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First hf activation and thanks

My first hf activation and it was in Belgium; well just about as we drove through Holland and then walked up through Germany!

Thanks to everyone who made contact although it took me logging a spot for someone to find me. I was struggling with interference from other very strong stations so sorry to anyone who had trouble getting through, particularly HB9DAX.

Please look out for me tomorrow… I will be up some DM/BW humps :o)

Carolyn (currently DL/G6WRW as I am camping in Mustertal, near Freiburg)

In reply to G6WRW:
Congratulations Carolyn,great to work you on the first hf activations.40mtrs from Devon to ON was workable ok with qrm but only just heard you on 40 from DL on Wed but very good signals on 20,enjoy the hols,88 Don.G0RQL.

Hi Carolyn

I seem to recall that you had expressed regret that you felt unable to operate in France on your travels due to concerns about the French interpretation of the CEPT agreement as it relates to former Class B licensees.

I have some good news! The July edition of RadCom has just arrived, and, amongst the letters on page 93, is an account of an enquiry to the French Licensing Authority on behalf of the holder of a similar callsign.

They have now stated, in an unequivocal written statement, that any UK Full Licence holder who has not passed a Morse test is, in their eyes, a Classe 2 operator, and may operate on all bands permitted in France. You may not, however, use CW, as that is only available in France to those who have passed a Morse test.

I hope that you manage to see this in sufficient time to make use of it on your travels.

73 de Les, G3VQO

What speed of morse test is that Les? And is it possible to take it anywhere in the UK? I don’t need it to get on HF here of course, but if I ever go to France to play SOTA, I would want to be using CW on 40m, and wouldn’t want my M1 callsign to get in the way!

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

Tom

As you know, I was UK Chief Morse examiner from 1990-1999.

In the last month I have received e-mails from M0 amateurs asking if I have a copy of their Morse test pass certificate, which is being requested by some overseas countries who still require proof of CW competence before allowing visitors to operate.

These ops have tried RSGB and Ofcom, who say they do not have copies of previous Morse test certificates, and neither do I.

The moral is clear, do not throw away your Morse test pass certificate until every country has revised their rules.

Roy G4SSH

I was tempted to ask about the situation with M0s in my previous post, they being a mix (or significantly more of a mix than other prefixes) of 12wpm passes and people who have never done CW.

My situation is a little different. I am, and have always been, an M1 - the class B callsign I originally got in 2001. I never upgraded it (or tried to), only venturing onto HF once the distinction between the class A and the class B was no more. So I have never done a morse test at any speed, and have never had a test pass certificate.

However, I would be confident of success in a 12wpm test. (Although you would probably disagree if you heard me trying to decipher G4OBK’s message last night!). Is there anywhere I can get a test, and would the pass certificate be recognised by the French, in this era of no morse requirement?

Tom M1EYP

In reply to G6WRW:

Hi Carolyn

Phew, we struggled on BW-003 but got there in the end, thanks for 3 out of 3. Hope you are enjoying your hols, we leave for Rottweil, DM/BW next Tuesday for a week of wheat beer and summits, heaven;-)

73
Mike GW0DSP

In reply to M1EYP:

The whole thing is a bag of worms. I saw a lot of this comming when the proposal to drop morse as requirement was first mooted and that’s why I got the old full A licence when they still did it simply so that I had the right bits of paper before they changed anything. But that doesnt help you.

You can probably take a US advanced or extra (whatever it is called today) class CW test with a volunteer examiner in this country and also do the US exam. Then get yourself a US call and then use that to prove you have the right qualifications.

Or you can form a club with some people who do have all the right paper and get some pre-2003 call reallocated and operate under that.

Or you can assume that the chances of some officious radio-plod demanding your papers when you’re up a hill in France to be so remote you just do what every Frenchman does and ignore any law he doesn’t approve of and operate where and when you want. [c.f. blockading Calais, setting fire to sheep lorries, blockading motorways, state aid for industry, limiting imports to VHS machines, smoking in public places etc. etc. etc. :wink: ]

Of course if nobody in the UK has any official records of passes… forge yourself a pass slip. How can they check it’s invalid as OFCOM can’t deny it? You can obviously use Morse so who’s going to know? Apart from anyone reading this forum!

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

You can probably take a US advanced or extra (whatever it is called
today) class CW test with a volunteer examiner in this country and
also do the US exam. Then get yourself a US call and then use that to
prove you have the right qualifications.

Good idea but no morse requirement now in the US either Andy… so probably the same problem.

73 Marc G0AZS (K1UG)

On the one occasion that I was accosted by the Gendarmerie whilst operating /P in France (some local had suggested that a foreign car with an antenna attached was somehow suspicious!), a quick glance at the Amateur Radio Validation Document (effectively the front page of the current licence document) drew smiles and murmours of “radio amateur” before they apologised for bothering me and drove off! I suspect that the likelihood of a) getting checked by officialdom, and b) said officialdom knowing the difference between licence classes in an English-language document, is minimal. If it happens, buy a Lotto ticket immediately - it’s your week for the jackpot!

73 de Les, G3VQO

In reply to G3VQO:

It’s in English, French and German now Les! Has been for some years. Though how any local plod will read it I don’t know. The recent changes to the licence say you must always keep a copy with you (even in the UK)! Given that it’s all electronic nowadays, I keep my copy with me on a memory key.

