27 Apr 2011


20m was wide open last night (Tues) lots of US stations rolling in so had a short PSK session – called several, nothing – called CQ, nothing – couple of South American stations were called, still nothing so gave up and went to bed.

This morning was scanning around on PSK and called a few stations on 15 & 20m and managed a quick qso into asiatic Russia which in fact turned out NOT to be a qso at all as he was working someone else and somehow the wires got crossed (it happens occasionally) – I was getting frustrated so started changing modes – to date I had never tried RTTY, I’d monitored some of the contest’s in the past but not actually used it so I quickly set it up in HRD and tuned to around 14086+/- and heard a station calling from Algeria – there appeared to be a bit of a pile –up so I waited and got a response on my fourth call – at last a breakthrough 7X2ARA

Then promptly turned off the radio !   I’ll come back later

22 Apr 2011

Parcel Delivery

I noticed Mike VE3WDM commenting on his recent "Parcel Delivery", well in contrast I ordered an item earlier in the week and was annoyed that I'd just missed the next day delivery time,they then told me the items would not be dispatched until four days time (yesterday, 21st Apr) which meant I probably would not receive the items until next week earliest (Tues) because of the bank holiday monday - low and behold the goods turn up next day 19 hours after I'd placed the order, and I'd only paid for the standard delivery - they did not use UPS though ! this was UK Royal Mail - also about a month back I ordered the new 2Mb memory strip for my Netbook from a "Well known" supplier  - I was amazed to see it turn up next day - reckon I've been pretty lucky lately with most of the stuff I've ordered,  next "Ham" items will probably take forever !

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21 Apr 2011

Lyrid Meteor Shower

Dont forget to keep an eye on the skies during the very early hours of the 22nd April (Fri) as earth enters the debris of comet “Thatcher”, the annual Lyrid shower should produce up to 30 meteors per hour – enjoy the show and have a good Easter weekend !

19 Apr 2011

Com Ports

We need them, but why oh why have computer manufacturers stopped fitting normal serial com ports on new computers ?  Instead we now have to rely on a software alternative “Virtual com port”.

I have been spending a lot of time running DM780 over the last five days and it has been running flawlessly yesterday I called a station and it locked in transmit – not exactly the ideal situation, I could not see what had happened and HRD would not close down as I had switched the radio off manually – I re-started HRD/DM780 etc…  having re-booted the system and called CQ – a station called me and I promptly replied and it happened again Grrrr !

Now I noticed that HRD had lost it’s connection to the radio and trying to re-connect it failed, I even tried other combinations of RTS / DTE settings to no avail so I thought maybe the driver for FTDI devices had gone bad on me so downloaded an update – which could be rolled back if necessary if it didn't work out, incidentally it designated another com port number as well,  this was installed ok so tried again (this was all taking time instead of filling the log) Grrr !

I called CQ and it bombed again Grrrrr!  (What else had I done recently to upset the system) ?  Oh yes last Thursday I installed the latest HRD update – build 28xx something or other, luckily I kept the previous version so I could drop it back in place and see if that helps NO it does’nt ! Grrrr.

Looking back – I used version 4.1 of HRD on my old laptop for ages with my signalink (using a proper  serial com port connection) with the FT817 then upgraded later to HRD v5.00 xxxxBeta without any problems at all – in fact HRD has been rock solid but this USB device has started playing up – I was suspecting the interface but that’s working ok – I am beginning to wonder if there’s a little bit of Rf getting into the loop !  (Will fit some ferrite chokes on the cabling) next – interested to hear if anyone else has had USB CAT connection trouble.

11 Apr 2011

Using ROS??

First “official” Qso  bagged using Ros, quite how it happened is still a bit of a mystery but a contact was initiated by a UA1ZGI Nick in Kowdor, presumably answering my “Beacon” ? anyway I did exchange the necessary reports and it was in the log, I am still not sure what information is being sent in the background by this software.

This however is worth a read !

