10m openings

At last today the Sporadic E conditions opened up very well here in Coventry. I opened the M0URX log at 13:27z this afternoon on 28.525 MHz calling CQ, first to reply to my call was SM7DWL Nils in Sweden, great the first spring opening to Scandinavia so I turned the beam a little higher to see what other countries I could work on 10m. I enjoy trying to work as many DXCC in a year on each band, testing propagation trying to find the limits of openings and the limits of my antenna and trying to learn more about the behaviour of propagation at different times of the year and the sunspot cycle.

I continued my “CQ 10m” with a reply from RU2FA Nick from Kaliningrad so for sure the E’s were favouring the Baltic area, just how far will the band open? Will I work a new band slot? I was beginning to feel quite excited about the opening, I had a good feeling about the band today. Keen to keep the momentum going I called CQ again, I hear a quiet reply ,did I hear that correct? UK8 ? I asked the UK8 to repeat his call sign, I dropped the antenna to 90 degrees and the signal came up nice and strong it was UK8OM Mike, I explained to Mike that this was my first 10m Q with Uzbekistan and thanked him for the reply to my CQ call and that a direct QSL was on it’s way. We chatted for a few moments before signing off and I called CQ again.

Contacts with Austria, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Denmark followed in quick fire “59” Qs and some short hop E’s too with contacts into the Netherlands just a few 100 km’s away.

I spotted A71CT Sultan on the cluster just a few KHz away from me so I spun the dial to say hello, he heard my first call, and bang in the log. Great so the band is alive now, back to ‘525 for some more CQ calls, first of course checking to see if the frequency I had left was still available.

Quite soon the E’s were moving over to North and East Europe as lots of UA6’s were calling me and also plenty of QRP stations too, it’s a great feeling to pull the 1w stations out of the noise, with E’s taking away the signal with QSB it takes some effort to get these guys in the log, but I hear their delight in his voice when I hear “yes, yes 100% you have my call” so thank you for the patience of the QRP guys!

Then two stations from Republic of Georgia called me, 4L4MG Murman & 4L1AMM Amiran wow this is great! Very weak I was hearing E?3 I tried but couldn’t get the prefix so I was not sure where to turn the beam. A DL station told me that it was EI3 so I asked everyone to stand by and not to help as I tried again to call the EI3, his signal picked up well on backscatter I got him this time it was EI3GV Brendan in Ireland. I needed Ireland for my personal challenge of working as many DXCC’s as I can in 2010. That contact was followed by MW0CND Martin in Swansea another backscatter contact. The afternoon continued well with many more countries logged. By 17:00z I had logged 130 stations on 10m from about 20 countries, not a huge amount by any means but just great fun. Thanks to all of you.

Incoming QSL Bureau

Wednesday 5th May
Something a little different on the blog this week. I will take you through a weeks work at the office with all the Bureau QSL cards to give you an insight into the work involved.  
I received a large box from the RSGB Bureau containing 3,400 QSL Via M0URX.
Status - ALL Bureau cards posted to World Bureaus 14/05/2010.
QSL cards will be sent direct to World Bureaus. A large percentage of cards are for 2007 and 2008, this shows just how far behind the RSGB Bureau is in my opinion! So if i had sent these cards back through RSGB Bureau it would be about 5 year turn around. Simply NOT acceptable is it?

3DA0OK   278 QSL cards processed - 50% of log QSL confirmed!
5B/G4MKP   6 QSL cards processed
7P8OK      107 QSL cards processed - 35% of log QSL confirmed
9M4SEB       7 QSL cards processed  
9M6DXX      94 QSL cards processed
9M6DXX/P 116 QSL cards processed  
9M6/G3OOK 30 QSL cards processed  
9M6XRO    481 QSL cards processed  
9M6XRO/P 108 QSL cards processed 
9M8Z         245 QSL cards processed 
A25OOK      61 QSL cards processed 
C91XO       169 QSL cards processed 50% of log QSL confirmed!
CY2ZT/2    116 QSL cards processed
M0URX      156 QSL cards processed
M0XXT       108 QSL cards processed  
MC0SHL    301 QSL cards processed 
MW9W      323 QSL cards processed 
OY4TN        55 QSL cards processed
V8FEO        62 QSL cards processed
XU7DXX       30 QSL cards processed
XU7XRO    142 QSL cards processed
ZC4VJ         44 QSL cards processed
ZS6.GM3OOK 30 QSL cards processed

Just 33 direct letters this week. I would normally do those daily as the letters come in but with so many bureau cards to deal with i have just processed direct today. All post has been posted 14/05/2010

Postage Costs for Direct QSL

In recent days i have received many letters with either NO postage costs with letters saying "can't find any IRCs or $$" and also letters with considerably insufficent funds to return the QSL so I have below written the costs for you to see. I consider these costs to be VERY fair so please make sure that you send the right postage costs with your QSL!

