My Most Recent QSO's

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.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Train Wreck

I've been very busy attending family gatherings the last few weeks. Most of the of the time has been "on the road" between West Virginia, Philadelphia, New York, and Cincinnati. Families are an important part of life and I've enjoyed the time with the relatives. Among the several events I've attended were two nice weddings. Hopefully, I'll return to my radio routine (especially at sunrise and sunset) and make some more DX contacts.

Today, I'm "out on the bike", trying to take advantage of a really nice sunny day and getting used to a new set of tires. I've had an unusually bad spell with "flats" this season, and purchased tires with "Kevlar" to eliminate this problem. These tires are extremely durable and should "wear like iron". In essence, they should be almost "bullet proof".

As I rode over the bridge towards the railroad that runs the length of the valley, I came onto an unexpected coal train derailment. Wow.....what a mess. There's probably a dozen coal cars scattered along this road. A few of them, if not stopped by a few large trees, would have ended up in the yards (or houses) of those living next to the railroad.

I'm glad these new tires are on the bike. They’re being tested as I ride through the spilled coal, the heavy equipment, and the debris in the road.