My Most Recent QSO's

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Czech Republic (OK1KW) at 4,471 Miles

I've been working on the computer most of the day and listening to the rig in the background. I had it tuned to the 40 meter frequency of 7040 and would alternate it with the 20 meter frequency of 14.060 (both active QRP frequencies)

At times, I actually turned it 'off' because there was NOTHING on the bands. I could barely hear the GMT time tone on 10 MHz and thought this was another "no sunspot--no radio day".

In the early afternoon I heard and attempted to work AF5U in Dallas, Texas but the band was so bad we couldn't exchange anything more than call signs before the band disappeared into thin air.
I had turned the rig off again but just before dinner, I tuned into the 14.060 frequency, and in the background, I heard an unusual call asking for "FISTS" members. He was sending pretty quick but I recognized the "FISTS" word easily and on his third attempt I deciphered the OK1KW call and returned with mine. His CQ 'stopped' and I could tell he was hearing something. He then sent QRZ N8? and I knew I was into something.

I still can't believe I worked this guy....with 5 watts @ 4,471 miles. He was actually on 14059.25 MHz.

The band absolutely STINKS right now but somehow we exchanged FISTS numbers, names and QTH's.

Milan (OK1KW) is FISTS # 4827 and lives in the Czech Republic. I sent a confirmation E-QSL and am looking forward to a return card. The band shifted again quickly....I'm still in a state of shock with this contact today.

Just when you think there's nothing but air between me and the other side of the pond.....

Milan (OK1KW) is now my 20th DX contact.

Fox Log With 100 MW Entry

I'm always proud to work the "fox hunts" and enjoy seeing my 5 watt signal listed in the log books. (especially when the fox is over a thousand miles from me) but when I see things like the entry I've highlighted below, I'm humbled.

I'd guess this guy is close to two thousand miles from "the fox".

Bill (K4KSR) worked the fox with 100 milliwatts!

Pulling the fox out of a pack of hungry hounds with power like this deserves a round of applause.

Great Job!!

0105 KT4LF 599 TN DALE 5W
0106 KF8K 559 OH CLIFF 5W
0107 W3MF 559 PA JOHN 5W
0108 K4QS 559 VA CHUCK 5W
0110 K4OSO 559 VA MILT 5W
0111 W3ESE 559 MD LL 5W
0112 K3PH 559 PA BOB 5W
0113 WA4ILO 559 GA JIM 5W
0114 KG4YLZ 599 VA JIM 5W
0115 N4GU 599 NC MIKE 2W
0116 N3XRV 559 PA CHRIS 5W
0120 K4PIC 579 GA LARRY 5W
0122 KC1FB 559 CT JIM 5W
0124 K2ZN 559 NY AL 5W
0126 N3VF 559 VA RON 5W
0128 W9JOP 579 VA BOB 5W
0129 NU8S 559 OH DENNIS 5W
0130 KV2X 559 NY TOM 5W
0131 AE2T 559 NY AL 5W
0132 KG4YLZ 559 VA JIM 5W
0133 AC4XO 559 VA BEN 5W
0135 K2RNY 559 NY CAREY 5W
0136 NU4I 559 VA KEN 5W
0140 N4KV 559 TN JOHN 5W
0142 W3MF 559 PA JOHN 5W
0144 N4CY 559 VA TED 5W
0145 K4EOR 559 GA GEORGE 5W
0147 NO2D/2 559 NJ PETE 5W
0151 N8ZYA 559 WV JOHN 5W
0155 AB3CV 559 MD JIM 5W
0202 W2LJ 559 NJ LARRY 5W
0205 K4KSR 559 VA BILL 100MW
0207 AB9CA 559 AL DAVE 5W
0213 WA9TZE 559 WI JIM 5W
0215 K9CW 579 IL DREW 5W

ps....(On October 9th, 2002, with 1/2 Watt output, he worked VK3DBD who was approximately 15,000 miles distance and equal to 30,000 miles per watt).

