Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Geoff is worried !!!!!

A letter arrived today from Geoff, the RAC Great Leader !!!!   Apparently he has just found out that my RAC membership expired on November 21st, and he wrote to tell me he's very worried !!!!!

This is actually the fourth letter I've had from Geoff on the same subject, and those four letters have now cost RAC a total of $3.00.  Must be nice Geoff to have money to burn these days!!

Geoff, I'm quite touched that you worry so much about my expired membership, but personally I'd be a lot more happy if you and the rest of the clowns (no insult intended to real circus clowns past, present, or future) who run RAC resign in disgrace, or simply just walk away..... and hand the organization over to more competent individuals who believe in the democratic process.  You see Geoff, you don't really have a mandate to run RAC as its President.  You were appointed to that position by seven individuals, most of whom had been "elected" by acclamation.  Hardly a democratic process is it ??

Obviously you didn't read my other rant on RAC (HERE) written on October 11th before you mailed this letter to me.  Save your money Geoff, don't send me any more letters, I won't be re-joining RAC until it becomes a proper democratic organization, and I can't see that happening on your watch.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

ARRL 10m Contest

Took part for a little bit of the weekend in the ARRL 10m Contest.  Friday night was a total bust, the SFI numbers were off the scale......nothing but silence across the band here.  That's silence because of no signals, the background noise was a steady S8.

Saturday morning the band was hopping with lots of European stations all over the place.  Most could be got on the first call.......and then about three hours into it disaster struck.  My Heil headset quit working.  Not sure why but I was sure mad.  There's another set of Heil Pro Set Elite being ordered tomorrow, I can't operate the FT-950 with anything other than a Heil headset....it's a rule in my shack!

Next up on the contest scene will be the RAC Winter Contest.  Being held this year on December 27th.  Hopefully Santa will have brought the new headset with him when he pays his annual visit to the shack a few days before!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Alligators are out and about

Great morning on the bands today, 10m and 17m are just hopping, and 20m isn't too shabby either but there is some QSB there.

I managed to work with great ease Finland, Latvia, UK, Iceland, Greece, and Germany in about 20 minutes after the ham club coffee today.  In fact I had a long QSO with Manfred, DK2OY, in Gelting, it's always nice to talk to a part of the world you know well.

Of course with all the activity on the band the 'Alligators' and the 'Band police' are all out and about, shouting "up 5" and "up 10" as if anyone listens to them anyway.  The 'Alligators' on the other hand are those amateurs who are transmitting several megawatts into a sub-standard antenna and can't hear a damn thing, and as my good friend Don says, "They're all mouth and no ears"....and how right he is! 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Get Well Soon - - - VA3QV

Most of you who read my blog know of the good natured ribbing that I give Bob, VA3QV, and likewise he gives me.

Bob was admitted to hospital last Tuesday, 25th November, to have his right knee, which was pretty much shot, replaced with a Titanium version.  This is the second knee he has had replaced.....so he's half way to becoming the real $6 Million man!

I have just had an email from him this afternoon to let me know he's back home, the new knee is safely installed, and the bugger is already climbing stairs!!!!  Ain't modern medicine great ??   I've told him to behave and follow his XYL's instructions.

So, from all of us here in Kingston, hurry up and get 100% Bob, there's too many QRP activities coming up that you can't afford to miss!!  Get better soon my friend, we're all pulling for you!

Bob VA3QV

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

New 15m Antenna

For the past 18 months I've been using a vertical 15m dipole taped to a 31' collapsible mast with great results.  I was using this antenna as my 80m OCF Dipole will not tune 15m at all.....it tunes everything else, just not 15m.

The original 15m vertical dipole came down the other day as it was having some issues.  Perhaps some water in the balun, but I need to investigate some more before I can make a good diagnosis.  Anyway, with the start of the contesting season upon us I needed a 15m option, especially as were getting close to the ARRL Sweepstakes.

With the weather starting to turn bad......yes, I know, it's the perfect antenna maintenance time of year, I put something up quickly.

So, I decided to put up a 15m hamstick antenna using a single truck mirror mount that cost me $5 at the last ham flea market.  The mounting stud was $3.95 at Durham Radio, and I reused the coax from the original vertical dipole.  The antenna mount was bolted onto an old painter pole I use for portable work, and raised up to 11'. 

I also added two 11' elevated radials, these were done along the North-South axis, and I'll probably add another one, perhaps two this week.

It was up and ready to go for the ARRL Sweepstakes but not tested, so I was a bit apprehensive about how it would do.  Not to worry, first contact on it was to John, VE8EV, in Inuvik, NWT, and second up was Gus, VO1MP, in Portugal Cove, NL.  So there you have it, coast to coast, and I have about $30 into it. 

Now we'll have to see how it does on Trans-Atlantic DX.....

The antenna in action