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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

FT5ZM - Amsterdam Island DXpedition - A Battle for iron steel nerves

A long awaited DXpedition from Amsterdam Island in the South Indian Ocean is currently on air, giving a new one, ATNO for many, to radio amateurs around the globe.

This $450.000 budget, multi-national DXpedition is manned by some of the most experienced DXpeditioners around. Plans are to activate Amsterdam Isl. on air for about 18 days, until about the 11th of February on all HF bands in SSB, CW & RTTY.

Such DXCC entities are commonly activated approximately every 10-15 years, so worldwide demand is factual.

This specific type of DXpedition is not like the ones of holiday type, we are used to. This one demands absolute discipline, devotion, pre- and post-organization, great logistics support and provision for that nasty little detail that usually will be forgotten back home.

On the air, since the very first QSOs on January 26th, pileups have been endless and far more than disciplined. FT5ZM Ops are being very patient and try to be accurate when copying callers` callsign. Still, QSO rate is constant and when starting on a given band/mode, pileup takes less than 1 minute to form and split disperses up to 30Khz !!

Although I had confirmed Amsterdam from my old QTH in Athens as SV1DKL, I still needed it as an ATNO for my current SV5DKL callsign and of course in as many bands as possible for my DXCC Challenge points. As I heard callers` behavior since day 1, first thought was to let the steam go for the first few days, let the big guns fight with each other at the splits, and afterwards to try and work it myself, from my modest city lot radio installations. Indeed, there was obviously too much pressure and anxiety to work a new one, that on-air behavior, especially by specific European races, was unacceptable and brutish. 

A real battle for iron steel nerves !!

On the other hand, FT5ZM`s signals were trully AMAZING, especially on the higher HF bands. Propagation was favoring my location at specific daytime hours, so I let myself in the battlefield and managed to finish up all of the high bands, at least for SSB and CW for the time being, plus 30 and 40 meters in CW.

Up to now, January 29th, and as the DXpedition progresses, here is my worked QSO list from my log:

Just today evening, I *think* I completed a CW QSO on 160m, but I will be certain, only when they upload their logs to ClubLog.

Speaking of which, there have been many complaints on why the logs are not uploaded yet, while on their web site (, it is clearly mentioned that an online log would be available as soon as the DXpedition was aired. I guess there is some kind of issue with the Sat Link hardware and they are trying to solve it out somehow. Still, proper special provisions should have been made beforehand for such an issue, IMHO. Especially, when having Inmarsat as a major Business Sponsor.

Personally, I am not bothered the least by this, it is just that there will be many more dupes in the log, from all those that are not 100% certain they made it through (I am one of those for my 160m contact, hi!). Not to mention the extra generated traffic ...

Having Internet access and real-time online log is, nowadays, a common part of the game. We are all pretty much spoiled on these and their lack attracts negative remarks. I would love to view a range of photos/footages from their arrival, primary installations, first QSOs, how they live on the island and on what comforts, while at the same time verifying a QSO of mine through real-time online logging.

Col, MM0NDX, who is the EU pilot of FT5ZM has already announced there are some issues with internet access (zero access until now), but has promised to upload the first logs to Clublog ASAP. That statement is fine for me, for now.

Really waiting for the RTTY operations to begin and at the same time, keeping an eye on DX-Cluster for that 80m QSO ...

More news on this activation to follow here, or at their web site:

Monday, January 27, 2014

WAS Triple Play Award achieved

It was not long ago (, that I was seeking for my last 5 slots for achieving ARRL's WAS Triple Play LotW award.

Thanks to my NA friends hanging out at K3UK's forum, I managed in a very short time period to fill out all the missing slots and apply for TPA, through LotW award application process.

My application has already been accepted by Awards Desk and I became the 2nd Greek Amateur Radio Operator, after my good friend Kostas, SV1DPI, to obtain this honourable award. My TPA's s/n is 1008, dated 26/Jan/2014.

Looking forward to receiving the TPA to my mailbox anytime soon.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2nd Balkan HST Championship - Bulletin 1 - Organized in Romania by FRR

If you are reading this, you are among the first ones to get informed on the organization of the 2nd Balkan HST Championship, which will be organized by FRR in Piatra Neamt, Romania between 13-15 June 2014.

Format of the championship will be exactly the same like in Lovech, Bulgaria last year, so no major surprises expected.

Here is Bulletin nr. 1 of the 2nd Balkan HST Championship, which has not yet been officially published:


Thursday, January 16, 2014

RSGB IOTA 2013 results published

Year by year, RSGB is getting faster in publishing IOTA contest's results !!

