Monthly Archives: June 2009

QSLs – VP8YLG, 4L8A & C91TX

Had a small flurry of nice QSL activity today. I noticed on ARRL’s LoTW that QSLs for contacts with VP8YLG showed up. VP8YLG was the YL DXpedition to the Falkland Islands. Both my contacts were with Victoria (SV2KBS). I already have Falkland Islands confirmed via LoTW by contacts made after these, but these were the first ones I logged to this entity.

In the postal mail today I received 2 QSLs. The first is from 4L8A in Georgia (the country, not the state) via K1BV and gives me the first QSL for that entity.

The other QSL which came via postal mail was from C91TX, the US Texas DX Society’s DXpedition to Mozambique. I had previously received QSL confirmation from them via LoTW shortly after they returned home, but it was nice to receive the QSL card I sent for via W5PF.


Weekend update

Had a pretty busy non-ham weekend with family around and my younger daughter graduating middle school so I wasn’t on the air much.

Friday evening we had a VE test session with about 7 people attending. 1 was a paper upgrade to General that hung around after he got his paperwork and chatted. Seems one of the parents I grew up with was someone he worked with for many years. We had a new tech pass and a couple successful upgrades to General and Extra. One upgrade to General is a teen in the club who passed his tech a few months back and has been very active with the club.  I think 2 folks didn’t pass their Extra upgrade but I’m sure they will be back for a future session.

I made a few phone contacts with West Virginia stations during their QSO party on Saturday. I also made 3 or 4 with DX stations in the All Asia CW contest over the weekend. I probably could have made more but 20m was noisy for me on Sunday when I had time to get on. I also made a couple misc phone contacts with DX stations I hadn’t previously had 20m phone contacts with before.

On Saturday I received a postal envelope with about a dozen QSL cards from the bureau. About 1/2 I had already sent QSL cards out for and the rest I wrote out QSL cards for and will get them to the clubs outgoing QSL manager this week. Most were from August or September 2008 for RTTY contacts. There were some nice looking cards in the batch.

That is about it for now. Looking forward to Field Day next weekend!


HR2160 – Letter mailed to my Representative

HR2160 is the The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009.

H.R. 2160 instructs the Secretary of Homeland Security to undertake a study, and report its findings to Congress within 180 days, on the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio communications in emergencies and disaster relief. This study should:

    • Include recommendations for enhancements in the voluntary deployment of Amateur Radio licensees in disaster and emergency communications and disaster relief efforts;
    • Include recommendations for improved integration of Amateur Radio operators in planning and in furtherance of the Department of Homeland Security initiatives;
    • Identify unreasonable or unnecessary impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio communications, such as the effects of private land use regulations on residential antenna installations, and make recommendations regarding such impediments;
    • Include an evaluation of section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-104, 110 Stat. 56 (1996); and recommend whether section 207 should be modified to prevent unreasonable private land use restrictions that impair the ability of amateurs to conduct, or prepare to conduct, emergency communications.

      Info and links to an example letter is at I’ve sent mine in and I hope you do the same.


      VHF QSO Party wrap-up

      This past weekend was the ARRL VHF QSO Party and our club participated. We met on Sat morning where all the equipment is stored and loaded up a large rental truck with 2 towers, antennas, cables, tents, tables, chairs, etc. It took about 1 hour and we were off to the location we operate from which is the top of a hill in a park that was a former Nike missle site. If there was no foliage, you’d be able to look out on the Hudson River and the Tappan Zee bridge.

      The weather was supposed to be pretty nice all weekend but as usual, the weathermen were 100% wrong. Once we got up to the site and started to get things set up, it started to mist and then rain. It pretty much rained throughout the entire weekend until about Sunday afternoon. It stopped raining and the sun came out as we were tearing down, so we needed to endure the sun beating down on us as we did the hard work of taking all the equipment down and loading up the truck. None of us would have jobs if we were as wrong as the weathermen are! At least there was no signs of lightening.

      On Saturday we got things setup and were on the air, first with the 6m station, right when the contest started. It was quickly followed by a 2m SSB, 220 & 430 SSB stations. The 220 station was receiving interference when the 2m and 430 stations transmitted so it wasn’t getting much use at the start. We didn’t have the FM stations on-line at the start but they came up a bit later. We have 2 towers where 1 hosts the 6m beam and the other the 2m, 220 and 430 beams. The towers, antennas and rotators all seemed to worked fine and they both actually went up very well.

