My Most Recent QSO's

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mystery Solved

It seems when there's no data entered for GPS co-ordinates in an English QRZ listing; the default is London. Hihi

I think the likelihood of G3VBS being in Doncaster, and NOT London is very high! Hihi

Hyde Park in London

I keep making my daily DX contacts as the month rolls along (33 now) and surprise even myself when I work "familiar" signals on the 17 meter band. The last several days I've worked the YN9SU station in Nicaragua despite very weak reception on my part and I'm amazed when he responds to my call. He is mostly "barely" above the noise level. I think it must be the orientation of his antenna.

This morning I worked a new French station (F6CYP)  which was just barely above the noise level.

I also had a VERY interesting QSO with a station in London.

A few years ago, my wife and I traveled from the tip of Scotland, to the south of the United Kingdom and to London. We spent several days there, so were able to mingle and merge with people.

This morning while working the London station, I recognized the "FIST" of the operator but "NOT" the call sign, and the London operator remembered "me" from my contact with him on the previous day.

I'll be the first to admit  one "dit" is easy to miss in a call sign, and yes, myself, and many others, have done the same; but the London station and I talked at length about our previous conversation from yesterday morning. (I'll get to the dit in a moment)

This was a nice QSO about our rigs, antennas, the 50 mph gusts of wind, in both our countries, and his 50 watts into a Yagi verses my 3 watts and an indoor random wire. The only difference in our weather seemed to be that he was experiencing our "yesterday summer time" temperatures and we now have snow this morning.

I worked G3VBS this morning, and he was was using the same "straight key" as yesterday, I've no doubt this is the same person I worked as G4VSB yesterday morning. The time and frequency was about the same. His choice of words, fist, and spacing was exactly the same. I thought......

Perhaps I missed the "dit":

But here is where it gets confusing to me. 

This mornings signal was much better than yesterdays, and I think he was transmitting from the same location with a different radio. Why?

While we were in London, I distinctly remember "Hyde Park". We took the city bus from near the BBC headquarters and got off on Cromwell Street and walked into Hyde Park, through it, and had lunch while we were there. The missing (or additional) "dit" becomes meaningful here.

If you "google" G3VSB and also G4VSB, you will get the same location!

It's just a few blocks from Hyde Park but in the same "area" of the "two" different stations. I remember this area very well since the bus passed right past it.

There's no e-mail addresses for either of these stations, so I'm unable to get an exact solution to this curious puzzle. I'm hoping someone in this part of London, near Hyde Park, might read this and find out for me.

If so, please let me know because it's really bugging me. I can't figure it out. Without the distinctive "Straight Key" aspect, I'd write if off as a missing dit, but I'm not so sure now.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

I really needed this contact today because it brings to a close my personal goal of working a DX station, every day, for 30 consecutive days! 

If the above picture looks familiar to you, it should, because for the third time this month, I've worked Andy (SP9KR) in Poland. He was VERY strong this morning, and easily worked, again, on 17 meters. I've now worked stations in Poland nine different times on the 17-12-30 and 20 meter bands.

I was really worried about making this last needed contact because I play cards most of the day on Mondays, , and missing this morning contact would have put my goal in serious jeopardy; hence I was very grateful to work Andy so early, and to hear such a great signal. As I've noted before, this station was "in the open" where I have the greatest opportunity for success.

The solar flux index was only 98 this morning, the A index was 6 and moving downward, and the K index had fallen to zero. I've joked many times about my signal bouncing off the "golden dome" of the state capitol building, just up the street, and it makes about as much sense to me as working stations at better than 4,000 miles as anything.  (don't take this seriously) I really have no "logical explanation" for this string of contacts, especially using low power and an indoor random wire.

My best guess is the power of  simple "Morse Code".

Andy wasn't the only station I worked this morning before heading out to play cards. I was also fortunate to work another station in Russia. Although I heard F6HKA in France on the 12 meter band, I decided not to make another attempt to work Bert; I stayed on 17 meters. A mere half hour later I heard two different calls coming from Russia; one of them potentially, with a little patience, and a little luck,  loud enough to work.

