Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Arctic Circle, Smokey Bear's Birthday, and Maritime Mobile

This week sure has been a busy one. Last weekend we worked a few special event stations as there were plenty on the air. These include W8AL (The Pro Football Hall of Fame), Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary (we talked to K3MJW for this one), and the big one of last weekend was N9N (The Nautilus, celebrating its 50th anniversary of it's trip to the North Pole). You can get more information on about this event by looking at N4KC's bio on QRZed.
The big contact of the week was W1AW/KL7. We've been trying for days to make contact with the ARRL's portable station in the Arctic Circle. Every time we'd see them on the DXwatch, we'd call dad and have him listen. It was never any use, as you could just barely hear someone, but really couldn't make 'em out. Finally, on Friday night we struck pay-dirt. We saw they were spotted, so we rushed right over to dad's (well not necessarily as we had some errands to run). We got over to dad's and listened and go make them out a lot better than we had been able to before. I might also tell you that this time there wasn't a huge pile-up on him and dad (KU4ME) had aquired an Ameritron AL-811 linear amplifier this past week. Had it not been for that big piece of beauty, I don't think that the Arctic Circle would have heard us.
So the funny story behind the whole Arctic Circle is we are completely lucky we were able to make contact before they go QRT after today. This past week, dad was talking on the dual bander he has in his shack to some of our HAM friends here on 2 meters, when he got the report from someone that his audio went real week and scratchy. Dad started smell something burning. He sniffed the radio and sure enough that was the source of the smell. So he got under the desk and unplugged everything. When he was done, he let go of the ground wire and it smacked up against the power supply. Somehow the ground wire found it's way inside one of the vent holes and he said "Sparks went flyin' everywhere". Well it turns out the diodes have been burnt out, and the drive in his dual bander had burnt up. Luckily, dad had a spare power supply. If he hadn't, we would have never been able to contact the Arctic Circle.
So this weekend we've worked a couple few special events and some other contacts as well. We worked W1BIM, celebating the 64th birthday of Smokey the Bear. That's right folks 64 years in the prevention of forest fires. What a cool bear. I just hope we wasn't smokin' on a camel. LOL
Anyway, we also worked K5PRK. We spoke with Charlie who is part of the Plano ARC. They were celebrating the radio club's 35th anniversary.
Some other noteable contacts include:
HR2DX in Honduras
YN2N in Nicaragua
VK3SX in Australia
FK8CP in New Caledonia
and our first ever maritime mobile station, UU9JX/MM. Oleg was off the cost of California at 32*N/123*W.

In other happenings, we finally got the 440 rig up and running. We've tested it out and found it to work real well. Robin (AJ4IJ) got on it the other night and made her first 440 contact via FM simplex with her dad (KU4ME). I've still got to get all the memories programmed and a make a frequency chart to hang on the board.

Yes I know I promised pictures, and well right now our shack is an absolute mess. Once we get it cleaned up I will get some shots and post them. Until then, here's a pic of me on a trail with my HT (Yaesu VX-170).

AJ4JD - Frozen Head Portable

73 de AJ4JD

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