Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2009 SS SSB Follow-up

During my final write up on the 2009 ARRL November Sweepstakes post I didn't post any detailed results other than total contacts, total multipliers, and total score. So without further adieu:

Call: AJ4JD
Operator(s): AJ4JD
Station: AJ4JD

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: TN
Operating Time (hrs): 10

Summary:
Band QSOs
------------
160: 0
80: 100
40: 33
20: 38
15: 14
10: 0
------------
Total: 185 Sections = 62 Total Score = 22,940

So there you have it folks. Oh by the way, the XYL (AJ4IJ) took these on Saturday early in the contest. Don't pay too much attention to the man in the chair, he takes away from the elegance of the fine piece of electronics he has his hands on. Oh wait that's me. D'oh.

AJ4JD in the command chair

Enjoying the contest

73 de AJ4JD,
Tim

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ARRL 2009 SS SSB is in the Bag

As most of you know, especially those who read my blog, the ARRL November Sweepstakes contest is done for another year. I worked it for about a total of 10 hours and ended up with 185 contacts and 62 sections worked. I have to admit that it was a lot of fun but now I'm tired and must get ready for bed.

A special thank you to all those that I made contact with. I have to say it was a superb job by all. I don't reckon I'll be in another contest for a couple of weeks. The next big one for me is the lustrous PSK31/63 Death Match, put on my the Michigan DX Association. If you are into the digital modes I suggest you get on the waterfall and give it a go. The contest is 48 hours and the winners for each category get swords for prizes. I hope to put in a much better show this than last. If I'm lucky I will end up with a nice blade to hang on the wall but of course that's stretching it.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving everyone. God Bless you all.

73 de AJ4JD,
Tim

P.S. All logs have been uploaded to LoTW and eQSL.cc.

P.S.S. The preliminary results for the August edition of the NAQP SSB contest are posted. I ended up 35th overall in the 4 call area.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Got Contest?

Today starts the ARRL's Annual November Sweepstakes SSB contest. The objective is to work as many ARRL and RAC sections as possible. Work all 80 sections and you've made a clean sweep. The contest starts at 4:00pm EST and ends tomorrow at 10:00pm EST (2100z Saturday Nov. 21 - 0300z Monday Nov. 23).

I will be working in the contest from my little gun station, in the SOLP category so be on the lookout for my signal and make a Q with me on the different bands. Propogation seems to be on the upswing as of late so the contest should be interesting and fun.

I've been contesting for a very short time compared to many in Amateur radio, and daily I'm discovering new things on the internet about contesting. For example I've just recently joined up with the Tennessee Contest Group and found a plethora of information about contesting on their site and their Google Group Page. In so doing, this has led me to contesting.com where I have found a couple of lists of interest to keep up with and some very helpful blogs when it comes to contesting. I've even found some rather hilarious blogs on contesting. Just yesterday I came across the Fi-Ni report. I must have busted a gut more times than I can count reading the exploits of Cousin QRM and the members of the Lost Island DX Society. A must read for those with a sense of humor and especially to those who take things a little to seriously sometimes.

Anyway, my journey has just begun in the realm of contesting and I find it to be one of the funnest things to do in Ham Radio, that and chasing DX. So I'm sure I have lots more to learn and experience. While I may never be a Big Gun, I will always put my little pistol on the air and in so doing I have tasted the sweet taste of victory. Everytime I beat a previous score which I officially done during the Tennessee QSO Party (the results for 2009 are now posted on the site), and plan to do this weekend during the November Sweepstakes. Also, I've managed somehow to win a contest this year, which was pretty darn cool if I may say so. The PODXS070 80 meter Jay Hudak Memorial Sprint was held back on September 11 this year and I put my little pistol station on the air, and after 6 hours of operation I put in a worthy effort. To my surprise I ended up Top Dog by a mere 3 points.

If you've never contested before, what are you waiting for? It's a lot of fun, there are many contacts to make, whether you like to search and pounce or run, there's something for everyone. Get on the air this weekend during the Sweepstakes and give it a shot. I'll listen for you there.

73 es Good Luck de AJ4JD,
Tim

Sunday, October 25, 2009

CQWW Results

As most of you know, this weekend was the CQWW DX SSB contest. Well knowing me and how much I like contesting, especially if there is DX involved, I worked it. Of course I didn't work the entire 48 hours, heck I didn't even work 24 hours of it. Being such a beautiful weekend and the XYL and harmonic being couped up most of the week, they were itching to get out as well as I. The Fall colors are absolutely wonderful here right now and it's possible that next weekend might not be so pretty.

Instead of devoting the weekend to contesting and putting the fam through the agony of hearing my call phonetically over and over a thousand times or more, I opted to only work the contest here and there throughout the weekend. Total operation time was roughly over 7 hours. Within that 7 hours time I was able to make 71 contacts to 44 DX entities and 14 CQ zones. Total multipliers came to 78 and total QSO points equaled 160 for a grand total of 12,480 points.

Here's the breakdown if anyone's interested:
15m DX: Argentina, Aruba, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, British Virgin Is., Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, England, France, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Slovak Rep., Spain, USA, Venezuela, Virgin Is.

15m CQ Zones:
03, 07, 08, 09, 11, 13, 14, 15, 20
Note: Prior to this contest I hadn't worked a whole lot of DX on 15m. This was indeed the most exciting part of the contest for me.

20m DX: Alaska (I don't know if this counts as a seperate country in CQWW), Canada, Cayman Is., Czech Rep., Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia, Ukraine, USA

20m CQ Zones: 01, 04, 05, 08, 14, 15, 16

40m DX: Barbados, Canary Is., French Guiana, Madeira Is., Martinique, Morocco, Portugal, Scotland, USA.

40m CQ Zones: 05, 08, 09, 14, 33

80m DX: British Virgin Is., Canada, Saint Martin, St. Kitts & Nevis, United Nations HQ NY, USA, Virgin Is.

80m CQ Zones: 04, 05, 08

So that's it in a nutshell. DX in bold above are new ones for me. Anyway that's the damage I've done. All logs have been uploaded to eQSL and LoTW. If you need TN confirmed, please feel free to send me a QSL if you worked me. I will be sure to send one back.

Until next time enjoy the reading, enjoy the DX, and most of all enjoy life. Next contest you will likely hear me will be ARRL's November Sweepstakes. After that you can read me during the MDXA PSK Death Match in December. If you hear me or see me in there, give a call, I'll be sure to try and pick you up. Oh I almost forgot, starting November 1st - November 15th we will be on the air as W4H celebrating the 470 Amateur Radio Group's 2nd anniversary. Check out the website for more information. I'll likely add a sticky up top the blog here in the next day or so for more information.

73 es God Bless de AJ4JD,
Tim

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back in the Groove - CQWW - Gray Hamfest

Well it's been just over 2 weeks since we returned from vacation. Since then we have been busy with work, homeschooling, and a bit of radio activities. As everyone knows, the K4M crew activated Midway Island from Oct. 11 - Oct. 19. I was really looking forward to putting Midway in the log, but due to propagation, it just never worked out. I heard them the first day on 80 meters. That was the best and one of the only few times I heard them. Unfortunately it was in the morning and I could only give 30 minutes worth of trying until I had to get ready for work. Other than that I heard them one other time on 40 and gave it a go but no success. There's always next time. I did manage to get a few DX contacts in during that time, Belize (20m SSB), Australia (30m PSk31), and Virgin Islands(40m SSB). Other than that I've been a bit active on 2 meters as time permits. As I've said I've gotten back into the groove of work, home, and also the business.

This past weekend we put playing on the radio and everything else on hold to head up to Gray, TN for the Gray Hamfest. Grey is in Upper East Tennessee, close to Johnson City. Robin (AJ4IJ) and I, got up early this Saturday morning and headed out on our way to see if we could find a good deal, and/or win a prize. Of course as my luck has it, there were no prizes in store for us, but we did pick up some PL-259s and 200' of ladder line from The Wire Man for dad (KU4ME). We seen a handful of hams from our local area and talked at length with Danny (KI4YCJ) one our local buds on the 145.470 repeater.

It was cold and dreary with a little bit of sprinkles here and there and by 9:30 we were ready to head back towards the QTH. On our way we stopped and had breakfast at Shoneys. By the time we got back home, we were ready for a much needed nap.

Oh I almost forgot. I guess now would be a good time for a shameless plug. Another activity I've been participating in when I'm home and not too busy has been joining in on the Outhouse net. Some of the local Extra class hams have started meeting down 3.660Mhz on 80m on most nights around 8 or 9pm EST for a good roundtable. It's not an official net or anything but we call it the Outhouse net and the only qualifications you need to participate is that you're an extra class and that you have used an outhouse. It's okay if you haven't used and outhouse because you can still be grandfathered in if your grandfather used an outhouse or your great grandfather. As a matter of fact, as of yesterday, I no longer have to be grandfathered in hi hi.