I was hearing RA7T but decided to focus on another Russian station because he was "out in the clear" and not spotted on a cluster. After several attempts on my part, Sergey (R7AY) sent a "question mark" back to me and I knew I might work him.

This turned out to be a difficult contact, and without his patience and perseverance, would never have materialized. I had trouble hearing his call sign correctly, and he had trouble hearing mine, but after several tries we both got it right. Sergy (R7AY) was located in Armavir Russia at 5,667 miles.

I continue to be in awe at these big Russian stations! I've worked different stations there five times now. Remarkably, one of them (RD3A) was on 40 meters . It's just amazing to me, they can hear such a weak signal at these distances; simply astounding.

** I'll continue to make DX contacts as usual now, but now that my immediate goal has been met, I'll probably ease off after the end of the week. It's been fun, but work, and I choose to keep my radio hobby "fun" above all else.

I will, however, continue to look for "new" entities, still out there hiding from me, and just waiting to be worked by a QRP station; I can't help myself when it comes to those; after all, I've been bit by the DX bug, and once bitten, they never let go.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

This morning before the first cup of coffee, I found HB9CVQ calling from Berikon Switzerland. He had an excellent signal from that part of the world and responded immediately when I returned my call sign. The solar flux index is only 99 this morning, the A index is steady at 18 and the K index is rising but at only 2.

I didn't expect to hear this strong of a signal at 4,342 miles.

Switzerland makes over half the watches in the world but another well know product from there is the Swiss Army Knife. I have one, and I'd bet just about every day hiker around here has the same. The world is constantly changing, and with these changes, businesses adapt to new markets.

The knife above is a novel idea, and a good example of the changing world. It's a novel idea, but , of course, you wouldn't be able to fly with one of these, no matter how hard you argued about a thumb drive for your computer.

The "Swiss Omega Speedmaster" is the watch worn on the Apollo Space Missions. It's been to the moon and back. I bet it still keeps perfect time.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

I keep getting by with a little help from my friends, as the Beatles say. Today I made several contacts with stations I've worked previously on 17 meters.

The morning started really slow but with a familiar contact into Nicaragua. I worked YN9SU before I drank the first cup of coffee, and for the 6th time this year. He was almost in the noise but evidently hears me much better than I hear him.

As the morning progressed, I heard familiar stations in Austria from the World Ski Championships (OE2013U) and was hearing G1OOC in England, and EI3KG in Ireland. Unfortunately they were too weak to work, and once spotted on the cluster, ended my chances of  a contact.

I decided to use the "keyer" in the rig to call on the 18.096 QRP calling frequency and had a return from a local station (AJ4SM) in St Petersburg Florida. This was my first success with sending my call sign and hoping for a contact as I'm usually in the search mode.

After breakfast and reading the morning newspaper, I returned to the air to search for more DX. I heard a very familiar PA4VHF (four times) in the Netherlands, who I worked easily, and followed by a VERY strong IK3VUT  in Italy. Both of these stations had fantastic signals and I had the advantage of them NOT being spotted on the cluster.

I've learned an important thing about DX clusters since the first of the year. They can be a "curse" to a QRP operator! My greatest success with DX is due to a "fair catch" out in the clear. None of the stations I worked today were spotted.

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

This morning, I truly thought  was going to be "the end" of my string of daily DX contacts. Propagation isn't good (SFI 103) and despite hearing two "new special event stations" from Austria, I was hearing only very weak signals. In desperation I scanned the other bands but only found a brief opening on 15 meters, where I heard F5IN; but couldn't work him.

I was so frustrated that I shut off the rig and went downstairs for another cup of coffee. After looking through the morning newspaper, and being comforted by my wife, I drudged back upstairs to listen a bit more. Unfortunately, there was nothing but silence on the DX portions of all the bands.

I thought this was "the end" of my daily DX contacts.

