Monthly Archives: May 2010

2010 CQ WPX CW Summary

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend (at least in the US) but it is also the weekend for the CQ WPX CW ham radio contest. I had a lot of other activities this weekend but when I could get on the air I did.

Friday night I got on at the start and conditions were pretty lousy. I decided to try Fldigi along with DM780 to help in decoding the incoming morse code. I ended up staying with DM780 since it seemed to do a little better job. I really would like Fldigi to work because it is better integrated with N1MM and would allow a bit more point/click like in a RTTY contest using MMTTY. I put in a little time before picking up one daughter from her friends house and ended with 36 Q’s on Friday. I needed to head to bed a bit early because we had our clubs spring hamfest the next morning and it starts early.

Saturday morning I woke up before 6, got ready and then zipped off to our clubs hamfest which is pretty popular in the area. As for me, no real ham radio purchases but I did pick up some Rescue Tape which seems pretty cool. I also grabbed some screw on caps for unused PL-239 connectors on my rig to keep them covered. I was at the hamfest until about 2pm when I got back on the radio and worked stations for a few hours. Conditions were still not good and when I called it quits on Sat evening I was at 150 Q’s.

Sunday morning I got back on the radio and it seemed conditions might have been a bit better but not too much. I ended up spending a bit more time hunting and pecking for contacts on 15m and 10m then just knocking out more 20m contacts.  I had made some 10m contacts on Saturday but there was more 10m activity on Sunday. I worked 38 contacts on 10m which isn’t easy for me on my G5RV. I ended with 4 10m contacts to Brazil, 1 to Columbia, Martinique & Puerto Rico and 31 in the US. From NJ I had the most 10m contacts with FL at 12, 4 with TN, 3 with AL, 2 with CA & 1 with AR, GA, IL, MN, NJ, OK, SC, TX & WI. I already have some new states on 10m confirmed via LoTW since the contest ended. Any time I can hear a 10m station they can hear me so I must be stronger on TX then they are on RX.

We had a BBQ to go to Sunday afternoon so before 3pm (1900z) I finished things up and that was the end of the contest for me. I ended up with 255 total Q’s with the breakdown as follows:

 Band    QSOs     Pts  WPX
  3.5       7      13    5
    7      40     157   31
   14     116     192   83
   21      54      85   25
   28      38      50   14
Total     255     497  158

Score : 78,526

73 & good DX,
K2DSL

QSL cards from bureau – New DXCCs confirmed

In the mail today from the NJDXA which handles the incoming 2 call area was a large Priority Mail envelope stuffed with 67 QSL cards. It might not be as exciting as finding out you won the lottery but it sure beats having bills in the mail!

On initial inspection I noticed 1 returned card with an Iceland operator via a LX manager indicating he wasn’t a member of the LX bureau. I looked online and the QSL info which is now over a year later then when I sent it indicates to send direct only.  I also had two cards that are for other 2 call area operators that I’ll hand back to one of the guys in my club that handles cards and he’ll get them directed to the proper ham radio operator.

Looks like the QSL cards received today provided me with my first QSL confirmations for Chile, Angola & Namibia. Chile is surprising but I guess none of the hams from Chile are using LoTW and it has taken this long to receive a QSL card via the bureau. I’ve only had 1 contact with a amateur station in Angola via D2NX and it is now confirmed. There were a bunch of really nice looking QSL cards in the batch that were great to look at. If the report is correct I’m up to 159 confirmed DXCCs. This leaves just 6 DXCCs i have worked that I don’t yet have any QSL for.

73 & good DX!
K2DSL

D-Star Presentation

Last night the Fairlawn NJ radio club hosted a D-Star presentation which was fantastic. The presentation was given by WA2EPI (Sam), WA2RMZ (Randy), NI2O (Mark) & N2KTO (Dave). All 4 are active with D-Star though there currently aren’t any D-Star repeaters (or hotspots) in Bergen County. Sam (WA2EPI) kicked off the session with a general intro.

We got an overview of the technology and history behind D-Star by Randy (WA2RMZ) as well as the components (repeaters, gateways, reflectors, trust servers, etc) that make up the D-Star network. Mark, (NI2O) who makes a hotspot board that allows you to relatively inexpensively pop up a D-Star node reviewed the HW and software that would be used. Dave (N2KTO) then discussed what he setup in his county to provide D-Star access.

