Category Archives: DX Interests

Non-Radio – Travel to England Virus Rules (August 2021)

An atypical post for With Varying Frequency, as the XYL made a priority Elder-care trip to England, which was booked immediately when the British Government announced elimination of the ten-day isolation quarantine when arriving in England from the USA.  What follows was my running notes as posted in a travel forum.  Despite the forum’s claimed large traveler participation, as the XYL left immediately on the rule change, we were the first timers in the process.  

As the rules, apps, and experience will evolve, they are offered as an accounting of the XYL’s August 2021 trip alone.   I am offering this here as many of us travel, and some might be contemplating travel for radio opportunities or DXpedition reasons.  Worth thinking about – and knowing if you break the rules or mess it up, you can be fined in the English case some thing like $7,000/person, put into quarantine until you can be sent home and have your future UK access put into question.  

This trip was a success though worrisome, and required a couple extra tests at the end as the XYL’s host was Pinged by the NHS (National Health Service) App during the period they were working together to help the XYL’s parents.  So out of caution a couple extra tests were taken.  

73

Steve
K9ZW

Navigating the UK Gov website, Airline Website and juggling all the documents is a bit of a tricky deal.

Not all are properly updated as of Monday August 2nd 2021, the selfie photograph taking part of the UK Gov site has a mind of its
own, and it is hard to answer some of the questions as they are already outdated.

Expect this will get better as the updates to websites are completed/harmonized.

Some really silly stuff like the email from the UK Gov has a pdf attachment that cannot be opened on latest iOS USA configured
phones, but can be opened once to save it to a desktop computer and then resend it back to yourself. I simply don’t have time to dig
into that error, as the workaround takes longer to write up to share than do for yourself.

Current rule extra costs up to the point of travel (so far):

  • About 14 hours of extra time spent.
  • Local C-19 test (out of pocket unknown)
  • Day-2 C-19 test – best deal found about UKP 85 (uses DHL delivery)
  • Extra Insurance (our choice, again we use EA+) – $105/pp

Expected additional costs:

  • Less than 4 hours anticipated for test and games
  • Pre-Return C-19 test – another UKP 85 (unless a better deal is found)

That is if everything goes well.

Summary – about an extra $400-500 per person C-19 “drag” for 3 tests and extra insurance.

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FT8SP FT8 & FT4 Polish Award Program

Much like a US State QSO party, the FT8SP FT8 & FT4 Polish Award Program is about making QSOs to Poland’s Provinces.

Today’s Poland has 16 provinces, which is a number that differs when my Prussian ancestors came stateside from Poland in the early 1800’s. The number of provinces has greatly varied from a historic low similar to the present 16 to 49 provinces up to 1998.

Poland’s Provinces (Current)

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Welcoming 2021 – First QSO if the year is DX with Yoon HL5BLI – Flex-to-Flex too!

A few Edits after communicating by email with Yoon HL5BLI

 

After my morning swim – also a first for the new year – I stopped at my office to do a couple small chores.  I ran up my remote Flex-6700 at the home QTH and set it to run FT8 while I watered my plants and fiddled with a new trackball mouse.

Wow – almost right away (after my second CQ K9ZW transmission) I hit a DX QSO from a country that is uncommon when I am working with my vertical on 30m.

It was HL5BLI Soo-won Yoon from Ulsan city, on the south east coast of South Korea. Yoon came in strong and we quickly complete our QSO.

It was really nice that first K9ZW 2021 QSO ended up being a DX QSO, and as I found when I looked up his call on QRZ.com, an all FlexRadio QSO to boot!

Yoon HL5BLI uses a Flex-6400 and I was using a Flex-6700 as we made the 10,400 KM (roughly 6,500 mile) QSO.   Later by email Yoon HL5BLI confirmed he was also operating barefoot and that it was also his first QSO of 2021!!

A very good QSO to start off my 2021 radio efforts!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Across the Atlantic on 432 MHz!

Check this out:

Historic first Trans-Atlantic contact made on 432 MHz – Tues 7th April 2020

https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/2020/04/first-trans-atlantic-contact-made-on.html

A 3800 km 70cm FT8 contact!!  IC-9700 at 100w into an 18el beam to perhaps the 9el 70m beam usually pointed to Europe at the Cape Verde side.

I think the station on the African side is the D4C Contest Club station which largely uses FlexRadio gear http://d4c.cc/about-us/

The Guadeloupe  side is FG8OJ who has a lot of information at:  https://fg8oj.com/ and at his QRZ page.

In addition to great propagation there is some suggestion that Sahara Desert Dust added to the ducting.

Congratulations Bertrand FG8OJ and D4VHF (I haven’t found who the D4VHF  operator was)!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Interesting Canadian Call Signs – VE0 Prefix

About a week ago I worked a someone unfamiliar Canadian call sign – one that started with VE0

Learned that this is a series of call issued to “Stations at Sea” – one of less than 600 calls issued in this group.

With more research I also found there is a lot of information in the wiki article on Canadian Call Signs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_signs_in_Canada   The most uncommon prefix is VY9 where there are just five call signs issued!

A quick summary Table:

Prefix(es) – Province/Territory
———————————————
VE1 VA1 – Nova Scotia
VE2 VA2 – Quebec
VE3 VA3 – Ontario
VE4 VA4 – Manitoba
VE5 VA5 – Saskatchewan
VE6 VA6 – Alberta
VE7 VA7 – British Columbia
VE8 – Northwest Territories
VE9 – New Brunswick
VE0 – Stations at sea (hams would seem to have a regular call sign as well)
VO1 – Newfoundland
VO2 – Labrador
VY1 – Yukon
VY2 – Prince Edward Island
VY9 – Government of Canada
VY0 – Nunavut
CY0 – Sable Is.
CY9 – St-Paul Is.

All interesting stuff about our good friends to the north!

73

Steve
K9ZW

A Few Thoughts on Dangerous DX

I’m not enough in-the-know to wish to venture any specific comments on the recently canceled P5 North Korea DXpedition.  I do know how hard it is to keep secrets secret even when everyone involved has security clearances, so I must commend the group for how little did leak out for such a long time.

Unfortunately second and third hand accounts did leak, and bloggers chose to run to print, strangely never reaching out to fact check, which if they had the need for no advanced press would have been reaffirmed.

The disconnect between the needs to fundraise and news blackout perhaps could never have been met.

But more importantly should dangerous DX be part of our DXCC program?

Should our DXCC program be tweaked to “suspend” accreditation for other than local residents of an area in a declared state of war? P5 has been for sixty plus years.

Should our DXCC program be tweaked to exclude moonscapes that are  uninhabitable?

While accounts of winds so strong we formed a human wall wearing our cold weather survival suits inside the tent as we weather the night seems to cross the line between calculated adventure and needlessly shaking the dice.

Now there is a certain rush a good adventure brings, and I am not immune.

But to be certain a fair number of these dangerous DXpeditions exist largely because of the encouragement hams intending to stay safe at home.

Is that six second QSO really worth it?

Most likely there is no good solution, and it isn’t like anyone forces these DXpeditions to happen.

Maybe there is another way to develop an acceptable risk policy for DXCC, but the one thing I do know is that our current policy violates a personal life rule – I will never ask anyone to take a risk I wouldn’t take personally myself.   We’re way past that line and I can not think of a reason why it could be possibly worth it.

73

Steve

K9ZW