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,

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,

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,

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.

AJ4JD on my VX170 HT