My Most Recent QSO's

Thursday, February 28, 2013

SM7ALC in Skurup Sweden

This mornings radio contact was SM7ALC in Skurup Sweden. On the southern coast of this country, he had an exceptional signal into the eastern coast. I don't hear many DX stations using a straight key but this morning the signal was 599 in both directions.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 50

I completed my 50th daily DX contact this morning with a station in Great Sutton England. This station (M0BAU) and also a Scottish station  (MM0CIN) were in the same general area. The English station won out; although he was barely above the noise level. He was desperately trying to keep my attention and repeated his call sign at least a dozen times before I got it right.

Fortunately, he was an E-QSL member. On my return home this afternoon from a trip to my fathers, the card was in my mailbox and apparently, he was operating QRP. I sent an e-mail to him with the hopes he could clarify this for me. My guess is yes since he was calling near the 17 meter QRP calling frequency.

Geof wasn't the only station I worked today. I also worked a familiar Italian station. (IK2SND) We've worked several times before (3) and he was an easy catch. Despite all my efforts, I could not get YU150TC in Serbia to hear me.

I'm very happy with 50 days of daily DX now. My original goal was 30 consecutive days which I met with 34 contacts. I took a week off on a travel trip and have continued making a daily DX contact everyday afterwards. I have no idea how long this trend will continue but my radio habits revolve around 17 meters every morning with an additional time in the evening on 30 meters looking for stations in the Caribbean and South America.

To say chasing DX has become a minor trend is an understatement. I've learned chasing DX is highly addictive and I've grown to love it. I know working DX is a standard everyday event with larger stations using QRO power and enormous antenna farms but with 3 watts and a 50 piece of random wire for an antenna, I'm very content.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Old Shortwave Broadcasters

Reading one of my favorite blogs in The Netherlands (PE4BAS) , brought back fond memories of the days when big International Short-Wave Stations were the delight of my generation. I liked his link (originally by PH5C)  so well that I thought I would also share it with my readers.

This video is a long one, but is guaranteed to bring back a sense of nostalgia. It also makes me think about those old receivers with "great audio". Many times, I wish those days were still here, and I can say with quite a bit of certainty, the programming was much better then, than anything you will hear on the local radio and television shows of today.

I've fed the audio on this clip into a FM transmitter and re-broadcasted  it throughout the house several times today. I can remember well my old Allied SWL Receiver  as well as an older Knight Kit regenerative receiver I listened to as a kid. Those were good days for radio...very good days.

Quite honestly, living in the city now, I can't hear many the current stations due to electrical noise and I use an internet connected wi-fi radio when listening to world wide SWL stations. Many of the stations on this video are "off the air" now due to high operating costs and maintenance issues.

But there was  something special about hearing a long distance station "over the air".  It's just not the same. It's difficult to put into words, but there was a magic associated with broadcasting in those days.

That is now gone in the modern world. There are times when I wish the old days were back.

Congratulations again to PE4BAS for the post on his blog. I would not be surprised to see this video floating around the web for several more weeks. It's sure to be a hit with the "baby boomers".

F8BBL in France

First off; I was shocked when I couldn't connect to my usual DX spotting cluster this morning. DX clusters are always good forecasters to portions of the world where there's new activity. It appears there are  technical problems but I assume it will be back online shortly. I use them mostly to look for new stations which I need for DXCC. It's not devastating to me (only an irritation) when they're down because  I continue to have my best QSO's with stations "not spotted".

This morning was no exception.

A few days ago, I had a nice QSO with Lor (F8BBL) who lives in Ttresses France. He puts a whopping signal into the mountains of West Virginia. When I talked to him a few days ago, his signal was so good that he suggested I drop my power all the way down to the very minimum. I was able to continue the QSO with one half a watt.

This morning I heard the familiar call sign, again, with another NA designation. I felt I had the obligation to say "hello" once more. We easily connected again and started another experiment; but this time, on his behalf.

I gave him the following signal reports: 

500W = 579
200W = 579
5 W = 339 

I'll follow up with an e-mail to him this morning. I was surprised to note he also has a radio blog  which I placed a link on the right side of my page yesterday. He did an excellent write up of my previous contact a few days ago. I hope today continues the reciprocity and a continuing friendship. Lor is also a "geocacher"; a sport I've participated in for many years. You will see a familiar face there when you view his blog.

You can find his blog here:  F8BBL

Monday, February 25, 2013

Aircraft from the Ukraine

I love to read about the countries I work on the radio but sometimes the history of a country demands volumes of information in hundreds of different books.

This morning I worked a very weak station in the Ukraine (UY3QT not far from the 17 meter QRP frequency. It was a real challenge to pull out of the noise. After a brief Wikipedia read, I discovered this aircraft is a product of their country.

