Monday, November 17, 2008

ARRL November Sweeps 2008 SSB

This weekend I participated in the ARRL November Sweepstakes contest. This was my first time participating in the contest as I have only been a HAM since May. Being that it was my first time and I just started using a new logging program (N3FJP's AC Log) I was a bit slow and didn't make a whole lot of contacts. I started out on 40 meters and made about 20 contacts or so. I took a break long enough to take the XYL(Robin - AJ4IJ) and Harmonic (Ashby - KJ4EGJ) back to the house.

Robin and I had let Ashby go over to her Peepaw's (KU4ME) to play radio for the W4H special event while we put up some of our many Christmas lights. Anyway, after I dropped them off I went back over to dads and started contesting more. This time I switched over to 80 meters and I ended up with about 15 more contacts.

Altogether, I ended up with 35 contacts and 25 sections. 1 contact was a duplicate so I figured my score was around 1700 points. Nothing major and definitely not award worthy, but I did have fun and am starting to like contesting more and more.

As for the W4H special event, Robin and I didn't work it any more than what we had the last two weekends. We figured we'd let dad and Ashby get their fill. I think dad ended up with over 30 contacts and Ashby ended up with 20 over the weekend. Robin and I ended up with 51 and 88 respectively for a grand total of at least 189 QSOs for the special event. I know that Rick (N4JTQ) and I think Cathy (KI4YPO) ended up working the event a little bit. Other than that I'm not sure if anyone else did or not.

Anyway, to all the stations that worked us, thanks for making this a fun and special event. Also be on the look out for us as we celebrate the 4th of July as W4H 470 ARG July 4th special event and catch this time next for our 2nd Anniversary of the 470 Amateur Radio Group.

Here's a picture of Ashby working W4H

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tennessee QSO Party Results are in....

At last, at last, the results are in at last. Much to my amazement, I decided to check (the home site of the Tennessee QSO Party) to see if the results had been posted yet. I wasn't really expecting them to be as I had checked it almost daily for the last two weeks since I had exchanged emails with Doug Smith (W9WI) and he informed me that all the logs had been tallied and the final results had been sent to the webmaster.
Well, this evening I figured I would just check as I hadn't looked today and figured I would find the same as I had the past two weeks. Instead I was pleasantly surprised that the 2008 Tennessee QSO Party results were indeed posted to the site. I quickly scanned the initial results page to see what records had been set this year, and it appears that all but 4 records were broken this year. I quickly clicked the link to the 2008 results and fully expected to see us (The Toad Town Team comprised of Robin - AJ4IJ, Dad - KU4ME, and me - AJ4JD) listed amongst the top ranks of the Multi-op High Power Category. Unfortunately though it appears that our log was separated into our individual entries and we ended up in the Fixed Single OP - Low Power category. I reckon our mistake must have been operating under our own calls instead of one single call. I will email Doug to verify that so we will know for next year.
So the results for us individually are as follows: Robin with 80 qso's and 49 multipliers for a grand total of 7,840 points landing her in 26th place out of 43. Next was me with 33 qso's and 25 multipliers for a grand total of 1,650 points landing me in 33rd place out of 43. Finally was dad with 17 qso's and 15 multipliers for a grand total of 510 points landing him in 39th place out of 43. Overall, we are completely satisfied with our result considering it was our very first contest and we only worked it for about 3 or 4 hours. As for the Toad Town Team result we ended up with a total of 10,000 points landing us in 4th place out of 5 in the Tennessee Team category.
With our effort we will each receive a certificate for being first time participants.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun to work the QSO party and we look forward to 2009. We will figure out what we have to do to be qualified for the Multi-op single High Power category and we will be ready for a better showing. Until then congrats to all participants and to the Tennessee Contest Group for holding a wonderful QSO party.

73 de AJ4JD

Happy DX.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Antenna Maintenance, My First Asian Contact, and W4H Update (My first real pileup)

Well, yesterday we decided to go over to dad's (KU4ME) and play some radio. This was of course after we did a little maintenance to the wires we have up in the air over there. We needed to remove some of the tension on the ZS6BKV multi bander. There was a branch that was creating tension on the twin lead close to the choke as well as to much slack in the support rope we have strung the wire on. So after cutting out a whole big branch and removing the slack in the support rope we moved to the inverted vee for 80 meters. The balun had slid down a little back towards the house and had dropped a little as well. So we moved the balun back up the support rope and hoisted the antenna a little higher. We also got the multi-bander up a little higher as well. After we finished the antenna maintenance we went inside to eat supper that mom (KF4SSI) had made and watch an episode of Dexter.

