Archive - December 2015

ARRL 10 Meter Contest



The 2015 ARRL 10 Meter Contest is just ahead on the 12th & 13th December. This popular event is lots of fun, and you never know what sort of propagation you might encounter on 10 meters.

The ARRL encourages computer loggers to check out the new web-based log uploading facility. It offers quick response and instant feedback, and if your log has a problem, you’ll be able to fix it on the fly and upload the log again on the spot.

For paper loggers or for those using software that does not generate a Cabrillo file, there is a convenient data entry service that converts your log data into Cabrillo format and forwards it on to the ARRL’s log handling service. You also can still submit your log via e-mail.

Whichever method is more convenient, be sure to submit a log, even if you only made a few contacts. It improves the quality of the log checking, and you might even find yourself in line for a certificate! Post any soapbox comments and photos to the ARRL’s Soapbox page.


International Humanitarian Award


Amateur Radio is one of the few telecommunication services that allow people throughout the world from all walks of life to meet and talk with each other, thereby spreading goodwill across political boundaries. The ARRL International Humanitarian Award recognizes Amateur Radio’s unique role in international communication and the assistance amateurs regularly provide to people in need.

Nominations should include a summary of the nominee’s actions that qualify the individual (or individuals) for this award, plus verifying statements from at least two people having first-hand knowledge of the events warranting the nomination. These statements may be from an official of a group (for example, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, a local or state emergency management official) that benefited from the nominee’s particular Amateur Radio contribution. Nominations should include the names and addresses of all references.

All nominations and supporting materials for the 2015 ARRL International Humanitarian Award must be submitted in writing in English to ARRL International Humanitarian Award, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA.

Nominations are due by December 31, 2015. In the event that no nominations are received, the committee itself may determine a recipient or decide to make no award.

The winner of the ARRL International Humanitarian Award receives an engraved plaque and a profile in QST and other ARRL venues.



DP1POL & DP0GVN – Antarctica


Felix, DL5XL will once again be on the air signing DP1POL from Neumayer Station III, Antarctia (Grid Locator IB59UH), between November 2015 and February 2016.

As usual, the main mode will be CW on all HF bands, with a little activity in digimodes and maybe phone, as well. QSL via DL1ZBO or LotW.

There will also be a ham radio operator on the station’s next wintering team: Marcus, DL1MH, expects to use the callsign DP0GVN of HF, mainly in SSB, from December 2015 to February 2017.

QSL cards for this operation can be requested from DL5EBE.


K5P- Palmyra Press release


In about a month, the Palmyra Team will be assembling in Hawaii on the first leg of their journey to Palmyra and our excitement is growing!
Palmyra ranks in the top ten of the Most Wanted List and #2 in Europe!
As with major DXpeditions, there has been a change of plans due to unforeseen events. Based on the original award received in January
2015, a Team of 12 operators was assembled.
The air charter is provided by our host, The Nature Conservancy, as part of the award. Earlier this year, the air strip was decertified and as a result the aircraft type had to be changed to allow access to the Palmyra. The aircraft selected will only seat 9 persons, which is a major change of plans for the DXpedition. Several alternate options were examined but were unsuccessful.
It was with great pain that three of the operators stepped back from the Team to allow the DXpedition to proceed.
All equipment has been received, being pretested and packaged for shipment to Hawaii. The Team plans on leaving Hawaii for Palmyra on 11 January 2016 and being active from 12 January through 25 January.
Future Palmyra Atoll activations may not happen for many years, as access is severely restricted. Permissions to operate on these rare and extremely controlled locations are very difficult to obtain. We wish to thank The Nature Conservancy and the US Fish and Wildlife Service for their cooperation and support. Without this, K5P Palmyra2016 would not occur.  
Check the K5P Palmyra2016 web page for future updates, propagation predictions and donation page.


A brief history of Clublog

clublog image

It is difficult to sum up every feature, but to finish setting the scene, Club Log is currently storing 300 million QSOs that are owned by 45,000 users from every corner of the globe. Club Log is free of charge, and free from commercial influences such as advertising or sponsorship. Instead, users can choose to make a donation from time to time. This is an effective, alternative model to charging that keeps Club Log viable.

How did all this start?

