

CLUB NEWS

Next Sunday the 16th, Lomond Radio Club are running a Bring & Buy event at the John Connolly Centre, 30 Main Street, Renton G82 4LY. Entry is free and doors open at 10am. In addition to the Bring & Buy, there will be traders and refreshments available, tea, coffee and hot food and more. Tables are still available and only cost £5. Please contact Bill, by email mm0elf@blueyonder.co.uk if you need any more details or are wanting tables.

Stirling & District Amateur Radio Society club has a meeting from 10am to 2pm today and next Sunday. Thursday sees a club night. For details, email secretary@gm6nx.com

On Monday Edinburgh & District Amateur Radio Club has a Club net operating evening. Contact Norman, GM1CNH, on 0774 094 6192.

On Tuesday Glenrothes & District Radio Club has a talk SD Contest Logger by Ken Horne, GM3YBQ. Details from Tam, on 0775 352 6498.

On Tuesday Kilmarnock & Loudoun Amateur Radio Club is having a club night. Contact Len Paget, GM0ONX, via email to klarcinfo@gmail.com.

On Tuesday Livingston and District Amateur Radio Society is having a talk on DMR Operating and Principles. Details from Cathie, 2M0DIB, on 01506 433 846.

On Wednesday Inverness & District Amateur Radio Society is having a CW class at 6.45pm and main meeting from 7.15pm. Contact John, GM0OTI, via email to InvernessRadioSociety@gmail.com.

On Wednesday Lothians Radio Society is having a talk on Robot Wars and Rampaging Chariots with Dr Roger Hill. More from Andy Sinclair, MM0FMF, by email to secretary@lothiansradiosociety.com

On Wednesday West of Scotland Amateur Radio Society has a Solder Group meeting and Friday sees a hands-on club night. More information at wosars.club

On Thursday Aberdeen Amateur Radio Society has a club meeting. Contact Fred Gordon, GM3ALZ, on 01975 651 365.

On Thursday Lomond Radio Club is having a club night.

On Thursday Wigtownshire Amateur Radio Club is having a practical work night. More information from Clive, GM4FZH, by email to info@GM4RIV.org.

On Friday Cockenzie & Port Seton Amateur Radio Club radio check night with John, MM0JXI. More information from Bob, GM4UYZ, on 01875 811 723.

On Friday Mid Lanarkshire Amateur Radio Society is having a club night with tuition and radio operations. Details at https://mlars.co.uk/

Alasdair Mackintosh Fraser – GM3AXX – Obituary

 Alasdair was born in Darlington, England, in 1923 but it wasn’t long before the one who in years to come would wear a tartan tie at every opportunity and be a strong supporter of the SNP, moved north to his beloved Scotland. In fact, it was just 4 months, a move to Inverness with his family. They moved to Glasgow before Alasdair started primary school. Alasdair was the eldest in a family of four with Gillian, Helen and Farquhar born between 1925 and 1929. In the West End of Glasgow Alasdair attended Willowbank Primary and then Woodside Secondary. It was at Woodside where Alasdair’s love of radio started. His report card in fourth year spoke of his “considerable enthusiasm” for the topic and his “dexterity” in the construction of radio apparatus.

This love and these skills continued in jobs in a radio shop and then with Clydesdale Electrical, the radio and TV engineers, in 1941-43. Alasdair joined the navy in 1943 as a radio repair technician. He advanced to Petty Officer and radio mechanic in his three years’ service. His spell of duty took him to Gibraltar, Malta, Ceylon, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. He visited Hiroshima only a couple of months after the bomb dropped there and took pictures to show the devastation that he saw. Alasdair applied his great intelligence in various ways in the navy including knowing the quickest way to the side of the boat. I’ll let you decide whether that was for safety or just in case of sea-sickness. After the war Alasdair worked for Philips as a radio and TV engineer. It was during this time that he met Margaret. In 1949 she was in a pram shop and he came in to the shop to do what Alasdair loved doing: to fix something. Instead he fixed his eyes (sorry!) on Margaret! They were married on 2nd February 1951 and stayed with Margaret’s Mum in Lambhill. Kim was born in 1955 and then Kennedy and Lindsay. They moved to Rigghead in Stewarton in 1968. Family holidays were often spent at a cottage in Glen Urquhart where time was always given over to catching up with friends and family, and to fixing things, of course, such as the 200 yard pipe he’d set up to bring water from a well to the cottage.