      6m was the hot band this weekend and we made over 500 contacts across what I think was 92 different grids. There were openings to the southeast coast, Puerto Rico, Texas and a good portion of the midwest multiple times over the weekend, with Saturday seeing the most openings but we stopped midday on Sunday. I don’t think we hit any grids/stations from Colorado and farther west but I wasn’t always there to be sure. We hit all the stations / grids around us and many in-between. Once I get the logs I will try to post a picture of the grids by band.  We were running a few hundred watts so folks were hearing us fine and we had to sometimes work to get their call and grid. With 6m, if we couldn’t always hear them right away, a few minutes later could make a world of difference.

      2m SSB was the next most productive station but I’m not sure of the call and grid count on the other stations. I’ll get all that info in the coming weeks. I’d guess it was somewhere between 200 and 250. I didn’t operate on 2m on Sunday and I think we were around 175 or late on Saturday. 440 with around 70-75 and I think 220 was under 50 Q’s. FM only provides a few in the local grids around the site.

      Saturday night most of the club members left late in the evening with a few sticking around into the wee hours. There were 3 of us left after midnight and we stayed until 2am. 2 of them left right after we shut down the equipment and generators and I slept in my car next to the equipment.  I woke up around 6:15 Sun morning, fired up the generator, the 6m station and was back on making contacts at 6:30am. Other ops started to show up throughout the morning and all stations were again manned and operational before 10am.

      We continued operating Sunday until probably about 1:30pm on the 2m, 220 and 430 stations before starting to shut them down and lower the tower. We shut down the 6m station between 2:15 and 2:30pm. We had a great breakfast and lunch served by our chef with cold water and coffee always available. Though we were in the woods, the food was more like we were at home on the back deck.

      Tearing everything down is hard work and it’s so much harder after being awake and tired from loading equipment, setting up 2 towers, setting up many operating stations and operating for 24 hours. It took some time to properly and safely bring the towers and antennas down, break down all the equipment and shelters, roll up the cables, get everything loaded and then drive over to where the equipment is stored to unload it all. After a regular contest at home, you can just stand up, walk over to the couch and collapse.

      It was a great weekend with a great bunch of guys (and gals) and as always, a lot of fun getting on the air and seeing who is out there. I should be recovered in 2 weeks so we can do some more operating on Field Day. This year it seems like we’ll get a tilt-up / crank-up tower on loan from the county so we can focus on just raising that and getting wire antennas up for the lower HF bands hopefully resulting in less physical work then this past weekends VHF contest. I can’t wait.


      K2DSL’s first year on HF – Part 5

      This post will wrap up my thrad on info regarding my first year on HF with some final stats.

      Out of the 7.500 contacts logged, the month with the most was March 2009 with 1,599 primarily due to 5 good size contests – ARRL-DX-SSB, BARTG-RTTY, CQ-WPX-SSB, NAQP-RTTY & NA-SPRINT-RTTY.

      The longest contact made so far is a PSK31 contact on 40m to Australia covering a distance of 11,608 miles based on the difference between grid locations. The 2nd longest is a 20m SSB contact to Australia. The 3rd and 4th longest contacts are to Chagos Island both via CW on 17m and 20m. Rounding out the top 5 is a RTTY contact on 20m to Mauriitus.

      Since every contact is logged and stored in a database, I could run reports on virtually anything. One thing that I can’t run a database query on is a report on how much fun and excitement making the contacts has been. Al I can say is it has been an absolute blast and I can’t wait to start on my contacts for year #2. Thanks to each of the 3,676 distinct stations that provided me the 7,500 contacts!


      K2DSL’s first year on HF – Part 4

      Adding to recent posts on my first year of HF contacts, this post will look at QSL information.  I use LoTW (Logbook of The World) and eQSL along with paper QSL cards sent/received either direct or via the bureau.

      All 7,500 contacts have been uploaded to LoTW and eQSL. I have received 3,720 QSL confirmations on LoTW and 1,920 QSL confirmations on eQSL.

      I have sent 760 QSL cards either direct or via the bureau and received 192 QSL cards. I don’t track QSL cards sent direct or via the bureau but it is worth noting that the majority of direct QSL cards have received responses. Most of the QSL cards sent were via the bureau and it isn’t abnormal to take more then 1 year to receive QSL cards back, so the low number so far is to be expected. I’ve received less then a dozen back via the bureau but they are now starting to come in and I expect much more in the coming year.

