Monthly Archives: January 2010

A contest station even a wife could love!

Check out the KH7XS superstation which is for sale. Price seems very reasonable.

I know my wife wouldn’t mind a tower in her back yard if the front and sides had views like this house has!

In 10 more years, this might have been a perfect buy for me!

73 and still dreaming,

Don’t VHF Ops use LoTW?

It’s been 4 days since the ARRL Jan VHF Contest ended and I’ve only received 2 QSLs on LoTW out of the 43 contacts. Now 43 isn’t a lot of contacts, but only 2 LoTW QSLs? That’s less then 5%. I’m only noticing this because I really had no logged VHF contacts before this so I was hoping to see some show up. The 2 contacts that are confirmed in LoTW are both 6m contacts with ops in CT and NY. Oh well, maybe 1 or 2 more will trickle in.

I also received a QSL card in the mail from WB2CUT who is in central NJ. When I work the VHF contests with my local club and we are using K2BAR as the call, WB2CUT is always one of the loudest signals we here. Thanks for the card and I’ve already mailed out my reply QSL.


9J3A – Zambia Confirmed for New DXCC

In November’s CQ WW CW contest I worked 9J3A located in the Kalue National Park in Zambia. This was my first contact with Zambia and I sent off for a QSL via S57S in Solvenia with $2 US and today I received the reply QSL. Thanks S53A for the contact as 9J3A and the new DXCC.

73 & Good DX,

2010 ARRL January VHF Contest Summary

On Saturday morning I participated in the BARTG RTTY Sprint. I was out on Sat afternoon and evening but thought on Sunday I would head over to our unofficial VHF club station at one of the ops houses for some VHF contesting. By the time I would have been able to head out it was after 3PM so I figured instead I would just get on and hand out a few FM contacts to nearby ops. I ended up doing a bit more then that.

My ‘antenna farm’ consists of a dual band vertical I use for FM repeaters and a G5RV wire antenna. It is certainly not a VHF superstation! So I got on 146.580 FM and made a contact with a local operator. I was trying to contact the op of the house I was going to go to but he wasn’t responding on that frequency. I then switched to 6m SSB and worked the same op I just worked on FM. I tuned around 6m a bit and made a couple more contacts. In this contest the op will typically ask if you have other bands and then switch to an open frequency on that other band. VHF contests sees comparably less activity then a HF contest as it is typically local contacts so there is plenty of room on the bands. So for the 1st time ever I tune my Kenwood TS-2000 to 144 SSB and make a contact. I am able to run 100w on 144 but 50w max on 430. We then try 430 and though ops have no problem hearing me, even the strongest ops are weak for me to hear. But in the end I worked 3 ops on 70cm SSB.

Over the next few hours I worked stations on and off on 6m and 2m SSB. I even called CQ on 6m for a short while and got a few ops that came back to me. All contacts were in NJ, NY, CT and PA. I heard a station in the Midwest and in Florida on 6m but they couldn’t hear me and were gone quickly.

As I am familiar with many ops and their call signs I work in HF contests, from operating a few VHF contests since I’ve been licensed I am familiar with the local VHF ‘big guns’ and I worked a bunch I had worked in previous VHF contests when operating under our club call of K2BAR. I was able to work the op of the house I was going to head over to on 6m, 2m and 70cm. I worked 2 other ops on all 3 bands and a few on 2 bands.

Though I had planned a little VHF work on Sunday and then it seemed like I might not be able to, I ended up very pleasantly surprised with what I was able to do. I am interested to see how the other club members I worked made out.

Here is the N1MM score summary for my time in the VHF contest:

  Band    QSOs  Pts  Grid
    50      23    23    7
   144       3     3    1
   144      14    14    3
   420       3     6    2
 Total      43    46   13

 Score : 598

I am looking forward to June’s VHF contest where we go to the top of a small mountain and setup some towers and operate with beams and some power. A VHF contest with my club was my first exposure to contesting and what got me excited about being on the radio.

See you on the air,

2010 BARTG RTTY Sprint Summary

I knew I would only be able to put in a couple of hours out of this 24 hour contest because I was going to be out from Sat afternoon until very late. I got on the air a bit after the contest started (7am local time) and worked contacts intermittently throughout the morning and very early afternoon while I was getting ready for the remainder of the day. I stayed in S&P mode the entire contest  just because I was constantly needing to stop and do other things.

