July 6th, 2014 by K2DSL

Field Day has been over for a week and I’m just getting around to posting about it. After missing 2 Field Day’s in a row due to my daughters having back to back years of high school graduations that landed on FD weekend, it was nice to be back. BARA, our active local radio club, now operates Field Day on a large field in a town in our county that provides plenty of area to work with and huge lights for the field we can string up antennas between.  There’s also a covered pavilion and bathroom facilities next to the field.

One group met where we store our equipment and loaded up a few cars and trailers with tables, chairs, coax, tents, etc. The other team was at the field shooting rope up for the antennas. This is the first FD I’ve had with the club where we didn’t try and setup a tower or two and it sure made setup much easier. When we arrived at the field all the lines were ready for us to start stringing antennas and setting up the stations. We had 3 stations that would get tents and the other 2 stations would operate under the pavilion. One one of the field we had the 40m station that strung wire antennas across the field and parallel to the field. We had the 80m station at the opposite end with OCF wire antenna. We had the 20m station on the opposite side of the field with a double extended zep. We had as 10m station/ 160m station and that used a wire antenna for 10m and a vertical for 160m. The 15m station had a wire antenna that wasn’t working well and we switched to a G5RV we had hung up between poles.

Instead of running up to the last minute in getting everything setup, we were done with 2 hours to spare before the contest (or event if you don’t want to call it a contest) started. All stations had notebooks with WiFI that communicated with each other via a router and wifi antenna that was centrally located. It worked well and I didn’t hear of a single issue with the computers. Most but not all computers were hooked up to the notebooks so they were synced for band, freq and mode. All stations ran off a total of 4 Honda generators that used very little gas over the course of the event.

We started out with all stations ready to go and the 80m station focused on 40m phone while the 40m station worked CW. I walked around and made sure things were working well everywhere and hopped on the 15m station. Conditions for us weren’t very good on 10m and 15m so it was slow going on both those stations. 40m was good the entire time and 20m was good well into the evening.  In the evening we switched the 10m station to 160m and a couple works ended up working a good number of stations using the vertical that had a boatload of radials. Once it got later the 40m SSB station switched to 80m SSB and started calling CQ to some mini pileups.

We made some solar contacts as well as some satellite contacts on 2 different passes. I really enjoy watching the satellite guys work. There were some ISS passes on Saturday and they were heard, but not worked.

We had lunch and dinner served by one of the club members who did a great job with burgers/dogs for lunch and pasta/pork chops for dinner. No one was hungry and there was always coffee available. I decided to head home for a quick nap around 1am ET (0500z) and have a shower in the morning before heading back to the site.

I got back on Sunday morning around 7:30am ET (1130z) and all stations except 10m & 15m were making contacts. 10m and 15m picked up a little on Sunday but still nothing exciting. Folks worked all the stations, sometimes teamed up in pairs with one on the radio and the other logging. I prefer doing both but some rather pair up. We worked all stations right until the end before we shut them down and started to tear down.

Here are the totals for our weekend:
FD_Score

There were 21 Qs on 160m, 450 on 80m, 1098 on 40m (ignore the USB as they were LSB), 552 on 20m, and just 71 on 15m and 7 on 10m.

I’m glad I was able to participate in FD again after a 2 year absence as I certainly had a lot of fun!

73,
K2DSL

May 27th, 2014 by K2DSL

I haven’t been on the air much lately as evidenced by my lack of posts here. A lot of family obligations and work has curtailed my on air activities. This weekend, after flying in from Arizona after a week long business trip, we had a club hamfest Saturday which got me up very early. Weather wasn’t great but the turnout was and it was good to see folks I haven’t seen in a while.

Sunday after doing some errands I corrected the hex beam and powered everything up for a little CW contesting. I started on 10m but it was pretty quiet with only a few contacts. In many cases I needed to resend my serial number, likely because it was so low as I was just starting out, and the other ops wanted to confirm they got the complete exchange. I switched to 15m which was much more active and was able to tune up the band and work many stations. Once I got above 10 Qs the requests for resending my serial number stopped. I was many working EU stations though a US or South America station would get in the log from time to time.

I spent a short time on 20m before switching back to 15m and pointing the NA4RR hexbeam westward. Though I have a few Qs with China, it is still exciting to get them in the log, so I was glad to work BY5CD. I finished up not shortly after that contact with China.