Once we finished with supper we headed out to the shack to see how well our maintenance improved things. I started scrolling around on 20 meters and heard a station calling CQ contest from Japan. Ever since the Summer Olympics special event, I've been aiming at making a contact with Japan. Unfortunately, we've never heard any station from Japan when we seen that they were spotted on the DX Cluster. Well, I heard this station calling CQ contest on 14.317 and realized that it was a Japanese station (JR5VHU). So I tried a time or two but my timing was off. On the third go round I threw out my call and running a bare 100 watts, he picked me up. I was so elated that it didn't matter to me that it was a very short contact due to the station being a contester. I couldn't believe it, I had just made contact with Japan on 100 watts. I started doing my little Japan DX dance in the commanders chair and asked my XYL Robin (AJ4IJ) if she wanted to try. So she sat down and proceeded to make contact as well (her first Japan contact also). So she did the Japan DX dance as well. We finally convinced dad to give it a try even though the station was starting to fade. He almost gave up after the third try but went more time and made contact as well. It appears that the maintenance we had done had paid off. Robin made another contact with a Japan station (JH4UYB) shortly there after and we decided it was time to start calling CQ for the special event W4H.

It was about 8:00pm and I was all set up to log. However, Robin did not want to take the first shift calling CQ so we swapped spots and she logged and I called CQ. I found us an open spot on 80 meters as 20 was dying fast and there wasn't much happening on 40 meters other than noise and broadcasters. So 80 it was and I was able to find a spot on our special event calling frequency 3.850. My very first call and N1UK came back to me. We ragchewed for a few minutes and when we signed with each other he said he'd put me on the DX cluster. Sure enough he did and it wasn't long before the pileup started. It wasn't to bad at first. It was a slow trickle and I had time to give each calling station a little information about the event and how to receive QSL cards from us. I must have called CQ for about 40 minutes and made contact with 24 stations. I did talked to Mrs. Teresa (KI4ZQO), Mrs. Cathy (KI4YPO), Rick (N4JTQ), Bill (N4BHK), and Kevin(KG4LGL) . These are all local hams that are active on the 470 repeater and active on the 470ARG net. As a matter of fact, Rick is out NCS for the net and Cathy is the NCS for the 470 ladies round table.

So after about 40 minutes I was desperately needing a break and Robin was more than happy to take the reigns. She called CQ for about an hour and let me tell you the hornets nest of a pile up she had. There were a couple of times where everyone was calling at once and she couldn't make out anything to call for in return. She instead had to go back and call QRZed again just to try and pick out a call. Well in the hour she called CQ, she ended up with 46 contacts. Some of the most notable were with N3FJP (the maker/programmer of the logbook program we are using). She also had special event station N8F for the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald event contact her. In total now Robin has made a total of 51 contacts for the special event in 21 states.

Well after her hour she still had a pileup that wouldn't quit. However, she was needing a break and we tried to get dad to take it over. He declined and so I had to take it back over. I must have taken it for almost another hour and made another 30 contacts or so and ended up with a contact in Puerto Rico(KP4BAI) and many different states. Overall I now have made 88 contacts for the event and have worked a total of 32 states and 1 DX entity.

So with a week to go on the special event, I don't know if I will be able to get back on until Saturday. Hopefully though, Robin and Dad, along with other 470ARG participants will be able to get on during the week and call CQ for the event. I know that Rick has worked the event a little bit but I'm not sure of anyone else at this moment in time. Anyway, that's about all I've got for the present moment in time. I now await the QSLs to start rolling in. I just hope I can use the special event call towards my WAS award.

