My Most Recent QSO's

Saturday, December 31, 2011

E-QSL Cards

Looking around on the E-QSL site, I noticed a feature which looks for variations of your call sign. Many times, I make a special effort to let stations know I'm operating "portable" or "QRP".

This program takes a few minutes to run but happily, I found seven new cards on the site with the /QRP or /P after my call sign. Three of them were DX contacts....

I love the E-QSL site and use it exclusively for my radio contacts. In these days of soaring (especially international postage) rates, I see no reason to use anything else for confirmations.

I'll always return a paper QSL card when receiving a SASE for those who still like them.

I had no idea this was an option available to "QRP" and "portable" operators.  I like it very much....

Friday, December 30, 2011

LX1DA Luxembourg

I heard this station (LX1DA) yesterday but couldn't work him. This morning was a successful contact (CW) on 15 meters.  I'm finding 15 meters to be a very good band for me in the morning.

I also worked ON7USB in Belgium and another Switzerland station HB9TJR, but they were SSB contacts. SSB isn't much of a challenge for me. Quite honestly, anyone can speak into a microphone. I'll work a few for amusement, but there's nothing in my book like CW. I simply like dots and dashes.

I heard a strong Hungary station (HA5AWT) in CW and a strong (SSB) station in Newfoundland  (VO1KVT)  but couldn't work them.

The contacts this morning puts me at 150 in the DX log book. A lot of people with mega stations, running mega power, would laugh at this, but I'm quite happy to have done this with QRP power and "non-gain" antennas. It's been very fun for me....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two new DX Countries

I hit the jackpot this morning on 15 meters with 5 DX stations. Two of them were new countries for me. I used the 15 meter dipole again stretched out inside the upstairs rooms. Today I moved it to the same location as the 10 meter end fed wire. There's hardly any space to spare but I was able to use it by adding another 10 feet of coax to feed the center point of the dipole.

My first contact was IT9KCD in Italy (SSB) followed almost immediately by GW0TAU (CW)  in Whales. I've worked both these countries but soon afterwards I worked my first contact in Switzerland (HB9AOF) SSB. About 10 minutes later I heard a VERY strong French station (F5IN). He was so strong that I immediately dropped my power to around 3 watts. I actually sent my power to him as 4 watts during the contact but the meter on the rig was much less than 4....regardless, this makes my 15th "1000 MPW" contact.

My other new country was 5Q4B in Denmark.

I'm ecstatic about all these contacts. Switzerland and Denmark and another French "1000 MPW" station. It was a very good day for me.

I heard (but couldn't work) TK5EP in Corsica, CT1EHI in Portugal, RW2A in Russia, LX1DA in Luxembourger, EU7A in Belrus, and another station in Austria (couldn't find the call sign).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

EI5DR Ireland and my 2011 QSO's

I worked a new DX entity this morning on 15 (CW) meters. ED (EI5DR) was my first contact into Ireland.

The "year end" totals for my station this year (just a few more days left in 2011) are much better this year than any other year. I'm sure most of it has been the result of better band propagation and the addition of a 10 meter end fed wire. I've also started hanging my 15 meter dipole inside the house. .

Thanks to some fantastic "ears" in Europe, I've worked 108 DX stations in 2011. My QSO totals (all years) are now 1231, and of those, 276 have been 2x QRP QSO's. Last year I worked a total of 297 stations and this year, I've worked 399 stations. I've actually worked 15 stations now at "1000 miles per watt". (the last contact was made at 5 watts and reduced to one watt)

I do VERY little contesting due to poor filtering on my rig.

I think, by far, the best contact this year was RD3A in Moscow Russia. I say this because, although I've worked many stations at the 5,000+ range on the upper bands, this station was a contact I made using my 40 meter Isotron antenna. I've actually had one ham accuse me of "fabricating" this contact. In my almost 20 year ham radio career, this is the first time I've ever had this happen.

The facts are the facts tho...the card is visible to anyone on the world wide web. 

This bring me to an interesting point, of which is puzzling to me. Contesting has never been a "hi-point" for me, but I understand and accept those who live for this and nothing else. If  "money was no object", I was born rich, and owned enough land to plant an antenna farm the size of a city block, I still wouldn't invest thousands and thousands of dollars into a hobby than demanded I sit in front of a computer and punched "buttons" all day long when the band was open. This just isn't my "cup of tea".