I ended up with 135 calls logged, most on 15m add you can see below in the summary from N1MM:

  Band QSOs WPX
    14   31  19
    21   97  92
    28    6   6
 Total  134 117

Score : 43,524

Here is a map of contacts produced with ADIF2MAP (click to enlarge):

K2DSL_2014_CQ_WPX_CW_Map

I was glad to see all my equipment was working fine after an extended period of inactivity. We have the VHF contest and Field Day weekends with the club coming up in June so, weather permitting, I should be active with the club those weekends. I have more travel for work coming up the next couple weeks so I don’t expect to get on the air much before the VHF contest.

73!!
K2DSL

January 19th, 2014 by K2DSL

Yesterday (Saturday) was a short phone contest with the goal to work as many North America stations as possible. It started early afternoon and runs until after midnight but you can just work a total of 10 hours. Each state/province is a multiplier on each band. The exchange remains consistent throughout the contest – Name and State. What a persistent exchange means is once you work a station, they already know your exchange if they grab your call on another band. Not having to negotiate an exchange on the noisier bands normally moves things along quicker on subsequent contacts with the same station.

Got started right at the beginning of the contest pointed west on 10m and worked some stations but there wasn’t a huge amount of activity on 10m. I switched to 15m and then 20m back and forth throughout the afternoon checking 10m for anything new that popped up. After dark, 40m was very active and stations were coming in strong. With operating many RTTY and CW contests, you don’t get to speak with the operator at the other end so it’s nice to actually hear the voice of someone you might work in 10+ contests over the course of a year. Everyone is pleasant and takes a moment out for a more personal touch vs the non-phone contests. I really enjoy hearing “hey buddy”, “nice to hear you”, “there’s a familiar call”, etc.

Around 7:30pm ET (0030 GMT) I needed to stop as friends were coming over for the evening. I might have logged 1 or 2 stations on 80m before shutting things down. After they left about 4 hours later I got back on and worked some stations on 80m before calling it a night. I imported the contacts from N1MM into DXLabs and then uploaded them to LoTW, eQSL and sent into the ARRL. Looks like I missed logging  6 states (SD, RI, HI, AK, ID, WY) & 7 Canadian sections.

Checking out some of the posted scores for the contest, folks were logging QSOs like gangbusters!

Here’s my score summary from N1MM:

 Band    QSOs   Sec  Mt2
  3.5      35    22    1
    7      50    23    1
   14      87    31    3
   21      45    18    3
   28      23    10    3
Total     240   104   11

Score : 27,600

73,
K2DSL

January 10th, 2014 by K2DSL

I’m about 1 week late in posting this, but it’s a been a busy week at work and I have time now to get a quick update online.

The RTTY RoundUp is a great start to the year in an anyone-can-work-anyone RTTY contest. I got started just a little late after picking up one of my daughters from NYC. Conditions were ok but not a huge amount of DX so I turned the antenna back across the US and worked a lot of NA stations. I started out on 10m and worked my way down to 15m and 20m. 15m was very good working US stations as well as DX stations without having to point to EU.  After dark I moved to 40m and it was very active being able to work much of the US without issue and even some easy DX. Later I went to 80m and there was a also lot of activity. Working 80m gave me a much of state multipliers in the surrounding states I hadn’t yet worked.  I called it a night with 400 Qs in the log .

After waking up Sunday morning, I got back on and worked a good number of new NA stations on 40m before hitting the higher bands. Conditions seemed good on Sunday morning and I was pointing at Europe working stations on 10, 15 & 20m with ease.  By the end of the morning I needed to call it quits. I had 100 Qs on all bands except 10m.

The log showed 564 stations worked with 52 of the 63 states/provinces accounted for. In the US I didn’t log Rhode Island, DC, Arkansas, Mississippi and Utah. The other 6 that were missed were Canadian Provinces. Looks like across the bands there were 41 unique DXCCs logged. 375 unique stations were worked.

N1MM Summary:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Sec  DXCC
  3.5     109    109    1    0
    7     142    142   10    4
   14     110    110   12    8
   21     132    132   22   13
   28      71     71    7   13
Total     564    564   52   38

Score : 50,760

73,
K2DSL

December 31st, 2013 by K2DSL

I had limited time in the month of December to operate and just dabbled in a couple of contests when I had some time. In the 10M RTTY contest I made 109 contacts and during the ARRL 10m contest I worked 89 SSB contacts.

One of the gifts I requested this year was the DARC produced Radio Amateurs World Atlas. I saw this 23 page reference in it’s previous version and really wanted my own copy. It just happens that the latest edition was just released so if you are interested, you want the August 2013 printing that has a purple cover with a multi-color world image on it.  The older version is a yellow cover with black text . My copy, for $13, was purchased from Universal Radio at http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/books/6082.html

Inside, the Radio Amateurs World Atlas contains full color maps of the world showing Continental boundaries, DX Zone boundaries and Prefix boundaries. As an example of prefix boundaries, for Japan, it shows what area represents JA0, JA1, …, JA9 prefix calls. For anyone, myself included, that doesn’t have every DXCC’s “zones” memorized and likes to look at maps, this reference is a good one. Maybe there are similar maps online, but I haven’t run into them.