Although I was first licensed in 1994 when I was 16 years old, I did not really do much serious amateur radio. I was of course interested in computers and the internet. I never really thought to push on to the full class ‘A’ license and the rewards of HF back then, and in the intervening time, I was a student at Cambridge studying engineering. After completing that course, I founded a software company (so time was somewhat in short supply!).

Thankfully, in the summer of 2005 or so, with a push from Martin G3ZAY, I got much more involved with the Cambridge University Wireless Society (G6UW), and began to take a keen interest in the HF bands and DXing. By 2007 the bug had really bitten, and I was considering writing some software to help me keep track of the DXCC entities I had worked.

Even though I had good logging tools on my own PC I could see that it could be great fun to establish a league table with some other locals. Rather naïvely I felt sure I could knock this problem on the head in a weekend or two by writing some code, and with a few tips from Dominic M0BLF (of RSGB IOTA fame) I decided to crack on and write Club Log v1.0.

The objective was simple: using the definitions of DXCC entities and the prefixes for those entities, I would read in the contents of an ADIF log file and convert every QSO into a database record. A database is a powerful analytical tool. It would mean I could make league tables and analyse the aggregate data, and maybe begin with some simple reports.

It was actually quite a delight to be able to combine my professional and radio interests into one project. I do consider myself very fortunate in that respect as it quickly became apparent that this little venture was going to need far more work than a weekend or two!

A bit of trivia – why is it called Club Log? Well, I felt it was fundamental that users should declare themselves to be members of clubs. Clubs would make it possible to create league tables that were smaller and more focused, and perhaps reset annually to reward activity. The word Club in the name is about this philosophy of making smaller, more regional user groups. It seems to work well.

The appeal of statistics

The potential of all the data in Club Log is tremendous. In our hobby, there is a fascination with statistics, mainly I think due to our awards and our tendency to be competitive. We are also interested in substantiating with facts our beliefs about the state of our hobby and its future.

Well, I had perhaps 2 million QSOs to analyse by 2008, and this figure doubled every year after that. Each new QSO sharpens up the database, and from the mass of QSOs piling up even at an early stage, I could see trends were emerging. I could find which bands were busy at which times of day, which DXCCs were most active, which modes were most popular – pretty much any question had an answer hiding in the raw data, and now it was in a database I could quickly get those answers. I was inspired by the possibilities for analysis.

Firstly, I added an empirical most wanted league. It works on the basis that when an entity has not been worked, it is ‘wanted’. This means that entities with fewer QSOs will rise up the most wanted league by counting the QSOs and ranking the results (with a little bit of care about the way each user is counted). I remember being thrilled when I first ran this report, and out came an almost perfect most wanted list! It matched my expectations as a DXer so well, yet it was the product of empirical data.

Later, I added the ability to study the activity between two entities, as a graph of time against each band. It is not a propagation chart but looks very much like one due to the smooth curves in the data. This evolved from work Marios 5B4WN was doing with expedition charts at the time, and now in 2015 it also covers filtering by solar flux or comparing to VOACAP predictions. The underlying data is sprawling and intractable on its own, but this tool makes it feel simple and manageable to explore.

I must say, it is great fun bring the data to life with tools or reports. I have gladly collaborated with one or two like-minded DXers, such as Wayne N7NG and Roger G3SXW, to perform interesting analyses from time to time. These reports can reveal the state of our hobby and how it might be changing. For example, I made a graph of the proportion of QSOs are made in CW each year – pleasingly it seems to be SSB that gives way to data modes, while CW remains as popular as ever! See if you are interested.

Building the team

Although I made very little attempt to promote Club Log back in 2008 (knowing it had a few problems with DXCC lookups at the time), it quickly obtained a bit of a following, especially in the UK. There were some aspects of this that I could handle, such as hardware, hosting and databases, but in other areas I was going to need some help. By good fortune, I was able to team up with two very important people:

