Monthly Archives: May 2011

Dayton Hamvention Follow-up with Pictures

I’ve been busy at work and at home since returning this past Sunday from Dayton and my first trip out to Hamvention. Posts here from last week note the highlights from each day I was there. This post puts up some pictures I took while there. I probably should have taken more pics, but I will make do with what I have. All pictures below can be clicked on to open a larger view of the image.

I snapped the following picture on my drive out I-80 from Northern NJ to Dayton. It was raining most of the morning until about 5 mins before I reached this location right near the PA/OH border. This is the antenna farm for K3LR

. The picture was taken as I was buzzing down the highway and I think it came out very well for being taken at *slightly* above the speed limit and out a car window. I cropped it to show the relevant portion. The picture really doesn’t show the vastness of everything that K3LR has at his location.


This next picture is of a spark gap transmitter that one of the hams brought with him and rolled out at the Crowne Plaza Thursday night. It was absolutely gorgeous and it really worked and I recall him saying it was about 1500 hours of work.  The transformer is the top left and to the right of that you’d see some pretty amazing blue lights between the 3 silver balls when the key was pressed down. I didn’t recall the ops call sign, but I did some searching and found a video from last year’s hamvention at indicating the op is N4GG.  I think my picture captures the gorgeous look of the transmitter better than the video, but the video shows it in action. I also took a video and just uploaded it at



Here’s a picture of a very eco-friendly vehicle for Mr. APRS himself that I spotted in the flea market area:


This picture captures Rob KC2RDW (left) and Steve W2ML (right) early the first day of the flea market. KC2RDW was a personal tour guide for me showing me the hamvention ropes. Rob’s a long time attendee at hamvention:


An “portable” AM transmitter located in the back of a pickup truck in one of the corners of the flea market. If I recall it was a Collins transmitter. A computer and mic were located in the back seat of the pickup and if you open a larger view of the picture you can see the wire dipole used as an antenna:


The large MFJ booth which was very busy both days I was at the show:


The Heil booth was stocked and busy. I snapped a picture of Bob Heil who was there as well talking with folks that stopped by:


There was a large group of hams from BARA (Bergen Amateur radio Association) which is my local club in Northern NJ that made the trip out to Dayton. I happened to be by the YL booth when a bunch of the BARA YL’s affectionately known as BARA Babes stopped by. 4 YLs and 1 grumpy OM:


Gordon West, WB6NOA, was there in his booth and would give various demonstrations. I happened to catch him during one of his demos:


Here’s a picture of the main arena floor. I’d say the main arena floor is 1/20th or less of all the inside vendors. The main vendors in this part of the show were Kenwood, Icom, MFJ, DX Engineering & HRO:


The ARRL had a very large area inside with sections dedicated to kit making, kids, DXCC checking, a large store of their products, and other ARRL related sections like LoTW. Next to the ARRL were booths representing various countries such as Germany, China, Japan, Qatar, the UK, etc. It was great to see such an international representation of hams. Here are some pics from that area of the show:

The German booth with a representative from DL land and 9K2CW from Kuwait:


Qatar booth:


If you have $20k to spare, you can pick up a new Hilberling radio. Add in another $1k if you want the gold microphone:


I wonder if my wife & neighbors would notice if I rolled this Luso tower onto my property:


This last picture was taken at a forum on Saturday where Mike K4GMH (right) presented a history of RTTY contesting. In the picture (left) is Ed W0YK/P49X who gave 3 outstanding sessions at Contesting University a couple of days earlier. These are the top 2 RTTY contesters in the world as far as I’m concerned. The pic is a little blurry because it was dark in the room:


I hope you enjoyed a pictorial look at some of the sites I experienced at Dayton.


Dayton Hamvention – Day 3

I set off for the day with a couple of items on my agenda. I wanted to get the ARRL TravelPlus data I mentioned yesterday loaded on my Garmin so that was the first place I went. It didn’t take long and it was loaded up.

I walked around a bit checking things out and I noticed a short line to meet with astronaut Doug Wheelock so I jumped on the line to wait. When I got up there, he was great. We had a little chat as he signed a picture of himself. A very friendly ham in line with me took a picture and a small video. Here’s a picture taken from the video.

