My Most Recent QSO's

Sunday, January 29, 2012

France With 3 Watts

I've enjoyed the Straight Key K3Y Century Club event this year. I have a total of 10 contacts now. Although they have not been in 10 different call districts, I've worked this French station (F6HKA)  twice for the K3Y Anniversary event. On January 5th, I worked Bert on 15 meters, with my indoor dipole. This afternoon I worked him again on 20 meters, with the indoor Isotron antenna.

I've worked Bert (F6HKA) a total of five different times now, so when I heard a good strong signal from him this afternoon, I immediately reduced my power to 3 watts.  Surprising to me, I caught him "first time" as he finished up a contact with another American station.

Bert always remembers me when he hears my QRP signal and made a comment about this being the "second band" we've worked during the K3Y event. He also found it amazing when I told him that I was using only three watts of power.

Although I haven't been "chasing" the K3Y stations, whenever I have some extra time, I tune around the SKCC frequencies to see if anyone is on the air. I've worked a Michigan station (K3Y/8) several times. I have to commend Bob (K8MXC) for a tremendous job with the Straight Key Century Club. He makes a fantastic effort to be on the air with the club call sign.

On the DX side, I've also worked the K3Y/KP4 station in Puerto Rico.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Politics on Radio Sites is one of the most visited Ham Radio sites in the world. I use it every day I'm on the air to view FCC license information. It enables me to learn about the lives, and often diverse hobbies, of my fellow radio enthusiasts. It's a GREAT website.

A few days ago, I made a post about being in danger of being dismantled because of new "internet piracy" laws, but I removed it because the threat, at least for now, has been diluted due to public outrage. When Wikipedia shut down in protest, I was actually depressed.

I would prefer to not have "political discussions” on a radio blog because one thing I've learned, in this short life on earth, is there are two issues which are the most divisive things on the face of the planet; namely politics and religion.  But speaking of such, (out of necessity) has anyone noticed the "political advertisements" on

I'm seeing daily PAC advertisements from "Restore our Future Inc". Not only is it promoting (who else) Mick Romney, it's also bashing Newt Gingrich.

I hate seeing this on their site. I hope they take steps to quickly eliminate this before it migrates to the ARRL site, or Buckmaster, or personal web blogs?

This forces me to look for alternatives.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Anastasia Island

I enjoyed working W0RW/PM/4 this morning from Anastasia Island in Florida. Paul is one of those operators that really loves the outdoors, and is a master of the art of "pedestrial mobile".

I saw him posted on "QRP Spots" and heard him VERY well here in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia. He gave me a 599 signal report and said it was a lot "warmer" in sunny Florida than the mountains of WV today. This morning in Charleston, it was a crisp 32 degrees.

I've worked Paul a few other times from his home location in Colorado. Always a favorite station in the QRP circles, everyone tries to work him when he's on the air.

Some people say the Anastasia Lighthouse is "haunted". Although I don't believe in this kind of stuff, it makes interesting conversation and especially good campfire stories. You should take a few minutes to "google" it. (and W0RW).

I love to "surf the web" and learn about the places and people I've contacted on the air. I'm sure glad to see the Wikipedia site back up and running. I can't imagine a world without it since I use a lot of "graphics" from there. (the above picture of the lighthouse).

It's a wonderful thing when amateur writers and photographers allow their work to placed in the public domain and be shared with others in the world. It makes the world a better place for all.....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hungary for DX

It was another delightful morning on 15 meters today. I added six new DX contacts to the log book! I was hearing several Italian stations and worked I2PJA. I also worked OK7O in the Czech Republic.

The card doesn't match because this was a "engineering school club station". 

I was very pleased when UW5ZM from the Ukraine answered me. Eugene had worked me before on 20 meters, and responded with "hello John, nice to hear you again. I remember Charleston WV". When there's a contest going on and an operator takes a moment to say HI, it really makes a person feel good. 

I desperately tried to work PJ4C in Bonair , E77DX, and a super station in Hungary (HA4XH) but couldn't do it. I don't hear strong stations in Hungary often, so really wanted that one. I didn't give up....

