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Posted by on in DXpeditions

Listen out for 7Q7EI who will be transmitting from Malawi from March 24 to April 2 2018. This should be a nice contact to get in your log

You can check their website out http://7q7ei.com/

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Posted by on in DXpeditions

There is a planned dxpedition to Ducie Island which is located in the Indian Ocean. The island is uninhabited so the only time you will ever get to work this callsign is when lots of money is raised to allow these guys to go there and activate it.

They will be there between 20th of October and 3 November 2018, so quite a long time to wait. No excuses not to have all your antennas up and working properly.

More information can be found at their website vp6d.com/

 

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Posted by on in DXpeditions

Unfortunately, due to severe weather, the 3Y0Z Dxpedition to Bouvet island appears to have been aborted because of bad weather in the South Atlantic. What a great shame, I for one was so looking forward to trying to get them on as many bands as possible, it would have been a really exciting time for amateur radio. However, looks like it's going to be another few years before somebody attempts to do it again. Apparently, it can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to put one of these events together and obviously, the money has to come from somewhere.

I just feel sorry for all the people who were involved. All that hard work and money has come to absolutely nothing and it's all down to mother nature, she certainly is completely unforgiving.

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Posted by on in Computing

Many people often ask why I have so many monitors on the one computer. Well, it's quite simple, it enables me to maximise and minimise program windows when I want to. However, it may surprise you that only two of the monitors in the photo above are attached to my PC. One of the other monitors is actually a TV and the other one is attached to my amateur radio.

So let's run through what each one does.

  1. This is a Samsung TV, nothing more exciting than that I'm afraid. I have this TV here for two purposes. If I want to use ham radio but watch a football match or the Olympics at the same time then I can have it running without any sound but still keep an eye on the action Secondly, it is also connected to a camera in a bird box which is located at the front of my property. So if I'm not watching television I can keep an eye on the nesting birds
  2. This monitor is plugged into the back of my ICOM 7800 HF radio. All it really does is give you a larger display window to look at. So instead of having to look down at the radio, I got this monitor which is very easy to keep an eye on.
  3. This is a 24 inch monitor plugged into my PC. I normally have HRD open on this monitor which includes the logging window.
  4. This monitor is also plugged into the PC and helps me to extend my display. I have the HRD radio window open on this page. Let's say I need to make a frequency change, or I want to go split frequency, I can simply click the required buttons on the screen using my Kensington trackball mouse rather than having to touch the radio. Being able to operate my radio using my trackball mouse makes my life so much easier and this is why HRD is such a fabulous piece of software that any disabled radio ham should have installed on his PC.

In order to plug two monitors into your computer, you will require two different ports to do so. My computer has got a VGA and a DVI port. One thing to bear in mind is that your monitor may only have a VGA socket on the back. Obviously, if you've got a VGA cable then you can't plug it into a DVI port. However, what I did was to use a VGA to DVI converter which fits on the and other VGA cable and enables you to plug it into a DVI port.

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Posted by on in DXpeditions

We recently reached yet another milestone in our quest to activate Bouvet Island. DAP, the Chilean company that owns and operates the M/V Betanzos and the helicopters has satisfied the last contractual requirements, prior to departure. We submitted to them a “fit for purpose” checklist with 120 items as part of our contract. They have satisfied all the checklist items, and we will be transferring almost ½ million US dollars to them in the next few days.

So, we are happy to report that we are on schedule for a January 13, 2018 departure to Bouvet Island, the World’s most isolated island and the number two most wanted DX entity. All team members will meet in Punta Arenas, Chile no later than January 10, 2018. We will attend a one and one-half day marine safety course, purchase last minute supplies and then fly across the Drake Passage to King George Island in the South Shetlands. There, we will board the newly refurbished Chilean vessel M/V Betanzos, and begin our 9 to 11-day voyage to Bouvet. The team feels confident knowing that the ship’s captain and many of the crew have been with the vessel for eight years, and have extensive Southern Ocean experience. The Captain reports he has previously been to Bouvet.

Sea ice has been reported along a direct route to Bouvet, and that may dictate we take a more northerly course, before turning East to approach Bouvet. That may add day or two to our transit time.

Our two helicopters have completed their 100-hour inspections, and are ready for service. There has been a thorough review of landing procedures and shelter and antenna layouts. We have three alternative anchoring systems to secure the shelters and antennas to the ice on the surface of Bouvet.

