Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
The " Tuna Tin 2 " is a modern version of the original built by Doug DeMan (W1FB) I say modern because it's nearly impossible to find the "original parts" and the circuit has been modified to use modern components.
But the output power is only 450 mw and the modern kit's cost is a whopping $20.
This morning I worked Zeke (KD8HES) "again" on 40 meters and I could hear (339) him a little better this time. I'm fascinated every time I work a little station like this.....nothing more than a few simple parts and a simple wire antenna.
There's real "magic" involved when working these kind of stations!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This morning, as I was tuning around on the 80 meter band, I heard them on 3860 MHz @ 1300z.
I'd almost guarantee they're coming from the "Goddard Space Center" in Greenbelt Maryland. You can "google" them for frequencies on the other bands. I'm sure they will be on 40 meters and maybe also 20 meters.This morning they were inspecting the "heat shields" with a camera attached the giant robotic arm on the station. It's always an interesting thing to listen to them at any time of the day or night but it's also neat to "watch them" cross the early morning or evening sky in your area. A lot of people don't realize they can be seen with the "naked eye". Sometimes they look like an airplane crossing the sky here in Charleston.
I always use the "Heavens Above" site on the right side of the blog to get my viewing times here in West Virginia.
On another note....the "one day a year" broadcast of Radio St Helena turned out to be a real bummer this year. I don't know of ANYONE that heard them here in the United States. Don't know what the problem was but evidently I wasn't the only one hearing "nothing".
I have a link to the local FM station on St Helena on the right side of this blog. I'll be listening from time to time to (hopefully) understand the reasons they couldn't be heard this year in the US. Maybe it's propagation and nothing more?
Bye for now....it's another beautiful day today and I plan to spend it riding the mountain bike in the woods. It's just too nice to spend a day indoors.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
So.........Why would YOU not join a "free" club?
I admit my criticisms are for "selfish reasons" but I bet, out of my last dozen contacts, there's only been one or two that are members of ANY club. I just don't understand......
I'm very partial to QRP contacts and belong to three different CW clubs. Every one of which has oodles of "awards" for making contacts with their members. I can understand that you can't join ALL the clubs out there, but there are very few that charge for membership. You can probably guess where I'm going with this now....
Maybe this is an explanation:
1. It cost too much money (free is pretty cheap)
2. I don't have a computer to keep up on club activities. (there's one in every library)
3. I just don't like groups. (why did you go to the trouble of getting your ticket?)
4. I don't know how to read and write (the very less said about this the better)
5. I'm not very good with code (who cares as long as you can send your Call, Name, RST, and QTH? )
As I said earlier, all my criticism is for selfish reasons. (I like those club contacts) but if it doesn't cost anything, at least give me the pleasure of adding to my list of club contacts by getting a free membership number. It's painless, there's NO hidden fees, there's NO fine print......it's FREE.
(All said with a sense of humor)
End of Rant......
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Club 5th Anniversary Stations = 3 ---N2A, N3A, N0A
Club Members = 14
Dx Stations= 1 (France)
Canadian Stations = 2
My States List: Alabama , Arkansas, Canada (2), Illinois, Michigan (2), Minnesota, New Jersey (2) New York, New Mexico, New Hampshire (2), Pennsylvania (2), Texas (2), Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I even checked the antenna connections, at one point, just to make sure about things but could hear stations in other places. The rig was working fine.
This morning I heard N0A again (didn't work him) and made contacts with two stations in my one hours time on 40 meters. I worked fellow NAQCC member W0EJ in PA and (can't explain why) but another station in Arkansas. (725 miles) WO5X was not a member of the club and was using normal power.
I'll be looking forward to the posts from last night but expect very low totals.
When is the sun ever going to shine?
I try to be positive on my blog but "what it is is what it is".
Propagation is real challenging now.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
These are minimum times for me.....In reality, you might find me on the air anytime this week on 40 and 20 meters near the QRP frequencies (7040 and 14060). My normal transmitting spot is from my QTH near the State Capitol building in Chareston, WV.
Friday, October 2, 2009
We have relatives in Ottumwa, which is about 700 radio miles from us. A few weeks ago, I worked a station there (W0NBP) and I asked him to say hello to them from my 5 watt station here in West Virginia.
Last night I got a good signal report from a station (WA0VQY) in Ames Iowa. It’s a city about the same size as my home city. Ames Iowa is the birthplace of several interesting places and people.