In reply to G0AZS:

What even the full privilege US ticket is Morse free? I thought it was only the bottom rung that was Morse free but for all the bands, modes etc. you needed 20wpm pass.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to Roy G4SSH:

The moral is clear, do not throw away your Morse test pass certificate
until every country has revised their rules.

You must be joking Roy. I still have mine issued, well, a long time ago. You would be hard pressed to find a less official looking bit of paperwork. It was typed with the heading “Post Office” (using a typewriter with just a trace of ink left on the ribbon) with my name and the examiners name being hand written. There is no ‘official’ stamp of any sort on it and the paper used bears a close resemblance to ‘Izal’ toilet paper.

I can’t see anyone accepting it as ‘formal proof’ today. However, I do have my Amateur Radio Certificate (which was issued with the license in those days) which does certify that I did pass the Morse test. At least that looks ‘official’.

In reply to Andy MM0FMF

In the USA, the highest license class is now Extra Class.
Quote:
“LEVEL 3: Extra Class License (upgrade from General)
EXAM REQUIREMENT: 50-question Extra Written Exam (Element 4); No Morse Code Exam.
PRIVILEGES: All amateur privileges.”

Regards, Mike G4BLH

In reply to MM0FMF:

What even the full privilege US ticket is Morse free? I thought it was
only the bottom rung that was Morse free but for all the bands, modes
etc. you needed 20wpm pass.

'fraid not Andy. Morse requirement in the US was abolished altogether in 2006. In fact when I did my Extra exams in 2002 whilst living in the US, I only had to do the 5wpm morse test to get an Extra ticket (it used to be 20wpm for Extra and 13wpm I think for General/Advanced but it dropped to 5wpm for all the higher classes in 1999).

73 Marc G0AZS (K1UG)

Thanks again to all those I worked while on the DM/BW summits and sorry to those that I did not manage to QSO with.

At the end of the second summit my battery went flat on the FT897 so I had to go QRP with the FT817. Unfortunately it became impossible to work anybody because people could not hear me.

Lessons learnt:

Always self-spot for a hf activation to save calling for nearly an hour without reply ;o)

Pile-ups on hf are more difficult to deal with than 2 metres ssb but still lots of fun :o)

I now know that the battery will last between 2 and 3 hours on the 897 whilst transmitting

The Black Forest hills are stunning with some great views; next time I may try the less touristy hills

Thanks also for the information concerning operating in France; it confirms what I had been told and read elsewhere. Does anyone know about operating in Italy as I will be there over the weekend.

Thanks all, see you on the next summit either in DM/BW today or HB9 in two days,

Carolyn

In reply to G6WRW:

Hi Carolyn,
I was most disappointed not to work you but it was like radio “Peek a boo”, now I hear you now I don’t. I called every time you came out of the QSB and then you disappeared again. I hope to catch you today but will be working for the HB9 summits. Best of luck, I am sure you are having fun and we will hear you on HF from the summits in the UK in the future. I hope you have taken lots of photographs of the stunning views for the FlickR page.

73 Steve GW7AAV

In reply to M1EYP:

However, I would be confident of success in a 12wpm test. (Although
you would probably disagree if you heard me trying to decipher G4OBK’s
message last night!). Is there anywhere I can get a test, and would
the pass certificate be recognised by the French, in this era of no
morse requirement?

Tom M1EYP

According to this month’s Radcom, the RSGB is preparing to issue a Certificate of Morse Competancy. “It will require receiving and sending text, including some punctuation, for 3 minutes with no more than three uncorrected errors and include some figure groups”.

The basic test will be at 5 wpm with endorsements at 12, 15, 20, 25 and 30 wpm.

The full details (including whether the French will accept it, I presume) are to follow.

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G6WRW:

Thanks also for the information concerning operating in France; it
confirms what I had been told and read elsewhere. Does anyone know
about operating in Italy as I will be there over the weekend.

Yes you can operate HF. The Morse requirement (like France) was removed years ago. Only one class of CEPT licence, so you have the same conditions as other full licence holders.

http://www.ari.it/iaru/visitors/

p.s. I think its best if you self spot shortly before you get to the summit.

Regards,
Nigel. G6SFP.

In reply to GW7AAV:

Hi Steve

I did hear you once and tried to call you back but QSB and QRM conspired against us.

Hopefully will work you from one of the summits down here.

Carolyn

This morning decided to do the nearest summit to the campsite. It just happened to be a one that hadn’t been activated before. We were on a tightish schedule to travel down to the next campsite in Interlaken so have very limited time.

Conditions on both 40m and 20m seemed very flat with very little heard but managed 5 quick contacts to claim the hill.

Tomorrow (Friday morning) we are planning to go up Schilthorn (HB/BE-048). I will try to self spot but operation will depend on weather.

Carolyn HB9/G6WRW… yet another call to remember during a pile-up :o)

Carolyn,

I’ve been listening for you on several of your summits this week, but HB/BE-068 was the first one where you just came up out of the noise long enough to hear you calling CQ SOTA and enable me to make a call.

Glad I managed one - it almost makes up for having no Es during my week off work. 6m and/or 2m are bound to be wide open at least one day next week when I’m back in the office.

Have a good Holiday.

Stewart G0LGS