I made a contact with DL5AXX in Germany soon afterwards. 

Just when I thought the band was closing, I heard (and worked) these two good stations  (HA0LC and HA5SE) in Hungary. I considered these my "best" catches.

I continue to be amazed with the results of my 15 meter dipole which is stretched out in the upstairs rooms. It's SO simple and yet very effective.

Today makes my 166th DX contact with "simple wire antennas" and QRP power. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Michigan Automobile Contact

As I've written before, I often take a look at the cities where the stations I've worked live, work, or retire. For me, this is another "fun" part of the radio hobby. This mornings contact with W8RP in Ypsilanti, Michigan led me to this interesting car.

Ypsilanti Michigan is the place where the Tucker automobile was designed.

I was born in year 1948 when the car was first produced. If you don't know about the 1948 TUCKER , take a few minutes and look at this machine. It had three headlights. The center "headlight" actually moved in the direction the steering wheel to help night driver vision. The engine was in the "rear" and there's an interesting "radio" in the dash. Look for it when you view the above link.

All my contacts today were on 40 meters.

Another interesting contact was NT8P in Ohio. Ron was also QRP @ 5 watts and using a dipole. He's also a  member of the North American QRP Club. It's my favorite club because everyone uses CW and is also QRP.

Ron has some interesting information on his QRZ bio.

I still get an enormous "kick" out of working another QRP operator, whether they be 100 miles or 1000 miles from me.  The "brass key" on his desk looks very much like mine. If so, it's a Brunnell key made in Long Island NY and a little over 100 years old.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

9A204W Isle of Brac in Croatia

Today was my second contact with a station on this Croatian Island. My earlier contact on the Isle of Brac (9A4W) was made on 10 meters a few weeks before Christmas.

Although 15 meters wasn't in good shape today, I always like working islands, so was very happy to make this contact. This Croatian station is another one of many, celebrating 20 years of Ham radio (the 9A call sign) in Croatia. I've heard a lot of these stations on the air recently, and worked seven of them.

I had high hopes of working another Sweden station, (SM5CZQ) but a Canadian station was having a long QSO with him. I wasn't able to follow up afterwards, even though I had a good signal on him.

I also heard two new countries this morning. One in Estonia, and much to my disbelief, a station in Qatar (A7ICT) . The Qatar station was much too weak for me to even think of working, but I could hear him.

I finished off this morning with a German contact. DO4DXA was near Munich. 

The 15 meter dipole continues to be the best DX antenna I use here in the house. I really don't mind taking a few minutes every morning, to set it up, and take it down. Only 22 feet long, it's a "piece of cake" to get on the air. I wonder what it would do, hung outdoors, in the clear, where there's no electrical noise. So far, I've found it quite "easy" to work a DX station every morning.  Even with 5 watts (or less) of power.....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

SM5CAK with 4 watts

Lars (SM5CAK) and I have worked before, (2-11)  but this time, I had my power reduced to 4 watts and it's always nice when someone remembers me and my QRP station on a contact. I was surprised when he mentioned my name when I returned his call on 21.033. It's the same frequency we worked last year. 

The band wasn't very good this morning. I was hearing a strong HA3FTA in Hungary (SSB) but my choice was to work only CW today. 

I felt good about working this station in Sweden. He's a little over 4,200 miles from me and qualifies for another "1000 MPW" contact. It's always fun to work a station with a great pair of ears like him. He has a lot of aluminum in the air....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wheeling West Virginia Radio Stations

I had a really nice chat yesterday evening with a "local" ham on 40 meters. I say "local" because it's rare for me to work another station this close to me. Ron (N8KZH) is located in Wheeling West Virginia, which is in the extreme northern panhandle of our state. In a straight line, it's less than a hundred fifty miles from me.

The QSO this evening made me think of several things.

First and foremost, it's a real pleasure to work a station with an "excellent" fist. Ron was using an old "German Military Key". I wish I had "special award"  for those with the ability to send flawless CW, (especially with a straight key)  but the best I can do is highlight a really good operator when I hear one.