      Looking across all the various QSL methods, of the 7,500 contacts made, 4,337 have been confirmed which is over 57% QSLed.

      Looking at QSL numbers and percent by mode:

      Mode # QSLs % QSLs
      RTTY 2917 69%
      SSB 955 43%
      CW 372 39%
      PSK31 54 72%
      PSK125 38 79%
      SSTV 1 100%

      You can see that digital mode ops (RTTY and PSK) are much more likely to QSL electronically then SSB and CW ops.

      I’ll probably wrap up in the next post with the final group of stats.


      K2DSL’s first year on HF – Part 3

      Part 1 discussed the raw numbers with my first year on HF. Part 2 broke the numbers down by DXCC. This post will look at the numbers by band and mode for my first year of HF operating.  I made 7,500 contacts in my first year, many of which took place during contests. By band, here’s the breakdown:

      Band # Contacts
      20 m 3944
      40 m 1914
      80 m 1445
      15 m 131
      10 m 29
      17 m 23
      30 m 13
      12 m 1

      The breakdown by mode results in:

      Mode # Contacts
      RTTY 4200
      SSB 2233
      CW 943
      PSK31 75
      PSK125 48
      SSTV 1

      The top band/mode combination, by nearly twice as many logged as the next band/mode combination is 20 meter RTTY at 2,169 logged contacts.

      I’ll report on additional stats in upcoming posts.


      K2DSL’s first year on HF – Part 2

      Part 1 of this thread highlighted the totals of my first year doing HF as a ham radio operator. The total logged contacts for the year – 7,500 on the nose. This post will discuss the DXCC activity over that first year.

      The 7,500 logged contacts are made up of 145 different DXCC entities. I have applied for both mixed DXCC and 20m DXCC and I’m waiting for all the paperwork to be processed. It should be completed by the ARRL in the next 4 weeks.

      The Top 6 DXCCs logged from my east coast US station are probably what one would expect.  They are:

      DXCC # Contacts
      United States 4456
      Canada 478
      Germany 167
      Italy 135
      Spain 118
      European Russia 103

      Of the 145 logged DXCCs, I have a total of 128 that are confirmed. Those 128 confirmed DXCCs are done with 107 confirmed via Logbook of The World (LoTW) and an additional 21 confirmed via paper QSL cards received mostly direct or via the bureau.

      25 of the DXCCs have only 1 contact logged in this past year. 20 of those single contact DXCCs have already been confirmed.

      As noted in the previous post, it is very exciting to log a contact with a new DXCC or one with a rarer  entity already in my logbook. I still watch the DX cluster for DXCCs I don’t have logged to see if I am am to copy them and attempt a contact.

      The next post will breakdown the logged contacts by mode and band.


      K2DSL’s first year on HF – Part 1

      It’s hard to believe but I’ve been on HF for 1 year already. Well technically it’s 51 weeks, but over the next week I will have very little time to make contacts during the week, and with the VHF contest next weekend, I won’t be home and will be with my local club.

      I made my first HF contact on 6/15/2008 with K8HGX mobile on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Jack was nice enough to send me a return QSL card in memory of that first 20m SSB contact. Since that monumental start, I’ve made a few more contacts.  7,499 more to be exact. I currently sit at exactly 7,500 contacts in my logbook.

      All the logged contacts were at my home QTH using 100w and a G5RV antenna with the exception of 121 contacts logged on vacation at my in-laws in North Carolina. Those 121 contacts were on 100w and a 20m dipole.

      Of that 7,500 total contacts, 6,904 were logged during one of 46 contests I participated in. The contests contained anywhere from 3 contacts in a QSO party to over 500 contacts in two contests (CQ WPX RTTY and CQ WW RTTY).  The top 20 contests this past year make up 5,945 contacts.

      The top 5 stations I made a contact with are:

      Call Sign # Contacts
      N2BJ 32
      WA5ZUP 31
      AB4GG 27
      AI4FR 25
      K4GMH 24

      I’ll make additional posts this week on other stats related to the 7,500 contacts over this past year. The most important stat though is that every one was exciting in its own way and I had nothing but fun making each and every one of them. I wonder what I’d do if there were sunspots?