Saturday, November 28, 2015

ATNOs #283 and #284 Mount Athos and Guinea Bissau

I had been monitoring the cluster for J52HF.  He only operates in his spare time and sometimes for just a few hours a day.  There were days when I missed him for about 30 minutes after he had gone QRT.  I got lucky on the 28th as he gave 15m a second try and I was sitting by the rig when he started calling CQ.   Only a few callers later and he QSYd to 10m.  He was too faint on 10m to copy.  I heard him for a few minutes but before I got the band tuned on the amplifier - he was gone,

Fighting the pileups on Mount Athos was something fierce.  Monk Apollo is a good CW operator and he made a lot of QSOs. Bernie W3UR gave us a heads up that he would be operating for a couple of days.  I finally made it into the pileup on the last day,  WM4AA and I were texting other the whole time.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rwanda 9X0NH ATNO #282

At 1909 UTC on 20m CW 14.025 MHz  - Great Op

Just confirmed in LOTW 11/23/15

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Willis Island VK9WA In the Log - ATNO #281

Along with others in my immediate circles - VK9WA is in the log.  This is ATNO for me and #281 on my DXCC.   Here is an image taken by a drone.

This DXpedition has been a tough one for me - seems like whenever they are workable from my QTH they are working some other region of the world.

Other news:

DXCC Desk completed my application so I should be getting a sticker for 275 - Mixed Mode and 200 for 20m

Friday, November 13, 2015

Propagation to Willis Island to Maidenhead EM85

Expedition is now sailing for Willis Island from Australia and will be MM for the next 30 hours.  I hope to hear them this weekend sometime.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Back Home Again - TT8AMO and 3W3MD in the log - both ATNOs

It is nice to be home again - the march to 300 begins now that the 275 milestone has been reached

#273 Comoros D67GIA Card received in the mail and confirmed in LOTW
#274 Brunei V85TL Card received in the mail
#275 ST2NH Sudan Card also received

This leaves the following pending receipt of a card

#276 T2GC confirmed in Clublog and card requested
#277 Cocos Keeling JA0JHQ/VK9C Card received
#278 TX3X Chesterfield Islands confirmed in the TX3X website
#279 TT8AMO Chad - worked him twice this morning (both confirmed in Clublog)
#280 3W3MD Vietnam - worked him once and heard my call sign confirmed clearly (also confirmed in the DXpedition on-line log)

That leaves me having missed the United Nations expedition 4U70UN while I was away in Turkey.  I am hearing 3B7FA on PSK63 bu I am not set up to transmit on PSK63 - so I will have to miss this one too - too many irons in the fire.  I am happy to get Vietnam and Chad for the time being.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

This will make McGyver proud - DXing as TA3/NY4G


I was told the windows in my 19th floor hotel room did not open so I did not bring a wire antenna.  Lesson learned here is never believe what other people tell you and always have a backup plan.

To a hammer everything looks like a nail.  To a ham anything that has metal in it looks like an antenna.  I repurposed a 25 foot extension cord into an antenna.  I stripped off the outside insulation and pulled out all three wires.  I connected the two of the three wires together into a 41 foot radiator and connected it to the center conductor of a BNC adapter.  I strung the 41 foot radiator out the window.  I then took the green wire, cut it down to about 16 feet and connected it to the shield of the BNC adapter as a counterpoise.  What I have now is an instant random wire that is tunable with the KX3 ATU from 40m to 10m.  It is actually near resonant on 20 and 40m.  I used the door as measuring stick.  I used the door handles for leverage in stripping off the thick insulation.  I used the band aids from my first aid kit as electrical tape to keep the wire joint together after splicing.

I then managed to work several Russians and one Slovenian.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Chesterfield Islands TX3X approaching QRT

The following members of the SCDXA are in the log

WM4AA - 15m ATNO
N0TR - 12m ATNO
NY4G - 15m and 17m ATNO
KU4XO - 8 slots ATNO
N4IQ - 6 slots
W4KA - 5 slots
N4BAF - 3 slots

Bob ND7J did not make it because of his work schedule.  Everybody I know tells me they were easier to work on SSB

I heard them last on 40m 7023 at 10:03 UTC on 11OCT.   The last update from their Facebook page is below:

