Monthly Archives: June 2010

Two Years on HF – Some Stats

I didn’t realize it but 2 weeks ago I celebrated by 2nd full year on HF. I documented my first year in amateur radio on HF in a series of posts:

K2DSL’s first year on HF – Part 1
K2DSL’s first year on HF – Part 2
K2DSL’s first year on HF – Part 3
K2DSL’s first year on HF – Part 4
K2DSL’s first year on HF – Part 5

I don’t think I’ll be as verbose this year but here are some of the more interesting stats covering my 2 years in ham radio…

I logged a total of  17,956 contacts in 2 years with 7,500 being logged in the first year which means in year 2 I logged a whopping 10,456 contacts!

The top stations I have logged over 2 years are N2BJ with 67 contacts, WA5ZUP with 65 contacts and AB4GG with 57 contacts. I can usually count on those 3 fine folks for at least one contact in any contest and usually more then one.

I show a total of 169 different logged DXCCs which is 24 more then last year. I looks like I have 159 of those DXCCs confirmed.  I looked at the top DXCCs based on the number of logged contacts and the top 6 match the top 6 from last year – US, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain & then European Russia.

Looking at the contacts by band over the course of 2 years, 20m is still the most logged with almost 8900 contacts followed by 40m with 4249 & 80m with 3475. 10m jumped from 29 in the 1st year to 162 now. I didn’t have any 6m or 2m contacts logged in the 1st year and now I have 78 contacts on 6m and 69 contacts on 2m with most of those during some VHF contests.

Looking at the contacts by mode, RTTY is still the top for me with 9106 contacts logged. SSB is 2nd with a total of 5213 contacts and then CW in 3rd with 3518.

I continue to send out more QSL cards then I get back, but they are starting to come in a bit more now that I’m hitting 2 years and the bureau usually takes at least that long. In paper QSLs, I’m not up to 538 received which is a bit better then a 1/3rd of the 1433 sent out.  For LoTW, all contacts are uploaded and I currently show 9510 QSLed. That’s pretty good at 53% confirmed. A lot has to do with a lot of RTTY contest contacts and they are the best at confirming via LoTW. eQSL shows I have 4854 confirmed which is 27%.

I continue to enjoy so many different aspects of the hobby, but contesting, and specifically RTTY contesting, is what I currently can’t get enough of. I’ve done pretty well too for a single station running 100w and nothing more then a G5RV wire antenna. In the 2010 ARRL RTTY Round Up I finished first in the Hudson Division LP category winning my first plaque. In this months CQ magazine I see in the 2009 CQ WPX RTTY contest I ended up 9th overall in the entire US in the LP class. I can’t wait for the next contest and for my next year on HF.

73 and good DX!

2010 Field Day Recap – K2BAR

Field Day is a great event (aka contest) for a lot of reasons. It’s a total club (K2BAR) effort and we all have fun. Here are the highlights as I saw them.

We had the following set up: an all-band station using a vertical, a 15/20m station setup with a tribander on a tower we put up, a 40m station using a wire antenna, a 80m station using a wire antenna, a 6m station using 2 loops on a mast and a GOTA station using a wire antenna.  The weather was warm but it didn’t bother me at all.

Setup seemed easier then the previous 2 FD events I have been at. We put up 1 tower and a bunch of antennas. We were ready with plenty of time to spare before the contest started. We had plenty of food and drink around and plenty of operators to work all the stations. As things got rolling, I started on the 15/20m station. 20m was very noisy (the band, not any local noise) and was wall to wall with stations on top of each other, sometimes with 2 operating on the exact same frequency. It was rough going and finding a free frequency to call CQ on was a lot of work. So after a while I switched to 15m and the band was much quieter but still very active. We closed out the first day with more contacts on 15m then 20m.

I stayed overnight and around 2am popped into my car for about 4 hours. 20m was dead and I wanted to catch a couple of hours of uncomfortable but needed sleep, especially because I was before 5am on Sat morning. I woke up before 6am and there were fresh hot coffee cups waiting to be sucked down so I grabbed one and a choc donut. I changed my clothes and got back onto the air. 20m was workable and by the late morning, we had 20m with more total Q’s then 15m for the first time since we got on 15m on Saturday. Late in the morning I flipped to 15m and it seemed to start hopping again so I made a few Q’s before someone else sat down. I went over to 40m and got on there for a bit.

My wife and one of my daughters came by to help us have someone under 18 make a contact which gives additional points. I took my daughter to the 6m station which was available, tuned around and found a station we hadn’t worked. I told her to say Kilo 2 Bravo Alpha Radio and she did it perfectly. The other op came back with his reports and she gave 4 Foxtrot Northern New Jersey and he said QSL. She did it perfectly. Well, she’s 14 and not 6, but I was still impressed.