I've worked the Ukraine several times (5) but never realized this country builds the largest aircraft in the world. Being a believer in giving credit where credit is due; it's difficult to comprehend the size of this machine and its capabilities. It's a true giant.

The Antonon-225 was originally built to carry this Russian Space Shuttle; but when the program was scuttled in the 90's, other uses were soon discovered. Today this aircraft is used to carry cargo all over the world. Even looking at these pictures, you just can't grasp it's size.

 I also worked stations in Guatemala City (TG9ADM) and Slovenia. (S59AA)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Test in France

This morning while working familiar stations on the 17 meter band, I heard a very loud and familiar F8BBL in France. He was calling for NA stations, and I had worked him just the other day, and got a 599 report. This morning as the QSO continued, he suggested I drop power and do a short test. Before the session was over, I was below one watt, and he could still hear me. Sometimes you're just the right distance for the band conditions.  hihi

Per E-mail this afternoon: 

3W = 559
2W = 549 
500 MW = 439 

I also worked several other familiar stations this morning. My first was the always workable, and familiar YN9SU in Nicaragua and I soon followed with PA4VHF in the Netherlands. A little after breakfast, I returned to the radio and worked DL1DGS in Germany and had another short contact with F8GGD also in France but the band changed suddenly and dropped out.

Today is going to be another sunny, but cooler day in the valley. I'm having trouble with my left foot so will probably hit the road again with the bike this afternoon. We have lots of level roadways to ride and traffic is sure to be light on a Sunday morning.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 46

I'd love to see France some day, but until then, I'll have to be content to with admiring their artists, sharing a bottle of their good red wine with friends, and talking to Hams who live there. French artist Claude Monet used an interesting style that captured the feelings of places and not the imagine. I've always like his work.

This morning, before I put my shoes on, I worked F8BBL in Tresses France. The operator used the name of Lor and we briefly passed along the necessities and excellent (599) signal reports--- which was both ways. He sounded like he was just next door. Before the morning ended, I also had nice QSO's with other hams in Germany and Italy.

Downstairs for coffee afterwards and a quick breakfast, I found myself back upstairs in the radio room and couldn't resist the temptation to say hello to YN9SU in Nicaragua. I like his new key which produces a buttery smooth sound. It's the only signal I've ever heard from that country and he always answers on the first call.

My next contact was in Switzerland with HB9ICE who was transmitting from the Zurich International Airport and commemorating Swiss Air.  I love those "Special Event Stations" and always try to work them.

My next contact was a challenging QSO with DK0SU who was using the "club radio station" at Stuitgart University in Germany. I took quite an effort to exchange our information because of QRM and heavy QSB. Tom and I shifted back and forth several times to nearby frequencies to complete the QSO. This University is a leader in the automotive engineering fields.

I also worked another French station this morning, but despite being spotted at least a dozen different times on the cluster, can't find anything on the web about it. Should anyone stumble across the specifics for TM5OENSO, please contact me. I've looked everywhere but can't find an explanation other than it's a Special Event Station listed only in France.

My last contact was a short QSO with IZ4DLR near Bologna Italy. Ivan was very complimentary of my 3 watt signal and a random wire antenna and made the remark that it was MORE than enough for a solid copy in his country. We also commented on the weather. He has heavy snow with 9C temps today.

That was it for the morning hours.  I'm VERY happy with these contacts. As usual, I'll be listening for the Caribbean stations again this evening. The weather is beautiful here today in West Virginia with temps in the mid 50's (f). I'll enjoy the mid day hours riding the bike around town.

It's been a productive radio day so far. I've not worked any new countries this morning; but this is my 46th Day of working at least one DX station, every day that I'm on the air. If not for taking a trip to a warm place last week (The Bahamas), they would be consecutive.

Since the beginning of this year, (Janurary 1, 2013) --  I've now worked 105 stations; of which 95%  have been in the DX Category. It's been much fun.....

Friday, February 22, 2013

Oman DX Station

I still have difficulty believing my 3 watt signal traveled 7,429 miles into the tip of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula  last night. It seemed too easy, and I shook my head when A45XR repeated back my call sign, along with the customary 559 signal report. I was truly hearing him about the same signal strength and he was "clear as a bell". He was working a few other stations in Puerto Rico (WP4JT) and Canada (VE2MF). The Puerto Rico station posted him as 599 into the Caribbean area and I believed it when I heard the signal.

Chris (A45XR) is my farthest contact yet and also a new DX entity. (#70) He was using a two element Delta cut for 30 meters and transmitting from the country of OMAN.

