My Most Recent QSO's

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

1,736 Miles With Your Rain Gutters

Those of us who live in "challenging" radio locations are often amazed at the contacts we occasionally make on the bands. Although this contact is less than 2,000 miles, (actually 1,736 miles) Jim (KK7YJ) in Missoula Montana, was a fine catch. Both our signals were weak but we were able to exchange SKCC numbers.

What's so unusual about this contact?

Jim is also faced with "antenna restrictions" in his community. He loaded up the "gutters" on his home and made this contact with me here in West Virginia. Like me, the neighbors don't even know we run a Ham radio station at our homes.

I prize this catch as much as a long distance DX contact.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I'm really NOT a contester, but I can't help "joining in" when ALL the CW's ops are using 5 watts of power. Last night, I had original intentions of only passing out a few "quick contacts" for West Virginia but found myself so engrossed in the activity, that I worked the entire contest. I just couldn't stop and it ran away with me.

It was a great way to work other QRP club operators and get those "numbers" increased in the log book. Last night was a "good night" for me using my indoor antenna. I think the best ever.

Here are the results: NAQCC Jun 2010 Sprint

I don't get BIG numbers, in any contest, using a "simple wire antenna" in this valley (in the middle of town) but that's NOT important to me. I had "tons" of fun listening to and working 10 different stations in 10 different states in a period of two hours.

For me, it was a nice accomplishment, and I'm sure many in the contest, were surprised to see my antenna classification listed as an "Indoor Isotron" on the contest page. Despite criticism from many people, I still defend this antenna as a VERY good alternative for those forced to operate in a "very restricted area". It's my only alternative here and works MUCH better than a "random wire".

I worked QRP stations in New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Indiana, Alabama, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Ohio. Two of them were what I would call "beginners" and I made a "special effort" to work them. (I can remember well those first few times I listened to a "swarm of bees" and felt I could never "compete" with any of them).

Getting back to "contesting".....or maybe I should say "not getting back into contesting", I've become a fan of "long conversations". (Not to say working a lot of "quick contacts" isn't the "cup of tea" for many folks). But my biggest joy on the radio bands these days is working another CW QRP operator, and actually getting to know them. Not just any operator, but those with a "good fist". I put a little "flag" with their call signs when I list them in my log book.

Last week, a fellow blogger (W2LJ) wrote about the same joy of "communicating" with another "good fist" who takes the time to match your speed (whatever that might be), use proper spacing, use logical sentence structure, sensible abbreviations, and uniform lengths with their dots and dashes. Too often, CW ops run words together and make it nearly impossible to "copy" their QSO's. I've worked a few operators at 20+ wpm and copied every word. I've also copied (or tried to) work some operators at 5 wpm and not copy a thing they've sent.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is "it's not the quantity, it's the quality" of the contact.

Last night, most of the operators were using "straight keys" and I heard many of them at 15+wpm. It was easy to list them in the log book. The quality of the NAQCC ops was excellent.

I've always liked the North American QRP CW Club and find participating in their "contests" a real joy. There's some excellent operators in this group.

Last night, my last contact was a fellow in Salem, Ohio. He was not a member of the club. I took a few special minutes to tell him about the activity with the hopes that one day he might join the club.

I really don't understand why CW ops don't join a "free club".

They produce a monthly "online" newsletter, special club activities, and have awards geared towards the "QRP" operator. They're all a great bunch of people.

This is a great club!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Music in the Mountains

You'd be amazed at the guitar, mandolin, banjo and fiddlers in this state. It seems they're up every hollow, mountain, and valley. There's always dozens of them just waiting for the Vandalia Gathering near the state capitol building. It was a short walk just up the street from home.

As you can see, I'm a "happy camper" in this crowd. I played with small group of musicians in the "jam tent" and wondered around the lawn with the tall shady trees. I enjoyed the music very much and am looking forward to next year.

You won't find me on the "main stage", but I have fun just the same.

I'm the same way with radio.

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Field Day Battery Source

For what it's worth...

Perhaps there will be a new "operating class" for this years "Field Day"? It seems the new "Hybrid's" on the market contain a 30 KW DC generator that can be tapped for power by using a DC to AC inverter ?

According to the article in this months issue of "Popular Communications Magazine" , some owners of these Hybrid vehicles use their "cars" for emergency generators when the power goes out in bad weather. They power their homes (lights and refrigerators) with them.

What a novel idea....

A tent, transporter, and air conditioner all built into one.

(written by Kirk Kleinschmidt (NT0Z)

I'm would you classify this mode on field day?
How should I sign....

N8ZYA / QRP Hybrid IMI