Ros Doc's

OK found some documentation now in English by Al Gallow VK4LOW - This might shed some light - link HERE if you need it (I printed off the whole gamut live) - it's a 40 page document.

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ROS: Qso that was’nt

I had been dabbling with ROS yesterday morning during which time I got the call that breakfast was ready so I disappeared, leaving it running – upon my return I could see there had been quite a bit of activity on 20m – I checked PSK reporter and I also scrolled back the ROS activity on-screen – I did a double take as I saw my callsign on screen apparently having had a Qso with EA5DXB Frank in Cartegena – how could this be ? I wasn't there.

Screenshot_001 Apr. 10, 2011 12.25

It looks as though he (Frank)  has mixed up the information somehow with the station that “actually” called him (as you should see in the pic  -  the call G0OKX, Kim in London) he may have brought it up in the qrz lookup too but he has crossed the calls – I also had notification from E-qsl that confirmed the contact which I had to reject. Presumably their contact closed ok – I had a similar thing some years back with an Italian station with the suffix NKX, (easily done.)

8 Apr 2011


A mode which I completely dismissed last year simply because of the bandwidth – and I confess to not even bothering to look at it – there has been much discussion on this mode during the past year as with most new digital modes regarding it’s efficiency under poor conditions – I cannot comment on that having not used it.

Screenshot_002 Apr. 08, 2011 06.48

Yesterday Paul PC4T downloaded the latest version Ros v 6.4.3 as there were some new additional developments with this latest release and so I thought, Hmm why not – so I delved in to take a look, I have to say it is the most odd looking user interface ! I ran through initial set-up, got the radio (FT450) under CAT  control so thats working and immediately started recieving  on 14.103  - I’m not transmitting yet as there are a few points I’m not sure of but do not seem able to find proper user instructions or a manual – Paul, (PC4T)  I need a little help here !  maybe you have a copy or perhaps you might advise or point me in the right direction – It looks interesting.

6 Apr 2011

PY on the ebbing tide

Monitored throughout most of yesterday with several good openings on 10m (Did’nt work any) but it was sporadic, with Liberia EL, Sudan ST, PY, VK   A4 (Oman)  all showing up on CW – Did’nt check any digi at all.

As I was in and out of the shack I did’nt really settle so thought I’d leave it until later – It was not until around 10:15 that I switched on and checked out 20m  (Jt65) and there were still a few stations working, did a quick tune up and spotted PY6HL (Ed)  onscreen so I jumped in and he fired straight back – So we seem to be getting back to some decent propagation once again and it seems to be holding up – I longed for those days when 20m stays open until after dark when Stateside, South Americas, and Carribbean stations seem to peak up just before the “Tide” turns – sometimes it fades off rapidly but if your lucky and dip in there you can work a few before the band closes – I remember during the last but one sunspot cycle 20m was usually crammed with US and South American stations – and I worked KL7, spent most of the evening trying to check in on a DX-net, and waiting my turn (One of my VERY FEW ssb contacts)

As one who prefers operating “Lower” Power I’m always pleased to work anything remotely “DX’

4 Apr 2011

Quick and Dirty


I was “Fiddling” earlier today and should have realised I did not have the required hardware to do a proper job in making up a dipole centre – after having looked in my “Antenna Box”, so I came up with this as a means of “Getting it Running” – it’s cheap, quick and dirty and something I would’nt normally do, certainly not for any permanent antennas. It’s a simple terminal block strapped to the top section of a Fibreglass fishing pole, or (Crappy Pole as it’s known in some quarters) with a re-usable quick release tie – not brilliant but it worked for test purposes anyway.

The pole is actually a “Sota” pole but my big beef is that they are a bit flimsy at the top (Mine actually snapped off ) so have removed the remaining section – also the problem is any dipole antennas supported should be made as “Light as possible” and preferably using RG174 or similar as even RG58U is way too heavy to support – also the feeder cable is best taped to the mast using electricians tape at the joins, thus waterproofing as well. Now thinking of Spiderbeams.