Monthly Archives: January 2009

Testing the new Ham Radio Deluxe logbook

I was invited in to check out the next version of HB9DRV’s Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) logging program. I spent a bunch of time with it so far and posted a bunch of comments and issues I’ve run into. I think it will be a terrific upgrade when he releases this major update to his fantastic logging program.

73,
K2DSL

My first 1st place!

One year ago, to help out my local club in the 2008 January VHF Sweepstakes, I went to the 4 grid squares I can hit in less then a 5 mile loop. I made a few contacts in each grid square on 2m and 70cm FM to the club and a few others that were listening.  Later in the year, a club member mentioned I was listed in the July 2008 issue of QST. Today I received a certificate from the ARRL for coming in First Place Rover Limited in the Northern NJ Section.

I might have been the only rover that submitted a log, but 1st place is 1st place :-)

73,
K2DSL

First VK Contact!

I was off from work today and made a few contacts throughout the day to Europe, Italy, Bulgaria and Brazil. Just before 22:00z I saw a VK station in a PSK31 QSO on 40m. After the QSO ended, I tried to make a contact but wasn’t able to. I then needed to pick up my daughter from practice. When I got back from getting my daughter, the same VK station was in another QSO. When they were done, I cranked up the power and this time he came back to me. It was my first contact with any Australia station!

VK6WB (Gus) and I had a nice QSO. He was pleased to be my first VK contact. You have to love digital modes as a way to communicate on low power and a wire antenna. I will be sending a QSL card out tomorrow to his QSL Manager (W4UHF) who is stateside.

Based on the grid squares, we’re 11,608 miles (18,681 km) from each other. Previously, my longest contact was in Mauritus at around 9,290 miles.  Just fantastic stuff!!

Thanks Gus for making a day off from work extra special!

73,
K2DSL

1 day – 3 contests

Contest 1:
Started out Saturday morning with 9 QSOs for the Hungarian DX Contest all on 20m.

Contest 2:
I then headed over to K2AMI’s house which is acting as a club station with the call of K2BAR and for the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes. I put in a few hours there and when I left there were about 100 entries in the log. I don’t think we caught any exciting openings and most contacts were in Vermont to Maryland and no farther west then Pennsylvania. We heard a Virginia station but he QSY’ed or the opening was gone before we could call him. The contest continues through tonight but I need to do things with the family today.

Contest 3:
When I got home last night I jumped on (mostly 80m with one 40m contact to Puerto Rico) for the North America QSO Party. The NAQP has a nice exchange – name and state/province/country. I didn’t call CQ but I S&P’ed for a couple hours and made 51 contacts before calling it an early night.

Again, when I’ve made many contacts with contest ops via RTTY, it is nice when I send my call and they come back back with “Now that’s a familiar call” and have a quick chat before moving on.

My logbook currently shows a total of 4,023 entries.

73,
K2DSL

QSOs QSOs QSOs

Seems to be a bunch of activity at 3.6xx with folks trying to get LoTW Triple Play contacts. Tune around in the evening and you’ll often find folks calling CQ.

This morning before heading off to work i had a short QSO with SB6A in Sweden on 20m. Needed to cut it short as I had to get out of the house and catch my train.

When I got home from work today I was able to make contact with 8R44USA. The op is 8R1AK and running a special event station honoring Barak Obama.  That was my first contact with an op in Guyana.

This weekend is the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes and I’ll be helping out with our club station K2BAR.

73,
K2DSL

Recent QSL Cards Received

On Tuesday I got my first batch of bureau cards. I had previously received one, but it wasn’t for me since it was for a CW contact before I was licensed. But this batch of 4 cards had 2 from Finland and 2 from Canada. At least they were all for me!

Tonight when I got home from work, there was a card in the mail for a contact with V26B contact in Oct on 20m SSB. It’s my first confirmed QSL for Antigua. Keep ‘em coming!

73,
K2DSL

Ham Radio Deluxe, Kenwood TS-2000 & LDG KT-100

There was an operator on one of the mailing lists that was having an issue getting his Kenwood radio to kick in the LDG KT-100 antenna tuner while using Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD). The KT-100 is LDG’s Kenwood specific antenna tuner made for Kenwood radios that support the AT-300 connection such as the Kenwood TS-2000, TS-480. etc.  At least with my TS-2000, using the KT-100 is no different then using the internal tuner.  The only real difference is that when the TS-2000 is powered on and the KT-100 is attached, the Antenna Tuner defaults to off and needs to be enabled.

I emailed him since I have a very similar setup to what he was running. I have the Kenwood TS-2000 and this fellow had the Kenwood TS-B2000 which is the same radio but without any front panel display or controls. The Kenwood TS-B2000 is meant to be computer controlled. Otherwise, it’s the same radio as my TS-2000.  I really didn’t understand the problem he was having as I thought everything was working great with my setup.  After a few emails and me finally being able to be at my radio, I was able to understand his predicament. I was always pressing the AT button on the front of the radio and then the Tune function in Ham Radio Deluxe worked. But since he doesn’t have a front-panel on his TS-B2000, there’s no button to push and the ATU button in HRD wasn’t turning the AT on, just off.

