Category Archives: Misc

DARC Radio Amateurs World Atlas – A good DXCC/prefix reference

I had limited time in the month of December to operate and just dabbled in a couple of contests when I had some time. In the 10M RTTY contest I made 109 contacts and during the ARRL 10m contest I worked 89 SSB contacts.

One of the gifts I requested this year was the DARC produced Radio Amateurs World Atlas. I saw this 23 page reference in it’s previous version and really wanted my own copy. It just happens that the latest edition was just released so if you are interested, you want the August 2013 printing that has a purple cover with a multi-color world image on it.  The older version is a yellow cover with black text . My copy, for $13, was purchased from Universal Radio at http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/books/6082.html

Inside, the Radio Amateurs World Atlas contains full color maps of the world showing Continental boundaries, DX Zone boundaries and Prefix boundaries. As an example of prefix boundaries, for Japan, it shows what area represents JA0, JA1, …, JA9 prefix calls. For anyone, myself included, that doesn’t have every DXCC’s “zones” memorized and likes to look at maps, this reference is a good one. Maybe there are similar maps online, but I haven’t run into them.

Here’s an image of one of the pages of the map (click to see larger view):

Radio Amateur World Atlas

Happy New Year everyone!
K2DSL

 

A little Makrothen RTTY contesting

A real busy weekend so I had minimal time to get on the air but for 90 mins I was able to work the fun Makrothen RTTY contest where the exchange and points are based on grid squares and distance. A few contacts = a lot of points! Friday night I had things to do when the contest first started and made just a few contacts later in the evening on 40m & 80m .

Saturday morning I was up at 4am ET (0900z) for our club’s hamfest. Weather was great and I brought 11 cards with me for out local DXCC Card Checker to validate them. All went well with checking the cards. Our local checked W2IRT had a bunch of folks stop by to get their cards checked. I then needed to leave the hamfest for a wedding so I came home, get ready and while waiting for my wife I worked some more stations in the contest before heading out for the day.

We stayed overnight at a hotel so by the time we got home from the wedding early Sunday afternoon, the 3rd session for the contest had just ended. Ended up with 63 contacts with maybe 90 mins of time on the air.

 Band    QSOs    Pts
  3.5       6   11490
    7      10   44690
   14      12   83668
   21      27  147270
   28       8   50930
Total      63  338048

Score : 338,048

73,
K2DSL

 

DXCC – Just passed 200 Entities

I just finished my LoTW DXCC submission for the year and I have 202 entities. I have another LoTW one that came in and a few paper QSL cards I need to have a DXCC card checker process so it’s closer to 208-210 right now.

Still need to get an antenna back up after Hurricane Sandy brought them down but just need some good weather and some time.

73,
K2DSL

Hurricane Sandy – Bye Bye Antennas (Pictures)

I need to post about last weekend’s CQ WW SSB contest and I’ll get it eventually. Hurricane Sandy passed through NJ this past weekend and boy did it do some damage. Things were sort of ok until a huge 70 ft tree from our neighbors yard came crashing down. Luckily it didn’t have a direct hit on the house or detached garage and mostly fell in between both, It took out the gutter on the side of the garage and gutters on both my 2nd floor and first floor of the house.

The tree also took out my G5RV and my 10/15/20m fan dipole. It bent the pole my dual band VHF/UHF antenna is on but otherwise I think that is probably ok. So without antennas I might not be on for a while. Hopefully I can get some new ones made and shoot some rope up to get them in the air and me back on the bands.

No power since since Monday around 6pm and I wouldn’t expect it back until late in the weekend or early next week. At the end of our street we had a huge tree come down and take 5 poles with it. 4 of the poles snapped in half and there’s still piles of transformers laying in the street. I have a generator for keeping the fridge powered and our phones charged but no heat and no hot water in the house.

Here are some pics (click to enlarge)…


 

Some pics of the downed power lines (click to enlarge):

 

When I see pictures of the devastation in NYC and the Jersey Shore I know my family and I got away pretty lucky!
73,
K2DSL

W2ML Steve Mendelsohn SK

Steve Mendelsohn W2ML passed away yesterday morning after battling pancreatic cancer. I mentioned just last week that Steve was inducted into the CQ Hall of Fame. I’m glad he got the news before he passed.

Steve was one of the first hams I met after I obtained my Tech license in August 2007. I attended a Bergen Amateur Radio Association (BARA) club meeting a couple weeks later and upon walking in, Steve’s wife Heidi W2MLW was the first person to come up to me. At a break during the meeting, Steve came up and introduced himself and I consider him a friend since that moment. Steve has a long career in ham radio and public service and was tremendously enthusiastic about ham radio and specifically our club. I will miss see Steve at all club events, his sense of humor and enthusiasm.

