My Most Recent QSO's

Friday, May 31, 2013

First Class Operator Club

I worked a station last night which was especially rewarding to me. Everyone on the bands this month is aware of the FOC - 75th Anniversary . I have eleven of them in my log book now. I've causally worked them "just because they're on the air" and I love working "Special Event Stations". Last night (the end of the GMT month) there were so many FOC stations on the air, they were impossible to ignore.

This month, not including the US stations, I've worked FOC stations in England, Bermuda, and France; and unexpectedly, I heard this Russian station (R75FOC) in the midst of a big pile up. This particular station was just above the Black Sea of the opposite side of Turkey. I've previously worked stations in this area, but never a "Special Event Station" at 5,573 miles.

In a swarm of bees, it's not  an easy task.

Needless to say, I especially enjoyed "spotting" this station and adding my QRP-3W designation. Personally, I like reading the "remarks" on DX clusters. I know they're not necessary, but in my case, I just can't waste the opportunity to let the world know that "QRP" is a viable option for  DX work.

My DX contact into Russia last night, marks my 103rd for the single month of MAY.

I didn't make a blog entry for yesterday but I worked several stations; 

I've worked the Cuban station (CO8LY) so many times, I actually dropped my power down to one watt. The last few days, I've been listening to the 20 meter QRP frequency around "lunch time" and have been working stations regularly.

The contact with Ecuador was a nice one. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Some Changes at the Home Station

My small laptop "went south", so to speak, and finally gave up the ghost; so I've decided to replace it with my Samsung Tablet which I bought several months ago. I've yet to find anything that I can't do with the tablet, that I could do on my desktop, or the laptop. It sure takes up a lot less space, and it loads much quicker. I purchased an extra "keyboard" but I've found that I could do without it very easily.  I take the tablet with me just about everywhere I go. It fits into my "portable" philosophy very nicely.

When I can't sleep, I use the battery powered "Coleman Lantern" for my nightly excursions into the radio room. Last night I worked 5N7M in Nigeria. Being a musician myself; I love the rhythm and sounds of percussion instruments in Africa.

I've worked him (5N7M) on two different bands now. (17 and 30 meters)

I caught a QRP friend on the 20 meter band this afternoon who was eating his lunch at a picnic table in Panama City Florida. I've been keeping track of Greg (N4KGL) from a radio group on "Google Plus".

I also worked another QRP station in Brooklyn New York. (KC2ICA)

Later this afternoon I worked F5NBX in France. We've worked several times before.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Corsica DX # 84 TK4LS

I worked my 84th DX Country this evening with TK4LS in Corsica. Napoleon Bonaparte was born on this island. It's always nice to work another new DX Country.

Although I didn't make a blog entry for the 26th and 27th I worked several different stations. 

Today also marks my 127th day of DX this year. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Being a Veteran myself, today takes on a special meaning for me. On Memorial Day, I think of all those who paid the  "ultimate price" for our freedom, and also those who are maimed for life with physical and emotional injuries. Every time I visit the Veterans Hospital I see the enormous cost of war.

After 45 years, since serving in the Vietnam Conflict, there are still days when a sound, a smell, a sensation, or a visual image brings back memories, depression, and anger within me. I've learned to live with those feelings but I will never forget them.

On Memorial Day, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of our "military personnel" with the dream that, all the people in the world, someday, will live in peace, harmony and prosperity.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

New DX Country # 83 Hawaii KH6LC

I pushed myself a little too much yesterday, and the resulting back pain caused me to loose some sleep last night. As usual under these circumstances, I limped into the radio room with the hopes of hearing a new station; as it usually takes me an hour or so to get back to sleep. 

When I turned on the radio, the 20 meter band was surprisingly active, and I soon heard a strong KH6LC station in Hawaii. He was working a lot of stations but I was not hearing many of them. After a few minutes, I took my "best guess" as to where he was listening. I was able to easily work him on the third attempt. 

The longer I'm in this hobby, the more I'm surprised by propagation forecasts. The predictions were "very poor"  last night. This morning the prediction is still "poor" with the A index at "20". Hawaii is 4,504 miles from me in a straight line. 

