Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wet Waynesville Hamfest Update

So I thought I would get in here and give everyone an update on the hamfest in Waynesville, NC. Robin (AJ4IJ) awoke early Saturday morning to a rainy one. It was around 6:00am as we were heading out the door when mom (KF4SSI) and dad (KU4ME) call. Robin says, "tell them we are on our way." At the same time I hear mom on the phone, "we just got up, can you give us an hour?" To which I reply no we're heading out the door now. I then hear dad in the background mumble, "they can't wait, they'll miss the deals." Mom's reply, "Well, go ahead and go on, don't worry about us."
So out the door Robin and I trot to the car and the out the driveway and off into the rain. We stopped to fuel up and the rain just kept falling. We stopped shortly after the fuel stop to grab nourishment and make a pitstop at a Micky D's. Once we were finished there we continue our drive east in the rain, struggling to stay awake and pondering if the rain would let up once we were through the mountains.
We finally reached our destination and the rain had let up considerably. We paid our entry fee and entered the hamfest. We walked around and looked at the wares that were available. We checked out the bone yard and really didn't find anything. Robin did spot a tower that would have been nice to have. However, we did not have the money, nor the means to transport it home. We really weren't going with the thought of purchasing anything unless we found a deal we couldn't pass up. It was nice to see that there was plenty of HAM gear at the HAM fest though.
We didn't stay very long. It was about 30 - 45 minutes before we decided we seen all we wanted and decided to head back west. On our way we rain back into more rain, but we figured once we were back on our side of the mountains the rain would be finished. With that in mind we decided that we would go home, pick up our trusty side kick b3ene (that's our dog Clover) and head North to Kentucky and take Clover for a sniff/walk at a park. You can read more on that at Robin's and mines outdoor blog.
We didn't get any photos at the hamfest. There really wasn't anything that caught Robin's eye. So we hope for better luck at TenTec's hamfest towards the end of September. There we will get to meet some of the hams we frequently talk to on the radio.

Well that's all I've got for now. Stay tuned for the new toy (lent to us by dad). Also, check out Robin's blog for the latest special event station we've worked (The Smithsonian Institute has gone QRT forever). BTW, thanks Jack (KD4TNY) and Teresa (KI4ZQO) for calling dad who called Robin about it, who called me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hamfests Ahoy, Special Events and Severe Weather Oh My!

Well, I thought I would jump in here and share a few more experiences. We've been kickin' it on HF lately and workin' special events. As you know we worked the FBI station and 4 of the Collins stations. I think our next special event we are going to try and work is the Olympics event. There are 5 stations one to represent each of the rings of the Olympic Rings. They are operating from China and the station calls are as follows: BT1OB, BT1OJ, BT1OH, BT1OY, and BT1ON. The QSL cards look pretty neat. I know my daughter would probably like to get one from each station, of course she will need to get her upgrade if she's going to work them on HF, unless 10 meters opens up. Anyway, they also have awards they will be giving depending on how many of the stations you work, what band, and what mode. For more info on it check the following website:
So tomorrow is the Waynesville hamfest in Waynesville, NC. We (including AJ4IJ, KU4ME, KF4SSI) are going to be waking up real early and heading out that way to check it out. Maybe we will get lucky and find a great deal on something, or at least win something. Anyway, one can dream right. Stay tuned as I'll be sure to provide updates and pics later. Speaking of pics, I've still got to get some pics of the antenna we put up over at dad's (ku4me).
This past week we had some pretty bad storms roll through. Luckily we fared pretty well other than being without power for 24 hours. I have to commend the Skywarn folks here in the area for running effect weather nets on 145.230. Speaking on this point, I've been giving thought about joining the local ARES club here in Union/Claiborne County. I've checked in on their net on 147.360 repeater over the last two weeks. I've still got some thinking to do on it and I'll let you know what I decide. If anyone has any advice on the topic let me know by leaving some comments.
Well I'm going to say 73 for now. Got to get up early in the morning and head out to the hamfest.

Take care everyone.

73 de AJ4JD

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My QSL Card

A thought just occurred to me. I should put my QSL card up here. What's a QSL card? For those that don't know, a QSL card is a card that you send to someone you've contacted on the radio to verify the contact. Many HAMs like to collect QSL cards, while others need them to verify contacts when they apply for awards like ARRL's WAS (Worked all States) award. There are several different awards that you work for in HAM Radio. You can find more information on HAM Radio awards on ARRL's Awards page, or you can do a search on google to find out more.
Anyway, below is what my QSL card looks like, for those of you who might be interested. The picture is of one of the three waterfalls along the Falling Water River at Burgess Falls State Park in Tennessee.