So much for the "bigger is better" (and maximum power) philosophy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

QRP Fox at 1,472 Miles

The band was totally dead tonight during the QRP Fox Hunt (see link on this blog) and I only heard ONE station (K5DI) in 1 1/2 hours of listening between 14.050 and 14.070.

I had listened earlier this evening and knew the band was totally dead so didn't expect to hear either QRP station in New Mexico or Utah.

When Karl (K5DI) popped up at 0151z, he was there only for an instant but I think I caught him and exchanged the RST, State, Name, and 5 watts.

I'll watch for the log on the "fox site" in a few minutes...I hope my call sign is there.

This was VERY hard to do tonight! QRP x QRP

ps...Yes, I'm there and the only West Virginia station in the book!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Morse Code Dit's and Dot's

There's an interesting article in the Sept issue of "Monitoring Times Magazine" next month. (I get an online edition and have already read the article). It's about Morse Code and who REALLY created the "code". It may surprise you because it's not Samuel Morse.

If you're a CW person, I think you will find it interesting....

I get the "electronic" edition and like it better than the paper one because of the "linking features" and the "word search". I keep the last six months on a memory stick and take them with me when traveling. It works great with my Eee-PC notebook.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ET from WV (1,247 Mile QRP Fox)

I caught N1FN (ET) near Denver Colorado last night, after running for a little over an hour. I was "fox hunting" and the band was VERY long on 20 meters. He was one of two QRP operators being chased by a pack of hounds in the United States. He is 1,247 miles from me here in West Virginia.

I heard him at the very beginning of the hunt as he danced along at around 30 wpm (a bit too quick for me). But I understood the "call" and was able to recognize his "CQ fox de N1FN UP".

I had all but given up on the chase until I heard him send "zero beat" at 10 pm.

The filtering on my 703 leaves a lot to be desired so it's 'difficult' for me to set up the 'split' on the radio. Trying to attenuate a 5 watt signal at 1200 miles is next to impossible.

The other "fox" last night was K4BIA in Georgia, and I usually work him easily from here. But I never heard so much as a bark. As a matter of fact...I heard little 'barking' from anyone.

The band was SO long......

You can read all about "fox hunting" (a QRP event) from the link on the right side of this page.

Believe me, it's NOT easy to pick out a 5 watt "fox" from a pack of barking hounds at 1200 miles.

I've been feeling a little "down" after being in New York for a few weeks. My location on the Hudson River made it easy to work DX stations in Eastern Europe . I even worked a QRP station in Washington State while using my "ZEPP" antenna. It was strung in the attic of an old home.

But working ET (N1FN) last night, with an 18" Isotron antenna makes me feel a little better.

The 20 meter antenna (at the top of this page) is the "little" one on the bottom right.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Microphone Weekend

I don't spend much time using 'SSB' with my rig but I had high hopes of working a few "Special Event Stations" this weekend. There were also lot of "International Lighthouse/Lightship" stations on the air which I hoped to work.

My biggest hope was to work the Arecibo Lighthouse, in Puerto Rico, and it would have been an exceptional catch. There was also a station celebrating the "Navajo Code Talkers" and another celebrating the "66th Reunion of the USS Intrepid Crew Members". We used to sail with them when I was in the Navy.

But I didn't catch either the "code talkers" or the Intrepid on the air.

Instead, I found myself in the middle of the North American QSO Party.

I worked a bunch of them, very quickly, in 11 different states. My catches were Minnesota, Illinois, Vermont, Indiana, Louisiana, Texas, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Kansas, Utah, and Colorado, plus Ontario (3) and another one in Quebec.

This morning, I also worked 4 lighthouses. I caught #001 (K2BR/LH) near Atlantic City New Jersey (Absecon Lighthouse), and three others on Long Island in New York. (W2GSB/LH-K2EC/LH-and W2AMC/LH)

Among the stations I worked, most gave me GREAT signal reports. Several of the lighthouses responded with S9 to +10....they had NO idea I was operating 10 watts QRP until I told them.

