Sunday, June 28, 2015

Field Day 2015

Band   Mode  QSOs     Pts
     7  CW      145    290
    14  CW     110.    220
    14 RTTY     1      2
    21  CW.     13     26
    28  CW      1     2
Total  Both   270   540
Score: 1080
To me Field Day is about setting up a radio infrastructure where there is none.  Our Field Day setup is at a beach house on Holden Beach NC.
We had three antennas - a portable hex beam mounted to the hitch of my truck, an end fed random wire, and a CrankIR.  Our call was K4J.  We worked 4 SC station, N4AW, W4IT, N4EE, and K4NAB.  We worked Mexico, Croatia and PR.  One lesson learned was on the proximity of the antennas to each other because of the small lot causing RFI.  The only way out of our dilemma was to either work S&P or work multi single.  We did both.  We will likely need isolation filters for next time or take shifts.
We had very strong winds sometimes gusting to 40 to 50 mph.  The guys on the CrankIR took a beating and we had to monitor the tension.  The EFHW was on top of a shortened Spiderbeam pole at 30 feet on one end and at the 3rd story deck on the other.  The hexbeam survived the wind but only because the mast was lowered.  The ops were NY4G and WM4AA.
We had fun as always and had a good nights sleep despite despite a broken AC.

WM4AA (Matt Collier) station

NY4G station

Overlooking the InterCoastal.  The CrankIR had 3 guys and performed well hearing west coast stations.

The ocean is 500 feet away in the foreground

Spiderbeam pole - unguyed but clamped to the ground with bungees

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Quest for #275

There is nothing magical about #275.  But you do get another sticker from the ARRL at this milestone.  After 275 it is a long slog.  The ARRL recognizes this and issues stickers after 300 every 5 DXCC entities.  Even 5 DXCC can take years to get at this stage.I consider myself fortunate to having line of sight to 275 after 5 years of DX Chasing

#266 XW1IC Laos confirmed in LOTW
#267 YB4IR/9 Indonesia 30m Confirmed in LOTW
#268 TI9/3Z9DX Cococ Island  QSL card received
#269 ST2NH Sudan QSL Sent
#270 E6ZS Niue QSL Sent
#271 JG8NQJ/JD1 Minami Torishima QSL Sent

The only other new ones will come from

T31LP Central Kiribati June 2015 (offshore no good for DXCC)
JA0JHQ/VK9C Cocos Keeling September 19-25, 2015
RI1FJ Franz Josef Land - more details soon
TX3X Chesterfield Islands in  October 2015
3W3MD Vietnam October 2015
VK9WA Willis Island November 2015
T2GC Tuvalu September 2015
Z21MG Zimbabwe September 2015
3C7GIA Equatorial Guinea October 2015
3Y0F Bouvet Island December 2015

2016 Brings a whole bunch to the fore

KH5/p Palmyra Islands in January 2016
VP8SGI South Georgia Islands also in January
P5 North Korea (a long shot for me as this is a single person SSB only)
VP8STI South Sandwich
FT/j Juan de Nova in March 2016
VK0EK Heard Island in March of 2016
VK9C Cocos Keeling in March 2016
CY9 Saint Paul Island July 2016

Discounting P5, I can be at 284 by spring 2016.  Hopefully I can get lucky with Mount Athos and Nepal  along the way

FP/NY4G QSL Card Design

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

DXCC Status As Of 6/10/2015

New LoTW QSLsLoTW QSLs in ProcessDXCC Credits AwardedTotal
Mixed *00265265265
CW *00254254254
Phone *00121121121
80M *00111111111
40M *00150150150
30M *00115115115
20M *00187187187
17M *00120120120
15M *00136136136
12M *00104104104
10M *00129129129
Challenge *001085---1085
5-Band *---------------
5-Band 17M *---------------
5-Band 30M *---------------
5-Band 12M *---------------
* = Award has been issued

Sunday, June 7, 2015

ATNO #271 Minami Torishima

Take, a Japanese ham operating under JG8NQJ/JD1 was QRV while away from his meteorological duties on Marcus Island.  He was spotted and I could hear him faintly at my SC station.  He was being worked by station after station.  I booted up my remote station in San Joaquin, CA and there he was loud perhaps S7 on the SteppIR Tribander.  I worked him at 100 watts.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

