Friday, April 29, 2011
I imagine these boys (and gals) are having a grand 'ol time at the "Spirit of Speyside Whiskey Festival" in Scotland?
I would be, if I were there. Hihi
Early this afternoon I heard a very weak GB4SWF calling with the "Moray Firth Amateur Radio Society". It took me several attempts to hear the call correctly. I had trouble hearing the 'WF' and Bill had problems hearing my call. (correct at first but at last was N8ZYI).
By the way, I'm still at 4 watts.
I don't know how much he copied (after sending my RST and his QTH and his name) since the band changed suddenly, and he vanished into thin air. I sent an e-mail with the hopes of confirmation. The band is really crummy today. All the DX I'm hearing is there only for a brief moment.
Yesterday evening I heard HA8KW (in Hungary) several times but couldn't work him.
This is going to be my last entry for several days. I'm off to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I won't be taking the radio this year since there's not a lot of extra room in the new vehicle. Not complaining tho....we get almost 60 miles to the gallon on a nice flat trip like this. Around 37 mpg in town.
With gas at nearly $4.00 a gallon, I'm happy to just be going.
Posted by Jspiker at 1:47 PM
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The twenty meter band really opened up this afternoon and I've come to the realization, that when the band is open, I can easily work "across the pond" with four watts of power.
In the beginning, I worked CU2AK in Portugal with my normal five watts of power. I could tell the band was up, so I got brave, and lowered my power another watt to take advantage of the good conditions. The rest of the evening, I worked all my stations with 4 watts of power.
It wasn't long until I recognized a familiar French call F5NBX and he had no trouble hearing me. I was overjoyed when we exchanged the basics. Fred is at 4,103 miles distance from me. This guy has an incredible signal here on the east coast!
It wasn't long until I heard VE1BA/ QRP in Kingston, Nova Scotia calling, and we said a quick hello. (John and I have worked many many times with his 3 watts).
It wasn't long (after that) until I worked EA4TX in Spain. Paul is 4,030 miles with my 4 watts. (need I say more)
But my best contact was still yet to come....
On the 146.060 QRP frequency, I heard F6DCD/ qrp calling! It took a few minutes, to make sure our calls were correct, but we were finally able confirm his 4,262 mile QRP signal from France. Denis was using a 2 element Yagi.
The 2 x QRP was the most exciting for me.
I tried VERY hard to work RT5A in Moscow. Maybe next time? ...
Posted by Jspiker at 5:39 PM
Saturday, April 23, 2011
I've been busy with some inside house painting this afternoon. I finished early and tuned into twenty meters but didn't hear a lot. I worked another QRP station in Vermont with an unusual call sign. I had to listen carefully as he sent KX9X/1 from Vermont.
It's always nice to work another QRP station.
Then I had a short QSO with W5ZR in St Martinville Louisiana. We exchanged SKCC numbers.
It was right after that I noticed some of the "big boys" knocking out stations "fast as a jack rabbit can run". They were sending VERY fast. Hihi
Two of the stations I worked this evening were causing large "pile ups" but I was hearing them clearly and despite the "blistering" speed they were sending, I was able to work them.
It took me several times before SP5S, (in Poland) returned my call, but he returned my call clearly (along with some more stuff that I couldn't copy). I still wonder how he heard me. I sent back 559 WV and John and he was off to the next station.
I was just recovering from the first exchange when, a few moments later, I heard a "blistering fast" station from Italy. (IK2CIO)
He was sending so fast that it took me (literally) a good 5 minutes before I was sure that I the call correct. When he answered my call, It was all I could do to respond fast enough not to embarrass myself. My gut feeling says he was at about 35 wpm. This contact was a real challenge but well worth the effort.
It was a welcome relief when I heard OK3AA sending at a slower pace which I could follow easily. Milan was in the Czech Republic and we actually took a minute to say hello. He asked me how much power I was running when I sent my /QRP on the end of my call. I responded with 5 watts and an indoor antenna. Hihi He also got a chuckle out of it. Milan was just 3 miles short of another 5,000 mile contact for me. (should have been at 4 watts. hihi)
That's three more DX stations this afternoon.
I'm glad I finished my painting. (I primed a window and will put the finishing coat on tomorrow) We had a tremendous storm this evening. It brought down some of the neighbors tree limbs on our property. No real damage, but I removed a small branch from the cable TV wire. I was afraid it would break the wire as it blew in the wind.
I might have worked a few more DX stations (if I had the perseverance) but I'm quite happy with these. The band was in very good shape again.
Posted by Jspiker at 5:34 PM
Friday, April 22, 2011
Although I've been a Ham for a little over 15 years now, I wasn't "radio active" until I retired from the Paint store a few years ago. I've lived in apartment buildings most of my life, and setting up anything "permanent" has been a real problem. Most of those early years, I set up using a random wire, or "bungee corded" my antenna to an outside "stair" railing, on the weekends, when I had the time to operate.
Many times, I set it up and took it down within a few hours.
My log book didn't start (earnestly) until 2009 and I'm happy to say that I worked my 1000 th station yesterday. It was a casual QSO on 40 meters, and I didn't realize the number "1000" until I looked at the "categories" in the log book. I've worked a few contests...., but most of my QSO's have been actual "chats", with some of them being over an hour long. (It's not unusual for me to talk at least half and hour.)
I've used the Microsoft Outlook program as my log book and , for my needs, like it very much. I've created a number of "categories", so I can tell at a glance, who I've talked to, brief notes, countries, states, clubs and the years I've made the contacts. It's full of useful information, which I can sort in a number of different ways.
To date, I've now worked : 1004 contacts (99% CW), 369 FISTS members, 207 NAQCC members, 230 QRP stations, and 285 SKCC members.