Iowa State University has been the center of Agriculture in the Midwest. I remember driving across miles and miles of flat “corn fields” and comparing it to the vast mountains in West Virginia. What they call “hills” there, we consider “bumps” in the road.
George Washington Carver was born here. “He served as an example of the importance of hard work, a positive attitude, and a good education. His humility, humanitarianism, good nature, frugality, and rejection of economic materialism, also have been admired widely”.
I also found an interesting code he lived by:
Be clean both inside and out.
Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.
Lose, if need be, without squealing.
Win without bragging.
Always be considerate of women, children, and older people.
Be too brave to lie.
Be too generous to cheat.
Take your share of the world and let others take theirs
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Tuning around the 20 meter band this afternoon I could hear lot's of Texas stations on the air.
I quickly worked N5YA, N5TO, K5FP, NR5M, NX5M, W5WQ, and N5JB in a matter of about half an hour.
I like to pass out a few West Virginia contacts with any contest.
That's about it until this evening, when hopefully, there will be a little more open space on the bands.
None of my contacts realized I was running QRP.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I've rafted and kayaked a few stretches of this gorge.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I worked another Canadia station (VE3CWU) a few days ago. I know a few R/C enthusiasts and have watched remote controlled planes, helicopters, and even a few speed boats powered by weed eater motors. But I've never seen a R/C controlled airplane this size.
I find the most interesting people on the HF bands.
As per his web site:
My other hobby, which I am very passionate about is flying radio controlled
model aircraft. Currently I fly Scale Aerobatics in aerobatic competition.
The airplane in this photo is an 40% scale model of a full scale EDGE 540
used in full scale aerobatic competition. I fly this plane is scale model
aerobatic competition. This aircraft has 10 foot wingspan and is powered by a
150cc twin boxer gasoline engine with electronic ignition. This photo was taken
at the Sun Valley flyers field on Phoenix Arizona.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I don't think I've ever worked a "sailboat" before and since he was a QRP station, a FISTS member, a SKCC member, and a NAQCC member, the log book really looks good for ONE contact.
Maybe it's just chance but I seem to make a lot of contacts with stations who are members of multiple clubs on the 7058 frequency.
Hmmmm....might be the reason I hang around there so often.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
In the manner of about 30 minutes I was able to work two stations in Germany (DL0SN and DC4A) a Portuguese station (CT1ILT) and last but not least a station in Luxembourg. (LX7I)
Luxembourg (LX7I) is a new DX station for me.
Wow...that was fun! (and quick)
I also heard EA5DFV in Spain, S52ZW in Slovenia, 4o3A in Montenegro, and YU1JW in Serbia but couldn't work them.
I don't think any of these stations realized I was pushing a mighty 5 watts QRP with an indoor antenna. I'm really amazed these guys can hear me...
I realize they're running fantastic antenna's but to work me in West Virginia, at 600 ft elevation, between a couple of 1,000 ft hills, with an indoor 18" antenna bungee corded to the bedpost in a spare room, beside a tall apartment complex (actually 11 story's) is somewhat mind boggling to me.
I've heard it said that some major DX stations can hear a gnat sneeze in Morocco. I guess they really can....
I think 15 meters would be the 5,000 mile mark if the bands ever improve but I don't usually have an antenna to use on that band. All these stations were between 4,000 and 4,500 miles today.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I got nice e-mails from both these guys and will send them return cards very soon. I was really surprised that OK1KW took the time to send this card.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
At times, I actually turned it 'off' because there was NOTHING on the bands. I could barely hear the GMT time tone on 10 MHz and thought this was another "no sunspot--no radio day".
In the early afternoon I heard and attempted to work AF5U in Dallas, Texas but the band was so bad we couldn't exchange anything more than call signs before the band disappeared into thin air.
I had turned the rig off again but just before dinner, I tuned into the 14.060 frequency, and in the background, I heard an unusual call asking for "FISTS" members. He was sending pretty quick but I recognized the "FISTS" word easily and on his third attempt I deciphered the OK1KW call and returned with mine. His CQ 'stopped' and I could tell he was hearing something. He then sent QRZ N8? and I knew I was into something.
I still can't believe I worked this guy....with 5 watts @ 4,471 miles. He was actually on 14059.25 MHz.The band absolutely STINKS right now but somehow we exchanged FISTS numbers, names and QTH's.