So, the plan remains unchanged. We will have two stations on every open band whenever humanly possible, gain and directional antennas where possible, high power stations and a propagation-driven operation. The primary modes will be CW, SSB and RTTY. FT8 will be utilized if it is the only productive mode. Anyone preparing to utilize FT8 must read the 3YØZ FT8 protocol on the Band Plan page of the DXpedition website.

Complete information on band plans and frequencies, propagation predictions and QSL procedures are available on the DXpedition website: www.bouvetdx.org. You will find strategically placed “donate” buttons if you want to help with our substantial costs. I hope you share in the excitement of this great undertaking. We anxious to get underway!

3Y0Z. International Team will be active from Bouvet Island, IOTA AN - 002, in 2018 as 3Y0Z.
Recent DX Spots 
Planned dates 20 January - 28 February 2018 (will be determined by vessel shedule).
They will operate on 160 - 10m and also 6 and 2m EME.
Team - EY8MM, HA5AO, JR4OZR, K0IR, K4UEE, K9CT, LA6VM, N4GRN, N6HC, N9TK, NM1Y, PA5M, VA7DX, W7IV, W0GJ, W6IZT, W8HC, WB9Z, SM5AQD.
QSL manager for 3Y0Z DX Pedition N2OO.
Off Island Team:
Propagation - Stu K6TU.
Logos and Graphics - Dani YB2TJV.
Server-Logging Software - Dean N7XG.
EME Pilot - Chris, PA2CHR.
On the way to Bouvet Island team will be active as 3G9A/MM.

73,
Bob-K4UEE
Ralph-KØIR
Erling-LA6VM

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Posted by on in YouTube Videos

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I'm really pleased to say that I took delivery of my new GoodWinch electric power winch last week. Just now it is still sitting in its box on the floor in my room. As soon as we get some decent weather I'm going to swap the electric winch over with the manual winch and get everything working properly.

Come back very soon and see my new electric winch and its working glory

 

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Posted by on in General Chitchat

A few years ago I provided a link where people could download a small application which enabled you to download all your EQSL cards from their website. Unfortunately it seems that this application is no longer working. I seem to recall a few people leaving messages saying that they couldn't get it to work. I've just tried to install it and it didn't work, I just got an error message so I didn't even bother trying any further.

I am somewhat annoyed though. I just did a search looking for an up-to-date EQSL downloader. My website comes up at number two, obviously that's no good to anyone now. However, I came across another page which supposedly contained the link where you could download the EQSL download utility. Well, it just contains a bunch of advertising links including AdSense. These type of pages are there to make money for whoever owns the page. They are not really bothered in offering you what you are looking for, they are there to trick you into clicking on advertising links which I'm quite sure contravenes some rules somewhere.

Oh well, if somebody comes up with a really good bit of software that enables you to download EQS L cards than let me know.

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It amazes me of the amount of times I see DO NOT SEND ME ESQL CARDS plastered across people's QRZ page. If you don't use EQSL and haven't got it set up on your computer then it doesn't matter if 1000 people send you an electronic card, it's not going to affect you in the slightest. However, what is great about EQSL is if you do decide you want to sign up you will receive cards that have been sent to you previously.

I no longer send paper cards now, it's just too expensive. The price of a second class stamp in the UK is 57p, I think it's something like 67p for first class stamp. Electronic QSL is the future as far as I'm concerned. I design my own cards in photo shop so it doesn't cost me a penny. Sending cards automatically is just so easy, in fact my cards are sent automatically every time I log contact. And if somebody wants to print the cards out all they need is a decent printer and some card, you've then got a perfect paper QSL card for your collection.

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Posted by on in YouTube Videos

I am annoyed, I worked them on 20 m but my microphone had stopped working and I didn't notice so the video didn't have any sound.