Paying by Paypal (ONLY)            OR Direct QSL By POST
2 Euros for 1 (ONE QSL ONLY!!!)
Or by post US$2 / 1 x IRC
3 Euros for up to 4 QSL cards      Or by post US$3 / 2 x IRC
5 Euros for 5 – 10 QSL cards or   Or by post US$5 / 3 x IRC
7 Euros for 11 - 20 QSL cards      Or by post US$7 / 5 x IRC

NO UK STAMPS ACCEPTED from outside UK sorry!

More details here on HOW TO QSL!  
If INSUFFICIENT funds are sent, QSL WILL be sent Via Bureau! 

VP8/O South Orkney Island DX'pedition 2011

logovp8oIn January, 2011 The Microlite Penguins DXpedition Team will be heading to the South Orkney Islands, Antarctica, one of the world's most wanted DXCC entities.  As with all trips to the planet's extremes, this DXpedition presents it's own unique set of logistic and environmental challenges. But with our experienced ship, crew and team of operators we aim to make this one of the most exciting and enjoyable DX events of the year.

For more information please visit our website:
VP8/O DX'pedition

As always, we look forward to seeing you on the bands.

73 James Brooks, 9V1YC
The Microlite Penguins DXpedition Team

Good luck to the team from United Radio QSL Bureau. US$ 50 sent to your fund. Look forward to hearing VP8/O on air in 2011.

P29CS Latest

Andy P29CS/P has returned home from his family holiday in Rabaul Island OC-008. The log is now on my online Log search and QSL cards will be overprinted for the IOTA information and sent very soon. Andy is now back on Lihir Island OC-069 and will be active in his spare time.

I am getting many emails asking for communication to Andy P29CS about QSL cards from before Jan 16 2010. The situation is this! WAIT! Please wait. Your QSL will be dealt with by Andy as soon as he can.  Please do not email me here as there is nothing i can do to help at this stage.
200 blank P29CS QSL cards are to be mailed out to Andy this week so that he can process QSL cards from before 16/01/2010. Please be patient.
M0URX is QSL Manager for P29CS for QSOs AFTER Jan 16 2010.

Email Traffic

There has been an increased amount of emails this week concerning the costs of QSL Via Bureau, who should pay? There is an example of one QSL manager who charges US$1 for up to 3 QSL cards sent Via Bureau which many find quite concerning. Should the Bureau be FREE? But free for who? This is not a new question of course just one that is getting a louder voice now as postage costs rise.

Here at my QSL Bureau it costs in excess of US$1,000 a year to send all QSL cards Via Bureau and these costs have to be met by someone. In my case it is carefully managing income from Direct QSL cards, by finding the cheapest route for sending outward QSL cards, by having a good working relationship with my QSL Printer Max which allows flexibility in printing costs and also searching for the right costs for stationary, as envelopes, inkjet labels and printer ink all add significant cost to my Bureau costs over the year.

This week the RSGB QSL Bureau also informed me that some of my clients are not able to use the Bureau as they are not members of the RSGB, this is not a problem for us as most of our Bureau cards are not routed through the RSGB but instead I send Direct to World Bureaus every 10 weeks or so.

So the truth here is that Bureau QSL costs are met jointly by those who send Direct QSL cards, and a careful management of funds saving money wherever possible. Also there are many who send donations (Thank you!) even if it is only sending an extra IRC or dollar in with the QSL it all helps keep the United Radio Bureau going to keep the QSL cards flowing around the World quickly and as efficiently as possible. Then of course we also provide some sponsorship to DX’peditions globally where we are in a position to do so. 

How can you help keep Bureau costs down? Well only by sending for Bureau cards that you actually want. For DX’peditions and many other callsigns that I manage “EMAIL REQUEST IT, DON’T SEND IT” This not only speeds up the Bureau QSL process but saves a lot of money both for the DX station AND for the World QSL Bureau’s. So before you send that QSL please spend a little time in checking with the QSL manager first. 

Post Delayed

iceland-volcano-400x257Due to the volcanic ash over British airspace there are delays in International post.