Milan (OK1KW) is FISTS # 4827 and lives in the Czech Republic. I sent a confirmation E-QSL and am looking forward to a return card. The band shifted again quickly....I'm still in a state of shock with this contact today.
Just when you think there's nothing but air between me and the other side of the pond.....
Milan (OK1KW) is now my 20th DX contact.
I'd guess this guy is close to two thousand miles from "the fox".
Bill (K4KSR) worked the fox with 100 milliwatts!
Pulling the fox out of a pack of hungry hounds with power like this deserves a round of applause.
0105 KT4LF 599 TN DALE 5W
0106 KF8K 559 OH CLIFF 5W
0107 W3MF 559 PA JOHN 5W
0108 K4QS 559 VA CHUCK 5W
0110 K4OSO 559 VA MILT 5W
0111 W3ESE 559 MD LL 5W
0112 K3PH 559 PA BOB 5W
0113 WA4ILO 559 GA JIM 5W
0114 KG4YLZ 599 VA JIM 5W
0115 N4GU 599 NC MIKE 2W
0116 N3XRV 559 PA CHRIS 5W
0120 K4PIC 579 GA LARRY 5W
0122 KC1FB 559 CT JIM 5W
0124 K2ZN 559 NY AL 5W
0126 N3VF 559 VA RON 5W
0128 W9JOP 579 VA BOB 5W
0129 NU8S 559 OH DENNIS 5W
0130 KV2X 559 NY TOM 5W
0131 AE2T 559 NY AL 5W
0132 KG4YLZ 559 VA JIM 5W
0133 AC4XO 559 VA BEN 5W
0135 K2RNY 559 NY CAREY 5W
0136 NU4I 559 VA KEN 5W
0140 N4KV 559 TN JOHN 5W
0142 W3MF 559 PA JOHN 5W
0144 N4CY 559 VA TED 5W
0145 K4EOR 559 GA GEORGE 5W
0147 NO2D/2 559 NJ PETE 5W
0151 N8ZYA 559 WV JOHN 5W
0155 AB3CV 559 MD JIM 5W
0202 W2LJ 559 NJ LARRY 5W
0205 K4KSR 559 VA BILL 100MW
0207 AB9CA 559 AL DAVE 5W
0213 WA9TZE 559 WI JIM 5W
0215 K9CW 579 IL DREW 5W
0230 K9JWV FOX UT JIM 5W
0230 K5DI FOX NM KARL 5W
ps....(On October 9th, 2002, with 1/2 Watt output, he worked VK3DBD who was approximately 15,000 miles distance and equal to 30,000 miles per watt).
So much for the "bigger is better" (and maximum power) philosophy.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I had listened earlier this evening and knew the band was totally dead so didn't expect to hear either QRP station in New Mexico or Utah.
When Karl (K5DI) popped up at 0151z, he was there only for an instant but I think I caught him and exchanged the RST, State, Name, and 5 watts.
I'll watch for the log on the "fox site" in a few minutes...I hope my call sign is there.
This was VERY hard to do tonight! QRP x QRP
ps...Yes, I'm there and the only West Virginia station in the book!
Friday, August 21, 2009
If you're a CW person, I think you will find it interesting....
I get the "electronic" edition and like it better than the paper one because of the "linking features" and the "word search". I keep the last six months on a memory stick and take them with me when traveling. It works great with my Eee-PC notebook.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I caught N1FN (ET) near Denver Colorado last night, after running for a little over an hour. I was "fox hunting" and the band was VERY long on 20 meters. He was one of two QRP operators being chased by a pack of hounds in the United States. He is 1,247 miles from me here in West Virginia.
I heard him at the very beginning of the hunt as he danced along at around 30 wpm (a bit too quick for me). But I understood the "call" and was able to recognize his "CQ fox de N1FN UP".
I had all but given up on the chase until I heard him send "zero beat" at 10 pm.
The filtering on my 703 leaves a lot to be desired so it's 'difficult' for me to set up the 'split' on the radio. Trying to attenuate a 5 watt signal at 1200 miles is next to impossible.
The other "fox" last night was K4BIA in Georgia, and I usually work him easily from here. But I never heard so much as a bark. As a matter of fact...I heard little 'barking' from anyone.
The band was SO long......
You can read all about "fox hunting" (a QRP event) from the link on the right side of this page.
