Thursday, November 8, 2018

SOTA Chaser 100 Points Earned

Most of these were from a single day - 03Nov2018 when propagation into Europe was great.  Also reached 3 "completes"  with the activation and chase of Mt. Pisgah, Mt. Sassafras, and Mt. Mitchell.  Also made 2 Summit-to-Summit QSOs - to KW4JM on Mt. Mitchell while I was on Mt. Pisgah on 2 meter FM and to KX0R on Green Mountain in Colorado while I was on Waterrock Knob on 30m CW

SOTA Statistics:

Mt. Mitchell W4C/CM-001 Activated 29OCT18 Chased KW4JM 18OCT18
Mt. Sassafras W4C/US-001 Activated 25OCT18 Chased KI4SVM 03Nov18
Mt. Pisgah W4C/CM-011 Activated 18OCT18 Chased KW4JM 31OCT18

Activator Points: 44
Mt. Mitchell W4C/CM-001 10 Points
Mt. Pisgah W4C/CM-011 10 Points
Mt. Sassafras W4C/US-001 4 Points
Richland Balsam W4C/WM-003 10 Points
Waterrock Knob W4C/WM-004 10 Points

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

SOTA Summits Richland Balsam W4C/WM-003 and Waterrock Knob W4C/WM-004

The view from Waterrock Knob

At the summit operating position

The descent of Waterrock with companion Scott Carter KW4JM

Overlook before the paved section

They call it Waterrock knob because spring water is seeping out of the rock

The view of the mountains near Richard Balsam.  Below us is the section of the highest paved road on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 6084 feet.   The summit was shrouded in trees as shown below.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

SOTA Summit Activation W4C/CM-001 Mt. Mitchell

Nice 2 hour drive to Mt. Mitchell on a clear, balmy day in the valley around 60F.  Upon reaching the visitor center some 10 miles away, the temperature was 34F with a brisk wind.  I put another layer of clothes and a hat

I came with KE4EA   We set up near the entrance of the concrete observation deck.   There was a convenient rock that served as an operating table.  Another ham visited with - forgot his call.   Here below is a photo of Dave KE4EA.

The views were fantastic

Our antenna mast was fastened to a short pine tree to the right of the rock.  Here Dave is making SSB contacts.

VP6D Worked on 80m

At 1124 UTC on 30Oct2018 on 80m CW at 3.523 MHz

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sassafras Mt - SOTA Summit W4C/US-001

This was an impromptu activation.   It was cloudy and threatening rain but I still had the rest of the afternoon.  So I quickly drove out to Rocky Bottom and headed up the mountain.

At the summit is an observation deck under construction.   I was at the overlook just below the summit.   

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Friday, October 19, 2018

Mt. Pisgah SOTA Activation W4C/CM-011

I successfully activated a summit - Mt. Pisgah - a 10 pointer on Thursday - October 18th.

Getting there was quite an adventure - approaching the mountain from the backside (noth side) on Cruso Rd.   That mountain road was very steep with 25% grade in many places and very twisty.  Thanks to KW4JM for helping me navigate the driving.

The trail itself was pretty challenging - carrying a 23 pound pack as it ascended 700 feet over 1.1 mile.   I recorded the hike on my smartwatch and uploaded the track and all the data to Strava (heart rate, elevation gain, elapsed time).  It took me close to 1 hour (maybe 50 minutes) to ascend and 1 hour to descend.   I could have been quicker on the descent but with tired legs I had to be careful not to twist an ankle.

Upon reaching the top, I found a wooden observation deck.  It had a convenient rail to which I fastened my SOTABeams 30 foot long fiberglass mast and to the mast I fastened my LNR precision EFHW into an inverted V configuration.   The other side of the inverted V was fastened via a guy rope to a place about 50 feet away.

The rig I used was a KX3 and the mode I was able to use was CW.  I made 9 QSO's in quick order on 20m at 14.065 MHz.