Anyway, until the next post,
73 and Happy DX de AJ4JD

Thursday, November 6, 2008

470 ARG Photoshop Editing Contest

Well, there hasn't been a whole lot going on. We tried to get on the bands last night to work the W4H special event, but unfortunately there was a lot of noise on the bands. I did make contact with a YL in the Virgin Islands. Her name was Ann (KP2YL) and she was on vacation in the Virgin Islands working in the DX window on 80 meters.
Anyway, Robin (AJ4IJ) is on the 470 ladies round table at the moment and that brought the 470ARG Photo Editing Contest that we have had to mind. For about a month various operators that participate on the 470 ARG NET have been participating in a photo editing contest, taking various picture and putting our Net participants faces in them. The submission deadline was back on Oct 31 at midnight. So now the polls are open and we are taking votes to decide the winning photo. If you want to check out the picture and cast a vote, you need to be a HAM to vote, you can check out the photos at: At the top of the page there is a link to check out the photos and at the bottom of the page is the voting form. When you submit your vote, the page will refresh and the form will clear. At that point you know the submission was successful. Just remember only one vote per callsign.

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. Until next I hope to catch you on the bands.

73 de AJ4JD

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Emergency Weather Training Net 11/3/2008

This past Monday I was on tap for running the Emergency Weather Training Net. Every Monday we alternate between the ARES Training Net for Claiborne/Union County ARES and the Emergency Weather Training Net. So this week I was Net Control for the Emergency Weather Training Net and thought that it went rather well. To be honest, this was only my 3rd time as Net Control for this or the ARES Net since I got my license in May of this year. In total we had 25 check-ins including the proxy check-ins. In the training I decided to go over some more winter weather hazards which included snow (the different types i.e. Blizzard, blowing snow, etc.), ice, and flooding from snow thaw, ice jams, etc.
Well that's all I've got for now. Next week we will have our ARES Training Net on Monday at 8:00pm EST on the 147.360 repeater, and we will have our monthly ARES meeting up at the Claiborne County Education Building in New Tazwell, TN. So if you are a HAM in our area and interested in ARES, come join us at the meeting at 6:30pm EST.

Monday, November 3, 2008

W4H (1st Anniversary of the 470 ARG) Special Event Update

Just a quick update on the W4H special event. Last night Ashby(KJ4EGJ) and me (AJ4JD) went over to Dad's(KU4ME) while Robin(AJ4IJ) and mom(KF4SSI) went to do a little Christmas shopping. Once the station was warmed up and tuned I started calling CQ on 40 meters and ended up with another 13 contacts on the special event. Dad logged for me as he was going to wait until during the week to work the special event. Ashby listened to music and then talked to guys on the 470 repeater once I was done to get an update on who all had worked the event yet.
So in two days I've worked 32 stations in 23 states for the W4H special event. Hopefully I'll get to work some more and get Ashby and Robin going on it as well.

Until next time, 73 de AJ4JD.
Catch ya on the bands.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

470 ARG 1st Year Anniversary Special Event

Well the W4H special event is under way. I'm not sure who else has been on the air working the special event, but Robin (AJ4IJ) and me (AJ4JD) went over to dad's (KU4ME) yesterday and worked it for a couple of hours. I took the reigns first and started calling CQ on 80 meters. Within 20 minutes I made 6 contacts on 80 meters but the signals coming were up and down and considering it was midday, 80 probably wasn't the best place to be. With that in mind I switched over to 40 meters and started calling CQ again. In 25 minutes time I made a total of 13 contacts on 40 meters including one with Jack(KD4TNY). Jack is a good friend of ours and lives in Clinton (that's just a couple of miles down the road from us). I found it amazing that he was able to hear me and vice versa considering how close we are in distance. So within an hours time I made a total of 19 contacts as W4H and worked 13 different states.
After that I decided to turn the reigns over to Robin. She took over and within 5 minutes made 5 contacts. She worked 4 different states on 40 before a station came in saying something about a NET they hold there and would move down 2 KCs. Robin went back to the station and told them that she didn't mind moving for their NET but they were already gone and being just 2 KCs down were bleeding over into her spot on the band. So we decided to call it quits for the day and head back home and try again another day. We may go over to dad's later today and try to work some more stations for the special event.
So in total we have made 24 contacts for the W4H special event. The event has just begun and will run till November 15. Hopefully we've ordered enough QSL cards for the event.
Be sure to check back for more updates. Also be sure to check out for more information on the W4H special event

Until next time 73 de AJ4JD