So this upcoming weekend looks to be a great chance to work some DX. That's right folks, it's that time again. The CQ World Wide DX SSB contest is this coming weekend. I plan on working most of the contest but we will see how that pans out. I hope to put some good DX in the log that's for sure. I will likely call CQ mostly and of course hunt and pounce on multipliers as I hear them on the bands. I think I have the VOX set up so I hope to improve the QSO rate by going hands free. I'll be working in the SOLP category with the trusty 756 Pro into the homebrewed OCF Windom. I've worked all over the world with that thing and finally got Asia confirmed via LOTW giving me WAC. Too bad I can't use LOTW for that award.

Anyway, look for me on the air this weekend between Oct 24 0000UTC - Oct. 25 2359UTC and give a call. I would love to put you in the log and see what kind of points I can run up on my first time in the CQWW contest. Until then here's a little treat.

I know, I've been promising a look at the shack so here it is.

Our shack complete with ICOM 756 Pro, LDG AT200 Pro autotuner,
Signalink USB, Yaesu FT-1802, Alinco DR430, and Jetstream JTPS28 powersupply
and a Lenovo S10 Netbook.
Also pictured on the top shelf are our HT's
Yaesu VX170, Alinco DJ-V17, and Kenwood TH-22AT


73 es God Bless de AJ4JD,
Tim

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Portable HF Operation

I know, it's been a little while since I've posted anything. Just to let you all know though, I have been playing radio in this stretch. A little here and a little there at least anyway. I've been working a good bit of DX on 20 and 40 via PSK31. Some of the most notable was Greenland and Switzerland, two new DXCC entities for moi.

This past week, I was on vacation and we decided to go camping. You can read more on the camping end of the trip on the outdoor blog that Robin(AJ4IJ) and I keep. So with the idea of camping and thinking that I might not get to play any HAM Radio for a week, I thought what better way to test out our capabilities than to bring Ham Radio with us. This part of the camping trip was left up to yours truly to plan out. Let's just say I didn't do a very good job in planing as I not a big planner and usually like to wait until the last minute. It was then that we decided on how we would set up our operation.

For our power supply, we decided that we would just connect to the Jeep battery. Of course to do that, we had to splice some alligator clips to the power cable that connects to the Yaesu FT-450 so that we could clip them to either the battery itself (provided it would reach) or to jumper cables that would then connect to the jeep. We also had to connect the power cable for the tuner to the same power cable so that we could tune the homebrew ZS6BKV dipole that we ran in the trees at camp about 10 - 15 ft off the ground.

With that accomplished, we had everything else ready to go in order to operate HF portable while at camp. So we finally headed off to camp on Sunday and it wasn't until Tuesday before we had time to even hook up the radio. We did manage to put up the antenna on Monday. I tell you what, camping for 4 and a half days is hard work. Everyday you have to gather wood for the fire, cooking all the time, entertaining the kids, running from the raccoons and more.

Well by Tuesday I finally got to hook up the radio, and it found that I was only able to tune 20 meters and put out about 25 watts. I found out later that I didn't have the jumper cables connected to the alligator clips on the power cable. I never did make contact with anyone and after a couple of hours it was time to unplug and run the jeep in order for the battery to charge back up.

On Wednesday, it was a different story. I had the cables hooked up correctly but still was only able to tune 20 meters. I believe this was a direct result of the antenna only being 15 feet off the ground. As I said early, we used the ZS6BKV multiband dipole and it is feed with twin-lead. With the twin lead nearly horizontal, It was having a hard time tuning 40 and 80. Normally it will tune those bands when it's up higher and the twin-lead is nearly vertical.

It took me a couple of hours and I tried several stations until I was finally able to land a contact with EA8CCQ an OM from the Canary Islands. Talk about getting giddy with excitement. This was the first time I've operated HF portable with a power supply other than a generator and an antenna lower than 30 feet not to mention only 50 watts out. After that contact I was done. That was the last camp radioing I did during the trip. We ended up packing everything up on Thursday as there was a threat for rain. It was a good thing too as it did rain Friday morning and we were already home.

Well that's all I have for this edition. The Saturday prior to camping we did attend the TenTec Hamfest. Not much to report there. We did get some eyeball QSO with some of our local buddies, but then it decided to rain so we were outta there with out a single buy.

Oh yeah I forgot to mention I did some other radioing while camping. I had both Ashby's (KJ4EGJ) and my HT out there and spoke to Tyler(WX4TX) and Dad (KU4ME) a bit on the Frozen Head/Petros repeater 147.255. So that's it. Here are the pictures for you viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

73 and Happy DX de AJ4JD,
Tim

Part of the Antenna hidden by a stump.

Jeep Powered Radio

The Yaesu FT-450 and the LDG AT-200Pro tuner

AJ4JD at the Control Point.
"CQ CQ"


AJ4JD on my VX170 HT

Saturday, September 12, 2009

PODXS 070 80 Meter Sprint

So last night was the PODXS070 club's 80 meter sprint contest memorializing Jay Hudak (KA3X now SK), one of the original members of the PODXS club and a founding member of the 070 club. The contest had a rolling start as do most of the 070 sprints and ran from 2000 - 0200 local time. So I started off shortly after 8pm, once I was finished eating a wonderful supper that the XYL prepared. At first the waterfall was pretty cram-packed so I went hunting and pouncing until I had about 5 or 6 contacts then squeezed into a spot on the waterfall to call CQ. I had quite a few calls and within the first hour of operating the PSK31 mode I had around 18 quality contacts.

The second hour rolled around and I was determined to work more stations to increase the QSO rate. CQ 80 Meter Test de AJ4JD I continued to call. Contact after contact filled the log. At the end of the second hours I had 40 contacts in the log.

With each hour up to about 11:00pm I would find new blood as new time zones could start the contest. After the Midnight hour things began to slow and I would switch from calling CQ to hunting and pouncing. I did that for the last 2 hours of the contest (well last 2 hours for me). By the end of the 6 hour period I had 79 contacts, one of which was a dup, and 30 multipliers including a couple of DX entities: Puerto Rico, Venezuala, Spain,
and Canada. With 78 QSO pts and 30 multipliers, I ended up with a total score of 2,340pts.

I don't know if that will earn me a place in the top or not but it was a fun contest none-the-less. I was able to add more 070 members into the log. As a matter of fact I have now contacted enough member to get my 150 endoresment for my LONP award. I know what you're saying, LON what? The Loyal Order of Narrow-Banded Phase-Shifters. It's a special member society in the 070 club for members who have contacted at least 100 other 070 members.

So that's all I have for now. Hope everyone has a great weekend. For those working the VHF contest good luck and have fun.

73 and good DX to all,
Tim - AJ4JD

Sunday, September 6, 2009

PODXS 070 1K Results and the Tennessee QSO Party

Good morning everyone. Well it's been a fun couple of weeks of radio and it's not over by any means. Last week you may remember that the PODXS 070 club was having their 1K Celebration. Well the results have been published and I finished a respectable 6th place which I'm quite proud of. Also I have to offer a bit of congratulations to K1GMD who finished 1st overall with a whopping 143,000 points. Also congratulations to all who participated, it was an absolute blast. Also, Robin (AJ4IJ), my XYL, she finished a nice respectable 14th and contacted Sasquatch. I'm looking forward to the 80 meter sprint this coming weekend.

So this afternoon and evening was the Tennessee QSO Party. I had a lot of fun working the QSO party. I thought I was going to have to share the radio with the XYL but she wasn't feeling very well today and opted to not participate this time around. I did much better this year as compared to last year. Of course it helped that I knew more about contesting as compared to last years TNQP and that we have our very own HF and that I worked it solo.

I did take a couple of breaks during the contest. Once was to run to the CVS to get Robin some cold medicine. Another time was a few minutes here and there to play with the dog outside. The last break was to run out with Robin to pick up pizza and then eat it once we got it back to the house.

So after operating most of the contest, I ended up with 166 contacts. The break down is as follows I had 157 contacts on SSB, 9 contacts on PSK31. I had a total of 78 multipliers. I ended up working 21 TN Counties, 33 states, 3 Canadian Provinces, and 3 DXCC entities not including Alaska, Canada, and the US.

The final score that I had tallied was 26,798 points. That's not official but that is my best guestimation. I guess in a couple of months we will see were the cards fall.

Anyway, thanks to everyone that made contact with me over the past couple of weeks. It's been a blast and I hope to catch you all on the bands and the waterfall again real soon.

73, good dx, and God Bless de AJ4JD,
Tim

P.S. All logs have been uploaded to LoTW and eQSL.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Not to Ill to Play Radio...Thank goodness for digital...