Not one to wallow in misery for very long, I decided to see if anything was happening at the local level, and immediately found N2CVE on the 30 meter band. We had a very nice QSO about TenTec rigs and his random wire antenna. (his is outdoors). Jim has been away from the hobby for awhile but is actively perusing CW with a renewed passion. It was a long pleasant conversation about several other things too.

The temperature is only 21 degrees this morning, and it's pouring down fresh snow. Despite this, I felt refreshed after chatting with a good CW operator, and always find it good therapy, for a bruised soul.

The third cup of coffee went down around 11:30 am which meant I had been glued to the headphones for almost two hours. One last time, I spun the dial over to the 17 meter band for a last attempt before admitting defeat.

I heard a loud signal on 18.077 and assumed it was local station. I pitched my call back; just to let them know someone was there, and he returned to me. It was slow CW but I missed it at first, or couldn't believe it wasn't  local, since I had my mind in another gear. It was then that I realized it wasn't, and recognized it as French.

Never in my life have I experienced the joy of working an old friend whom I worked many many times before! This station turned out to be Bert (F6HKA) near Limoges France. He had been sending the K3Y/ EU call and it went right over my head. I asked him to repeat the call since I was in such a state of both confusion and ecstasy. He did so; and I almost fell out of the chair.

This QSO turned out to be much more than the standard exchange. I apologized for not hearing the call correctly, and told him that I thought he was a local station. He asked if I was still QRP. I said yes, he said follow me, and I'll drop down to 5 watts. Bert moved slightly up the dial to avoid some noise, and dropped down to QRP at 5 watts. We completed the exchange as a VERY nice 2 X 2 QRP QSO.

Today was a very welcome contact, despite working almost two hours for it, and I'm thinking it's getting more difficult each day to continue make a daily DX contact. But for now, today marks my 27th consecutive DX contact with my simple QRP station.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

The "Alpine Ski World Championships" are held in different places in the world and there are "Special Event Stations" on the air to celebrate and memorialize them. This morning I worked my second of these "special event stations" in Austria. They will be on the air until Feburary 18th 2013. 

A few days ago (Jan 18th) , I worked OE2013U in Kleinroetz Austria. This morning I worked OE2013A in St Michael Austria. I doubt I'll be able to work 10 of these stations for the "special certificate", but I'm an optimist, and always keep the possibility open. 

The first picture above is American Lindsey Vonn who won eight medals in these events in 2010. (I thought it would catch your attention)

This year a new world speed record has been set by French skier Johan Clarey. Set in Switzerland this year, he reached a speed of 100.6 mph (161.9 km/h)

I used to ski before a back injury ended this sport but I can't imagine going 100 mph on a pair of long skies. Loosing your concentration for even a split second could prove disastrous.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

My first contact this morning was actually the same station I worked yesterday morning in Poland. Andy (SP9KR) responded with Good Morning John and I did the same with his name. A few moments later I heard another K3Y station with the #5 behind it from Baton Rouge Louisiana. I easily worked him and received a good signal report. 

Next came SM2ALS in Ojebyn Sweden. I was certain I heard the call correctly;  but was unable to find it on the QRZ.Com site. After trying all possible combinations, I entered the call in the "Buckmaster" call book and immediately found it. I've found this service valuable with many DX stations. 

My last station was XE2X in Renoa Tamaulipas Mexico. I was hearing a lot of stations this morning but had to cut things short to play Bridge with a group here in town. Bridge is a great game which is good for the mind. Bridge requires a person to use their minds, much like Morse Code. The older we get; the more important this becomes.

Today is my 25th consecutive day of working a DX station. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

This morning brought me another contact on the 17 meter band; but I hear fewer stations in the "window of opportunity" on the bands. Propagation is low today (SFI 108) , so I felt good about working nearly the only station I could hear. Andy (SP9KR) was transmitting from Nieporaz Poland which in near the large city of Krakow and 4,681 miles from me in West Virginia.

I'm lucky to work these stations before they're spotted on the cluster. It's a great advantage for me. Today is my 24th consecutive day of working a DX station with 3 watts and a 50' piece of random wire.

