Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fast tract to amateur radio

Amateur radio operators call it the fast track news, while others simply declare it fantastic. Call it what you will, but Richard Moseson W2VU, Editorial Director for CQ Communications has a hit on his hands. World Radio Online is the first wide-distribution general amateur radio interest magazine to be published exclusively online. Topics covered include Contest Calendar, Hamfest and Specials Events, amateur news and more. Issues are available in a downloadable PDF file and may be accessed without charge at the CQ magazine home page . Go to the WorldRadio Online link.

Is Antarctica at the top of your amateur radio Hit-List ? Operator Bob Paton VK0BP, is currently working at Antarctica Davis Base Station, until November 1, 2009. Activity is limited due to work commitments, but check around 1500-1800 UTC on 20 meters (14.0-14.350 MHZ) on SSB and PSK31. Bob may also activate other field huts in the area and will sign-on as VK0BP/P. QSL route via Allan Meredith V2KCA, P.O. Box 890, Mudgee NSW 2850, Australia. For additional details from Bob consult his web page

Just logged a rare catch in the thrust of a major operators pile-up ? Here's a great source for operators QSLing via QSL Managers. The database contains manager references to over 68, 000 DX Call Signs. The search page accepts partial callsigns incase you didn't quite catch the complete ID. To learn more on QSL Managers, consult at the QSL Managers link. In addition to the database are QSL Bureaus and Services, Tips for QSL'ers and QSL Card Designers and Printers. Operator calls may also be searched by using the callsign search mode. for addresses, QSL information and operator details.

The ARRL Logbook of the World (LoTW) system is a repository of log records submitted by operators around the world. When both contacts participate in a one-on-contact (QSO) and submit their records to LoTW, the results is a cardless verification, used for ARRL credit. The League's QSL-cardless awards and contact credit system has grown to over 75 million, far exceeded the original predictions in 2003.

LoTW is open to all amateur radio operators, and applying for a digital certificate is the first step in taking advantage of the system. The digital certificate authenticates the user's identity. For information about Log Book of the World refer to:

VA3HJ Softwave (Speciality Softwave for the Radio Amateur) is offering QSlDesignAndPrint software version 1.0.0. The program designs and prints your QSL card, or can design a QSL card for a professional printer. Cards may contain one or more images, text fields for callsign, location and a greeting. Up to 5 QSOs may be printed on a card. For program information, including sample images of cards created using QslDesignsAndPrint go to:
The Northern California DX Foundation, NCDXF is now on Twitter. Twitter users can follow NCDXF by going to http://twitter.comNCDXF and click on the Follow link. The foundation plans to keep DXers informed on activities, QSLing and related news. To find out more about Twitter consult You'll find amateur radio operators and a bevy of radio-related hobbyist keeping you up to date on their radio pursuits.

DX stations, especially the rare portable DXpeditions, receive thousands of QSL cards. To ensure your out going QSL card package reaches it's ultimate destination, here are a few tips to increase your return rate.

Although U.S. operators are usually not considered "rare" DX, you must include a self-addressed-stamped envelope to help ensure a return QSL. Packaging your out going QSL (direct or to a QSL Manager) must include the following:

* Correct date and time on the QSL. One of the most common reasons why dates and times are incorrect is a failure to use UTC time and date.

* QSL Card Design. Callsigns should be on the same side of the QSL card as the contact information. This will assist the QSL Manager from having to constantly flip the card from back to front, thus eliminating the chance to get your callsign wrong.

* Pull & Seal Security Envelopes. By using the "press-and-seal" envelopes, your QSL Manager will thank you.

* Wax-Paper Nesting. Include a piece of wax paper inside the nested envelope to prevent the envelope from "self-adhering" during transit to the DX station or Manager. Especially helpful when sending to tropical climate areas.

* Return Address on SASE. The QSL Managers address should be placed on the top left corner of the envelope. No one wants a QSL in a "dead-letter" office.

* Pre-stamped SASE. Your card will likely be sent out as soon as it is processed if you pre stamp the envelope, but be sure to affix the proper postage. If you do not pre-stamp, include enough compensation to cover the postal expense.

* Direction of the SASE fold. In many cases you have to fold the SASE to fit within the outgoing envelope. When inserting the folded SASE, do so with the "fold" downwards. if the fold is at the top, the SASE may be sliced in half as it is opened.

* Callsigns on Envelope. Unfortunately in some countries less than honest postal workers have discovered that envelopes labeled "ham radio contest" with call signs are prime targets for green stamps (US currency) within the envelope. If your mail will travel through potential trouble spots, avoid putting your callsign in the return corner. Instead, place your call on the inside, under the flap.

* Avoid registered or certified mail. Either method is inconvient to the QSL Manager, requiring a trip to the post office. This also delays your return wait on the verification. Use of either should be when it is the only way of guaranteeing it is handled properly through a country's postal system.

* Enclosures in the envelope. Shortwave hobbyist and amateur radio operators know the significance of enclosing "goodies" within an envelope. Used postage stamps, souvenir postcards, newspaper clippings of interest, photos, business cards, stickers and decals will likely increase your return rate from the QSL Manager.
(Gayle Van Horn-QSL Report/Monitoring Times)