Monday, October 8, 2012

DX musings

With the final analogue shutdowns looming, it made me think back on how my dxing all started.

It would have been around the mid 1980's while I was in late primary school.  For the TV I had a portable AWA brand, solid state black and white set. Connected to that was a simple 4 element VHF/FM antenna mounted to the gutter. A meager set up, that yielded plenty of results:

TVQ-0 Brisbane
DDQ-0 Toowoomba
RVN-2 Wagga*
NBN-3 Newcastle**
AMV-4 Albury*
RTS-5A Riverland
NTD-8 Darwin
2, 7, 9, 10 Adelaide

I'm sure there are others I had forgotten.  I think at some stage over those years, I had received an ABC on virtually all VHF channels.  Can't remember if I had BTV-6 Ballarat and SES -8 Mt. Gambier when living in Melrose (where I grew up), but both were regular tropo catches in Port Pirie, often clear as.

  * Received early before local ABNS-1 and GTS-4 signed on for the day.
** When receiving NBN, I also was getting FM from Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

Channel 0 was espcially strong, enabling clear reception using just the TV's attached telescopic antenna.  Even then the signal was so strong, it would be distorted.

Avoid BankSA

Okay, so we know that banks, like politicians, are not exactly flavour of the month with the Australian community - especially the big four. Indulge me here while I have a whinge, I promise to get back to DX related stuff after.....

I am with BankSA, which is of course the former State Bank of South Australia. How do they fit into the big four? BankSA are these days part of Westpac.  This is a bank I have been with for around 30 years. However, despite being with them for 30 years, I certainly don't feel like a valued customer.  Obviously, loyalty is not in their vocabulary; I assume it is the same with pretty much all banks.

Thankfully, as consumers we have choices and part of that choice is to take our business elsewhere.    The big four are not the only institutions to choose from and this is why community banks and credit unions have found a niche market - disgruntled big bank customers.

However, if you must stick with the big banks, I can recommend National Australia Bank (NAB). I recently opened an account with them and surprised to find not only do they not charge fees, but you don't need a minimum balance to avoid paying fees.  Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the good customer service, even getting a courtesy call not long after opening the account to see if all was okay and if I have any questions.

BankSA on the other hand charge $7 per month account keeping fees which you need to have thousands in the bank to avoid paying, as well as any other incidental fees (for example using BankSA's ATM more than the minimum free transactions).  I shudder to think how much in fees I have paid to them over all those.

At the end of the day, as their customers, we have the power.  The power to say, work with me or lose me.  For now, I still have my BankSA account, as I have various things tied to it: my pay, several direct debits, paypal/eBay etc. It's getting very tempting though to end my relationship with them and move everything over to the NAB.

**end rant - back to DX related stuff now, lol**