Another item on my list for the day was to attend the RTTY forum where Mike, K4GMH was speaking. I work Mike in almost every contest and I have heard great things from NO2T who is in my club and friendly with Mike. His talk about the history of RTTY contesting was great to listen to and some of the experiences you had to go through back then shows how far things have come. After Mike’s presentation I went up and introduced myself.

After that, I walked around the vendors for a while and decided to upgrade my car antenna so I picked up a Diamond SG7500 with NMO connector and a large magnetic mount for it. I’ll give it a test out on the ride back home tomorrow. I then went back to the hotel to pack up a little and rest a bit before the Contest Dinner over at the Crowne Plaza.

I got to the contest dinner and had a beer before they opened the doors and I picked a table to sit at. I sat with folks from NM, FL, OH & MI. The master of ceremonies was K1AR, the main speaker was K0DQ and VE3EJ was elected into the CQ Hall of Fame. Just before everything got started, I noticed Scot, KA3DRR walking in and sitting at the table next to me so I got up and introduced myself. Scot posts on his Radiosport blog at which is how I first knew of him. I’ve worked Scot in at least one contest and maybe a couple more. It’s always nice to run into folks you’ve met online or on the air. At the dinner there were lots of prizes with the grand prize of an Icom-7000 going to KL7RA. I’ve worked KL7RA on 15, 20 & 40m bands in CW, SSB & RTTY.

All that is left now is to drive the 10+ hours home on Sunday. I’ll be xmiting APRS as K2DSL-7 if you are really bored and want to track me on I will have more to post during the week as I look through the pictures I have and post some that are meaningful and at least somewhat in focus. My first trip to Dayton was a resounding success starting with Contest University, the flea market, vendors, meeting many folks I have met on the air, and topped off with the Contest Dinner. I’m not sure I’d come back every year, but I’d definitely come back.


Dayton Hamvention – Day 2

Friday kicks off the flea market and vendors inside Hara Arena. The less than stellar weather from the past few says was gone and it was mostly sunny and going to be in the 70’s all day. I got to arena around 8:30 and was in awe of what I saw and not really sure of how to describe it. The entire outside of the arena in the parking lot is vendor after vendor sending everything, though mostly ham related items. I don’t know the total number of vendors in the flea market, but it’s probably thousands. I hooked up with Rob, KC2RDW, a long time hamvention attendee, and we walked the aisles for a bit. We ran into some folks Rob knew from previous trips to Dayton and we ran into local members of our club.

I had won a free hamvention t-shirt as a giveway for the hamvention facebook page, so I got a call I could go over and pick up the shirt from their booth. We walked around a bit more and found one of the sellers with radio dust covers and I picked up one for the TS-2000.  I decided to head into the arena where the commercial vendors are. I probably saw 1/3 of the outdoor flea market vendors before I went into the arena. Inside the arena were recognizable names like MFJ, HRO, DX Engineering, Kenwood, etc. I walked through and checked out all the vendors on the main arena floor before heading off to one of the adjacent areas. There are multiple large sections similar to most any trade show, but the sheer volume of ham related vendors was amazing. To give an idea of the size, I spent the entire time from say 10:30-4:30 inside without browsing the flea market.

Some of the vendors are smaller “mom and pop” types and others are large commercial companies. There are vendors selling parts, organizations of all types from QRP to CW to regional clubs, large manufacturers like Elekraft, Flex Radio, Yaesu, etc. The ARRL has a huge area with products, DXCC checking, kit building, etc. It goes on and on in a series of large rooms you walk through with hundreds of vendors.

During the day I ran into ZS2DL, Donovan, who was picking up some equipment I had to deliver to ZS2EZ. I was also spotted by K8SM, Scott, who I spoke with on the phone a couple of times assisting him with getting N1MM and MMTTY working on his home setup. There were a lot of ops from outside the US. Germany, Japan, Qatar, RSGB and others had areas set up and I snapped some pics I’ll upload after I get back. I also was checking out some radio direction finding equipment

and it turns out the fellow giving me the demo lives in the town next to me.

