HF Convention 2008

Over the weekend of the 10th -12th October 2008 I attended the RSGB HF Convention at Wyboston Lakes, Wyboston Bedfordshire.

Friday:- I left work about 4pm, slightly earlier than normal to catch the trains to Kings Cross / St Pancras International to meet Peter M3PHP as we would travel to St Neots on that same train. I got a slow train direct from East Croydon to St Pancras, but by the time I arrived at Kings Cross, I saw the train leaving. Next train was 20 mins later, so Peter & myself got a coffee and the next train was already at the platform.

We arrived about 6pm and got a taxi to the Wyboston Lakes centre and checked into the hotel room. After unpacking, we headed to the bar before dinner for a drink (ha-ha) or two. Dinner was about 8pm and consisted of a buffet with Roast Pork or Lamb or Beef Madras. I had the Madras.

After dinner we headed to the bar again for a few more drinks. The serving area at the bar closed at midnight, but we left gone 1am.

Saturday:- Woke about 7am and felt rough. After a quick shower headed to the restaurant for breakfast, full English of course. Peter & myself had decided to go to the Contest University lectures during the day, so headed off around 9am to find the room.

After a brief opening by Mark MØDXR, the first lecture was The Joy of Contesting, Lee Volante, G0MTN. This was a short overview of the lectures later in the day. After a short tea break the next lecture I attended was Contest Operating Procedures, Roger Western G3SXW. The first lecture had proved so popular, that tables had been moved forward, and more chairs brought into the room.

During one of these lectures, I showed to Pete how quickly Damn Small Linux had booted on my laptop, but quickly turned machine off as next lecture was starting. This was a mistake. I somehow damaged the Vista Master Boot Record (MBR) and could no longer boot into Windows, or Linux.

At about 12:30 we met in bar for a beer and a Steak Sandwich for lunch.

In afternoon I missed a few lectures to get laptop in working order by doing a system restore. Not great, but idea worked and laptop is usable again. No more Linux on the laptop, Windows Vista Home Basic will suffice.Once laptop was in a basic usable state, I decided to attended a few more lectures which were Contest Strategy, Dave Lawley G4BUO & Station Equipment & Layout, Paul Beecham, G6PZ. By this time I had been to 4 or the 7 Contest University lectures, so could collect a certificate.

Then was back to the bar before the DX Gala Dinner. The Dinner was a 3 course affair. The starter was some pâté with crusty bread. Sirloin Steak, roast potatoes & vegetables for main course, follow by a pudding of vanilla ice cream & warm pear tart. And then back to the bar. This time we were going to leave at about midnight. This didn’t quite happen when someone brought us a round just before the bar closed at midnight, and when he went back to get finals drinks and pay also brought a bottle of wine back to the table. It was nearly 2:30am when we finally headed to bed absolutely exhausted.

Sunday:- Someone how we were to breakfast earlier than Saturday morning by at least 15 minutes, but felt rougher. Full English breakfast again & lots of coffee.

The first lecture of the day was a talk by Eric Scace K3NA called Technology and Operating Procedures at VP6DX. It was about the planning of the VP9DX DXpedition and problems they faced and solved.

The Eric had a chat with Pete with me still trying to sort laptop out while enjoying another cup of coffee as I was still rough round the edges from the late night.

Dom Smith MØBLF was giving a talk entitled “Ham 2.0 – sharing amateur radio information across the Internet”. We were previously asked by Dom for input. Also Peter M3PHP had to give a short presentation on DXAnywhere. Not bad I think the idea up and Pete does the presentation. I must admit, I did help him tidy it up though. Shame also the wireless presenter gizmo I had ordered was sitting at home as hadn’t arrived before I left for the HFC. Oh well.

At lunch we tucked into another Steak sandwich, & a pint.

I had given up at this point trying to persuade Peter M3PHP to do his US FCC exam, so decided to go myself. I found the room, but had to wait for the main invigilator to return. Bad News…. I had delayed going so much that day waiting for Pete, that they had run out of the US Technician exams papers.

I did find out he would be at the Martin Lynch Hog Roast later in the year, and have decided somehow to get along to take exam. Also means for first time can see the Martin Lynch Chertsey site. Nearly 5 years as a Ham in London and not gone yet.

Last part of the day was the Raffle draw and farewell from the RSGB President, Colin Thomas G3PSM. Once again I didn’t win anything in the Raffle, but was the end to a great weekend. Hopefully will it be even better in 2009.

