My Most Recent QSO's

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Cardboard Bicycle

Here's a totally non-radio post that I thought some of my radio friends might find interesting. I'd love to have one just for conversational purposes: The cost of construction is $9.00 with a selling price of $20.00. I want one!

Some Thoughts on the 30 Meter Band

I've hardly ventured outdoors today, other than to take the dog out for his daily constitution. It's a cold damp rainy day in the valley, but fortunately, it looks like we will miss most of the "Frankenstein Storm" which is headed up the eastern coast toward the Northeastern states.

Yesterday when I worked N0IMJ (on 30 meters), he talked about his solar powered station and his deep cycle storage batteries. It's an interesting setup and worth looking at the Bio on I imagine this type of station is worth it's weight in gold with the approaching wet heavy snow. Power outages are almost certain.

 In just a few hours, the temperature had dropped almost 20 degrees on the far side of Lake Michigan. When that cold front mixes with the rain from this giant slow moving hurricane, it's going to be a real mess in parts of New York and New Jersey. We're expecting several feet of snow in the mountains, but little, if any accumulation in the valley.

Moving onto 30 meters....anyone who turns on their set today must be aware of the big SSB contest on the airwaves. If you're using a simple QRP station like mine, it's "tuff" going, to work much of anything, because of  those "KW's" and aluminum antenna farms the size of K-mart parking lots.

But when I worked N8DUS  on 30 meters from Rochester, Michigan, it was a very pleasant long conversation. What a joy to copy each other 599 with NO interference from a KW station! This is the beauty of the 200 watt maximum "CW only" 30 meter band. Every day I spend here makes me appreciate the joy of QRP operation and it's advantages.

Right after this long conversation, I worked PA3FQA in the Netherlands. (twice now) . I worked him a few days ago on the 12 meter band. He was a little weaker but was much easier to copy. His signal strength and the steady signal could have progressed into a long conversation also.

I spent some time earlier today on the SSB portion of 15 meters looking for some new DX stations. I didn't hear any; since there was an assortment of those "the bigger the better" super stations. But despite the pile ups, I worked CN3A in Morocco, DR1A in Germany, S54ZZ in Slovenia, 9A1A in Croatia and OE6A in Austria.

I applaud those "big gun" stations for their "great ears" but can't help wonder---- "is this really necessary" ? Today I was happy to use a simple 3 watts of power which was more than effective on this band.

The 30 meter band has been worth all the effort I've put into CW over the last 20 years.....every bit of it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Netherlands on 12 Meters

This station gives an entirely near meaning to the term "Big Gun" station. I worked PA3FQA this morning on a new band. Soon afterwards I worked PA4VHF in the same country. Both these stations were on the 12 meter band and the first I've made here. I always think of fellow blogger PC4T when I work stations in the Netherlands. Being a bicyclist, I can't think of a better place in the world to ride. Both these station were 599 into West Virginia!

The rest of the afternoon was spent hiking in the forest again. It was a really beautiful day here with temperatures in the low 80's. After returning, and just before dinner, I worked OK1AWZ in the Czech Republic. Milan was on the 30 meter band. A little later, I was able to work ZF2AH in the Cayman Islands.

I heard a station in Iceland this morning but couldn't work him. I need that country for the DXCC logbook. Perhaps another day?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Morocco # 59

My second recent contact in the African continent was CN2R and another new DX entity this evening. I feel extraordinarily lucky to be in the right place at the right time. This was a 17 meter SSB contact which is becoming very rare for me. I guess I'm getting greedy and grabbing new DX anywhere and with any means possible.

Back to 30 meter cw again, I was able to work HA9RT in Hungary also. Amazingly he was 599 into the Kanawha Valley.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Estonia # 58

Today was a great day. I spent most of it  hiking in the woods along a ridge in Kanawha State Forest. I took the HT with me and talked with a few people. It was nice to hear them and especially nice to know someone would hear my call in case of an emergency. There's no cell phone coverage in this area.

But the real joy of the day was working # 58 towards the DXCC award. I found ES3AX on the 30 meter band, out there all alone, and not spotted on the cluster. The signal was weak but I was able to work him on the first attempt.

We actually exchanged names (his was August) and I said John and WV and QRP with 3 watts. August congratulated me on the accomplishment and suggested I use the bureau for a card. I felt good about the contact because Estonia is a new DX entity for me. He was also 4,539 miles from me, and another 1000 MPW contact. (I need to calculate that at 3 watts)

Looking over the log book, since I've switched to the 50 ft random wire, I find this contact to be my 16th DX contact on the 30 meter band. I've worked a total of 217 DX stations now. Today brings my total "1000 MPW" contacts to number 33. Dropping down to three watts has been an eye opener for me.

Late last night I was able to work HA3FTA in Hungary.

Friday, October 19, 2012

France on 30 meters

 Sounded like a local station with a 599 signal. 

I continue to be amazed with the stations I hear and work on 30 meters. I love this band because there's lot's of DX and also some long rag-chews. Perfect for a CW operator....

Every now and then; I get an extra nice card from the E-QSL folks. I thought this one from St Croix, in the Virgin Islands, (NP2KW) fell into this category. Very colorful I would say!  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The 8th Area Call Bureau

Although I've been a Ham for many years, I prefer to send and receive my QSL cards via the E-QSL site. But these were a welcome site in the mail box yesterday. I'll have to return them to the 8th Area Call Bureau quickly. This is a great service and a nice way to reduce postage fees. 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

5N7M Nigeria in Africa

I've been hearing him for several days and thought he was just too far away to work with 3 watts. Little did I know today was going to be my lucky day! Ivan (5N7M) was weak when I first heard him on 17 meters, and I wasn't sure if he had copied my call correctly; so after a 10 minute wait, I confirmed it with a second contact. Ivan is 5,784 miles from me, and my longest contact yet with my QRP station.