Update;    It's always nice to work another DX station, anytime and anywhere, but I got a BIG kick out of working a "Special Event Station" in France. ( this is around 16:30 GMT)

Around noon (local time) I heard a VERY loud K3Y/EU station which immediately caught my attention. There's very few stations in Europe which I consistently hear VERY well, and was thinking about F6HKA in France. I was pleasantly surprised when the K3Y/EU station said a very nice "GUD to hear U AGN John" and nice to WRK U as  SKCC/EU and UR QRP station doing a VY FB job today. Bert is a true gentleman and it's always nice to work him!

You should "google" SKCC K3Y Stations or just click on the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) link on the right side on this blog. I've worked several of these stations recently but this was my first EU contact.

Around noon (my time) I found this great opening on the 17 meter band and have worked four more DX stations in Eastern Europe. I also logged EA7AJR and EA4DRV in Spain and also IK4VFD in Italy. That's a total of five far.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

My morning contact today was OM5ZW in the Slovak Republic and on the 12 meter band. As I feared, the 17 meter band was practically flat for me. I heard only one station there from Sweden.

The first station I heard on the 12 meter band was 9A2YM transmitting from Croatia. He was strong enough to work but unable to hear me. Then came E76C in Bosnia and Herzegovia who had a great signal but unable to hear me.

As I continued to listen OM5ZW was working a bunch of stations and I also had doubts he would be able to pull me out of the swarm. After about 15 minutes, his signal peaked and I heard my call sign repeated with the "up" suffix. He actually shifted upward to pull me out of the swarm.

I'm incredibly grateful for this effort. It doesn't happen often enough, and I added my QRP ending on the exchange with 3 watts. It's really nice when an operator makes this special effort to work a very weak signal at 4,680 miles.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

This morning was a VERY difficult contact on the 12 meter band. I was able to work PA4VHF in Hengelo Netherlands. He was so weak that I sent my call sign twice with a question mark to make sure he was hearing me and not another station.

The bands are changing and I'm not sure how many more consecutive days I'll be able to continue my string of morning DX contacts. Today is the 22nd day. I heard nothing on the 17 meter band I could work.

This morning is my 9th contact into the Netherlands. I've worked them on 20-10-12-17 and 30 meters.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Daily DX Contact

This isn't the first time I've worked the Cayman Islands but it's the first on 30 meters. I found ZF2LC and easily worked him this evening. This is my 4th contact with these islands, although always with a different station. I've worked these islands on 20 meters, 17 meters, and now 30 meters. I'm hearing a couple of stations near Quito Ecuador but they're working European stations. Should they point towards me, I should be able to work them. I was hearing a lot of stations on 30 meters this evening, but without good filtering on the radio, it's VERY difficult to pull them out of the beehive.

Early this morning I worked F8BBL near Bordeaux France on 17 meters. Known for fine wines, this station was "out by themselves in the open" calling CQ NA. Great signal by the way....I've worked more than 25 stations in France now. Two of them have been QRP operators but with Yagi antennas.

Today the temperature is going to be near 60 degrees (f). A perfect day to be out on the bike!

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

This morning marks my 20 th daily consecutive DX contact. I had very little time this morning but heard OE2013U in Austria calling on the 17 meter band. I worked him quickly and shut down the rig.

Today will be spent with my father, driving to the VA hospital for a check-up, and possibly a new hearing aid. Breakfast with some friends at 8:30 am and not much time to scan the bands.

Had a great QSO with WB9VRP last night on 40 meters. Jim lives in South Bend Indiana and had a good copy on my QRP signal. It was especially nice to have a long QSO.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

My contact this morning was G3VBS in Doncaster England. Not spotted on the cluster, Tom and I had a brief chat while the band conditions were stable. I desperately tried to contact R1DX in St Petersburg Russia. He could hear me, but not well enough for a confirmation. The Russian station was eventually spotted on the cluster, and that was the end of my chances for another contact.

Every time I hear an English station, I think of the British Broadcasting Service (BBC). I remember this building in London. I have a picture of me standing there from a trip a few years ago. I consider the BBC the best broadcaster in the world.