But my most surprising log entries have been the DX contacts this year. Total is 71, but of those, 37 have been this year.
Yes...the bands are finally picking up!
The winning station (# 1000) was KC9KOJ in McHenery Illinois.
Posted by Jspiker at 9:44 PM
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Been out riding the bike most of the day but tuned into 20 meters again this evening. I heard Marckus (OH3RM) calling CQ DX but he stopped, and in the clear space, I sent out my CQ. It's difficult for me to copy a DX station at around 25 wpm, but he immediately matched my speed and we exchanged the basics.
At about 17 wpm, I copied that he preferred the buro for QSL'ing. I said OK and he acknowledged my QRP status and wished me the best.
There's still plenty of sunshine this afternoon. I've had my DX fix for the day, so out again on the bike for more city riding before sunset.
Picture of the bike to come later:
Posted by Jspiker at 1:45 PM
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Without a doubt, (SQ8MZW) the most difficult QSO I've made in a long time....but worth every minute of it! I listened carefully as he finished up another QSO and then sent my call sign.
This guy deserves an extra bonus for working this QRP station!
We must have sent a dozen repetitions before we both copied each others names, states and rigs. I really have to give credit where due for pulling my weak signal out of the air! My signal 339.....
I really don't know how he did it!
A few minutes earlier I heard CO2KK in Habana Cuba but still couldn't work him no matter how hard I tried.
Posted by Jspiker at 4:50 PM
I found a good path into Europe again. Jurek (EA6UN) gave me a 579 report from the Balearic Islands (off the eastern coast of Spain). I remember this area from my long voyages when I was in the Navy. Sailing through the passage between the Rock of Gibraltar and the coast of Africa was always windy and the seas were always ruff. I can still remember the sting on my face, and the grit in my teeth, from the blowing sand in Africa.
I worked this same station a few years ago. It was good to hear him again. He made a short comment about my 5 watt QRP signal. Very complimentary.....
Posted by Jspiker at 1:40 PM
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I'd been listening to the SSB portion of 20 meters again this afternoon and was hearing several Italian and English stations. I knew they weren't loud enough for me to work them. But it did tell me the band was again open to Europe.
When I went to CW mode, I immediately heard F6HKA calling CQ WES from France. I knew the call sounded familiar, and sure enough, I worked Bert back in February of this year.
I find it a little eerie when a DX station returns my call and says GE John......
Of course, this is a fantastic shack. (I keep my computer in another room so usually don't have the info pulled up on the screen) Hihi
We exchanged SKCC #'s. Bert is also a Fists member.
He was my 37th DX contact back in November. Today he is # 67....hey, thats about 30 contacts later in 60 days?????
Yeehhh...........I'm proud of that!
Posted by Jspiker at 2:54 PM
Saturday, April 9, 2011
My second DX contact this afternoon (S53IV) waiting out the thunderstorms. The sky got so black that the street lights lit up. I'll replace this card also with an e-qsl when it arrives. Yes.....the sun is still hot this afternoon. (in more ways than one). Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to reach 85 degrees.
This is also my second contact in Slovenia. My first was OM3RM.
He was also surprised when I mentioned my QRP 10 watt power and an 18" antenna.
Posted by Jspiker at 2:40 PM
This afternoon there are tornado warning in Southern West Virginia, so was stuck inside looking at the rain. Tuned around a bit in the SSB portion of 20 meters and caught this one (ON4ND) after a couple of tries. I'll replace this picture card with a E-QSL when it returns to me. He was very surprised when I mentioned my mighty 10 watts.
This is my second contact in Belgium.
My first was ON4AOI
Posted by Jspiker at 2:25 PM
Friday, April 8, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I had trouble working Guru (EA2IF) on the first attempt. I was afraid I had lost a DX contact because the signal was so weak, I couldn't get the exact call.....and was cursing my futile attempt at another DX contact this afternoon. I copied the name and QTH but just couldn't hear the correct call. When looking at the DX clusters, I didn't see anything similar to the call I had written down.
But after a few more stations had worked him, the signal picked all the way up to 559. This time I could hear him clearly and when I sent my call again, he immediately came back to me. I explained my error and he re-affirmed the contact with a big QSL.
When I looked at his bio.....e-qsl was listed as a preferred method of confirmation. I was already in his log book and the card was there in less than a minute.
Posted by Jspiker at 3:14 PM
This evening brought me another DX contact (my 62nd now) operating from Cologne Germany. Joe (DL4KCA) operates a lot of QRP but was QRO today. He's a broadcast engineer in Cologne and we took a few moments to exchange the basics.
The last month or so, I've become very enthused with my DX contacts. They're becoming addictive and I listen every evening near sunset. I'm looking forward to getting outdoors and away from all this city electrical noise. I plan to do some outdoor operating soon.
Posted by Jspiker at 2:12 PM
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
As luck would have it.....he fortunately copied my call sign after many many minutes of waiting for the signal to peak on a high point. I was incredibly confused trying to decipher his with the same process. I sent an e-mail with the hopes of confirming his power level. If he was at one watt, this was a fantastic contact on his part!
Update....got the e-mail this afternoon which reads:
I have used FT-817 (2.5W out), “stealth” antenna was 10m LW from hotel balcony at the 3-rd floor to tree about 8m up and with GP counterpoise (4x5m wire) on the balcony.
This is a fantastic contact from his location.....well worth a "thousand mile per watt award" as his distance is at least 3,000 miles @ 2.5 watts. I think this is the only European DX station I've worked under these conditions. What a nice contact!
I sent Milan this card:
Posted by Jspiker at 7:56 PM