A few contacts were made on 40m at the onset and then I moved to 20m for the rest of the day. 20m was fine but not wall to wall and there was a lot of tuning around to find workable stations. I didn’t even try 15m. I ended up working 110 contacts before I needed to leave for the day which was around 1PM local time. When I got home, it was now 1:30AM local time and I told my wife I’d be on for just a few minutes. I spun around 40m and 80m and made another dozen contacts in 15 minutes before working everyone I could hear. I shut things off and went up to bed with 122 contacts logged which is fine with me.

Here is my N1MM score summary:

  Band    QSOs    Pts  Cty  Sec  Cnt
   3.5       8      8    0    2    0
     7       9      9    2    4    1
    14     105    105   30    6    3
 Total     122    122   32   12    4

 Score : 21,472


Zimbabwe (Z21BB) worked and confirmed

Monday was a holiday for some in the US so I was off of work for the day.  I got on the air late in the day and worked ZS2Y in South Africa on 20m RTTY and then on 20m CW Z21BB in Zimbabwe and 5N50K from Nigeria. Z21BB in Zimbabwe was my first contact with that DXCC entity.  After the contact I looked and saw Fernando was a LoTW user and overnight he uploaded his logs and in less then 24 hours I had a new DXCC worked and confirmed.

I had a good copy on all the stations and especially the RTTY contact with ZS2Y was booming in.  Thanks for the contacts from Africa!

73 & good DX,

Ghana 9G5TT QSL – New DXCC Confirmed

Back in November I came across 9G5TT calling CQ and was able to make a contact.  I had sent a direct QSL card and $2 to I2YSB and this weekend I received a really nice QSL card back. It’s a folded (4 sides) QSL card covering 9G5XX and 9G5TT with a picture of the DXpedition team on a beautiful beach. It even has raised text on the front and back of the cards.

The QSL card confirms a new DXCC for me bringing my total up to 146 confirmed if I’m correctly counting.  Thanks to 9G5TT for the contact and I2YSB for a quick turnaround on the QSL.

73 and good Dx!

2010 NAQP SSB Summary

Back to back NAQP weekends. Last weekend was the NAQP CW contest and this weekend was the NAQP SSB contest.  The contest runs from 1pm to 1am local time for me where a single op can work 10 of the 12 hours. I was out with one of my daughters until the early afternoon but was able to get back home in time to put in close to the 10 hours.  A SSB contest feels like a lot more effort is needed then a CW and RTTY contest but with everyone running 100w, at least for me, the NAQP SSB contest is easier then a DX SSB contest. For all the effort though it is a real pleasure to speak with the ops that during a RTTY or CW contest get a canned message. I recognize a lot of the calls I have worked many times and some of the ops recognize mine and take a moment to say hello, thank you for all the contacts or complement you on your signal or audio.

I started around 3pm local time so I lost 2 hours of 20m time. I worked 20m for the first 2 hours. I tried 15m a couple times but only squeezed out a couple contacts. I thought maybe there would be more activity there since each state is a mult for each band, but 15m, at least for me, was dead. 20m got me the western states from the midwest on out and some of the southern states.

After 2 hours on 20m I switched to 40m for about 90 mins with only occasionally popping back to 20m to see if anything new was going on there but I didn’t find much more on 20m. 40m got me a bit more of the closer states but even some west coast thrown in. I switched to 80m for a few but it wasn’t busy yet and after logging what I could work I popped back to 40m.  I started on 80m around 6:30pm local time and that is where most of the activity was for me with occasional bounces back to 40m. In one of the times I popped back onto 40m I was able to work Alaska right at 8pm local time. Looking at my contacts when I went back to 40m for a few mins, besides Alaska I worked CA, WA, CO and KS.

80m was where I was able to work the nearby states in 3, 2 and 1 call areas, none of which were logged on any other bands. I did some S&Ping and then found a spot and had a productive run for about 1 hour or so where I was able to log a bit over 1 Q per min.  As the run dried out I did some S&Ping to catch what I could and then a couple of much smaller Runs over the course of the evening. From the summary you can see 2/3 of the contacts were on 80m.

I did try 160m once but on my G5RV and a LDG tuner I was not able to get a low enough SWR so my power was reduced and even a NJ contact I could hear fine couldn’t hear me well enough to log.  I’ll have to see what options I have to try and get something functional on 160m.