If it weren't for the Digital Modes, I wouldn't have played any radio this past week. I've been down with a bad sinus infection since Tuesday. Luckily, I'm starting to feeling better today. Since last weekend, Robin (AJ4IJ) and I (AJ4JD) have been working the PODXS 070 club's 1K celebration contest. It's been a 3 stage contest for the celebration. The first stage, last Saturday, was to work as many 070 members in 24 hours. The second stage was a scavenger hunt that went from Monday through Friday. You had to work 10 different things (i.e. Fur-Bearing Creature (part of name, call or qth), A tree (part of call, name, QTH etc.)). The third and final stage started Friday evening at 8:00pm EST, after stage 2 ended. The objective was to work non-070 members only and the kicker was that it was no calling CQ, search and pounce only.

I have to say that I worked a lot of DX this last week and a half during the celebration. It seemed that there was a lot of DX on 20 and 40 this weekend. We were working Europe quite frequently and the occasional South American station and plenty of North American stations. Everything, of course, was worked on PSK31 and with 50 watts. Some of the countries include: Italy, England, Scottland, Germany, France, Sardinia, Mexico, Cuba, Netherlands, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Poland, Australia and many more.

So with all the logs uploaded to LoTW and eQSL, as well as having been submitted to the contest manager, all we can do is sit and wait for the results to be posted. For Robin and I, here is how we faired:

Robin
Stage 1: 28 contacts - 28,000 points (Each contact was worth 1,000 points hence the 1K celebration).
Stage 2: Found all 10 objects - 10,000 points (Plus another 5,000 bonus points if approved by the contest manager for finding all 10 making 15,000 points)
Stage 3: 13 contacts - 13,000 points
Total - 56,000 points

Tim
Stage 1: 43 contacts - 43,000 points
Stage 2: Found all 10 objects - 10,000 points (Plus the 5,000 if approved making total 15,000)
Stage 3: 26 countacts - 26,000 points
Total - 84,000 points

I don't know how that will place either of us in the contest, but regardless it was a lot of fun and sure did help to keep my mind off my illness this past week. I look forward to the endorsement for participating and I'm really looking forward to the next 070 contest, The Jay Hudak Memorial 80 meter Sprint. We will also be working the Tennessee QSO Party, from Union County Tennessee, I'll see everyone then.

Good DX and God bless.
Vy 73 to all
AJ4JD - Tim

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Birthday KJ4EGJ and PODXS070 1000th member celebration

I just thought I would get in here and leave a big callout (I guess in their lingo that would be a shout-out) to my daughter Ashby (KJ4EGJ). Yesterday was her 13th birthday. That's right she's now officially a teenager and is drifting further away from HAM Radio, at least until later on. Just like most young HAMs her age, there are more important things, like video games, playing outside, talking on the phone, and more things than I can list. Nevertheless, Happy Birthday Ashby. Daddy loves you.

On Thursday the PODXS 070 club reached it's 1000th member mark and has announce a big 3 stage contest/event. It sounds like great fun. Stage one, we have to contact as many 070 club members as possible in a 24 hour time period, starting tonight, August 22, 2009 at 8:00pm EST (0000Z) through 7:59pm EST (2359Z) Sunday August 23, 2009. Stage two is a week long scavenger hunt. It starts Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 8:00pm EST (0000z August 24th) and runs through August 28, 2009 7:59pm EST (2359z). In this stage you have to work 10 different things such as a tree (i.e. anything with a tree in the name or QTH like Oak Street). In stage three, from August 28, 2009 8:00pm EST (0000z Aug. 29, 2009) through August 29, 2009 7:59pm EST (2359z), we have to work as many non-070 members as possible. This stage however is a search and pounce only. That's right, we cannot call CQ during this stage.

I don't think I've ever worked a contest quite like this one. Of course I haven't been contesting but for about a year now so I'm not sure if there's anything like that or not. Anyway, that's about all I have for now. Looking forward to working you all between this week and next. If any of you fit the bill on the scavanger hunt please leave me a comment or something so we can set up a qso date and time next week. By the way, this is a PSK31 only contest.

Until then, good luck, good dx, 73 and God Bless,
Tim - AJ4JD
See you on the waterfall/bands.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

North American QSO Party and a Few Lighthouses to Boot

So yesterday was a busy day. I started out running the garbage, then mowed my yard and the father-in-law's (KU4ME) yard. After that we decided to run up to Clinch Mountain. We had been out in the field a couple of nights this past week to watch the Perseid Meteor shower and to watch an Iridium flare. While we were up there watching the shower, I had been on the local 145.470 repeater, talking to a few friends. It was then that one of them mentioned going up to Clinch Mtn. to watch meteor showers. That brought the thought of a little restaurant up there to John the KU4ME. Clinch Mountain Lookout Restaurant is home to the famous vinegar pie. Anyway, we enjoyed a wonderful down home meal along with vinegar pie as well as strawberry rhubarb pie.

So once we got back home, it was time to sit at the station and get down to some serious contesting. Last night I worked the North American QSO Party for a good 5 hours. I know you are thinking that if I was a serious contester, the yards and dinner could have waited. Unfortunately, when the temps are hot and the humidity is low, we are plagued with a horrible AC line noise that won't quit. So needless to say, I wouldn't have done any good during the afternoon hours. After about 5 hours I had bagged a total of 120 contacts and 61 multipliers for a total of 7,320 points.

This morning I was awoke by my XYL (AJ4IJ) who was beaming about a couple of good contacts she had made. She contacted a couple of lighthouses and a special event station for the Mason-Dixon line. I won't go into the contacts as I'm sure she will want to blog about them, but she said I should get up and work some as well, considering the bands were doing really well and the noise wasn't in there. So needless to say, after a cup of coffee and a cigarette or two, I sat at the station and made a few lighthouse contacts, two in New York and one in Canada.

So that's been the amount of radio time I've had. I've been on the 470 repeater a bit more here recently so the activity is definitely picking up. Anyway, thanks to all the contacts I made. I hope all had a fun weekend. Good DX and God Bless to all.

73 de AJ4JD,
Tim

P.S. All contacts have been uploaded to LOTW and EQSL.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Several Good Contests Coming Up

I was looking at WA7BNM's Contest Calendar online and I saw that there are several good contests coming up in August. This weekend is the Maryland/DC QSO Party running from1600Z, August 8 to 0400z, August 9 and 1600Z - 2359Z, August 9. Next weekend the North American QSO Party is running from 1800Z, August 15 - 0600Z, August 16. This ought to be a busy one. I worked it a bit last year but never turned in a log. The New Jersey State QSO Party is also next weekend from 2000Z, August 15 - 0700Z August 16 and 1300Z, August 16 - 0700Z, August 17.

The weekend of the 22nd and 23rd, two more State QSO Parties will be contested, Hawaii and Ohio. Hawaii's party runs 0700Z, August 22nd to 2200Z, August 23rd while Ohio's party runs from 1600Z, August 22nd to 0400Z, August 23rd. To round out the month, the Kansas State QSO Party is running on the last weekend of August from 1400z, August 29th to 0200Z, August 30th and 1400z, August 30 to 2000z, August 30th.

There are several other contests during that time, but for me those are the highlights. I will definitely be working the NAQP hard and heavy and will like try to make some contact during the various State QSO Parties. So look for me on the air during those times. Highlights for September include: Tennessee QSO Party, PODXS 070 80 Meter Sprint, Arkansas QSO Party, South Carolina QSO Party, Washington State Salmon Run, Texas QSO Party, and several more.

That's all I have for now. I have to go get ready for work now. 73 my fellow hams and good DX.

Until next time,
Tim - AJ4JD

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ho Hum Radio...

Well, it's been another week of hardly any radio. I thought about working the TARA Grid Dip, but instead I spent a wonderful evening hanging out with my XYL Robin (AJ4IJ) in the back yard around a camp fire. The next day we all went to the Frank H. McClung Museum on the University of Tennessee campus. We had went to the museum so our harmonic could see a real life mummy. You see, she and the XYL are going to mummify a chicken as a school project. This will cover many subjects such as math, science, art, and history. After the museum, we had to run to the library to pick up a few books on Egyptian culture and burial practices to help with the project. (I guess I should add that Robin is homeschooling our daughter this year.) After the library we had to run to the store and then drop our cousin off at home (she wanted to see a dead person too). When we got home I had to mow the yard and weed-eat it as well especially since I hadn't been able to do that in about two weeks due to all the rain we've had.

By the time I got all that done, it was too late to work the Grid Dip. That's okay because I've had a wonderful week and weekend nonetheless. I did make a few PSK contacts earlier in the week, two with stations in Belgium (ON4AXU and ON3SB), a special event in Canada (thanks for the QSO Michael VE3FRED), and Joseph in 3 land (NE3H). So this morning, I turned on the radio and the 10-10 International Summer Contest was still going on. I worked a big whopping 3 stations before we decided it was time to figure out what to do today (Check out our outdoor blog for the adventure today).