  • Marios, 5B4WN who had invented the now-ubiquitous expedition charts, leaderboards and propagation tables. First used by 3B7C and FSDXA, these charts were inspired by the designs of FOC member John, G3WGV, in his StarSuite system. Before Club Log, Marios would help individual expeditions to run the expedition charts code, but it was hit and miss and a lot of effort each time, with sometimes disappointing results if the server buckled under load. I worked with Marios to provide him with a way to make the expedition charts into a product – one that could be used by appropriate users of Club Log on demand, rather than needing special arrangements each time. We were able to make it reliable and fast under stressful conditions, at last. Marios has recently gone on to write the immensely popular Online QSL Request System (OQRS) that you see in Club Log. I must say his contribution to Club Log is extraordinary and it is a joy to collaborate with such an innovative, smart guy.
  • Alan, 5B4AHJ, who possesses a wealth of knowledge about callsigns, DXCC and IOTA, and has a background in software (having written Shacklog). Alan was keen to improve on the situation with the way Club Log was choosing DXCC values from the callsigns in people’s logs, and so back in 2008 or so – somewhat by accident I suspect – he began the long, long task of computerising the historical prefixes and entities from 1945 onwards. Alan has written extensively on how he does it. I will say that it is quite simply a mammoth task, and requires pouring through historical records and piecing together the geopolitics of amateur radio callsigns right through to the present day. Alan continues to manage this and improve upon Club Log’s precision every day. Only because of this work can Club Log generate credible information. I simply cannot imagine Club Log without Alan’s input.

Many others have helped, too. Gary ZL2IFB got things kicked off with our documentation project, which is hugely helpful to new users, and Jim KE8G also stepped in to give Alan and I some support dealing with Help Desk queries. You can sense, I hope, that it is only with such great volunteers that the real potential of Club Log has flourished.

Taking stock – 2007 to 2015

Club Log is about 8 years old – it really has whizzed by!

Learning new skills, databases and programming languages has been rewarding. As my professional life was turning to commercial and management responsibilities, Club Log gave me back the right to toy with computers and play with ideas that gripped me (but with a real purpose and focus, too). I have found this to be just right, and it is part of my reason for spending so much time on the project.

I must say, too, that cooperating with great people – other programmers, DXers and expedition teams – is a privilege. When a Club Log user provides a scan of a QSL card from the 1950s, it can be the last long-missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle for Alan’s research. When an expedition team logs 200,000 QSOs and Club Log calmly handles 2 million log lookups in a few weeks, that is truly gratifying. When we find a new DXCC in someone’s log, the shared sense of delight is amazing.

However, the truth is that 40,000 users can create a lot of correspondence, too. If you imagine that each user asks just one question every three years, it’s still over thirty emails sent to the Club Log helpdesk each day. We try our best to manage expectations on this front (and largely we are treated with exceptional tolerance and patience if we fall behind!). I think perhaps we are excused by the fact that Club Log is free. Had we charged even $1 for its use, I suppose our helpdesk would be mired in correspondence.

Perhaps the other consequence of Club Log is that I do not get to do quite as much on the air as I would like; instead, a lot of my hobby time is spent at the keyboard either maintaining existing systems that need performance enhancements as Club Log expands, or working towards future developments. One way or the other, to me this is all amateur radio and I am contented!

Come and have a chat

I hope this gives you the flavour of the origins of Club Log. The actual specifics have been glossed over, but I hope that any FOC member who is curious about Club Log will feel free to contact me directly at any time – you can email me at

I will also be doing a talk about the Club Log OQRS system at the RSGB Convention in Milton Keynes on Saturday 10 October 2015. This is a great chance to see how to use online QSLing in practice, if you are curious; alternatively you can ask me at the FOC Annual Dinner in Milton Keynes on 31 October.

I would like to thank publicly the many members of FOC who have actively helped and supported Club Log from its earliest days. Without their friendly encouragement and practical support to persevere, Club Log might not have succeeded – and there is still more to do!

161, Michael G7VJR

Credits & thanks to Michael G7VJR

3B9FR now on Clublog


Finally I managed to get an up to date Log on Clublog for Robert 3B8FR.

Up to date there are 88,000 qso’s in this log going back over a couple of years. Prior to that Robert’s logs are all in paper logs.

If you have any enquiries or log searched for historic qso’s please add them to the envelope when you request his Direct card. It is not possible to cope with hundreds of bureau requests to search for historic qso’s so please add your log checks to the Direct card when requested as Direct requests will always take priority.

Thank you.


