Thursday, November 20, 2014

QSO with NH7O - Off the Grid Station on Maui

Alastair Cooper has an interesting Bio on QRZ and he has his own website

https://sites.google.com/a/wildblue.net/nh7o/




He makes extensive use of a pneumatic antenna launcher to launch wire into the trees over ravines.  His 80m/160m Vee Wire Beam  is 35m above ground level at the lowest point and he also shunt feeds the tower on 160m.  He gets out as far as Europe and gets SE US quite well.  His rig is a K3 and he is building a kW homebrew amp.  His QTH is totally off the grid and he grows all his own food.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Great Ragchew with K4EJQ on 160m

Bunky is a 72 year old ham but great still with his paddle.    He slows down for others which is very courteous when others are slower.    He sped up for me since I was running about 24 wpm.  He has a great setup with a K9AY and an inverted L and was running 1 KW on a home brewed amp.  He told me my signal was strong into TN about 544 miles away.  So it looks like TX antenna is getting out even on nearby stations.  He has been an active ham for longer than I am alive.  He also has an 18 element beam on a 100 foot boom for 6 m just 20 ft off the ground.   We must have carried on for 20 minutes - maybe longer....Tnx for the great QSO Bunky and CUAGN down the log.

Counting the Countries on Top Band

Countries worked

#1 USA K3MJW - LOTW confirmed
#2 Aruba P40L - LOTW confirmed
#3 Canada VE3YT LOTW
#4 Saint Lucia J6/DL7VOG - OQRS sent
#5 Dominican Republic HI2DX LOTW
#6 Hawaii NH7O - surprisingly loud in the noise

Countries Heard - But Not Worked
#1 Australia - VK3XQ calling stations were much louder than me.  I could not get my call out edgewise
#2 Ecuador HC2AO  - I heard him well but could not copy my call sign

Number of states worked so far to this day - Nov 19, 2014 is 18

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vatican City HV0A Confirmed on 80m

The following are now confirmed in LOTW. These include

#89 Australia VK2GR
#90 Guatemala TG9NX
#91 Montserrat VP2MMN
#92 Saudi Arabia 7Z1HL
#93 Sierra Leone 9L1A
#94 Kaliningrad UA2FL
#95 St Kitts V47JA
#96 Lord Howe Island VK9DLX
#97 Vatican City HV0A 
#98 Jamaica 6Y3M

Now for the rest....

 #99 Madagascar 5R8M -  Confirmed in log.  Request sent via OQRS.

 #100 Nauru C21GC- My first contact using the K9AY receiving antenna. Confirmed in their on-line log

 #101 W1AW/KH8 - good and solid on 11/6/2014

 #102 Serbia YT1AA - I sent away for a card but this one might take a while
 #103 Samoa 5W0UU on 11/20/14 - really strong signal on K9AY

VU4KV Propagation

Sunspot numbers have increased from the 60's to the 90's.  Granted, S/N ratios are not as impressive as Tromelin.  Looks like peak signals will be during the time I am at work.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

New Hexbeam Kit - Homebrewed

I have improved over the Homebrew designs I have made over the years.  This kit weighs in at at 17,3 lbs.for the spreaders and center post - no wires and no ropes.  Weight includes the canvas bag.  The wires would add another 2.5 pounds. The base plate and flanges  added 4 lbs.   Overall, with wire, this hexagonal beam weighs in at just under 20 lbs.  This is a lot more robust than the one I have made using "crappie" fishing poles, albeit, at the expense of additional weight, since my "crappie" pole hex-beam only weighs 14 or so pounds with all the wires and rope soaking wet.  It is still a fair amount lighter than the commercial heavy duty versions which are between 25-28 lbs.



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Heard Australia This Morning on 160m

VK3XQ was spotted earlier and there were callers when I arrived.  I tried to get my call in there but was simply outshouted by the others.  They were probably running legal limit compared to my 500W.  The DX was S3 with the preamp and the noise floor was S1 so he was copyable,  I can tell he had trouble hearing as the callers were well over S9 from my QTH and kept asking for fills.  They had an S unit advantage over me.  They were probably barely above the noise floor on the other end.  As for me, I was probably buried in the noise.  It was good to know that I can hear signals out that far on the K9AY.  

Here is the basic antenna I was using and is a modification of the basic inverted L with quarter wave elevated radials. The elevated radials were 9 feet off the ground.  The feedpoint is also elevated - perhaps a foot above the ground plane - so basically the same level.

The EZNEC model was remarkably accurate in predicting the SWR dip.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

T6T Afghanistan Confirmed

Wow - His QRZ page said he does not do LOTW yet a LOTW confirmation popped in.  Thank you.

