Sunday, October 26, 2014

Band Point Tracking Current Dxpeditioons

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)

So far 22 - still searching for Christmas Island

Saturday, October 25, 2014

DXCC on 80m - The final few to make 100

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

The story for the remainder:

 #94 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

 #95 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 Request sent

 #96 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

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

 #98 Saint Kitts V44KAI - The QSL manager refuses to upload to LOTW but did send me a card.

 #99 Kaliningrad UA2FL - Confirmed in LOTW

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

I would like to work a few more of the Dxpeditions operating in the low bands and TX7G should be easy if I can find them operating CW just to make sure I get 100.

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.

My Experience as a W1AW/7 Operator

Needless to say, this was a learning experience.  There is a big difference between being the hunter and the hunted.  Normally I am on the other side of the pileup, amongst the other hunters.  And as is typical among the chasers, I would listen on VFO-a and TX on VFO-b.  When you are the hunted and in this case W1AW/7, the roles are reversed and so are the VFOs and this did not occur to me until a few minutes when a few callers told me I was listening down 5.  Logging and controlling the station slowed me down.  There were times, the remote computer would hang on TX.  This delayed my QSL and thanks to the calling station.  It seemed to many stations that I was on a 5 second delay.  After I got the hang of it, I was able to work 86 stations in 29 states.

Monday, October 20, 2014

WM4AA Milestone - 300 DXCC and QRP DXCC

My Field Day partner WM4AA reached a milestone this week. 300 DXCC and QRP DXCC. This is a rare combination of operating prowess. Few operators reach this milestone in their lifetimes. Congratulations Matt. Lunch is on me tomorrow.

Friday, October 17, 2014

VK9DLX and TX7G - All Time New Ones - Active Right Now

Nice organized DXpeditions with very good operators.  Here is a handy little tool that allows anyone who follow this blog to keep track of how they are doing in making contacts to this DX.

Just type in your call sign and see if you have worked them.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nauru C21GC Dxpedition - On their Way Home

Nauru Dxpedition  team C21GC will be history.  I was able to work them on 4 bands including 12 and 80m.  They will be vacating the island today.  All the low band antennas are down and team continued to work the high bands on the Spidebeams .

Sunday, October 12, 2014

K9AY Loop is Up and Running

That is all that is visible of the two loops at right angles.  The peak is hanging from a tree at 25 feet.  Each loop is comprised of 85 feet of wire.  The NEMA box contains the relays that reverses the termination of the loops and has selectable terminating resistors selectable in the shack control box.  The control box also has a 16 dB preamp as well as a 1700-5000  Hz band pass filter.  The band pass filter is switched on with the preamp.  The loop direction is selectable in the control box.  The combination of the loop direction as well as the terminating resistor optimizes the null of the noise sources (QRN, broadcast stations, etc) that is to be minimized.  On 160 meters a 40 dB front to back ratio is typical.

160 Meter Antenna Now Up

My 160 meter antenna is just my modified inverted L that I used mainly for 30 and 80m.  It is largely based on the antenna design published by NU8Z.  All I did to it is added an extension of 15 feet to an otherwise 70 foot quarter wave inverted L.  The key to this extension is a piece of 2 inch PVC pipe wrapped with 156 turns of  tightly wound 14 gage insulated wire giving me about 119 mH of inductance.  This coil acts as a trap for frequencies below 80m.  The coil acts as a shortened 1/4 wave vertical on 160m.  A full size quarter wave on 160m is 40m long or roughly 134 feet.  The shortened vertical is about 85 feet long with the coil between the 70 foot and 15 foot extension.  It really works - the resulting SWR pattern is as shown below.

It rather narrow banded with about 50 kHz around the center frequency that is below 2:1 SWR.  The dip at 1820kHz.

It uses the same radial field as shown below.

On air results are QSOs with stations in the PA QSO party, W1AW/4 portable and friends N4IQ and N0TR.

