Sunday, July 27, 2014

234 DXCC Entities Confirmed in LOTW and 5 Band DXCC Status

American Samoa is the latest to confirm for my all time new list.  I still need to ask for confirmation cards for Ghana 9G5ZZ, Maldives, and Taiwan which can bring the total to 237 of the 245 entities I have worked.  The others just seem to refuse to send confirmations despite my having paid money through the OQRS system or by sending green stamps

Among these are Benin, Indonesia, St Helena, Nepal, 

5 band DXCC is also now in sight with 105 entities worked on 80 meters.  Here is how I stand on confirmations

80 meters - 84 confirmed
40 meters - 132 confirmed
20 meters - 140 confirmed
15 meters - 103 confirmed
10 meters - 99 confirmed

Now it is just a matter of waiting for 16 or so more cards to arrive in the mail 

Heavy Duty Heat Sink installed into my KX3

The heavy duty heat sink allows for full power key down for between 300-400% longer time than the standard heat sink before the rig folds back power because of PA over temperature.  This will allow long ragchews on PSK 31 and reduces the drift seen when operating on JT65.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hex Beam at Work Portable for the IARU HF Championship

The G3TXQ design broadband Hexbeam did yeomans work during the 2014 IARU HF Championship.

Here KK4ZJH is posing with my Hexbeam.  We were on a 150 foot high ridge with steep drop offs on either side of the ridge giving us a higher effective height above ground.  Our elevation was 3500 feet.  We were able to work over 480 stations.  Four of the 6 were not experienced contesters.  


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

IARU Contest Summary

Operator             Total CW LSB USB
APJ 147 135 0 12 NY4G
BC 59 0 10 49 KK4PGC
PLC 36 26 10 0 AC4Q
RST 70 0 21 49 KK4HXA
SAC 48 0 39 9 KK4ZJH
WLC 121 121 0 0 N4IQ
TOTAL 481 282 80 119 481

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Two Americas - Lou Holtz Commentary - So Good I Had to Repost It

Subject: Two Americas - Lou Holtz nails it.

The Democrats are right, there are two Americas. The America that works, and
the America that doesn't. The America that contributes, and the America that
doesn't. It's not the haves and the have not's, it's the dos and the don'ts.
Some people do their duty as Americans, obey the law, support themselves,
contribute to society, and others don't.  That's the divide in America.
It's not about income inequality, it's about civic irresponsibility. It's
about a political party that preaches hatred, greed and victimization in
order to win elective office.   It's about a political party that loves
power more than it loves its country.  That's not invective, that's truth,
and it's about time someone said it.

The politics of envy was on proud display a couple weeks ago when President
Obama pledged the rest of his term to fighting "income inequality."  He
noted that some people make more than other people, that some people have
higher incomes than others, and he say that's not just.  That is the
rationale of thievery. The other guy has it, you want it, Obama will take it
for you. Vote Democrat. That is the philosophy that produced Detroit.  It is
the electoral philosophy that is destroying America.  It conceals a
fundamental deviation from American values and common sense because it ends
up not benefiting the people who support it, but a betrayal.  The Democrats
have not empowered their followers, they have enslaved them in a culture of
dependence and entitlement, of victim-hood and anger instead of ability and
hope. The president' premise -that you reduce income inequality by debasing
the successful -seeks to deny the successful the consequences of their
choices and spare the unsuccessful the consequences of their choices.
Because, by and large, income variations in society is a result of different
choices leading to different consequences. Those who choose wisely and
responsibility have a far greater likelihood of success, while those who
choose foolishly and irresponsibly have a far greater likelihood of failure.
Success and failure usually manifest themselves in personal and family
income.  You choose to drop out of high school or to skip college - and you
are apt to have a different outcome than someone who gets a diploma and
pushes on with purposeful education. You have your children out of wedlock
and life is apt to take one course; you have them within a marriage and life
is apt to take another course. Most often in life our destination is
determined by the course we take.

My doctor, for example, makes far more than I do. There is significant
income inequality between us. Our lives have had an inequality of outcome,
but, our lives also have had an in equality of effort.  While my doctor went
to college and then devoted his young adulthood to medical school and
residency, I got a job in a restaurant.  He made a choice, I made a choice,
and our choices led us to different outcomes.  His outcome pays a lot better
than mine. Does that mean he cheated and Barack Obama needs to take away his
wealth?  No, it means we are both free men in a free society where free
choices lead to different outcomes.   It is not inequality Barack Obama
intends to take away, it is freedom. The freedom to succeed, and the freedom
to fail. There is no true option for success if there is no true option for
failure. The pursuit of happiness means a whole lot less when you face the
punitive hand of government if your pursuit brings you more happiness than
the other guy.   Even if the other guy sat on his arse and did nothing.
Even if the other guy made a lifetime's worth of asinine and short sighted