 

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Posted by on in YouTube Videos

Sometimes you may hear a station that appears to be very weak and not worth bothering with. However, propagation acts in weird ways sometimes and you'll find that occasionally even though you are hearing the station with a very weak signal, they will hear you with a much stronger signal. So this video is a good example of how some people may not bother calling the station in Ghana because they think they wouldn't be heard. But you can seec he heard me perfectly okay and gave me a good report. I think he was a little taken aback when I gave him his report. I always like to give a station it's proper report, unless of course you are contacting one of these Dx expeditionS where they are simply not interested in your report

 

Tagged in: 9G5GH
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Posted by on in YouTube Videos

 

Tagged in: 3XY1T
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Posted by on in YouTube Videos
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Posted by on in YouTube Videos

Other than amateur radio my other passion is angling. I love nothing more than spending a nice warm summer's day on the lakeside catching carp. More than often there are other anglers fishing on the lake as well. Occasionally you may inadvertently cast over somebody, or hook up their gear without realising it. Anglers are very polite and I have never once received any verbal abuse from another angler whilst out fishing.

I have been a ham radio operator for 21 years now so I would consider myself to be fairly experienced. However, even experienced people make mistakes occasionally, we are not all perfect. Those of you who know me well have no doubt seem many of my YouTube videos that I make of me operating on amateur radio. 99.9% of people who have commented on my videos have been respectful and courteous. But then you have that very small minority of people who think it's perfectly okay to basically leave abusive messages. The Internet is a great place, but it has its dark side unfortunately it's given some of these people and easy way attack other people for no reason whatsoever. If you ever take the time to look through posts that are made by these people then nine times out of 10 you will notice that they are not doing so using their real name, they almost always hide behind a username. Also you will often find that the ones doing it on YouTube have never made and posted videos to YouTube themselves. People who leave abusive messages on other people's webpages, Facebook, YouTube have gained the name "Troll". Don't get me wrong, I've often got into heated arguments with people in the past online, however it gets to the point where I'm going to tell somebody to FCUK OFF then I will do so with the knowledge that I am not trying to hide behind an obscure username hoping that nobody will ever find out who I am.

So that brings me onto Mr Larry Keene, a.k.a. W5LW K. He goes by LarryK1978 on YouTube and yesterday decided that he would leave me an unpleasant comment on one of my videos. So exactly who is W5WK? Well according to his QRZ page, whose first licensed in 2007 and currently holds a technician license. Probably doesn't mean an awful lot to most people, well I can tell you that's the equivalent of somebody holding a provisional driving licence. Whereas I am able to operate on the full amateur radio spectrum using our country's maximum power limit, this individual is very much limited to small sections of the band and is basically prohibited from going anywhere near the HF frequencies. 

Tell you what Larry, when you've had a little bit more experience on the amateur radio bands then maybe I'll take you seriously. Just remember that it's not clever or tough to be rude to people whilst you hide behind a username thinking that nobody will ever know who you are, it took me all of a minute to find out what your callsign is.

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I have been making YouTube videos for a few years now and I have got several hundred subscribers who really enjoy watching my videos. My videos are nothing special, just videos of me operating certain people and countries, or recording someone so they can pay what they sound like. I made a video of myself trying to make contact with the K1N dxpedition from Navassa Island a week or so ago. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get through, they were working split frequency and quite a large split at that. Anyone who's ever worked a split frequency will know that it's almost a case of all for one, and one for all, that basically means you've got to keep calling in order to be heard. I would certainly describe myself as a responsible and polite amateur radio operator. I certainly wouldn't deliberately talk over someone, or interfere with a QSO. So you can imagine how I felt when I started getting abusive messages posted on one of my videos accusing me of not operating properly. One such so-called amateur radio operator was Trevor, EI2ELB from Ireland. He was rather rude in his message, totally uncalled for. If he thought I was not operating properly then he could have been polite and explained how he thought I should be doing. But no, as far as I'm concerned he's just another Internet troll that hides behind a stupid username in the hope that nobody will ever find out who he is.

Tagged in: EI2GLB
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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Penn
    Penn says #
    I've checked in the ham radio operating ethics and nowhere does it state that you have to give your call sign when checking if any

Modern day amateur radio transceivers have become quite compact and stylish. If you compare the modern day HF transceiver to one from the 60s or 70s you will probably find that the older models have larger knobs and buttons, whereas modern-day transceivers that are packed with features now have tiny buttons and knobs within knobs. You may be surprised to know that as a disabled person, I actually find the older radios easier to use than modern day transceivers. Since owning the more modern transceivers I've now realised that even though it's nice to have one of these all singing and dancing modern transceivers that almost looks like a fashion accessory, they are not actually very practical to operate when it comes to using them if you have a disability that renders your hands and fingers unusable. Some people may suggest that maybe they should make the transceivers more disabled friendly, make them unsung buttons bigger say that we disabled people can use them easier. No, I don't think that is the case and I'm more than happy with the way they are designed. The easiest solution to this problem is to provide on-screen operating software with every transceiver. This would enable people who have a disability to operate all the controls and features of the transceiver using the computer alone, cutting out the need to struggle with all the buttons and tiny buttons on the front of the transceiver.