It probably could be more efficient.  My input impedance is right at 52 ohms indicating that I need more radials.  On 80m it is efficient enough to have gotten me close to DXCC - 95 confirmed. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Three All Time New Ones - Seychelles, Nauru and Western Kiribati

I woke up early o October 7 thinking that I would hear Alaska on 80m.  The bands were empty except for T30D - Western Kiribati with a small pileup.  He was S1 just peeking out of the noise floor.  There were a bunch of loud W4 stations trying to call above him on his split listening range but he was not working any of theme.  The callers were about 2-3 kHz up and I was 1 kHz up.  He appeared to be working (at least from my vantage point) weaker stations.  I was running 500 watts on the KPA500.  With a  couple of calls he returned to me.  I showed up in his log in Clublog a couple of days later.

Nauru C21GC was much easier to work and I was able to get him on 30m and 80m.  I would like to get T30D on 80m as well.  T30D is spotted early mornings on 80m.

Seychelles S79KB was on 20m CW on October 6.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

#247 DXCC Confirmed in LOTW - Eritrea E30FB

This was a tough one to get with all the lids on SSB.   I would rather have worked this on CW but then - those were the cards I was dealt.  Either grin and bear it and work it to get that all time new one, or accept that this all time new one will not be in the log.  Eritrea is activated so rarely that I thought it was worthwhile.

#235 ZD7VC Saint Helena Card #0 (from 8/22/14 application)
#236 A25CE Botswana - Card #1
#237 ZL7AAA Chatham Islands - Card #2
#238 NH0J Marianas Islands - LOTW #1
#239 S01WS Western Sahara - Card #3
#240 8Q7TS Maldives - Card #4
#241 4W/NY1C Timor-Leste LOTW #2
#242 ZD9XF Tristan de Cunha LOTW #3
#243 VK9NT Norfolk Island LOTW #4
#244 TY1AA Benin LOTW #5
#245 BX4AD Taiwan Card #5
#246 9G5ZZ Ghana  Card #6
#247 E30FB Eritrea LOTW #6

Up and coming
#248 C21GC Nauru (Confirmed on 4 bands in Clublog) QSL requested
#249 T30D Western Kiribati (Confirmed on 2 bands on online log)
#250 S79KB Seychelles (Confirmed in Clublog - QSL requested)

All Time New One- C21GC - Nauru

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bob Heil - the Science of Audio


The story of Heil Sound

Did you know Joe Walsh of the Eagles was a ham?  Joe Walsh was Bob Heil's beta tester.  Bob Heil's traveled with the Who, the Grateful Dead and a bunch of rock groups fixing up and running their PA systems.

Fletcher Munson curve - what is it?  Scientists from Bell Labs who were the pioneers in sound audio technology

There is QST article on a two level equalizer that he came up.   Bob Heil since then invented the equalized microphone.

Man cannot hear 3dB difference.  He demonstrated it.  What is important is equalization to get an apparent gain in sound power level.  Passed array is how to get 15dB  on 75m and 40m.

Putting a Face to a Distant Contact - VU7AG Lakshadweep Island

This bring me back to late summer 2013 when a group decided to activate a remote island on the Indian Ocean.  We talked about the expedition at length, all the logistics, equipment, antennas,what works and what does not.  Those verticals on the salt water work great.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

#246 DXCC Confirmed - Ghana

#236 A25CE Botswana - Card #1
#237 ZL7AAA Chatham Islands - Card #2
#238 NH0J Marianas Islands - LOTW
#239 S01WS Western Sahara - Card #3
#240 8Q7TS Maldives - Card #4
#241 4W/NY1C Timor-Leste LOTW
#242 ZD9XF Tristan de Cunha LOTW
#243 VK9NT Norfolk Island LOTW
#244 TY1AA Benin LOTW
#245 BX4AD Taiwan Card #5
#246 9G5ZZ Ghana  Card #6