Barack Obama and the Democrats preach equality of outcome as a right, while
completely ignoring inequality of effort. The simple Law of the Harvest - as
ye sow, so shall ye reap - is sometimes applied as, "The harder you work,
the more you get."  Obama would turn that upside down. Those who achieve are
to be punished as enemies of society and those who fail are to be rewarded
as wards of society. Entitlement will replace effort as the key to upward
mobility in American society if Barack Obama gets his way. He seeks a lowest
common denominator society in which the government besieges the successful
and productive to foster equality through mediocrity. He and his party speak
of two Americas, and their grip on power is based on using the votes of one
to sap the productivity of the other.  America is not divided by the
differences in our outcomes, it is divided by the differences in our

It is a false philosophy to say one man's success comes about unavoidably as
the result of another man's victimization. What Obama offered was not a
solution, but a separatism. He fomented division and strife, pitted one set
of Americans against another for his own political benefit.  That's what
socialists offer.  Marxist class warfare wrapped up with a bow. Two
Americas, coming closer each day to proving the truth to Lincoln's maxim
that a house divided against itself cannot stand.   "Life is ten percent
what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it."

Lou Holtz

Leo "Lou" Holtz (born January 6, 1937) is a retired American football coach,
and active sportscaster, author, and motivational speaker.

Boone NC Field Day and IARU Contest

The Field Day style excursion to Boone NC was a great success.  Nothing documents it better than photos.  Main living room below.  We did not spend much time there.

We did spend most of our time in the basement which we turned into a big ham shack.  All in all we had 9 antennas to 7 stations.  Phil Chartier AC4Q in the foreground with Larry KK4QOB and Rod KK4HXA in the background.

Here is a rundown on all our operators

KK4PGC Bob is the head honcho and organizer of the group
N4IQ Bill was the most experienced contester and brought his Windoms
AC4Q Phil is Bill's twin brother and brought his supercharged Mustang and his rigs
KK4QOB Larry brought his 40 foot crank up mast mounted on a trailer 
KK4HXA Rod - Blue Ridge net controller brough his slinky dipoles
KK4ZJH Scott - was the new one to the group and a friend of Larry's

Here is a view from the ridge.  The house is nestled up on about 150 foot ridge in the clear in all directions.

Here is a view from the bottom of the hill looking up to the house

Here is a photo showing my hexbeam mounted on my trailer hitch.  the beam is up around 24 feet.

Here is Bill N4IQ helping Scott KK4ZJH work the IARU HF contest on phone

Here is Bob KK4PGC working the contest on phone 


Here is Scott at his own station

Here is Larry KK4QOB at his station

Here are both Phil AC4Q and Bob KK4PGC at their stations

Here is Bill N4IQ at his station

Here is Rod Taylor KK4HXA.  Sadly, Rod became a silent key the day after he arrived at his home the next day.  He was a nice man and a good ham.  He will be missed.

Here is Larry's crank up mast being erected.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Thirteen Colonies - Special Event - Clean Sweep Complete

With less than 4 hours and 30 minutes left in the event - I was able to pick up the last bonus station.  This is the first time I have ever attempted to do a clean sweep.  It was nice to be able to get two bonus stations.  I was pleasantly surprised to see WM3PEN on 40m SSB.

  DATE      UTC    FREQ          RST MODE
K2A-NY 6-Jul-14 4:11 14.327 59 SSB
K2B-VA 6-Jul-14 4:52 7.213 59 SSB
K2C-RI 6-Jul-14 4:21 7.225 59 SSB
k2D-CT 6-Jul-14 19:48 14.083 599 RTTY
k2E-DE 6-Jul-14 3:40 3.804 59 SSB
K2F-MD 2-Jul-14 2:06 14.061 599 CW
k2G-GA 2-Jul-14 1:51 7.031 599 CW
K2H-MA 6-Jul-14 4:36 21.305 59 SSB
K2I-NJ 6-Jul-14 4:13 7.203 59 SSB
K2J-NC 6-Jul-14 4:18 7.037 599 CW
K2K-NH 6-Jul-14 19:48 21.37 59 SSB
K2L-SC 6-Jul-14 10:41 7.083 599 RTTY
K2M-PA 6-Jul-14 4:09 7.283 59 SSB
WM3PEN 6-Jul-14 23:33 7.185 59 SSB
W3FT 6-Jul-14 10:29 14.259 59 SSB

Field Day 2014

This  Field Day is perhaps more in line with the true spirit of "Field Day" in that it was more about what to do when the power goes out and one has to make do with what is available and about experimentation to see what works and what does not.

We experimented with a Buddipole and a magnetic loop antenna.  The mag loop can be very good as a receiving antenna.  Transmitting requires that it be in the vertical orientation.

We had 166 QSOs which is not too bad for about 7 hours of operation.