Here are a few articles that detail his lifetime involvement in the hobby, his 30 years of service in the Navy, his 36 years of being the NYC Marathon Communications Director, and his years of being the NFL Gameday Frequency Coordinator for the NY Jets.

ARRL – Former ARRL First Vice President Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML (SK)
NY Times - After 36 Marathons, One Radio Goes Silent

W2ML - Steve Mendelsohn

73,
K2DSL

W2ML – CQ Hall of Fame!

Congratulations to Steve Mendelsohn W2ML on being inducted into the CQ Hall of Fame. Steve is the current Bergen Amateur Radio Association club President. Steve has been the Communications Director for the NYC Marathon since 1976 and recruits hundreds of hams each year to line the marathon route and provide communications. He’s also been the former ARRL First Vice President, Director.

Steve’s enthusiasm for the hobby as a whole and his love of contesting make him a pleasure to be around, speak with and learn from.

Thank you Steve for everything you’ve done for the hobby, for our club and for me personally.

73,
K2DSL

Where have I been?

It has been an unusually long time since my last post. Sometimes other events take priority and that has been the case over the past couple months as my older daughter is finishing up her last year of high school and getting set for college. I’ve had a few trips, some other commitments, and the weekends fly on by.

I have done a small amount of operating, most recently last weekend in the New England QSO Party with about 90 mins of SSB activity on 40m working.

I’ve also assumed the Treasurer responsibilities for my local radio club as the previous Treasurer is moving away from the area. I needed to take turnover of documents, banking accounts, etc. I also gave a refresher demo on N1MM logging program to the club at our last meeting as we are switching from CT to N1MM.

I did volunteer again to assist with CQ SSB paper log entry for those submitting their log on paper. I enjoy doing it so it certainly is no bother to help out.

I have listened a couple of times for the Yemen DXpedition but so far no luck. Maybe I should take a day off from work and I might have a better shot at getting them in the log.

73,
K2DSL

Create a Google Map of your ADIF Contacts

About 1 year ago I created a post about Creating maps of ham radio contacts utilizing Ham Radio Deluxe. That process required using Ham Radio Deluxe as well as having some way to host the generated KML file. Well recently I’ve switched to using DXLabs suite of ham radio logging applications and the feature to create maps isn’t yet part of the suite. So what’s a ‘ol developer to do but go ahead and write his own solution. So here I’m announcing the available of a web application that reads in an ADIF file of ham radio contacts exported from your logging program and a way to create a Google Map showing those contacts. ADIF to Map is now available.

The ADIF to Map web application requires your logging program to associate a latitude/longitude or grid square with each record. Most logging programs allow you to capture this information (lat/lon and/or grid) but it normally needs to be entered by you or populated via a callbook such as QRZ or HamCall to name a couple.  I use QRZ and their XML subscription service ($29.95/yr) and it’s well worth it. If you don’t make a lot of contacts, some programs support population from QRZ without a paid subscription but the number of lookups is limited. Without a latitude/longitude or grid square associated with each contact, there’s nothing to map.

ADIF is a standard format used by most all logging programs to import/export data.  You’ll need to find out how to export an ADIF file from your specific logging program. Over time I might add some steps for the more popular ones to the FAQ, but there are so many different logging programs in use I wouldn’t be able to keep it up to date. When you export an ADIF file, you’d create a local file on your computer, so note the location of that file.

Click to enlarge

Once you have the ADIF file local on your computer, visit  ADIF to Map and click on the Choose File button and select the ADIF file. There’s an option to specify your home QTH as some logging programs don’t export the information. If you’re not sure or want to specify your home QTH grid square, enter it in the box provided. Once you’re ready, press the Upload and Map button and depending on the size of your ADIF file it could be a few seconds to a couple of minutes before you see the contacts displayed on a Google Map.

Click to Enlarge

Hopefully the map displayed your exported contacts, but if you received unexpected results, check the FAQ for some ideas on why. Each point is clickable and will display the call of the station and depending on the data available in the ADIF export also the QSO date,time, band and mode of the QSO. There’s also a link under the map to display the map in a larger view which will give you a full screen Google Map of the same data. There’s also a link to save the generated KML file to your local computer. This is the file the web application creates for Google Maps needs and can also be read by Google Earth if you have it installed on your local computer. The created KML files used to map your contacts are stored only for 1 day, so if you want, save a copy locally. You can always re-upload and map your ADIF file.

As a reminder, each contact record in your logging program needs either a latitude/longitude or grid square associated to it which should be exported in the ADIF file by your logging program. If that info isn’t there, nothing will be mapped.