I'm not familiar with this antenna but can only imagine how it must improve the signal--- even with QRP power. Chris seems very proud of it and I must say, at 7,429 miles, the limitation of 200 watts on 30 meters, and his signal into North America, I'd be proud too; especially working a 3 watt QRP rig in West Virginia.

The 30 meter--2 element--Delta is the one in the front. There's a 3 element Delta in the rear for the other bands plus a vertical for 160 meters on the right side of the picture. Sounds like a winning combination to me and I can only hope for the space to put up one of these some day. This contact into OMAN exceeded my previous "best" contacts by at least 2,000 miles.

I was VERY happy to see my call sign in his online logbook!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Island of Sicily

I've worked Italy many times but this morning was my first contact with the Island of Sicily. Gene (IT9NJE) was sending CQ "out in the open" and was an easy catch.

I remember bits and pieces of this island from my days in the Navy. We damaged the propellers on our ship while attempting to moor to a buoy in the nearby harbor of Malta and we spent a month in dry dock at Naples trying to resolve the problem. Several times we tested the ships new propellers on a run between Naples and Sicily.

I vividly remember this scene of the volcano Mount Etna in Sicily as well as Mount Vesuvius. Volcanoes are very dangerous things. Mt Etna erupted as recently as last year and spewed ashes hundreds of miles. Depending on which way the wind, or the "jet stream" is moving, this debris can be carried all over the world.  Today is my 20th contact into Italy and my 44th daily DX contact with 3 watts of power and a random wire antenna.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Turk and Caicos Islands

It's nice to be back home again and on the radio once more. To make matters even better, I was finally able to work VP5/KOUU in the Turk and Caicos Islands. I had been hearing him before I left, on the trip to North Carolina, but as usual, there were too many stations trying to work him at the time. Fortunately, I caught him on the 30 meter band this evening.

This island is also another new DX entity for me. (#69)

A few years ago, a friend of mine who was into AM radio broadcasting and built himself a "loop" for nulling out adjacent stations on the same frequency, found "Caribbean Christian Radio" (AM 1020) hiding behind KDKA in Pennsylvania. In the early evenings, when conditions were right, I could hear them on my car radio and also on my GE Super Radio.

In addition to the large AM broadcaster in these islands; there's also an interesting connection to our Space program here.

John Glenn made the first US venture into space on February 20th, 1962 and landed in the waters near the Turk and Caicos Islands which was exactly 51 years ago today. That flight is interesting reading on Wikipedia and worth a few minutes of your time. There were quite a few problems on this first orbital flight, one of which were loose and defective bolts holding the entry latch on the capsule. Needless to say, duct tape is good for just about anything. I hope they removed it before blasting off. (see detail on picture)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Grand Bahama Island

Having just returned from the Bahamas Islands, I was happy to work another new DX station this evening on the 30 meter band. I was in the right place at the right time and quickly worked C6AKQ in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island.

The Grand Bahama Island is a major dry dock area for cruise ships; 

My 40th Daily DX Contact

In addition to working my 40th daily DX contact this morning, I also worked a new entity in the city of Athens, Greece. When I worked SV2CQB, he was also my 68th country in the log book.

I had another great QSO with AC8LJ on 40 meters last night using his new K1. Much of today will be spent getting ready for the drive to North Carolina tomorrow. I'm glad I worked this station quickly today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Italy and France Morning Contacts

Yesterday was a VERY busy day. My brother and I drove my father to the city of Clarksburg which is a 250 mile round trip which took up most day. I attended a public healthcare meeting afterwards and then watched the Presidential address. I finally sat down around 10:30 pm.

But before all that, in the early morning "window" before the long drive, I worked IK2SND in Italy. 

I've worked this station twice now and yesterday morning he had a good solid signal into Charleston. Italy is an interesting country with lots of history, fantastic architecture, and beautiful art works. 

This high arch dome in Florence is among the largest in the world. When I was in the Navy, I spent an entire month in Naples and traveled to Rome to view the Vatican and see the art works of Michael Angelo. 

In Charleston this morning, I had a nice breakfast with my friend Eric.(AC8LJ) who is an excellent QRP "CW" operator. I met him on the local repeater several months ago. Yesterday he worked my friend Larry (W2LJ), and a fellow blogger from New Jersey on the 40 meter band. Eric has just completed a K-1 kit and used it yesterday for the first contact.

Once a month, we hash around our "radio" accomplishments at a little cafe here in town.

After our breakfast meeting this morning I worked F8DGY in France who was my 39th daily DX contact. Tomorrow morning I'll be looking for my 40th morning contact. After that, I'll be off the air for a few days.  

