My Most Recent QSO's

Monday, February 28, 2011

Puerto Rico Again but With 1 Watt of Power

I worked Alberto (WP4L) in Puerto Rico, just last week, but was using my normal 5 watts of power. I heard him calling this afternoon and he was sounding really good. So good, in fact, that I had his approximate distance in my head and decided to reduce my power to 1 watt before attempting to answer his CQ SKCC.

Alberto is 1,655.6 miles from me. 

To my surprise, he answered my call immediately. I copied all his info (it's a lot easier when you've heard it before) and he added his SKCC# 7568 at the end of the exchange.  My signal was 559 and his was the same. 

I thanked him for the info and returned with my basic 559-WV-John and SKCC # 4525. Not that he wasn't able to hear me, but someone stepped right on top of me. I could tell he was furious. He quickly informed the offending station of the transgression, and asked for my name and SKCC number again. 

It was an immediate QSL this time, and a long TU for the QSO and new SKCC number. 

This is the second, time in the last few days, that I've been able to reduce power to the 1,000 mile per watt level and make a DX contact.

I got'a admit......I really like this! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

9A5W Velika Gorica--Croatia

I assumed the solar flux was "done" (its 88 right now) but this afternoon I worked several more DX stations on 20 meters. I'm not hearing a LOT of DX stations but they are VERY strong.

The adventure started yesterday when I worked another Nova Scotia station at about 1,000 miles (VE1HH) . George was in New Glasgow, which is located in the upper northern part of Nova Scotia. I was using 5 watts of power.  I also heard (but couldn't work) EA8CMY in the Canary Islands, which is off the coast of Africa.

Now for today.

Another blogger (PA1B) has been encouraging me to keep my power below 5 watts. (That makes it a little more exciting when jumping the 4,000 mile pond into Europe) and since I don't know how many times I been "just under" the 1000 mile per watt award, (while using 5 watts), I took his advice and lowered my power to 4 watts.

This afternoon, I worked another Nova Scotia station (VE1BA) in Kingston. John was using a Yeasu FT 817 at 3 watts and he sounded great. I worked him easily while I was using 4 watts of power. We've worked previously.

Just a few moments later I heard a very loud F6 station (France) and just a few moments later, I heard a very loud 9A5W (Croatia) station. I needed to send my call twice but he immediately came back and acknowledged me and my QRP status.

This station is the "third" now that qualifies me for the 1,000 mile per watt award. Sometimes I'm just in the right place at the right time. I was really glad I was at 4 watts and  9A5W was 4,722.7 miles from me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Motala Sweden

What an unusual morning.....The solar flux wasn't nearly what it's been recently, (it's only 91 now) but while waiting for breakfast, I tuned around the 20 meter band and heard this Sweden station calling CQ DX. Never expecting (in a million years) for him to hear me, I answered. We actually exchanged weather reports (lots and lots of snow there) and he asked for my power again when I hung the /QRP to the end of my callsign.

Lars (SM5CAK) was very kind when he took the few 'extra minutes' to exchange more than the standard info.

What a nice way to start the day.

I was hearing no other stations on the band this morning.

Lars is #44 in my DX log book now.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My 2nd Contact in Bulgaria

(picture by Nikolay Angelou via Wikipedia)

The 20 meter band is still strong today as I tuned around the blistering ARRL DX Contest. My prize catch this morning was LZ2SO in Bulgaria. That's 5,169 miles and qualifies for another 1000 MPW award.

But I just can't take the wear and tear on the ears.

I admit it's too much for me.....

I was happy to again work G0LZL in Manchester England, and a station in France (F6NTV). I've done my best and heard stations in Sweden, Finland and many other European countries. I've worked (but can't find the info) several others. The Solar Flux has dropped a bit but the bands still hot. This gives me a taste of real DX conditions. Realistically, I don't have the rig or antenna to compete at this level. But it's been exciting to make a few great contacts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wall to Wall DX

The solar flux is an astounding 125 today and the 20 meter band is alive with European stations. I'm assuming there is a BIG contest, since I easily worked DL5A in Luftjensee Germany (with just a few tries) using the split mode. The band is so charged, that without filters on my rig, most of it sounds like a beehive. 

In another few minutes G0LZL in Manchester England was in the log book. Just a few minutes afterward I logged EF7S in the Canary Islands. (I can't find that one in the call book but that's what he was sending). Most of these operators were sending around 30 wpm or more. Yes....there's the possibility of me hearing it wrong. Hihi 

I'm sure that I could have worked MANY more stations but I just didn't have the patience to fight my way through the beehive. I'm happy to work these few and turn off the radio. 