Here’s an image of one of the pages of the map (click to see larger view):

Radio Amateur World Atlas

Happy New Year everyone!
K2DSL

 

November 26th, 2013 by K2DSL

I wasn’t planning on operating much this past weekend on the CQ WW CW contest. I didn’t get on Fri evening and first got on Sat morning for a bit before running some errands. The bands, specifically 10m was good, and there was a lot of activity. I was able to quickly work many DXCC entities in a short amount of time.

Saturday afternoon I got back on and things were still hot so I worked 10m trying to get new DXCC entities I hadn’t worked or new ones on 10m. I was running assisted so I could see what was showing up without having to tune and then listen for each call. There were some pretty good pileups going for many of the rarer stations but if you could get there quickly before the crowd showed up, you had a shot. Otherwise, you needed to use your brain and time things right. As a last resort, tune to a different station and come back later or tomorrow. Most stations were operating the entire weekend and if conditions remained the same, they should be around on Sunday too.

As Saturday wore on, I started to really accumulate entities on 10m. As the day/evening wore on, I also worked 15m and 20m. As it got darked I worked some stations on 40m and 80m. I was just looking for entities I hadn’t worked yet vs logging too many for the same entities. On Saturday evening I was hoping to see/hear Alaska on 80m as that is the last state I need for 5BWAS but I didn’t see them spotted. On Sunday morning I saw some spots for KL7′s but it was well past I was asleep.

Sunday came and I was only able to work until about 1pm ET (1800z) in between getting ready to go out for the day. 10m was still open so I continued to pick and choose new entities. As the time passed, it seemed like it might be possible to log 100 entities for just 10m and I was able to just sneak that in with 102 entities logged on 10m.

Some of the notable stations logged:

3D2R – RotumaIsland (15m) – New band 3DA0ET – Swaziland (10m & 20m) – New band
4U1ITU – ITU HQ (10m & 15m) – New bands 5H3EE – Tanzania (15m)
5R8IC – Madagascar (10m) – New band 9J3A – Zambia (10m)
9L1A – Sierra Leone (15m) 9X0NH – Rwanda (15m) – New DXCC
D3AA – Angola (15m) – New band DX1J – Philippines (20m)
NH2DX – Guam (15m) OY1CT – FaroeIsland (10m) – New band
TC0A – Turkey (10m) UP2L – Kazakhstan (40m) – New band
XT2FCJ – Burkina (10m, 15m & 20m) – New DXCC Z81R/Z81X – South Sudan (10m & 15m) – New DXCC
ZM4T – New Zealand (10m & 15m)  

It looks like I ended up logging 3 new DXCC entities, none of which took much effort during the contest. I worked 114 different entities during the contest and 102 on just 10m. 34 zones out of 40 total zones were worked across all the bands.

Here’s the score summary from N1MM:

K2DSL_2013_CQ_WW_CW_Score

Here’s a map of the contacts made using ADIF2MAP (click for a larger image):

K2DSL_2013_CQ_WW_CW_Map

 

Great fun over a few hours on a weekend. Logs uploaded to LoTW, eQSL, ClubLog and to the contest robot.

73,
K2DSL

November 11th, 2013 by K2DSL

I knew going into this weekend that I wouldn’t have a lot of time to operate in the WAE RTTY contest.

WAE is a fun set of contests with the RTTY contest my favorite. You get to exchange QTCs with ops on other continents. QTCs are a playback of up to 10 previous QSOs you made during the contest showing time, call and exchange. The software, at least with N1MM, makes this very easy, and it pumps up your score.

I didn’t operate Fri, Saturday night or most of the day on Sunday as I already had other plans. That left the morning and day on Saturday, a little of the morning on Sunday and a couple hours at the end on Sunday. Conditions on Saturday morning were good with DX open on 10m & 15m to EU. It wasn’t as great as the CQ WW weekend but it was good. My second contact on Sat morning was to Saudi Arabia on 10m. Before I even had 10 contacts logged where I could send a batch of QTCs, stations were sending me there QTCs and I started out almost immediately with more QTCs then QSOs made by me. Just under 1 hour after starting, I heard 4Z5UN in Israel on 10m and I was able to work him for my 1st 10m contact with Israel. About 2 hours after that I worked the same Israeli op on 15m.

