More than just a Ham radio blog.
is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Stolen Ham Equipment Database

Hugh Golding G7UOD has come up with what seems a great idea… an online rig register called, wait for it, Rigregister Online

The idea is you keep an online list of all your equipment’s serial numbers and then if they get stolen you can flag it so a buyer will be alerted if someone tries to sell it. Hugh is currently talking to the RSGB HQ and various well know shops and the police force and the vibes look positive.

Now as Hugh is a G7 and I think we sevens should stick together I will say nice one Hugh! , but, and there is always a but on here because I just love to be cynical, how safe is your site Hugh? I love the idea of a register, but I don’t know you from Adam (actually I do because Adam is one of my sons) so how do I know I can trust you with my data? How do I know some criminal gang is not going to steal your database and find out who has the radios they want to steal? I am also worried that sellers will not up-date their data and I might have trouble persuading someone that I was the legitimate owner and what about ’silent keys’ who up-dates their data when they pass on? More than that I would be concerned that it might lead to a false sense of security and suddenly when you get a radio nicked you type in the URL to get up your list and “where did that site go?”

I still think it is a great idea but I will have to think about adding my data to it a bit longer. Until then all my rig data is on my PC, my laptop, my portable HDD, two memory sticks and a scrap of paper in a shoe box.

The Tee Shirt is from http://www.zazzle.com/ by the way.

“Should I feel guilty about ham radio?” asks Homeplug user

"Should I feel guilty about ham radio?" writes Guy J Kewney in an item on powerline network adapters at Wireless.net. Well in my humble opinion there is a special place in Hell for the purveyors of these spawns of Satan and any user who is aware of the problem but carries on regardless.

Well I ask the question to anyone in the The HomePlug Alliance will it piss you off if a disgruntled radio ham jams your mobile phone, WiFi and keyless car fob and wipes out your TV just as the big match starts? Because we could if we wanted and due to the Internet we know who you are and where you live. Not that I advocate such radical action, at least not yet, but anyone who went to war with these morons would get more than a little sympathy from me.

It is not just the fact that vital filters have been removed from the ones on sale after type approval or the grey imports from the far East that are the problem, the whole concept is flawed. I am sure if most users recognised the security issues with these devices they would shy away from them. I know of several people who have been able to connect to friends home network and use their broadband several streets away with these adapters. Think what would happen the same was done by criminals? Then there is the issue of what is radiated from your home wiring. The same thing interfering on the ham bands is your data being broadcast to anyone who cares to listen and decode your every key-press and if it comes out on the amateur bands where there are people with the know-how listening then your darkest secrets are ours. We will know all your passwords, be able to read all your emails, know what kinky porn sites you are visiting and what you are buying on eBay.

The wider issue is that these damned things interfere with other more vital things than amateur radio, but when the Emergency Service have a problem thing are done and done quickly. Not the case for us hams.

Should you feel guilty about ham radio? Yes but more than that you should feel worried that the worm may turn or your Ambulance does not get there because someone's PLC interference stopped the message being received.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

World Radio Online - Read for it free

I picked up on this via VA3QV’s Weblog World Radio Online is a cracking read and is available via email or now from http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com/WorldRadio.html were you can download in PDF format the back issues since February 2009.
Thanks for the tip off Bob!

IC-9100 - Object of desire

Icom have released the prototype IC-9100 Base Station to the public at the 2009 Tokyo Show and I cannot wait to get my hands on one. The IC-9100 is a HF/50MHz, VHF/UHF base-station transceiver with optional D-Star capability and extra 1200MHz coverage. To see the rig full size click on the image.

Basic details about its features and options have been made available on a Pre-release product information sheet. The IC-9100 Pre-release information can be downloaded here

I have been after an IC 7400 for HF and a IC-910X for 2m/70&23cms for some time now but now it looks like I should wait and go for a couple of these. It does not really solve all my issues because I normally monitor up to ten bands (so maybe five of these would do) and two or three modes (discount if I buy ten?), but it certainly does most of what I want.

The addition of a USB port for computer aided transmission and data modes does away with those expensive data cables, but I ask myself "Why has this been so long coming?".

Now if Icom would like me to do a review of the radio (or any radio) on this site they can send the rig to me for evaluation at my address on QRZ or in the callbook. We can all dream!

Tueday's 50mHz RSGB contest

Well! I just can't believe I have not found time to post here since I got back from my holiday. I should have had plenty to say. I worked loads of radio including two SOTA Activations and IOTA from Holy Island (Lindisfarne), but it has been manic. Not much time now as I have two more twelve hour night shifts to do and then I go away again for four days. This time I am off to Leominster for a quiet weekend without the kids and if the weather holds I will be doing some Summits on the Air activations in the Welsh Boarders.

I did have time last night to have a go in the RSGB's six metre activity night. No sign of any propagation so my 5/8 wave vertical was not the best thing to have when everyone else is on a beam. I managed to get nine in the log, but try as I might I could not get a number ten. I heard plenty of other stations, but the usual problem that it was not their frequency. Best logged serial number was 38 so at least the guy taking it seriously were doing better than me. At least I did better than the previous Tuesday's 23cms contest. I got two stations but I only have FM on 1297 and most activity is on SSB. I wish more of the 23cms guys would try FM on these nights.

One thing these activity nights show me is that although my low 50mHz vertical can be superb when there is a lift on, when possibly the phase of signals is shifting as they bounce around in the atmosphere, you need a beam and some height to do any good inter-UK.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Normal service about to resume

I am back home and back in the shack after a great two week break. Clothes and radios are still packed away so there is something to look forwards to... Two weeks worth of washing! Then there is the re-assembling of half the shack that I took with me.

We had a week in Brora in East Sutherland, Scotland in a beautiful house with a paddock which I used for mounting the HF dipole. Stunning scenery and wonderful weather. Operated HF from the house, the car, the beach and did a Summits on the Air activation from a previously un-activated summit.

The second week was in Seahouses in Northumberland, England. The apartment we rented was a flea pit with a view. The view of the harbour from the picture window was superb but it was seriously horrible and small. I measured it and if you put all the rooms together the was still not enough room to swing a cat. It did not help to have a spiral staircase taking up 6 foot square of the lounge/dinner which was only 10 foot square. The dinning table was useless as it was jammed between the wall and the banister and I could not get my knees under the damned thing anyway. There was no way to get any antennas up at this hell hole and it had no dish washer. How the heck we managed to book such an unsuitable property is beyond me. Still it was just a base for our adventures and I am sure I will stop scratching soon.
We did another successful SOTA activation and tried to activate EU-120 Holy Island (Lindesfarne) on HF but few people seemed interested. We also visited EU-109 Farne Islands but radio from there would require more planning as it is National Trust property.

Lots of castles and stately homes visited and photographed along with lots of seals and sea birds. Well over 900 photographs to upload to Flickr in the near future.

Details of the activations will appear on the SOTA Reflector and on my web site