I need only Alaska for my "worked all states" award now; with the elusive state of Hawaii in the log book.

For those not familiar with the antenna that I use for the 20 meter band; it's the one on the "lower right" side. The picture below is my Isotron 40-80-20 combination. It's fed with a single piece of 10 ft coax cable. 

The 20 meter antenna is only around 18" long and it's about the length of a roll of paper towels. It's mounted horizontally and there's a "hat" on the end of the rod. The smaller "rod" below it is the counterpoise. Despite it's small size, and being mounted indoors on a "painters pole", I've worked a lot of DX with this antenna. To be as small as it is, it's done a good job for me. It's still my "main antenna" for the 20 meter DX band. 

I got a bad report from my last MRI scan a few days ago. The disc which is pressing the "sciatic nerve" is actually protruding into the "neural" passageway. I need another test to determine whether the nerve has actually been damaged. 

Sometimes life can deal a person a bad hand of cards. I'm beginning to think this is one of those moments. It will be another three weeks before the next test.

But on the positive side, I'm making some nice contacts in those early morning hours. I'm looking for that last state of Alaska for my "worked all states" award.

I'll be putting those sleepless nights to good use. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Can You Work QRP DX Every Day?

I got a nice response from John Shannon K3WWP yesterday. He writes about his contacts, and happenings in life, on his website every day. I enjoy reading it and find his website to be one of the most inspirational on the web. John is co-founder of the NAQCC Club. I've been a member of this club for several years, and of all those I belong to, like it the best of all. (hint)

I had written to him about my luck with working DX QRP, with a minimum QRP radio, and my minimum "random wire antenna. We both agree, that given the time, QRP DX is possible almost every single day.

In the year 2000, John worked 301 days of DX with 2,269 DX QSO's with 149 different countries.

I've also been receiving nice complements from several other bloggers. The QRP CW community is a congenial group of Morse Code communicators from many different  parts of the world. I appreciate all of their encouragement, advice, and motivation.

Last night I worked two DX stations for the continuation of my DX streak. One of them was a busy contact in Bermuda. I was able to work VP9FOC , despite many other stations in the hive. Soon afterwards I worked OM3SX in Slovakia.

I was using the QRZCQ Cluster. I particularly like being able to "spot" my contacts here and adding the additional QRP-3W in the remarks section.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Moving Slowly Along

Not much to report today except two contacts with stations I've worked previously in Panama and Cuba. I worked HP1/IQ6CC and CO8LY .

We've been getting heavy rains here in the evening and early morning hours. The weather seems to be going absolutely "nuts". The tornado in Oklahoma has caused an estimated $2 billion of damage.  I fear we've become the slow cooking frog in a pot of boiling water.

I'm waiting for the test result from the VA Hospital. I hope to hear something today. This weekend will be a busy time.  There's a big music festival in Charleston and we have relatives coming to visit. Several of them are musicians.

The  Vandalia Gathering  is always a lot of fun but it would be much too difficult to wander around the grounds due to my limited walking ability. I'll stay at home and chat with the relatives.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Really Bad Band Conditions

DX is getting really tough now for some reason. I wonder if it has anything to do with the horrible weather here in the US? I was barely able to work KP4SJ in Puerto Rico last night on 20 meters and today the bands are practically "dead". It's going to be a real challenge to pull another long distance station out of the ionosphere this evening.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Four Months of DX - 120 Days!

I reached another milestone last night when I made a contact with HP1/ IQ6CC. He marks another highlight in my quest to work a DX station every day. Sergio was in Panama and although not a strong signal at the time, was easily workable as the band became more stable, and easier to work just past the "midnight hour". The only other station I've worked in Panama (HP1/ IZ6BRN) was an Italian engineer working on the expansion of the current "Panama Canal". This country in Central America is a rare contact!

This is an interesting "Special Event Station" highlighting the "Italian Carabinieri". The police force in Italy is much more than just "traffic cops". They're composed of a large group of specialists that include a variety of different law enforcement personnel. They include the military police and even peace keeping forces.

