Sunday, October 19, 2008

On listening to the ISS and Contest feedback

Perhaps most interesting this weekend was taking the time to have a listen to the International Space Station (ISS) on 2m. Alerted to the activity by Paul, M3JFM and Pete, M3PHP on Twitter, I had a listen on the set in the car to a couple of passes on 145.800 FM.

The passes I listened to were good overhead affairs with good strong signals. Sadly, they were SSTV transmissions, rather than voice transmissions. As you can imagine, I didn't have SSTV receive capability in the car (though it's a thought!), but Paul and Pete did a great job of recording the tones and decoding them to some pictures which you can see over at Paul's Flickr site - the picture here is courtesy of M3JFM and M3PHP.

If like me, you'd rather listen to some audio - take a listen to the audio file that Paul and Pete recorded of the QSO between the ISS and Bugbrooke Primary School near Warwick. - it's great.

Well done Paul and Pete - thanks for your enthusiasm on the project - it inspired me to take a listen where I normally wouldn't have done!

Contest feedback. I asked in the latest Radcom column for people's ideas on the sorts of contests they'd like to see in the calendar. Well, the first reply, and I should have guessed it, came from a non-contester, who actually wrote quite positively, but wanted contests shortened.

I replied positively and politely, I hope. But here where I can be me, I have to shout "Why FFS! None of you anti-contesters actually use the bands when there isn't a contest on. You just don't want to hear contesting on the bands'.

Over on Twitter, KA3DRR made the same point today, wondering if weekend activity IS contesting. Pretty much, I reckon. If there isn't a contest on a band at the weekend, you'll hear sparse activity. Unless there's a DXpedition or a contest on, I guarantee you this, the band won't be full of happy rag-chewers, really it won't.

I wondered whether this is like the drivers who, just want a clear road to themselves and don't want anyone else on the road, whether they want to drive that day or not. I know not every person opposed to radio contesting thinks this way, but I can see a whole tranche who do. I call them the 'Dog in the Manger' brigade. DIM for short? Acronym, of course, no reflection on mental acuity.

Finally, yet not entirely unrelated to the contest feedback thoughts, it was FOC's Bill Windle QSO Party on CW yesterday. I got on to make a few QSOs late on Saturday evening and was pleased to work MU0FAL and G4BJM on 3.5MHz as well as W1WEF on 7MHz. Nice contacts. Everyone else seemed to be playing Worked All Germany (WAG).

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