Friday, 31 December 2010

End of year

This is the QSL card and sticker I received from Radio Prague just before Christmas.As a young SWL I used to send reception reports to many broadcast stations (back in the 80's there were quite a few more of them) but its something I have not done for years. When I heard that Radio Prague is to leave the airwaves at the end of January 2011 I thought I would send a report for one of their last QSLs. I am also awaiting a card from Radio Slovakia, another broadcaster about to leave shortwave.
So for 2011 I will be trying to collect QSLs from some of the remaining broadcasters-who knows it may be the last year of major international broadcasting?
One of my radio ambitions for 2010 was to get back into using CW. Sadly, although I have been doing some practice and am able to receive reasonably well I have yet to pluck up the courage to get on the air with the key! So this will become my goal for 2011. I used to love CW and bitterly regret not keeping up my skills with it when I was younger. Now in my forties getting back into the mode seems much more of a struggle.
Anyway a happy and healthy 2011 to you all and I hope to hear and work some of you on the bands in 2011. Who knows it may even be on CW!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A Step Backward?

For quite a while now PSK31 has been my main operating mode. I use the "Digipan" software, its been around for some time now but I find it straightforward to use and it runs very nicely on my elederly Windows XP machine.
I was very interested therefore to see on the "MixW" website that there is now a new version of Digipan- Digipan32
Unfortunately the new version is nowhere near as good as the old. It appears to lack a number of functions, including the ability to decode multiple PSK QSOs at the same time, a function that works well in the original version. In fact I cannot see anything that is better than the previous version. Now I know I should not complain as this software is free. But presumably someone has gone to the trouble of releasing DIGIPAN32 its just I am not sure why. I for one will be sticking to the "old" version for now at least!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Radio Review

I have had a chance to look at my new Dual Band handheld Luiton. First impressions are that it is a quirky set, rather difficult to program. It is it seems an exact clone of the TYT UVF-1

If you would like to read more about it go here

It should be borne in mind that I am still getting used to this transceiver, but there is no doubt that it is not as easy to use or as logical to programme as your usual Kenwood, Yaesu or Icom gear.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

This was the scene at the end of my street a few days ago. In fact it still looks pretty much the same so it seems that we will have a white Christmas!
I am looking forward to opening my dual band radio tomorrow (in addition to my other gifts of course) and will post my finding on the new rig in the next few days. I am hoping it will be superior to the earlier Chinese made gear like my KYD 2 metre handie pictured below which I have had for around 5 years. Although it is not an entirely bad little rig it does suffer with low audio (I have enlarged the microphone hole which helps), slow scan speeds and an s meter which either reads full scale or nothing at all.

Anyway I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and best wishes for 2011.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Another one bites the dust!

Further to my last entry- I mentioned that Radio Prague allowed you to submit reception reports online. Well not for much longer as it seems that Radio Prague is also about to leave the shortwave bands at the end of 2010. It seems that the days of European Shortwave broadcasters are numbered with the internet taking over. As radio amateurs this may be good news in the long term as it looks as if there will be a lot of empty space on shortwave. Maybe we will get an extra band or two?

Thursday, 2 December 2010

reception reports

It appears that another international shortwave broadcaster will soon be no more. Radio Solvakia International is to cease shortwave broadcasts at the end of this year. As I was working from home today I was able to tune into one of their daytime broadcasts on the trusty R1000 and I have sent a reception report in the hope of getting one of their last QSL cards.
It seems that the international broadcaster for Argentina RAE may also soon cease broadcasting on shortwave- I will keep an ear out for them. I see that some broadcasters now allow you to submit a report electronically-Radio Prague being an example although apparently they still send a paper QSL.