I'm sure many people made hundreds of contacts this weekend but I don't imagine they had more fun than me. I really enjoyed myself....

Friday, August 14, 2009

N0B Special Event Station at 14,100 Feet

If you haven’t seen this year’s VIDEO of the “Colorado 14’er Special Event” by wG0AT and N7UN, you’re missing the BEST of this year’s QRP adventures.

For several years, I’ve followed their hikes but have yet to work them from Colorado. Last week, while in New York, I could only hear “calling” stations.....

It’s difficult to “comprehend” the challenge of a 14,000 ft climb but I’ve hiked a couple of times at 12,000 feet, and believe me, the air is "thin" up there and its always "cold". Pitch in a 40 mph wind, and you’ve got your hands full….

Once in Hawaii, it took me 2 hours to hike to a “cinder cone” below the rim of volcano but 4 hours to hike back out. Going up hill is MUCH harder than going downhill.

Another time was in South America where it took several days to adjust to the elevation.

This 14,100 ft climb to Humboldt Peak should only be attempted by “professional” people. Making a mistake up here can easily become fatal.

Their best contact was Switzerland….WOW with 5 watts!

They’re links to BOTH their web sites on the right side of this blog.

I’d highly suggest every QRP’er take a look at this video.

Here's a link to the HF "Special Event Station"

N0B Colorado 14er Special Event

Thursday, August 13, 2009

QRP Submarine (N3AQC/MM)

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work some old Navy Ships and Submarines from the Outer Banks of North Carolina but I couldn't make the connection.

This morning, from West Virginia, I was in the right place at the right time.

I was able to work the USS REQUIN (SS-481/SSR-481) as part of a Special Event sponsored by the North American QRP CW Club.

I started to listen for them around 1500z and at 1545z I heard them working another station. When I tried the "first" contact, their signal vanished into thin air. I frantically sent QSB SRI I lost U and added "will try agn later".

My hopes rose again at 1625Z when they surfaced once more. I recognized the N3AQC/MM call immediately and sent my call sign. This time, QSB was reaching a high point, and I completed the QSO.

This contact is also credit as a "club station".

I've worked this "Club Station" about 5 times in the last few weeks and at 5 points each, they're starting to add up to a lot of 'quick' points. My first "awards" were with this club, and I can't say enough good about them.

The most important thing is EVERY contact with this club is a QRP contact.

Last week, while in New York, I worked Austria, Germany, and the Ukraine. Germany was using the least power at 400 watts and a beam.
But my most exciting contact was a QRP station in Washington state. Coast to coast with a good signal report.....

Working a Submarine (QRP to QRP) is also going to be memorial.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Austria (OE5AA) 5,000 Miles @ 5 Watts ?

This one's gonna be really close folks.....for the 1,000 mile per watt award. Of course, this one's a CW contact at 5 watts on 14.027.5 MHz. (2135Z)

I worked OE5AA (August) in Austria a few minutes ago and my distance from West Virginia (per the site) shows 4,608 miles.

Of course, I'm not there now.... I'm very near New York City (about 20 miles north) and West Virginia is East of me. The question it 400 miles?

I'll need to get home and calculate the distance with a Rand McNally program I use on the home computer to know for sure. (using the New York co-ordinates)

Today has been a wonderful day despite working VERY hard doing yard work. My wife and I cut a small tree, trimmed the bushes, cut the grass (I did this with an old "push mower") and hauled the waste to the front of the house. My back is talking to me now.....all the way down to the toes on my left leg.

But between chores, I've managed to work three QRP stations. All on 20 meters (14.060) and the band really stinks right now. The solar flux was 67 today.

My first was K9IS (QRP) in White Lake Wisconsin. The second was KB0PCI (QRP) in Minnesota and the last (but not least) was W7PFZ (QRP) in the state of Washington. That's one's a GREAT catch for a QRP x QRP QSO!