Four of my DX contacts this year were fellow QRP operators and I got more excitement out of working those than all the others combined. To me, there's still nothing (after almost 20 years) more exciting than working a "portable" station operating low power from a picnic table, an island, or a cabin in the woods.

Looking at the "other side of the coin" this is such a great hobby, there's more than enough fun for everyone.  (regardless of the expense)  Keeping it "simple" is still admirable to many.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

15 Meter Dipole Contacts

I had some fun this morning when I stretched my 15 meter dipole out in the upstairs room. This antenna is only seven feet longer than the end fed 10 meter wire and I easily found the extra space I needed by running it from the bathroom window sill to the bedroom curtain railing. (very much like the end fed wire for 10 meters)

My only fear was that the wire might be too close to the metal medicine cabinet and absorb my radio signal. Happily, that didn't seem to happen when I got on the air.

Although I didn't hear, or work any DX, I heard some good strong stations in New Mexico (KE1R) and the state of Washington. My last contact was a friend and fellow blogger in California. Dave (AA7EE)  was operating QRP with a vertical antenna. It's always good to work a "coast to coast" QRP station. We immediately recognized each others calls and it was a real joy to say hello.

The Washington state contact (WA7UQE) was a "FISTS" club member and we exchanged club numbers. We both had such good signals from each other that I decided to drop my power down to one watt. He could still hear me well even though QSB was causing a small problem.

I missed an opportunity for a "1000 MPW" contact with this station. If I had originally responded with one watt, at a little over 2,000 miles, he would have made # 15 for me.

When I find the band open, I'll be using the 15 meter dipole again . Although I missed the opportunity for a 2,000 miles with a watt contact, when I hear the next strong station on 15 meters, I'll immediately drop power to the very minimum.

Monday, December 19, 2011

An Old Tune on the Guitar

On the BIO section of the QRZ site, I have a picture of me and my guitar. I'm sitting on the back porch steps of a mountain cabin. Often times, when I'm having a QSO, someone asks me what kind of music I play on the guitar. My best explanation is that I like to modify old songs.

I think everyone should have their own style, and strive to play uniquely, according to what they hear in their head. I never play a song the way it was originally written.

Here's my version of an old tune called "Misty". It's done with an old acoustical guitar made by a company called EKO. It was made in Italy and I bought there in 1970.

This video is done with a cheap little pocket camera ($100) that I recently bought. I don't play professionally, and this video is no more than an amateur attempt to do a little strumming for my own pleasure. I play just for fun and with a few friends when we have the time.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

RD3A Moscow Russia

I still can't believe RD3A in Moscow Russia returned my call on 40 meters CW this evening. Of course, he's a contest station calling (and obviously pointing at the US) with a massive antenna array. It's by far, my best contact on 40 meters at a little over 5,000 miles. I'm amazed as he was the only station I'm hearing on the entire 40 meters band. Maybe that's why I was able to work him?

My wife and I had been out playing bridge with a local group of Grandparents. I'm glad I was lucky enough to work this station. I NEVER expected this surprise on 40 meters. It's NOT my best band by far but the conditions must be just right tonight.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

F5UKL QRP Pau, France

Although all the propagation forecasts predict only "good" conditions for 10 meters this morning, I stretched out the indoor end fed wire again, between the bedroom and the bathroom.

I had no intention of working more "SSB" stations on this band. I was fishing for "normal" contacts with simple stations using simple equipment.

I was intentionally looking for CW contacts and it paid off when I heard, (F5UKL) in Pau, France using a K2 with only 5 watts of power.

This was actually a "QSO".

Andre (F5UKL) is located near Lescar, a commune on the far side of the Pyrenees Mountains, which is between Spain and France. He was weak but was hearing me very well (549). I didn't copy everything he sent, but I got the jest of it, especially when he sent a weather report, repeated my home city, and replied to my QRP designation with his QRP designation. At times, his signal peaked to 339, but it was difficult to copy as the signal dropped into and out of the noise.

My friend Dick (F8WBD) recently made a comment about  DX contacts which I think is appropriate in this  case. I agree that it's a "relative" term. This contact is certainly not my longest contact but it is my longest contact with another QRP operator. In my humble opinion at least, this one falls into that category.

I've always said QRP work is a lot like fishing. You never know what you will catch when you throw the line in the water. This morning, I've heard hardly another station on the 10 meter band. I was very fortunate to catch this DX QRP station from France.