Some of the manufacturers already provide on-screen software, Kenwood provide completely free on-screen operating software that is simply fantastic. You can even switch the radio on and off for the software, you don't have to touch the radio at all, everything can be done using the computer.

 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Penn
    Penn says #
    Unfortunately the amateur radio companies can't always cater for such a small number of people. However, I've been disabled long e

Posted by on in General Chitchat

I want to say a very big thank you to ICOM UK, especially Chris. Recently the PA (finals) went in my IC 7800 which meant the radio was as dead as your turkey at Christmas. So I contacted ICOM UK and they arranged for the media to be picked up from my house. Now since this happened only a couple of weeks before Christmas, you could quite understand me having to wait until after the Christmas holiday. Well, that wasn't the case, ICOM had the radio fixed within the week and returned it back to me a couple of days ago. Understandably, I was quite upset when this happened and I did send a letter with the radio telling ICOM how disappointed I was that the radio had packed up after just four years of me buying a brand-new. They obviously were quite sympathetic and listened to what I said because they waved their labour free and only charged me for the parts that were replaced. Obviously this was a massive surprise when I received my invoice.

 

All I can say is thank you very much ICOM UK, you are incredibly generous

 

A very Merry Christmas & a happy New Year

 

Penn

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Posted by on in For Sale

This Marine band receiver probably dates from the 80s. However, this in my opinion is a first-class Marine band receiver. At themoment it does have various channels programmed into it. They are channels 16, 67, 9, 10, 12 and 14. You can also listen to channel 0 which is the coast guard personal frequency. This receiver is about the size of a CB radio and doesn't need a power supply, it just plugs straight into the mains.It's quite basic, but that is all you really need to listen to marine man traffic.

Also included is a receiving Marine antenna & an external speaker

£80

If you are interested then please drop me an e-mail penn@pennwooding.com

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Penn
    Penn says #
    I apologise for the late reply, no, this radio was sold a long long time ago.

I was doing some operating on 15 m this afternoon when Ed, ON5GA called me. Apparently he had made a schedule to contact Jean, 5T0JL down in Mauritania on the frequency I was using at the time. Of course, I wasn't going to be rude and tell them to go elsewhere, we actually joined up and worked him together. He was only using a vertical, however his signal was really strong, I think we were talking to him at the absolute prime time of the day When the signal will probably be at its strongest.

Anyway, I put the video on so you can hear how well he was coming in from the west coast of Africa

 

Tagged in: 0N5GA 5T0JL
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If you haven't heard or come across eQSL yet then you have probably been living under a rock, with all due respect :-)

I can't speak for the rest of the world but postage costs here in the UK have skyrocketed over the last few years and it now costs a ridiculous amount of money to send post, and that is just within the United Kingdom itself, not including the rest of the world.

If you like to exchange QSL cards but you simply cannot afford the postage costs, or you haven't got time to sit down and write all the cards out then have you considered using online facilities to do the work for you? Think about it, if you already use the computer for logging contacts then you are already halfway there. 

In order for you to send electronic QSL cards then all you need to do is create a free account at www.eqsl.cc. Once you have created an account you are ready to go. 

Paper qsl seems to be coming less popular nowadays. It's been a couple of years since I've been really active, now I'm back I'm quite surprised just how many people are using the electronic means to send cards to each other, it's actually very enlightening.

I use a program called Ham Radio Deluxe which has a logging program built into it. Within the programme there is a facility that allows you to automatically send eQSL every time you log contact, this certainly makes my life a lot easier as you don't even have to think about sending the card. Even if the other person doesn't have an account, the card will stay in hyperspace ready for them to create an account, then it will arrive in their inbox.

There are ready-made cards for you to use within the software, however they are quite bland and not particularly interesting so I prefer to design my own using Photo Shop.

I created a video a few years ago which gives you the very basics of how eQSL works. I'm sorry but it's not an in-depth tutorial on how to use everything in eQSL, it's just a guide to show you what Eqsl can do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT8X2OTgANE

http://www.eqsl.cc

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