The Special Event Station that I worked were highlighting the loss of life in an unfortunate tragedy in Iraq a few years ago. On November 12, 2003 a tanker truck rigged with explosives killed 28 people and injured 100 in the city of Nasiriyah which is just south of Baghdad.

My heart goes out to the 13 Italian Carabinieri who were killed in this incident! 

I've found it rather amazing that the 30 meter band is so generous to me. I've been able to work a station towards South America, the Caribbean, and the Leeward Islands practically every evening!

I have no idea how long this DX streak will last but with the summer months approaching, I think the chances are good for continued success.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Difficult Contacts at 5,000 Miles

The propagation forecast for yesterday was "very poor". The solar flux was 135, the A index was 12 and rising, and the K index was 4 and rising. Sunspots were 146. But despite the dismal expectations, I worked a station at better than 5,000 miles. I can't logically explain it but I easily worked YO3JW in Romania for the second time in a few weeks. Later, I was up again with back pain; and worked TM75FOC for the second time in France.

Romania has the largest population of Brown Bears in Europe. This one is really a beauty!

France is known for good wine. Benjamin Franklin once said: "Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance."  Yes....and I like the taste of it too.

Marilyn and I played Bridge again this morning with a local group. My partner and I were forced into bidding "six". We made a "slam" and it put me in first place. I won four bucks!

Tomorrow my brother and I will drive to the Veterans Hospital for another MRI scan. This time they will inject dye into me to see the disc and nerve more clearly.

It's been six weeks now since I started having back problems, and fortunately, I'm feeling a little better. I'm able to walk short distances now without using the wheelchair. I'm still in pain but it's now more manageable. I should know the results in a few days.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Special Event Station in Germany DR20CFT

We attended the monthly meeting of The Grandparents Bridge Club last night, so I was not on the air. Our group meets at the University of Charleston. We're an older crowd, and as a matter of fact, and as the title suggests, membership requires that you be a "Grandparent". I was President of the group two years ago. Bridge can be a challenging game. We play "social bridge" which, as the title suggests, is as much "social" as it is serious. Dinner is served beforehand, and we had around 50 members playing last night.

Despite poor conditions I worked two DX stations today The first was in Germany (DR20CFT) and the second on the Island of Sardinia.

We've worked before (IS0GQX) but it's always nice to put another Island in the log book. Sardinia is off the coast of Italy. Both Italy and Germany are familiar places in my log book. I've now worked Italy 33 times and Germany 35 times. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

WOW--What an Unusual Antenna

I remembered this call sign the instant I worked him and a quick search of the log book confirmed the contact back on August 7th, 2008. I remembered it clearly because, at that time, I was still using "paper cards" and I was the proud owner of a new Icom 703. I was also rejoicing because I was able to work DX with my "limited space" Isotron antenna. Bob and exchanged cards and I also got a nice e-mail from him:

Hi John,
Thanks for the QSO (in the log OK) and thanks for your email. You're right - I have worked guys with indoor dipoles, indoor yagis, flagpoles, etc but never an 18inch indoor antenna! Yet your signal was perfectly copiable and heard through the pileup, so well done! Believe it or not, I drove through Charleston, WV many years ago, but my memory of it has faded (that happens nowadays!).

73 Bob MD0CCE
As I've noted several times before,  I've always lived in places with demanding "antenna restrictions". My entire "ham radio life" has been limited to using Stealth antennas and despite those hindrances, I've always enjoyed this hobby immensely and find operating this mode to be very satisfying. 

Bob had no idea I was using 3 watts of power yesterday and that I was using an indoor random wire for an antenna. I was only one of many stations in the bee hive. 
I'll e-mail Bob today with the good news. 
I was surprised at working three DX stations yesterday because the "solar propagation" is just terrible today: The solar flux is only 136, the A index is 9 but steady, the K index is 5 and rising, and the sunspot numbers are 102. Propagation for the 30 meter band is "very poor". 