I got more excitement working this simple QRP station in France, than all the other "big guns" stations I've worked the last few weeks on this band. To me, this is the ultimate DX, and as my friend Dick said, it's very relative as far as distance is concerned. This one was a real hoot!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

More DX on 10 meters

As expected, I found 10 meters very crowded this morning. All the big guns were out, and it made for a frustrating attempt at a few contacts.

I worked two stations with CW this morning. One in Germany (DL6WT), and another in the Czech Republic (OK2PDT). Morse code was the solution to the problem as it was nearly impossible to compete with all the heavy SSB stations running high power and massive gain antennas. 

I also think I've about worked my limit, as far as DX is concerned on the HF bands. Of course, there's always the rare station which is in the right place at the right time, but mostly I'm limited to around 5,000 miles using indoor antennas here in the valley. I would however, like to work more stations in Southern hemisphere and I've still not worked Alaska and Hawaii. (which would easily give me my WAS award)

I find myself loosing interest in the "59" SSB contacts,  with a brief exchanges of call signs,....and nothing more. It's just not my cup of tea. 

Ten meters has been an interesting band for experimenting, and it's so simple to set up and operate with QRP power. ( 17 ft is very short piece of wire) 

There's different things for different people, but for me, long conversations with a good operator are still my prize catches. Yesterday afternoon, I worked NK1V in Winsted, CT who was running a mighty 4 watts into an OHR kit with an OFC dipole. At only 500 miles, I enjoyed this 2 X QRP contact immensely. 

I've always thought of radio as a "portable mode" with low power. Distance isn't necessarily the goal for me. I like to keep it simple, and thankfully, there are thousands of other operators out there thinking the same thoughts. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

E77DX Bosnia Herzegovina

I didn't find the band in good shape this morning but managed to work E77DX in Bosnia Herzegovina. This was another SSB contact using 10 watts. I almost worked LZ2JJ in Bulgaria with CW. He could tell I was there but couldn't pull me out of the noise. I heard several Italian stations also and a few in Germany. Perhaps tomorrow morning, the band will be in better shape.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More 10 Meter Contacts

The band was hot again this morning. I was listening for France or The Netherlands,  but didn't hear one station. I was, however, able to work two stations in Croatia 9A1A and 9A4W. Both were monster stations with great signals here in West Virginia. 9A4A was actually on the Isle of Brac. I always like to work islands. The 9A1A station has one of the most elaborate beam antenna's I've ever seen on the web. It's no wonder he had a +20 signal.

Other stations I was able to work were YU1JW in Serbia, LY2BAW in Lithuania and OE8SKQ in Austria.
I heard, but couldn't work, several stations in Italy. Another in Puerto Rico, and a very strong F5/TU5KG in Africa.

All my contacts this morning were near 5,000 miles. Again, all were SSB contacts. The end fed wire seems to be doing a great job for me. The weather is cold today and the ground soggy and muddy. I'd love to get the wire outdoors, but for now, I'm satisfied with it stretched indoors, between the bathroom and the bedroom.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More 10 Meter Contacts

This morning I could tell 10 meters was open, just by listening with my normal antennas, so I took a few minutes and hung the end fed wire inside the hallway again. I worked two stations in Germany and two stations in France before the band closed down around noon.

My first was DL8YBM and soon followed by DG0OBU (both in Germany)

Both with great signals. I appreciated them listening for this QRP station with all the other stations on the air.
I heard lot's of stations on the air this morning. Some were OK2JS-YT1E (great signal)-403A-9A9DX and GD6IA. 

Before the band started to shut down, I was able to work F8EZE and F5BZB.

These were easy stations to work with 10w SSB, but I still fail to work CW ops here. I heard several in Spain and Africa but was not able to work them. I'm hearing several beacons in Mexico, which surprises me.

Today it's pouring the rain here at home but I've found a really good place to operate outdoors portable. It's close to home also. During the civil war days here in the valley, the union army created a "cannon site" on a prominent hill overlooking the Kanawha and Elk rivers. While driving around looking for good operating spots, I found it at the end of a "dead end" street. I'm looking forward to trying this antenna outdoors where the electrical noise is much less. For now, I'll have to be content to operate with the wire stretched indoors...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

More on the new Antenna

It doesn't get any easier to get on the air than using this basic, but functional, 10 meter end fed dipole. This morning, I had intended to get outside with the radio but when I looked out the window, it was raining. The weather report said "sunshine" and temp in the mid 60's, it's a shame it's in liquid form.

