My Most Recent QSO's

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Am I Going to Make it ?

 Since my last posting, I've had Titanium spacers placed in the lower left side of  my back. The surgery was a simple with a quick recovery time, and it relieved my intense agonizing pain.  I had scheduled another surgery on my lower right side, which would have placed a small slender cadaver bone in my right hip but there were other problems which I was unaware of at that time. 

Our home in Charleston has a small yard which I  have always cut with a "push mower" and cutting the grass has always made me feel great, although I was always dripping wet with sweat and very tired afterwards. Alarmingly, I developed a pain down my left arm one hot summer day. I knew what that meant....

I had triple by-pass open heart surgery soon afterwards with a hospital stay of 13 days and an extra 10 days in a rehab unit. I don't remember very much of the hospital other than several PTSD attacks. Apparently, that's not unusual considering the trauma of open heart surgery but I had not anticipated this in my wildest dreams. Needless to say, I should never have visited Vietnam recently because I saw little difference in the South Vietnam of 1968 and 2022. It was depressing to me. 

I had a bout with Covid a few weeks ago but thankfully, it was a mild case. 

I have a pacemaker scheduled to be installed on March 22 now. Hopefully, I should feel more normal afterwards. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

I Like This Picture


This afternoon I worked KP4YO in Cogas, Puerto Rico on 20 meters. I couldn't help but notice this picture on his QRZ page. It was a short QSO of 1676 miles in a straight line. 

I liked seeing this picture so much that I thought I would share it with everyone. In my humble opinion, being able to read Morse Code, with only the human ear is a very precious skill these days. I would encourage everyone to share this statement on their radio pages.  

Sunday, January 24, 2021

I'm Back Into my Favorite Hobby


It's difficult to think that I've been inactive on the radio for the last four years but sometimes life moves much quicker than I care to think about. Although I haven't forgotten how to use most of the features on my Icom 703 rig, there have been a few moments when I really thought I might need to get the instruction manual out to go over a few fine points. 

The last several afternoons, I've realized electrical noises have become much worse over the last four years, especially on 40 meters. I blame a new telephone pole and transformer which was replaced after an especially windy week a few months ago. 

There are also still Christmas LED lights all over the neighborhood. lol 

Yes, my CW speed has slacked off a bit, but I still can copy, and send CW at about 17 words per minute. I surprised even myself because I feared that I was around 11 wpm. Of course most of that depends on who is sending it and what key they are using. 

This afternoon I made a quick contact with VE2NGO in Montreal Canada.  I missed the call but realized the mistake. (it's been awhile) The 30 meter band has always been a staple band for CW operators. 

I'll have more to say as time moves slowly forward but for now 5 watts and an indoor random wire antenna is working well. 

It's a great feeling to be back on the air. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Making Adjustments

This entry will have nothing to do with radio, but hopefully will be an explanation for my long absence of writing on this blog. In essence, I've been forced to make many adjustments with my free time.

Approximately 15 years ago my father had his right hip replaced. It worked flawlessly until  two years ago. In March of last year my father who is 97 years old and was still living independently suffered a series (4) of painful hip dislocations. He also suffered a stroke which has destroyed his reasoning abilities. He has been diagnosed with dementia. He is now in a skilled nursing home and continues to slowly deteriorate. He is legally blind and deaf.

More adjustments have been necessary with the birth of my three grand kids (triplets). At birth, all three babies were rushed into the neonatal ward and the mother was rushed to the intensive care unit of a different hospital. Jacob (the largest of the three at 3 pounds and 1 oz) had a brain bleed which needed immediate attention. Jaylee (at 2 lbs and 5 oz) and John (at 2 lbs and 3 oz) both struggled to breathe. It was miracle that the mother, and any of the children survived. The early birth (at 22 weeks) was due to the tremendous stress on the mother. She had developed a very bad case of the Flu, in all probability, caught from a patient at the doctors office where she was employed. 

That was the beginning of a two month stay in the neonatal unit of the hospital. Jacob (the boy with the brain bleed) had a device implanted in the top of his skull to relieve the pain caused by the bleeding. He seemed to stabilize but will need further surgery as he grows. He has been diagnosed now with Cerebral Palsy. John, the second child had two months of breathing issues, and after transferring to a different children's hospital, has stabilized.

At five months of age, Jaylee simply stopped breathing and died in the middle of the night. Crib death (SIDS) is an unexplained phenomenon. Needless to say, these last two years have been more than stressful. I've been simply overwhelmed with sadness.

I hope to get back on the air in the future but for now, I simply don't have the free time to enjoy radio.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


I received my confirmation card in the mail yesterday afternoon . Many thanks to MOZ for a great contact on the 30 meter CW band. 

MOZ was using a 2 element Moxon beam at 75 ft. His power was 100 watts.  This was a "long path" contact at nearly 24,000 Kilometers. (10,000 miles straight line distance) 

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. 

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.