Royal Mail's International hub is based at Heathrow Airport, London where planes have been grounded the last few days. This has let to mail to and from the United Radio QSL Bureau being held up in the delays. I will now post out the P29CS and other QSL cards as soon as flights from London resume. I apologise for the delay in getting these QSL cards to you.

K4M Midway Atoll QSL

I received the K4M Midway Atoll QSL in the post this morning. That makes 284 DXCC Confirmed for M0URX.
K4M_MIDWAY013

Ofcom Return

You may remember I invited Ofcom (Office of Communications) to investigate some local QRM giving me major grief on the Amateur Bands, well the TV Masthead Preamp PSU on the house at the end of the street has now been replaced, and the drifting noise on 15m now has gone... BUT.. I quickly realised that was not the main cause. I invited Ofcom back and asked them to investigate further as I still have total wipe out S9+20 on all bands about 3 hours every evening.
Ofcom now require a test done to make sure that the interference is 6db higher than the noise floor before they can take the case on. Not easy as the noise is in the evening and Ofcom work 9-5. Luckily during the day there are sprogs on 20m and various other parts of the HF spectrum for the guys to test. Happy that i have a case they went away to DF the little sprog. Got him! A Plasma TV a few doors away! Oh no!

The field engineer comes back to tell me the bad news, however he says that the first stage is to encourage the owner to compliance. Also his Office will send out further equipment to test the field strength of the Plasma TV to prove that it exceeds regulations. He says that if asking the owner to comply does not work then they will take the action of enforcement if it is required.

On a plus side the owner of the Plasma says that they are moving house at the end of April! Bonus!!! But the Ofcom engineer says that the case will stay live even when they move as the equipment MUST be repaired or replaced.

M0XXT CQ WPX Contest Station

ShackI had the pleasure this afternoon of visiting the UK Scout Contest Team M0XXT in Dorridge near Birmingham, England. The team led by M0MCX Callum have done an extensive shack refurbishment over the last few months. CQ WPX is a great contest to check out all of the new band pass filters and antenna systems.
Pictured operating Station 1 is Simon M0VKY, Station 2 operated by Callum M0MCX with guest operator Dave VA7AM looking on.

The full team of operators: Callum M0MCX, James M0YOM, Terry G4MKP, Simon M0VKY, David VA7AM.


Tower2Pictured on the mast and other antennas on site.
Full size 2 element 40m yagi at 120ft
80m Dipole NE/SW at 145ft
80m Dipole NW/SE at 145ft
160m Dipole at 90ft
A3S at 100ft
A3S at 50ft
Megaloop at 85ft

Band conditions during the Saturday were very poor. Hopes of some good conditions failed to appear after the previous weeks encouraging sunspots prior to the contest.

QSL Via M0URX.

MC0SHL - MW9W QRV in CQ WPX "The Hex'pedition"

Once again in 2010 some of the team of Strumble Head DX & Contest Group are heading down to the farm to have some fun and maybe enter the CQ WPX Phone contest. The boys will be there from 25th March through to the 30th March 2010.

hexbeamThis year they will be testing the G3TXQ Hexbeam built by Ant, MW0JZE, that will be available for use by DX'peditions - see Ants web page for details - and the usual vertical for 40M and maybe 80M will be erected so a couple of bands may be used.  

Chris, G1VDP, will be trying his hand at RTTY and may take his 30M vertical for some fun on that band. All contacts are valid for the WAB, WFF and IOTA awards and we have a club QSL card available if requested. Chris will be looking for Japan and Asia on 17M RTTY - this is a most wanted on this band - but he will be taking calls from all callers. The only thing he asks is that the pile up behaves and does as he says or he will go QRT and no one will work him. 

Look for MC0SHL before and after CQ WPX and during the contest Chris will use MW9W.

Logs will be uploaded to LOTW each evening and QSL requests via the groups QSL manager Tim, M0URX

P29CS - QSL A Sneak Preview!

The QSL card for P29CS will soon be in print and ready to send out to you in early April. We have some more work to do to complete the design but here is a sneak preview for you. QSL Status - Letters now ready to post.
QSL-P29CS_1












QSL-P29CS-BACK

Thank you Ofcom!

For the last 6 years i have had a noise on 15m that is 25KHz wide and various sprogs of the noise on other HF Amateur bands. I have been reluctant to try to resolve the problem as I was not happy confronting neighbours when I found the problem. During the evenings when the unit is switched on it has been S9 on all Amateur Bands but when on stand by only sprogs up and down the bands.