Something I found very interesting when walking around the ARRL booth was they just released a product where their TravelPlus repeater data is able to be downloaded onto a Garmin GPS. As you are driving around, you can go to a screen and see all repeaters for that area or repeaters for a specific band. I’m going to bring my GPS in tomorrow and have the new product installed on my Garmin.

I also hooked up with W2CYK, Bob, and his son W2EEO. Bob is the creator of Rfinder

, an Android application that contains worldwide repeater data. It uses the GPS in your Android smartphone to determine your current location and download repeater information to your phone. I had spoken with Bob a few times since I downloaded his app from the Android Market. He’s done a great job enhancing the program and providing a way for users to submit info on repeaters to help maintain the data. Check out the app in the market – it’s a solid product!

Doug Wheelock, the astronaut that I made my ISS contact with, was at the ARRL and AmSat booths today. There was a long line so I didn’t wait, but I did snap some pics I’ll post after I get home. Maybe I can get on line tomorrow to shake his hand.

I was checking out the hex beams as a few club members have them and really like the performance they receive. I was also checking out a new dual band Diamond Antenna for the car. We’ll see what Sunday brings.


Dayton Hamvention – Day 1 – Contest University

Whata great day! It started around 7:30am at the Crowne Plaza and a hearty breakfast with a large group of energetic hams from all over the world. After a brief intro by KL3R, K1DG Doug gave an enthusiast presentation on contest ethics with many similarities to the sport of birdwatching called Birding.

For the first session I attended a presentation by N0AX on beverage receiving antennas and general contesting tips. It was a good overview and specifics on options for locations where you don’t have 100s of feet for beverage wires. The 2nd half of Ward’s presentation was general tips and kinks with some maybe obvious tips that fly out of your head in the heat of a contest. Preparation, execution and Run, Run, Run are key.

The second session I attended was Getting Started in RTTY Contesting. Though I might not consider myself as someone that is a true beginner, I’ve never been to any formal discussions on RTTY and this session proved very enlightening. The session was given by Ed Muns, W0YK, one of the world’s best in RTTY contesting.  It had a very informative technical discussion of a RTTY signal, AFSK vs FSK and setup followed by setting up MMTTY. Ed prefers space vs dash between data elements in an exchange, a continuining discussion/debate on RTTY reflectors.

The next session was Advanced RTTY Contesting again presented by Ed, W0YK/P49X. Ed showed a single screenshot with multiple decoding profiles for the same signal to catch the rare transmission where 1 profile decoded the signal better which isn’t something I had considered but will check out when I’m back home. He also brought up a bunch of options to consider for MMTTY/N1MM to optimize the user/interactions of the programs. The discussion of Ed’s setup and how he operates is just mind-boggling to the average man.

We then made our way to lunch where we had a eyeball QSO contest before the afternoon sessions got underway. I ended up coming in with a group of folks that finished 3rd overall.

After lunch I attended the session by Randy, K5ZD, on SO2R operations. Randy covered areas on what skills to develop, options on equipment needed or to help with SO2R, and ergonomic design.

Th next session was a Q&A session on the Reverse Beacon Network and contesting software led by Peter, N4ZR. Peter gave an overview of the RBN, some suggestions & considerations for using it, and some insight into other developments that are underway. A question was asked about a version to support RTTY but the developer appeared not to be to interested in that. There was also a bit of discussion at the end about interfacing a CW decoding program with N1MM but nothing appears to be in the works with that either.

The final Q&A session was with W0YK, Ed, about any RTTY questions folks had. Ed gave more insight into the profiles he uses and a group discussion on setting things up. I asked a question about the reasoning behind people using .3 and .8 as the frequencies such as 14080.3 and 14080.8 and they said their radios aren’t like that.  I’ll have to figure out what on my setup (radio, N1MM or MMTTY) is causing it to show that way after I get home.

Contest University wrapped up with a discussion on radio performance by NC0B. He provided a tremendous amount of detail on the testing he does for radios. Tim, K3LR, wrapped things up for the day around 5pm. Though I was there from 7:30am – 5:00pm, it felt like the day flew by. I could have spent hours more talking with the experts as well as the other participants. It was nice meeting a bunch of folks that came up to me or that I spoke with where we recognized each other’s call signs. I’d definitely sign up for Contest University again whenever I do get back to Dayton. It was extremely informative, well run and just a lot of fun. Thanks to all the folks that put it together and ran the sessions – magnificent job!