#248 EY8MM Tajikistan confirmed in LOTW
#249 TX7G Marquesas Island LOTW
#250 FT4TA Tromelin Island LOTW
#251 T6T Afghanistan LOTW
#252 VK9DLX Lord HoweLOTW

Up and coming
#253 C21GC Nauru (Confirmed on 4 bands in Clublog) QSL requested
#254 T30D Western Kiribati (Confirmed on 2 bands on online log)
#255 S79KB Seychelles (Confirmed in Clublog - QSL requested)
#256 ZK3E Tokelau - Confirmed in Online Log - OQRS requested

Monday, November 10, 2014

FT4TA Tromelin is Now History

Yesterday I caught the tail end of the pileup on 20m and the chasers were still going strong.  At about 0100 UTC 11/10/14, the band went silent.  The DX was no more.  The night before we managed to get friend WM4AA into the log.  The pileups on 20m were huge, 25 kCs up.  One guy on the cluster posted - 20 hours for one QSO.  WM4AA said he never worked so hard to get the one contact, and that contact was tenuous at best.  It was nice to get a couple of solid ones early.  I was disgusted at first by the behavior of the North American hams chasing this DX, with all the QRM, jamming and language, and even on CW.  In this hobby though, you can not be fazed by bad behavior.  K4SV kept spurring us on along with Rosie Lamb W4NL from NCDXCC.  She was a real trooper getting 17 band slots

So far the following Greer Club members have made it into Tromelin's log

K4SSM Ron Malone
W4FC Paul Greaves
K4BUW George Hall
N0TR Tom Rouse
N4IQ Bill Chartier
NY4G Ariel Jacala
K4SV Dave Anderson (18 band slots)

It is also notable that newbie DXr and friend ND7J made it three times into the log

It may be another 15 years before we see another attempt at another expedition into this small island (1 square kilometer) around Madagascar.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

FT4TA Hot New Dxpedition - Broke the 250 barrier - Tromelin in LOTW


The first few days were discouraging with the QRM, band cops and lids.  Maybe things are beginning to settle down.  I picked up two bands and two modes - 17m phone and 20m RTTY.  I will try for 80m CW tomorrow.     For those of you on the east coast - propagation into the Carolinas is best between 22 UTC and 2 UTC across the bands.   For the low bands - it is best between 0 UTC and 2 UTC - Good Luck!!!  Bonus - FT4TA logs are now in LOTW and I did not have to send $2 by Paypal.  Free -  wow almost makes the lids and band cops worth it.



New DXCC Confirmed

#248 EY8MM Tajikistan confirmed in LOTW
#249 TX7G Marquesas Island LOTW
#250 FT4TA Tromelin Island LOTW

Up and coming
#251 C21GC Nauru (Confirmed on 4 bands in Clublog) QSL requested
#252 T30D Western Kiribati (Confirmed on 2 bands on online log)
#253 S79KB Seychelles (Confirmed in Clublog - QSL requested)
#254 VK9DLX Lord Howe Island (Confirmed in Online Log) - OQRS Requested
#255 ZK3E Tokelau - Confirmed in Online Log - OQRS requested
#256 T6T Afghanistan
#257 VU4CB Nicobar Island VU4KV Andaman Island

Next Year...
#258 KP1 Navassa January 2015
#259 EP6T Iran January 2015
#260 3Y0F Bouvet January 2016
#261 Heard island

First 160m DX Confirmation

P40L Aruba - 1700 miles or so out.  My poor antenna system got out that far.  One wonders how a better antenna system will do.  I have been doing a lot of modeling in EZNEC and a few look promising.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Band Point Tracking Current Dxpeditions

VK9DLX  6 - (12, 15, 17, 20, 40, 80m CW)
ZK3E 1 - 15m CW
TX7G 5 - (10m RTTY, 12,15, 30, 40 CW)
5R8M 2  (12, 80 CW)
S79KB 1 (20m CW)
C21GC 4 (80, 30,20,12)
T30D 2 (20,40)
FT4TA 2 (20m RTTY, 17m SSB)
W1AW/KH8 1 80m CW
UA2FL 1 80m CW
P40L 1 160m CW

So far 28

Saturday, October 25, 2014

DXCC on 80m - New Line of Sight to 101

The following are now confirmed in LOTW. These include

#89 Australia VK2GR
#90 Guatemala TG9NX
#91 Montserrat VP2MMN
#92 Saudi Arabia 7Z1HL
#93 Sierra Leone 9L1A
#94 Kaliningrad UA2FL
#95 St Kitts V47JA

The story for the remainder:

 #96 Lord Howe Island VK9DLX - This is a sure one as they show me in their on-line log. Working this one was at 5 AM and I could only hear them on the 80m 4 square using the RHR Station at W2/Quaker

 #97 Madagascar 5R8M - This was just yesterday on 80m CW - he was a lone ranger operating CW during the CQWW DX SSB Contest. Everybody was on phone and he had a manageable pileup. The K9AY really shone here for copy.  Request sent.

 #98 Nauru C21GC- My first contact using the K9AY receiving antenna. This one is a sure bet as they have me in their on-line log

 #99 Jamaica 6Y3M - Josh finally sent me a card - and included 5 band points for Jamaica

#100 W1AW/KH8 - good and solid on 11/6/2014

 #101 Serbia YT1AA - I sent away for a card but this one might take a while.

Line of sight now to getting 100 confirmed.  Working on Tromelin

Friday, October 24, 2014

New shack setup with K9AY Listening Antenna

The K9AY proved to be helpful in helping me bag my last few DX especially on 80m as I was able to bag 5R8M Madagascar in the log.


The box on the right is an RTR1A transmit and receive relay switch between TX and RX.  The relay shuts off the RF path into the receiver on TX.  The right switch can be on the TX antenna, the RX antenna on RX.  It also allows momentary monitoring of the TX antenna.  The center box is the K9AY control console.  The RX antenna is connected to both the K2 and the KX3.