People sometimes ask me whether I would be a typical/average German or not. Well, I do not drink coffee, and no beer either, so that alone probably makes me a non-typical German. But if you want to know what Germans are like, why not ask experts on the field - Germans. Udo Lindenberg has a a word or two to say:
OK, that was before the wall went down, which was a while ago. But Mundstuhl can tell you what contemporary Germans are like：
Yes, football play we better than you...
A new year has begun, but will it be better than the previous one? A few years back Bruce Schneier wrote an essay titled "Refuse to be terrorized ". Since the idea of terrorism is to cause terror, to scare people, to frighten them, terrorists do indeed win if you give in and are frightened by anything that may be the least bit out of the ordinary. And if people refuse to board a plane just because one of the passengers looks somehow similar to their personal imagination of a super villain, then the terrorists have won. You think that is not going to happen? Where do you live?
And just in case you think something like that is only going to happen in the US or Australia: Sorry, even countries claiming to be civilized, democratic and open, countries like Germany, are no exception.
Evil people may now claim that some governments actually like this situation, because their citizens will allow them almost anything to "protect" them. About ten years back, would you have allowed people to see you basically naked or even fondle your buttocks just so you can get on an airplane, especially on a domestic flight? And what for?
For an illusion. What sense does it make to restrict the liquids people can carry on board to let's say 50ml? If 55ml are indeed dangerous, then all I need is a second person with another 50ml and voila - 100ml! Or why may a person not board a plane after detectors found traces of a "dangerous" substance on his body, even though a search did not yield anything? Especially when said same person may board a flight the next day...
It's security theatre , as Bruce Schneier put it. Most "security" people are no "highly trained professionals" - those would be too expensive. You see, after all, your safety is not worth that much, it's rather about making money...
So don't let them scare you, refuse to be frightened, refuse to be terrorized, and enjoy the new year...
Perhaps you have noticed that a few BV stations with a three-digit number in their call sign are on the air now. This is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of an accidental bomb detonation. While we here in the south have got BN100 assigned, our friends from the north let us use BV100 on our new-year fieldday.
So we decided to spend the last hours of 2010 and the first two days of 2011 near a few mud volcanos not far from Gaoxiong city. While we are living in the tropical part of Taiwan, our winter can be somehow chilly sometimes, especially in the mountains, especially when a "cold wave" approaches from China.
The timing was perfect: We, used to temperatures of 3x degrees March through November decided to sleep in tents on a mountain when night temperatures were down to nine or ten degrees. But with the right nutrition and motivation, we are ready to face even such challenges.
"We", that is KDARC, the "Kaohsiung DX Amateur Radio Club". Do not put too much emphasis on the "DX" part. While we do that, we are simply the most active radio amateurs here in Gaoxiong. This time we had visitors from ART, the "Amateur Radio Club Taipei", who were so nice to allow us the use of BV100.
They brought a battered but sturdy groundplane antenna and a very long Yagi for 2m, which they intended to use for EME. EME did not work out, but their GP allowed us a number of QSOs on the lower bands. Their 2m-Yagi was a special DX edition. As every die-hard VHF DXer knows, your location may be important, but for truly long-distance QSOs the electromagnetic waves should follow the earth's curvature - which can only be achieved with suitable antennas.
BV7RC, Ito san brought his magnetic loop (unfortunately his antenna tuner died, so he had to give up his longwire antenna) and his portable shack ladder.
You never really saw him doing much, compared to all the shouting (SSB) or shaking (CW) everyone else exhibited, but with JT65 he got more QSOs than anyone else in the end.
He is also the only one so far employing a JA-style antenna foundation, securing the antenna base with a car wheel.
BV7GA is using a different approach. He places a tripod, ties a mast to it, using rubber strips, and then hangs a water ballast onto the tripod. Such masts still need to be tied, but may very well stand without extra support as long as there is no wind.
He also prepared a few antennas for testing, for example a 6m quad made with an aluminum boom and fishing rods. Here is the assembly, together with BX7AAI.
The completed antenna may still require some "alignment". AFAIK, nobody did any QSO on 50MHz this time, so I am not sure how this antenna performs.
As mentioned before, BV7RC was the only one pursuing a somehow comfortable mode, everyone else had to work a bit harder for a QSO. Most were done in CW, for the simple fact that most people did CW.
The keyer BV7FC (right) uses in the photo above is indeed an old and weathered Kenpro keyer, belonging to BV7GC (left). It may be old and big, but it still works. BV7CW (he loves his suffix) prefers a smaller device based on a PIC controller.
Oh, btw, the (night) temperatures were not the only nemesis we encountered up on that mountain. There were more than hundred "alarm cocks", roosters bred by the people running the rest area in which we had settled.
They would start their carking business at about 0300 and continuously go on until nightfall, so it was never too silent. While sleeping was not on the top of our agenda, each of us will be glad to be able to sleep in a real bed tonight until an electronic alarm sounds at a somehow more civilized time in the morning.
We are a bit tired now, but it was fun, we had the chance to show some of the visitors passing by what amateur radio is and next time maybe our antennas will even work as they should.