Tomorrow I’ll head over to the flea market/arena for 2 days of walking and looking at a sea of equipment. The weather looks to be outstanding both days.


Dayton Hamvention – Day 0

This morning I woke up at 5am, showered and hit the round around 5:30am on a 635-ish mile drive from Northern NJ to Dayton OH. This is my first time to Dayton and I’m looking forward to what the next few days will bring.

It was raining most of the morning for the ride on I-80. I had the radio xmiting APRS for K2DSL-7 and I had the other channel on 146.52. Somewhere in Pennsylvania, I heard a short conversation between 2 stations. 1 station was dropping out for me but the other was strong. After they finished, I called WE1M who happened to be just a couple vehicles behind me and travelling to Dayton from CT. I spoke with Gary, WE1M and Tom, K1TMM who was travelling with Gary for quite a while before we decided to find a place to eat. We pulled off of  I-80 and into a Denny’s. We had a good chat and they gave me some advice for a first timer to consider while we had a nice breakfast together. When we finished, I took off a bit ahead of them and didn’t hear them again for the rest of the ride. I’ll keep an eye out for Gary & Tom during the rest of the week.

As I approached the end of PA, I was keeping an eye out for the K3LR antenna farm that is right along the highway. I’ve never been out this far on 80 so I never passed it even before I became a licensed ham radio operator. As I was probably a mile away, I was pretty sure I spotted a couple of towers and I was in complete amazement as I passed by. I have seen ham radio heaven and it is K3LR. Here’s a picture I snapped out the window as I zoomed by (click to see a larger view)…

I’ll see if I can snap a better picture on the ride back home on Sunday.

Got to Dayton without any issue and without too much traffic. I found the Doubletree Hotel very nice when I checked in. I unpacked and relaxed for a bit before heading out around 7:30pm to the Crowne Plaza to check in for tomorrow’s Contest University and to visit the Contest Supersuite.

Weds night the Contest Supersuite was relatively calm. As I was checking in and gave them my call, the person in front of me turned around and it was Amir, K9CHP, who I’ve communicated with a bunch online via blogs/emails and even an on-air contact back in Feb. We spent the night chatting and we were joined by NT9F, Kelley. At 10:30 the pizza arrived and we all had some before calling it a night as we have to be back there before 8am for Contest University.


Dayton Hamvention – Prep

I’m about to embark on my first trip to Dayton, OH for Hamvention 2011. I guess my excitement is similar to telling a 6 year old they are going to Disney World.

What I’m most looking forward to over the next few days are the following:

Contest University – A full day of seminars and interacting with the ops I have made many contest contacts with, weekend after weekend. The seminars look to be informative and I hope to walk away with insight from those that astound me with their abilities.

Doug Wheelock – AMSAT will have astronaut Wheelock at their booth. KF5BOC was the astronaut aboard the ISS (NA1SS) when I made my first contact.

Contest Dinner – Sat night will be the big banquet and I again look forward to interacting with those I have met over the air.

Nightly gatherings for pizza/friendship in the suites at the Crowne Plaza and some NJDXA gatherings. Though I’m not a NJDXA member, they are the incoming QSL bureau for the 2 call area and many members of my club are NJDXA members.

The enormity of the flea market and the indoor vendors will probably blow me away. Since I’ll be in Contest University on Thurs, I’ll have Fri & Sat to walk around and see the vendors. I know those 2 days will wear me out.

I’ve got a 630 mile ride out on Weds and back home on Sun. I should be transmitting via APRS as K2DSL-7 during the long trips and listening on 146.52 as well.

I’ll post some updates during my time there. K2DBK (Dave) has a good summary in case you don’t want to wait.

Wish me luck!

2011 Volta RTTY Summary

I didn’t think I’d have time on Saturday but things changed and I was able to get on the air on and off throughout the day. The Volta RTTY ham radio contest allows anyone to work anyone though there are 0 points associated with working someone with the same call area (K2/N2/W2 in my case). More points are awarded for DX contacts on a different continent. The score gets very large as the total is # QSOs x Points x Multipliers.

