Thursday, 27 August 2015

QSL card printing - the pitfalls of printing

Cards for special calls became an issue

I recently got around to reprinting my special call QSLs after it seems my original batch to the bureau went astray. Thought I would use a different method this time as only 38 seemed to be missing (1 pack of G stations). I therefore reran the computer extract via Mail Merge (see my site under HRD Utilities) and printed each document as pdf's.

I then converted these to .jpgs using an online conversion tool and I was ready to get them printed. Looked around for the best option for achieving this and Max Spielmanns (Timpsons) was the outlet of choice. The order was duly made online with the images uploaded and the selection of the radio button on the order form entitled 'actual size' was made, thus deselecting the 'to fit' button. The paper stock was 6" x 4", image size as 5.5" x 3.5". I was happy to guillotine the white bits off myself.

About 3 or 4 days later I received a package through the post containing the 38 photographs, all printed at full size, hence too big for the ever picky RSGB Bureau. I was already in their bad books as I had sent cards to them with the Russia cards not sorted in the way described in the Yearbook which I do not have access to and have no intention of purchasing. I suggested this information be published on the RSGB website but I got the impression that the guy I communicated with just couldn't be bothered. Information still not there.

ANYWAY... I contacted Max Spielmann (Timpsons) and explained my situation and received a reply saying that the actual size should have printed them actual size but as their paper is 4"x6" this is the smallest they do. Actual size would leave white bits around the edge...

My response was  that that is what I expected and that they had not followed my instructions and asking for a further response as to getting a reprint. Nothing heard for 10 days so 2 days ago I again emailed them asking for a response.

I subsequently received a message from PAYPAL advising that my money had been refunded. NOT A WORD from Timpsons.


Thursday, 6 August 2015


Success at last

After several attempts to get a decent signal from the ISS I noticed on twitter that the orbit tonight within radio sight of the UK was imminent. Went to the shack, fired up the PC and switched the Icom IC706Mk2G to 145.825 MHz then got Multipsk running in APRS mode.
Didn't make much of the decodes th the main window, however the Map feature shewed the detail as they came in.
Finally sorted out my system, and now to get to know what the hell APRS is about...
Details of the contacts below.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Initiative - should we tell people to use it?

Do people need to be told to use initiative?

Over the last few days I have come across several instances of individuals asking questions on forums where the answer is easily discernible by simply looking.

Example 1: A guy asks where a window has gone on an application. 
It had not gone but was embedded in the main application several versions ago. Accessed by the 'View' menu or [F6]. Information provided in the help file. 

Example 2: A guy contacts me on 'Amazon Answers' asking what to do when his SD Card on his new Raspberry Pi seems defective. 
I respond telling him to check the card or try another with newly downloaded software.
He responds expecting me to replace the defective card (he must think he contacted Amazon)
I respond telling him I am not 'Amazon' and he should contact them or the supplier.
He responds DEMANDING that I should replace his card. He obviously does not know how to contact the right people even though that information is on the order detail.

Example 3: users of Joe Taylor's excellent WSJT-X software or similar not having a clue as to the correct (or adequate) sequence of messages. The guy in question was ONLY using the 'CQ line' of messages and 'RRR'ing each of my messages. Took a long time to get my QSO completed.
Simply seeing what others do would indicate what sequence to follow if the following of written instructions is too difficult.

I worry sometimes that the technological aspect of the hobby is now of low importance and the use of 'Black' boxes alongside 'easier' licensing in some regions is effectively dumbing down the hobby. As an aside a year or so ago on 2m I heard an old timer trying to explain to a new licensee what a dipole was!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

I am Radio 3

Recently on the bands I have had or heard several QSOs with stations giving a report of 'Radio 3.4 or 5'. I personally received a Radio 3 so must assume that my signal was 'classical' as this is the name of a classical music broadcast station in the UK.

I thought that the licensing exams covered reporting protocols so no idea how this corruption of Readability report (if this is what it is) has appeared. What happened to learning from others?

I have a link on my website which may throw some light on this

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year Challenge

Every year I challenge myself to work a station on every band I have available both on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Since I obtained a TS990 in April this now includes the WARC bands and 6m. I did however get help from my Titan DX which I used 40 through 10m, with a halo for 6m, 5 el yagi for 2m, and a 65' end fed for 80m. 70cm this year not available due to antenna being down.
Bands to work are therefore 2,6,10,12,15,17,20,30,40 and 80m.

Not sure about validity of SQ2WHH who came back to my CQ call then worked a German station on that frequency after we exchanged reports but before he acknowledged receipt of my report to him. He did not come back with any '73' to tie the QSO up. OZ1CCM worked as a backup.

Results below. Thanks to all stations.

Happy New Year to all

Friday, 19 December 2014

Headline just Wrong!

They actually emailed a CAD design for making one using their 3D printer.
Stupid and simply incorrect headlines either tell me that the editors who allow this to be published just don't care about accuracy, are trying to generate a 'wow' factor, or are just plain incompetent.

Article HERE

Monday, 8 December 2014

WAS (data) completed

WAS (data) completed 7th December 2014

After waiting for Louisiana to appear on my screen in JT65 mode for several weeks now I was 'chuffed to meatballs' to receive a callback from Parker, W5ADD following my targetted CQ call.
LotW confirmation arrived shortly after and I was able to apply for the award later that day.

Now have the certificate:

Friday, 28 November 2014

I Need LA

Geography of the USA

I completed WAS several months ago in theory, however when I checked the LotW credits I found that the contact  for Louisiana, although 'matched' was not recognised.
The details are :
My attempts to contact that station by email have elicited no response.

I have been calling CQ for LA over the last few days and have had responses from Arizona, Idaho, Missouri and Kansas.

I note from PSK Reporter that I am being heard at decent strength there but i don't get a call back. My attempts to call those stations have not been successful either.

Still hoping though.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Ever wondered whar I&Q are with relation to SDR? Article

Ever wondered what I&Q are with relation to SDR?

This is an absolutely brilliant explanation of the I&Q components of a signal both as TX and RX. If you wonder how these are generated or demodulated then this article and the follow-up are the ones to read.


Monday, 7 July 2014


WAS now complete.
After several attempts to contact stations in Hawaii i finally completed WAS this morning when William, KH6KV came back to my CQ call. I had heard him on before but had been unable to make contact.
All I need to do now is get 7 states confirmed and I am done..
Thanks to all who have contributed.