Friday, 26 July 2013

What is the origin of '73'?

A quick one here. Came across this site which I thought was very interesting.


Er.... 73

Thursday, 25 July 2013

We sell Technology (but don't use it well)

I am in the process of replacing a Snowdonia Radio Company HF-360 vertical which I believe is not operating properly. It all started when I bought a Rig Expert AA-30 Antenna analyser a week or so ago along with a LDG - IT-100 autotuner to use with the IC706Mk2G for JT-9 and JT-65 working. I had rigged my various antennae through a series of switches so I was able to select any antenna and switch it to either the TS570D which has an autotuner built in or the ICOM which hasn't.
The first aerial I checked was the G3TPW Cobwebb and the lowest SWR on all but the 20m band was well within my operating ranges, lowest SWR on 20m was at 13.95 MHz.
Second was the SRC X65 end fed wire. This was OK, but not good however a tuner could cope easily.
Lastly the SRC HF-360. Absolute rubbish until around 25 MHz when the SWR started dropping, Best was around 4:1 at 28 MHz. I attempted to contact SRC for advice and found they had ceased trading due to lack of business. Another company though seem to market the antenna (or a clone) this being Sigma Eurocomm.

Decided to bite the bullet and researched the 10 - 80m verticals on the market. Limited space for radials here so had to eliminate those requiring same.
Decided on a GAP Titan-DX which I ordered from a major dealer after seeing it on their website and reading several independent reviews. I accordingly ordered this online, and as I had to mount it away from the house bought a 10 foot aluminium pole from another major supplier.

Now the fun started.

The order for the mast was confirmed by email within the hour, but nothing heard about the antenna, although the orders page of my account showed it was "in process". I therefore contacted the supplier the following day who advised that it was not in stock and there was a 4 to 6 week wait. An email had allegedly been sent from their system but as has happened before with a purchase from them a year or so ago this never arrived. The chap I spoke to then said he would get the system to resend this and also send a copy from his own account. Latter arrived, former didn't. Another point to note which I raised was that the 2nd Funcube Dongle Pro Plus which I ordered in May and received 2 days later was still shown on my order summary as 'in process'. I received a follow up email a few hours later from their backorder department saying that the delay was only 3 weeks.

Now the mast. Not the supplier's fault here but the courier. I received no confirmation of despatch via e-mail however their order system at least updated the order status and provided me with a tracking number. I used this and found that my mast was 'in transit' (it actually was in a transit) but no delivery time. I needed to go out for an hour or so and left a note on my door to place the mast in a safe location. I arrived back home to find the note still on the door and no card through the letterbox so assumed the delivery had not been attempted. I therefore waited in. When it didn't arrive later that day I checked the tracking information and found that a delivery had been attempted (just before I got home - typical!). The company, UK Mail policy stated that they would attempt delivery the following day (now today) and this took place without issue. The driver advised that a card should have been left and blamed a temporary driver.

The questions raised here are:
  • Why does a 'modern' company not have order updates linked into a customer's account page?
  • Why is 'no stock level' not advised in the ordering process? - probably linked reasons.
  • Why with 100% failure rate in sending me an automated  email that this has not yet been resolved - I had reported this some time ago when I ordered my first Funcube.
  • Why do delivery operatives rarely use common sense when the occupier is away from the delivery address. A simple card would suffice saying "we called but were unable to deliver your item. A further attempt will be made tomorrow".
Bottom line for the 1st dealer is that I will go elsewhere should a product be available at the same price. 

Just hope these are the only problems I will have in replacing the vertical. I doubt it though as I understand from reports that the instructions to assemble the Titan-DX are very poor.

73 for now