The window on 17 meters was definitely small this morning. This was the only DX station I could work.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

I've noticed the window moving a little forward for about a week now and it's staying open for a shorter period; but this morning I hit the target at 5,819 miles in Russia. I actually worked Victor (RA6XV) on two different frequencies; but the first exchange was "blistering fast" and I was unsure of the correct call sign. Ten minutes later, I found him again, on a little higher frequency, and sending at a speed which I was more comfortable.

Victor was not spotted on the cluster, which is probably the reason I was able to work him. I've found DX clusters to be both and blessing and a curse for QRP operators. I've found my success rate much better without them.

This station is the farthest "west" I've ever worked on the bands. I've worked Russia on 20 meters, 15 meters, and unbelievably, 40 meters; but Victor is on the 44th longitude, between the Black and Caspian Seas and just north of Georgia and Armenia.

Russia wasn't the only DX station I worked this morning. A few moments earlier I worked TG9ADM  in Guatemala City Guatemala. I've been hearing this Central American station for the last several days. It's South of Belize and in the midst of the Inca culture. I've seen several of these area's in my travels and have a great admiration for Inca building techniques. Despite earthquakes, which are quite regular in these areas, they've built structures that have resisted, for hundred of years, the test of time.

This station is also an New DX Entity for me. 

As I noted earlier, the morning window on the 17 meter band seems to be moving up a little and staying open much less. I worked these station a little after 8 am which is about an hour earlier than the beginning of the month. I don't know how much longer it will last. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Daily DX Contact

Although the "Endodontic Specialists" was within walking distance from my home, my wife drove me there because the cold, drizzly rain, was making my life miserable this morning. The "root canal" took about 90 minutes which is the normal "target time" for my daily DX contact.

The procedure wasn't as bad as I feared; but was by no means painless. At one point I noticed a little bead of perspiration beading up on my forehead. I walked home afterwards because the cold rain had ceased and I enjoy the exercise. I have another dental appointment in two weeks to build a new "crown" on the tooth.

I've shuffled around all afternoon waiting for the pain killers to wear off. During that time I worked a few local stations.

This evening ( 4 PM) I caught YN9SU in Nicaragua calling CQ again. I worked him easily and have turned off the radio.  Nicaragua is a very poor country and the home above is typical of those near the rivers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

Today is my 16th consecutive day of working a DX station with 3 watts of power and 50' of speaker wire for an antenna. Today I had a nice QSO with SM7ALC in Sweden. This morning was my fourth contact into this country. My previous contacts have been mostly on 20 meters but I've also worked a station there on 15 meters. Today was my first 17 meter contact. 

Sven (SM7ALC) had a great signal into West Virginia and the best I've heard from Sweden. We exchanged name, location, rigs and antenna, signal strength, and a weather report. It was an armchair copy with both of us and was especially exciting for me since he was not spotted on the cluster. I'm usually able to work any station I hear in these circumstances. 

A little before I worked the Swedish station; I worked the same Nicaraguan station as I did the other morning. He was also calling "out in the open and by himself". I quickly shook hands again with YN9SU

That big freshwater lake down there is fascinating to me. There's few places quite like this one with the two big volcanoes in its center. I can only imagine being there on the water. It would be wonderful. 

Tomorrow is NOT going to be a good day for me. I broke a tooth several months ago and I'm to be at the dentist at 8:30 am. My regular dentist found it impossible to repair this tooth and I was given an antibiotic, to reduce inflammation, and rescheduled with an "Endodontic Specialist". 

Not only am I dreading the procedure, I'm also dreading the accompanying expense.

Those of you reading my blog, from other countries, are probably "shocked" at what dental care cost here in America. To put it in proper perspective, I paid $400 (USD) for my current radio. After the "root canal" tomorrow, I would have been able to buy five new radios. I'm just say'in.............

Most of the people interacting with me on this blog, do not live here in the United States. Just out of curiosity, how much does a "root canal" and the following "crown" for a tooth cost where you live? 