So that's all the radioing I've done this week. Like the title says, Ho Hum Radio. That's okay, the International Light House/Lightship week is now. Get on the bands and make contact with all the Light Houses you can. They are great fun to work. I worked a handful last year and hope to do the same this year.

That's all I've got for this edition, until next time....

73, Good DX to you, and God Bless,
Tim - AJ4JD

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Not a Whole lot of Radio this week

I haven't been doing a whole lot of radioing this past week. I've listened here and there but not much in the way of operating. Although yesterday I did play just a little bit. We all, Robin, Ashby (KJ4EGJ), and me, contacted a couple of Special Events that were commemorating the Apollo 11 40th anniversary. I also made contact a special event on PSK31 celebrating the International Year of Astronomy. Thanks for the contact Walter (W2GSB). Another contact I made was with an OM in France, F5NMK. I have uploaded all contacts from yesterday to LoTW and eQSL.

Oh I thought I might mention that Robin (AJ4IJ) and I have both joined the European PSK Club (EPC) so if you see us on the waterfall give us a call as we are trying to work the many different awards they have. There are a bunch of them and so far we've both got about 7 or 8. Anyway, if you are into PSK then you should definitely check this club out. They have some really nice certificates for their awards.

Well that's all I have for now. I don't know of much else to write about at the moment so I'll be clear for now. 73 to all.

Tim - AJ4JD

Monday, July 13, 2009

Contest Statistics since I've been a HAM

I thought it would be interesting to do a bit of analysis of my contest results since I became a HAM and got into contesting. I've worked a few contests since I became a HAM back in April 2008. Some I just made a few contacts just for fun, and some I've worked with serious competition in mind. So below is a list of all the contests I've worked and sent a log into.

Tennessee QSO Party 2008
Vermont QSO Party 2009
New Hampshire QSO Party 2009
Louisiana QSO Party 2009
North Carolina QSO Party 2009
Wisconsin QSO Party 2009
New Mexico QSO Party 2009
Florida QSO Party 2009
West Virginia QSO Party 2009
Mississippi QSO Party 2009
ARRL November Sweepstakes SSB 2008
PSK31/63 Death Match 2008
PODXS 070 31 Flavors 2009
PODXS 070 Three Day Weekend 2009
PODXS 070 40 Meter Firecracker Sprint 2009
ARRL Field Day 2009 (Not formally a contest)
CQ Worked All Prefix(WPX) SSB 2009

I can't find the results on some of these but where I can I have them listed below:

* Tennessee QSO Party 2008 - (In state low single op - 33 contacts, 25 multipliers, 1,650 pts., 33rd out of 43) and In State Team: 10,000 pts. 4th out of 5 teams.
* Vermont QSO Party 2009 - Can't find any results.
* New Hampshire QSO Party 2009 - Can't find any results.
* Louisiana QSO Party 2009 - Can't find any results.
* North Carolina QSO Party 2009 - Single Op Low Power - 33 contacts, 25 multipliers, 1700 pts., 50th out of 86.
* Wisconsin QSO Party 2009 - Single Op Low Power - 31 contacts, 18 multipliers, 837 pts., 2nd of 5 Tennessee low power operators.
* New Mexico QSO Party 2009 - Single Op Low Power - 24 pts. - 43rd out of 62.
* Florida QSO Party 2009 - Results not available at this time.
* West Virginia QSO Party 2009 - Results not available at this time.
* Mississippi QSO Party 2009 -Results not available at this time.
* ARRL November Sweepstakes SSB 2008 - Single Op Low Power, 32 contacts, 24 multipliers, 1,536 pts, 783rd out of 881, 20th out 21 Tennessee low power stations.
* PSK31/63 Death Match 2008 -Class II category - 12,865 pts, 25th, out of 72 class II operators.
* PODXS 070 31 Flavors 2009 - Finished 36th in the Medium Power Cat. 3 QSO's, 3 Mult.
9 total pts. Had some serious AC Line noise that day.
* PODXS 070 Three Day Weekend 2009 - I finished 15th stateside. 166 QSOs, 104 Mult. 800
Bonus Pts. 18,064 Tot. Pts.
* PODXS 070 40 Meter Firecracker Sprint 2009 - Official results not available at this time.
* ARRL Field Day 2009 (Not formally a contest) - Result not available at this time.
* CQ Worked All Prefix(WPX) SSB 2009 - Official results not available at this time.
* IARU HF Contest - Low Power Single Op Phone Only - 72 contacts, 44 multipliers, 8,184 pts. Official results not available at this time.

So folks, that covers it. I have to say that the IC-756 Pro 100 watts into a Windom Dipole at 30ft. does a pretty good job. Although not all contests have been done on that setup. A few contests have been done over at Dad's (KU4ME) on his IC-7560 Pro into a ZS6BKV dipole, or the 80 meter inverted vee.

So with that, the next contests I plan on working are: Tennessee QSO Party, 80 Meter Jay Hudak Memorial, North American QSO Party SSB, PSK 31/63 Death Match, and I'm sure a few others. It will be interesting to see how much better I do compared to last year in some of these.

Well I guess that's all I have for now. I'll say 73 and good DX to all.
Until next time when I talk about the European PSK Club...

God Bless,
Tim - AJ4JD

Sunday, July 12, 2009

IARU HF Championship Fin

Another wonderful contest came to an end this morning at 8:00am EST. (12:00 UTC). I worked the IARU HF Championship contest for a few hours yesterday. Actually I worked it for about 4 hours off and on and made some really good DX contacts. In total I made 73 contacts and garnered a little over 8000 points. I still need to send my log off to the contest email but I will get that done at some point today more than likely. I've already uploaded to LoTW, but still have to get the log uploaded to eQSL. So if any of the contacts I made need to confirm, that would be the place to do it.

Anyway, to give you an idea on the DX I worked here's a list: England, France, Serbia, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Croatia, Italy, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Madeira Island, Romainia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Argentina, Venezuela, USA, Poland, Crete, Ukraine, Brazil, Spain, Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Portugal, Bonaire, Curacao, New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica, Virgin Islands, Morocco, Canary Islands, and Canada.
A total of 37 DX entities, including the U.S. Not to bad if I may say so my self. All my contacts were on either 20 or 40 meters by the way. I got started way too late to do anything on 10 or 15 but that's okay. There's always next year or the next contest.

Anyway, the contest was a lot of fun, and while I know I didn't score enough points to be any count, I still put forth a very good effort for the amount of time I put in. Until next time, take care, 73, good DX to you, and thank you to all the contacts I made yesterday.

God Bless,
Tim - AJ4JD

P.S. Next up, my contest results since I've been a HAM.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New EPC Member. Anticipation builds for the IARU HF Championship

Just thought I would let everyone know that I am now an official member of the European PSK 31 Club. My EPC number is 7880.
I'm also working on a post about my current contesting stats. Hopefully I can get that finished and posted tomorrow. Until then, I'm still waiting for the IARU HF Championship. This is a great contest. I worked it a little bit last year but I didn't submit a log or anything. I was still a fairly new HAM and didn't know much about contesting at that time. Anyway, this year I plan on putting forth a major effort like I did during the CQ WPX contest. Speaking of which, unofficial results have been posted and it appears that I'm sitting as the 4th place rookie stateside in the Low Power Single Op All Band category.

Well that really all I have right now. It's getting late so I'll get off the puter and settle down for bed.

Have a great Friday everyone. 73 and Good DX to all.

Tim - AJ4JD

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

10 Meters Booming.

Was there a possible Canadian French broadcast on my regular FM car stereo yesterday? That's right, yesterday in the late afternoon, I was returning home from dropping something off over at dad's(KU4ME) when I realized that Green Day had faded out and I was now listening to a woman speaking about Michael Jackson in French. I demonstrated this to my XYL Robin (AJ4IJ) with the shortwave in the house after telling her that propagation must be doing really well. I suppose this is what they call heavy Sporadic-E or E-Skip.
It was at that time she told me I'd better get in there and play with the HF. So, I just had to get in here this morning to mention that 10 Meters was booming in like crazy yesterday. I can only hope that it's booming like that again today. I wonder how much the huge sunspot, that's currently on the Sun, had to do with it? I'm sure that was a player in yesterday's conditions. Regardless, I got in there and called CQ for a few minutes and ended up with 4 contacts on 10 with stations in NJ, MD, MA, and IL. By the way, all contacts have been uploaded to LOTW and eQSL.
I would have played longer but the yard was getting closer to jungle status by the second considering all the rain we have had, so the lawn mower was calling my name. If conditions are that good again today, I will be sure to get in there and make more contacts. So if you happen to play radio this evening, look for me on 10 meters. I'll likely be in there.