The session was extremely interactive and though I am sure some folks got a bit glassy eyed at the architecture and capabilities, it all made sense to me. All 4 are extemely enthusiastic about the technology and capabilities of the new platform. The more folks that get involved, the better it is for everyone as it expands the D-Star network.

There are 2 big factors in why I haven’t tried D-Star. The first is the cost as there is no entry level radios so you are looking at $450-700 for a D-Star radio be it a HT or mobile rig. Second is there aren’t any D-Star repeaters in my area so even if I purchased a radio I might not be able to hit a repeater. The hotspot that Mark’s board provides seems to help make the 2nd issue a bit less of a roadblock. For maybe $250 or so you can create a D-Star access point. Since I can’t do everything at once, I think it makes the most sense to get the AP up and running first to provide access to any other D-Star user and then provide access for when I purchase a radio.

Let’s see how this starts to pan out.

73,
K2DSL

Ham Radio Callsign & Call Area Analysis – Callsign #

Adding to the analysis done in previous posts at Ham Radio Callsign & Call Area Analysis and Ham Radio Callsign & Call Area Analysis – State Stats here’s some more info to review.

Florida is the state with the most differences between the call area (4) associated with the state and the call area of callsigns of operators registered as FL residents. The top 5 callsign call areas in Florida calls that aren’t a “4″ are:

Callsign # Total
2 2723
1 1614
8 1379
3 1324
9 1099

Looking across all callsigns that don’t match their geographical location, the following are the top 5:

Callsign # Total
6 12204
2 11047
4 10522
3 8001
9 7516

If you have any questions on call info, send them along to me and I’ll see if the data provides a mechanism to answer them. More to come.

73,
K2DSL

Ham Radio Callsign & Call Area Analysis – State Stats

Ham Radio Callsign & Call Area Analysis talks about how I gathered the data and very high level groupings comparing call areas by address vs call areas as derived from a ham operators callsign. I ran some additional queries to show information by state.

The first set of results lists each state alphabetically and how many operators are classified as living in that state, how many mismatches based on the callsign call area and the percentage of mismatches based on that state.  The follow-up data below it shows the top 10 based on # of mismatches and % of mismatches.

Alphabetical listing by state:

State Total Mismatch % Mismatch
AK 3744 425 11.4%
AL 12027 1106 9.2%
AR 7880 878 11.1%
AS 36 5 13.9%
AZ 17660 4584 26.0%
CA 103017 7133 6.9%
CO 14254 2901 20.4%
CT 7948 639 8.0%
DC 442 147 33.3%
DE 1634 188 11.5%
FL 41790 10891 26.1%
GA 17034 2166 12.7%
GU 521 35 6.7%
HI 3663 407 11.1%
IA 6480 568 8.8%
ID 5910 750 12.7%
IL 22067 1663 7.5%
IN 15912 1393 8.8%
KS 7611 725 9.5%
KY 9540 949 9.9%
LA 6882 415 6.0%
MA 13840 1047 7.6%
MD 11215 1713 15.3%
ME 4701 384 8.2%
MI 22175 1483 6.7%
MN 12023 955 7.9%
MO 14275 1584 11.1%
MP 519 28 5.4%
MS 5322 552 10.4%
MT 3539 425 12.0%
NC 19715 2821 14.3%
ND 1537 103 6.7%
NE 4023 371 9.2%
NH 5389 507 9.4%
NJ 14790 1049 7.1%
NM 6727 1304 19.4%
NV 6189 1881 30.4%
NY 29638 1815 6.1%
OH 29973 2014 6.7%
OK 10273 995 9.7%
OR 16252 2156 13.3%
PA 24890 2306 9.3%
PR 4810 3870 80.5%
RI 2161 136 6.3%
SC 8637 1293 15.0%
SD 1828 284 15.5%
TN 16737 2002 12.0%
TX 49871 5663 11.4%
UM 1 0 0.0%
UT 12728 1078 8.5%
VA 18603 3654 19.6%
VI 281 243 86.5%
VT 2307 222 9.6%
WA 29637 3168 10.7%
WI 11685 929 8.0%
WV 7118 588 8.3%
WY 1797 280 15.6%

Top 10 states by # mismatches:

State Total Mismatch % Mismatch
FL 41790 10891 26.1%
CA 103017 7133 6.9%
TX 49871 5663 11.4%
AZ 17660 4584 26.0%
PR 4810 3870 80.5%
VA 18603 3654 19.6%
WA 29637 3168 10.7%
CO 14254 2901 20.4%
NC 19715 2821 14.3%
PA 24890 2306 9.3%

