Pages

Monday, 29 February 2016

Skegness Log: 2016-02-29 (MW)

1270 0400 USA WTSN, Dover (NH) Two IDs on the hour by YL Weak  5168 km **
1140 0459 CUB CMIP Radio Surco, Morón (ca) CMAP call letters and Radio Surco ID Weak  7333 km
1440 0559 USA WHKZ, Warren (OH) Mentioning WHKZ Warren and The Word Weak  5940 km

** Personal First

Good DX!

John Faulkner, Skegness, Lincolnshire (JO03dd) 1m ASL
Blog: http://skegnessdx.blogspot.com

Receiver: Elad FDM-S2 SDR Receiver
Antenna:  Movable 10ft x 25ft flag (home) Various Beverage antennas 'on location' in rural Lincolnshire.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Skegness Log: 2016-02-28 (MW)

1350 0435 MEX XEQK-AM Tropicalísima 1350, México D.F/San Lorenzo Tezonco (dif) Tropicalisma
              ID heard with lively tropical music. Briefly rising up to match Kingstown
              Radio Weak  8904 km **

1640 0600 USA WTNI Biloxi (Gulfport) (MS) WTNI ID in noise Weak  7294 km
1470 0627 MEX XEAI-AM Radio Fórmula 3, México D.F/Granjas Esmeralda (dif) Radio
              Fórmula catorce setenta ID Fair  8904 km

1410 0629 MEX XEBS-AM La Más Perrona, México D.F/Iztacalco (dif) La Más Perrona ID Fair
              8901 km

1380 0630 MEX XECO-AM Romántica 1380, México D.F/Barrio Zapotla (dif) Clear ID on good
              signal peak Fair  8900 km

1650 0637 MEX XEAZR-AM ZER Radio 1650, México D.F. (dif) Zer Radio spoken ID by YL and
              OM, then George Michael's Careless Whisper Fair  8898 km

1270 0638 MEX XERPL-AM La Poderosa, León (gua) IDs noted at 06:38:12 and 06:41:33
              Weak  8910 km **

1590 0642 MEX XEVOZ-AM La Mexicana, Los Reyes Ac

** Personal First

Another good Mexican morning.

Good DX!

John Faulkner, Skegness, Lincolnshire (JO03dd) 1m ASL
Blog: http://skegnessdx.blogspot.com

Receiver: Elad FDM-S2 SDR Receiver
Antenna:  Movable 10ft x 25ft flag (home) Various Beverage antennas 'on location' in rural Lincolnshire.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Migration To New Hosts

After much disappointment concerning the reliability of my current hosting company, Dataflame, I am just about to start on the process of migration to the new hosting company.

Decision who to move to has not been an easy decision as no one single company ticks all the proverbial boxes. I was tempted to look for something 'cheap and cheerful' as I have often heard it said that all the hosting companies are just about as bad as each other. So why pay a lot? But, after analysing several different hosting packages, it seems that they all work out at roughly the same prices anyway.

But it's always about the luck of the draw. Some people use a company for years and don't have a single problem, while somebody else uses the same company and experiences many problems.

Since the main concern is that the company I use should be 'reliable', I decided in the end to go for a major player who, in theory, should be 'big enough to deliver'. So I now start the task of leaving Dataflame, getting everything unlocked and hopefully back online with my new hosting company, 1&1 Internet, within 24 hours. Am I being optimistic? Probably. Let's see.

So all my emails and both websites will be offline for a short period. It's possible that a few emails might get lost in the process, however, any stray emails should be re-presented to me over the next two to three days after the the new hosting takes effect.

Thanks to those on the Skywaves Group who gave me hosting suggestions. I didn't take up any of the suggested companies and, in fact, chose to go with the one company which I was advised NOT to move to ... 1&1 Internet. About ten years ago, I used to manage a website for a company who had their website on 1&1 Internet's servers and I was always impressed by their reliability and connection speeds. Hopefully I will enjoy the same reliable service today.


2016-02-27 01:10 Edit: 
Yesterday afternoon, a 1&1 Internet operator in the Philippines told me that the migration from Dataflame's servers to 1&1's had begun and advised that I should now wait for a few hours for migration to take effect. 