My QSL Card

I thought that with my QSL card I would display the natural beauty that is Tennessee. I might later do more of a collage type of QSL card showing more natural beauties of East Tennessee.
If you hear me on the air, send a QSL and I will gladly send one back. Also if you have any questions or comments please let me know.

See you on the airwaves,
73 de AJ4JD

Saturday, July 19, 2008

In The Land of HF Part II

Hello everyone. I thought I would get on here and give everyone some updates about our adventures in HF here recently. I believe that last week I mentioned we were going to put up the ZS6BKV Multiband HF Dipole antenna that we built for field day. Well it is up in the air now and we've got it up there about 45ft or so. So far it seems to be working rather well. We've been getting great signal reports from stations that we've contacted around the world.
So last weekend was the IARU HF World Championship contest. Robin (AJ4IJ) and I (AJ4JD) decided to make some contacts just to test the antenna out. I mean after all, what better way to find out how well your antenna is doing right? Even though we really weren't competing in the contest, it was good experience seeing what contesting was all about. We ended up making around 22 contacts overall to stations all over the place including: Brazil, Argentina, Uraguay, Australia, Hiwaii, New Jersey, California, Washington, and Arizona.
Over the last week or so, we've been trying to work the Rockwell Collins S-Line Anniversary stations. There are 6 (N0CXX, W0CXX, W5ROK, W4CRC, W6CXX, F6KNZ) in all, and you need to contact 4 to qualify for the certificate they send out. We finally got all 4 the other day. Another special event we've been trying to get was the FBI station (K3FBI). They've been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the FBI. If you make a contact all you have to do is send a QSL card and they will send back a QSL and a real nice certificate. You can get more information from the ARRL's Special Events page. We've also been trying to work all states on 20 meters and have been doing some DX as well. Some of the states and countries we've worked this past week or so include: Ecuador, St. Barthelemy, Portugal (The Azores), Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cuba. Some of the states include: Texas, Florida, Iowa, Virginia, Missouri, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Alaska, and Pennsylvania.
So, with special events, working all states, and chasing DX, we have all certainly been abuzz about HF around here lately, even dad (KU4ME) has gotten real excited about it. Anyway, that's about all I've got for now. I'll try to get some pictures of the antenna in it's new home and post them soon. Everyone take care and I hope you enjoy reading the entries. If you do please let me know. Until next time....

73 and good DX de AJ4JD

Saturday, July 12, 2008

In the Land of HF

I know it has been a little while since I've last posted an entry here. After vacation and trying to get back into the swing of things, I haven't had much time to sit down and write. So, now I sit here before the screen pouring my thoughts onto this entry form.
Just to let you all know, vacation was a lot of fun. I only made but a few contacts out on the road. Mainly a couple of HAMs that we normally talk to around here on the local Knoxville area repeaters (KJ4CGG and N4CQW), one HAM in Chattanooga (N4AOW), and 1 HAM in Panama City (KD5RBR). I was surprised that I didn't hear anymore than I did while we were mobiling around Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, etc. However, I will just mark it up to the approaching Field Day and everyone making preparations. While in New Orleans, we were glad to see that the local news channel had a nice segment during field day where one of the news people were at a field day event. Actually, the news cast went back to the reporter several times while at the event. It's nice to see HAM radio getting some recognition.
So now that vacation is over and we have gotten back into our routines, we've been playing around in the world of HF. We've been going over to Dad's (KU4ME) these past couple of weekends and playing on his HF radio (ICom IC-756Pro). Last week I worked on some more states and made a DX contact to a station in Ecuador and on St. Barthelemy. Robin (AJ4IJ), worked her very first PSK31 contact as well. As a matter of fact, she's the first one of our big HAM family to make a PSK31 contact.
Last night I was able to make contact with a station in Portugal on the Azore Islands. I tried my darnedest to work a station on Crete, but the pileup was so large and even when the station called for stations for a first contact, there were still other operaters making contact with the station who had previously contacted the station. So unfortunately I was unable to make contact before he went QRT. Robin was able to make contact with a station in Mexico last night as well. After she made that contact she got up to let me try but the station dropped out. It was very similar to when she worked Austrailia on our early field day. LOL.
Anyway, today we plan on going over to dad's and work on putting up the dipole we used during field day so we can get better HF results over there. It's been hard to bust through the pileups so we are going to see if we can improve that a bit today. Once we get that up, we will probably try to work some of the special event stations that are operating this weekend like the FBI station, the Collins Radio special event stations, and the funniest one I've ever heard of, NU5DE, the Naturist Ameteur Radio Club in Texas.
So that's all I've got for now. I'll get on here later and give updates on the antenna project and how we fare on those special events.

Until then, 73 de AJ4JD