Not to despair, it took only 5 minutes to string up the new antenna, and being only 17 ft long, it's a "piece of cake" to get up and running. I've installed a "hook" in the bathroom door frame now, but this morning, I still used a piece of "kite string" wrapped around an ink pen which I placed behind the door and drew tight with an old Navy knot called a "taunt line hitch". It allows the knot to slide along but remain steadfast when pressure is applied on the line. (that's just a simple loop around the ink pen)

Another few seconds to attach the coax, and I'm on the air again.

I didn't find the band in good shape this morning,  but I immediately worked DG1KAH in Germany. (SSB) She gave me a good signal report.

This weekend, there's a "SS" contest here in the United States and it made it difficult for me to make DX contacts. I don't have "filters" in the radio but I heard strong French, Ireland, and English stations.

I feel confident I could have worked (if not for the noise) GI0AIJ in Northern Ireland, who by the way, sounded much better than 99% of the US stations. I also heard a very strong VO1KVT in Newfoundland.

I heard several Caribbean stations and worked NP2B in St. Criox, the Virgin Islands, with just 4 watts. (SSB)

It's puzzling, but I did not hear many "CW" operators on the band. There were a few "beacons",  but they were "few" CW operators. I don't quite understand this, since it was quite easy to work anything in the United States and Western Canada with single side band. (cw is twice the distance with half the power)

Now that I have the "hook" installed in the top of the bathroom door facing, I'll be looking forward to spending more time on 10 meters. As I said earlier, set up and take down is less than 5 minutes, and it seems, with good conditions, I should be able to work many DX stations.

This is going to be lots of fun.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New 10 Meter End Fed Dipole Contacts

This morning (about 11am) I decided to stretch the new end fed 10 meter dipole out, and see if anyone was on the air. It's 30 degrees this morning, so, just for fun, I stretched it out inside the house between the bathroom window and the bedroom window with some string. (yea...I'm chicken and didn't want to brave the elements)

I really had no expectations of hearing much, but I immediately worked PI4DX in the Netherlands. I don't work there often, and was just ecstatic when he returned my signal report as 59. 

A few moments later, I worked EA2AAZ in Spain. Another good signal report of 57 and I was shaking my head in wonderment.

For the very first effort with this end fed dipole, I'm very pleased. Perhaps tomorrow afternoon, I can head out to the local park and do much better. I'm looking forward to playing with this antenna since it's only 17 ft long. If I can find the right tree limb, I'll hang it vertically.

I also heard strong stations in France, England, and Germany.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Nice Card AA1IK

Yesterdays DX contacts were a nice addition to the log book, but just before sunset, I heard what I thought was probably a QRP station sending CQ from the upper parts of the US. But when I answered the call, Ernest (AA1IK) gave me a QTH in Florida. Not a real long distance, but, for me at least, another 2 x QRP contact is a prized catch. This is a really nice "card" in my book.....especially coming from another QRP station using a simple antenna. (actually a mag loop)

I've worked 121 DX stations now, but every time I work another QRP station using a "simple wire antenna", I get just as much an adrenalin rush as those "big gun" stations across the pond. This Florida contact was a difficult catch (both of us were 229) but, to me at least, this is the ultimate pleasure on the air waves.

Ernest (AA1IK) has an especially nice QSL card (above). It's a great example of what I think makes a "good" card. Being a fellow QRP operator, I'll always remember this one. He is also my 267th  2 X QRP QSO. I'm not talking about "contest contacts" here. These are actual "QSO's". I cherish every one of them.

Friday, November 11, 2011

S58N Slovenia

Almost before I could turn off the rig, Mike (S58N) from Slovenia blasted into the room. I seem to be on a quick run this afternoon.

EC6AAE Balearic Islands Spain

I had no intention of chasing DX this afternoon but Joe (EC6AAE) in the Balearic Islands, on the far side of Spain, was just booming in on the east coast. Joe is in the town of Pollensa, on the northern tip of one of the big islands. I sent a confirmation e-qsl card with the hopes of receiving his in a few days.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Czech Republic and the Netherlands---Portable From the Field

As expected, I made a couple of nice contacts today when I drove out of the valley and into the mountains with my QRP rig, a good battery and several antennas in the trunk. The Hawks Nest State Park is about an hours drive from home and as an additional pleasure, my 91 year old father came along for the ride.

I was able to get the G5RV antenna into the air with just a couple of quick shots from my slingshot and then I was "on the air". The last time I used this antenna was on a "beach trip" to the outer banks of North Carolina which was several years ago. I've had it a long time and bought it because its a "multi band" antenna.