Time to take the rest of the evening off and nurse the back and leg. (Hook up the tens unit) All my contacts were QRP CW today. I tried to work an Armenian station, SSB, but couldn't pull it off (EK6TA).....just goes to show you how more effective CW at 5 watts is compared to 10 watts SSB.....

Getting back home next week, I hope to figure the exact distance for the thousand mile a watt award.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hamburg Germany 4,000 + Miles (DL4HG)

I heard this call several times before I attempted the contact because I thought he was a local guy. And then the "DL" finally sank into my brain....yes, he was THAT strong!

It was also pretty quick CW, which made me a little hesitant, but when I realized he could possibly be in Germany, I HAD to try for the contact, despite my 5 watt QRP signal.

I'm glad I put forth the effort because this turned out to be one of the most enjoyable contacts I've ever made on the CW bands. Olaf had a good fist, and spacing, which matched my skills perfectly. Most DX contacts (at least before this one) are strictly "Hello, Name, QTH, RST, and 73"....quick and to the point. And I had the tendency to do the same because I didn't think the band would hold up very long (at least on my end with 5 watts).

But we exchanged pleasantry's for at least 10 minutes as we talked about his Kenwood TS 570, his amp (400 watts) and the Yagi antenna he was currently using. And then I explained my "zig zag" end fed Zepp in the attic and me visiting New York City for a few days. Then we started on the weather and all the rain we've had here for the last few days....

I'm making this entry now, as we've just returned from two days in the "city", so I don't remember every detail, but the jest of it is: I had a great QSO, at over 4,000 miles, with a CW station, at about 15+ wpm, with a German gentleman speaking VERY good English.

I'm elated with this exchange and looking forward to hearing Olaf (DL4HG) again on the bands. His signal was a good 599+ most of the time with little QSB. He was hearing me 579 (at least on the high nulls).

We agreed to exchange cards VIA the Buro.(got to look into that when we return to the home QTH in West Virginia).

ps....I made this contact back on 7-31-09 @ 2150z, and it will be another week before returning home. I'll be disappointed with the valley location, the electrical noise, and the hi-rise building next door.

I've transmitted from here several times over the years but the band has never been this good. (at least for a few brief days).

Since the few brief days of decent DX (the solar flux is down again to 67 now) I've heard Austria, Finland, Mexico City, the Netherlands, and Trinidad.

Before leaving for the city a few days ago, I heard a great QSO between a friend back home (K8NYG) and another friend (N9HAL) in WI. I've also worked two "special event stations" (one a new IOTA and new lighthouse) and a large "experimental aircraft gathering". I've even listened to a good AM broadcast station back home in Wheeling (WWVA 1170).

I'll write more about those a little later but for a nice walk.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Southern Ukraine at 5000 + Miles (UR5ZVP)

I've been near New York City for several days now and it's rained cats and dogs most of the time. The Internet has also been down and I've been suffering withdrawal symptoms from the information highway.

My first chore when arriving in NY was to stretch my end fed Zepp in the attic and get on the air.

It's amazing to hear the European stations on the bands here. Just a little more Northern latitude and being on the Hudson River makes a BIG difference from the valley location in West Virginia.

There was quite a "pile up" on 14.240, on the 31st, but after several attempts, I was able to work UR5ZVP in the Southern Ukraine. It was a difficult contact, and I had to repeat my call several times, but I'm now in his log book. You can see the entry from his online logbook (page 25 #172)

I don't have a "distance" program running on this laptop but it's 5,264 miles from the WV QTH.

My longest distance yet for my QRP station.

I'm overjoyed with this contact but (I'm sure you've noticed) this frequency is in the SSB portion of the 20 meter band....

I was using the max 10 watts and it doesn't qualify for the 1,000 mile a watt award. It's still considered QRP, but technically, not the right distance and power.

It's a great start tho...and I wonder if I'll be lucky enough to snag more contacts like this one before heading back home.