Until then, 73 and good DX,
Tim - AJ4JD

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Updates for W4H and PODXS 070 40 Meter Sprint

So yesterday, we decided to take a break from the "Rat Race" and just play Radio. So with that in mind we decided to work a little bit of W4H in celebration of our Country's Independence. Robin (AJ4IJ) decided to give it a go on 40 Meters for a few minutes with no bites at all. So she decided to turn it over to me. So I tuned over to 20 Meters which was very busy with a contest and of course the 13 Colonies Special Event. (BTW we both worked 5 of the 13 yesterday.) So away I called CQ W4H/AJ4JD on 20 meters and ended up with about 5 or 6 DX contacts. The band was going really long but it was hard to pull stations out due to QRM etc. So over to 40 Meters I went and made a few more stateside contacts. That was about the extent of it for me. I made a total of 12 contacts and all have been uploaded to eQSL. I will get them uploaded to LOTW soon under the W4H call but they are uploaded under my call.
So 8:00pm rolled and it was time for Robin to work the 40 Meter Firecracker Sprint hosted by the PODXS 070 club. She did quite well racking up a total of 80 contacts and 33 mutlipliers for a grand total of 2,640 points. Of course we did take a break long enough to watch our neighbors across the street blow up about $200 worth of fireworks. She also got up long enough to let me make a couple of contacts. Enough to get an attaboy for my 070 certificate. Thanks Honey.

So that's about all I have for now. I should be posting soon and overview of my contesting experience since I've been a HAM and got into contesting. That should be interesting to say the least.
Until next time... 73 and Good DX to all,
Tim - AJ4JD

P.S. We are now on Twitter. You can follow Robin at http://www.twitter.com/aj4ij and me at http://www.twitter.com/aj4jd.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

W4H - 470 ARG 4th of July QSO Party

Just thought I would make a quick entry about the special event that the 470 Amateur Radio Group has going on right now. W4H is the call for the event. We are celebrating the 4th of July. There will be several different operators in and around the Knoxville, TN area working the event. You will want to get their callsign as we all have our own QSL cards for the event. For example, if you make contact with me, you will want to send your QSL to my QTH as entered on QRZ.com for my call AJ4JD.

The event started on July 1 at 1:00pm and goes through to July 9th at 11:00pm EST. The frequencies we are operating on are as follows: 14.260, 7.260, 28.400, 3.960 mhz +/- 20khz per the ARRL instructions.

So that's all I've got for now. I hope to catch you on the bands either as W4H/AJ4JD or just as AJ4JD. Until then, 73 and Good DX to all.

Tim - AJ4JD

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Another Field Come and Gone... Is it 2010 Yet?

That's right Ham fans, another Field Day has come and gone. How did you all do during Field Day? What do you find was the highlight of the day? Well I have to say that the highlights are our day was the opportunity to actually operate during Field Day. You see, last year on field day we were on vacation down in Florida. Needless to say, on Field Day we were on the road headed to New Orleans to see my folks and family and the only radio at my disposal was a Yaesu FT-90r. I had the radio tuned most of the time to 146.520 or 146.550. From time to time I would hear a brief QSO and then it was gone.

Of course, don't forget that we did have our own personal field day prior to going on vacation. 2 weeks before vacation we did go up to the field and set up all the stuff and made a few contacts. That was actually one of the first times I made any HF contacts.

Fast forward to Field Day 2009. This year we brought up the following for our operating situation:
- Yaesu FT-450
- LDG 200AT Pro Auto Tuner
- Power Supply
- Lenovo Net Book for computer logging with N3FJP's Field Day contest log, which we then exported seemlessly into our ACLog.
- A 1800 HP Gas Generator
- ZS6BKV Multi Band Dipole

I think that covers the equipment. Of course we brought snacks, fans, and a percolator for coffee.

Once we arrived and had some hot dogs that we picked up from a convenience store we got to looking around and found that one of the ropes we left up there for the antenna had gone missing. This rope by the way was a bit in the edge of the woods and out of site. The other rope is in plain view so we wondered why they only took the one. Well we assume it must have been hunters. Anyway, we got another rope up in a tree for the operation. This was just a temporary fix. We didn't have the sling shot or a fishing pole so we resorted to tying the rope to a bottle of Gatorade.
It wasn't much longer and we had the equipment set up and we were ready to call CQ. I spent a couple of hours calling and ended up with a total of 60 contacts. Robin (AJ4IJ) worked for just a little bit. She was pretty wore out from running around during the day getting supplies for the evening and getting things ready to go. Ashby (KJ4EGJ) towards the end of our evening finally decided to work some stations and ended up with 16 contacts. I was so proud. Mom (KF4SSI) and Dad (KU4ME) didn't work any. Dad was pretty tired from working on the Jeep all weekend as was I. That's right, we did get the Jeep in running condition. She still needs some work but at least she isn't spewing radiator fluid anymore.
As a final note, Robin had found earlier on QRZ'd that the QSO Radio Show was broadcasting on the air for Field Day and were taking calls from Field Day stations all over the world. Well it was around Midnight when Robin and Dad got the big idea about calling in and handed the phone to me. So I took the cell phone and made the call. I gave them my information and it wasn't long after that they called us back and I was on the air speaking with Ted Randall (WB8PUM) about our setup and our Ham Family. As a matter of fact on Ted Randall's site he has a streaming rebroadcast of the show.
So this year's Field Day was considered a success. We got setup in short order and in total made 82 contacts between us. As I know it, Dad worked some stations the next day but at this time I forget how many he made.

That's all I got for now. Stay tuned as I plan on posting on my contest experience and results over the first year of my Ham life and The First Annual 470 ARG 4th of July QSO Party special event. Until then, 73 and Good DX to all.

Tim - AJ4JD

P.S. You can get another view point on our Field Day adventure over at Robin's Blog.

Our Trusty Side Kick Enjoying Field Day

Robin Enjoying Field Day

Mom (KF4SSI) and Dad (KU4ME) having a blast

The Rope Raiser

Me (AJ4JD) calling CQ

The Net Book with the Beacon of Light
that provided us with Internet access


The Station setup

Ashby (KJ4EGJ) at the helm

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Field Day Update and West Virginia QSO Party

Well folks, if you haven't heard then I'll just say this, field day is looking a bit bleak at this time. If you've read the XYL's blog then you know all about it. Otherwise, here it is in a nutshell. Our Jeep is broke and we have no other way of getting up to our beloved field we visit for outdoor ops as well as astronomy operations. It's up on a ridge and requires 4 wheel drive to get up there. With that being the case field day may end up in the back yard or from the comfort of indoors with the fridge around the corner and a bathroom within 4 steps of the shack. Regardless, we will work field day.

On another note, I worked the West Virginia QSO Party for a bit last week. You see, West Virigina, has been one of those elusive states that I have yet to get confirmed for WAS. Well last night I checked my LOTW account and low and behold, I've now got WV confirmed. I only have 3 states left for WAS via LOTW (South Carolina, Nebraska, and Maine). So if you here or see me on the bands and your from either of those states, and have LOTW, please, by all means, give me a call.

Well that's all I've got for now. It's time to get ready to go to that 4 letter word that begins with a 'W'.

73 to all and good DX,
Tim - AJ4JD

Monday, June 15, 2009

Got PSK31?

I certainly do. And let me tell you, I've made some of the grandest contacts on the mode. With just 50 watts this evening I made contact with Belarus and Estonia on 20 meters. Thank you to ES7FQ and EU2MM. Hope to see you guys on the waterfall again. My other contact for the evening was with a familiar OM, AK4DW. David is about 9 miles or so as the crow flies from me and I happened across his signal on the waterfall on 20 meters this evening. David and I both tend to catch each other on the 145.470 2 meter repeater here in East Tennessee on the drive home from work from time to time.

In a few of our chews on 2 meters we've talked about PSK31 and how wonderful of a mode it is. David just recently got an HF rig and got all set up to work the digital modes. Since then I hadn't had the chance to chew the rag with him on any of the modes or bands. So this evening was our chance. David, congrats again on the setup and on your membership in PODXS 070 club. Catch you again on the fall and on different bands and modes.

I have to say that other than a good ol' phone contact, my favorite method of operation is digital via PSK31. Why just last night I made contact with an OM in Washington state with just 50 watts. Thanks K1NVY, I really enjoyed the QSO Fred. The same power level applies to the DX contacts I made this evening. Had I been on phone I seriously doubt we would have heard each other running a bare 100 watts.

So if you've ever thought about it, give it a try. I'm sure that if you are familiar with computers and even remotely adept at the keyboard, you will definitely enjoy working PSK31 or any of it's other varients as well as other digital modes like Olivia or RTTY.

Well that's all I have for this evening. So good DX to all and 73.