This really isn't pleasant for me. At QRP power, and an 18" indoor antenna,  it's a little too much today. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

French QSL Card

Quite a signal and a fast card....and the best of all, no postage. 

If I remember right, my last $5.00 card was sent and received from a QSL manager in Moscow Russia. It was actually for a contact, in another country, but his info on QSZ specifically said "don't send cash, my postman loves US dollars". In these electronic days....these are fine with me. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Limoges France Contact

Today, I spent the entire afternoon riding around town on the bike. My daughter and grandkids live only 10 miles from here, so I was able to drop in and observe a large Monopoly game. I made it back home, and into the radio room, at about 4 PM local time. After doing a few chores, I turned on the radio, and couldn't believe my ears when I heard a strong F6 station on 20 meters.

I guess when the solar flux reaches 107....anything in possible on the bands. Bert (F6HKA) was blasting American "east coast" stations one after another, and another, and another. He actually lives in the town of Couerassas, which is close to the transportation center in Limoge. There's a large train station there and the famous painter Renoir was born in this area. Bert was 4,084 miles from me and after only 5 attempts, I was able to work him. This made me feel "really good" because of the competition.

He was sending out his signals in the SKCC WES Contest and really "rocking the doors" with his straight key. I was astounded when he came back to me with my name and his SKCC# 6069 T. He send my RST as 559. His signal was 599 with very little fading. He thanked me for the new SKCC number and wished me good luck in the contest.

The solar forecasts predict a "black out" on the way but I'm glad it hasn't arrived yet. I've worked a French stations before but never heard one so clearly as him today. My only other French contact has been F6HFX in Labouheyre.

Today makes my 37th DX contact with my QRP station. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Adjuntas, Puerto Rico

I worked another station in Puerto Rico this afternoon. Although I'm able to work Florida quite easily, it's unusual when I bounce a southern signal this distance. This afternoon was only the second time I've worked Puerto Rico and I was surprised at my 559 report. Alberto (WP4L) is in the central part of this territory, in an area know for it's ecology. Being in the mountains, this town is one of the coolest in Puerto Rico with an average temperature of 72 degrees.

There are large copper and gold deposits here, but the people decided the environmental damage was too great to allow heavy mining. That's just the opposite of our state where we blow off the tops of the mountains and shove them into our streams. I admire their values....

My Southern Caribbean contacts now stand at 6YIV (Jamaica), K4DKE (Puerto Rico), CO8LY (Cuba), CO6LC (Cuba) and now WP4L in Puerto Rico. I like that part of the world because the people are so resourceful and resilient. I admire simplicity and keeping life as un-complicated as possible.

Alberto's QSL card displays some very nice "paddles" but this afternoon he was using a straight key. He is SKCC member # 7568 and we exchanged club numbers.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Amelia Earhart and Radio


Amelia Earhart   made a landing in Anderson South Carolina many years ago. A few days ago, I worked N6LYJ who lives there. I often look up the home towns of my radio contacts as a way of learning about their lives and appreciating their heritage. I like history.

She was a courageous person, and of course, the first female to attempt flying around the world. But it ended tragically,  and no one knows the exact location of the plane. It's never been found and assumed to be at the bottom of the ocean,  in water about three miles deep. Her last radio contact was just below the 80 meter band on the frequency of 3105 KHz, and as any ham knows, that means she was a short distance from her landing spot. The 50 watt transmitter had the call sign of KHAQQ and the aircraft was using a less than efficient V antenna. 

The high-frequency antenna installed aboard the Electra in March 1937 was a “Vee” type running from the tip of each of the twin vertical stabilizers to a mast atop the fuselage. The antenna was, therefore, a total of 46 feet, doubled back onto itself. It was then, already 15% longer than optimum; but since the radio equipment had been installed by Bell Labs, it can be fairly assumed that it was tuned properly at that time.
The length of 46 feet was greater than 1/8 wavelength at 3105 KHz (approximately 38 feet) and greater than 1/4 wavelength at 6210 KHz (again, approximately 38 feet; this relationship is due to the fact that 6210 KHz is the exact second harmonic of 3105 and the wavelength at the higher frequency is half that of the lower); or, a non-resonant length at either frequency.

Maybe some day, the aircraft will be found and raised back to the surface? It had the latest technology of its time. There was a "loop antenna" mounted above the cockpit which was used for "direction finding". Of course, all that means nothing when you run out of gas.....I can only imagine her final thoughts.

The "Lockheed Model 10E Electra" was Lockheeds first "all metal plane" with twin engines. Amelias plane had the famous "double tail".  It had a special Pratt-Whitney R-1340 engine that generated 600 hp.