Got on around the start of the contest for a short time making 10 contacts before I needed to head out for a couple hours. One of the contacts was a booming JA station. JM1XCW always has an unbelievable signal.  I came back after noon and worked throughout the afternoon, on and off, between other errands/activities. The first contact when I got back on was with JA2XYO who also had a nice signal to the east coast. Most activity was on 20m with some activity on 15m. I only heard 1 station on 10m which was a station in Guadeloupe and it is already been confirmed on LoTW for a new 10m DXCC for me.

Other than the typical contacts, I had the 2 contacts with Japan from RTTY ops there I’ve made a few contacts with before. I also was surprised to see HZ1PS from Saudi Arabia again. I had made a contact with Peter just last week and he was coming in strong again. When I put out my call again, instead of getting the contest exchange, I received and sent the following:

JLADSL UR 599 342 342 2 21 21 K2DSL F
 HZ1PS TU 599 044 044 05 K2DSL TU AGAIN VY 73 DE DAVID 

As you can see from the exchange, he was sending me serial # 342 and I was sending # 44. Even competing in a contest, Peter took the time to make a personal contact. Vy 73 Peter and thanks again!

I was S&Ping most of the time though I took short stints on 20m calling CQ from time to time, especially when I seemed to have worked anyone I could hear. I was on 20m checking 15m and 10m from time to time until 8:30pm (0030z) when 40m was where most of the activity was. I stayed on 40m most of the evening (when I was on and not doing other things) until 11pm (0300z) when I called it a night. I had a decent CQ run on 40m late in the evening.

I woke up around 6:30am local time with 90 mins left in the contest, but we were having pretty good thunderstorms passing through so I didn’t bother to hook up the radio.

Here’s the score summary showing how high the scoring in this contest gets:

 Band  QSOs   Pts  Mults
  40:   52    261    16
  20:  108   1538    38
  15:   17    208    13
  10:    1      6     1
Total:  178  2013    68
Total Score = 24,365,352

I’m off to Dayton this week for the first time so I might have a few posts about that coming up. I’m attending Contest University on Thursday and the Contest Dinner on Saturday night which will be two highlights for me. I’m sure I’ll be in awe of how big it is. Hopefully we’ll have good weather and I can meet a few folks that I have met on the air.

73 & good DX,


Saudi Arabia Logged for a New One

I checked the cluster to see if there was any QSO party activity going on as I worked some yesterday on SSB and would try and make a few more contacts. I saw a Saudi Arabia station spotted on RTTY so I tuned to 14.085 and I was able to copy the station. HZ1PS was working the ARI contest and coming in pretty clear. I needed to crank down the RTTY filter tight on the TS-2000 because there was a nearby station that was very strong.

After he finished working a station I sent my call twice and he came back with AGN AGN so I sent it again and he came back to me! Even in the contest he was sending more than just the serial number. Here’s the MMTTY log file edited with the noise taken out.

K2DSLU 59 428hRWI 428 K2P
 HZ1PS 599 001 001 DE K2DSL

It looks like Peter uses LoTW so hopefully I’ll get this one confirmed. Thanks for the new one Peter and very 73!

Edit Monday May 9 – Overnight my contact with HZ1PS was confirmed on LoTW. Thanks very much Peter!

Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) & Android

I have a Verizon Motorola Global 2 (Droid 2) Android smartphone. My phone is NOT rooted so you don’t need to do anything special to your phone to make this work. I’ve wanted a way to be able to view my contacts on the phone but hadn’t found a usable method until today. I had tried using Android based database applications such as Memento but I was unable to successfully import the Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) database in without it crashing. I use Microsoft Access as the underlying database in HRD v5  so if you are using MySQL, your steps might vary slightly. The solution below might not be viable for all folks but if you a little technical or willing to experiment and have some SQL knowledge it could be a very useful solution. Everything below is free and requires nothing to be purchased. The first steps are only necessary the first time to get things setup/installed.

