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Hamvention 2017

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Answers

  • Tim VE6SHTim VE6SH Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017

    My Canadian cards (credit and debit) work fine in DL/HB.


    Tim VE6SH

  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    My contest club (FRC) is like that. We discuss general ideas on the mailing list (what hams call "the reflector") and the **** then would distill it and any changes to the C&BL goes to member vote, electronically. Other stuff like ordering mugs or sponsoring plaques gets decided by the committee and then just done. 

    We even had N4HY come and do the whole Flex presentation for us. 
  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I don't believe there is an embargo in things that are publicly displayed. Alpha stuff, there is a signed NDA. Publicly displayed so far was the demo at Visalia. Basically they showed the sign in screen and a working demo. 
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    USA PIN Enabled ATM cards work ok USA Chipped cards. No PIN work randomly at best. I no longer am able to get EU credit Cards because EU banks refuse to take accounts from USA Passport holders due to draconian IRS reporting rules. However. You can always use www.raileurope.com, pay with USD CC and get electronic tickets
  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    @Ria - MasterCard/VISA will usually work okay IF you have called them ahead to let them know of your travels.  American Express appreciates a travel notice call, but doesn't seem to require it.

    ATM Cards that use a PIN usually work, but again your bank may require overseas use be activated.  Again a simple call before you go.

    It is miserable to deal with calling them to sort it out from overseas if I forget. 

    I've had no real problem with "swipey" cards rather than the Chip & Pin.

    If you are a regular repeat traveler your cards may be set to be used overseas all the time.  Depends on the provider & bank.

    For what it is worth, it makes life easier if you call in domestic travel if you anticipate any large buys, or if any one a number of reasons you might look like you are charging in several places at once (sets off the card company's anti-fraud system).

    ---

    Cellphones - you can buy a SIM if your phone can handle it (you then get a local number from where the SIM is issued) or put an international plan on your phone if it is travel-ready.  I do the later and even though it is more pricey it retains my regular USA cell number.  Data is another thing, and the plans I have been offered to use my USA cell for data ****.  So I tend to go WiFi only unless I get a deal.

    Again regular travelers use the features enough to make offerings I avoid as too expensive worthwhile spends for them. 

    I also keep another iPhone with a "3" SIM in it, that is a "pay as you go" European phone. 

    For whatever reason one or the other of my USA Cell and EU Cell seem to not work in some of the off the beaten path places. 

    ---

    Banking in the EU

    Most of the banks won't do banking for a USA based person due to our extra-territorial rules.  Basically our government made it uneconomic to deal with small USA accounts because the cost of compliance and the draconian penalties if they make the slightest mistake. 

    If you do open up EU accounts to work around the limitations, please absolutely remember to declare them on the special annual reporting and on your annual tax forms.  If you go enough it is nice to be able to "bank like a local" and have a local currency ATM card.  But not nice enough to get in trouble forgetting to report an account with 20 Euros of interest on a 1700 Euro travel fund.

    ---

    Medical Insurance

    Some places in the EU have become less traveler friendly and some have taken a "patch & return home" stance towards injured/ill travelers.  Unless you have special circumstances trip medical insurance is annoying but not that big a deal. 

    If you travel enough there are programs for this that have excellent reputations.

    ---

    Backup Documents

    I carry an encrypted thumbs drive with ONLY full set of our travel documents, as well have a set in our document vault at work that can be accessed in an emergency.

    One thing we did while our kids were young is to do some special documents - medical powers of attorney that gave someone else the capability to help the kids if we couldn't (whether the kids were with us or stayed back at home).  We also did notarized letters of spousal consent to travel with the kids if the other spouse wasn't there.  That comes out of a horribly miserable experience where my XYL and youngest traveled onwards to visit elderlies and Immigration Canada were having a bad day accusing me of kidnapping my own kids (on the homeward travel through Toronto - who kidnaps kids to "run home" with them??  But then again I have had more misadventure with the Canadians in Toronto than everywhere else combined).

    ---

    Domestic Travel

    Going to the Dayton Hamvention it may be worthwhile to let your credit card company know if you thinking you might buy a few big ticket items. 

    73

    Steve K9ZW 


  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 23

    Without any discussion or insider's knowledge, I have since the Flex-6000 was announced made predictions, often a couple weeks before Dayton.