Since 10m and 15m weren’t super good, I did spend time on 20m with a bunch of stations worked there. I called it quits on Saturday about 6:30pm local time / 2330z and was gone for the rest of the evening. I came home late and made 9 quick contacts on 40m and 80m.

Sunday morning I could only spend 3 hours on the air before leaving for a football game for the remainder of the day. 15m had stations on early, but 10m was pretty quiet with just a couple worked. Other than sporadic checks on 10m for a single new station or two, 10m was quiet. 15m was active as was 20m. It was good to find and work GU0SUP on 20m in Guernsey. I stopped mid morning and was gone until 2 hours before the contest ended where it was already dark out. There was still activity on 20m but not so much on the higher bands. I finished the 2 hours and the contest working 40m and 80m contacts, mostly local in the US and Canada with only a little DX.

Stats show 51 different DXCC entities worked. 4 stations worked on 4 bands and 10 additional stations worked on 3 bands. 227 different call signs were logged out of the 309 QSOs logged.

Here’s a map of the stations I logged over this past weekend produced by ADIF2MAP (click for a larger map):

2013_wae_rtty_map

Here’s a snapshot of the score summary for N1MM. The 2nd column indicates QSO for contacts I made, RQTC for QTCs I received from other stations & SQTC for QTCs I sent other stations.

2013_wae_rtty_summary

I have family coming into town so I probably won’t operate much this weekend.

73 & good DX!
K2DSL

November 2nd, 2013 by K2DSL

It’s taken me almost a week to get to posting about this years CQ WW SSB contest. The conditions for me were terrific with 10m & 15m seemingly open throughout the contest. This was my most productive effort in this contest and I’m sure the conditions were the main reason I stayed at the radio for as long as I did. In this contest, other than a couple of quick multipliers, all the contacts need to be with stations outside the mainland US.

Friday night I had a little time and got on and made some contacts working just 45 Qs all on 20m before calling it a  night.

Saturday morning I woke up late and got on working 8 stations on 40m, which was the only time I got on 40m the entire weekend. I went back to 20m for about 1 hour picking up a bunch of EU stations. With the hex beam still pointed to EU I went up to 15m and the band was hopping where for another 90 mins I tuned up the band and worked station after station, which isn’t always easy for me on 15m in the morning.

After logging  TF3CW in Iceland I switched to 10m where I spend the next 3 hours! I started at 28.300 at the bottom of the phone portion of the band and worked my way up with station after station calling CQ up until 28.985. It was a blast and on 10m, it’s not a lot of effort to work the station – if you can hear them they can usually hear you. Since I was S&P and not using the DX Cluster, any station I worked was found by tuning. It’s always great to come up on a station that hasn’t yet been spotted and is just calling CQ waiting for someone like 9K2HN in Kuwait who I found on 10m and then later on 15m (both for new bands worked and confirmed already on LoTW). It was just so much fun and I had 300 Qs at 2pm ET / 1900z when I took a little break. I got back on for a bit later on Sat afternoon and worked VK4KW in Australia on 10m. I worked more stations on 15m before I had to call it a day at 7:30pm ET / 2330z in order to head out to a Halloween party with my wife and friends.  I wrapped up Saturday with 394 contacts logged.

Sunday morning got me back on the radio again hoping the conditions were still good and I wasn’t disappointed. I started out on 10m and there were plenty of stations to work. I worked 100 new stations on 10m with my first pass up and down the band.  I even worked 2 Qatar stations on 10m which for a new band. With the antenna still pointed at Europe I worked some more stations on 15m and 20m. I’d move the antenna south from time to time to work the Caribbean & South American stations that were active.  Late in the day the antenna moves to the northwest and you can start to work Alaska, Hawaii and Asia. Activity for me started to slow down the last 90-60 mins of the contest late on Sunday.

I ended up working Guam easily on 10m again, Dodecanese on 10m (still need a confirmation for DXCC on any band which I just did via OQRS) as well as many other new entities worked on new bands, some of which were already quickly confirmed via LoTW. In the end it seems I worked 94 different DXCC entities and 27 of the 40 CQ zones. I worked 40 stations on all 3 bands I operated and 538 different stations in total.

Here’s a map using ADIF2MAP of all the contacts over the weekend (click to enlarge):

K2DSL_2013_CQ_WW_SSB

 

 

Here’s N1MM’s score summary for the effort:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Zone DXCC
    7       8      10    5    4
   14     164     464   21   64
   21     196     555   20   65
   28     331     961   22   75
Total     699    1990   68  208

Score : 549,240

 

Great weekend and thanks for all the contacts.