I understand a little about how migration works and how it takes time for domains to spread around the WWW. I've been here twice before, so I can remember that much. 

However, some seven hours after being told that the migration from Dataflame's servers had already begun (and all my emails suddenly stopped working), I am receiving email from Dataflame's servers once again. Something has clearly gone wrong. I am wondering if 1&1 have passed me back to Dataflame, lol. "Not that John Faulkner, send him back, QUICK!" :O)
Did I really expect this migration to go that smoothly? Of course not!

So more phone calls tomorrow. And this comes the day after eBay delete 161 of my shop listings! So it's 'business as usual' in the Faulkner household. 

You really couldn't make this up!


2016-02-28 13:25
... and several hours later, more telephone calls to 1&1 confirmed my suspicions, that no transfers had taken place at all! 

Today's problem was that I had to make further payments in order for the transfers to take place. 1&1 were trying to charge me for an extra domain - the one which is included free of charge for the first year. I can only assume this was the reason for the hold-ups. The Philippino operator insisted I had to pay for both domains. I told her she was wrong but she wouldn't listen. 

Then I telephoned Sales in the USA where the operator conformed that the first domain was free. So it was back to the Philippines and, as luck would have it, I got through to the same Philippino operator who had changed her mind and agreed that the first domain was free, therefore she would now initiate the transfers and take care of the nameservers, etc.

Christ on a fucking bike! How complicated is this?

An hour later and, still, everything points to Dataflame. Another entry for my Daily Shit page!


2016-02-28 13:55
At last, something is happening. Both domains are now showing in my 1&1 account and I have been able to test email on one account. That one is working at least. My G1VVP account is still stuck with Dataflame - and this one was transferred first - supposedly. I don't think so!

Just over 24 hours from initiating the transfers and only the second one has fully transferred. So it's yet another phone call to the operator in the Philippines. 


2016-02-28 20:55
Finally, it's all working. Not sure why it took quite this long but it could have been much worse. Minor cock-ups on the part of 1%1 and Dataflame behaved. 

Admittedly, these have only been minor problems, but I can't say it has been a great start with 1&1. I can only hope that my new hosting lives up to 1&1's 'uptime' figures, which were 99.98% last week. 

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Skegness Log: 2016-02-23 (MW)

 972 1700 KOR HLCA KBS Hanminjok Bangsong 1, Dangjin (ccg) Time signal and jingle.
              YL and OM IDs Weak  8740 km

1269 1700 CHN China Radio Int./Voice of Russia, Xuanwei/SARFT726 (YN) CRI interval
              signal down in noise Vweak  8561 km

 972 1800 TJK VOA Radio Aap Ki Dunyaa, Orzu (ktl) English ID - "Voice Of America,
              Washington DC", mixing Dangjin Weak  5398 km **


** Personal First (Skegness)

First time I've heard the Voice of America on 972. I guess this transmitter is beaming south into Afghanistan. It got me wondering who the likely Afghan suspects are these days? I'm sure there is one which sometimes  gets through to the UK.

Also in that general area, I pondered about Pakistani possibilities. If it's only 1008 then I'll have to wait another year or two to go for that one. I had them on 1008 in the 80s when the Netherlands used to sign off for the night. They would appear at local sign-on midwinter around 0100. Nostalgia!

Good DX!

John Faulkner, Skegness, Lincolnshire (JO03dd) 1m ASL
Blog: http://skegnessdx.blogspot.com

Receiver: Elad FDM-S2 SDR Receiver
Antenna:  Movable 10ft x 25ft flag (home) Various Beverage antennas 'on location' in rural Lincolnshire.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Daily Shit!

Nothing works in this country anymore.

How useless is "useless"? When do you decide that things have gone too far? When do endless phone calls and letters become a harassment?

When does a post become a "rant"? Well, I have a special 'tag' for rants on my blog :O) In fact, I used to publish an end of year rant entitled "New year's Dishonours List" (based on the government's "New Years Honours List"), only my rants were intended to cast shame on those large companies and organisations who really don't care about anything other than money and blatant extortion. We get threatened almost daily by these companies. They issue extortionate demands for money we do not owe and generally harass us in the hope that we will just pay up.

