Monthly Archives: December 2009

Linux and Ham Radio

My professional career is computers and information technology (IT) but at the desktop, I’ve always been a Windows user. I’ve use linux on servers for years and have installed it on computers at home to play around, but always go back to Windows because I use the applications and not the operating system.

A major linux magazine stars amateur radio on the cover of it’s January 2010 issue.

The contents of the issue include articles on:

Linux Journal’s Ham Shack:
Come chat with us about everything Linux and amateur radio related in our Ham forum (or see forum topics below).
Listen to our podcast to hear editors Shawn Powers and Kyle Rankin discuss our Amateur Radio special issue.
Little known fact: Did you know a feature article in Linux Journal issue number one was Linux and Hams?

Linux Amateur Radio Resources:
A guide for users of Fedora amateur radio software –
Hamsoft – Linux Software for the Hamradio community –
FBB Packet-radio BBS mini-HOWTO (covers the installation and use of the most popular
amateur packet-radio BBS server software “FBB”) –
Ham radio programs for Linux –

A complete LiveCD for HamRadio operators by F0FAK –

Software Packages:
Ubuntu Software Packages in “karmic”, Subsection hamradio –
Debian Software Packages in “lenny”, Subsection hamradio –

Maybe it’s time to install Ubuntu again and check out the above stuff.

73 and happy holidays,

OY2J Faroe Islands QSL Received

A very quick turnaround from a QSL card I sent direct to Johan, OY2J, on Faroe Islands. I was tuning around 20m and heard OY2J calling CQ before any pileup started back at the end of November. This is my only contact with a station on Faroe and obviously a new DXCC confirmed for me. The Faroe Islands are located in the center of a triangle between Iceland, the UK and Norway.

Happy Holidays and good DX in 2010!

Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) Query – Earliest QSLs by DXCC

I’m running the latest v5 of Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) using MS Access as the backend database. I wanted to know what was the earliest QSL confirmation either via a paper QSL or a LoTW QSL for each DXCC. This will help with making sure I keep things as up to date with what is new since my last DXCC application update.

Here’s a snippet of the results.

GU4CHY 11/29/2009 3:36:57 PM Guernsey Paper 12/18/2009
HP3DX 10/10/2009 10:16:18 PM Panama Paper 12/12/2009
Z36W 12/5/2009 2:13:02 PM Macedonia Electronic 12/7/2009
DJ3IW 12/5/2009 1:00:48 PM Germany Electronic 12/6/2009
D2NX 10/18/2008 6:15:11 PM Angola Paper 12/1/2009
E21YDP 10/17/2009 12:31:31 PM Thailand Electronic 10/23/2009
ZP8VAO 9/12/2009 11:04:30 PM Paraguay Paper 9/19/2009
T77NM 5/9/2009 8:51:32 PM San Marino Paper 9/10/2009
J5UAP 3/7/2009 11:47:31 PM Guinea-Bissau Electronic 8/30/2009
5N0HQ 7/11/2009 6:09:57 PM Nigeria Electronic 8/19/2009

The only real caveat I see is if other stations re-upload their records to LoTW as LoTW currently treats it as “new” and depending on what you use to update the LoTW QSL date (I use HRD Utilities from WD5EAE), it would show the last update by the other op and not the first. But that is out of our control and LoTW should really prevent that, as well as the other op not doing it in the first place.

I have MS Access 2007 and here’s the SQL to run. I don’t know if it works with older versions of Access.

 IIF(t.COL_QSL_RCVD="Y" And COL_QSLRDATE = t3.FirstConfirmation, "Paper", "Electronic") As COL_METHOD,
 t3.FirstConfirmation As COL_QSLDATE
 SELECT t1.COL_COUNTRY, MIN(t1.COL_TIME_ON) As FirstContact, MIN(t2.MinDate) As FirstConfirmation
ORDER BY t3.FirstConfirmation DESC;


2009 RAC Winter Contest Summary

Friday evening through Saturday evening was the 24 hour RAC Winter ham radio contest. I was on the air Friday night before heading to bed and a good portion of Saturday as I was waiting around for a blizzard which showed up later then expected and not as bad as they expected either. This was also the same time the OK RTTY contest was going on but I decided to do this one.

I operated both phone and CW and had a real good time. This is a bit of a slower paced contest and being just before the holidays, most of the operators took a moment out to wish each other happy holidays, merry Christmas and happy new year, making for a very enjoyable exchange.  There was also a Croatia CW contest going on at the same time with both contests using serial numbers, so there were a few DX contacts I’m guessing were in the other contest but I worked a small number of them anyway.

Last years RAC contest was a couple days after Christmas and this years was the weekend before. I think it had more participation this year. Last year I made 88 contacts all on phone and this year I made a total of 247 contacts split evenly with 123 on CW and 124 on Phone. The contest is fun because anyone can work anyone, but the points are higher for working Canadian stations and even higher for Canadian RAC stations. I tried to work anyone I could hear be they US, Canadian or DX stations.

I really enjoy the friendliness of this contest and hope to continue to participate in it in the future. Maybe it can be staggered with some other contests such as the OK RTTY one since both are a single 24 hour contest. All logs have been uploaded to the various log sites and a few paper QSL cards were written out to send via the bureau to the Canadian Cold War Museum station, the Ontario Science Center and the Vancouver Olympics  Amateur Radio Group.

Log summary:

Band   Mode  QSOs     Pts  Sec
 3.5   CW      29     154    5
 3.5   LSB     47     416    8
 7     CW      44     252    7
 7     LSB     27     212    8
 14    CW      44     210    5
 14    USB     40     286    7
 21    CW       6      46    2
 21    USB     10     102    3
Total  Both   247    1678   45

Score : 75,510

73 and happy holidays!

