My Most Recent QSO's

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Confusing Situation

I found these websites by running a simple search on my call sign and discovered that some of my "blog pictures" are being used by at least two websites. I don't have a problem with anyone "sharing" my photos (free) but it seems to me, these are being commercially exploited.

Into The Trees Wallpapers @ :

Fonds d'écran de Rig 1 @ Musique-Monde :

I don't know whether to be angry, amused or both. I'm looking for answers....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

S50XX Slovenia

Sometimes it takes a few months for stations to upload log books in a big contest. Such was the case when I received this electronic card from E-QSL today. I worked him in the ARRL DX CW contest a while back. Always nice to get another DX contact...

Hope a few more come along!


Another 1000 mpw contact into Germany (DM8YL) this afternoon on 20 meters. I had the rig set at 4 watts when I worked this station at 4,122 miles. Victoria was send at 34 wpm and I thought that I might have missed the call. That's WAY too fast for me.

I know the title of this post is confusing, and in case you're wondering...No, she wasn't sending all those letters and numbers when I copied her. Here's the explanation...

Victoria was originally licensed as SV2KBS in Greece. She is an avid hiker and traveler. She worked my 4 watts from the Super Station DR1A in Germany.

As I feared I might have missed the call, I sent an e-mail to confirm the contact. She said I was weak, but perfectly readable. Copied, RST and QTH. She also says:

Will be QRV this weekend with the DR1A crew for WPXCW as M/M. If u r on, give us a call !

Yes, I'll be listening but hope she slows it down a bit. Hihi 
This evening she was using a keyboard for all the contacts. It was all I could do to reply at 21 WPM....she copied all correctly the very first time! 

I say congratulations to her for hearing this weak 4 watt signal here in the valley. 

Victoria (DM8YL) makes my 8th 1000 MPW contact! 

An Odd Looking Tower

While working WB9CTP this early evening, I did my customary inquiry into his home city of Bloomington, Illinois. (which I do quite often when I work any station)

I don't ever remember seeing a structure like this? It's actually called the TeleCourier Tower, and I would imagine, a tuff one to erect. Bloomington is home to State Farm Insurance company which employs a LOT of people here.

Ron spent many years in the Broadcast radio industry. He recently retired and is enjoying life very much now.

QRP DX Contacts

I'm a new member of the ARCI club, so this was a treat to catch last night. Kevin (K6JSS/0) was transmitting from Iowa. He even mentioned me on "QRP Spots" since it was such a difficult contact for both of us.

Another QRP contact last night was a station in Kentville, Nova Scotia. (VE1QY). This was my fist contact with Barry but I work another station in Kingston Nova Scotia (VE1BA) quite regularly. (are these technically DX?)

Yesterday, my friend Dick (N2UGB) asked me about working DX QRP stations. It took me a few minutes to think about it. What I call a "true" QRP DX station is one using 5 watts or less, with a (most important) "simple wire antenna". Those are the ones which are truly amazing to me. To date, there's only been three. EA8/OK1DMP/QRP, and UR5FA/MM/QRP (twice). I've also worked a French station (F6DCD/ QRP) but he was using a Yagi antenna.

The EA8 station was using a long wire from the balcony of a resort in the Canary Islands, and the "marine mobile" station was using a windom antenna, near the coast of Brazil in South America.

Which brings me to my point.

What are my most exciting contacts?

Despite the joy of working DX stations at nearly 5,000 miles, (all the glory is in the receiver, amps,  and antennas of those monster stations) I still get the ultimate thrill when I work another  QRP station which is using a "simple wire antenna".

Of all my contacts (1,043) now, the 240 which are "QRP" are always my prized possessions. I do little "contests" because of the filters in my 703 (don't have any). But even if I did, the QRP contacts are always the best.

I continue to listen to the 20 meter QRP frequency (14.060) with the hopes of working more QRP stations. My immediate goal is to work 100 DX stations, (I'm at 84 now) but every time I hear a CQ on this frequency, I look forward to another 5 watt contact above all others.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

EA3GHZ Spain

Another quick one (EA3GHZ)  this evening. Fantastic signal here on the east coast!

Working DX around sunset, has become quite common. I've also heard XE2MW (Mexico) and EA5UM in Spain. I'm getting close to my 100th DX contact now.