I think my friends here in the US are going to be surprised. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

My wife and I attended a dance last night at the University of Charleston; but just before leaving for the dance, I found several stations in Central America and the Caribbean area. Propagation wasn't real favorable, and because of that, I assume the band was "short".

I've noted earlier on the blog my possibilities of working new DX in that direction. Last evening and early this morning has brought several contacts and another new DX entity. 

Last night before the dance, I was able to work XE3ARV on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico which is just below Cancun and next to Guatemala. I also worked CO6CAC in Cuba. Both these stations were on the 30 meter band. 

I hear and work FG5FR in Guadeloupe regularly; but worked him for the second time, on two different bands, and I also caught the Jamaica station (6Y5WJ)  finally coming towards my northeastern state. 

Those were good catches for me; but the real conquest was a NEW DX station which I caught on the 17 meter band this morning. I slept like a rock last night after the dance and rose a little earlier than normal. Dancing is great exercise and good for a persons health. 

Before booting up the laptop, and getting myself together, I turned on the rig and scanned the bands. I heard activity on the 17 meter band and stopped on 18.073. There was a station "out there by himself", calling CQ, and not receiving so much as a hint of a response from anyone. 

These are the ones I love to catch and usually work 100% of the time. 

I immediately recognized YN9SU in San Carlos Nicaragua as a new DX station for me. We actually exchanged names and locations with a go round of twice before signing off. He was hoping for DX contacts  and after our exchange,I heard the band literary "explode" with call signs. 

Nicaragua is an interesting read on the Wikipedia site, which by the way, I encourage everyone to contribute a few bucks a year. I relish it's information and the pictures "in the public domain". Nicaragua is home to one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world, which by the way, harbors an island with active Volcano's. 

A good place to start reading about it is here:  YN9SU

Saturday, January 12, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

I was on the bands a little early this morning and fist heard activity on the 30 meter band. I worked FG5FR in Guadeloupe around 8 am. This is the 5th contact I've worked with this station.

The real excitement came with a contact into Central America which is a short distance from me and I heard, and was easily able to work,  YS3CW sending on the 17 meter band. This station is another new DX entity for me. (65)

I had trouble sleeping last night and spent some time listening around the 40 meter band. I was hearing HC2A in Quito Ecuador and SP6CES in Poland. There's another station in Jamaica I've been hearing regularly. It seems they have the beams pointed towards Europe and unable to hear me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

This morning I was a bit late getting on the air since Friday is a weekly breakfast meeting with some friends at a local restaurant. It was almost 10:30 am before I returned home and tuned into the (what else) 17 Meter band.  The radio was already "pre-tuned" from last nights contact with ZP6CW in Paraguay and it took only a moment to hear the above station sending CQ DX SHSC. I listened for a moment and when he dropped the SHSC from the tail, I gave it a shot.

The SHSC was a new abbreviation I'd not heard before and stands for the "Super High Speed Club" 

"To become an active member of the SHSC three recommendations must be obtained from other active members. An active member may give a recommendation after a "sponsor QSO" under the following conditions:A recommendation can be made after having a 2-way CW contact with a SHSC member for at least 30 minutes using a telegrapy speed of 250 letters per minute or higher(Paris-base,50 WPM). Solid copy must be made by the applicant together with excellent keying. Computers, keyboards or decoders are NOT allowed during these contacts. Reception must be done by ear and only a basic electronic keyer may be used to assist with sending" 
Although Rudy (IK4VFD) was sending quickly, I can assure you it was nowhere near 50 wpm this morning.I had listened closely; and correctly identified the call before attempting the contact. He was not listed on the DX cluster and "out there by himself". He also had a VERY good signal from central Italy.

Here's a link to the SHSC site:  PA3BWK's Ultimate Morse Code Web site

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

I love working "Special Event Stations" and I found S5121IAPMC in Slovenj Gradec Slovenia this morning on the 17 meter band. It's especially heart warming to realize this station represents the "International Association of Peace Messenger Cities". There are two participating United States cities in this event. One in New Haven Connecticut and another in Cambridge Massachusetts.