E-mail from K9OT

  • Message 

  • Gm Ariel, good luck with the trip to FP. You will find that it is a very unique place. Take time to look around the island, and visit some of the shops. It looks like you are going to stay in St.Pierre. We have always gone to Miquelon and stayed at the motel, but I think that it is closed right now for renovation. There is a very good hardware store in St. Pierre if you need anything that you did not anticipate. I will try to make a QSO with you while you are there. 73 Paul K9OT FP/K9OT

Monday, June 1, 2015

FP DXpedition Update - Planned Operating Frequencies

Operations will be SPLIT at all times.  Listen for where I am listening or any directions I will provide.  My planned operating frequencies are the following +/- QRM : 





40 m

  7'016 kHz

  7'146 kHz

  7'046 kHz

30 m

10'126 kHz

      - - -

10'142 kHz

20 m    

14'026 kHz

14'276 kHz

14'082 kHz

17 m

18'086 kHz

18'146 kHz

18'106 kHz

15 m

21'026 kHz

21'276 kHz

21'082 kHz

12 m

24'906 kHz

24'946 kHz

24'926 kHz

10 m

28'026 kHz

28'546 kHz

28'086 kHz

This has also been posted in the FP/NY4G website at the following link

This blog will be a mirror site to the website above.  It will be likely that updates appear here before they appear on the website.

I have secured a Microsoft Surface as the main DXpedition computer.  I have configured it to run N1MM and have tested its operation during the CQ WW WPX Contest during which it ran 7 hours straight on the internal batteries.

The WPX was also good practice.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Testing DXpedition Antennas

I got a chance to play with the vertical dipole array cut for 10m and turned out very well.  There is a resonance dip at 27300 kC as I cut the wires too long intentionally. I ran the math to move the dip to 28300 and will need to test it out again before I move on to the other bands.  Gifts from several hams W1TEF, NJ4F and K4JPG allowed me to purchase a 12m Spiderbeam pole.  That pole is a good performer. A picture of the VDA is shown below.  This antenna design has been used in several DXpeditions and even contest stations.  It was used in the "Microlite" DXpeditions to South Georgia Island VP8GEO and South Sandwich Island VP8THU near the Antartic.  It was also used in Ducie Island VP6DX.  It is also used in the contest station CN2AA in Morocco.  They are very effective seaside antennas.

Here I am with the pack of goods I have to carry.  I reduced payload by about 5 pounds from here.

Here is my tent arrangement below.  Yes, that is a solar panel resting on the tent rainfly.  It is Powerfilm and puts out a full 30 watts (its rating) under direct sun.  I was able to run the radio without the voltage dropping below 13V for about 6 hours.  

Here is the rig in the tent

Saturday, April 18, 2015

12m DXCC Is Now Complete

When I say complete - I mean I have all the cards and LOTW confirmations plus assured LOTW confirmations through the Clublog OQRS System.

ZL7E Chatham Island #93 Confirmed in LOTW
PJ2/VE7ACN Curacao #94 Confirmed in LOTW
AT150ITU India #95 Confirmed in LOTW
PQ0T Trindade and Martim Vaz #96 Confirmed in Clublog & OQRS
E30FB Eritrea #97 Confirmed in Clublog & OQRS
V21ZG Antigua and Barbuda #98 Confirmed in LOTW
TG9AHM Guatemala #99 Card
ZD7FT St. Helena #100 Card
US5WE Ukraine #101 Confirmed in LOTW

The following cards are still in the pipeline unanswered

VP2/N2IEN British Virgin Islands
HI3TEJ Dominican Republic
HA3NU Hungary
PJ4A Bonaire
V63YY Micronesia

Thursday, April 16, 2015

FP DXpedition Website Is Now Live!!!

FP/NY4G DXpedition

A great deal of thanks to ND7J for constructing the website.  The page in this blog dedicated to the DXpedition has been reverted to inactive state.

Thanks for your continued support.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

DXpedition with less than 100 Lbs of Gear

Took Inventory of All my gear and practiced set-up and take down.  So let us break it down

Steppir Bag - Weight 16.4 lbs
Contents - 16 ft. fiberglass pole, 6 foot extension pole, 80-2m radiator unit,  80-2 radial unit, tensioning arms, clamps, small roll of gorilla tape, back up end fed antenna, 60 feet of RG-8 coaxial cable

Rig Box- Pelican 1520 case  21.67 lbs - with Shock Mounted KX3, PX3, and KXPA100, capable of 100 watts using a Gamma Research Power Supply, KI0BK Powergate, Palm Pico Paddle

Pack - 32.36 lbs and contains the following:
Computer Laptop, External Keyboard (wireless), Heil Pro-7,  Stereo Speakers powered by USB, Winkeyer USB, Antenna Analyzer, Extra Coupler, AA batteries, 24 A-h LiFePO4, 30W Powerfilm Solar Panel, Tripod for Radial Unit, Tripod for SteppIR CrankIR, Camp Chair, Tent, Camp Table, Battery Charger

Total Weight 75 lbs

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sleep - Contesting

It was first published by the Yankee Clipper Contest Club.  Thanks to Kevan Nason N4XL for posting it into the Swamp Fox Contest Group Reflector.