KW4JM was activating a peak Mt. Mitchell at the same time and I was able to talk to him on the 2 meter HT on 146.52 MHz.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

ATNO Status for 2018 - Baker Island Confirmed in LOTW

#309 3B7A Agalega and Saint Brandon Islands April 5 to April 17- QSO April 06 - LOTW
#310 VK9X/N1YC Christmas Island  April 14 to April 21 - QSO April 19 1156 40m CW - LOTW
#311 KH1/KH7Z Baker Island June 1 to June 30 - confirmed in LOTW
#312 4B4B Revillagigedo March 1 to March 15 QSO made - confirmed Clublog
#313 VP6D Ducie Island Oct 20 to Nov 3 - confirmed through online log
#314 4U1UN due to activate soon

Saturday, June 30, 2018

ATNO #312 Baker Island KH1/KH7Z worked

Finally worked him on 20m CW

at 0326 UTC on July 1st - came back to my call - I responded but QRM came and I was not sure
at 0335 UTC - made a clean exchange

Friday, June 29, 2018

310 DXCC Overall and 300 DXCC Milestone on CW

Highlights from the above chart:

  • 7.85 years from 0-312 DXCC
  • 6.2 years to the major milestone of 300 DXCC
  • 125 DXCC to 225 DXCC in less than a year - thanks to an amplifier and the peak of solar cycle 24 in 2014
  • 250 DXCC to 300 DXCC took close to 2 years
  • 301 DXCC to 312 DXCC took another 2 years as Cycle 24 comes to a minimum and with fewer ATNO available to be activated
  • It will be a slow slog to Honor Roll - if I even get there

I would have to say that I am quite content to having reached 310 DXCC with my "little pistol" station with wire 2 element beam and two vertical wires and a wire dipole.

It may be  while before I see another sticker. Next stop is 315.

Monday, June 11, 2018

2017 DX Marathon Effort Results

1st Place   NO3M*
2nd Place  K7ZV
3rd Place  W1TC
4th Place AA6YQ
5th Place N8PR
6th Place VO1HP
7th Place NY4G
8th Place K4IQJ
9th Place IK2WXQ

*Certificate Winner

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Baker Island DXpedition from 2002 and 1993

Baker Island will be active again in a few weeks as the team KH1/KH7Z prepare for the upcoming one.  In the meantime, Dave K4SV sent us some pictures from the expedition he was part of in 2002 to Baker Island.  Dave Anderson is the tall guy on the back row.   Another ham I know is Vlad N3CZ with NCDXCC and he is in the front row on the right in a squat position.

Here is the picture from 1993 and Greer Club member  Phil W9IXX is on the second one from the right

Monday, May 7, 2018

New Antenna for 6 meters

I designed this 6m Moxon antenna using EZNEC.  The SWR figures predicted are pretty much spot on, with a dip right around 51250.   It is pretty flat across the entire 6m band with 1.8 at 50.0 and 1.3 at 54.0 MHz, although model predicts higher at the upper end of the band.  See the SWR chart below:

The SWR only follows the model somewhat around 50500 and 51000 kC and then the model diverges and shows a monotonic increase in SWR up to 54000 kC.   Both measurements track as the SWR remains below as the frequency goes up.

The gain and F/B are pretty impressive and rivals 3 element beams on gain and very decent F/B of close to 14 dB at 3.5m AGL.  The reflector is isolated from the driven elements by a couple of plastic blocks.  Overall weight of the antenna is less than 3 lbs.   It uses no transformer but will have a more predictable pattern with a choke at the feedpoint.  The following plots are for 6m AGL

The front to back is decent and actually gets better at lower heights

The forward gain is best at the height of 6m and the max lobe is at a relatively low takeoff angle.

Tried hitting the RBN with 500W of RF but no luck on getting any hits beaming northeast.

And all of a sudden a pileup - without even hitting a beacon

K0ZK, K3ZA, K1RNO, K1SX, W2SM all in rapid succession.

To those that may be interested in building it - Elements 2, 5 and 6 form the driven element and Elements 1, 3 and 4 for the reflector

All dimensions are in inches:

Element 1 - 14 ga THHN insulated - 76 
Element 3 and 4 - 5/16 aluminum tubing - 17 and 3/16 long
Element 5 and 6 - 5/16 aluminum tubing - 12 long
Element 2 - 3/4 square aluminum tubing - 42 long per half driver

The 2 half drivers are separated by an insulation block which is bolted to an insulated angle which is also the mast holder.  If you are interested in having me build it for you - contact me at  The pattern is very sensitive to the length of element 1 and this length should not be compromised.  I almost forgot that the spacing between the driven element and parasitic element is 2 and 3/16 inches.  I used 2 blocks of UHMW plastic drilled with 5/16" holes at each end leaving 2 3/16" between the holes as solid plastic.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

New Milestone for QRP #180 Z66D

Z66D was pretty loud on 80m - giving me the hope that with reciprocal 2 way propagation, I can be heard with 5 Watts even with high QRN.  Well it worked, no pressure since I already had Z60A on 80m.