Installing the Android client application:
This step just needs to be done once. I found a program that allows you browse SQLite database files on your Android phone. This program is not one I located in the Android Market so you need to copy the installation file (APK) from your computer to your SD card. First download Android SQLite Manager from to your PC. Copy the downloaded APK file (aSQLiteManager.apk) to your phone’s SD card. I created a directory on my SD card called SQLite and copied the program there. Using the built in Files program I browsed to my SD card and the SQLite directory I created and launched aSQLiteManager.apk . It asks if you want to Install it so click Install and proceed. You will then have a new program/icon on your home screen called aSQLiteManager.

Installing the Windows PC client application:
This step also just needs to be done once. On the PC side, you want to download a free program called SQLite2009 Pro Enterprise Manager from . Scroll down a little on the page to find the free version. Download the ZIP and run the enclosed exe to install the program. This program allows you to create/manage SQLite files.

Creating the Ham Radio Deluxe SQLite database:
You want to run these steps whenever you want to refresh the Ham Radio Deluxe database copy on your Android smartphone. Launch the SQLite 2009 program you just installed and across the top you’ll see an icon in the middle of the toolbar that when you mouse over says “Import Data”.  When you click this, you’ll launch the MS Access Import Wizard. You’ll need to know the location of your HRD Logbook. Mine is located in the directory at C:\Users\xxxx\AppData\Roaming\Simon Brown, HB9DRV\HRD Logbook where xxxx is my user name on the PC. In the wizard, select the location and MDB file of your HRD logbook database. The default option selected is MS Access so you don’t need to change that, but if you use MySQL in HRD5, you’d select that option first and then specify the appropriate connection info. Click next and you need to specify the new SQLite destination and filename. I specified C:\Program Files (x86)\Osen Kusnadi\SQLite2009Pro\database\HRDLogbook_2011-05-01.db3 which is the date of the import and the location of SQLite on my PC. Click Next again and select the only HRD Access table called TABLE_HRD_CONTACTS_V01 and click Next again. The database will be create/imported and you’ll just click finish after it completes. I have about 27k records and a relatively fast computer and it took under 1 minute to import the 27k records to build the SQLite file.

The only oddity I noticed is the file was not saved to the directory I specified and instead was saved to C:\Users\xxxx\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\Osen Kusnadi\SQLite2009Pro\database so look in a similar location under your AppData\Local directory if you don’t find it where you specified.

Now you can copy the .db3 SQLite file from your PC to your Droid. I placed mine in the SQLite directory I created in the first part. My SQLite file was around 27MB for the 27k records.

Using the aSQLiteManager Android program:
Now with your Android app installed and the converted HRD database on your phone, launch the aSQLiteManager program from your home screen. Note the “a” at the start of the name so don’t scroll down looking for it starting with “SQL”. When you launch the program the first time, click the menu button on your phone and select Options in the app. Check off the option to Save SQL in database so it remembers your recent entered SQL, at least until you refresh the database. Click Open Database and select the HRD database file you just copied from your PC and confirm you want to open it.

You can view the table structure, etc but where the value is for you will be behind the Query button. If there was a more user friendly vs developer friendly generic SQLite client for the Android, folks might have an easier time, but until I find one or someone points one out, this is the best solution for now. Behind the SQL button you can enter in or select recently entered in SQL. SQL is the statement which tells the database what you want it to do/retrieve for you. An example of a SQL statement for the HRD data would be:

select * from TABLE_HRD_CONTACTS_V01 where col_call = ‘K2DSL’

and after typing that and pressing the RUN button all records where I was the person you logged would be returned. A more manageable set of results would be:

select col_time_on, col_mode, col_band, col_call, col_country, col_contest_id from  TABLE_HRD_CONTACTS_V01 where col_call = ‘K2DSL’ order by 1

That query, in landscape mode, allows me to see all fields and scroll through the contacts I made with a given operator in the order they were made. If you’re not comfortable with SQL, this could be a bit tough but doable. To see all the column names, don’t use the menu button in the SQL entry window but go to the main window and select table and drill down to see all the columns.

In the SQL window if you click your phone’s menu button there’s an option for Recent SQL which will pull back recent queries you made to save on typing.

This is more of a technical users solution but it works. I’d appreciate any feedback or alternative options you have found. Also as new apps are released, this could only get easier.

K2DSL – David