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

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