Here's a link to their webpage:  IAPMC - International Association of Peace Messenger Cities

I also found several K3Y stations on the bands this morning. These "special event stations" celebrate the "Straight Key Century Club" here in the United States. I've worked several of them the last few days.

This morning I heard F6HKA in France working (and passing out) his SKCC number. Bert sounded like he was "right here in the shack" on both 17 meters and 12 meters.

I also worked SQ2RCM in Poland this morning on 12 meters. (SSB) It was an act of desperation when it appeared the bands were not going to open.

This evening I was able to work ZP6CW in Caacupe Paraguay. This is the second time in a few weeks I've worked this South American station. At 4,678 miles, it's a good catch for me. As before, I worked him on 17 meters and almost the same exact frequency.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

I worked a new DX entity this morning with a QSO with Mike (EW8O) in Rechitsa Belarus on the 17 meter band. I continue to be amazed at the "ears" on these long distance stations. Although I had a weak copy on him, he was able to hear me quite well at 4,965 miles. Mike is DX number 64 in the log book. 

Belarus is a mostly flat land with many miles of forest within it's boundary's. 

This contact was a little more than a "handshake" as he sent his name, country, rig and antenna. I did the same with my customary 3W QRP, my name, and WV.

My breakfast this morning went well with my ham radio friend. I always look forward to hearing from Eric (AC8LJ) . He's a good CW operator and is the recent recipient of a new "bug" which was shipped directly from the North Pole during the holiday season. We talked about a number of things, most notably his "fan dipole" and a Delta loop. Sure wish I had the "space" to run a decent antenna, but I'm happy with what I have in the radio line.

I have few complaints with the 50 ft of speaker wire I'm using for a stealth antenna.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Daily DX Contact

My Brother and I had an "early morning breakfast" today, in a nearby town, which meant that I missed the "morning window" on 17 meters. I returned to the house around 10:30 and heard only static on the radio.

No DX......anywhere!

Fortunately, I found a station in France (F8DGY) this afternoon around 3 PM local time. The station in France was weak but continued to strengthen. In France, the time would have been around 9 PM. He was in a little town with a population of around 4,000 people and only 120 ft elevation. He had difficulty hearing me but able to shake hands. This station was on the 30 meter band. 

Tomorrow morning I will be having breakfast with a CW radio friend. We meet once a month and talk about our contacts, keys, antennas etc. I enjoy it very much and always look forward to it.

I ordered new cards a few days ago which arrived with the mail today. I continue to return cards I've been sent with a SASE; although I'd much prefer to use the "electronic" E-QSL service.

 I'm a stickler for a stamped return envelope. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

Monday mornings, now that the holiday season is finally behind us, is the beginning of our weekly game of Bridge at a local church. We turned in last night well after midnight, were up at eight am; took care of the dog, ate, glanced at the paper, and packed a small lunch.

There was very little time for radio as we were due at the church a little after 10 am.

I had worried that I would miss my Monday opportunity for a DX contact this morning; but the window opened, just like clockwork, a little after 9 am. Also, just like clockwork, a strong station appeared and I was easily able to work him.

On my first attempt, my three watt QRP signal bounced 4,637 miles into Ljubljana Slovenia. Ljubljana is the capitol of Slovenia and Franc (S59AA) acknowledged my QRP status when I placed it at the end of my call sign. I don't always waste the other operators time with the QRP designation on these DX contacts. I realize most are "running numbers"; but I get a sense out of who would get a "kick" out of working a VERY weak station at this distance. A three watt signal from the mountain valley of this West Virginia town seemed a good candidate and I think he got a chuckle out of it. On the VAST majority of my DX contacts, the other station never realizes I'm running low power and a simple antenna.

This is my sixth contact into Slovenia; a country between Austria and Croatia. It's the second time I've worked Slovenia on 17 meters. I've worked them once on 15 meters and three times on twenty meters.