Believe me, it's NOT easy to pick out a 5 watt "fox" from a pack of barking hounds at 1200 miles.
I've been feeling a little "down" after being in New York for a few weeks. My location on the Hudson River made it easy to work DX stations in Eastern Europe . I even worked a QRP station in Washington State while using my "ZEPP" antenna. It was strung in the attic of an old home.
But working ET (N1FN) last night, with an 18" Isotron antenna makes me feel a little better.
The 20 meter antenna (at the top of this page) is the "little" one on the bottom right.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
For several years, I’ve followed their hikes but have yet to work them from Colorado. Last week, while in New York, I could only hear “calling” stations.....
It’s difficult to “comprehend” the challenge of a 14,000 ft climb but I’ve hiked a couple of times at 12,000 feet, and believe me, the air is "thin" up there and its always "cold". Pitch in a 40 mph wind, and you’ve got your hands full….
Once in Hawaii, it took me 2 hours to hike to a “cinder cone” below the rim of volcano but 4 hours to hike back out. Going up hill is MUCH harder than going downhill.
Another time was in South America where it took several days to adjust to the elevation.
This 14,100 ft climb to Humboldt Peak should only be attempted by “professional” people. Making a mistake up here can easily become fatal.
Their best contact was Switzerland….WOW with 5 watts!
They’re links to BOTH their web sites on the right side of this blog.
I’d highly suggest every QRP’er take a look at this video.
Here's a link to the HF "Special Event Station"
N0B Colorado 14er Special Event
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
I worked OE5AA (August) in Austria a few minutes ago and my distance from West Virginia (per the QRZ.com site) shows 4,608 miles.
Of course, I'm not there now.... I'm very near New York City (about 20 miles north) and West Virginia is East of me. The question is:...is it 400 miles?
I'll need to get home and calculate the distance with a Rand McNally program I use on the home computer to know for sure. (using the New York co-ordinates)
Today has been a wonderful day despite working VERY hard doing yard work. My wife and I cut a small tree, trimmed the bushes, cut the grass (I did this with an old "push mower") and hauled the waste to the front of the house. My back is talking to me now.....all the way down to the toes on my left leg.
But between chores, I've managed to work three QRP stations. All on 20 meters (14.060) and the band really stinks right now. The solar flux was 67 today.
My first was K9IS (QRP) in White Lake Wisconsin. The second was KB0PCI (QRP) in Minnesota and the last (but not least) was W7PFZ (QRP) in the state of Washington. That's one's a GREAT catch for a QRP x QRP QSO!
Time to take the rest of the evening off and nurse the back and leg. (Hook up the tens unit) All my contacts were QRP CW today. I tried to work an Armenian station, SSB, but couldn't pull it off (EK6TA).....just goes to show you how more effective CW at 5 watts is compared to 10 watts SSB.....
Getting back home next week, I hope to figure the exact distance for the thousand mile a watt award.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
It was also pretty quick CW, which made me a little hesitant, but when I realized he could possibly be in Germany, I HAD to try for the contact, despite my 5 watt QRP signal.
I'm glad I put forth the effort because this turned out to be one of the most enjoyable contacts I've ever made on the CW bands. Olaf had a good fist, and spacing, which matched my skills perfectly. Most DX contacts (at least before this one) are strictly "Hello, Name, QTH, RST, and 73"....quick and to the point. And I had the tendency to do the same because I didn't think the band would hold up very long (at least on my end with 5 watts).
But we exchanged pleasantry's for at least 10 minutes as we talked about his Kenwood TS 570, his amp (400 watts) and the Yagi antenna he was currently using. And then I explained my "zig zag" end fed Zepp in the attic and me visiting New York City for a few days. Then we started on the weather and all the rain we've had here for the last few days....
I'm making this entry now, as we've just returned from two days in the "city", so I don't remember every detail, but the jest of it is: I had a great QSO, at over 4,000 miles, with a CW station, at about 15+ wpm, with a German gentleman speaking VERY good English.
I'm elated with this exchange and looking forward to hearing Olaf (DL4HG) again on the bands. His signal was a good 599+ most of the time with little QSB. He was hearing me 579 (at least on the high nulls).
We agreed to exchange cards VIA the Buro.(got to look into that when we return to the home QTH in West Virginia).
ps....I made this contact back on 7-31-09 @ 2150z, and it will be another week before returning home. I'll be disappointed with the valley location, the electrical noise, and the hi-rise building next door.