When I came back to the 15/20m station, 15m was again ahead of 20m and the ops were doing well so I went back to 40m. We ended up with 1003 Q’s on 40m eliminating the few dups that were logged. On 15/20m we logged 654 Q’s and on 80m we logged 359 Q’s. On the other stations (misc, 6m and GOTA) we logged 105 Q’s for a grand total of 2121Q’s which I don’t think counts the handful of fun satellite Q’s we made or the few solar powered Q’s made.

Teardown seemed to be much easier then previous years and I think because we did really have a lot of folks to help. Once things were broken down they were loaded into the rented UHaul and taken to the garage where we unloaded things quickly. After getting home, hitting the shower felt great. I fell asleep about 9pm and didn’t wake up until the alarm went off at 6 for work.

It was a great weekend. Lots of fun, lots of operating, lots of friendship. I can’t wait until next year.

K2DSL (operating as K2BAR for Field Day)

Entering in Paper Logs – 2010 WPX SSB

Randy, K5ZD, put out another request for volunteers to assist with entering paper logs that were submitted for the 2010 CQ WPX SSB contest. I let Randy know I was willing to help out and he sent me a scanned log for OK2PBG with 161 logged Q’s.

Randy suggested using a program called LM which I didn’t have installed on my new notebook so I downloaded it and fired it up. It is very efficient for entering in paper logs once you figure out the little tricks, especially around the time of the QSO. You just need to enter the last digit of the time and it takes a good guess at what it should be based on the previous Q’s time. You only need to mess around if the time is more then 10 mins after the previous time and you just highlight the other numbers in the time, one by 1, and adjust as needed.

I am a decent typist so I banged out the first log quickly and sent it back last night. This morning Randy sent me another log for HP3FTD and before heading to work I fired up LM, entered in the base info (call, name, power, class, address, etc.) and entered in the first batch of Q’s in no time. I will finish it up tonight when I get home from work.

I find it interesting to do this. Since this is a recent contest I am seeing many calls I have worked myself. It is also interesting to see the contacts made from other locations in the world. It is like having a one way mirror view of what each operator was hearing as they worked the contest.

I am just glad the 2 ops logs I got sent have very good handwriting. I do wonder though, if they both supplied an email address, couldn’t they have done the same thing I am doing now and entered their log into LM and sent it in? Yes, they could just have email, but I bet they have a computer.


Weekend contacts in Ham Radio

This is an in-between weekend – after the VHF contest and before Field Day next weekend. I got on the radio various times this past weekend and made a few contacts. On Saturday I was able to log my first contact with a station in Mongolia participating in the All Asia CW contest. There was a lot of QRM but I am sure he was coming back to me.  I also worked a Japan station and a couple of Asiatic Russia stations participating in the Asia contest. There was also an extremely strong station in Turkey that I previously worked on RTTY that I worked on CW. There were 2 IOTA DXpeditions that I was able to work in Scotland and Greece. I’m not a big IOTA chaser but might as well log them.

Also on Sat & Sun I worked a few 6m stations though nothing out of the US. I have a fellow ham nearby that has a nice 6m beam and amp and it’s interesting for me to just listen to him work 6m stations when the band is open. I think it is one of his favorite bands to be on. He was working some stations out west in openings though I either wasn’t on the band when they were around or I can’t hear them, which isn’t unusually when I’m just on a G5RV wire antenna.

I also found out from my daughter that her boyfriends dad is a ham. I’ve only met him once but next time I see him we’ll have something to chat about.


June ARRL VHF Contest with Pictures

The local club always plans on a big VHF contest weekend heading up to the top of a mountain that was previously a Nike missile base but the threat of thunderstorms has caused us to again cancel the club event. So when I got word it was cancelled, I decided to put up a 2m 4 element beam I picked up about 1 year ago on top of a non-metal military type mast. So my setup for the contest at home is this 2m 4 element yagi where I can run 100w that I can turn manually, my G5RV to try and tune some 6 meter contacts that can also run 100w and my dual band vertical on 70cm that I can run at 35w.

Saturday afternoon when the contest started, things were a bit slow going as all the strong 6m stations with beams were working each other and a low power wire antenna 6m station like myself was only breaking through with the more local stations. 6m though was extremely active and I’m not usually on 6m but folks were ecstatic about how good propagation was. There were longer openings to FL and shorter openings to the midwest though I did get a nice contact with a NM station in the short time I could here him. I also heard a VP9 station in Bermuda but he had a big pileup so I continued to tune around.