I didn’t work any Mexico or DX stations this time. For US States I missed Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, Montana and Nevada.  I didn’t log a bunch of Canadian Providences but those would typically be logged on 20m which I wasn’t on much.

I think about 10 hours straight on a phone contest is all my ears and voice can take. But I really enjoy the NAQP with the more leveled playing field and the very friendly ops. I was too pooped last night to upload everything so I did that this morning. Logs were uploaded to LoTW, eQSL, HRDLog and ClubLog. I’ve also submitted the log to NAQP. Next up in the NAQP is the RTTY contest the end of February. Off to 3830 to post my info.

Score Summary:

Band    QSOs     Pts  Sec   NA
 3.5     210     210   43    0
   7      46      46   22    0
  14      68      68   20    0
  21       3       3    2    0
Total    327     327   87    0

Score : 28,449

73 and happy contesting,

Liechtenstein & Madagascar – New confirmed DXCCs

This past week I received a QSL card via the bureau from HB0/HB9AON from a contact made in the 2008 CQ WW SSB contest for my first QSL for Liechenstein.

Overnight I also received a LoTW QSL for Madagascar for a CQ WW DX CW contact made in November 2009 with 5R8ZO. N5ZO was the operator.

These 2 new DXCCs put me at 145 total confirmed DXCCs.


2010 NAQP CW Contest Summary

I thought I was going to have to miss a few hours of this but it turns out one of my daughters events is today, Sunday, and not Saturday, so I was able to put in a full time effort. It was another very cold day (20 degrees or less) like the previous week, but no snow and no wind.

I started out on 20m when the contest got going at 1pm local time and stayed there until the sun started to set. I bounced back to 20m from time to time even after the sun went down to see if there were any new stations I could hear. I logged 3 Alaska stations but I didn’t hear any Hawaii stations. I operated without using packet cluster so if they were spotted I wouldn’t know. I checked 15m a few times and normally made a contact or two but there didn’t seem to be much activity there. I even checked 10m twice just for giggles but didn’t hear a peep. I was on 20m from 1:00pm (1800z) through 4:15pm (2115z).

Besides missing Hawaii, I didn’t see Nevada, North Dakota or Nebraska and locally I didn’t see any Vermont or Maine stations. I was able to work 44 of the 50 US States and 8 of the 13 Canadian Providences over the course of the contest.

As the sun started to set I went over to 40m and spent two hours there tuning up and down the bands. There was minimal noise on 40m and conditions seemed to be good.  Other then a quick scan of 20m/15m I was on 40m from about4:15pm  (2115z) until about 6:15pm (2315z).  I popped over to 80m and spent 30 mins logging stations there before heading back to 40m until about 8:15pm (0115z)

At 6:15pm (2315z) I switched to 80m for 30m and logged 27 stations. At 8:15pm (0115z) I came back to 80m, started at the bottom of the band and worked my way up. It was pretty noise so I had the RF gain down a lot so I could stand listening but that didn’t matter as all the signals were strong. I was able to work about 1 QSO per min moving up the band and logged 67 Q’s in 70 mins by the time I hit the top of the band. Each slight turn of the dial yielded another station to work. A quick pop back to 40m to check if there was anything new and a few stations were logged including Puerto Rico. I then went back to 80 and dialed up the band again to work any other stations I might have missed or that came on after my last scan, but that first scan was pretty wall to wall.

Here’s a screen shot of my desktop after scanning up the 80m band the first time. You’ll be able to see the band map on the right showing all those stations worked. If you click the small image it should open a larger image of the screen. In the center you’ll see DM780 which I use to help interpret the incoming CW. All the other windows are part of N1MM from the list of multipliers by band on the top left, some basic stats under that, the main entry window under that and the packet window under that (which is blank since I’m not connected). At the middle on top is the count by band and under that is the check window for call signs entered in the main entry window. On the right side at the top is the list of QSOs made and the far right is the band map which in this case shows everything worked already since the call signs are all light gray.

Here’s my score summary for this years NAQP CW ham radio contest:

Band    QSOs     Pts  Sec   NA
 3.5     131     131   37    1
   7     128     128   39    1
  14      99      99   24    1
  21       8       8    5    0
Total    366     366  105    3

Score : 39,528

Next Saturday is the NAQP SSB (Phone) contest but I am pretty sure I’ll be away from home for most if not all of the contest. If I get on at all it will be late so likely 80m and maybe some stragglers on 40m is where any activity will be.