UPDATE - Last night we experienced even stronger winds than what is now typical. One op reported his bed was moving during the night from the wind that was lifting his tent. We think he was dreaming as it was really several hundred hermit crabs carrying him to their nesting area.
Last report we have shows: SFI=80, A=56, K=3, the quality of the signals on this end have been marginal. We know that you are hearing us better than we’re hearing you. With the A having been as high as 77 it’s a miracle you hear us at all.
Last night we opened to NA on 40 SSB while competing with an “Over the Horizon Radar” that was about the same signal strength as most NA signals and atmospheric noise. This continued for about 2 – 3 hours before NA started building. Similar situation with EU, weak signals and radar interference. We appreciated Asia standing by during the NA and later EU openings. We had similar weak signal challenges on 30 meter CW, with signals out of EU mostly in the noise. We had good openings on 80 CW. We also had excellent openings on 20 CW to the UK, Nordics, and other northwest EU countries. Until now there’s been very little to no propagation to that region.
The ops are reporting working these long hours under the current conditions is very tiring and not much fun.
Since we’re in Asia’s back yard they have propagation the vast majority of time. They have about 44% of the contacts because we hear them during your propagation lulls, its a simple choice, work Asia or work nothing. While some of you think we’re ignoring NA and EU in favor of AS, the reality is propagation is erratic. Openings are not as obvious to us while we’re working what we can hear. We always call for NA – EU when we hear an opening to those geos.
All equipment and the generators continue to work very well. The Evohe crew has been very helpful with guy inspections and maintenance.
With 2 operating days remaining we’ll continue to look for NA and EU, and ask all geographies to call if only an All Time New One on any band.
Team Chesterfield Island DXpedition

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Trial of the Alex Loop

Band conditions were terrible. The  A index was 76 and Kp index was 7.  The only signal I can find was that of N6SL out of Florida.  He still heard me at 5 watts from a distance of 414 miles. Will have to try again when band conditions are better.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Chesterfield Islands

Here is an update from the Chesterfield team courtesy of Bernie W3UR

"The wind continues to blow. If you imagine being in a wind tunnel with a wind speed between 20 - 30 knots, and occasional stronger gusts you'll understand the challenges. Wind and tent noise makes it difficult to hear, even with cans, so we apologize for repeats. Sleeping is difficult because the tents are shaking. The pile-ups are energetic and orderly, THANK YOU. The team continues to be in good spirits and dealing with the situation as you would expect.

Safety is a priority - we're being overly cautious when it comes to taking chances with antennas. Today we installed the 2 SteppIR beams and tried to install the Battle Creek Special but the winds were too strong to complete the installation, The SteppIR are withstanding the wind and working well.

The tents are holding up well, the very deep sand requires us to pay constant attention to all guy wires and ground stakes.Placing 50 pound (22 kg) sand bags at the most critical guy points has helped immensely. Because of the rough seas the skipper will bring supplies to the island 2 times per day until the sea calms down. We are hoping for a break in the weather in 24 hours. Being on a tropical island you may not think about it being cold, but tonight it is cooling down and we're all wearing layers and jackets, however there has been very little rain.

The bands are in good condition, with excellent runs to all geography, we've had excellent openings and hope propagation continues to be favorable.

Team Chesterfield"

Sunday, September 27, 2015

W4DXCC 2015

Reunion with Krish W4KUV.  Krish gave a talk on the VU4KV expedition to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Krish with W4FC Paul Greaves. Paul hanging on to his prize - a Windows Tablet.

Me with fellow Swamp Fox Ted McDonald K7OM.   Ted has many radio amateur accomplishments - including #1 Honor Roll, 5 Band WAZ, 5 Band DXCC.

Vladimir N3CZ with his home brew loop for 20m.

The gathering at Calhouns.  Everybody had a blast.  In the group are Tom Witherspoon K4SWL, Howard W4PH, Phil AC4Q, Scott Carter KW4JM, Vlado N3CZ, Bob ND7J and Bill N4IQ with me taking the picture.

The whole thing was a blast.  Here are just a few highlights:

(1) Ed Benkis W2HTI (and fellow NCDXCC member) was the last man standing when it came time to honor the person with the most DXCC at 391

(2) Bernie W3UR (Of Daily DX fame) was the last man standing when it came time to honor the person with the most Challenge points at 3195

(3) Phil Florig W9IXX won a $700 discount towards an Expert SPE Linear Amplifier.

4) I won an Elecraft cap - kind of apropos to the Elecraft junkie that I am.

