Should contest rules allow and act upon 599K QRM reports?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


My rx got really hammered by two stations in particular this year:
HA1A and UA5A.

Both stations were super strong which isn't a problem with a good rx like the K3, but when they appear in my passband when I'm over 5KHz away, there is no contest.

With the contest element removed for my entry, I started to wonder what the point was and the fun just evaporated.

Who knows were the problem lies, but hopefully it will be sorted for next year.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Elecraft K3 Expensive from the UK?

I recently bought 2x 8-pole filters from Elecraft amounting to a US cost of $316.80:

2x $139.95 for filters
+ $36.90 postage

Considering that the item is barely more than a jiffy bag, the postage seems expensive. However this isn't the end of the story. Parcel Force intercepts the parcel in the UK from whoever the US postal company is, and then collects VAT (UK Import Tax) and adds their own handling charge:

import VAT £39.26 + Parcel Force Clearance fee £8 = £47.26 ($75.96)

To add insult to injury Parcel Force are located sparcely throughtout the UK, so if you aren't close enough to pickup the parcel and you work for a living (meaning you can't receive a parcel during working hours) you have to pay an additional fee of £12 to get it delivered on a Saturday.

So total cost to buy 2 filters from the US is approx $420!

Ok, after a few seconds to swallow that one, do I still consider a Elecraft K3 to be expensive to own in the UK? I bought my K3 back in June 2008 and up until then I was spending too much money swapping and changing radios every 6 months or so, buying the must haves and latest and greatest for contesting. I don't dare to think what I was spending! However since 2008 I haven't felt the need to change my radio, more so, there still isn't anything better than the K3 IMO out there. Ok I have been buying extras for it and upgrading parts, but I still feel that the investment is getting better with each passing year.

Don't get me wrong the K3 does have it's faults, but what radio doesn't? If you were to ask a K3 owner about his radio, he would most probably moan about this or that, but the deciding question should be whether he is willing to swap it for anything else around the same price..... The answer to that question currently (for the majority of owners, I would think) is a most resounding NO!

I still own all my old radios and at times where the K3 has annoyed me, I have rooted out an old favourite and apart from appreciating better ergonomics I immediately have been disappointed. I thought there must have been a fault developed in the RX due to lack of use, but no it's just that I knew no better when I used it last.

The K3 has definately spoilt me and my expectations are now so high, no other radio seems to come close. Your mileage may vary, but I judge a radio foremost by it's rx performance and for this amateur there just isn't anything else in the same price bracket.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

MM3T CQWW Phone 2011

With the recent conditions on 10m being so good, I decided to do a single band entry this year (10m). This decision was helped by the fact that I have been concentrating on optimising my station for 10m in readyness for the up turn in the sun spot cycle.

This year I swapped my RG213 for Westflex and also got the 3 ele-yagi another 1m up above the ground (now 8m up). I can now only just lift it and the rotator into the vertical position and it is really the best I can get away with and keep the peace with the neighbours.

I haven't heard 10m in such good contion since I was licensed back in 86. I started at 0630 on Saturday morning and swung the beam round for ZL. As the day progressed I followed the greyline from North all the way through East, South, West and back to North. Highlights were JA/HL/XU/VU/V55/CX/KH7 and KL7.

My K3 had a faulty DVK card and I had hoped to get it replaced before the contest started. Unfortunately it arrived too late to risk installing it before the contest, so I soldiered on with the old faulty one until I couldn't stand it any longer. My throat was getting sore, so on Saturday night I finished early and swapped the DVK out with the new one. Luckily all went well and the new keyer worked perfectly.

I managed to work 39 out of 40 zones (missing zone 32) and also worked 140 countries. I closed the scoring early on Sun evening approaching the half million point mark. It had been a long weekend, low points were getting my frequency taken by a GW3 who couldn't hear me and also the usual splatter coming from south eastern EU. I think this is my best result yet.