I spend far too many hours filing complaints and reporting companies to ombudsman's services who incessantly try to take us for a ride.

After a while, I deleted all but the first of these posts (sorry, "rants"). I don't want to be seen to be too much like my TV hero Victor Meldrew, do I? But the despicable activity of these low-life, incompetent organisations beggars belief. So much so that, this year I decided to keep a record of the typical shit we have to deal with on an almost daily basis. I'll publish here and keep it up to date. 

Even I as I typed this introduction I was rudely interrupted by a phone call from First utility (our energy suppliers) for a demand for money which I do not owe them - the SIXTH phone call I've had from them today! AAAAAGHHH!

If I added up the number of hours I have wasted, being on the phone to people, sending emails, writing letters and complaining about these (dis)organisations, I would probably find that I waste several weeks per year in the process. 

So, in a very simple tabular format, I will include a brief account of the nonsense we have to put up with. Yes, some of these accounts are quite trivial, some others are more serious, such as many ongoing problems with our local doctor's surgery and the various hospitals we've had to deal with over the years due to my wife's disabilities. The overall stress levels of this year's shit has been quite overwhelming and stressful at times.

Anyway, enjoy the nonsense which follows, or better still, read something else more interesting. The following is for my own record and there is some vain hope that this gets things off my chest. I doubt that.

2016-01-10 East Lindsey District Council Letter, resulting in 20 minute phone call. Eviction notice issued (the latest of many). Demand for non-payment of council tax, totaling more than £1000. A continuing error on their part (now in its sixth year), in which they have admitted that the error is theirs and have stated that we are FULLY up-to-date. We can therefore ignore all notices of eviction – and there have been several.
2016-01-14 First Utility Ignored Demands for £200 of overdue bill. Our energy Bill (gas and electricity) is actually up-to-date. Ongoing problem from last year. Our complaint to the Energy Ombudsman's Services (supposedly resolved) clearly didn't have any impact.
2016-01-16 eBay Contacted PayPal. See above. eBay and PayPal put a hold on my funds without warning or explanation. Odd, since I have been buying and selling without problem for time. eBay had only recently increased my selling limits. Took it to PayPal (as above) who were unable to resolve the issue which they blamed on their website coding. Ongoing.
2016-01-18 Sky 45 minute phone call Monthly bill increased by £24. Operator advised that the new tariff, given before Christmas, was too cheap and needs to increase it. Complaining results in increase in tariff but with one-off payment of £60 as a way of compensating for the tariff increase!
2016-01-19 Dataflame Web Hosting 90 minutes online chat Two weeks of emails and FTP access failing. Chat operator inexperienced and nosing around things which did not concern him. Not resolved. Email complaint to head office. Ticket issued. Then no further response. Will be taking this to NOMINET. (Maybe better to change hosting company shortly)
2016-01-20 East Lindsey District Council 3 x phone calls totalling 20 minutes Once again. despite being up-to-date, received another letter to advise £800 behind in council tax. Random amounts like this are generated regularly. As always, ELDC they say they will resolve this immediately, but they never do.
2016-01-22 First Utility Ignored Demands for £400 of overdue bill. Bill is actually up-to-date. Ongoing problem from last year.
2016-01-22 First Utility 20 minute phone call from them £549 overdue bill! (This has increased by £149 in less than one day! Remarkable, even by their standards!) Gave meter readings and explained that we are up to date with payments Resolved! Yeah, but it won't be the last of it.
2016-01-28 Dataflame Web Hosting 60 minutes online chat Email service failing They solved it after going through my settings via TeamViewer. Problem at their end, as usual. No explanation given. Me blamed, as usual.
2016-01-30 Dataflame Web Hosting 45 minutes online chat Email service failing Unable to solve problems, nor give satisfactory answer/conversation. Challenged them on the fact that they know all my account and password details.
2016-02-01 TV Licencing 10 minute phone call They cancelled my licence and refunded £5. (???) I hadn't made any payments since November as I was up to date. I refuse to pay in advance as they always want. There is no legal requirement to do this. Snotty cow of an operator demanded advance payment for next year. I refused. New licence started after refund, which gave me three free months. Oh well, their stupid mistake.
2016-02-04 TV Licencing Letter Written demand to buy a TV licence. Ignored.
2016-02-09 Sky Letter £31 charge for cancelling my contract mid-term. (I haven't! Their incompetence knows no bounds.) Ignored.
2016-02-10 First Utility Letter Demand for £431

2016-02-11 Sky Phone call, lasting 15 minutes. Sorting out the shit above! An operator had cancelled down my last account but forgot to un-tick the cancellation fee box. Oh really? Convenient! They cancelled the cancellation fee.
2016-02-12 First Utility Letter Demand for £441 Ignored.
2016-02-12 First Utility Phone call to my mobile, lasting 15 minutes. I hung up in the end. Previous demand was based on the good old 'estimated meter reading'. Challenged this and gave meter readings. Advised that a revised bill would be issued.
2016-02-13 First Utility Letter Demand for £441 Ignored.
2016-02-15 First Utility Phone call to my mobile, lasting five minutes. I hung up in the end. Demand for £441 Ignored.
2016-02-16 First Utility Phone call to mobile, lasting 10 minutes. I hung up again. Demand for £481 this time. Threatened them with Energy Ombudsman again, whom I will complain to again, not that it will do any good – it didn't the first time.
2016-02-16 First Utility Phone call to my mobile Demand for £481 Ignored.
2016-02-16 Beacon Medical Practice, Skegness After three months of trying to get an appointment to see our doctor to chase follow-up appointments for my wife's medical conditions, diagnosed last November, she finally got to see Dr Mahmood. What a waste of time that was! Dr Mahmood just talked over us and refused to chase up the three urgent appointments which were promised four months ago – all of which were supposed to have been booked within three weeks of last November's appointment.  Looking into moving to the other Skegness doctor's surgery, but seriously considering reporting Beacon to General Medical Council as this is latest in a LONG string of failures and cock-ups by them. 
2016-02-10 East Lindsey District Council Letter, resulting in 20 minute phone call. Demand for non-payment of council tax, totaling more than £1000. A continuing error on their part (now in its sixth year), in which they have admitted that the error is theirs and have stated that we are FULLY up-to-date. We can therefore ignore all notices of eviction – and there have been several.
2016-02-14 First Utility Phone call. Demands for £200 of overdue bill. Our energy Bill (gas and electricity) is actually up-to-date. Ongoing problem from last year. Our complaint to the Energy Ombudsman's Services (supposedly resolved) clearly didn't have any impact.
2016-02-15 First Utility Several phone calls. Demands for £441 of overdue bill. Our energy Bill (gas and electricity) is actually up-to-date. Largely ignored.
2016-02-16 First Utility Several phone calls. Demands for £441 of overdue bill. Our energy Bill (gas and electricity) is actually up-to-date. Largely ignored.
2016-02-17 First Utility Several phone calls. Demands for £481 of overdue bill. Our energy Bill (gas and electricity) is actually up-to-date. Largely ignored.
2016-02-18 First Utility Phone call lasting 10 minutes. Demands for £481 of overdue bill. Our energy Bill (gas and electricity) is actually up-to-date. Had it out with the operator and I demanded that they stop hassling me. Operator said she would make sure their phone calls stopped. (This has been promised on several occasions, but always resumes again shortly afterwards.)
2016-02-20 Dataflame Online chat (15 minutes) Emails not working Problem resolved.
2016-02-23eBayPhone call (45 minutes)Problems with listings in my shop. Problem not really resolved, but issue was with eBay servers not refreshing and oddities in listing updates.
2016-02-23DataflameAll my (13) email addresses not workingNot bothering as plan to move to new hosts now underway
2016-02-25eBayDeleted 157 listings from my eBay Store. Deciding what action to take.

I couldn't be arsed to include the shit of the last couple of days of February as it's too complicated to explain.

But the daily shit just goes on and on, as it always will, because unscrupulous corporations continue to extort money out of us. They won't beat me though, but at what cost? Many, many hours spent on the phone is the price I pay. It's infuriating beyond belief, but necessary. 

It's also useful in a way as I have been able to turn the tables on many occasions and play them at their own game, demanding reductions in bills, etc.

As we enter a new month, the internet is not working again. Well, it's working for five minutes - then disconnects for five minutes.

Today's telephone call to Sky Customer No-Services had me in stitches! Those predictable while you wait telephone messages you hear. This morning's was an absolute belter! .... "Here at Sky, we work around the clock, seven days a week, to make sure that your broadband stays connected all the time ... " Yep! You have to laugh

For those of you who do not have any of the above problems, don't worry. You WILL have them soon enough. Once they start, there's no stopping them. I've seen this with other so many other people. There's no escape. 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Skegness Log: 2016-02-14 (MW)

1140 0200 CUB CMIP Radio Surco, Morón (ca) Full ID including call letters. Total CBI fade
              at this time Weak  7333 km **

1190 0300 CLM HJCV Radio Cordillera, Bogotá D. C. (bdc) Full ID with frequency, etc.
              Weak  8566 km

1400 0301 GRD Harbour Light of the Windwards, Carriacou/Tarleton Point (cpm) Beautiful
              music from the 
Harbour Light, your source for quality music ... Talking
              Book programme. No trace of CBG Fair  7033 km


** Personal First (Skegness)

Good DX!

John Faulkner, Skegness, Lincolnshire (JO03dd) 1m ASL
Blog: http://skegnessdx.blogspot.com

Receiver: Elad FDM-S2 SDR Receiver
Antenna:  Movable 10ft x 25ft flag (home) Various Beverage antennas 'on location' in rural Lincolnshire.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Skegness Log: 2016-02-12 (MW)

1380 0444 CAN CKPC Brantford ON Country, as web. Followed for 20 mins. Mixing another
                   country station and a US talker.  Fair  5767 km

1270 0700 USA WXYT Detroit MI Call letters heard in local burbly QRN Weak  6028 km
1440 0700 USA WMAX Bay City MI Area weather forecast then WMAX ID spoken quickly.
                   Fair  5953 km **

1440 0700 USA WHKZ Warren OH ID - Bringing The Word to northern Ohio, a service of
                   Salem Media Group. 1220 WHKW ID.  Fair     5940 km

1540 0700 USA KXEL Waterloo IA 15-40 KXEL Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Fox News Radio
                   IDs Fair  6547 km

1600 0700 USA WAAM Ann Arbor MI WAAM heard twice under WUNR. Also Fox News Radio ID.
                   Fair  6036 km **


** Personal First (Skegness)

An interesting morning with conditions favouring the Michigan area. Thanks to everybody who listened to my recording of 1440. The general consensus was that this was WMAX. Thank you Matthias, Max, Torgeir, Paul C, Thomas Cobley, etc. for your help with this.

There were a lot of stations which 'got away' this morning. Very good conditions for February too, usually a less interesting month. Saying this somewhat cautiously, but I think we are now, very gradually, starting to wave goodbye to the solar maximum. There have been more days of DX in 2016 than there were at the end of 2015.

Good DX!

John Faulkner, Skegness, Lincolnshire (JO03dd) 1m ASL
Blog: http://skegnessdx.blogspot.com

Receiver: Elad FDM-S2 SDR Receiver
Antenna:  Movable 10ft x 25ft flag (home) Various Beverage antennas 'on location' in rural Lincolnshire.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Skegness Log: 2016-02-05 (MW)

1470 0659 USA WWNN, Pompano Beach (FL) Health talk, as per David Hamilton's clip.
              V v weak  7095 km


Good DX!

John Faulkner, Skegness, Lincolnshire (JO03dd) 1m ASL
Blog: http://skegnessdx.blogspot.com

Receiver: Elad FDM-S2 SDR Receiver
Antenna:  Movable 10ft x 25ft flag (home) Various Beverage antennas 'on location' in rural Lincolnshire.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Skegness Log: 2016-02-02 (MW)

1380 0541 VEN YVNG Ondas del Mar, Puerto Cabello (cbb) Ondas Del Mar ID between lively
              LA rhythms Weak  7637 km **


** Personal First (Skegness)

Nice to be able to access 1380 better now France has vacated 1377. A personal first here!

Good DX!