I did some digging once I could reproduce the problem and found a post on the HRD forums at http://forums.ham-radio.ch/showthread.php?t=11622 and outlined the steps for him in an email and it worked.  So here are hopefully the steps with pictures that will help someone else. I imagine this works for other external tuners connected to the TS-2000 and other Kenwood radios.

In Ham Radio Deluxe, once connected to the radio, the default buttons (I think as I don’t remember customizing them) look like:
hrd_kt100_default_buttons

The ATU button is the Antenna Tuner button which, in this hardware setup, will turn the Antenna Tuner off, but not on. As mentioned above, by default, the Antenna Tuner isn’t turned on each time the radio is powered on. In the “on” state, it would be dark colored like the Ant 1 button under it is.

So the first step is to create a CAT Command which will be used in the second step. You click on the Macros menu in HRD and select CAT Command Manager as pictured below:
hrd_kt100_cat_command_menu

A new window opens that looks like the following:
hrd_kt100_cat_command_1

You probably have a window like mine showing no user defined CAT Commands yet. So click the New button and the following window opens. Fill in the title, command and a description. The CAT Command is A (Alpha) C (Charlie) followed by three number ones:
hrd_kt100_cat_command_2

Once entered as the above shows, click the OK button and it will add it to your list of user defined CAT Commands, leaving you at a window that looks like:
hrd_kt100_cat_command_3

Press the OK button to close the window. Now click the Tools menu and select Customize Layout at the bottom of the long Tools menu. A window that looks like the following will open. If the Layout tab isn’t selected, select it so it looks like the below:
hrd_kt100_customize_layout_1

Click the ATU button just to the right of the current displayed frequency and it should turn a darker color such as shown below:
hrd_kt100_customize_layout_2

Once the ATU button is selected, the left portion of the screen will show ATU in the Define Button section. Under that is a Select button just under where it says Dropdown Button / CAT Command / Macro. Click the Select button and window will pop up that looks like:
hrd_kt100_customize_layout_3

Select CAT Commands: KT100 from the bottom of the dropdown list and then name the button KT100 as shown. When you then press OK, you’ll be returned to the Layout screen and above the Select button on the left side it will now say KT100 = CAT Commands: KT100 as shown here:
hrd_kt100_customize_layout_4

Press the Apply button on the bottom right of the Customize Layout window and you’ll be returned to the main HRD window with the ATU button replaced with a functioning KT100 button. The screen will look like:
hrd_kt100_customized_buttons

You should now be able to press the KT100 button and it will enable the AT on the radio and initiate a tuning cycle. Once initiated, the Tune button (just below Ant 2) should be used.

I hope this helps someone that runs into the same or similar situation.

73,
K2DSL

Some new confirmed DXCC’s

Over the past 2 weeks, even though I haven’t had any new contacts with DXCC’s I haven’t previously logged, either paper QSLs or Logbook of The World (LoTW) QSLs have come in for 4 new DXCC’s.

The confirmed DXCCs are:
Sierra Leone – 9L0W
Ireland – EI6HB
Greece – SV1JSQ
Kazakhstan – UN1L

That gives me 87 confirmed DXCC’s of which 8 are only confirmed via paper QSL and the rest are LoTW confirmed. I have 27 DXCC’s logged and not yet confirmed with all but 1 or 2 sent a QSL card from me.

I am working from home today because of a doctors appointment. I was online responding to emails when I looked and saw the cluster showing ZD8UW on Ascension Island on 17m. Turned the radio on and the first time I put my call out there he came back. Woohoo – a new DXCC for me once confirmed. I need to work from home more often ;-)

73,
K2DSL

ARRL RTTY Roundup

Happy New Year! Got back home from a skiing vacation with the family and friends a few hours after the contest started and after bringing in all the luggage and doing some quick chores, I got on the air. Spent a few hours before I was tired, my back hurt and my cold I’ve had since Christmas was telling me to hit the sack. Of course, I woke up way too early and couldn’t go back to sleep, so what else to do but get on the air.  I spent most of Sunday active on the air before the 7pm ET end where I drove one daughter to an event and headed to my radio clubs monthly meeting.

I was able to log all the US entities in the contest except for ND and Wash DC. I also logged about 1/2 of the Canadian provinces.  It was fun and I need to do more CQing and less S&P. I had good (for me) rates going when I was calling CQ the couple times I did it. Didn’t use any packet clusters and just tuned around the dial. It was wall to wall so it was just quickly listening to determine if I already had a QSO with the op calling on that frequency. It’s also, oddly, less work to get on a frequency, if you can squeeze in, and call CQ vs S&P. Don’t need to touch the radio and click away with the mouse without moving.

I also see from comparing my score summary with those posted on 3830 or the RTTY mailing lists that I need to also hit up more DX contacts next time for the multipliers to increase my score.  Others with generally the same or slightly lower QSO count scored higher because of the DX multipliers.

        Band    QSOs    Pts  States  DX
         3.5     135     135   17     0
           7     110     110   13    11
          14     187     187   25     7
       Total     432     432   55    18

            Score : 31,536

Lots of fun. No new DX Entities logged but lots of fun.

73,
K2DSL

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