My Most Recent QSO's

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Texas QSO Party

It's a rainy, dreary day and I've been reading a good book to pass the time. Earlier I had breakfast with my daughter and her husband at Bob Evans.

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

A Few Good Spots on the Sun

My day started really early Tuesday morning. I didn't sleep well and found myself in front of the radio at 5 am, waiting for the sun to rise above the valley. I put on the headphones and made a quick scan of the 40 meter band.

I heard and worked a New York (KG2B) station in only a few minutes. Next was a #5 station in Texas (WA5PFJ)followed by a fellow driving to work in Connecticut (AJ1G/M) and then a "ESE" station in Maine. (K1ESE). I've heard that there is an "ESE" call in all 10 call areas and this makes # 2 for me.

The Texas station (WA5PFJ) was a little over a thousand miles and on 40 meters... a good catch.

It seems the sun was blessing us with a few new "spots" and some are saying Cycle 24 is about to start. Regardless...., it was nice to hear a lot of activity.

Around noon, I heard and worked a station in Norway (I didn't get the call correctly and didn't log it) and I also heard another familiar station in the Czech Republic (OK1KT)

Sure hope the bands continue to improve since the 5th Anniversary of the NAQCC club is fast approaching in October. During the week of Oct 12 to the 18th, I'll be operating as N8A for the entire week.

If the weather cooperates, I'll try to get into the field and operate on 20 meters. I've wanted to operate from this spot in the New River Gorge for a long time.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Up the Creek Without a Paddle

I've heard this expression many times but actually found myself here a few days ago. Here's what I found while overturning a few rocks in the creek. The "claws" in these rascals can "pinch" very hard so it's important to grab them at "exactly" the right spot. That means just behind the "eyes" where he can't reach back and pinch you with his claws.

I've heard it said they're "tasty" little morsels but I've always been content to take another persons word on that. Some woodsy people thrive off "stuff under the rocks" or "wild game" they can catch and cook for a small meal. I've always gone for the "roots and berry's" myself.

Although I live within a 10 minute walk of the State Capitol, I can be in Kanawha State Forest
in less than half an hour. That's one of the great things about living a rural state. Although Charleston is the State Capitol, there's barely 50,000 people living here.

Within an hours drive, I can also be in the New River Gorge. That's a 60 mile stretch of river that is one of the oldest rivers in the world. (the New River) It's also the best "white water" East of the Mississippi. There are some class 7 rapids there.

I've rafted and kayaked a few stretches of this gorge.

I usually do it alone but keep within sight of someone most of the time. I love the freedom that only comes when you're by yourself. One of the reasons I'm able to be by myself is my two meter radio. I keep this in the "dry bag" of the kayak or in my day pack when hiking.

Note the size of the quarter in this picture. The red package is a "roll up J-pole" and the other item (at the bottom right) is an external "tone generator". The small battery pack allows me to up the power from 300 mw to 2 watts. There's VERY few places in this state where I can't connect with a repeater for help.

A few years ago, I was paddling under one of the largest "Span Arch" bridges in the world when I slipped on the rocks and tore a ligament in my left shoulder. Wow...that really hurt but I was able to set up the camera and take a picture before I drifted back downstream towards the car.
It took a year and a half to heal totally.
I'm glad I had a radio with me....

Friday, September 18, 2009

My New QSL Card

I've designed a new "QSL" card for myself and have uploaded this to the E-QSL site. It's a little "heavy" and will take some extra time to download but I thought a good example of life here in the mountains of West Virginia. I'll use this card also for those who contact me on the air and have computer skills. (just click and save)
There's a LOT of music in this state. The majority of which is passed down without a written record. It's "word of mouth" and to play it (there's a lot of pickers much better than me) you need to memorize the tunes and chord changes. It's sometimes difficult to blend your style with the styles of others.
The guitar above is the last thing I purchased in the US Navy. It's an Italian made "EKO" that was purchased in Barcelona Spain just before I jumped into a jumbo cargo plane and flew back to the states.
That was 1970.
I've completely worn it out, and thought of buying the classic "Martin" that all good pickers seem to use. But I like this guitar because the neck "feels good" in my small hands. I wore the fret bars down to a point that the strings rattled and my fingernails dug into the neck. The lacquer is cracked. But I couldn't part with it. (it actually makes it sound better)
I had the entire neck re-worked (even added pearl markers on the top) but didn't touch the body. The wood resonates very well with the old lacquer even tho it's not very pretty.
I play an assortment of tunes from "sing a longs" to jazz variations.
I have my own "style" and play for small groups and friends.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

VE3CWU R/C Contact

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.
73, Bob

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

W2XYZ QRP Sailboat on 40 Meters

I was able to work W2XYZ (what a nice call sign) on his sailboat in Barnegat Bay New Jersey a few mornings ago. The call signs with "following sequence letters" are hard to collect so when I heard the "XYZ" I jumped right on it. Amazingly, he was hearing me 599 and he was also QRP at 5 watts with a mobile Hustler antenna.

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

New DX Country on 20 Meters

One of the things I love most about this hobby is not knowing where the next DX station is going to pop up on the bands. It's been so busy the last few weeks that I didn't have a clue there was a major contest happening in Europe this weekend. When I started hearing DX stations on 20 meters, I decided to give a few a try.

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

New QSL Cards

I found these two cards in the mail a few days ago when I returned from Washington DC.
Maybe it's just my age, (I'm still pretty young at 61) but it seems the only thing I've done the last few weeks is attend funerals. I know death is the beginning of a new life but it's also a lot of pain for family members. I wish there was more I could do to ease the transition for them.
Anyway....I worked OK1KW in the Czech Republic and also a Submarine (USS Requin SS 481) near Pittsburgh, PA just before I was called to the sad occasions.

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.
Postage rates aren't cheap these days.
You can see the "radio room" in the Submarine by looking at the Club Newsletter on the NAQCC site. There's a link on the right side of this web page. Read the current monthly edition to see this article.