My Most Recent QSO's

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Radio Day at the Airstrip

I had a great time watching a "radio controlled" airplane demo yesterday and I also thought (correctly) that I might meet a few "hams". The Flying Hillbillies RC Club put on this "show" as a benefit for the "Wounded Warriors" which is a support group for injured and recovering military personnel in our nation. There are "thousands" of these brave people in America who struggle with injures that have changed their lives forever.

The first video is what I call the equivalent of a "burn out" which high powered "dragsters" use to heat up the tires and get a good "grip" on the asphalt racetrack. In this case with the airplane, the radio operator was using this maneuver to "get the feel of the controls". He also did some remarkable things in the air, which I wonder are possible with a real aircraft?

My hopes were twofold at this event; In addition to being around this kind of technology, I find it common to see "hams" at these kind of things. It took only moments to see the "tags" on a pick-up which displayed KE8V and after roaming around a bit, and looking at some of the aircraft like this 200 mph "jet", I also met WV8RC and W8BV. Rick (WV8RC) is a mover and shaker for the annual "Charleston Hamfest". I set up my QRP station there last year and worked stations in Denmark, Germany, and France.

I felt the outing was a real "success" when I noticed my old friend (and my mentor) Bill Walker (NK8Y) in the crowd. Bill was the motivating force for QRP radio when I first entered the hobby! I also made him aware of the "new" West Virginia Chapter of the North American QRP CW Club. I think I've got him hooked on the new club.

The NAQCC WV Chapter is in it's infancy. It's open to all West Virginia CW QRP operators, and those wanting to learn this valuable skill and work the world with only a few watts of power.

The helm is steered by "yours truly" (N8ZYA)

I'll have more to say about this group soon, but for now, I'll continue wandering around and recruiting members for the new chapter of the larger NAQCC Club. The airshow outing was an attempt to mingle with some local hams and spread the good news of the infant club. I had a great time doing so.....

Friday, September 27, 2013

A New French Station in the Log Book

I found F2DX on 30 meters; which has now become my favorite band.

I worked this new station in France on the 25th, and although this country is normally an easy catch for me, it’s always exciting to put a new contact into my West Virginia log book. I've now made 48 contacts into France. 

I hear some very strong stations in this country, but occasionally I find some who are using 5 watts or less of power. In that category; I've worked F6DCD F5UKI and K3Y/EU. (The SKCC Special Event Station was actually F6HKA). I worked Bert (F6HKA) with one half of a watt once when we were just playing around and experimenting with the signal. Bert F6HKA is always the perfect gentleman and willing to take the time to “play” for a minute or so, even when he is working a LOT of stations. He enjoys working QRP stations!

As always, the reason I normally hear these stations in France is their use of a good beam antenna. The antenna is always the “clincher” in the contact, but despite the advantage on their part, I find it amazing they can hear my three watt signal from an indoor random wire. 

This latest French station (F2DX) has quite an aluminum farm and space to spare. (yes, I'm envious)

My log book for French stations has contacts on the 30-17-12-10 and 20 meter bands.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My 12th Contact into Bulgaria

I've worked Lubo (LZ1NP) in Bulgaria before; but last night he was 599 into the valley. I've also worked eleven other stations in this country. There seems to be a "pipeline" from here to there. I've heard other QRP stations here on the east coast mention the same phenomenon. They've got great ears over there!

All these contacts are over 5,000 miles from here; some of them are very weak but they still hear my 3 watt signal from the valley floor. I congratulate them all....

I also found openings into the Netherlands (PA4VHF) and in the southerly direction, PV8ADI in Brazil.

The Brazil logbook comes in with fifteen contacts. The Netherlands comes in with seven contacts. Despite my success with some of these DX stations, I still feel an excitement every time I work a new one.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sweden SM5COP

I worked a new station in Sweden this morning on the 15 meter band. Rune (SM5COP) was my fourth contact into this country and doing a fine job into this valley; something not unexpected with this antenna array. I always enjoy a new contact and this one was in the mid-morning "sunlight" hours.

He's using a TenTec Orion for his station and we talked briefly about the weather. This was an actual QSO instead of the usual 559 exchange.

I'm still enjoying some "early morning" contacts also. By this I mean "after midnight". Recently I've worked EA6NB and EA7AJR in Spain and also DL4NAC in Germany.

I'm looking forward this the cool fall weather season. It makes me want to get out and do some outdoor operating. I plan to do so soon....

Friday, September 20, 2013

The 50th State!

I finally worked my 50th state (KL7J) early this morning in Soldotna Alaska!

I had all but given up on my WAS award because of the "odd" distance Alaska seems to be from me here in the valley of West Virginia. My nearest contact, for many years, was a brief encounter with KL8DX on twenty meters, but although I could hear him clearly, he could not hear me well enough to repeat my entire call correctly.

Phil (KL8DX) and I have exchanged several e-mails over the years, and always listened for each other, but conditions were never exactly right for the contact. Unfortunately he moved recently and I thought all hope was gone. 

On the West coast, I imagine Alaska and Hawaii are easy catches, but not so here in the East coast. 

In May of this year I was able to work my 49th state with a contact on twenty meters to KH6LC in Hawaii. That contact left me with the "lone" contact to Alaska. Although I've heard stations in Alaska several times this year, they were not strong enough to work with a QRP signal. 

I woke up last night with back pain (just enough to wake me for an hour or so) and wandered into the radio room and turned on the radio to scan around for an occasional DX station. I've done this many times this year because of problems with my back, and I've worked a lot of DX while doing so....

When I tuned up on 30 meters, I heard the distinct KL7 call and double checked the cluster to make sure he was in Alaska. To my astonishing surprise, he responded on my first attempt. Also to my surprise, there was a quietness on the band and he was working VERY few stations despite all his efforts. 

My first contact was at 04:44 Z and just for fun, I made a second contact at 04:51Z and added "QRP @ 3 watts. (would not have done this in a big pile up). He repeated it back to me with a QSL VRY GUD. 

I'll soon be putting my log book together for my Worked All States Award from my favorite QRP club. I'll have some other comments concerning the North American QRP CW Club shortly. 

I've had SO much enjoyment with this group, it's time to start giving back, and sharing with others this great low power radio mode. I've been a Ham now for nearly 25 years, always operated QRP, and always in the stealth mode. 

Persistence pays off and the joy of portable operations is something which should not be missed because of antenna restrictions. There's tons of fun to be had with 5 watts of power and a simple wire antenna. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

R0FA Sakhalin Island QSL Card

Got my verification QSL card from (R0FA) Sakhalin Island today! Should you take the time to read a few entries back; this island is shared by both Japan and Russia. I was able to work him with 3 watts and an indoor random wire antenna. This station was just above the mainland of Japan and a little East of China. When I spotted him on the cluster, he realized that I was "QRP" and stopped the "pile up" to say a special "hello".  You won't find many willing to do reward for a great contact!

Nice Card: 

I've been out of town for a few days and turned the radio on immediately to see if anything was on the air. I worked OK1PL for the third time on 30 meters.