Rather amusingly, I've also been able to work two other stations. Of course, FG5FR is always there in Guadeloupe and I also worked EA6NB in the Baleric Islands of Spain

This afternoon I've worked two more "First Class Operators Club" stations. TM75FOC was in France, and M0RSE was in England. In a stroke of luck, I also worked OT4A in Austria

Friday, May 17, 2013

Special Event Station in France TM35KOP

This daily DX catch marks my 116th for the year.

This French Special Events Station (TM35KOP) was an "easy" catch just after 0000 hours GMT. 

They're celebrating 35 years of activity! 

I've thought several times, since the beginning of the year, that I would "give up" my string of DX contacts and return to the air "only when I felt like it"; but I just can't ignore the temptation to add "just one more day" to my list of daily long distance radio contacts.

There's been a few "gaps" in this string. Once when I traveled to New York, and another when I traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina; but every day I've been at home, since the beginning of the year, I've been able to work at least one DX station. There have been days when I worked a variety of stations; and it's been much easier than I would have ever thought imaginable.

Yesterday I worked 9 different stations:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Special Event Station in Nicaragua H70ORO

I worked several stations this evening but my highlight was a Special Event Station (H70ORO) in Managua Nicaragua. They're celebrating the 100th  Anniversary of writer, poet, and novelist Ruben Darios. This afternoon was my 14th contact into Nicaragua ; but this station,  is one of only three different stations I've ever worked here.

Sometimes I think I'm developing a "sixth sense" when it comes to operators, transmitters, and keys. Although this was a totally new call sign to me, it seemed uncannily familiar in some strange way. Here's my explanation:

The last dozen contacts I've made with Nicaragua have been with YN9SU. He's saved my hide several times when the bands have been terrible and I've tried to work a DX station. The rhythm, speed, the chirp of the transmitter, and the buttery smooth sound of the key leads me to believe only one thing.

It appears to me that H70ORO and YN9SU are the same operator! The design of both web pages are very similar also. To me, they both seem to have the same fingerprints on them.

Make sure to click on the links and see if you come to the same conclusion.

BTW/ Make sure to look at the H70ORO site carefully. At the very bottom of the page, I found a very amusing little dog that loves to play "chase" with a little red ball. You can reward him with a treat when he fetches the ball back to you.

Special Event Station in Spain

Last night was another one of those sleepless nights due to back pain. I was up several times trying to get comfortable, so moved into the radio room to get my mind focused on a different path. As I've mentioned several times earlier, one of the great things about using the CW mode, is that you don't disturb anyone in the house when you put on the headphones. You can DX your heart out and still maintain quietness in the house. My wife, the dog, and two cats all appreciate this aspect of the hobby very much!

I worked two different stations in Spain (EA7AIN and EG3FTV) in hours between 1 am and 3 am this morning. The "EG" station had a different "prefix" from those I've usually worked in Spain. The city of Tarragona was a large and significant one during the heights of the Roman empire.

Speaking of Spain, I find this Mountain Bike, "downhill obstacle sprint" just spectacular.There's a large "antenna farm" at the beginning of this video too. I hope you like it.

I also heard two "really nice" stations but unfortunately couldn't work them. I've been trying to work Hawaii for years and heard a very strong KH6AT. I also heard, but couldn't work 5W1SA in Samoa, in the seas near New Zealand.

I caught a few hours sleep afterwards but woke up again around sunrise. I was able to work HK1MW in Columbia, South America and also XE3ARV in Mexico near Belize. I've worked both of them previously.

All things considered, my back is actually improving a bit and I'm able to walk around for a very short distance of a  few yards. Unfortunately, the pain returns slowly, and lingers around afterwards for hours. I deliberately push myself. I think I pushed myself too hard yesterday; and paid the consequences for doing so  last night.

I'll have a second MRI procedure done around the middle of next week. This time, to take a better look at the Sciatic nerve in my right leg. On this MRI scan, a dye will be added which will make the nerve and it's passage around a protruding disc, much more visible. I should know my "options" after this test, and make a decision on surgery.