2m was interesting as it was the first time that at my house, I had any directional capability, all be with a manual rotor – me running up to the 2nd floor balcony and turning the pole. But it worked well and I had some fun on 2m. I think with 6m being so good, less folks moved to 2m unless they were a multi-op station. If 6m wasn’t so active I think I would have logged even more on 2m.  I was calling CQ on 2m from time to time and was real surprised when a station from Texas that I worked on 6m called me on 2m. He was booming in. I heard the next day that other folks on 2m also worked him and he was booming in to them as well. For me that’s about a 1280 mile 2m SSB contact.

I only made 2 70cm contacts and those were with very local stations. On my low power and vertical, it’s not enough to work much more then the local area. At the end of the first day I finished up with 60 contacts with 33 on 6m, 25 on 2m and 2 on 70cm.

On Sunday things were a bit slower as I worked many of the stations but I kept popping around between 6m and 2m throughout the day. It seemed to me like there were less openings on 6m then the day before and the openings were shorter, but there was some activity. I logged a Nebraska station mid day and even a Bermuda station that had too big a pileup the day before. I did hear a California station which was booming in, but all the high power stations were getting in and he started to fade so I turned the dial.

Late in the evening I called it a night and wrapped things up. It was fun, though I would have enjoyed being with the club, on the mountain, with beams and a KW or so of power. If I’m counting correctly, I worked a total of 18  states + Bermuda. On 6m I worked 16 states + Bermuda and on 2m I worked 7 different states. Below are pictures of the 6m and 2m maps based on 6 character grid squares. That Texas 2m contact really was an exception!

2010 June VHF 2m Contacts - Click to see full size
2010 June VHF 6m Contacts - Click to see full size

Here’s the N1MM Score Summary:

   Band    QSOs    Pts Grid
     50      50     50   27
    144      51     51   13
    420       2      4    2
  Total     103    105   42

  Score : 4,410

73 and thanks for all the contacts,

2010 Alabama QSO Party

On Saturday, while I was in and out running errands and performing chauffeur duty I was on the radio trying to make another contact with E4X ham radio DXpedition in Palestine on Phone or RTTY. Well throughout the day I tried and tried but I didn’t log another contact with them, but at least I am in their log once.

In between trying to log E4X, I started to make some contacts in the Alabama QSO Party and in the end I finished up with 72 contacts with 43 different operators.  There were some pretty active rover/mobile stations participating and if I was around more I probably could have logged more counties.   In the end I finished up with 35 different AL counties in the log out of 67 counties in the state.

Here’s my N1MM score summary:

  Band  Mode  QSOs    Pts  Sec
   3.5  CW       5     10    0
   3.5  LSB      1      1    0
     7  CW       9     18    4
     7  LSB     12     12    4
    14  CW      33     66   26
    14  USB     12     12   11
 Total  Both    72    119   45

 Score : 5,355


A good DX day – Palestine & Jordon

I had off from work yesterday and spent a little time on the radio starting in the late afternoon. One of the hardest areas for me to make a contact with is with Asia and the Middle East. Yesterday I was able to log 2 Middle East countries for the first time. I also worked some other DX as well.

E4X is the call for a DXpedition to Palestine. They have been on the air for a few days but if I heard them at all, they were weak and the pileups were big. Yesterday I just tuned to various bands/modes as they were spotted and listened until I was able to hear them just enough to make out my call if they came back. 17m SSB seemed like a good shot yesterday but they never heard me before I couldn’t hear them any longer. On 20m CW I spent a lot of time sending my call and when I heard DSL come back over the noise at 2137z, I sent my call again and heard K2DSL completely so I returned with TU 5NN K2DSL and heard TU back.  They weren’t strong and there is a lot of QRM from stations not transmitting up the band as they should so I couldn’t be sure until I woke up this morning and checked the online logs and sure enough K2DSL is shown as working them on 20m CW. Woohoo!!! I will try and work them on phone and RTTY too if I can over this weekend as they start to wrap things up.

A couple hours later I saw a spot for JY4CI in Jordon on RTTY and I could hear him ok so I started to send out my call. He had a pileup as well and he was working stations but I could hear him well enough on 20m. After a short while I saw K2DSL come across the screen so I sent back his report and saw his TU which also contained K2DSL. I emailed him at his address to make sure before I sent so $ to him for a QSL card and short time later he confirmed via email I was in his log and that he was running 35w. I’ll be sending off a QSL card to Rafiq for sure!

Besides these 2 new DXCCs I worked VP8LP in the Falkland Islands on 17m SSB and FO8RZ in French Polynesia in the South Pacific on 12m RTTY. I caught FO8RZ just before he said he was QSYing to 17m so I flipped to 17m, found him and was his first contact after he switched bands.

Definitely a good DX Day!