I decided that I would contact Ofcom using the Spectrum Abuse form on their website. Within a few days I had a telephone call to discuss the problem and the man from the ministry said that he would pass it on to the Field Engineers in my area. A week later the engineer telephoned to arrange an appointment. That was today, armed with DF antenna the men went on a mission up the street. About 1 hour later they came back and told me that they had found the problem a faulty PSU on a TV masthead preamp. The owner was co-operative although confused as to why it was a problem, saying "Well it doesn't bother us!" They have agreed to have the unit replaced. Ofcom say they will follow the visit up with a letter to the owner of the equipment and make sure that a fix date is arranged. Although they can't tell the person to switch it off, so the noise is still there. I should see an end to this problem soon, so I can once again enjoy Amateur Radio from my shack. Thank you Ofcom!

In the post from EZ

Although Turkmenistan has not been on the Amateur Radio radar for some time now I was surprised to see a letter this morning from the EZ QSL Bureau PO Box 555 Asgabat 744020 TURKMENISTAN. The letter contained SWL cards from EZ8CW using his SWL call sign EZ8-001.

It would be nice one day soon to welcome them back to the World of Amateur Radio! If only! So I just want us to remember our Amateur Radio friends in Turkmenistan, currently Amateur Radio is not permitted in the country but the Radio Amateurs remain dedicated to the hobby as SWL. If you are in Turkmenistan please let me know how the Ham community is continuing in the hobby. 

I have received some great images for the P29CS QSL which is going to be a 4 sided card. The QSL will be designed as usual by ON5UR Max.

Lids On The Air

This weekend I really enjoyed some real great DX, but the operating of some Amateurs is quite unbelievable, quite shocking and in some cases quite disgusting. Something must be done! Well in an attempt to shock some of the operators concerned and make them realize that this is NOT the way to operate, some friends have set up a website called “Lids On The Air” with audio recordings of some really dreadful operating. Please visit the site let us see if we can learn from this!

RSGB Bureau Status Report

After the investigations reagarding the RSGB Outgoing Bureau Don Field has sent me the following Report. This really is great news that we all welcome. Thank you Don. Let's hope that we now have this matter resolved.

RSGB QSL Bureau Status Report

Over the past couple of months the Society has received correspondence and questions from a number of amateurs whose outgoing bureau cards do not appear to have reached the overseas bureaux for which they were intended. Checks with some of the key overseas bureaux suggested that it had been many months since they had received cards from the RSGB.

Alerted to this situation, the General Manager and members of the Board undertook their own investigations, including a personal visit by the General Manager to the RSGB QSL Bureau, currently managed under contract by Richard Constantine G3UGF.

It is apparent that Richard has been on a steep learning curve since taking on the bureau and his early focus was on fixing some longstanding issues with the sub-manager network, and the distribution of incoming cards.

With regard to outgoing cards, shipping costs, at the start of the year had already begun to rise sharply. Costs outside the EU began to rise more than could have been reasonably predicted, due to the worsening economic situation. This could not have occurred at a more inopportune time, when the bureau was turning its attention to building up the overseas distribution. By the first quarter costs had risen 25%, with no sign of slowing, and the Board was made aware of concerns. The bureau’s main provider pulled out of several destinations, including America, Russia and other ex-Soviet destinations, also increasing costs to Europe and the Pacific Rim. In the second and third quarters the bureau had to use several different companies and routes, including costly personal air mail, shopping around for each dispatch, in order to maintain service , whilst trying to find another long-term partner, prepared to offer trade distribution rates.

This proved to be an extremely frustrating period as all carriers appeared reluctant to take on new business and prices changed per shipment, against the value of the pound. Increasing the average weight to popular destinations, from 10kg to 25 kg, brought some short term cost savings, but did not resolve the issue.

However, even with additional sorters it became apparent that whilst the bureau’s remit is not to be the quickest way to send a QSL card, only the most cost effective, that increasing the package size to gain a cost saving would not ultimately meet some user expectations and that delays would continue.

It also brought the bureau into conflict with Customs in certain countries as they refused to accept large shipments as non-commercial, printed paper, imposing customs charges. Fortunately, by the last quarter, it was possible to find another provider, capable of distributing to all IARU destinations. Costs were significantly reduced and volumes began to increase in the final quarter and have continued into the New Year. The bureau is now more positive that it can continue to stay within its budget, having shipped approximately 400,000 cards by weight, over the last year. This being 25% down on its own internal projection. The position has been recovered and provided that there are no more shocks to come in the wider economy, there is now a stable platform on which to build in 2010.

