My Most Recent QSO's

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My 115th DX Country - Australia

I worked my 115 th DX Country on March 4 th, 2017
My "straight line distance" to Australia is 10,0007 miles.

That's 2,000 MPW with 5 watts of power. 

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I've been hearing VK3CWB in Mildura Australia for several evenings on the 30 meter band; and always at around 22:30 GMT. I rarely hear stations at this distance, and when I do, they're usually far too weak to work. Besides, the solar cycle is near the bottom of the current eleven year lull right now.

I've been a licensed HAM for more than 25 years and I had all but given up on ever putting this country in the log book. My operating locations, in all these years, have been, at the very best, marginal, with indoor stealth antennas. I use five watts of power (QRP) and a 50 ft. piece of Radio Shack speaker wire (indoors) for an antenna. This simple station does have it's limits, or so I thought....

Although I hold both DXCC and WAS awards from the NAQCC Club, previously I've made only three, of what I call "deer in the headlights contacts". I'm very happy to say this new contact makes number four.

Moz -VK3CWB - has an interesting philosophy about working QRP  stations. 


"Its not the QRP which is important, it's the enthusiasm, endeavor, application and belief that things can be done simply which I really admire. And of course, if you run QRP there must be a persistence and a "never say die' attitude which is also most admirable".

This was a pre-arranged contact, the result of an e-mail which I sent him the previous day.

I heard him calling me the moment I tuned to the pre-arranged 30 meter frequency at the appointed time. He heard me the moment I tuned up the QRP rig. He returned my call on the first attempt. We had a short conversation about his 30 meter two element "Moxon" antenna. I expressed my gratitude for his patience and willingness to make a successful contact at this distance.

This was not a "599 and TU 72's QSO" --  Our conversation was a "solid "559(both ways) 

I was thrilled to make such a nice contact but afterwards (e-mail) Moz explained to me that he was using the "long path". I've heard the term, but being a "simple wire antenna person", I didn't fully comprehend it's significance. Australians (and I might add, most of the rest of the world) use kilometers for their measurements. The truly remarkable thing about this contact was that he was pointing his "beam" the direct "opposite" (towards the west) in the direction of West Virginia.

Most operators would have taken the "shortest path".

His straight line distance (long path) was 24,000 kilometers, and if I understand correctly, he must have bounced his radio waves across the Indian Ocean, Saudi Arabia, France, and the North Atlantic before it reached me in West Virginia.

As I noted earlier, the contact with VK3CWB is what I consider my "fourth" eye awakening QRP contact.

My first was several years ago when I worked A45XR in Oman at 7,429 miles. He was using a double element "delta loop" for an antenna. I worked him on both 17 and 30 meters in 2013; and was my most distant contact until now.


My other two "deer in the headlight" stations are ZD8X on Ascension Island. The operator on this "very large pile up" took the time to send me a computer "print out" of his log book. He noted my call sign and drew me a congratulatory "seal of approval".



The other station was R0FA on Sakhalin Island. This operator actually stopped the "pile up" when I spotted him on a DX Cluster. It's amazing the effect "QRP at 3 Watts" can have in the "comments" section. Hi Hi  -  He made a special effort to congratulate me (on the air) and a moment of silence.



In a category "all it's own" was a "portable packet contact" with the Russian Space Station R0MIR. I dropped a letter in it's "mailbox" while sitting in a cow pasture near Charleston WV. I was using a handi-talkie (VHF) with a Hewlett Packard "palm top computer".  At sunset, I visually followed it across the sky with a small 3 element beam.


I have new hopes of working a New Zealand station now, or possibly the Russian Arctic station at the South Pole. I've heard them both but they're much too weak for me to work...  well maybe ?

I continue to be amazed at the kindness and courtesy that some DX operators extend to those of us in the QRP community. Working with 5 watts and simple wire antennas isn't easy. It's challenging but very rewarding. I love it !


Friday, March 3, 2017

My 114th DX Station

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I worked this station on 20 meters this afternoon. Just when I think I've worked all the DX I can, another one surprises me. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The ARRL DX Contest - DX Country # 113


I worked my 113th DX country with a contact to V26M in Antigua and Barbuda during the ARRL DX Contest a few days ago. I worked ten DX stations within the first hour.

Although I was running my usual 5 watts into my indoor random wire, one of our NAQCC club members (read the next newsletter) worked Australia on 40 meters with about 1/2 watt of power. I felt lucky to make a dozen QRP DX contact in "contest conditions". Working Australia with less than a watt (1/2 a watt) under "contest conditions" is an astounding accomplishment!

Monday, February 13, 2017

My 31st DX Contact in Slovenia


I worked Slovenia for the 31st time this evening. I've worked the specific station S57V four different times. The bands are in terrible shape. 

The Solar Flux Index is 75. The A Index is 4. The K Index is 2.

The last dozen DX stations I've worked have been in the Caribbean.  (with the exception of one in the Netherlands).

Slovenia is due East at 4,679 miles in a straight line. I love the surprise of something unexpected appearing in the log book. I've always said radio is a lot like fishing. You never know what you're going to catch until you throw the line in the water.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Rainy Day at the Lodge


It's been way too long since I've been "officially" on the air for a special event. Yesterday I spent a rainy day in an old lodge in the Kanawha State Forest. The lodge is about a 40 minute drive from home. I've hiked in this forest for many years. I'm still a member of the local hiking group. Membership in the hiking club gives me access to the lodge. 

I had planned this outing to avoid a rainy Tuesday the day before. The weather forecast this day was supposed to be cool (50 degrees Fahrenheit) but dry. It didn't turn out that way... I got wet setting up the antenna but was able to move inside the lodge to operate. 

Sending out an advanced notice to the NAQCC group is a sure way to work a lot of club stations. Of the 15 stations I worked yesterday, 13 were club members. 

I've made changes to my operating mode in the last few months. I purchased a YouKit HB1B because it's so very small, it has a great receiver, and a good variable filter. For those of us with bad backs, it's a great portable radio. 


I can now carry everything I need to operate in the woods in a day pack. I've changed my tuner to a smaller model and use a small external speaker which I bought from China. I'm using a set of "palm paddles" for my key.

I bought the paddles from a NAQCC member using our monthly "swap and shop" list. (hint) Lifetime membership in the NAQCC Club is free so why haven't you joined yet?

My first contact yesterday was with NAQCC West Virginia member Steve Ashcraft KC4URI. He had a 599 signal into WV. The Reverse Beacon Network showed that I was heard by stations in Arizona and California.


My actual contacts were pretty much up and down the east coast from New Hampshire to Florida.I worked two stations in Texas and Kansas. Both had good signals into West Virginia. I'm amazed at how well a radio signal can jump into the sky from this location.

This weekend the forecast is a good one for WV with temperature predicted to be near 70 degrees on Saturday. (21 degrees C). I assume this is a fluke and we still have some very cold weather coming again in February.

I hope to get a fire going and bring some music on my next trip to the lodge. Access is only by a small footbridge, over a creek, which is slippery when wet. (be forewarned)


Monday, January 9, 2017

The European CW Association


                                                            I'm member # 3315.

I love a well designed card and the subject matter couldn't be better. I've considered Morse Code to be a form of music for many years. I received this membership card from the European CW Association this afternoon.


Samuel Morse is buried in Brooklyn New York. A statues honoring him is located in Central Park in downtown New York City. I've visited it several times.