I had another great QSO with my breakfast friend (AC8LJ) yesterday evening. I really enjoy those long QSO's. I also worked a station in New York City but it was a very brief contact because the band was in terrible shape at the time. I've worked K2GTC several times in the past, and always "chuckle" when I talk to him. He lives in an apartment building near the Hudson River and the Lincoln Arts Center. His antenna is a "long wire" hung down the side of the building from his 6th floor apartment window.

I'm always impressed by those who work around "poor operating locations". I know all about those challenges and get great satisfaction when I see it in others.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Radio Society of Great Britain

My first contact this evening was Special Event Station G100RSGB, who by the way, had a great signal into West Virginia. I was surprised when I worked him, because there was quite a "pile up" and it required a wide "split" of a little more than the standard "one up". I've learned over the years, that under these conditions, I need to be on the "very far side " of the group. I was able to work him on my 5th attempt.

The Great Britain Radio Club is celebrating 100 years of operation now. While looking at their web site, I found an interesting and very functional memorabilia item. I can never remember seeing anything like this in the past.

It's made in good old USA by the Vibroplex Company. I use this model myself, and I credit it with my recent increased speed on the HF bands. Vibroplex is producing only 250 of them, and of course, they're individually numbered. The "special keys" have the "Radio Society of Great Britain" logo attached to the upper part of the base. I like the gold base and the blue paddles with the logo.

Before shutting down for the evening I also worked OM3SX in the Slovak Republic. We've worked several times this year.

This evening was my 17th contact into the English area. I've also worked stations in the Slovak Republic 23 times now.

Another Quick QSO

It was smooth sailing again for the DX stations this evening. The picture above should look familiar since I've worked this same station (LY5O) in Lithuania for the fourth time in the last few weeks. We even recognize each others call signs and names now. Previously I've worked this station on the 30 meter band; but this evening I heard him calling on the 17 meter band.  He answered on my first attempt.

I myself am somewhat of a "nighthawk" who usually turns in around midnight on most nights, but this evening I worked this Lithuanian station just a few minutes past the start of the new International GMT Day. Out of curiosity, I looked at the time in Lithuania and over there, it's 3 am in the morning.

I worked another "good" CW operator yesterday on the 40 meter band. I heard KK4BMB/8 calling around the QRP watering hole. Ed was transmitting from his vacation home in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. He lives near the Washington DC metro area and comes here to West Virginia enjoy the solitude and peace. We had a very long QSO which I enjoyed very much.

Berkeley Springs has an interesting history due to "mineral springs" in the area. George Washington came here at times to enjoy the "baths". Berkeley Springs was originally named "Bath" after the town in England of the same name. 

Berkeley Springs is a noted arts community with working artists accounting for approximately 1% of the county population of 16,000. Since 1994, the town has been listed in all four editions of John Villani's "100 Best Art Towns in America," one of only 11 towns so rated.

Bike Ride in Austria

Here's one for my friend Mike, (W8MDE) who is also known as "The Recumbent Conspiracy Theorists". I've worked Austria many times (11 now and 7 of them have been this year)  in the last few years; but my contacts have usually revolved around "skiing". Mike is a bicycle enthusiast and until my recent back problems, me too. Mike inspired me to purchase my Vibroplex Standard Iambic key which has greatly enabled me to work those 30 and 17 meter DX stations.

I'm too old to be doing this kind of riding now; but: honestly, I wouldn't have the "guts" to try this treacherous downhill trek. Mike, (W8MDE) on the other hand, is a very good rider, and I could see an example of him, and his adventurous spirit,  clearly in this video.

This one's for you Mike!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The DX Continues

My string of DX continues (110 plus now) despite times when the solar forecast is poor, or very poor, or even "radio blackouts expected". The 30 meter forecast for today is "poor" and "radio blackouts expected"; but early this morning, I easily worked a new station  (HA0HW) in Hungary. This new contact into Hungary marks my 16th contact into their country.

I've learned a few things since the beginning of the year. The biggest is that it's quite "easy" to jump across the pond when using 3 watts of power and a very modest "indoor random wire" and also; the "magic ingredient" in this delicious recipe is the fine tasting morsel called "Morse Code".