Tim - AJ4JD

P.S. If you see me on the waterfall or hear me on the bands, please feel free to give me a call. I would love to make contact with you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Museum Ship Weekend and the Upcoming Field Day

This past weekend was the Museum Ship weekend. I hope everyone got a chance to work the ships. I think that this event is one of my favorites when it comes to special "Get on the Air" events. This event is sponsored by the Battleship New Jersey Radio Station (NJ2BB). There were 85 different ships operating on the bands from Saturday June 6th - Sunday June 7th.

I was able to make contact with about 10 of them. Which was pretty cool as I made contact with some ships I hadn't contacted before (i.e. USS North Carolina, USS Indianapolis, and more). If you made contact with at least 15 ships, then you earned yourself a certificate. All you have to do is mail in your log information. The Battleship New Jersey Radio Station website linked above has all the info on that.

The next big event coming up is Field Day. June 27th - 28th. If you don't know about Field Day, then your either new, or you've been living under a rock, Hi Hi. Anyway this is one of the biggest events of the year. Operators from all over will be out in the field, mobile, or even in the comfort of their home QTH making contacts all over the bands. For more information about Field Day check out the Field Day link above.

We will be up in our Aunt Betty's field operating on the 27th. We plan to be running the Yaesu FT-450 that we went in half with Dad(KU4ME) on. We will have that hooked to the LDG AT200 Pro auto tuner and a ZS6BKV multiband dipole as well as a G5RV antenna, both homebrewed. You can check those out in previous posts of our out in the field experiences: HF in the Field With New Homebrew G5RV and Our Early Field Day.

Anyway, if you are on the air for field day, listen for us and feel free to make contact. Catch you down the log.

73 and good DX,
Tim - AJ4JD

Thursday, June 4, 2009

LOTW vs eQSL

Well, I was checking the analytics (stats) on my blog here just a minute ago and found that someone reached my site via the search of "LOTW vs eQSL". So I thought I would blog about the differences between the two. Obviously someone out there would like to know, and since I use both, I can give a little insite from my own perspective. So take it for what it's worth.

LOTW as everyone knows is the online log book done by the ARRL. LOTW is pretty a pretty good program and fairly easy to use once you get everything set up. The set up is really the hardest thing about LOTW. With LOTW you first have to register an account, then wait for a card to come in the mail. Oh yeah you have to download a little program that allows you to get a an encrypted certificate so for security and validity reasons. I understand the purpose I suppose. I wouldn't want someone taking credit for my contacts, but I digress. Actually, at the LOTW website they have a fairly understandable "Getting Started" guide that walks you through the whole process. Within a week I was all set up and ready to upload my log from the log book program I use. To date I've uploaded over 1000 contacts and have confirmed over 400.

The two real positives about LOTW, is that you can use it to confirm contacts for ARRL's WAS, and DXCC awards and endorsements. Another positive is that it integrates quite well with the log book software I use (N3FJP's AC LOG). Two clicks is all it takes to upload new contacts and receive any confirmations that are sitting out on the LOTW servers. As of last check, I lack 4 states to confirm in order to receive my Basic WAS award.

EQSL is another log book site I use and really like it alot. While you cannot use EQSL to confirm/validate contacts for ARRL's awards, they have a few awards of their own and they recently arranged a means to validate/confirm contacts for a few of the awards from CQ magazine. As a matter of fact, I just earned the eDX award for confirming at least 25 DXCC entities. Of course in award to participate in their awards programs you have to be Authenticity Guaranteed (AG'd) and be at least a Bronze member. AG'd is eQSL's way of providing security and proof that you are who you say you are, much like the certificates with LOTW. Fortunately, with eQSL, the AG process is much more simple than the certificate stuff with LOTW. As for the Bronze Membership, you only have to make a small donation to eQSL via PayPal. I've donated $5 this year and that keeps me Bronze for the year.

Other positives about EQSL include actual QSL cards and ease of use. That's right, with eQSL you exchange with your contacts digital QSL cards. You can use eQSL's design shop to make your own or you can make your own and upload the image yourself. Of course in order to do that you have to be at least a Bronze member. Otherwise, regular members have to choose from a small selection of designs. You can view the QSL's you've received at any time. You can also print them out for your collection.

The one drawback is that it doesn't integrate with my logbook software as LOTW. For instance if I wanted to upload my logs to EQSL from my logbook software, I have two options. One is to upload each contact individually via the logbook program. The other option is to export my log into an ADIF format, which my logbook program does quite well, and then upload it through EQSL's upload interface.

So there you have it folks. To summarize, I use both. I like both really well. They are both pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it, and they make award applications so much easier. Of course I still love to receive QSL cards in the mail, however, this is a much cheaper option if you are on a tight budget. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a post here and I will do my best to post the answer.

Until next time, 73 and good DX.

Tim - AJ4JD

Monday, June 1, 2009

Milestones Thanks to the 070 TDW

I didn't write about this during yesterday's post as it hadn't really crossed my mind. However, today it has so I figured I would share with you a couple of milestones to put in the books.

Milestone 1:
- During the TDW contest this past weekend I made my 1000th logged contact. That's right I've hit the 1000 contact mark and still trucking. Of course this is mainly contacts on HF. Who was the lucky OP you ask? None other than N7GVV. Thanks for the contact Jim and the milestone mark. I will definitely be sending a QSL your way just for memorabilia sake. Hi Hi.

Milestone 2:
- Thanks to the wonderful cyber world and the 070 TDW contest, I finally confirmed 25 DX contacts via eQSL and have earned myself the eDX award. That's right folks, my first major Ham Award. No, it may not be as pretty as the major award the old man won in a Christmas Story, but to me it is a major award nonetheless.

So that's all I've got for now. I still lack 5 states for the eWAS via eQSL, and 4 more states for the basic WAS via the ARRL. So if you hear me on the bands or see me on the waterfall give a holler for me. I'd love to work you.

Anyway it's late and about time to go QRT. So I'll 73 for now and thanks to all who I've contacted and all those who have contacted me.

Tim - AJ4JD

Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's In the Bag Now

Well HAM fans, the PODXS 070 Three Day Weekend contest is over. That's right at 23:59 UTC the 3 Day Weekend finished. Robin (AJ4IJ) and myself had an absolute blast. We both ended up with a total of 166 contact each believe it or not. However, I have to bow down to her as she ended up with a couple more multipliers than I did and 200 extra bonus points than me. So congrats to you Honey, you wopped the tar out of me. Hi Hi.

It was a very fun contest and I would like to thank everyone that contacted us both. We can now enter the Coveted LONP club. What's that some of you may ask? It's the prestigious Loyal Order of Narrow-Banded Phaseshifters. This is an award given to all 070 members for contacting 100 070 members on PSK31.

Well I've stared at a computer screen for far too long this weekend as you can imagine so I'mgoing to go QRT and say 73 to all. Catch you down the log and hope to see you on the waterfall again real soon.

Tim - AJ4JD

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The 070 3 Day Weekend Contest

Sorry I've been away for so long. Let me tell you, it's been crazy hectic around here. Anyway, this evening started the PODXS070 club's 3 Day weekend contest. For all those into PSK you should really look into this club. This contest is focused on 070 members contacting other members, so unfortunately if you aren't a member this contest wouldn't be fun for you.

Regardless of the fact, Robin (AJ4IJ) and myself are participating and have already racked up a quite a few contacts. However, I have to work in the morning and must retire at this time. However, we will both be back "On The Air" tomorrow. So all 070 members keep an eye out for us. we will definitely be on 20, 40, and 80. If 6, 10, and 15 are open we will be there too. Regretfully we do not have an antenna for 160 at this time so it's out of the question at this time.

Good luck to all my fellow 070 members and see ya on the waterfall tomorrow.

73 de AJ4JD,
Tim

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Doing the Asiatic Russia Dance

So this evening I just happened to have turned on the ICOM 756 Pro and put it on 20 meters and later tuned the Windom. Low and behold there was no noise. Of course I still had a couple of chores to complete to help out the XYL when I was passing by and happened to hear RZ9uUI beaming North Pole on 14.205. I heard him work a few stations and I figured I'd bring up the log book and get everything ready and see if I could work him. Once I had everything ready he finished with on station stateside and hollered QRZed. I quickly keyed up the mike and threw out my call and right then and there he came right back with my call and a BIG 5-9. Alex was his name and I returned with my name and gave him a 5-9 as well here in Tennessee.

I hope he QSL's direct as well as LoTW and eQSL. That if I can confirm that contact that would make worked all continents FTW. How awesome would it be to get WAC under my belt and out of the way?