This is addictive....I look forward to every evening!

I got into the hobby at the end of the last solar cycle and never dreamed this would be so much fun.

OL100VP Special Event Station Czech Rebublic

I've been so busy the last few days, it's been difficult to listen to the band, but I was able to work this "Special Event Station" celebrating 100 years of football this evening. The station (OL100VP) is in the Czech Republic.

This is one of the recent contacts I've made with my new Vibroplex Square Racer ,which I'm still getting to know. I like the feel of it. It's a solid key with a different action from my old "spring action" MFJ key. The magnetic draw is very quick and I find myself sending faster already. It begs me to send faster with it's sharp precise releases from the contact pegs.

It will still take me some time to maximize it's qualities but I like it more every time I make a contact.

There's a music festival at the state capitol next week. I will be picking and grinning for a bit. We have relatives coming in, so will not be much time for radio.

I've also been selling off some old radio gear which I don't use anymore. Several pieces have gone already and I plan to sell off much more. I still have both MFJ QRP rigs. (CW and SSB)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Another Nice QSL

Started the morning with a nice 4 watt QSO with this fellow in Georgia. I like those "customized cards". They remind me of some good times I've had in this short life.

Here's a picture of my '70 model EKO guitar. It's been re-worked completely and plays like a new one. My specialty is sitting around a campfire, picking a few tunes, with good friends.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


When I can't work anything else on 20 meters, it seems I can always work a station on the west coast. Puzzling, but that's the way it is today. The bands not in good shape and I hear no DX.

I always can work Texas and Florida, (and most of the time) the state of Washington. This evening it was another QRP station just a little short of Vancouver BC. VE7YMM/ QRP was a my best catch today.

(Especially since he was only using 2 watts with his K2).

I bought myself a new toy this evening. It should arrive by Saturday afternoon. It makes me feel a little better about not getting to Dayton this year.

It's my first Vibroplex key. 

I still don't feel comfortable sending or receiving much over 20 I didn't buy the "standard bug".

My key is a magnetic action Iambic key called a "square racer".

I'm looking forward to using it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hiking in the New River Gorge

The  New River Gorge ( in West Virginia)  has always been one of my favorite hiking areas, but a few years ago, “back problems” started to limit my excursions here. Several of the “discs”  in my lower back are severely distorted. Sometimes I can hardly walk, but after lot’s of physical therapy, I can day hike (with light gear)  and I can bicycle without too much difficulty.

When Marilyn and I decided to meet some fellow Sierra Club hikers in the gorge last weekend, I was pleased to discover a possible solution for this problem.

I’ve known about hiking with goats for some time by reading the WG0AT blog. They're excellent pack animals and have a pleasant personality. When our Sierra Club friends brought along this little five week old youngster, it was a welcome surprise.

As we hiked along the rim of the gorge, we met a group of rock climbers. In this picture, you can sense their excitement when they saw the little goat.

I’m convinced this future hiker (the goat) would become a perfect companion for future radio excursions.

Here's a picture of myself a few years ago when I was hiking in this part of the gorge. The "endless wall" is a three mile section of good climbing rock that's used by climbers from all over the world. The New River Gorge is also the best white water rafting area in the Eastern United States.

If I only owned a farm….

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I was extremely excited to find OK1K1 on the 14.058 Fist frequency again this evening. (We've worked before). The really nice thing about this contact was that we took quite a few minutes to "chat". Exchanged info about rig and antennas, WX and the good unexpected propagation.

Both of us have Fists and Century Club numbers that we exchanged. Milan was very complimentary about my 5 watts and my antenna. This is one of the rare times I've had a chat with anyone almost 5,000 miles distance with good signals both ways.

This QSO really made my day!


Another contact in Spain this evening. EE5DA looks like an outdoors man. Transmitting from Alecante. Heard several England stations but couldn't work them. I see someone is the mid west worked UR5FA/MM on QRP Spots but I wasn't in the right place at the right time.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Strange band conditions this evening but I managed to work Les (EA5AVL) near Madrid Spain. Very loud, although he was hearing me at 529. We actually took a minute to chat, as I listened to his 400 watts into a Quad antenna.