Morse Code, by the way, was NOT invented by Samuel Morse, it was invented by Alfred Vail : and after all these years, it's still the  most simple and effective mode of communication decipherable with only the human ear.

There's questionable business dealings between Samuel Morse and Alfred Lewis Vail. They parted on less than good terms.
Vail left the telegraph industry in 1848 because he believed that the managers of Morse's lines did not fully value his contributions. His last assignment, superintendent of the Washington and New Orleans Telegraph Company, paid him only $900 a year, leading Vail to write to Morse, "I have made up my mind to leave the Telegraph to take care of itself, since it cannot take care of me. I shall, in a few months, leave Washington for New Jersey, ... and bid adieu to the subject of the Telegraph for some more profitable business."[2]

I've now worked a total of 520 DX stations and I think this statistic lays to rest the illusion that "life is too short for QRP". Even after 20 plus years of operating, I'm still amazed at that attitude.

DX does have it's shortcomings. The biggest is that the vast majority of contacts are no more than 599 TU and they're over in a "few brief seconds". But, on the good side, I find the concentration that's required to copy a call sign correctly, at much higher speeds than normal, has improved my daily QSO experience.

I've worked several operators recently that send comfortably at 20 wpm and have been able to copy and communicate with them. I would never have been able to do that; without challenging myself with those high speed DX calls.

Believe it or not, they're many operators on the airwaves capable of the 25-30 wpm conversations. I worked a guy recently in Chicago, that is capable of such speeds. We chatted at a slow 17 wpm and we talked for a long time about our youthful days in the Navy. Conversations like this reinforce my belief that a good CW conversation is much enjoyable more that a DX contact.

I was feeling really good and thought I had reached a nice "high" when I heard something I've never heard in my 20 years on the air;

It goes like this:

Bill (W9ZN) uses an old "commercial" CW operators "warm up exercise" called "Ben's Best Bent Wire". It took a little research, to run it down, but I found it incredibly amusing. Just when I think I've "heard it all"--- there's something new that surprises me.

Bill sent high speed CW communications to the Atlantic Fleet in his younger days. I enjoyed this conversation more than working a dozen of those quick "599" DX Stations but I can see the value of always pushing yourself to increase your CW speed. Soon after working Bill (W9ZN), and hearing the "drill" he jumped to "light speed". I was able to follow the QSO with another ham but would never been able to carry on a conversation at 30 wpm.

But there's hope.....and DX is a valuable tool in working towards that 30 wpm goal.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Nightmare Call Sign at 30 WPM

I must have listened to this call for 10 minutes before I sent mine. He wasn't spotted on a cluster and honestly, I can understand why. Sent at around 30 wpm, it was a very difficult to copy. This Bulgarian Radio Club was sending LZ1876SMB

I continue to work a DX station a day, and if my math is correct, today marks my 110th day. I didn't make a blog entry on the 11th but worked at least three stations.

My most recent log book entries are here:

The UA3KW contact is NOT a typo. I worked him both early in the day and late in the same day.

I have another appointment with the VA Hospital on the 21st to have another MRI scan. All things considered, I think the back is improving slightly. The morning hours are still terrible but the pain eases up in the afternoon. Sad to say; it's probably more to do with my morning cocktail of medicine than any other thing.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

# 83 YO3JW Romania

This station in Romania marks # 83 for me ! 

I was fortunate to hear this station on the 30 meter band and consider myself fortunate to finally catch YO3JW in Bucharest Romania. It was a difficult contact, which took several attempts; but it's always worth the effort to put another new station in the DXCC log book.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Few Local QSO's

I still continue to make my daily DX contacts but yesterday I enjoyed some "good" short range contacts on both 40 and 30 meters. It's a small world with the local QSO's and when I worked K8EHE in Dublin Ohio, it soon became obvious that he not only knew Charleston well; but had talked to a good friend of mine earlier in the day. On my second contact on the 40 meter "fists" frequency, I talked to a QRP station in Norfolk, Virginia. I was stationed in Norfolk when I was in the Navy. Alan WB6THE was running only 5 watts and above all else, QRP stations are my favorite contacts. Before the evening was over, I caught Larry (W2LJ) on 30 meters.