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. So until next time 73, Good DX, and God Bless,
Tim - AJ4JD

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Florida/Nebraska QSO Parties

So this weekend we decided we would go camping and enjoy the great outdoors. Now I know what you are thinking, this is a HAM radio blog not an outdoors blog. And you are thinking correct. If you want more on our camping trip you can check our Robin and Tim's Grand Adventures. Once you get back to here then you will see why it was worth going over there. Anyway, we did go camping but cut the trip short and came home.
So yesterday I decided to turn the HF on and see what the bands were doing and how bad our AC noise problem was. Surprisingly the power line noise was not affecting 20 meters at all. So I scrolled up and down the band and heard several Florida stations working the Florida QSO Party. I figured what the heck, and I worked a few stations before the first period ended within the hour I started. Once that was done I heard one station from Nebraska on 20 working the Nebraska QSO party. Considering I do not have Nebraska confirmed yet I figured what the heck and worked him too. Since that was the only Nebraska QSO party contact I made, hopefully I gave the OM an edge over everyone else and he will reward me by confirming Nebraska Hi Hi. Of course with a call like K0BLT who wouldn't want to confirm that one. That has got to be the tastiest callsign I've heard yet.
So today I thought, before we get into anything major, I would check the bands out again to see how they were doing and whether or not the AC noise was going to be a problem. I turned the rig on and it sounded promising. I to take care of a little business prior to sitting down and by the time I called my first station, the noise was starting to affect things. I made about 3 or 4 more Florida contacts before 20 was taken over completely by the noise. Grrr.

Oh well, it was a good day regardless. I got to make a few contacts and even a PSK-31 contact with Jim (N1BCL) this evening. Thanks for confirming VT so quickly Jim.

To all those I worked this weekend, thanks for the QSO's and 73.

Catch ya on the Bands,
Tim - AJ4JD

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A New Contact with a New General YL

So today I made a contact with a special station today. She just got her general a couple of weeks ago and got on HF today for one of her first times. Her callsign is KF4SSI and I got her on 40 meters about 60db over S-9 from across the street Hi Hi.
I know what you are asking. What's so special about a 40 meter contact with a station from across the street? Well I'll tell you. KF4SSI is my mother in law, Karen, and she's just now starting to get her feet wet in the land of HF. She was in there just calling away CQ so I thought I would jump in there and give her a call.
Anyway, I thought that was pretty cool and just had to let everyone know. So if your up on the low bands and hear "CQ CQ CQ this is KF4SSI calling CQ", jump in there and make her day by giving her a call.

Love ya momma.

73 de AJ4JD,
Catchya on the bands.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's the Western Sahara Dance

That's right HAM Fans. I'm stealing one from the XYL's book. I got to do the Western Sahara dance this evening. I just worked the DXpedition S04R on 80 meters. It took me a couple of hours to do it, but I stuck with it and got them in the log. You can check out the DXpeditions website at www.dxfriends.com.
They are only there until the 17th then they go QRT. This is the same group that went to Rwanda in early 2008. Thank you Tifariti Gang.

73 and Good DX,
Tim - AJ4JD

Sunday, April 12, 2009

31 Flavors Failure yet successful.

No thanks to the local AC noise we are plagued with in our little area, I wasn't very successful in the 31 Flavors contest. Not that I'm making excuses or anything, but that noise just wipes out anything and everything that isn't a big power station. Regardless of the fact, I was able to squeak out three good DX contacts during the contest and one of those was with an OM who was making his very first HF contact and to top that off it was via PSK 31. VE2VAG, my hats off to you for taking the wonderful plunge into the world of Digital Modes and HF in one shot. I also got Germany and Belgium.
Later in the evening I made a couple of contacts on 40 meters. It was after the contest period ended in my neck of the woods. W3HF, thanks for another 070 contact. That makes another point towards LONP and my first towards the QCWA endorsement.
You should all have eQSLs waiting for you, I will upload to LOTW shortly.

Well that's all I have for now, so until next time,
73 & Good DX
AJ4JD - Tim

Dit Dit.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

31 Flavors in 30 minutes

I am sitting here in the shack, getting ready to work the PSK 31 Flavors contest by the PODXS070 club. The noise isn't too bad and I've been able to copy a few stations just fine. I've got my macros set up and the power levels set and I'm ready. If anyone reads this blog of mine, come on down to 14.070 on 20 meters and say hi. I'll put you in my log and hopefully turn out some decent results, and if not, well that's okay too. I will enjoy all the contacts regardless. So with just about 30 minutes till the rolling start hits here...

I'll say best of 73. Good luck fellow contesters and good DX. See you on the waterfall.

Tim - AJ4JD

Thursday, April 9, 2009

PODXS 070 PSK 31 Flavors

That's right YLs and OMs this Saturday from 12pm to 6pm your local time, the PODXS 070 club's 31 Flavors contest will be taking place on 20 meters. I'm planning on working the contest and hope to do well. However, how well I do will be largely dependent upon whether I'm afflicted by our local noise problem. Regardless, I will be in there and will give it the old college try and will hopeful work some of the other PSK variants. That's right this contest is not limited to just PSK 31. In fact, you can use BPSK31, 63, and 125 as well as QPSK 31 and 63.
So if you are into digital modes and contesting, then get those Keyboards into shape and join the fray. You DO NOT have to be a member of the 070 club to participate. I hope to see read your signal from the waterfall. Until Saturday...

73 and Good Contesting,
Tim
AJ4JD
PODXS 070# 865

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cubs Radio via the HF Rig

Bear with me on this one my fellow Hams. The thought occurred to me this afternoon while I was at work and I looked on the Chicago Cubs website to see if the game was going to be televised this evening on a venue I could watch. Well to my dismay, living here in East Tennessee and only being a basic digital cable subscriber out in the sticks, I do not get Chicago Sports Net, the only channel on TV that was carrying the game this evening. Then I saw, as always, that the game would be aired on Cubs Radio 720 AM. **Insert Lightbulb turning on here**
So this evening upon returning home from our run/walk.. I sat down at the ICOM 756 Pro and was tuning around to see what the bands were like (not that great by the way due to local noise that is best left as a story for another time) when I remembered oh yeah the Cubs game. (They just won YAY Cubs Win!!! Cubs Win!!!). So I got to turning that dial when at last I came across 0.720.00 on the display and turned the mode to AM. Sure enough, there it was the AM broadcast of the loveable Cubs. Several summers have past and I've wished I could get the, untelevised to me, games on the radio. Well thanks to the HAM Radio and the big homebrewed Windom in the trees, I can sit in satisfaction and listen to my beloved Cubs on the HF Radio. Hi Hi. I know I could probably pull out the shortwave and pick it up but the thought had never occured to me previously considering it just winded up here at the QTH last summer.

Well that's all I have for now.

Take care, Good DX, and best of 73 de
AJ4JD - Tim

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

eQSL and LOTW is now

Just thought I would let everyone know that I am now confirming QSO's via Log Book of The World (LOTW) and eQSL. So everyone check their accounts and make sure you received my confirmation and if you haven't already, please send return confirmation. Thanks to LOTW, I only lack 5 states for the basic WAS award. Woohoo. Don't forget, I also QSL direct and love to collect QSL cards. If you want one in return I will be more than happy to send out. Just in case you are wondering what my QSL card looks like check out this old post. Anyway, that's really all I have for the time being. I hope everyone has a wonderful week and if I don't post prior to... Everyone have a Happy Easter.

73 and good DX,
Tim - AJ4JD

Sunday, March 29, 2009

CQ WPX 2009 Fin

The CQ WPX SSB contest finished at 8:00 this evening. It was a fun contest. I worked it all weekend for a total of 14+ hours. By the finish I had entered 223 contacts in the log and ended up with over 60,000 points. It was a lot of fun and I can't wait for next years. I had a problem today with 20 meters. We have some sort of noise problem in our area that we have yet to figure out. Anyway, the only band that wasn't affected was 40 meters. Anyway, thank you to all the stations that made contact with me and that I made contact with. Hope you all had as much fun as I did.

Until the next one, see ya on the bands.

73 de AJ4JD,
Tim

Saturday, March 28, 2009

CQ WPX Contest

So I've been working the CQ WPX contest this weekend. It's been a lot of fun. Although the weather hasn't cooperated this evening. We were supposed to get some major storms by 9:00pm this evening and I unplugged the HF around 7:30 due to a flash of lighting I saw in the distance while I was outside taking the pooch out. So here I sit at 12:30 with the rain just now moving in and sporadic lightining crashing and can't work the contest. However, believe you me, once there is no more threat of lightining, I'll be back in there.
So to those that are working right now, good luck and 73. Catch you all on the bands shortly.

AJ4JD
Tim

Saturday, March 21, 2009

5BWAS Update

I decided I would give an update on my 5 Band WAS status. I've added a couple more states for the WAS and added a couple more bands on a couple of states. I've still got a ways to go. Anyway here it is...


Catch ya on the bands. Now if only I had an antenna up for 15 meters.

