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.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Contest QRM - Inconsiderate or ignorant.

It is understood that the band plans are gentleman's agreements. In view if the QRM caused by many stations in the CIS DX QPSK63 Contest today 14th September 2013 then many operators are NOT gentlemen.

Having repaired my PC after being corrupted by a Windoze 8 update I finally got it working again and was looking forward to working JT65 in the 14.076 -14.078 vicinity but found this 
impossible due to the volume of contesters using this part of the spectrum. The screenshot below exemplifies the situation.

I do take part in contests myself, but respect the use of spectrum by other users.

These guys simply disgust me.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Sending QSL cards to the RSGB Bureau

Over the last few days I have had very lengthy correspondence with the RSGB QSL bureau following the return of several cards with a scribbled note on the back of a standard letter. an item they term a leaflet.Their initial reply generated many more questions.
The gist was that sending cards to the bureau, although I have always sorted into country order and prefix order within that country, that I should have sorted the country blocks by lowest prefix, i.e. countries with a "A..." prefix would supercede "B..." regardless of country name (numerics precede alpha) . My initial reply when I sought clarification of this (never received this despite a second request to confirm my premise) was that I should follow the sequence documented in the RSGB yearbook, a publication I don't own. This is not mentioned in the instructions on the RSGB website nor on the 'leaflet' so how are we to know? It would seem a 'no-brainer' to publish this list on the website but nobody has done so. If we could read minds then we wouldn't need expensive rigs. Apparently Affiliated societies are sent a free copy of the yearbook, so I should use that. I am not a member of a Society.
When I queried the logic of this and keeping the sort information and it's use 'secret' I suggested that it should be available on the Website which I had been advised had "much more information".
The problem with the website was that it made no reference to any such list or document. In addition the 'note' referred to the need to split Russia cards into prefix blocks, all sequential however, and as such my prefix sort accomplishes it. No reference on the leaflet or on the website. Again asked to follow a rule where the information required is not on general release.
There were many other points raised such as checking that (for example)  African countries have a bureau using an IARU list before sending and / or checking to ascertain any via xxxxx. information.Again not mentioned on the website although on the 'leaflet'.

In order to help myself and all parties concerned I developed a list of issues to be addressed reproduced below;

The most glaring thing that has come out of this exchange is however the total lack of effective 'official' communication to us members as to how they want cards sent , summarised below:

  1. Website makes no reference to any list of any required sort order
  2. Website does not have a link to above list
  3. Inherent assumption that all ‘senders’ will know about and have access to this list even though it is not on general release or referred to anywhere.
  4. Website makes no reference to Russia callsign blocks.
  5. Website does not say to keep USA cards in a separate block, but does say not to use separators. Similary for 'new' 5 Russia blocks.
  6. Website does not ask that reference to the IARU list of bureaux should be made
  7. Website does not refer you to or have any link to the ‘leaflet’.
  8. Leaflet’s instructions different to the website, no mention of call zone sorting of USA cards
  9. Neither website or leaflet mentions the new sort rules for Russia cards
  10. You’ll never get rid of human error but can make things easier by keeping things simple

    Actions to address the differing / misleading or incomplete instructions for sending QSLs should be taken in order to bring the written and the electronic instructions into line, and provide links the relevant information, i.e. sort list and IARU list. However you state that you do send cards to some bureaux not on the list so it would be more definitive if the RSGB bureau made it clear which bureaux they deal with and provided this information on the website. This would also be more up to date as you would not be relying on other organisation’s timescales when changes occur. When done this should feature prominently in Rad Com and not be a note in QSL Matters.
The final reply I received was very dismissive and basically said
  • Get access to a yearbook
  • We'll eventually get around to putting information on the website.
  • There is only so much information they can put on an A4 leaflet. (Note: they could use the other side as well, or is that reseved for scribbled notes?)

I respect the work those people do on our behalf, but bleating on about cards not being recived in their 'ideal' order is not now not one of them until such time that they PUBLISH the information needed to accomplish this and are consistent in what is both written and electronically distributed. As a former Area Representative of the RSGB I am quite honestly disgusted at their apathy about improving their own communications, and in view of the use of modern technologies to produce cards a system which can easily inerface will reduce sort time as well as human induced errors when dealing with large pre-sorted despatches.

I will probably now send cards in much smaller batches which are easier for me to manually sort as the algorythm to do this automatically when the cards are printed would be far too complicated.

Links referred to below:
RSGB QSL Instructions
RSGB Leaflet
IARU Bureau list