Cretan Blog-July 214

Greetings again.

It was very nice to be able to visit the Club the other week and chew the fat with a few. While in the UK I also met up with some guys from the Southdown Club. I helped form this Club way back in the 60’s, well, ‘formed’ might be a bit strong, as what I actually did was turn up and drink beer . . .

Wouxon 2m/70cm HT programming woes, Paul M0LRE to the rescue
Also on the trip I bought a Wouxun 2m/70cm HT. The plan being to use it while out and about and on visits to the Club over in Heraklion.

After several hours I was unable to get it to do anything but a friend came to the rescue and, after a long time, got it working on the local, Eastbourne, repeater. A couple of days later we sat at his QTH and tried to get some ‘Chirp’ software to load on it with a whole lot of frequencies pre-programmed. Needles to say, we failed. As it happened, that evening there was a meeting of the Electronics Club just outside Eastbourne and we turned up hoping that someone, anyone, would be able to help.

Up steps Paul, M0LRE, and sorts everything out. I do not know what he actually did, although he was explaining everything while he was doing it, but it all sounded very much like a foreign language to me so I am really none the wiser. A day later, with the HT sitting in the car, I managed to work a couple of people through the Hastings repeater while on my way over to Folkestone, so all was well with the world.

Here I must say that without Paul’s help I would not have been able to get the Wouxun working at all. To me, the instructions are very complicated. When I looked at the first page of ‘How to Operate’: it says “In standby, press . . . .” However, there is nowhere in the little booklet to say how to get into standby! After a week or so I looked at the power-on message thing. You have three choices, OFF, Battery Voltage or ‘Welcome’. As mine was off, I thought it might be better to show the voltage and so I delved into the menu instructions to see how to change it..

Oh dear. It says Press this, I press this, now press that, I press that, now click either the up arrow or the down arrow to select Battery Voltage or ‘Welcome’. I press the up arrow.

I do not get the choices mentioned but something about Wide or Narrow. I press the down arrow. I am now asked if I want 12.5kc/s or something else but not Battery Voltage or ‘Welcome’ . . . I left it as it was and if I want to know the voltage, I’ll take my Avo 8 with me when I go mobile . . .

While at the Electronic Club, we discussed all things data-related and were talking about using JT65 and the need for exact timing. (Andy Talbot please note – ‘A few seconds’ leeway my arse.).

Anyway, not having constant access to t’internet, my attempts at JT65 have been rather hit and miss. Again Paul came up with a solution: “Use a GPS Dongle and some software to keep your pc clock accurate.” He says.  Being a bit on a non-computer type person, I did not know you could do this but a couple of days later, a Maplin store was visited, a Dongle purchased and played with.

What a clever little device – I think. After sitting with the destructions for over three hours I could not get it to do anything and so, in a final act of desperation, brought the laptop and GPS Dongle along to the Club the other Friday evening in the hope that someone could help.

Derek came to the rescue. He sat and clicked a few things and low and behold got the little GPS beast to work! Brilliant! (However, more on this saga next time . . .)

July RadComic: The Prat on the Bike Edition.
While in the UK I was able to collect my copy of RadComic from the daughters QTH and so could read it a few days earlier than usual, and what a wonderful read it wasn’t.

A friend of the idiot who said last time that you should video all your mobile QSOs is seen on Page 31 looking like a total Wally and generally giving Amateur Radio a bad name. Poor old bugger can’t even afford mudguards for his bike!

Meanwhile, the Editor cannot seem to tell the difference between Sussex and Suffolk and she mentions one in the title of her piece but this is not the county involved in the actual story. Again this proves that proof-reading is alive and well and living in Bedford.

The Sienna transceiver kit review is ok but in the header it mentions about an optional tuner and SWR board. This board is not mentioned at all in the review so why mention it in the heading of the article?

… and what about this stupid idea of Boat Lifts on the Air? I have said before that if this sort of thing goes on much more we will have things like ‘Park Benches on the Air’, ‘ Shopping Malls on the Air’ or how about ‘Public Toilets on the Air’?

I see that the idea of incorporating the IOTA news in with the HF pages has gone by the board. After about three months we are back to a full page of people talking about standing on a rock somewhere and thinking they are important.

I was also intrigued by the sub-heading of the article on Page 68, about using a 70cm handheld at sea. Can someone please tell me the reason for the bit that says: “A QSO doesn’t always have to be a challenge . . .” This gives the impression that any 70cm QSO is a challenge!

And as for the article, “Winter QRP in the Australian Alps”, this should really have been left in the nearest snow drift. I mean, to go out in such conditions was a bit daft in the first place, let alone take a rig with you and then try and to put up an full-size 80m dipole in a blizzard is just stupid beyond words.

However, the ATU built by PA1ZP was excellent. I thought too much attention was given to the engraving but the construction was first class. The homebrew variable caps were superbly made.

I notice that in a couple of weeks it is the IARU contest and you get extra multipliers for working HQ stations like DA0HQ, SV1SV or GB2HQ. However, I read in the stupidly named ‘sports radio’ bit that the RSGB entry will be scaled back this year due to various lame excuses.

However, I think the main reason for ‘cutting back’ is that they do not make enough QSOs with stations in the UK as it seems that the average amateur, contester or not, is not really ‘proud’ enough of the RSGB to work them and give them points, as say, the Germans are of the DARC. I know of several people, all RSGB Members, who would not think of working their HQ station in the contest. They will work some of the others, but not the RSGB ones. Could also be that people have worked all the GB* prefixes and do not see them as anything ‘special’ anymore.

Also, if you have ever listened to the RSGB SSB HQ stations, they do not seem to be entering a contest at all as they sound like they are running a special event station at the local village fete.

The RSGB came 7th last year out of the 35 or so HQ stations entering (the SV HQ station came 25th), but the distance between the RSGB and winners, the DARC, was over 5 million points and the RSGB were beaten by the French and the Spanish, both of whom are not really ‘contest oriented’ countries.

This is just my take on things. See [1].

Don’t you just love the people who phone you up trying to sell you something? The UK mobile rang the other afternoon. It was a nice afternoon too, very little cloud, temperature just a tad over 30°C, no wind and low humidity – very pleasant.

The man on the phone wanted to sell me solar power for my heating and electricity. I explained that living on Crete, I already have enough! He went away very sheepishly . . .


Thought of the month:

“Let’s all take a moment and be thankful that spiders don’t fly.”


[1] I have not put this in recently but will this time:

“These are my opinions and only my opinions, unless you share them as well, which would make them our opinions, but I am not of the opinion that I can express your opinion as my opinion without your prior expression of said opinion, and then my re-utterance of that opinion would, in my opinion, be foolish unless I were expressing agreement to your opinion, and then it wouldn’t be my opinion but your opinion to which I only agree.”




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