Reflecting on yesterdays hike in the forest; we stayed dry and warm. I completed the five mile hike and was happy with the way I felt afterwards. There were fifteen of us walking in the woods to a very remote area. The goal was to find a boundary marker with a "hand print" carved into it's surface.

When we returned home and prepared the evening meal, our dog Timmy gave the dinner table his approval and his blessing before the arrival of our guests. I tolerate a lot with this dog; but draw the line when it comes to food on the table.

He can "look" but not touch. His "bits and kibbles" are kept in a separate room away from the dinning area.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

I continue my quest for a daily morning DX contact with QRP power. This morning I found PA4VHF on the 17 meter band. He had a great signal into West Virginia. We shook hands quickly and moved onward to other stations. Dick lives in Hengelo, the Netherlands which is very near the German border. He is 4,130 miles from me.

This is my 8th contact in this country and the second time I've worked this station. The last time was on 12 meters. I've worked the other Netherlands stations on 20 meters, 10 meters, and also 30 meters.

Every time I work a station in this part of the world I think of what a great place this is for bicycling. I've often admired it's citizens attitude towards physical fitness and recreation. I can easily imagine biking for hundreds of miles in this flat land.

Today is going to be another busy day for me. My wife Marilyn and I will attempt a hike with friends in the local forest. The forecast is for light rain and snow squalls, but little if no accumulation. I need to burn off those extra calories from the Holiday season. This evening we have neighbors coming for dinner and perhaps a Scrabble game after desert.

I've found this game a good one to keep the mind active.

Morse Code is also in that category!

With every aging year, this is a higher priority.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

Today is (again) going to be a very busy day for me. I'll not have much time for radio; but I found my morning DX contact almost immediately when the "window" opened on the 17 meter band. It was a quick handshake with the customary 559 TU response common, with most DX contacts.

As with radio many contacts, things happen very fast, and I didn't realize this was a NEW DX Entity  (# 63) for the log book. Dr. Paul Mahrer (GJ0KYZ) lives in the Jersey Channel Islands which is just north of France in the English Channel.

I worked Guernsey Island, which is North of Jersey Island a few weeks ago. It was also a new DX entity for me when I worked them; so two in the area close together.

Dr. Mahrer has another interesting hobby which I find facinating: Flickr: gj0kyz's Photostream

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

Today was a VERY busy day with breakfast starting in a neighboring city at 8:30 am. I had risen at seven to start coffee, put the dog out for a minute or two, glance at the morning paper, and make the drive to meet friends and discuss and solve all the worlds problems. (I'm just kidding)

I meet with this group, most Friday mornings, which consists of old retired men who enjoy each others camaraderie and fellowship. A few of us bike, a few are artists, a few are craftsmen, and a few create stained glass. I'm the only Ham in the group; but as I am encouraged by their creativity, they may be encouraged by my persistence with the radio hobby. In essence; we're a good mix.

I had only a few moments of radio time today, between breakfast, and a long drive with my Dad and my Brother. We visited my Sister in Parkersburg, which is about an hour and a half drive from Charleston.

My Dad at Age 92 

I had just returned from breakfast, and literally, had 10 minutes of free time to turn on the rig, re-tune the radio, set the keyer speed, and tune into the 17 meter band.

I immediately heard PA3FQA calling from the town of Olst, in the Netherlands. I answered once and he responded with the customary 559 report. I sent him back the same and a Thank You. (TU) That was it.

I had just jotted down the call, frequency, and GMT on a notepad, when my Dad and Brother arrived. We spent most of the day visiting and talking of old times with the family. Upon returning from my Sisters, I took the dog out again for his evening walk, and almost immediately, my wife Marilyn returned from the store.

It's now 9 pm and time to write about the 10 minute radio time I had today.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will recognize the  QSL card in this post. Today is the third time I've worked PA3FQA in the Netherlands. Today is the first on 17 meters; but I've worked him also on 12 meters, and 30 meters. Dick says his station is one of the "Big Guns". I believe him.

Tomorrow is also going to be an extremely busy day; but I hope to have more than 10 minutes to tune around  the band looking for my daily DX fix.