I had trouble with it today. It wouldn't tune up properly and my standing wave was terrible on a several bands. At best, I could put 3 watts into it without having severe problems. Today might be the last time I use this antenna. I think the problem is "cheap wire". It's very brittle, difficult to work with and difficult to erect without "pinching" the wire. I think there's a "break" somewhere and will have to look closely at it later this week.

For my money, I just don't think you can beat my PAR antenna which is cut for 40-20 and 10 meters.

My first good contact was with Wolfgang (OK1IWS) in the Czech Republic. There's a picture above of their rail system. Sure wish we had something like that here in West Virginia. About an hour later, I worked Ton PA1CC in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

I hate the stiff difficult wire that's used in my G5RV antenna. I probably will not take it along on the next field outing. I've learned something today. For me, it's best to stay with a dedicated band antenna. I was happy to be outside operating today. I could have worked many US stations today but searched for the good DX catches. Although I've worked the Czech Republic several times earlier, today was only the second time I've worked the Netherlands.

My father enjoyed sitting in the sunshine and listening to the obvious Spanish, French, German, and even  Australian accents. He finds it fascinating that I can carry on a conversation with many of these people with 10 watts of power, sitting in a park, using a car battery, and using such a small radio.

I'll always take my PAR antenna along on future trips but will use a dedicated dipole for 30 and 15 meters.

Friday, November 4, 2011

N8F Special Event and The "Edmund Fitzgerald"

The 20 meter band was absolutely dismal this afternoon but I managed to work this Special Event Station on the Great Lakes. (N8F) was actually W8VS working SSB from the Great Lakes Ship Museum. I've always liked worked "Special Event Stations", and especially ships, (obviously not this one) so I dusted off the microphone. 

The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was a modern day tragedy when it sank in a winter storm on Nov 10th, 1975 with the loss of all shipmates. It went down quickly. The cause is still unknown but theories suggest hitting a reef, being pounded by a "rogue wave", or faulty hatch covers. The wreckage was found in about 530 ft of water. It's sitting on the bottom of the lake in two large pieces. The ships bell was recovered on July 4th, 1995. 

I've been watching the DX clusters this afternoon and see lot's of activity on 15 and 10 meters. The weather is supposed to be fair tomorrow. I plan to drive out of the valley and set up my G5RV antenna. I should be on the air around 18:00 GMT. 

The only other station I worked today was AK9A near Madison Wisconsin. He was QRP but only a short distance in 20 meter terms. Hopefully tomorrow, on either 15 or 10 meters, I'll be able to jump across the pond.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

OK7FL Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic

A New York station just finished a QSO with this station and I was lucky enough for OK7FL in Mlada Boleslav of the Czech Republic to hear me on the same frequency. (14.026)

This is one of the riches cities in the Czech Republic due to a large automobile factory. Skoda is a Volkwagen Group Subsidiary and sold 762,500 automobiles worldwide in the year 2010.

Vasek usually QSL's via E-QSL so hope to have a return card soon. Although the solar flux numbers don't look that encouraging, I kept hearing LX1NO in Luxembourg yesterday but couldn't work him.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DL4KCA Germany..again

Yesterday I worked Joe (DL4KCA) for the third time this year. I was using 4 watts again and he had a good copy on me. (549) . Joe always surprises me by asking if I'm still using my QRP rig to make the contact. He says "Hello John in Charleston, WV". Since I don't usually have my "net book" in front of me, it startles me a bit.  hihi  The call sounded familiar, but I'm never sure when I work a station in Germany. Today was my 15th German contact. Yesterday, Joe was my 116th DX contact.

Joe (DL4KCA) and I exchanged weather reports and talked for a moment about my radio blog. It seems that he reads it regularly. It was great to hear him again and I look forward to more contacts when the band is up. He had an excellent signal here, 350 miles inland from the coastline of the USA. I would have considered him a local if not for the DL in the call. Yesterday he was 579 into West Virginia.

I'm not sure about his power level but he uses a G5RV for an antenna.

I've not been on the radio a lot lately, (at least 20 meters) I've been chatting on 40 meters again. I find most 20 meter contacts very brief. (usually a name and signal report). Contacts like Joe are rare on 20 meters. With the exception of OK1KW in the Czech Republic, most don't take the time to say hello. It's a real pleasure to work a DX station like these, who take a few minutes to chat.