He congratulated me on my 5 watts and the indoor Isotron antenna.

I was very happy to hear my friend in New York (N2UGB) was able to work the slow freighter  (UR5FA/MM) near Brazil and get a good signal report. It seems the ship will around South America for a few more days. There might be a chance for me to work him again, before he gets out of range.

(If you can work him QRP to QRP, it's a real hoot!)  

I also worked two stations in the mid west today. One in Idaho (AB7VS) and the other (W5IQS) in Texas. Finished the evening working a Louisville Kentucky (AE4RV) but QRM shut me down. Sure wish I had bought those extra filters....

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Strange happenings on the band yesterday. There's a lot of contesting this weekend, but I heard this guy sending CQ Test all in the clear, and hardly anyone making an effort to return his call. It took me many many times but finally made the connection.

Friday, May 13, 2011

UR5FA/MM QRP- a little closer to South America

I was able to work this Marine Mobile QRP station again this evening. It's a slow moving ship now in grid square GK 90. Oleg (UR5FA/MM/QRP) is using a Yeasu FT 817 @ 5 watts with a Windom antenna. He's very weak but workable. His signal was a little better this evening but still heavy QSB and at best 229.

Evidently he hears me much better than I hear him. This evening the frequency was 14.060 @ 21:50z.

He's a fine catch....a little closer to South America tonight.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Taste of Crow

Yesterdays entry about the Ukraine QRP station (UR5FA/MM) has turned out to be false. 

Late last night, after seeing an entry on another DX Cluster, I found the e-mail address of the strong 5 station (W5JAY) who worked this station just before me. Indeed (and I'm grateful he noted this on the cluster entry) UR5FA/MM was transmitting from grid square GK57 which is just above South America and about midway between it and Africa. 

This explains (perfectly) why I was able to work him at a mere 2500 miles. It also explains why I've found only three entries for this station. Hihi 

While a disappointment for me, I seem to be the most distant station to make the contact. Brazil was fairly close for him, one station was in the gulf coast, and another was in North Carolina.

I'm sure this QRP station will be an interesting contact for a few more fellows here in the United States as he steams towards Africa. He's worth listening for and will probably transmit again on the 14.060 frequency. I worked him at 22:25 GMT. 

I think the ship is MV Anni S. It's listed on the E-QSL site as an alternate operating site. 

This morning I'm having crow for breakfast.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Back from the beach and on 20 meters again. Yes, I missed the radio and it's great to be back on the air.

I don't think I will EVER figure out propagation!

This afternoon the solar flux is 94, the A index is 5, and the K index is 1. I'm certainly not an expert on the index's, but it seems completely illogical that I've worked  my BEST "1000 mile per watt" contact now.
(see following entry about this station)

This is a Marine Mobile QRP Station !  

I've sent a follow up e-mail, along with an E-QSL confirmation, to this station operating from (what I thought  was) Odessa in the Ukraine. I hope to find out what antenna he was using since I'm sure of his QRP status. I can't imagine anything but a "wire antenna" operating from a boat. 

A few moments before I worked him, a heard a strong 5 station (here in the US) exchange info and when I checked the DX cluster, I discovered he worked another QRP station (PY4ZO) in Brazil about 15 minutes before me. 

Oleg (UR5FA/MM) was hearing me fairly well but I had a VERY difficult time hearing him. He repeated his call many times until I finally repeated it back correctly. He really deserves "congratulations" on a job well done while waiting for the signal to peak just right.

Yesterday evening, I worked an Italian station (IT9NMJ) but not sure he copied everything correctly. Still a nice try at ONE mile short of another 1000 mpw.

I received a nice e-mail from F6DCD/ QRP (France) who I worked just before leaving for the beach.

He sez:

 Hello John,
> Thanks for this info and the nice qso. Your signal was really solid & nice to copy here with the indoor ant & 4W ! I like qrp and the K2 is a super trx. My ant is not 2 él but 3 él/ 3 bands (FB33 - Fritzel) at 15m high (see photo).
> Wish you all the best + vy 73
> Denis F6DCD 

I also worked the French station F5NBX again....seems anytime he points the antenna towards the east coast, I seem to work him.

Todays contact with the Ukraine station (UR5FA/MM)  makes my 80th DX contact.