Guernsey DXCC Confirmed – GU4CHY QSL

During the CQ WW CW contest the end of November I made my one and only contact with a station in Guernsey via a CW contact on 20m with GU4CHY. I sent Dick a QSL card direct with return postage and he quickly sent me a nice QSL card and note back.  Thanks for the contact and quick return of a QSL card for a “new one”!

73 & Happy Holidays!

Contact with Antarctica South Pole

After getting home from work tonight I was sitting down at the computer and noticed a spot for KC4AAA in Antarctica at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. I had seen Antarctica spotted before but never had a good copy on them. Tonight the station was coming in a good S5-S7 and fully copyable.  I listened for a bit and he was on 14.177 listening up on 14.240. I tried calling for about 30 mins and he worked 2 or 3 stations a minute but I wasn’t able to get through. He went off the air for a bit and I turned the radio off and did a few other things.

Just before 0200z I turned the radio back on to get on a local 10m net and he was still there. I tried again and on the second call he came back to me. I completed the call and gave him a 5-7 report. He indicated I wasn’t moving his s meter but he was able to copy me fine. He asked where I was located in NJ as he’s also in NJ and told him where I was.

Thanks so much Andy, WA2DKJ, for the contact!


2009 ARRL 10m Contest Summary

This weekend was the ARRL 10m contest. With my G5RV antenna, 10m isn’t a strong band for me, but I participated anyway. Well, I participated for the minimal time this weekend I was able to get on the air.  I got on Friday evening, but the band was dead and made just a few local (NJ) contacts before calling it quits. Saturday morning I made 2 contacts  with GA and MN before I had to leave for the day/night.

I got back on Sunday morning, made 4 calls and then had to leave for 5 hours. When I got back on Sunday afternoon I was finally able to sit down and work the radio a bit. The first 4 contacts on Sunday after noon were to MO, 2 to OK and one to AR. I then had a few NY/NJ contacts before a real DX contact was made with Martinique, followed by Chile and Argentina, all on CW.  That was it for my DX contacts on 10m though I heard stations in Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico around the same time but they were unable to hear me before I lost the opening.  I then had some stuff to do around the house and wasn’t hearing much on the air anyway so I came back to the radio infrequently through the rest of the contest.

I did chat with K2DEN & K2DBK, 2 local ops that I know, about how they were doing and it seems it was a minimal effort for all 3 of us. I don’t know how others in my club did as no one has sent around an email with their score summary.  I have already uploaded the contacts to LoTW, eQSL, and ClubLog as well as filling out 2 QSL cards to the CE4CT and LU1HF for the 2 longest 10m contacts to date.  My cabrillo log has already been sent in for the contest as well as to the Super Check Partial database.

ARRL 10m Score Summary:

 Band  Mode  QSOs    Pts  Cty
   28  CW      16     64    9
   28  USB     16     32    7
Total  Both    32     96   16

Score : 1,536

See you on the air,

Panama DXCC confirmed via HP3DX

I have 1/2 a dozen contacts with Panama but none were confirmed yet until today when a QSL card arrived from HP3DX via W4WX.  The other contacts did not QSL via LoTW and I’m sure return QSL cards via the bureau are en-route. Since HP3DX uses a local QSL manager in W4WX, I was glad to be able to get this one checked off.

Bill, thanks for the contact and new DXCC confirmed!


Macedonia DXCC confirmed with Z36W via LoTW QSL

I have more then a dozen contacts with Macedonia in the logbook with 3 different operators, but none had yet been confirmed until today. Over the weekend was the 1 day TARA RTTY contest and a contact with Z36W in Macedonia was confirmed overnight on Logbook of the World (LoTW).  Thank you Venco for the contact and confirming a new DXCC for me.


2009 TARA RTTY Contest Summary

Friday night into Saturday I operated the TARA RTTY Melee contest. It’s a 24 hour contest that you can operate a max of 16 hours. I started on Friday evening and operated for about 4 hours making 103 contacts on 40m and 80m and primarily US/Canadian stations. I got back on the next morning after 8.5 hours off so I could operate as much as I wanted on Saturday.

Saturday I spent most of the day on 20m. I checked 15m a few times but never heard any stations. Even on 20m I was making contact primarily with US/Canadian stations. In total there were 24 different countries outside of mainland US and Canada I had a contact with so really not too much DX. We started to get snow flurries mid morning and it turned to large wet snow flakes which came down for the remainder of the day.

I left during the day for a couple hours to go and meet Gordon West which was fun. Other then the break for a couple hours I tried to be on the radio as much as I could. As the day/contest wore on, it was more difficult to find new stations that were in run mode, and when I went into Run mode the contacts were sporadic with extended periods of the macro calling CQ and repeating. Some 15m and 10m activity would have helped and maybe the 160m contest had some folks operating there instead.

I ended up with 260 contact which is 61 contacts better then my score in this for 2008. All contacts have been uploaded to LoTW, eQSL, and ClubLog and the log file sent in. There were a few paper QSL cards to  fill out for this and I did those this morning along with finishing up some lingering from last weekends CQ WW CW contest.  I’ve already seen a lot of eQSL and LoTW QSLs for this contest already on the respective sites.

Here’s my score summary:

Band    QSOs    Pts  Cty
 3.5      82     82   20
   7      61     61   26
  14     117    117   27
Total    260    260   73

Score : 18,980

See you in the log,