More importantly for RSGB QSL Bureau users, Richard has agreed to produce a monthly report for RadCom, starting in the April edition, covering RSGB QSL Bureau and listing recent shipments.

The Society regrets any problems with the bureau, whether real or perceived. While the RSGB QSL Bureau is no substitute for direct mail, it is a valuable membership benefit to many. It should be emphasised, incidentally, that intra-UK cards have been flowing freely throughout. It is unfortunate that there continue to be some abuses of the Bureau, for example by members sending cards on behalf of overseas friends who are not members. Indiscriminate QSLing by some contest groups and special event stations have also served to slow down the overall flow of cards.

Any questions relating to the RSGB QSL Bureau should be emailed to Richard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. but it is hoped that the regular bulletins in RadCom will help to reduce his correspondence and give him and his team more time for getting those cards through.

P29CS Andy QSL Information

P29CSP29CS Andy is working and living on Lihir island IOTA OC-069, just to the east of New Ireland Island, located 940Km N.E. of Port Morseby. Andy is closer to the capital city of the Solomon Islands than he is to the capital of PNG. 

Andy contacted me recently to take on his QSL manager duties from AFTER 16/01/2010. This is because all QSO's before this date are on paper log and I do not have the data to reply to QSO's from previous logs. 

At this stage I am designing the QSL card. QSL cards will be printed by end of March. Please be patient!

For contacts BEFORE 16/01/2010. Follow ONLY Andy's DIRECT address on QRZ.com.

Outgoing Cards Posted

250 Items have been prepared for posting which include direct QSL cards and 3,500 Bureau QSL cards to World Bureaus.
This mailing will be sent out on 20/02/2010.

Please remember if you need a Bureau card. Request it! dont send it! Use my OQRS. Thank you!

A Very Busy Day!

Phew a busy day today here at the office!
Log received from XU7XRO. 2985 Qs now uploaded to LoTW and Online log search. QSL Requests now being processed.

A RSGB Bureau parcel arrived today. 2,300 QSL cards Via M0URX. Sorted into call sign order and now processed, waiting to be dispatched.

G4Dxx
Call Series 1,400 QSL cards arrived. Sorted and dispatched 11/02/2010 1100z.
G4Rxx Call Series    600 QSL Cards arrived Sorted and dispatched 13/02/2010 0600z

Thank you to G1VDP Chris for your help this evvening.

Remember for DX'peditions IOTA or Holiday stations your QSL may not be required!!! 
You could save time and money by requesting your QSL by EMAIL or OQRS. Please use these facilities and help me save on Bureau costs both here and at all World Bureaux. Thank you!

XU7XRO John QRV in Cambodia

qsl-xu7xroJohn 9M6XRO is operating from Cambodia as XU7XRO  3rd to 9th  February. John will operate on 160-10 metres CW, RTTY and  SSB,  with a beam and Inverted V’s for the low bands.

Cambodia

QTH
Weather Station Hill, Kompong Som (Sihanoukville) IARU Loc - OK10sp
CQ Zone 26 - ITU Zone 49


QSL via  M0URX, Direct (or Bureau by email request ONLY) The  log  will  be  uploaded  to  LoTW and my online log search facility  after  the operation.
Full QSL Routing click here.

ONLY Request Bureau Via EMAIL. All Bureau QSL cards will be sent direct Via World Bureaus by-passing RSGB.

04/10/2010 0300z I have made 400+ QSO's but the bands are not great. I'm using my IC-7000. There is a really high SWR on the 80/160m ant but I have not got my MFJ this time to see where it is resonant. I will root out the big ATU from the cupboard and see if that does any good. The way the linear is set up you have to press the footswitch on every mode even CW and RTTY which is a pain so am going to see if I can sort that out.

All bands are totally dead at the moment (1045am LT). Will adjourn to Wim's XU7TZG shortly for a beer I think.
07/01/2010 1500z John reports about 2,500 QSO's log up to now.
73 - John - XU7XRO

 

New QSL Designs for Faroe Islands

The new QSL designs for OY1OF Olavur and OY4TN Trygvi will soon be available. Photo's by Olavur Frederiksen

Ólavur is a professional photographer and I think you will agree the QSL cards look very stunning.
QSL cards have been designed by Max ON5UR.
QSL cards sponsored by M0URX United Radio QSL Bureau. (Designs will be available from mid February)
QSL-OY1OF-2QSL-OY1OF-2-BACK
QSL-OY4TN-4QSL-OY4TN-4-BACK

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