Alasdair loved exercise. He was a participator, not a spectator, fanatical about fitness: running, cycling, ice-skating, swimming, table tennis and more. He encouraged the family to join in, especially cycling and swimming whether the water was warm or cold! He won trophies at Stewarton table tennis club. Come the Spring, Alasdair would have the purple meths out to put on his feet to harden them up for hill walking so he could enjoy the outdoors to the full. This love extended to canoeing too. The first canoe he bought but the second he made at Stewarton night school. It still survives today – a credit to his workmanship! He even ran a 10k in his late 60s! Alasdair loved to be outside and active. Some families hand down jewellery as family heir looms, for the Frasers it was camping primus stoves.

From 1964 Alasdair’s work concentrated on scientific instruments when he started work with Pye Unicam, still part of Phillips. His job was to service and install analytical x-ray machines for research in university geology department and in large manufacturing plants, such as Ravenscraig, Blue Circle cement in Dunbar and Dounreay. As you can imagine, this job involved a lot of travel. Alasdair took his hobbies with him. Packed away in his guitar case, along with his guitar, were his swimming trunks, his ice-skates and his table tennis bat! Always prepared for exercise was Alasdair! These were precious items to him and he put a yellow radioactive sticker on his guitar case to ward off potential thieves. This proved very successful the time his car was stolen. When the police found the car and saw the sticker they put a cordon round the car. The guitar case and its precious content remained intact!

Another of Alasdair’s hobbies was motorbikes. He bought his first in 1952. In fact, he could drive a motorbike before he could drive a car. This was not for the sake of a solitary life. He had a side car and often took passengers pillion. He must’ve been a good driver as his grand-daughter, Helen, fell asleep riding pillion and his niece, Margaret, spoke of trips on the bike as “really cool”.

Alasdair’s favourite hobby was radio. The family showed me a framed certificate of his Honorary Life Membership of the Mid Lanark Amateur Radio Society, awarded to him for his “outstanding contribution to and furtherance of amateur radio”. He introduced 100s, if not 1000s, to this hobby. He taught at night school to help people pass their radio amateur exams and became well-known in radio amateur circles in Scotland. He was one of the earliest radio amateurs and indeed invented a particular aerial which is named after his call-sign GM3 AXX. Often at night Alasdair would be up trying to communicate internationally by radio. He would help Scouts and Guides with their communications badge work and at one point successfully contacted the space shuttle. It was a very sociable hobby too: the Friday social night at the radio club was incredibly important to him.

Alasdair was always a willing volunteer at John Knox church. He used his musical talents to help with the concert party, entertainment for old folks’ homes. He also read the Bible in church services but Alasdair preferred a behind the scenes role. Rather than be an office bearer in the church this humble man would be up a ladder fixing something! He set up and maintained the first sound system in John Knox, the first outside lights and the PA system in the hall at Christmas in case the high attendance meant people had to overflow into the hall. Even if the hall was not used I imagine Alasdair didn’t need much excuse to set it up.

Alasdair was a people person. He was always the first to put the kettle on when people visited. He loved a good story and was a great teller of jokes. He loved TV comedies: “Last of the Summer Wine” being his favourite. At his annual x-ray to check his health because of his frequent use of radio, he hid a tinfoil heart under his shirt to cheer up the technicians, such was his sense of fun.

Alasdair was an enabler, making things happen for other people. He received a certificate of appreciation for his work in delivering audio-books for the RNIB (Royal National Institute for Blind People). It is fitting of the man that he wanted Glasgow University Department of Anatomy to use his body for medical research, to help other people. Alasdair always wanted to fix things. Indeed, he never threw anything out if Araldite would fix it. Even as his mind failed and he was in the care home at Hallhouse he wanted to help. He was devoted to Margaret, especially in her ill health, never losing the desire to be doing things for her. This extended to the family. He asked Kim how he could help her when her husband Alasdair was in Africa on a recent charity bike trip.

Let me read some words his son, Kennedy, wrote in preparation for today: “We gather today to say farewell, to say goodbye to Alasdair, but in reality we have been saying goodbye to him for several years.  His dementia and mobility problems had gradually taken him from us bit by bit.  Occasionally there would be flashes of his old humour and charm but the clever, funny, active, resourceful man that he was, had been slipping into the shadows for some time and now that process is complete.  The tragedy of dementia is that it steals a person away in small steps and we are left holding on to our memories.  We are told that there will be no tears in heaven – they will all be wiped away.  Well, perhaps some tears will need to be wiped away – but they will be tears of laughter as Alasdair tells his latest joke or story.”

When I asked the family to sum Alasdair up, they said he was a people person, who lived life to the full, a loyal, devoted man who thought the world of his family, a wonderful Grandpa who will be sadly missed.

Written by Rev Gavin Niven

John Knox Church, Stewarton

June 2011

Checkout Alasdair’s WoSARS GALLERY Pictures – HERE .