73,
Tim

Monday, March 9, 2009

Union County ARES

Well, I thought I would get on here and give an update on ARES here in Union County. As you all may know, I was appointed EC for Union County ARES about a month or so ago. Since then, I've appointed an AEC, Robin (AJ4IJ) gladly accepted the appointment. We've established a NET on the 145.230 repeater here in the Knoxville area every Thursday night at 8:00pm EST. We've also established a meeting place and time in Maynardville, on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm EST at the Hardees in on Maynardville Hwy.

So if you live in our area and are interested in joining ARES feel free to come to a meeting or join us on our NET. Our current plans include recruiting new members, contacting the county EMA and the chairman of our LEPC to find out how we can service the county during emergencies and disasters. We will also be planning other activities and training opportunities as the opportunities present themselves.

So that's really all I've got for now. So until next time... Be on the look out for ARES updates and my other HAM related activities. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, we will be making a blog site for Union County ARES soon so be on the lookout for that as well.

73 God Bless and Good DX,
Tim - AJ4JD

Sunday, March 1, 2009

QSO Parties and WAS

Well it has been a little while since I last blogged. So I thought I would sit down and give everyone an update of what has been going on here lately. I've definitely caught the contest bug. The past couple of weekends (ever since we got our shack set up) I've been working different contests that are feasible for me to work. Robin (AJ4IJ) worked the PODXS 070 Club Valentine Sprint. I have to say she did really good too. I've been working the different state QSO parties. I really haven't given them any major effort. I think I worked one station in the Vermont QSO Party, and a handful in the New Mexico QSO Party, as well as the New Hampshire, and Mississippi QSO parties. I did put forth more of an effort in the North Carolina QSO party today. I ended up with 33 contacts and about 1700 points total. While it will not win a prize or anything, it was still nice to work it and see how the radio/antenna/ and new antenna tuner was performing.

In case you didn't know we added a new LDG AT-200Pro Auto Tuner to the shack. It seems to be working really well. So well in fact that prior, I've been having to cut the power back on the upper end of the 75/80 meter band when checking into the Tennessee Phone net as the SWR runs a bit to high for our liking. So now with the tuner in place, I am able to hit 3.980MHz with full power without even blinking. Really, with the antenna, that was the only place we had trouble with as far as SWR was concern. Of course we can't work 15 meters at all but our Windom is not resonant at all for 15. It performs without issue on the other bands though.

I've also decided it was time to update my Worked All States map and have included it for you all to see my progress. I've got a ways to go and I'm going to have to get a 15 meter antenna up if I ever plan on get the 5 band WAS.

Did I mention we got a new FT-1802 to replace the new Radio Shack 2 meter rig. No more noise when we key up from the laptops. I'll have to get a shot of our shack up here soon.

Until next time 73, God Bless, and Good DX,
AJ4JD - Tim

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Proud Papa Ham

One can only imagine the smile that has been across my face since yesterday. Why so happy you may ask. Well it all stems from a contact with Santa Claus that my harmonic (KJ4EGJ) made. You may recall an article from back in December that Duncan MacLachlan (KU0DM - Youth Editor for ARRL) wrote about Santa Claus (W6S).

Well yesterday, Duncan's latest youth article appeared on ARRL's website. Well I can tell that I had a smile much like the Cheshire Cat's when I beheld in mine eyes my daughter's picture and small piece about her contact with Santa. Of course I had previously knew this was going to happen and had been anticipating the article for the last week. It was about 3 weeks or so ago when Duncan contacted my XYL (AJ4IJ) about the article he was planning, and was hoping to get a little information from her about the contact and of course ask permission to write about Ashby in his article.

Yes, I am quite the proud papa. Ashby, you go girl. This coupled with the speech you gave that garnered 2nd place at the 4H competition at your school about Ham Radio tells me you are going to go far in the hobby. For those who don't know already, Ashby gave a speech about her Ham Radio hobby in a 4H competition at school. Now it has been published in our local 470 ARG newsletter. You can read more about it at my XYL's blog along with more about Ashby's contact with Santa. You can also catch Duncan's article on ARRL.org at the following URL: http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2009/02/09/10623/?nc=1.

Until next time, 73 and good DX to all,
AJ4JD - Tim

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Antenna is Finally in the Air

Well today we finally got the antenna in the air. Last week we put it all together and made a valiant effort to try and get it in the air but failed miserably. The odds were against us as the wind was blowing something fierce, and we ended up losing one arrow in the tree and the other lost its notch.

So today, we tried again. This time we had a different plan. Instead of bow and arrow, we opted for a sling shot and a 3oz. fishing weight. Our first few attempts were for naught. The weight was too big and kept getting caught on the sling once it was release. So we decided to cut the thing in half. Once we did that we started having better results. Unfortunately, where we originally wanted to put it on one side was too tall for us to achieve. So we opted for a bit shorter beech tree. By doing this we no longer has a need to run a support rope or pulley system as before this we were going to run it up in a tall pine tree.

Well after a couple of attempts we finally had the short side up in the tree and it was time to trek to the other side. This one was more than we bargained for. Getting the rope up in the old oak tree up the ridge wasn't the problem. The problem came when we tried to raise the antenna. We found that as we raised it the long side was going to get hung up on a branch of a dogwood tree and there was no way to guide the wire out from under it. With this in mind we only had one option... Chop It Down. I trekked back down the ridge to get the ax and the saw. 2 blisters and a bruised thumb later, we had the dogwood hewed and the antenna up in the air. The battle was won with the exception of running the coax into the house and connect it to the radio.

With daylight, strength, and energy waning rapidly, we decided it was time for some dinner before finishing our small war. So we ran out to Cap'n D's for some fish and brought it back to the house. We filled ourselves on fries, fish, and hush puppies and decided it was time to put a hole in the floor. We had originally planned to connect the coax running from the antenna to the house into a lightning arrestor, and take a second run of coax on into the house. This would have required us to put another hole in the house and to find screws to mount the arrestor to the house as well. So instead we ran the one run in through the garage door in th basement, into the crawl space under the shack and up through the floor until such time comes when we have screws for the arrestor and enough motivation to put a new hole in the house.

It wasn't long before we had our Windom connected to the radio and were ready to see how it performed. On 80 meters, the SWR is pretty good up to about the DX Window. after that the tuner needs to be used and past 3.900 MHz we have to cut the power back a bit. On 40 meters the antenna is mostly flat. On 20 it is completely flat without a tuner. same on 10. The only band it won't even tune on is 15 meters. Other than that, it does quite well for a multi bander that's supposed to work 80 - 2. So far I've made about 5 contacts with it and one of those were to the Bahamas. All reports have been 5-9 except the Bahamas reported 5-7. So I can't complain considering we can only run 100 watts at this time.

So we accomplished what we set out to do, with a few exceptions of course. In the end the result was good. We are finally on the air and that's all that matters. Stay tuned and I will get some pictures posted in the next couple of days or so. Anyway, many thanks go out to dad (KU4ME) for helping us out tremendously in this project and to the XYL Robin (AJ4IJ) for all her hard work too.

Till next time, 73 and Good DX.
AJ4JD Tim

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Playing Catch Up

I know it's been a while since my last entry so let me play a little catch up. January has been a busy month and to be honest I haven't done a whole lot of radioing. What radioing I have done has been on 2 meters, checking into the different nets and the occasional QSO here and there. We attended the Morristown hamfest a couple of weeks ago where we bought all the wire we needed to build our own Windom antenna to put in the backyard. We bought a 100' of RG-8, 25' of RG-213, 140' or so of some 13 awg copper wire, some PL-259 connectors, and a couple of dog bones insulators. While at the hamfest, Robin (AJ4IJ) won a major award... a 2008-2009 ARRL repeater directory. That's the first time any of us has won a prize at a hamfest. We all thought that was pretty neat.

Since the hamfest, we've purchased a 4:1 balun from The Wireman, some thimbles, and we are still waiting on an I.C.E. lightning arrestor to arrive. Once that gets here, we will have everything we need to build and raise our antenna, and bring our HF radio home. Yes we finally purchased an HF rig. What did we purchase you ask? Well, we got a great deal on an ICOM IC-756 Pro. Gotta love the fish finder on that rig. It's been over at Dads(KU4ME) ever since. It works quite well and has great audio. I can't wait to get it over here and get on the air to see how we do with the Windom.

What else has been happening, well last weekend Robin and I went to take our EmComm level 1 and 2 tests. We passed with flying colors and are now EmComm 1 & 2 certified. We await our certificates. With me passing the EmComm tests, I have officially been appointed as EC for Union County ARES here in Tennessee. Up until now, Claiborne County has been taking care of our counties needs when it comes to emergency communications. We have quite a bit of work to do to get the ball rolling but look forward to get an Amateur Radio presence going on in our county. There are several hams in our county so we have a good base to recruit from.
Anyway, that's all I have for the time being, until next time...

Good DX and Happy Contesting
73 de AJ4JD
Tim