Thanks to Charlotte, KQ1F for digging up this article, and Fred, K1VR for editing it.
 At the February 1988 meeting, YCCC member, Thomas Scott Johnson, KA1QXI (now NW1I, who now lives in Concord, MA), a physician at Brigham & Women's Hospital specializing in sleep problems, spoke on sleep deprivation strategies - or how to sleep four hours out of 48. This is the first program we can remember where the majority of those present took notes! He began by telling us that most people come to the Hospital's Sleep Clinic complaining that they have trouble sleeping, and it is interesting to speak before a group that wants to learn how to avoid or minimize sleep. After a brief overview of the physiology of sleep (90 minute cycling, REM sleep, and so forth), he gave his recommended schedule. On Friday afternoon, have a reasonably good meal (but no alcohol) and take a three-hour nap, preferably from 4:30 to 7:30 PM EDT (for CQ WW Phone, which starts at 8 pm EDT), or 3:30 to 6:30, if the contest starts at 7 pm EST. When you get up, have some coffee. Eat no large meals during the contest, just snacks with high carbohydrates, low fat, and reasonable protein. Two hours before your normal waking time, take a 90-minute nap (this allows a full sleep cycle so that you will wake up refreshed), or sleep for 180 minutes. Then have another cup of coffee.

Only drink coffee when you awaken from your naps; otherwise you will have trouble falling asleep and will not awaken rested when you do sleep. The first afternoon of the contest, Saturday afternoon, schedule a 30-minute nap for sometime between 3 and 4 PM. Take another 90 or 180 minute nap the second morning. Optionally, take another nap the second afternoon, Sunday afternoon. [Ed. note: However, since you don't care what happens after the contest ends only a few hours later, you may load up on caffeine Sunday afternoon to avoid that Sunday afternoon nap.]

Avoid alcohol during the contest. Avoid heavy physical activity (such as tower or tree climbing) right before the contest since it promotes deep sleep. Keep the shack very brightly lit to keep you alert. When you do nap, do so in a darkened room.

Keep the shack warm, 72 to 74 degrees, since low body temperature encourages sleep.

Copyright © 1997-2002 Yankee Clipper Contest Club

First Simulation - Battery Draw Down Tests

Rig: KX3-KXPA100-PX3
PS: Gamma Research HP100
Powergate: KI0BK
Battery: Battery Tender Li-Fe-PO4 24 A-h
Computer: Toshiba Laptop
Software: N1MM Classic
Power Monitor: Watt's Up
Starting Voltage: 13.4 Volts (Fully charged)
Power Level: 50 watts on key-down (measured on a peak reading watt meter)

I wanted to realistically assess how many QSO's and how long I can run on my primary battery and how long I can keep logging and keying the rig with the laptop.  I had the laptop running in power save mode.  I turned off the Panadapter to reduce current draw on receive.  Current draw on receive with the Panadapter on is about 630 milliamps and with it off is about 480 milliamps.  My resting current draw is about that level.  Keying the rig brings the peak amperage to about 7 amps (6.5 amps with the PX3 off) but that is only momentary.  I ran for a steady 2 hours at about 175 Q's per hour.  At the end of the 2 hours I was down 4.4 amp hours according to the power monitor.  So, effectively, my average current draw was about 2.2 amps.  Voltage at the end of the second hour was about 12.9V.  At the end of the 3rd hour, the voltage had dropped down to 10.5V and the KXPA100 will not key up anymore.   At the end of the 3rd hour the laptop battery was almost depleted.  Realistically, 450 QSO's can be had in 3 hours of operating.  I generated that many mock QSO's in 3 hours of the simulation.  A second battery would double my run time.  However, unless I can extend the laptop run time through another laptop battery, logging will have to be done by paper and pen.  A solar panel can extend operating time if sun is available.  So between a solar panel, a second battery, a second laptop battery, 6 hours of operating time should be realizable with run time to spare.  That will be the subject of a second test.