Shortly after Peter M3PHP, Iain M0PCB, Chole M0??? & myself jumped in a taxi back to St Neots station and were on our way back to London. From there we headed off in different directions with me taking the Northern line to London Bridge and a train to Sutton Common. Not the usual station I use, but Southern Rail in there wisdom decided to close a large section of the line between Streatham & Epsom.

M2W in IARU HF World Championships

Contest         : IARU HF World Championships
Callsign        : M2W
Mode            : PHONE
Category        : Single Operator (SO)
Band(s)         : All bands (AB)
Class           : Low Power (LP)
Zone/State/…  : 27
Locator         : IO91VJ
Operating time  : 7h45

160     0   0   0   0       0  0.00
80     3   0   1   2       5  1.67
40    21   0   4  13      33  1.57
20    79   0  10  23     201  2.54
15    27   0   4  10      55  2.04
10    14   0   3   6      28  2.00
TOTAL   144   0  22  54     322  2.24
TOTAL SCORE : 24 472

Dupes are not included in QSO counts neither avg calculations

Operators       : M0TZO

Powered by Win-Test 3.21.0       http://www.win-test.com

Was active in the IARU HF World Championships as M2W from Midday (UTC) Saturday 12th July – about 8am (UTC) Sunday 13th July, by which time I was knackered.

I could have probably done as little better, but was also looking after my 9 year old nephew.

Was my first big scale HF contest on my own, although I was going to do with Peter M3PHP, but he had a medical emergency (he is better now).

Equipment used:-

  • Icom IC-756ProIII
    • Yaesu FT-897 for a few contacts on 80m as had better ATU
  • Icom SM-20 Desk Mic
  • WinTest Logging Software (but RigExpert S/D wouldn’t work, so manual band changes)
  • Laptop to keep Nephew amused for hours quietly

OK, wasn’t the best entry, and will not win any awards, but I did better than my CQ WPX entry were I got Zero entries.


Earlier in the year my Uncle who got me interestred in Ham Radio passed away. When my grandparents returned from first trip they brought back his Icom IC-737, but said there was another radio but weren’t sure what.

Well, a couple of weeks ago my granddad said was some stuff in car & could I help him with it. I was expecting him to bring up a UPS unit. Was I wrong.

There was boxes with a complete setup for an Icom IC-756PROIII HF Transceiver (the ProIII, matching Speaker, PSU, & Microphone). The IC-737 was swiftly replaced in the shack, and by end of that Saturday evening, James M0BOV had helped me sort audio levels, & I took part in the 10m Saturday Home Counties net.

It’s a fantastic radio. Should be as new would cost £1,800. For me the Scope is and the filtering are it’s best features, but it has so much more. Anyway this it not a review, but merely to inform readers of the latest shack additions.

Also if all goes well (lets not think of CQ WPX earlier this year), then Peter M3PHP & myself should be operating in the IARU Contest on 12th/13th July 2008.

Hustler 6-BTV is now Vertical

Hustler 6-BTVWith thanks to James MØBOV & Peter M3PHP my Hustler 6-BTV is now vertical as it should be, and not horizontal as it has been recently.

James helped with assembing the antenna earlier in the year, but due to a few problems was not put up then.

Peter stayed over Friday & Saturday and helped clearing the garden, pointing the antenna skyward & guying it as well

When the antenna cable was connected, we fired up the Icom IC-737 and 10m was bustling with activity.

Within a short space of time we had worked Germany, Switzerland, Scotland and Italy all on 28MHz SSB.

On Sunday and Monday the antenna also survived terrible weather that had brought down trees, and caused other problems on railways, etc.

To see some photos go to my gallery at:- gallery.m0tzo.co.uk/may2008/

Also in regards to 2m & 70cms, Peter and myself sorted the Ecoflex 15 cable so that I no longer needed the 1m patch lead to reach the radio. Someone has already mentioned I am getting out to them a lot better than normal.

Thanks for the Shoutout Dom

Was just shown the following video.

Amateur Radio, the Internet and the Future

Playing with the new WebSDR service this week http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/ got me thinking about the future of amateur radio, and how far we should take linking the hobby to the internet.
This is kind of long, and sort of serious, but do let me know what you think.

(Disclaimer: All comments are personal opinions only. Particularly where I talk about award schemes, this is not a reflection of Islands on the Air or RSGB policy)

  • Also if you also check it out from 6:15 or there abouts Hamtests.co.uk is given a mention. Thanks Dom M0BLF.