The contingent from the upstate included Fred K9PIN, George W4BUW, Paul W4FC, Bill N4IQ,  Bob ND7J, Phil AC4Q, Scott Carter KW4JM, Tom K4SWL, Howard W4PH, Dave Anderson K4SV, Sue Anderson, Ed W2HTI and Eileen KO4DI Benkis, Vlad N3CZ, Phil W9IXX, Gary Wise W8EEY, Lynn W4NL and Rosie Lamb KA4S, Jeff K4JAB, and Ron K4SSM,  I am quite sure I forgot a few.

Aside from Phil, none of us won anything big but we contributed towards future DXpeditions.  The boot camp was great and so were the presentations.  I also met Bob Barden MD0CCE from the Isle of Man (who I worked many a time from W4 and also  FP) who gave a talk with Alex Bartshore GD6IA  on "Working the World from EU".

Current DXpeditions Status

E6GG - 8 Bands
T2GC - 7 Bands - One on 20m in a big pileup - coming in long path loud into SC with beam pointed due east
Z21MG - 6 Bands - last one on RTTY in the contest
JA0JHQ/VK9C - 1 Band Only on 20m CW

22 band slots - so far - still hoping for 160m on E6GG

Friday, September 25, 2015

#277 In the Log - Cocos Keeling

This took a bit of work finding his pattern.  He was on 20m CW on 14.016 moving around in a somewhat predictable pattern.  Being a solo operation at 200 watts with not the biggest antennas - this was really a lot of work.  Hearing him answer clearly with my call was well worth the work

JA0JHQ/VK9C has gone QRT as of today 9/27/2015.  The information below is from his blog:

Sep/19  18MhzCW=154
Sep/20  21MhzCW=519 , 21MhzSSB=1  ,18MhzCW=1 : Condition was "FAIR !"
Sep/21  21MhzCW=418 ,14MhzCW=82 , 21MhzSSB=1, 14MhzSSB=2 
Sep/22  18MhzCW=325, 14MhzSSB=5 , 14MhzCW=3 ,10MhzCW=1
Sep/23  14MhzCW=93 , 14MhzSSB=2
              18MHZCW=278 : Condition was not good for 18Mhz before noon
Sep/24  10MhzCW=1 india !   18MhzCW=1
              24MhzCW=119 , 21MhzCW=159 14MhzCW=164
              SN=98  : Condition was  good for high bands !
Sep/25  24MhzCW=71,21MhzCW=197,28MhzCW=91,14MhzCW=281
Sep/26  24MhzCW=2 ,28MhzCW=1

I am glad to be one of the 281 20m QSO's on the 25th.  55% of the QSO's were to JA stations.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Have Tuvalu T2GC in the log - First Day

Tuvalu will be #276 for me.  I found them peeking through the greyline at 6:00 AM this morning on 30m CW on 10.105 MHz.  Things got really rolling at 7 AM as the pileup had grown as most of the east coast can hear them loudly.  I was glad to get them before the pileup got to be too big.   Tuvalu is an atoll in the Pacific.  It  is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. It comprises four reef islands and five true atolls.

I have since added 40m and 17m to the log.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Have Niue E6GG on 8 Bands - Most Since Navassa

The shoreline of Niue 

#8th Band - 80m 22Sept2015 CW 10:12 UTC confirmed in Clublog and LOTW
#7th Band - 10m 21Sept2015 CW 0:58 UTC - twice - confirmed in LOTW and Clublog
#6th Band - 40m 19Sept2015 CW 11:08 UTC -  confirmed in LOTW and Clublog
#5th Band - 12m 18Sept2015 CW 21:39 UTC - confirmed in LOTW and Clublog
#4th Band - 30m 18Sept2015 CW 11:04 UTC - confirmed in LOTW and Clublog
#3rd Band - 17m 17Sept2015 CW 20:24 UTC - confirmed in LOTW and Clublog
#2nd Band - 15m 17Sept2015 CW 20:19 UTC - confirmed in Clublog
#1st Band - 20m 17Sept2015 CW 20:18 UTC - confirmed in LOTW and Clublog

With 7 good operators - these guys are tearing up the bands and they are doing such a great job - they might run out of callers.

Z21MG - Zimbabwe - All Time New One

Time 18:42 UTC Band 17m  Mode CW 18.069
Time 20:40 UTC Band 20m  Mode CW 14.025
Time 18:10 UTC Band 10m Mode CW 28.030 24 Sept
Time 18:14 UTC Band 12m Mode CW 24.892 24 Sept

This is #275 WooHoo - Now Confirmed in Clublog