Most of our QSOs were with the full size antennas.  The antenna farm consisted of the ZS6BKW, a vertical inverted L with a ground system and a hex beam at 28 feet.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Comparison of Loop Antenna and ZS6BKW on receive

Working a W1AW/3 Station in MD.  Transmit power was 1000 watts - Amplifier is a Drake L4B.  Transceiver is a K2/100

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How Long Can One Operate on Emergency Power

I have seen many a set-up in YouTube and other SHTF Preparedness web sites of amateur radio gear, with go boxes, batteries, solar power backup, but I have seen very little of what I think is a well thought out set-up which addresses maximum utilization of meager energy resources should such a situation arise.  For example, I have seen go boxes which employ high current draw rigs – even on receive.  For an objective look at the comparison between various rigs, I have collected data over the years on how HF and VHF radios consume  power on receive and transmit. Based  on this data, one can put together a set of expectations on how long such a set-up will be operable on back-up or emergency power.

Several variable are at play
Receive current draw – the amount of current a system consumes in amperes or milliamperes while just listening
Transmit current draw – the amount of current a system consumes in amperes or milliamperes while transmitting – key down carrier
Duty cycle – the percentage of time the mode is in full key-down (100% duty)

Let us consider some common modes of transmission
SSB – 25% Duty Cycle (Source QST)
CW – 33% Duty Cycle (Source QST)
PSK31 – 100% Duty Cycle
RTTY – 100% Duty Cycle

What one needs is an instrument that measures current draw during receive only and during key-down (100% duty cycle).  I have put together operating time expectations using a 14 ampere-hour depletion to 50% capacity – the maximum depletion one would want to push a deep cycle battery to without severely affecting longevity of the battery.

As one can plainly see, operation at 20 watts greatly reduces the operating time.  Not all rig / amplifier combinations are ideal.  Some are quite power hogs.  The most miserly of the transceivers are also amongst the most limited in terms of operating mode - but the rigs can practically operate "forever" with solar power.  For example, the Elecraft KX1 only consumes 55 milliamps on receive and less than 1 amp on TX.   It is a CW only rig and the version I had was a 4 bander 10,20,30 and 40m.  There are now several of this type of radio on the market.   This will just about double the operating time at 30% duty cycle to 11 hours.  The most versatile ones are the Elecraft K2, KX3, and Yaesu FT817.  The power output on the latter is limited to 5 watts.  Operation of the Elecraft rigs greater than 10W will require an external amplifier.  External amplifiers for QRP radios are manufactured by several sources and can be purchased as kits,

Elecraft KXPA100 and KPA100 (K2 only)
Juma PA100 
Ten Tec Model 418

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Worked Country #243 Ghana 9G5ZZ

These days new countries are hard to come by and new ones are always cause for excitement.  No LOTW here so will have to send away for this one

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

#231DXCC Clipperton Island Confirmed

The last one  took a while..... the QSO was in March of 2013 and only confirmed just now.  It was no fault of the DX.  I had the wrong QSO information in my log.

#231 TX5K Clipperton Island LOTW
#230 FT5ZM Amsterdam Island LOTW
#229 TJ3SN Cameroon LOTW
#228 3C0BYP Annobon Islands CARD
#227 VQ9JC Chagos Islands LOTW
#226 A65CA United Arab Emirates - LOTW
#225 8R1Z Guyana CARD
#224 VK9MT Mellish Reef LOTW
#223 S9TF Sao Tome and Principe Island LOTW
#222 T8CW Palau Card
#221 PY0F/PP1CZ Fernando de Noronha Card
#220 5Z4T Kenya  Card
#219 DU3/N0QM Philippines LOTW
#218 T77C San Marino LOTW
#217 3A2MW Monaco LOTW
#216 HS0ZKX Thailand LOTW
#215 J28NC Djibouti Card
#214 VR2UW Hong Kong Card
#213 TZ6BB Mali LOTW
#212 EX2B Kryzgystan  Card
#211 4S7VG Sri Lanka Card
#210 C31CT Andorra Card
#209 UN7QX Kazakhstan Card
#208 3V8BB Tunisia LOTW
#207 JD1BHA Ogasawara LOTW
#206 V73MW Marshall Islands LOTW
#205 JT1CS  Mongolia LOTW
#204 TO7CC Reunion Island LOTW

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Surprise Visit from M1GRY and G7FBD

A special thanks to Mat G7FBD and Gary M1GRY who dropped by on their way from Atlanta to Dayton.  They're taking the opportunity to see more of the U.S. and several members gave them pointers on seeing the mountains and driving a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway before making their way to Dayton late on Wednesday.  They joined a good group of members for pizza and beverages at Wild Aces after the meeting.

DXCC #230 FT5ZM Amsterdam Island Confirmed

Got notice at the club meeting fromW4FC Paul Greaves that FT5ZM uploaded their logs to LOTW

Sunday, May 11, 2014

New Look for the Shack

The shack now incorporates the SCRaGGs concept.  The heart of the system is the StationPro2 which controls the RF switching between rigs.  The antennas are connected by a 3 position antenna switch.  Not seen is the Drake L4B underneath the desk along with its power supply.