Cretan Blog-August 2014

Hello again from a pleasantly warm corner of the Med.

You may recall my ramblings last time about me getting a GPS Dongle so that I could time my laptops without any need for a permanent internet connection – something that we do not have. With thanks to Derek M0XTC, while at the Club, he got everything worked as it should.

The plan was to make sure the timing was correct for JT65 as I am looking at EME and the GPS Dongle timing was the first tentative step.
Upon returning home, Mr Murphy was waiting for me, as after unpacking, I plugged in the little GPS thing and found that it refused to work. I looked at the settings and found that it had changed the COM port from 10 to 8 for some reason. I changed this but with no success. All I get now is a “Cannot open Port” message.
Derek got the thing working originally by doing something as ‘Administrator’ but I have no idea how he did this and so I cannot replicate it to see if that helps. Without the correct timing, I will not even be able to run JT65 correctly on HF, let alone start thinking about EME . . . (See later)

I also loaded the software on the old XP machine. This is the one I was going to use for JT65 on HF, and was successful in getting the clock to change to the correct time for the first time in several years. Great!!!
However, although the time was correct, it set the year back to 1999 and I can do nothing to change it. The NS-100S software that comes with the Dongle thing thinks the year should be 2000 so I do not know what the hell is going on. If I alter the year as you would do normally (click on clock in that bar thing at the bottom of the screen, then change time etc) I can put the year as 2014 but as soon as I went back to the GPS thing, the year went back to 1999.
Now when I turn the machine on it says that the date is invalid and the only way to get the clock somewhere near the correct time is to copy the Win 7 time and hope for the best. The GPS thing no longer even sets the time on the XP machine as all I get is the “Cannot open Port” message . . .

Wouxon and Chirp:
I did however, have some success with the little Wouxun.
When Paul, M0LRE, loaded all the memories from the spreadsheet I gave him, I seem to have forgotten to put in some of the SV9 repeaters. What to do?
I looked at this ‘Chirp’ software but I was so confused with it that I reverted to the Internet for help.
I have mentioned that I am not, nor never will be, good with computer stuff and the internet is no exception. I do not look at You Tube as any video uses up all of our Internet Dongle allowance. So I venture into a Café in Neapoli and using their free WiFi, I look at how to use this Chirp software but as it is very confusing so I look for a video about the software that comes with the Wouxun itself. This seems OK but how do I watch it again at home?
A friend in the Café points me to some software that allows you to download the You Tube video and save it on your Laptop. Again, I did not know you could do this!
I download the software and then the video.
When I get home I follow the instructions, and, stopping every few minutes to make sure I am doing it right, I modify the spreadsheet that is taken from the HT and ‘reload’ it. I am not really sure what the hell I am doing but afterwards I seem to have all the repeaters in the Handheld so am happy.
A small success in my computer-challenged life!

RSGB Bookstall – a warning:
Buying a book from the RSGB? If you are, call them first to make sure that they have the ruddy thing in stock. I waited over two months for a book and in the end cancelled the order. They did not even bother to drop me a line to say there was a hold up. All I got was a ‘to follow’ note on the invoice. Oh, and this wasn’t to the SV9 address but to my one in the UK.
Not good business practice when most of their income is now derived from book sales . . .

RSGB Contest Committee Consultation:
However, here is something good to say about the Radio Society of Greater Bedford:
On Page 6 of July RadComic there is a piece about the Contest Committee Consultation and it mentions a ‘white paper’. If you are into any form of contesting, even if it is just a few QSOs during VHF Field Day, or you play in AFS, please download this white paper, read and comment on it.
Rules are a-changing, and if you want to know what’s going on, and have a say in what might happen, read, study, inwardly digest and comment before 14th August.

Now to the RSGBCC ‘foot-shooting’ bit:
If you do comment on the white paper, you might like to look at proposal H6. This is about the 21/28 MHz contest. Now, you may not be interested in the contest itself but if you look at the ‘latest rules’, on the RSGBCC web site and dated 2014 at the bottom of the page, you will see that the RSGB Contest Committee still think it is 2012 as they have not changed any of the dates in two years!

Anyway, please have your say otherwise just a few ‘big gun’ stations will dictate contest policy and this will be at the detriment of all us ‘little pistols’ who make up 90% of the contest fraternity.

GPS Update:
In a moment of weakness, I decided to try everything again from scratch so I deleted all the software and started again. I can get the NS-100S software to see at least 10 satellites and show me the correct time on the Win 7 machine (the XP machine does not want to play any more).The GPS time programme that is meant to automatically re-set the laptops time still refuses to open a Com Port and so for the time being I set the time manually and this seems to work. I will look for another time-setting programme when I am next down t’internet café.

I downloaded from YouTube some set up details on using WSJT and although it is made to look easy, I have yet to get anything to decode. At least three of the demos I have watched say to use HRD (washes mouth out), so in another moment of weakness [Madness?] I downloaded the last free Version 5 version available. This was a waste of time as it does not list JT65 as one of its modes but while I had HRD (washes mouth out again) on the laptop, I played with it for a short while and it still confirms that this is a rubbish piece of software that is over-engineered and even over-priced at being free. Why people now pay for this crap, beats me . . .

August RadCom:
A few days ago August RadComic arrived and once again failed to inspire me to do anything but take up knitting.
I know it has been said elsewhere, but how many times are we to be shown how to fit a PL-259 plug and how to ‘solder’ using a fag lighter?
Is it me or does the Bluetooth interface thing seem to be an un-needed invention? And why would anyone want to view a PSK QSO on a dumb phone when they have a pc sitting in the shack?
I see that the RSGB Chairman is suggesting that we have yet another ruddy class of licence, making four.
If, as he suggests, the new one is a ‘VHF only’ type of licence, why don’t we just go back to the Class A and B licences? Class B, 144 and above, Class A, DC to Light. Oh, and I see that he does not want your comments himself but wants you to send them to this stupid ‘Have your say’ part of the RSGB web thing. However, so he does not feel left out of things, send your comments direct to him at:

Thought of the Month:

“I’ve lost my mind and I’m pretty sure the kids took it.”

Late News:
The damn laptop has decided not to play any more so this is being prepared earlier than usual via the XYLs machine as my beast will have to go away for repair or be scrapped . . .
Thank goodness I had backed up this drivel on a USB stick!

Dick. SV0XBN/9

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