    Here is my 2017 guesses:

    https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/hamvention-2017-flexradio-systems-smartsdr-product-launches-pr...

    If you want to skim over my original predictions from 2012 this link is really the easiest:

    https://k9zw.wordpress.com/?s=Dreaming+What+Might+Be

    73

    Steve K9ZW


  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    The biggest PIA is gas stations. Most require chipped +PIN cards and won't take cash or USA CC. Can get pretty crazy late at nite running out of gas and no stations taking ur cards. I really wish USA banks used chip + PIN CC. important. Make sure your USA credit card does not charge an extra 3or 4% Foreign Transaction Fee. There are lots of USA Cc that do not charge such fees. DATA. I use MIFI boxes with local SIMS. My usa number. Stays with the device but data is so much less expensive. USA Roaming Data plans cost 20x more than local SIMS. SIMS are available everywhere. In virtually every country I have visited one could easily and quickly buy a local SIM for under $10 including more data than you get from AT&T for $200. Totally agree with Steve. Do not keep foreign accounts. The IRS reporting rules are outrageous now and can be very expensive for both you and the bank if you forget to report even $1 The workaround is to set up a local EU corporation twith EU officers that banks in the EU. But the EU banks still do not like doing business if there are too many Americans with signing authority.
  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    RE: Your comment on new antenna releases:

    I saw an ad from Hy-Gain about their new "Band Optimized LP Array".
    It is a 116 pound monster!  It is 13 elements on a 30 ft boom and basically has 3-element log cells for each of the WARC bands 20-6 and boasts 3-element monoband performance on each of the bands.  Looks awesome.  But so is the price tag!  $2999!  

    That is three times as much as my Tennadyne T-11, which is 11 elements on a 24 foot boom and 68 pounds.  The gain and F/B are better.  But $2000 better?

    Ken - NM9P
  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    I have had Prepaid Travel Cards recommended to me.  These are products originally designed for economies and cultures that consider interest usury but can levy fees.

    I think MasterCard, VISA and EuroCard (plus others) have them available.

    I didn't mention them as I haven't personal experience with them (yet).  Have you tried them Howard?

    As for fees, there seem to be less and less opportunities for no-fee currency conversions, but on the plus side the transfer rates of exchange seem to be better than what one would get handling cash, so I guess it all works out.

    ---

    A quick reminder about fees/rates and one more cellphone tip.

    Don't get so worried about minimal fees/best rates that you cost yourself lost time or inconvenience.  I have seen otherwise sane people spend a couple hours and drive places to save UKP 10 of fees.  The savings were offset by the fuel & parking, not to mention the value of one's time.  I've seen folk refuse to answer their cellphones but rush to a post office to call back based on the caller ID, again losing much time and really achieving no savings. 

    Likewise I have seen folk who dropped many thousands to be on a cruise refuse to buy minutes for internet or use the cell-at-sea services, and then squander their on-shore time doing the post office phone and internet Wi-Fi café thing.  Doesn't seem to make much sense to save $40 and lose half your shore time, does it?

    On the cell phone tip - consider only answering your cellphone if the contact is in your phone or if it clears a whitelist process if your phone offers it.  Nothing more frustrating to have one of those robo-dialer spam calls trigger a daily fee or cost you some minutes. 

    Another quick tip - if you are NOT very handy with doing time zone conversions, leave your cell phone on your home time zone so you know what time it is where you are calling to back home.  Depending on what scheduling software you use your Exchange/Outlook or iCal/Calendar might work better this way (I know mine goes nuts if I let it follow the local time zone, as in some countries it can't figure the time out and then new appointments become **** luck random times when it finally does sync.

    Also making your system work less hard saves battery.  I find overseas my iPhone 6 Plus either eats power rapidly or hardly uses and power.  Weird.  The iPhone 5 I use as a Euro-phone eats power here stateside, but lasts for days in the EU. 

    73

    Steve K9ZW

  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    @Steve

    Yes I have used the prepaid cards in countries that believe that CC interest is usury.  The issue is that you cannot use them to rent cards or guarantee hotel rooms as they are limited to the cash on the cards.  Also very hard to add money when you are travelling.