I’ll be adding some additional features to the application as well as handling any reported errors you might find. Though ADIF is a standard, there are likely different logging programs that interpret that standard slightly differently and I might need to adjust the application to support it. If you find something that isn’t correct, please let me know by referencing the FAQ on The application generates an error.

I hope you enjoy the application and please provide me with any feedback you have or issues you encounter.

73 & Happy Holidays!
K2DSL

Ham Radio Deluxe – Sold to New Developers

I’ve been very busy at work and home and haven’t spent a lot of time on the air lately. This weekend I couldn’t even make it up to the site where my club was operating the VHF contest though I did make 3 contacts with them on the bands I have. In total I made 14 contacts in a few mins of working them and whoever else I could hear at that time. Hopefully I will be able to participate fully in the RTTY contest in 2 weeks.

With the title of this post, the forums and mailing lists were abuzz with news that Simon Brown HB9DRV has made a deal to sell his popular and free Ham Radio Deluxe software. The group making the purchase is http://www.w4pcsoftware.com/ - Mike Carper WA9PIE, Randy Gawtry, K0CBH and Rick Ruhl W4PC.

A lot of the posts I saw were reactions and assumptions around the program likely moving from free (though you could donate) to a paid product. Reactions were pretty upbeat from what I saw with hopes being reasonably priced and continued support/enhancements, where enhancements have been slow to come lately with Simon focusing on a SDR program. When I last looked there wasn’t any official response from the team making the purchase.

I imagine that those where price might be a factor will look elsewhere and those comfortable with the program and seeing a decent value in a modest cost (if it will be a paid program) will likely stay and see how things progress. Of course, the current version would likely continue to work for quite a while and folks can remain on the version they have and wait things out.

A link to a QRZ thread on the topic – http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?312536-Development-to-continue-on-HRD...

Simon produced a fine program for many years and though I tried many others, I kept coming back to HRD. We’ll just have to see what happens in the future.

73,
K2DSL

Goodnight Irene!

Spent Friday evening after work and all day Saturday prepping for Irene, removing everything from the yard, prepping a 5700 watt generator, running extension cords, getting flashlights/batteries ready, etc. The rains started on Sat night and it rained and rained and rained. The winds weren’t bad during the storm when it was running. About 3:30am early Sunday morning we had a series of short power losses and just before 4am we lost power. I went outside, started the generator, plugged the sump pump in for myself and my neighbor and couldn’t go back to sleep.

I stayed up throughout the storm and things weren’t too bad until late morning on Sunday when the water in my backyard started. We have a pond and stream behind our house and only one time before was it an issue – Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The stream overflows its banks and that isn’t so bad until the pond also overflows and then all hell starts. The water started to rise and what happens it will start to hit my detached garage before it hits the house and flows like a river around the garage. It got to the garage, but that was it. It was about 4-5 feet deep in the backyard and the when the rains stopped and it was at its peak, the kids were kayaking in it. Within about 60-90 mins after the rain stopped, all the water had receded and other than debris, there was no sign my property was underwater.

The sump pump powered by the generator kept up and there was no water in the basement and no trees came down. That’s much better than many of my neighbors were they had 6+ inches of water in their basement and one lost the top of a big pine tree, though other than the fence around their garden it didn’t damage anything. I spent the day helping the neighbors deal with their homes. Once the rain stopped, that’s when the wind kicked up and when all the tree damage started. We had dozens of HUGE trees down on our side of town with minimal home damage from what I saw but lots of power lines down and streets closed. We had a few neighbors over for an impromptu BBQ. Around 10pm Sunday the wind felt like it was dying down a bit and the storm was really passed us at that point.

There was still no power when we went to bed but I got a call about 4:30am from the neighbor saying the power was back on. Went and unplugged the sump pump and the refrigerator from the generator and put them back in the outlets and shut down the generator. Without the generator it really would have been a mess.  With all the wind, my G5RV and 10/15/20m dipole were blowing like mad, but stayed up. I did need to drop the fan dipole to untangle 2 wires that had crossed but that took 5 mins this morning.

With not being around much yesterday and helping the neighbors I didn’t monitor the repeaters so I hope everyone in the area was ok. I know my county activated at least 1 shelter as I received an email on Saturday before the storm hit asking for folks to assist with communications, but without power I didn’t want to leave the family at home with the generator. I saw lots of emails on rivers in the area 10+ feet over flood stage and areas around them being flooded out.

I missed out on a few contests this weekend so I hope those that got on the air had fun. I’m not sure if having a lot of folks on the east coast not participate was noticed or not. I guess if folks were prepared, and depending on where they were located, they could have gotten in some air time before the storm hit them. I’ll have to read the lists and see how things went.

73,
K2DSL