K2DSL

October 21st, 2013 by K2DSL

I didn’t get started until noon (ET) / 1600z on Saturday as I had plans on Friday night and went to help a local ham lower his tower on Saturday morning. When I got on the air, the bands were hopping and it wasn’t hard to stay busy.

I configured N1MM to enable Spot all S&P calls since everyone can run assisted and use the DX cluster. That means any call I log that wasn’t already in the bandmap gets spotted. Not sure if there’s something online that tells me how many spots I sent to the cluster (DXWatch seems to max out at showing 50) but I’d say there were a lot. Even near the end of the contest I had a few ops that sent me a message as we worked on another band thanking me for the spots.

I had the NA4RR hexbeam pointed at Europe until late in the afternoon and turned it around to point to the NW to start having the JAs come in, which they did. The JAs were mostly on 15m as usual but I started to hear them on 10m. Once some were spotted, more showed up and I worked 11 JAs in a row on 10m and 15 JAs worked on 10m in the span of 1 hour.

Later in the day on Saturday I saw a spot for N2YBB who is Mike L the ARRL Hudson Division Director operating in the NY QSO Party that was going on so I worked him. I ended up working a total of 39 NY stations on 40m and 80m SSB whenever I wanted to take a short break from hearing diddle.

Once it was good and dark, I worked stations on 40m and 80m until I headed off to bed with 341 Qs after Satuday’s effort.

Sunday morning I got up, got on (7:30am ET / 1130z) and the bands were still as good as they were on Saturday. Was able to work TA7I in Turkey on 10m (new band already confirmed via LoTW) as well as 15m. I also worked KG4HF in Guantanamo Bay on a 5th band in the contest. KG4HF happened to be the only station I worked on all 5 bands. I previously worked KG4HF last weekend on 17m.

My club was having their fall foxhunt and I was going to participate, but the bands were too good and I was having too much fun so I just drove over and gave someone the club’s debit card to pay for pizza after the event. There was a good turnout at the foxhunt but I don’t have info on it yet. So I headed back home after a short break and got back into the contest. I spent the rest of the contest bouncing around between the bands and calling CQ at times with some success. The higher bands were good enough that even near the end of the contest there seemed to be more activity on 20 than on 40m and certainly than on 80m.

Some other notables worked in the contest – Turkey (TA7I) on 10m & 15m & TA1BM on 15m, 2 different United Arab Emirates stations on 15m, Guam (KH2F) on 15m, New Zealand (ZL1BYZ) on 10m & 15m and South Africa (ZS6A) on 10m.

I wrapped up with 663 Qs in the log over the course of about 21.5 hours according to N1MM with a break being > 30 mins. Looking back over http://3830scores.com , this would be the highest QSO/Points I’ve logged for this particular contest with over 100k points greater than last year, but I missed most of Sunday last year. I worked 58 different DXCCs with the US being the most logged followed by Japan with 42 contacts.

This contest uses Age as the exchange, so excluding 00′s for the ladies and 99′s for clubs and eliminating multiple contacts with the same operator, the average age of what was sent was 59.2 years and the median was 60. The youngest age was 27 and the oldest age was 84. The age most logged was 64.

Here’s a map of the contacts using ADIF2MAP (click to enlarge):

2013_JARTS_RTTY

 

Here’s the N1MM score summary:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  DXCC  Areas
  3.5      34      68    3    8
    7      84     176    9   14
   14     156     396   36   15
   21     245     650   44   21
   28     144     414   39   13
Total     663    1704  131   71

Score : 344,208

Thanks for all the contacts & 73,
K2DSL

 

October 13th, 2013 by K2DSL

A real busy weekend so I had minimal time to get on the air but for 90 mins I was able to work the fun Makrothen RTTY contest where the exchange and points are based on grid squares and distance. A few contacts = a lot of points! Friday night I had things to do when the contest first started and made just a few contacts later in the evening on 40m & 80m .

Saturday morning I was up at 4am ET (0900z) for our club’s hamfest. Weather was great and I brought 11 cards with me for out local DXCC Card Checker to validate them. All went well with checking the cards. Our local checked W2IRT had a bunch of folks stop by to get their cards checked. I then needed to leave the hamfest for a wedding so I came home, get ready and while waiting for my wife I worked some more stations in the contest before heading out for the day.

We stayed overnight at a hotel so by the time we got home from the wedding early Sunday afternoon, the 3rd session for the contest had just ended. Ended up with 63 contacts with maybe 90 mins of time on the air.

 Band    QSOs    Pts
  3.5       6   11490
    7      10   44690
   14      12   83668
   21      27  147270
   28       8   50930
Total      63  338048

Score : 338,048

73,
K2DSL

 

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