I thought the prospects for DX were about nil yesterday as Larry (W2LJ) and I talked because the 30 meter band quickly shifted from "into the noise" to "just above the noise". I was surprised this morning when I saw Larry's new "posting" on his blog. He worked another new DX country yesterday which was in the United Arab Emirates; and he did it the "old fashioned way"---he earned it!!

W2LJ's Blog - QRP - Do More With Less.

Larry correctly used the term "pandemonium" to describe working this station because the originator was sending "simplex". For those who may not understand the ramifications; it's like a thousand people trying to stick their finger, in the same hole, at the same time, in a leaky dam.

But all was not lost yesterday for me, concerning DX. Before turning in for the night, I again scanned the 30 meters band and easily worked LY5O in Lithuania, OM3PA in the Slovak Republic, and ES3AX in Estonia and this morning I worked a familiar FG8NY in Guatemala. I've always said radio is a lot like fishing since you never know what you're going to catch until you throw your line in the water. The surprise is what makes the sport so much fun. 

I enjoyed the "rag-chews" yesterday and plan to do more of the same, more often now. Today marks my 107th daily DX contact.

Here's a card I received in less than an hour from the folks at E-QSL
Postage Free !! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

More MRI and More Tests

The bad news is that I talked with my doctor this morning, and according to the hospital, I need another MRI scan. Not surprisingly, it appears there is a bulging disc pressing the sciatic nerve. In the next scan, they will inject a dye into the area to highlight the exact spot, and do another test to determine if there has been damage to the nerve. Although I've not previously had dye injected with a MRI, I've been through the nerve test before, when I had the problem with my left leg several years ago.

The good news is that the last several days, my back pain has eased up a bit. My guess is that the inflammation medicine and the muscle relaxants are taking effect, (it's been about a month)  but there is still enough of the disc protruding on the sciatic nerve to keep me from getting a good nights sleep, and keeps me from walking more than a few yards without painful consequences.

I have to wait for the hospital to make arrangements for these new tests.

On the radio I worked LZ1NP near Sofia Bulgaria last night. This morning I worked CO2WF in Cuba. I may have worked a VERY much need station in Hawaii but the signal was so weak that I'm not sure he got my call sign correct. I've send an e-mail for confirmation with the hope that gets back with me soon. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Second Contact with Oman

For those who read my blog regularly, this picture of Chris (A45XR) should be recognizable. Yesterday afternoon, I heard this station from Oman on the 17 meter band and I was able to work him, for the second time, in a short few months. He pumps a fantastic signal into West Virginia.

My first contact with him was in February and on the 30 meter band. At that time, he was NOT spotted on a cluster. This time I wasn't so lucky and there was quite a pile up. He was working a LOT of stations and it took a little time for me to find his listening frequency.

I didn't think I had a frogs chance of working him under theses conditions, but I couldn't resist the temptation to throw out my call. After about a dozen times, I was about to give up when I decided to "match" his sending speed of around 25 wpm. which, under most conditions, is a bit too quick for me.

Bingo...I heard him respond with N8 ? and again, N8 only, and again. I have no idea if he remembered my call from before (I sincerely doubt it); but he was persistent in getting it correctly, especially more so, when I couldn't resist throwing in the / QRP 3W.

The entire band got "quite" then and he made sure he had me. He was very persistent in sending Congrats N8ZYA QRP at 3W. 559 John.

I was much too tired to make this entry yesterday after a bad nights sleep but I was ecstatic about this second contact. Oman is 7,428 miles from me in a straight line. He's on the southern tip of Saudi Arabia, beside the United Arab Emirates, and on the opposite side of sea across from Iran. A good catch indeed !!

I should know something from the VA in a few days as it takes that long for someone to read the MRI test results.  It was a long drive, down and back, in the rain, but certainty worth the effort. I hope to know something soon.