I've transmitted from here several times over the years but the band has never been this good. (at least for a few brief days).
Since the few brief days of decent DX (the solar flux is down again to 67 now) I've heard Austria, Finland, Mexico City, the Netherlands, and Trinidad.
Before leaving for the city a few days ago, I heard a great QSO between a friend back home (K8NYG) and another friend (N9HAL) in WI. I've also worked two "special event stations" (one a new IOTA and new lighthouse) and a large "experimental aircraft gathering". I've even listened to a good AM broadcast station back home in Wheeling (WWVA 1170).
I'll write more about those a little later but now....off for a nice walk.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
My first chore when arriving in NY was to stretch my end fed Zepp in the attic and get on the air.
It's amazing to hear the European stations on the bands here. Just a little more Northern latitude and being on the Hudson River makes a BIG difference from the valley location in West Virginia.
There was quite a "pile up" on 14.240, on the 31st, but after several attempts, I was able to work UR5ZVP in the Southern Ukraine. It was a difficult contact, and I had to repeat my call several times, but I'm now in his log book. You can see the entry from his online logbook (page 25 #172)
I don't have a "distance" program running on this laptop but it's 5,264 miles from the WV QTH.
My longest distance yet for my QRP station.
I'm overjoyed with this contact but (I'm sure you've noticed) this frequency is in the SSB portion of the 20 meter band....
I was using the max 10 watts and it doesn't qualify for the 1,000 mile a watt award. It's still considered QRP, but technically, not the right distance and power.
It's a great start tho...and I wonder if I'll be lucky enough to snag more contacts like this one before heading back home.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Last night there was an excellent pass over West Virginia of the International Space Space Station at about 9:30 PM. These "near sunset" revolutions allow it to be viewed quite easily even in city lights. The local KARC net was on the verge of closing and I jumped in with a comment about the direction of the pass.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I like these kinds of "special events" because of my former Navy days on a destroyer. It's just something I identify with and connect with about the ocean. Every now and then, I'm lucky enough to work a ship or two and even a "lighthouse" station. I find it great fun.
This is the second time in the last few weeks I've worked special event stations on the CW portions of the bands. I worked W3P and didn't have a clue who or where it was until I received an E-QSL from a ham specifying a certain day and time. Fortunately, I had him in the log book. (another 3 letter call sign).
This one was celebrating "Heritage Days" and made a great "public relations" pitch for Amateur Radio. I admire these events (right in the middle of a big public celebration) and they always bring a positive image of our hobby.
As per the web site:
In addition to having fun operating the special event station, this event was
also intended to put amateur radio in front of the public. With the stations in
operation at a public event we were able to demonstrate amateur radio to curious
people and even allow them the opportunity to get behind the mic for a hands-on
demonstration. A local commercial radio station, WOKW-FM, was broadcasting live
from the Heritage Days event and PARA member Lou WB3AAI was interviewed on the air about amateur radio. There were also mentions in the local newspaper about
the W3P special event station and the PARA club. As a result of these efforts,
we collected a list of six people who are interested in becoming licensed
amateur radio operators. PARA will be scheduling a licensing class in the near
future to help prepare these people to pass the Technician Class test.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
His wife called a little before 8 pm and I didn't get to jump in. He cut the QSO short and signed off but it was one of the most amusing and refreshing CW QSO's I've heard in years.
You can see where my antenna is located on qrz.com and it is about 200 ft of wire from my second floor room window along side the motel entrance roof to the lamp post in front of my car then to the big Quality Inn sign. The wire is insulated with
clear shipping tape where it goes thru the window (doesnt seem to matter it is
zig zag where the window closes on it) then to a piece of 30 lb fishing line
over the light post then to 30 lb fishing line over the sign. I shot a one
ounce weight over the lamp post and big sign with my slingshot Zebco Reel and 4 lb
line then pulled the 30 lb line back over. You can see my slinger on
Flickr searching for WA3SCM. I am glad you enjoyed the QSO. I
try to get the other fella talking about something that interests him then try
to add too it. I am also trying to get my speed up to a solid 20 but am
most comfortable around 17 now. Once I can do 20 solid I am going to get
my extra. I speak of you often when bsing with hams. Your fun
and success with isotrons always sparks an interest.
Just goes to show you if there's a will...there's always a way.