I can understand the difficulty of working a 5 watts station at 4000 + miles. But it sure makes it fun for me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

LZ1MS Sofia Bulgaria

I was amazed this afternoon when I heard this station (LZ1MS) calling (and answering) many CQ's on 14.028 MHz. I thought he was local with a 579 signal.

As I listened, I soon realized he was in Bulgaria, had an excellent fist, and enjoyed his conversations. As he finished a long QSO, and asked for another station, I was surprised when he answered my call almost immediately.

During the chat, I mentioned my 5 watt QRP signal and he asked for my antenna. I sent "Indoor Isotron" and he repeated it back to me to confirm. I think he was surprised. For those unfamiliar with an Isotron antenna, my 20 meter antenna is about the length of a roll of paper towels.

He's very well known in Bulgaria. He is a professor of Economics and International Business at the University of National and World Economy.  Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy, a past member of Parliament and past Chairman of the Commission on Sustainable Development. UN.

Ramen (LZ1MS) was running a kilowatt into a six element beam up about 75 feet.He had the best signal I've ever heard from distance of over 5,000 miles.  He is my fourth contact in Bulgaria, and qualifies for another "thousand miles per watt award". (#13)

My other contacts have been LZ3YP, LZ2SO and LZ2B.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

RA1AL Saint Petersburg Russia

The contact this afternoon brought back a lot of memories for me. This was a difficult contact but, after several attempts,  Max (RA1AL) in Saint Petersburg Russia, pulled me out of the noise.

Several years ago, my wife and I cruised down the Volga River from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. While in Moscow, we spent a couple of nights in a hospital. For both of us, it was an "eye opener" as far as health care is concerned. I have to honest about this and give credit where credit is due. I don't want to get into details but.... those in this country who believe we have the best medicine in the world are kidding themselves. We received better medical care at the hospital in Moscow than I've ever had in this country. And it was much less expensive.

We cruised into Saint Petersburg in an air foil like this one:

The trip to Russia was very interesting. It's citizens have lived a very difficult life and overcome some major political and economic problems. I'm glad to see their lives are improving now. The Russians have an interesting custom when they marry. They attach a padlock to bridges over the local canals. The bride and groom both have keys to the lock. If life continues to be good for both of them, the lock stays.

If you pass the bridge on your walk home from work, and the lock is gone, expect your bags to be on the porch.

9A7R Croatia

Mystery solved, thanks to the QRP Spots Cluster. Just after working the Ukraine station yesterday, I worked this station in Croatia but could not, for the life of me, get this call sign correct. I posted what I thought I heard (9AZR) with the hopes that others could work him. Fortunately, N4BP figured it out.

Sometimes my brain just won't distinguish an extra "dot" in a high speed exchange. I listened very carefully and still could not hear the difference between Z and 7. Sometimes even posting the wrong call on a cluster can lead to a good thing. Yesterday was my third contact in Croatia.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

UR3HC Ukraine

I had just finished a short range QSO on 40 meters with a fellow who said 10 meter SSB was open today. Although I don't have a 10 meter antenna at home, I was able to work this fellow (UR3HC) in Kremenchug, Ukraine with my 20 meter antenna. It felt good to work him this early in the afternoon. Most of my DX contacts have been around sunset. A few watts CW goes a long way. In this case 5,023 miles. Today makes my third contact in the Ukraine. The two previous contacts were UW5ZM and UR5ZVP.

Interesting picture here....I'm sure there is a long story behind it.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The New River Gorge

Our Anniversary is this upcoming Oct 11th, the weather was beautiful today, so my wife and I decided to head into the mountains to enjoy a day in the New River Gorge. The New River (one of the oldest in the US) is below this canyon rim, and is about 700 feet below us. This place has special memories for us because we took our first hike here.

As you can see from the above picture, this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It's a quite place although there are railroad tracks on both sides of the gorge. It actually adds to the nostalgia when they lumber along the river with hundreds of coal cars destined for the big cities.

There's always a cool breeze rising along the face of the rock cliffs and we gaze for hours at the hawks soaring along the edge of the massive rocks. We often take a spotting scope with us to watch the birds, watch the rafts and kayaks traverse the white water rapids, or observe the rock climbers in this area.

I don't take a radio with me when we hike in this part of the gorge. This is a place of peace and harmony, where, if you're silent and able to listen, you can hear all the important things in life speak to you.

Marilyn and I always enjoy our time here. With our anniversary rapidly approaching, we couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the day.