    Never carry Traveler Checks... Someday I will tell you a story about how only I survived because I did not have them and all the others did...

    I now carry a number of different zero Foreign Transaction Fee Cards as not having those 3-4% charges easily pay for the cost of the card and then some. PayPal used to be a great way to do zero cost exchanges but they got wiser and now add 3.5% to their rate.   USA Banks have the WORST exchange rates - never buy or sell foreign currency in the USA... I usually just hit an ATM at the airport when I land and get cash there  about 5% less expensive than buying currency in the USA

    Great tips on block spam calls on your phone...

    The MIFI boxes act as a local WIFI Hotspot so the phone batteries last forever.

    I have a bag of SIMS with the most common countries I travel to so it is very easy to pop one into my MIFI when I land and have data.  I rarely make phone calls over the cell services.  BUT when I do I use Skype or FaceTime over data lines rather than paying AT&T $2 per minute for a call...

    Since about 1965 I have always worn two watches.. one for home time and one for local...much easier access and less confusion than a two zone watch especially when trying to figure out if is morning of night

  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Canadian cards will work fine. Canada has chip and PIN. Canada's situation is not like the USA. The USA is the only country in the world where our banks steadfastly refuse to implement chip and PIN and instead choose chip and signature.

    I'm not talking about the travel notification.  That's different.

    This is about US cards having chip and PIN capability. As Howard found out, some places like gas stations, some train stations, tool booths and parking garages need a card with offline PIN capability. Most USA cards have chip and signature only. Some have online PIN and a few (very few) are chip and PIN.  Two of my cards are and you can verify if your card has chip and PIN using CardPeek:
    https://www.spotterswiki.com/emv/cardpeek.html

    Card reader:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017SSO7GE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    There's also a handy Wiki in case you're curious about your card or if you're shopping for a new one:
    https://www.spotterswiki.com/emv/

    What I was wondering was how frequently you truly need offline PIN capability. Howard seems to confirm gas stations do need it. I think some train stations and toll booths do too. Also it seems like mostly Europe has this offline PIN requirement. I haven't encountered it in Asia, South America or the Caribbean. 

    Ria
  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Your two watch idea is similar to my wearing a watch when traveling, and often do not when not traveling.  It is tiresome to keep taking it off when visiting clients in the biohazard programs or smashing/scratching them in other plants.  So I don't always even wear one here. 

    Overseas or even traveling in other time zones here I  set my wristwatch to local and leave my cell phone & other electronics on home time zone.  Seems to work for me even in odd time zones like Newfoundland with its -2.5 hours from GMT.

    ---

    Nomography in traveling

    I am a huge fan of Nomographic techniques  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomogram) and while I don't need them myself (I like the head math of doing conversions and relative values mentally) I do prepare them for family. 

    Basically a quick conversion chart for units they might need to convert and for currency conversions.  I do bracketing for currencies that move a lot plotting a couple exchange rates side by side.

    Think of these as if a Slide Rule was set up to the conversion and you snapped a picture which you then shoved into your pocket to consult when needed.

    Struggling with L/100Km vs MPG (remember to use standard or imperial gallons as appropriate), no problem with a cheat-chart nomogram. 

    Want to know how much UKP 50 is in US Dollars depending on rates and fees - do one that has 1.25:1, 1.3:1 and 1.35:1 ratios side by side, and pick the most close.

    I did these before I really knew what they were called to deal with really odd units (was specifying/buying leather soles in "Irons" which is an old measure that is approximately 1/48 of an inch or 0.53mm per Iron!) 

    A few years back I took a bunch of folk on a aviation themed tour in England and did a chart for them, including how many beers things were worth (it was that sort of group!).

    ---

    A small stash of US $20 and few US $100 (and similar in local currency) tucked away can be a life saver when traveling.  As Howard mentions Traveler Checks are mostly useful in places where you most like wouldn't need them, and trouble in places where you do need their value.  It is when the only place that will sell you the tire you need takes only cash that you realize the value of a small stash of bills.

    There are a lot of places where the pickpockets are amazingly adept.  An Obermeister in the Hessen Landespolizi showed me some neat tricks to make it both safer and more fun in crowds that pickpockets work.  I didn't have the stomach for boot smashing their fingers when he'd catch another one, but also I didn't want to get crossways locally where he had enough power to be close to immune.  The passive methods do work a trick though.