2013's RSGB IOTA contest final scores are published and can be found here.

Having put significant effort into this one resulted in winning the
Island - Single Operator - Assisted - SSB - 12 hours - Low Power category, setting at the same time a World record for this specific category, see here.

Besides the 2013 IOTA Contest Award, RSGB awarded me also the 2013 IOTA Contest Centenary Award for my scores.

Both awards are shown below:

More Info on RSGB's Centenary Award here.
RSGB IOTA Contest has always been one of my favourites and in 2014 event, I will try to set another record in one of the Island categories.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Some help for completing my Triple Play WAS ???

I am currently trying to complete my Triple Play WAS award, that is, to work all 50 states on SSB/CW/RTTY.

At the moment, my LotW credits are like this:

Entity CW Phone Digital
Alabama K4ABAG4WAA4U
Arizona N7ATW7PPNR6M
Arkansas K5GOK5GOAE5AA
California KJ6PN6BVN6ML
Colorado K0RFW0MUW0OVM
Connecticut W1RMK1RMWA1EHK
Florida N4WWW4QNN4BP
Georgia NQ4IK4WZNS1S
Idaho KM7RKM7R
Illinois KG9NKG9NK9NR
Indiana K9NWW9SNAB9V
Kentucky W5MXAJ4AKO4XJ
Louisiana WC5NW5RUW5ADD
Maryland W3LPLW3KLNF8I
Massachusetts AA1VK5ZDK1SFA
Michigan KG8PW8MJW8ERN
Minnesota K0KXK0KXK0XB
Mississippi K5WKK5WBMNA5DX
Missouri KQ0BKD0FWK0BX
Montana K7BGN7IP
Nebraska K0HANE0DX
New Hampshire K0TVKC1XXAE1T
New Jersey K2CJN2MMN2MM
North Carolina N2TUK5EKN4LV
North Dakota N0GCNT0VKD4POJ
Oklahoma W5LEW5LEW5GFI
Pennsylvania KF3BAA3BAA3B
Rhode Island KO1EW1XXKS1J
South Carolina WS4CAA4VAA4V
South Dakota AE0PN0MHLW0SD
Tennessee K4LTAK4BPW4GKM
Vermont KE1FON1MZE
Washington AC2KKW7XXAB6L
West Virginia K3JTKE3GKE8UN
Wisconsin W9XTN0IJK9OM
Wyoming KO7XWY7FD

so, I am still in need of WY in Phone and ID, MT, NE and VT (!!!) in RTTY.
Of course, I have to work stations that are LotW users, in order to be liable to apply for Triple Play WAS award.

So, if you happen to live in one of the aforementioned States and are a LotW user, I would be grateful if we could make a sked.

Please e-mail me for our sked at either:
73 es HNY
Stathis, SV5DKL

Friday, January 3, 2014

OQRS (On-Line QSL Request System) now available for all my callsigns

Effective from today, I have setup OQRS (On-Line QSL Request System) for all of my registered callsigns:
  1. SV5DKL
  2. SV1DKL
  3. J41DKL
  4. J41Y
  5. SX5R
  6. SV5/SV1DKL
Having evaluated OQRS's usefulness, especially when one wants to easily confirm a new one, and after many, many, many e-mails requesting me to start using such a service, I decided that this was the optimum solution for each one of you that has contacted me on-air over my Amateur Radio career and hasn`t confirmed our QSO with a QSL card.

So, very easily, just search my respective log in ClubLog (e.g.:, like depicted below:

and then, just click on "Request QSL card" option to move on to the next screen, where you have to insert our QSO data in the empty boxes, to confirm QSO data details with ClubLog, like shown below:

After inserting QSO data, click "Confirm QSO details" and 2 options will show up in "QSL options" respective box, like below:

You now have the option to request the QSL card either via bureau, or via Direct mail to your address. Bureau is free of charge, Direct costs 2.43 EUR per 4 QSOs (as many as fit in my QSL card, hi!). Choosing Direct, will lead you to a checkout form which will be finalized via PayPal payment.

Kudos to ClubLog owners for implementation of OQRS service.
Not only QSLing is made easy, one may also confirm he is "in the log", before requesting one`s QSL card. To my humble opinion, the best advantage of the system is that it saves you time and money, while at the same time pertaining a high level of availability and freely offering a full set of OQRS management tools.

Note that if you already are a registered ClubLog user and have uploaded your QSO data, when searching my logs, you won`t need filling in the QSO data in the white boxes, they are automatically filled by your log data. And that`s it!

Enjoy ClubLog`s services and should you require any assistance, don`t hesitate to drop me a line at: