Getting back on the air!

I have been struggling to get back on the HF Bands for a while now. Though I am active on APRS from my car, both terrestrially and through the ISS, but I’ve not really been very active on voice modes.

I did have a few (my first) satellite contacts last October through AO-51 but I really haven’t had a chance to get back to it.

As I’ve not really been active for 10 years or so, I’ve had a major problem with my logging. A Stations log is where an operator is required to log each and every contact that (s)he makes. Sometime (mostly) us hams exchange a QSL card to confirm the contact. They look something like this:

I was actually driving back from a SAGE meeting at the time and basically just responed with a “Hi”, much to the bemusement (and maybe slight panic) of my passengers.

The point is my log has been a disaster, I’ve lost pages due to moving house, operating in different countries (when a small bag with radio and other bits of metal goes through the x-ray machine, they tend not to be worried about the paperwork when they ask you to open the bag… sir!). I started thinking about an electronic log again, but being a Linux user, the choices are slightly more restricted.

This time, however, I was pleseantly surprised when I came across LiHaLo. It is a L.A.M.P. application, and it works very very well. Last night, I finally got all of my current logbook entered and just towards the end, came across a small problem. Some of the satellites I had operated through were not ‘available’. A quick “insert” of a new entry into the satellite table, and problem is solved. It may not be very slick looking, but it is more than adequate my my needs.

Now I just need to get an external antenna up and get myself more organised for portable satellite operation and I should start increasing my ‘country’ total. At the moment it stands at (a pretty pathetic) 24 countries confirmed with QSL cards, 43 that I ‘think’ that I have worked. I never knew those statistics until I entered my logs into LiHaLo.