    ---

    Sometime I can tell you how a small stash of bills backfired on me during a border security inspection.  Or what not to do if you find yourself in a different country than you were supposed to be in.  Or the downside of using a small local license plated outfit compared to a recognized outfit when the Policia are looking for fugatives. 

    It is all an adventure.

    73

    Steve K9ZW


  • Tim VE6SHTim VE6SH Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Ria, I did not know that about US cards. Yes, nearly all here are Chip and PIN and "tap" for both credit and debit is the norm in Canada and most of EU.

    Tim VE6SH

  • Ken - NM9PKen - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Steve, the closest I have come to the nomograph you discussed was making a quick spreadsheet to calculate both litrs to gallons and US dollars to Canadian dollars on a three week vacation trip to Banff and Jasper National Parks. . I got very tired trying to convert two different units at the same time. My quick spreadsheet helped me to get a general idea of how much filling up my RV was actually costing. Of course it did nothing to help me pay for it!
  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I do "tap" on my Apple watch, using Apple Pay. Two watches aren't necessary for me either. It adjusts to the local timezone once you land and your phone gets GPS signal and I keep "home" time and UTC as complications on the display. I had Amex blue with tap and Chase Blink but they took away the feature. Oh well. 

    I have a SIM case with several SIMs that I keep in my purse but I have free roaming in Mexico and Canada (Verizon).  In a pinch $10 per day gets me access to my data plan. 

    Currency exchange varies by location. Generally credit cards will give you the best rate. The cards that I use are no FTF now, and surprisingly Discover has wide acceptance outside of the USA.

    ATMs may give you a good cash rate but you are often charged surcharges, for example in Buenos Aires they charge $96.50 to access foreign cash. Luckily I brought USD which I was able to exchange at the cuevas for the blue rate, which is still slightly better than the bank rate. In Seoul the airport currency exchange rate was about the same as the ATM but the ATM charged 33000 Won. I think I may have been reimbursed those fees by USAA but I'm not 100% sure. 
  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    That $10 a day AT&T Roaming plan gets really expensive if, like me, you are away for several months.. hence the case full of SIMS...

    Multiple Watches..

    Old Habit ... In the olden days before cars had A/C and you were working in a 3rd world country...you drove with your windows open.. if you came to a stop, someone would take a knife and cut your watch off your wrist... If you wore it on the other wrist, then you would get stabbed in the arm and you would reflexively reach over to the knife and they would cut your watch off... So the solution was 2 watches.. one to steal and one to tell time.  

    BTW.. I now wear two Suunto dive computer watches so I have a backup when diving.. ( a lesson leaned in Phuket when my primary dive computer watch failed and I was flying to dive in Bali the next day) 2 Watches gets a lot of questions but very practical.

    Apple Pay works OK in the USA.. not so much in the EU yet... But the EU uses TAP much more than the USA

    Generally the USA is way behind the rest of the world in complex infrastructure....

    Why?  Because the USA does things FIRST .. the rest of the world gets the second generation stuff but since the USA has such huge capital investments in the first generation it takes a long time to upgrade.. Albeit the Chip+ Signature Card is not particularly theft proof and yet another poor decision by ultraconservative USA Banks.

    The way to avoid Foreign ATM Fees is to have the ATM card linked to an account with sufficient balances that they refund the fees... Lots of USA banks offer that perk.

    Most USA Banks have a foreign Correspondent Bank.. e.g. Bank of America is correspondent with Banque Paribas in France.. so there are no fees when using the correspondent bank ATM and the exchange rate is pretty close to market - usually 50 basis points.

    I agree credit cards give the best rates as long as they do not charge Foreign Transaction Fees..

    I will look into getting a USA Chip+PIN CC

    NOMOGRAH... Mine were replaced by SIRI on my iPhone.. I just ask it to convert L/100KM to MPG.

    Exchange Rates.. I used XE on my iPhone...No thinking involved.

    Albeit the Euro is so close to the dollar ($110) that I consider it 1:1 now

    VAT  - Most of the world has an insidious Hidden tax in the 20% range called VAT-- It's how they pay for FREE Healthcare for everyone..