Marilyn and I will be driving to North Carolina to share in her sisters 30th Wedding Anniversary. Marriage is a wonderful thing with the right person; but an absolutely horrible thing with the wrong person. Its taken me three times to find that special wonderful partner and soul mate; but its been worth all the pain and hardships to find her. I've never been happier in this lifetime.

Tomorrow is Valentines Day, and one of the things I've learned over the years is to make that special effort to say "I Love You" to your partner.  

A mistake here could land you in the "dog house". 

You don't want to go there....

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

I made my 9th contact with YN9SU this morning from Nicaragua. I'm beginning to wonder if he is the only station in that country? He had a great signal today (599) and we quickly shook hands and moved on as usual. He's changed "keys" with the resulting different "fist" being noticeable. My guess is a new "bug" instead of his normal iambic paddle.

Today is my 37th daily DX contact!

My contacts are no longer "consecutive" now; since my interruption while traveling to the Bahamas, and in a few more days, I will be driving to North Carolina and will be off the air for a few more days. However, I'm very satisfied with my ability to make a DX contact, every day I'm on the air from here at home.

Last summer I talked to an old friend here in the valley who asked me to participate in the Kanawha Valley Amateur Radio Club  "Hamfest" this year. I drove to the site yesterday with the hopes of finding a place to string an antenna and getting on the air during the activities on March 16th. I'll be taking the station I normally use when out in the field and operating from a picnic table. I'll have more to say about this later.

Yesterday evening I made an announcement about it on the local two meter net and it was well received.  I'm rather amazed that more folks don't take advantage of Morse Code operations with simple wire antennas. Very few people here in the valley operate with low power, and I think it will be an "eye opener" for them when they realize how easy it is to work DX with 3 watts.

I'll be taking my small laptop and using a memory stick to show my QSL collection, and also views of my logging program and the DX cluster I use here at home. I have a few hundred cards loaded on the memory stick and 300 or so on the E-QSL site. I hope they will make interesting conversation.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My Morning DX Contact

I worked two familiar stations on 17 meters this morning. My first was FG5FR in Guadeloupe and soon followed by EW8O in Belarus. Neither of these stations were spotted on the cluster at the time.

Belarus has a harsh history because of the German invasion during WW2. The above church is dedicated to the memory of those lost at that time. The economy is mostly industrial products sold in Russia and almost everything in this country is ran by the "state".

This tractor is produced in Belrus: 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again

Madeira Island is a unique place off the coast of Africa which I worked for only the second time this morning on 17 meters. I've seen these small "aqueducts" in South America, or what I should say, what's left of them, but didn't know they were still used on this small island. They're used to transport water, which is abundant on one side of the island, but almost non-existent on the other side. Those stone steps beside them are also great hiking trails of which Madeira has hundreds of miles.

This morning when I worked CT3FT, I thought not of canals, but wine made with a unique process developed on this island. Being a traveler, one quickly learns "not to drink the water" in most parts of the world, and besides, good Madeira Red Wine is a blessing in more ways than one. I love it!

Getting back on the air this morning felt good and I was able to work a total of six DX stations. I made my 30th contact in Germany with DL1DGS. The station in Nicaragua (YN9SU) was the loudest I've ever heard him and I worked him for the 8th time. Next came IK4VFD in Italy. He was my 18th contact in this country, and the 4th time I've worked him. Soon afterward, I worked OM3SEM in the Slovak Republic, for a total of 12 times. My last contact was HB9CVQ in Switzerland; of whom I worked just before leaving for warmer weather.

For those who missed my clue to C6 land, We ended up in the Bahamas Islands last week. We spent only a few days there but it was warm sunshine and cool breezes.

I prefer the simple life and had a great time using local transportation and viewing local sights:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Taking a Break

This morning my DX contact was F5CQ in France. 

The temperature was 13 degrees (f) this morning with a gusty wind. Tomorrow morning I will be headed for warmer weather, sunshine and sandy beaches. I'll be off the air for at least a week. 

Unfortunately my string of consecutive DX contacts will stop at 34 and I will continue when I return home.

This evening I was able to work two additional DX stations on 30 meters. I made my third "World Championship Ski Event" contact into Austria with OE2013A from St Mitchael, and also EA3NT in Tarragona Spain.

A little earlier before working these stations, I tuned into the 40 meter QRP frequency of 7.040 and talked for a long time with an old friend in Pennsylvania. Dave (WA3SCM) has just retired and spent many a year working QRP from motels all over the country. I've worked him from at least a half dozen of them.  I'm looking forward to regular QSO's with him now, and wish him and his wife the very best of happiness with his new occupation. -----RADIO-----

Congratulations on retirement Dave !!

This is last entry for at least a week.  I'm off to C6 land.