This is another new DX entity for me, and my first good contact into Africa. 

On another note, last night was the October NAQCC CW Sprint. The band was just terrible here in the valley. I made a few 80 meter contacts with the random wire but didn't have a high score. I heard nothing on 20 meters, and again, made most of my contacts on the 40 meter band. I was able to work five different states, which is no big deal. But I now have more than enough contacts for the next NAQCC award.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Habana, Cuba

I continue to work a few stations even when the band is SLOW on 30 meters. Osmany (CO2OQ) is in Habana, Cuba and I've worked him twice on this band now. This evening he was out there, all by himself, and we actually said hello. I sent my QRP status to him and he acknowledged my 3 watts.

I'd love to visit that country sometime and have a friend (here in the US) that once lived there. I'd love to see all those old automobiles which they refer to as "Yank Tanks". I think it would be fun to visit there and mingle with the local folks. I enjoy listening to Cuban music because of all the all the percussion sounds. I find it fascinating...

A few years ago, I almost worked CO2KK who is the host of the very popular Cuban DX Shortwave Radio Broadcast. He was on 20 meters and also QRP. Arnie (CO2KK) mentioned my on his broadcast program and I recorded it. Perhaps I can make a WAV file and place it on the blog sometime?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Guadeloupe FG5FR

I worked another new DX entity this evening. Frantz (FG5FR) was on the island of Guadeloupe. This country is now # 56 in my list towards the DXCC award. I've worked several of these islands lately and this is one of the areas where I have the possibility of adding to my growing list of new countries.

I found this station on the 17 meter band, and I continually watch for new possibilities on the DX cluster every evening. Other than the Canary Islands, I've worked nothing in Africa. I've worked most of Eastern Europe as far as Bulgaria. I still need Estonia and Iceland, but other than these, the pickings are going to be slim.

I've heard Alaska and Hawaii the last few weeks also; but too weak to work. Those are the only states I need for WAS. With the addition of the random wire antenna, I think there's a good possibility catching them. Strange as it may sound, I'm looking forward to the winter months when the longer nights should work well for radio.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Slovak Republic and Mexico

In addition to the Russian and French stations which I worked yesterday morning, the evening hours brought me two more DX stations. Vlado (OM7CA) was in the Slovak Republic and sounded like a local station. That's a real interesting bridge in the above photo which is in this country. There were hundreds of stations hoping for the contact, but after a dozen or so attempts, I was lucky to be at the right frequency at the right time. I felt really good about working him.

I also worked XE2S in Hermosillo, Mexico. There is a large FORD assembly plant here, and chances are if you own a Ford Fusion or a Lincoln automobile, it was assembled here.

 Henry Ford 

I'm a little confused about this station since I copied a distinct XE1S when I worked him. Apparently I missed a "dot". Something of which I occasionally do on a quick exchange....sometimes the 'ol ears and the brain get confused. The XE1S  location comes up along the coast of Africa. It's not likely to be correct since I had such a good copy on him. He congratulated me on the 3 watt contact and I'll wait for confirmation from another ham who worked him just before me and spotted him on the cluster. He only appeared once.....

Friday, October 5, 2012

Russia and France

I keep looking for new countries every day and I've worked Russia several times over the last few years. But this morning I couldn't resist the opportunity to work a station in Orel, Russia. The city is in the area around Moscow, and Vladimir RA3EG was sending at a speed about a blistering 30 words per minute. Fortunately, it's a easily read CW call.

By the way.....Vladimir is 19 years old! 

This Russian contact was on the 15 meter band, which I easily tuned my random wire, and according to the power meter on my tuner, I was pushing out about 3 watts again. Orel Russia is 5,114 miles in a straight line from Charleston WV. I was very happy with this contact!! 

Soon afterwards, while tuning around the 10 meter band, I heard, and worked,  a VERY strong F5NTV from Cassy-Lanton in France. I don't work a lot of 10 meter CW contacts for some reason??  Every time I hear a strong French station, I think of  Dick F8WBD. I've been listening for him, for several weeks now, on 20 meters. Sooner of later, I'll find him and make a contact....

I'm very happy with my new random wire antenna. Although it's not as efficient as a normal dipole, it seems to be working very well. Taking the time to re-tune the radio, on every band change, is well worth the effort. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

YT1HA in Serbia and a Few Other Good Stations

I found an unexpected opening on 15 meters this morning, and took advantage of band conditions to work YT1HA in Serbia. The last few days I've also found some nice contacts on 17 meters.

I keep working HT9H in Nicaragua whom I've found on several bands. I've worked him on both 17 meters and 30 meters.

I've worked 8P6DR in Barbados again. (I worked him a few weeks ago on 40 meters) 

I also worked NP2KW in the Virgin Islands. 

These contacts were "handshakes" but this morning I had a delightful contact with fellow NAQCC member AK4JA near Atlanta Georgia. Bob was running QRP @ 5 watts with his Yeasu FT 817. He was on 30 meters and we talked until his phone rang and QRT. 

The Serbia station was at a KW, the one in Nicaragua, and the other two, were "barefoot" with the standard 100 watts.

Surprisingly, I feel the most satisfaction working the QRP station on 30 meters.