John Faulkner, Skegness, Lincolnshire (JO03dd) 1m ASL
Blog: http://skegnessdx.blogspot.com

Receiver: Elad FDM-S2 SDR Receiver
Antenna:  Movable 10ft x 25ft flag (home) Various Beverage antennas 'on location' in rural Lincolnshire.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Skegness Log: 2016-02-01 (MW)

1320 0331 VEN YVWP Radio Apolo, Turmero (arg) Short Radio Apolo sung jingle ID
              Fair  7627 km

1430 0332 PTR WNEL Radio Tiempo, Caguas (PR) Jingle ID with Radio Tiempo sung three times
              in 
succession Fair  6825 km **
1500 0335 VEN YVRZ Radio 2000 AM, Cumaná (suc) En Dos Mil, la ponche(?) y ocho minutos
              Fair  7396 km

1280 0400 PTR WCMN NotiUno, Arecibo (PR) Noti Uno ID heard in splatter Fair  6849 km
1440 0400 NCG YNRM Radio Maranatha, Managua (mng) A mention of Ríos de Agua Viva. This
              church and 
Radio Maranatha apparently have strong links - thank you to Mauricio
              Molano Sánchez for 
help with this.  Weak  8705 km **
1400 0404 CLM HJAS RCN Antena 2, Barranquilla (atl) Antena Dos IDs in promos. Thank you
              Mauricio Molano Sánchez for help with site. V weak  8049 km **


** Personal First (Skegness)

A good Latin American morning with stations only on the top half of the band.

Many stations heard - very few identified.

Some unusual frequencies were occupied and there were often two or three stations on some frequencies. Nice to hear clear DX on frequencies like 1340 and 1490. But luck did not go my way with the tops of each hour. Everything faded either at the wrong moment or during the gaps between songs. But luck was definitely going my way with Radio Maranatha on 1440 - my first reception of Nicaragua on medium wave and it's thanks to Mauricio Molano Sánchez in Salamanca for his help IDing the station.

Good DX!

John Faulkner, Skegness, Lincolnshire (JO03dd) 1m ASL
Blog: http://skegnessdx.blogspot.com

Receiver: Elad FDM-S2 SDR Receiver
Antenna:  Movable 10ft x 25ft flag (home) Various Beverage antennas 'on location' in rural Lincolnshire.

Skegness Log: 2016-02-16 (FM)

Band 2 Tropospheric:
 87.9 0752  F  France Inter, Pic du Midi (65) OM and YL, as 87.9  1136km
 88.2 0744  F  France Culture, Ussel-Meymac/Mont Bessou (19) Sombre music, as 98.0  853km
 90.4 0742  F  France Inter, Clermont-Ferrand/Puy-de-Dôme (63) OMs, as 103.7  842km
 90.6 0816  F  France Inter, Nantes/Haute-Goulaine (44) YL, as 103.7  675km
 91.1 0736  F  France Musique, Niort/Maisonnay (79) Vocal ID  774km
 92.2 0741  F  France Musique, Tours/Chissay [41] (37) OM and YL, as 91.1  646km
 95.5 0756  F  France Musique, Clermont-Ferrand/Puy-de-Dôme (63) Jovial studio chat, as 88.7
               842km

103.4 0842  F  France Info, Lyon/Mont Pilat (42) As 105.2  917km

Good DX!

John Faulkner
Skegness, Lincolnshire (JO03dd) <3m ASL.
Blog: http://skegnessdx.blogspot.co.uk
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/g1vvp
Vimeo Channel: https://vimeo.com/skegnessdx

Receivers:
Elad FDM-S2 (Meteor Scatter and sporadic E)
Sony XDR-F1HD with Konrad i2c mod. (Tropo/Scatter)

Aerials:
Körner 9.2 @ 5.5 metres agl. QTH is approximately 3 metres asl, 1km from the sea.
Fringe Electronics 20dB pre-amp.

Software:
Elad FDM-SW2, SDR Console File Analyser & RDS Spy via VAC.
XDR-GTK v0.3.1 for the Sony XDR-F1HD

Rotator:
Yaesu G-5500 azimuth & elevation rotator, allowing antenna to be vertical, horizontal, etc.