    VAT is refundable to foreign travelers... if you spend at least €175.01 at a single vendor in a single day you can get the VAT back at the airport when you leave the EU.

    So if you are going to Friedrichshafen to pick up a Power Genius or a 2K-FA you can get real savings when you take it home.   I do not recall ever being on a trip where my XYL did NOT get huge VAT Refunds for all the shoes she collected.-- the real point being that with the VAT refunds big ticket purchases after conversion to $ can be less expensive than the USA... Definitely shoes and cosmetics.or so my XYL tells me.

    Avoid purchasing anything in the UK... they seem to price everything in pounds = dollars so everything is at least 50% more expensive even with the VAT refunds.


    BTW...this thread started out as Hamvention and has turned into a travel tips


  • KY6LA_HowardKY6LA_Howard La Jolla, CA. Paris and Sablet FranceMember ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    That is inexpensive when compared to the price of a SteppIR

    Yes - a 30' boom has a bigger gain than a 24' boom

    Plus materials cost for larger things with larger stresses do not rise linearly

  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited May 2017
    Are you participating in the PAQSO Party this year? FRC is the bonus station(s). Apparently I made the announcement here first. 8^)
  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    That station would have to be in Pennsylvania. I am in NNJ, but about 20 miles from PA. I guess I'll be participating in the PAQP but as an out of state station. 

    Ria

  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Word from DARA is advance ticket sales have outstripped past years' sales and they anticipate a record turnout.

    From the http://www.hamvention.org webpage are links to Inside and Outside vendor lists, and forums.  Steve N5AC is doing the SDR forum.

    73

    Steve K9ZW

  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I bought my tix. $22 worth. K2EZ and I will be there.
  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Forgot to mention that our group is staying at the Hilton Garden.

    Doing both the Contest/DX Focused FlexRadio System Banquet Thursday and also the General/New Product Demo FlexRadio System Banquet on Saturday. 

    You will find us at the Collins Collectors Association Banquet Friday night.

    Again here is a link to my predictions for FRS related introductions for Hamvention 2017:  Hamvention 2017 – FlexRadio Systems SmartSDR Product Launches – Predictions! - https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/hamvention-2017-flexradio-systems-smartsdr-product-launches-pr...

    What are yours?

    73

    Steve K9ZW

  • Steve Gw0geiSteve Gw0gei Member
    edited May 16
    Interesting predictions Steve I hope to see a major ssdr release this week which brings features like squelch on ssb, improvements to noise reduction, performance improvements resulting from the second round Sherwood tests, and some increased integration for my 4o3a 2x8 antenna genius switch within ssdr. I can happily wait for 2.0 if we get a major 1.9.x release. On the hardware side the recent discounts on 6000 radios has made me think that perhaps a new 6900 will be announced - I have sat on my hands just in case this happens rather than order a 6700 to replace my 6300 for so2r contesting. In my ideal world a 6900 would have some more flexible features for vhf split tx and rx into different single band antenna systems, with audio mixing within ssdr rather than having to use external relays and splitters. Alternatively I would like to see the launch of the planned so2r add on box for the 6300 for so2r, although I have concluded some time ago that a 6700 or 6900 with dual or triple scu is probably required for what I want to do on lf hf and vhf contesting. Looking forward to hearing news this week and hoping for some nice new features to try out in the next few days. 73 Steve gw0gei / gw9j
  • Steve K9ZWSteve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    @Steve GW0GEI

    Adding more SCUs does seem to have some advantages as software capabilities mature. 

    Another way to do it would be to have a Master/****/(more Slaves) capability to team-up several radios.  The "Master" could even be virtualized in software.

    Next week should be exciting!

    73

    Steve K9ZW

  • EA4GLIEA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Pre Distortion, Squelch, GUI Improvements, true Diversity and the use of Diversity for Noise Reduction. Can't wait for such announcements.
  • Steve G1XOWSteve G1XOW Member
    edited May 2017
    Hey Steve, I'm with you, but sorting the NB, and the inability of the WNBs ability to deal with strong local sigs is a must have for me....as well as programmable RX passband filter buttons and a proper S-meter.

    A nice to have would be digital/numeric readout of all sliders. Why...when you slide AGC or PWR etc. up and down via an API (CMD Micro for example) there is no indication of what value you get to, just a blob moving.

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