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Monthly Archives: April 2014


DQRM and Other Unethical Behaviours

In a recent tweet, @DXCoffee asked “Is QRM and unethical behaviour murdering our hobby?”.

They also asked for responses and so here is mine. The deliberate QRMer will only succeed if you let him. Too often we make it too easy for them – I discovered this recently on my trip in C6.

Typically, I would have a busy pileup going on and the DQRM would start. Sometimes it was whistling, sometimes, tuning for minutes on end, sometimes even CW. I found 2 techniques worked very well against these tactics.

The DQRMer is vain and wants to know he has succeeded in disrupting your op so it’s important to stand your ground. His vanity requires him to listen to see if he is being successful so if you wait until he stops transmitting, give yourself a break, send him a signal report along the lines of “the deliberate QRMer – you’ll have to do a lot better than that if you’re going to affect us”. I used this technique 3 times in the last month and the QRM stopped immediately.

The other technique that is very effective is to widen your split so you’re listening, for example, 5-15 up. The DQRMers laziness is what works for you here. He’s way too lazy to try to follow you around and so he stops and looks around for an easier target.

Let’s face it, the school bully has been around for centuries but it’s only when we allow him to ‘rule’ that he gets any satisfaction. When you take him on, he usually backs down – so let’s not let them bully us around the bands – take them on. After all, we are way smarter than they are….


Measuring Operator Skills

I’m challenged at the moment! My XYL suggested yesterday that I might get a new HF transceiver and that’s a very nice offer so I tweeted the good news in the hope that I might get some useful feedback as to what might be appropriate.

As you might understand, I’ve spent a few hours thinking about this during the last day or so and I’ve come to an impasse with myself. I got a bunch of replies to my good news and the solutions varied from a KX3 through a K3 to the TS-590 and the FTDX-1200.

Now some of these are very expensive wirelesses! But I have to wonder whether I have the skills to use the clearly superior features of some of these. Indeed, have I gained sufficient operating skills over the last 9 months of using my TS-480HX? I don’t want to be the guy who bought a Ferrari only to find that he can barely park a Fiat!

I read often about ‘skilled operators’ who have been operating for years and run all kinds of exotic rigs. It’s very clear that they have spent a long time honing their skills but my questions are: What are these skills and how can they be developed? And the follow on question is: When do you know you have the skills that requires a better transceiver?

I know that someone is going to tell me that I need a better transceiver when I begin to notice things about the TS-480 that limit my operations. But my question would then be, how do I know it’s not just lack of skill and understanding that is my limitation? In other words, how do I know I’m squeezing out the best in what I have?

I’m writing this in order to elicit a debate on technical operating skills rather than DX Pileup running skills. Of course, the context within which I’m looking is my ability to quickly filter the signals I am looking to work from an SSB pileup when there are loud stations all around and I don’t want to lose much of the signal amplitude. I suppose I’m feeling that the 1.8 KHz filter on the TS-480 seems to have very rounded shoulders. Hard to say without something to compare with side by side.

Well, I’ve rather staggered around the question and the problems but the bottom line remains, when will I know if my skills are worthy of a better transceiver and how can I measure that?


All Logs Uploaded

All logs have been uploaded to LOTW, Clublog and to Buzz, NI5DX.

Please note that if you do not have your QSO confirmed in LOTW, then you may wish to check that you logged a QSO with 9H5G/C6A rather than any other combination. It has come to light that several people have logged the wrong call from the cluster.


Disappointment Looming?

I can’t be certain but I think LOTW and Clublog are fairly picky when it comes to callsigns. So when I QSO as 9H5G/C6A, the callsign assigned by the Bahamas authorities, those that have C6A/9H5G in their logs are unlikely to get a QSL.

Here is a recent list of the spots that went out with the wrong call. I wonder how many decided to “correct” my call because I was doing it “wrong”?


The moral of the story is log the call in the QSO and NOT the cluster!


IOTA Activations Approved

I received the following from Roger, G3KMA, this afternoon.

“Thanks for the material you have sent relating to your operations from
Stocking Island (NA-001), Acklins Island (NA-113) and Little Harbour Cay in
the Berry Islands (NA-054). Everything is OK and we will accept cards
subject to the normal requirement of the island names printed on them.

Best wishes for now

Roger, G3KMA”

Back in the Berrys (NA-054)


We got back to Little Harbour Cay on Friday and got QRV the following day. Sadly the bands were not playing well. However, we managed a few RTTY and PSK QSOs. Hopefully conditions will improve and we can work everyone who needs this group.


NA-054 Report

Well, it’s raining here today and so I better get down to writing this. I need to write it for the IOTA folks anyway so I thought I might as well share it.

9H5G/C6A activated Little Harbour Cay in the Berry islands, NA-054 between 31 March and 5 April 2014. The call was issued by the Bahamian Authorities and was used as documented.

Operations were mainly SSB with some RTTY mainly on 10m, 12m and 17m. My experience in handling large RTTY pile ups reduced the efficiency of the operation and this was discontinued after only 64 QSOs. The band breakdown is as follows: 10m – 1491, 12m – 500, 17m – 64, 15m – 2. The total number of QSOs was 2057.

Working conditions. Operations were ‘beachside’ at 2 QTHs. I initially selected the QTH from the relatively poor satellite mapping photos from Google and Apple aided by the elevation data on the marine Explorer Charts. This showed a reasonable take off for Europe albeit over slightly rocky terrain about 4m above sea level. This QTH was on the dock north of the beach on the left of the picture. The coordinates are below.


This QTH was used for the first few days since there was a cooling breeze. There was however, no shade and that made computer use difficult in the bright sunlight.

20140408-105444.jpg Here is a picture of the station.

The second QTH was used for the last 24 hours as band conditions had got worse and I wondered if I was losing some signal from Europe due to the 4 m rocky terrain between the antenna and Europe. I moved to the shelter towards the bottom right of the photo (follow the track). I felt this was worth a try as I had the benefit of another 6m of elevation and a completely unobscured view.




I enjoyed working from this shelter. I could see the screen and sit comfortably! It did not seem to affect reception much, if at all and I was able to work strong signals from ZL and VK here. That said, it may just have been the conditions on the day.

Rig and antennas. I have a TS-480HX and a 35Ah battery, an AT-200 PROII auto tuner, hand mic and a cheap headset. My antennas were both

The antenna for 10m was the ‘Simple Antenna for 10m that I got from the RSGB website. The 18m antenna is a longer version of the same design. Both antennas can be tuned for 12m. The antennas were mounted on a single 12m spiderpole one at a time as needed. The spiderpole was attached to an available vertical support with bungee cords.

Software was PZTLog by M0PZT

This was a ‘one pair of hands’ operation while my wife was away in the UK on business. I cannot provide the normal things such as airline tickets and boat captains certificates and receipts as required by the RSGB IOTA to evidence my presence there since I sailed our own boat there. The only habitation on the island is Flo’s Conch Shack. Sadly when I visited there was no one there – the VHF radio was on but there was no one there to make a meal so I could get a receipt!

So there it is! I went and made a bunch of QSOs and generally it was fun! My thanks goes to Buzz, NI5DX, for dealing with all the cards and to everyone who called. To the guys that I had a sked with, I’m glad it worked out! To those who didn’t manage to get through, we can try again next year.

73 de John;