Ron was working me with 50 watts and using a simple dipole antenna, which was pointed away from me. (right off the end).

Also, Wheeling WV is the home of AM radio station  WWVA  (1170 on the radio dial) which I once listened to in my younger years. There's a lot of history about this station. It was started in 1926, with a home built 50 watt transmitter, which operated from the basement of a home. It had a "citizens band radio" in the studio which allowed "truckers" to communicate with the station. Taking this into the future, it was a pioneer of the "coast to coast" AM trucking radio network.

In 1941 it progressed into a 50,000 watt station which could be heard over most of the United States. It's specialty was "country music" which was broadcast from " Capitol Music Hall " , which at the time, was the largest civic center in West Virginia. In August of 2010, the stations towers were destroyed by a  severe wind storm. It's operating now with temporary equipment at reduced power.

Sad to say (in my opinion) the station is now owned (1997) and operated  by "Clear Channel Communications" and has become, like most other AM radio station in the United States, a mouth piece for conservative radio broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh. I'm not part of the wealthy 1% of the American population they reflect with their programming. I DO NOT listen to it, and in extreme cases, will boycott business that advertise on their stations.

Similar to Clear Channel Communications, in my home city of Charleston, the AM radio market is virtually "monopolized" by the same owner, who, by the way, was nearly elected "governor" in the last WV election. He actually lives in Florida............ 

Although I can't hear the station WWVA now, I've found a great alternative to "canned broadcasting". I recently bought a " WiFi Radio " which I enjoy very much.

I often "google" the home towns of hams that I work on the air. (especially those with excellent operating skills). Yesterdays contact brought back memories from days past gone. I wish it weren't so.......

Thursday, January 5, 2012

F6HKA on 15 meters

I heard a familiar call this morning on 15 meters. F6HKA (Bert) was sending a "whooping" signal into West Virginia and asking for SKCC numbers. He heard me very well with my 5 watts and the indoor dipole. We exchanged SKCC numbers and I went on to work several other DX stations. I've worked Bert four times now, but this was my first contact on 15 meters.

He usually sends me an electronic "card". I'll post it when it arrives.

This morning I also worked EC7DZZ and EA1EJ in Spain, LA4UOA in Norway, and IZ4NPE in Italy.

I tried desperately to work S57WJ in Slovenia but couldn't get him to hear me well enough for a good exchange.

My DX contacts are now 155. (Nine of them have been for the new year of 2012).

Monday, January 2, 2012

Some Great Contacts for the New Year

The first contact this morning on 15 meters was this beauty from Croatia, and an interesting call sign. This is a special event station (9A203BIM). This was my only SSB station this morning.

I wanted to do some "real radio" today and tuned into the CW portion of the band. I heard I3CTX calling from Italy (Padova). Didn't get him at first but a few minutes later, I decided to call CQ a few times, to see if anyone could hear me, and he returned my call sign.

Soon afterwards, I heard a VERY strong Scotland station (GM0UDL). We've worked before on 20 meters and Andrew immediately asked "QRP this AM John?". I excitedly responded with QSL Andrew, it's snowing here this morning in West Virginia (WV).

Andrew was operating from home today but I especially like this picture of him operating portable from the mountains in Scotland. I remember this part of Scotland from a trip there a few years ago.

My last contact this morning was DL4NBE from Germany. Leo was "county" hunting and asked for mine. I sent "Kanawha" for him. This contact was on the QRP frequency of 21.040.

I'm sure I could have worked a few more DX stations, but the "Rose Bowl" parade is on the television this morning. I turned it off watch it with the wife.

This morning was a great way to start the new year!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

More E-QSL Cards with /QRP

Here's a few more cards with the /QRP designation. I discovered them yesterday. Personally, I find NO difference between these and a "printed card". I find it's worth a little extra effort to design my own and give the receiver the option of "printing yourself" or saving to their hard disc.

Notice the /QRP designation on these: 

Here's a copy of the card I usually send to confirm my QSO's.