”Multi Bureau requests”

K1024 SNV35131

We are under increasing pressure to reduce the cost burden to both our own bureau, and the IARU bureaus in processing tens of thousands of bureau requests each year. So to help in this matter I will now be sending the following email to all people who request several bureau cards at a time and to ask the claiment for a small donation towards costs. In return the QSL cards will be sent directly and delivered to them within 10 days of request, therfore lightening the load for the bureau system;


Thank you for your request for multiple Bureau Cards. Due to an ever increasing bureau workload I would like to ask you to consider a small donation, and these QSL cards will be posted to you DIRECT rather than the bureau system.

The financial burden from bureau requests to both the QSL manager and the IARU bureau is an ever increasing problem. In order to keep these financial costs to a lower level we are now asking multiple QSL requests to consider paying a small fee.

£3 GBP up to 4 QSL cards
£5 GBP up to 10 QSL cards
Payable to this PayPal address ;

In return, and instead of receiving those QSL cards in maybe one/two years through your bureau, we will mail out the QSL cards to you by Priority Air Mail wiithin 3 days of your request being made. Thank you!


Dutch Qsl Cards on downed flight MH-11


The Netherlands IARU member society VERON has reported that hams there have an opportunity to reclaim their QSL cards salvaged from the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine in 2014 — provided they’re willing to cover the cost of having them cleaned. VERON spotted the recovered cards in a YouTube video last year, and the Dutch QSL Bureau confirmed that a shipment of QSL cards had been headed for Indonesia, the flight’s planned destination. The 465 recovered cards now are at Schipol Airport near Amsterdam in the custody of Malaysian Airlines.

VERON has since learned that a hefty “cleaning” charge stands in the way of any hams who might want to reclaim their cards. According to VERON, a Malaysian Airlines attorney has indicated that a safety specialist must first clean the 465 cards before they may be returned to their senders. The quoted cost for the job is more than $27,000 US, exclusive of any taxes.

According to VERON, the cards belong to the radio amateurs who sent them, and neither it nor the Dutch QSL Bureau can make a decision on whether or not the cards should be cleaned. “Given the high cost, it is unlikely that the rightful owners want their cards back,” VERON said. “Nevertheless, the [VERON] central administration offers amateurs the chance to regain their QSL cards.” Any amateurs interested in reclaiming the salvaged cards should contact VERON.

MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it went down after being struck by a missile, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members. — Thanks to Southgate ARC via VERON/Jean-Paul Suijs, PA9X


ZL9A Antipodes

K1024 Capture

– All food provisions must be purchased from a specially approved DoC quarantine depot to comply with their regulations.
– Following the quarantine, we will rent a van and drive to Dunedin on Jan 4, where we will board the boat.

– It will take 3 days to sail to the Antipodes. Landing is only possible in cold, southerly winds. There are only two landing spots, both of them involving wet landing, one more dangerous than the other.

– Unless the sea conditions are perfect, landing can only be done away from the vertical cliffs on top of which the research hut is located, and will involve more than a couple of miles of steep hiking through boulders and slippery terrain.

– All equipment, personal effects and provisions will have to be carried out by our backs. It will take several trips back and forth to finish this work.

– We expect rainy, misty and foggy weather, with temperatures of 13-14C, hopefully with some sunny breaks. Same time last year, the DoC team was hit after landing by a strong hailstorm while the temperature plummeted to 3C.

– Please keep in mind that delays can occur at any step of this project!

We regret to inform that we have already incurred additional expenses as a result of higher cost of plane tickets over the holidays, baggage surcharges, and quarantine requirements. Any delays will obviously lead to yet additional costs.

Over the last few days we received several messages in which IOTA chasers expressed doubts that they will be able to make it through, either because of the propagation path (western EU), the anticipated pile-ups (ZL9 being a relatively rare DXCC), etc. While we cannot possibly guarantee that we will be able to log every single station which will be calling us, we wish to assure the IOTA chasers that our operators are familiar with the IOTA community, and that we will do every possible effort to provide it with a satisfactory service world-wide.

Meanwhile, as we continue to look for financial support from the amateur radio community, we will have to divide our attention to satisfy the needs and expectations of all groups and individuals who will step in and support this project. We would like to use this opportunity to ask once again the IOTA chasers who haven’t yet committed to this project to come on board!

We do need your help now, so please, please support our team at!

​Thank you and best regards,

Cezar, VE3LYC