Top 10 states by % mismatches:

State Total Mismatch % Mismatch
VI 281 243 86.5%
PR 4810 3870 80.5%
DC 442 147 33.3%
NV 6189 1881 30.4%
FL 41790 10891 26.1%
AZ 17660 4584 26.0%
CO 14254 2901 20.4%
VA 18603 3654 19.6%
NM 6727 1304 19.4%
WY 1797 280 15.6%

More stats to come,
K2DSL

Ham Radio Callsign & Call Area Analysis

There was a discussion on the QRZ.com forums about ham radio callsigns and call areas that got me thinking about facts vs assumptions. The FCC provides the US ham radio callsign data that it uses on its ULS site as downloadable data – see http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=transaction&page=weekly . I downloaded the full data which is just under 100MB (zipped – 370MB unzipped) and using the MySQL database which is on one of the webservers I host sites on, I loaded up the relevent info.

In a quick look at the data, I cared the most about the callsign, active records, the state associated with that callsign based on the current address the FCC has on file, the FCC assumed call area based on that address and whether the callsign was systematically assigned or a vanity call. With that info I noticed that there were a few ‘states’ associated with military users such as APO/FPO so ignored those for these results. I then pulled the call area out of the callsign taking into account Alaska, Hawaii and the islands such as PR and Guam. I am now able to easily compare whether an individual’s home call area based on their address with the FCC matches the call area represented in their call sign.

I only had a little time to run some queries against the FCC data and here are the statistics:

731,258 total records ignoring military addresses
644,387 match the call area based on address vs callsign- 88% of total
86,871 don’t match the call area based on address vs callsign – 12% of total

Split of data by service code (HA = FCC assigned / HV = Vanity):
HA 645,136 (88.3% of all records)
HV 86,122 (11.7% of all records)

By service code where call areas match:
HA 573920 (88.9% of all HA records)
HV 70467 (81.8% of all HV records)

By service code where call areas don’t match:
HA 71216 (11.1% of all HA records)
HV 15655 (18.1% of all HV records)

It does show that vanity callsigns have a bit higher rate of representing a different call area then the actual address on file.

Before I left for work I did a quick search by state and it looks like FL represents the state with the largest number of licensed ham radio operators that list their residence being in FL but don’t have a 4 call area callsign.

More to come…
K2DSL

APRS activity at Dayton Hamvention

Over the next few days, as a swarm of ham radio operators converge on Dayton, OH, you can monitor the APRS activity in the area. Go to the APRS.fi view of Dayton to see all the action. If you really want to zoom in, here’s an up close view of the arena area.

You can also view various messages being passed through at http://aprs.fi/?c=message&call=

Maybe I’ll get there next year. It would be great to meet the contesters that I’ve made so many contacts with over the past couple of years.

Sample activity from Sunday morning 5/16/10 (click to see larger view):

73 and drive safely,
K2DSL

Great Surprise on PSK-31

I had emailed back and forth with KJ6AMF, a ham radio operator from California, where Ray was looking to log a NJ contact on PSK-31. As I was about to head off the computer for the evening I got another email from him indicating he was on the radio if I was around and able to make a contact. I fired things up and we had an easy contact on 20m. After we finished the QSO, across the screen comes “K2DSL Dave de WD5EAE WD5EAE”. I immediately recognized the call as Stephen is the developer of Ham Radio Deluxe Utilities (HRDU) and we have exchanged emails many times. HRDU is an invaluable tool if someone uses HRD for logging.

Stephen had a great signal from Texas and we chatted for a few minutes. He indicated he hasn’t been on the radio since November so I can’t imagine a bigger coincidence then him being on for the first time after half a year off and me being on PSK-31 for the first time in a long time AND him seeing & recognizing my call on the waterfall. I’m sure glad it happened. Thanks to KJ6AMF for needing NJ and contacting me. Both KJ6AMF and WD5EAE are already confirmed on LoTW within a couple mins of both QSOs, thanks to HRDU of course!

I also have 2 new DXCC’s confirmed the past 2 days. The first was on LoTW by 9K2MU in Kuwait. I had made a SSB contact with Murtada back on April 11th and now have it confirmed. I also received a direct QSL card from YB0PAH in Indonesia for our RTTY contact during the BARTG Contest back in March. That brings my DXCC count to 157.

73,
K2DSL