My Most Recent QSO's

Friday, July 15, 2011

KPH- Marine Morse Station

The link below is to an interesting article from the "New York Times". It's a story about a radio station (KPH) built by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It was famous for always signing off with the following statement. 

"We wish you fair winds and following seas". 

The story is about "Morse Code"...

Here's the link: For a Night Each Year, the Airwaves Buzz With Morse Code -

Well worth reading, I particularly like the statement " “You had to think of it as a rhythm,” “You had to kind of be a musician.” as a description of Morse Code. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

N4S Special Event Station

I worked N4S this morning on the SSB portion of 20 meters.  (14.280)  Sadly, this is the LAST launch of this spacecraft but all is not lost. The International Space Station is still in the sky, and will continue to be for many years. Unfortunately (most people say) our focus has changed.

I enjoy watching the "International Space Station" as it crosses the early evening, or early morning sky here in the valley. Sometimes it's as bright as the landing lights on a normal "jet" as they approach our airport. It's easily seen with the naked eye and a simple "scanner" is all that's needed to hear communications for a brief moment. But it's a short "window" since it's moving about 17,000 mph.

When I first got into the hobby, I used a "portable packet" station for hiking on the Appalachian Trail. When the Russian MIR space station was in the sky, I dropped a letter in it's "mail box" while sitting in a "cow pasture" near Charleston. I did it with a handi-talkie and a small three element beam. A short story about that was published in the local newspaper. (front page). I also wrote a short story for the ARRL about the event.

I've been hearing this "special event station" for several days but in the evenings, there's an enormous "pile up" for the contact. This morning, I worked it (N4S) on the third attempt with 10 watts.

I'll miss not seeing our "space shuttle" in the sky but I'll still watch for the "International Space Station", hopefully, for many more years. There's a link on this blog for "Heavens-Above". You can set up your QTH to see it's "visible passes" from your city.

If you're lucky, you will also "hear" it by tuning into the VHF frequency.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

PR2B Brazil

Last but not least PR2B was a new country also, and # 104 in the log book. I'll be gathering my information for the DXCC award now. It may take awhile but just knowing I have finally worked over 100 DX contacts with an 18" antenna and QRP power makes me happy.

E7HQ Bosnia-Herzegovina

Another new country for me....this station was difficult to work and a rare contact. E7HQ was # 103 in the logbook. At 5,870 miles, I think this is my most distant contact.

EF8HQ The Canary Islands

I've worked the Canary Islands several times this year but last night this station became #102 in the log book. I worked a QRP operator from here a few weeks ago that was using a random wire from a hotel balcony. Last night the signal was much stronger...

ZF1A Cayman Islands

Yesterday evenings DX contacts started with CE4CT in Chili but it didn't take me much longer to hear (and work) this VERY strong station (ZF1A) in the Cayman Islands. This island is famous for its "banks". I'm probably exaggerating a bit when I say there's nearly a "bank" for every citizen that lives here. But not much....and that's all I have to say about that.

CE4CT Chili-- My 100th QRP DX Contact!

My 100th QRP DX Contact! 

A toast of fine red Chilean wine for the occasion! 

It was quite by accident that I happened to tune into the 20 meter SSB band so late in the evening.  (01:15z) But last night, I worked FIVE new DX stations! 

I was totally unaware of the "IARU HF World Championships" contest. I don't participate in many of these because I'm limited to 10 watts and don't have "filters" installed in my radio. I also don't pick up the microphone very often. This was like shooting fish in a barrel but a fish, is a fish, is a fish, when it comes to DX Stations right now. I've been terrified at the latest "dismal propagation forecasts" about the solar cycle. 

CE4CT was my first contact in South America and my farthest southern station last night. I was amazed at his signal strength from a distance over 5,000 miles. It took several tries but I eventually worked him. 

This is a milestone for me.

The vast majority of my DXCC efforts started to materialize just this year. These five new DX stations now leave my total at 104.  While I would have preferred CW contacts, I felt like NOW was the time to act. 

I'll post about the other four contacts later. One in Brazil, one in the Cayman Islands, one in the Canary Islands, and the other in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  

Last night was a VERY good night! 

Friday, July 8, 2011

LZ3YP Bulgaria

I've been hearing a few DX stations the last several days but haven't been able to work them. This evening I heard LZ3YP in Bulgaria (all by herself) on 14.053. I was ecstatic to work another "1000 MPW" station at 5,126 miles with my 5 watts of power. Ana was nice enough to repeat her call sign for me, to make sure I had it correctly. I was careful to put the / QRP at the end of my exchange.

My goal of 100 DX contacts is very close now. This is my third contact in Bulgaria. I also have LZ2BE and LZ2SO in the log book. These have been my most distant contacts on 20 meters. I'm proud of all three of them.

Ana (LZ3YP) is DX contact number 99......just one more to go.

I hope this weekend will complete my quest.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

YT9M Serbia

This was a VERY difficult contact as he was hearing me much better than I was hearing him. I asked him to repeat his call several times but I kept missing it. I was hearing YE0M, which I couldn't find ANYWHERE in the books.

I find myself pushing the envelope with many "fast" code operators. Just a small lapse in concentration and an E becomes a T and a 0 becomes a 9. It took me several times to distinguish the "T" and the number "9".

Maybe I'm just getting older (and the ears aren't what they used to be) but sometimes I find myself not able to distinguish "dots and dashes" correctly at high speed. On my keyer, (to allow for this) I have the length for the dashes set a little longer than normal and find this to be useful when above the 20 wpm speed.

YT9M is just short of 5,000 miles and another good catch.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

E-mail from Panama

A few days ago, I worked this station in Panama City. Sergio (HP1/IZ6BRN) sent me a nice note from his work site near the Panama Canal. Panama is a "rare" contact and I feel fortunate to have added him to my log book. In his e-mail, Sergio says he is going to be there for a couple of years working on the upgrade to the canal. 

With his permission, I thought I would share this e-mail with the readers of this blog with the hope that others can work him. He's using a 10 element multi-band antenna. When I worked him a few days ago, he was 599 here on the east coast. 

Hi John, here is Sergio HP1/IZ6BRN. I am very sorry that I just exchange the report with you during our QSO and moved to another station. I am novice in CW and still I am not ready to support a full QSO. And also as Panama is quite rare in CW I always suffering some noise due to the pile up. By the way, I try to do my best, even with short QSO,  to be active in all band giving as much confirmation is possible using LOTW.I think I will stay here in Panama for the next couple of years (I am working in the construction of the new Canal). My equipment is a Yaesu FT2000D and antenna is Optibeam  OBW10-5 (10 elements – 5 bands)Hope to heard you soon again I send you my best 73Sergio HP1/IZ6BRN 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

IK2HDF Italy

I worked three stations yesterday but can only confirm this one (IK2HDF) from Italy.

There were several "special event stations" on the air. I've looked everywhere for K4F in Tennessee but can't find it anywhere on the web. The other confusing station is DL4IAC, which should be in Germany. Perhaps it's DL3IAC but will have to wait on an e-mail with the hopes that I missed a critical "dot".

There's some strong Mexican stations on the air today but they're running 1500 watts into a beam. I don't feel that bad not being able to work them with QRP power.