Backup those logs!

Posted: June 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

Backup

I am not the QSL Manager for any DXpedition. I don’t keep a copy of our logs as that is the role of the QSL Manager. I am frequently astonished at the number of amateurs that fail to keep a proper backup copy of their logs. I am regularly contacted by amateurs that have suffered some form of data loss and they ask me to provide them with their contacts to a particular DXpedition. Sometimes these contacts were made many years ago. I believe that most QSL Managers have strong ethical objections to providing amateurs with their contact data so that they can then seek a QSL confirmation.

As with most problems in life, data loss is preventable by simply backing up your data. Don’t use a USB thumb drive as a backup as those are plagued by static discharges that can corrupt the data within. Instead, use an optical drive such as a CD/DVD drive or an external USB hard drive or solid state drive to back up your logs. The few minutes you spend today to back up your log will save you hours of grief down the road.

Happy DXing!

 

 

KurdFlag

If you follow the Intrepid-DX Group, you know that we visited Erbil, the capitol of Iraqi Kurdistan in April 2010 and conducted the YI9PSE DXpedition.

Since that time, we have maintained our relationship with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and have followed their plans for independence. The KRG has welcomed us to return for additional amateur radio activities.

On June 7, 2017, KRG President Massoud Barzani announced following a meeting of the Kurdish political parties that the Iraqi Kurdish region will hold an independence referendum on September 25th, 2017 as the first major step towards independence.

The Intrepid-DX Group will continue to follow developments from the KRG as they move towards independence. If they declare independence and all conditions are in place for UN acceptance, we will again hope to join forces with our friends the Tifariti Gang (www.dxfriends.com) and activate Kurdistan together just as we joined teams to activate the new Republic of South Sudan in 2011.

You can follow our progress at http://www.Intrepid-DX.Com or on our Facebook Page.

What do you think?

If you could…

Posted: June 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

If you could sit down and have a conversation with any ham past or present, who would it be?

I’ve had the honor of meeting and becoming friends with many of my heroes including Martti-OH2BH, Zorro-JH1AJT, Don Miller-W9WNV, David-K3LP, Hrane-YT1AD and others.

If I could sit down and have a conversation with Chuck Brady-N4BQW (SK) I would really enjoy that. Chuck Brady was an extremely accomplished individual. A Medical Doctor, a Captain in the US Navy, a NASA Astronaut, a devoted amateur radio operator having operated from Wake Island, Kingman Reef, Bouvet and other places.

Brady

Chuck Brady-N4BQW on Bouvet Island.

While I never met Chuck Brady, I think I would have liked him. He was a man of action. He did things that others just dream of doing. He appears to have been a driven and accomplished individual. I would like to have asked him about his small boat voyage to Kingman Reef from Palmyra. I would like to have listened to him tell me about his time on Bouvet. It’s very tragic how and why his life ended and his state of mind at the time.

Who knows what Chuck Brady could have achieved if he were still with us.

What do you think?

Cockpit error

Don’t you hate it when you have an embarrasing “cockpit error” situation in your shack?

I just had one. This weekend, I had a professional tower climber replace the mast clamps on my M2 Orion 2800 rotor. It was a tough job and we were both really tired. After the work was completed, I discovered that I had a terrible SWR issue. My thoughts immediately raced ahead to having lost a EHU motor on my SteppIR DB 36 antenna or having shredded the control cable at the junction box. I envisioned weeks of down time and additional expenses.

Then I discovered the coax switch in my shack was in the wrong position and my trusty K3 had no antenna connected to it. As Homer Simpson would say: Doh!

I seem to make this mistake a few times a year. Does this happen to you?

What do you think?

In the past few years, very cheap amateur radios have been hitting the market. Most of these radios are manufactured in China at very low cost to the consumer.

Luiton

The Luiton LT-425UV sells for $89.

For example, the Quad band (2 meters, 1.25 meters, 70cm and 350 Mhz) 25 watt Luiton LT-425UV is being sold on Amazon.com for $89.00 USD. That is about one fifth the cost of a comparable Japanese manufactured rig from ICOM, Yaesu, Kenwood or Alinco. Btech and Baofeng also manufacture and sell very low cost radios that are considerable lower in cost and quality than comparable radios from the major Japanese manufacturers. The Baofeng UV-5R V2+ sells for $35.00 which is on fourth the price of comparable Japanese radios.

baofeng_11

While I haven’t done any research, I am concerned that the popularity of these low cost rigs may be hurting the sales and future production plans of quality amateur equipment vendors such as ICOM, Yaesu, Kenwood and Alinco. For example, the Wouxun X108G multiband QRP HF radio sells for $499. That is less than half of the cost of comparable Japanese radios.

Btech

Another concern that I have is that many of these low cost radios can also easily be programed and used on Public Safety portions of the VHF and UHF bands. In fact, incidents of jammers and unlicensed operators on Public Safety radios systems is increasing. These cheap Chinese radios can be purchased and programmed by anyone. No license is required for the purchase.

X108G-front-600x300

The Wouxon X108G QRP HF transceiver sells for $499

I’ve got to wonder if these cheap Chinese radios are being dumped on the market, possibly being sold at a loss just to gain a foothold in the amateur radio market. Are hams that are buying these cheap low quality radios inadvertently helping put the hurt on the venerable Japanese manufacturers of high quality radios for amateur use.

Will we see more low cost and low quality rigs enter the HF arena and put the hurt on the Japanese manufacturers as well as American manufacturers Elecraft and Flex Radio?

I would like to see the FCC step in and test these radios and require than they cannot be programed on Public Safety frequencies. These radios should be tested for transmission quality and their ability to operate wide band/narrow band.

In the long term, these low cost and low quality radios might just be harming the hobby of Amateur Radio.

What do you think?

Congratulations DARA!

Posted: May 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

Hamvention_Logo

Congratulations to the Dayton Amateur Radio Association for a very successful Hamvention 2017!

This year, Hamvention was moved to the Green County Fairgrounds & Expo Center as the Hara Arena was closed and is being torn down. The great folks at DARA worked really hard to find a new venue for Hamvention and by all accounts, they pulled off a really great event for 2017.

Hamvention-2017

The Green County Fairgrounds & Expo Center

The Dayton Amateur Radio Association has been conducting the annual Hamvention since 1952 and in 1964 the event was moved to the Hara Arena.

Hamvention is one of the biggest and best events in the amateur radio realm and if you have yet to attend, well the new venue is a great reason to plan to attend in 2018.

What do you think?

The thrill of DX!

Posted: May 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

su1sk2

I’ve been a serious DXer for nearly thirty years. I am glad to say that the thrill of working DX has never worn off. While DXing has evolved largely to a quick “you are five-nine bye” there are those special QSOs or contacts that seem almost magical.

From my location near San Francisco, working the Middle East is always a thrill. With the exception of Abdallah-9K2GS, the signals are generally weak and fluttery as the path is over the North Pole. I have worked several SU9 stations in Egypt which denotes a foreign Ham operator but I had never heard or worked an Egyptian.

A few nights ago, conditions on 40 meters at our sunset were truly spectacular. I was copying Said-SU1SK very well. His pileup was not very large and he was enjoying chatting and saying hello with his many contacts. After a few calls, I worked Said. He was very excited to be working the US West Coast and we exchanged more than just signal reports. He asked about my antenna and my power level. We both knew that conditions were superb and this contact seemed a lot more like “magic” than most of our contacts.

After many years of DXing, its always a thrill to have these kinds of contacts. There are times when conditions are really good whether there are sunspots or not. These are my favorite kind of contacts and this one with Said-SU1SK will be memorable for some time.

What do you think?