Friday, April 22, 2016

EP2A - New country from my station

I worked EP6T from the station of K4SV after I got desperate.   Having earned that contact took the pressure off and now EP2A is that much more "enjoyable".  The pileups on 30m were difficult.  I was using my 30m vertical loop.  The pileups on 20m during the latter days of the DXpedition were a bit easier - though not much more.    I made contact on 20m on 2059 UTC on CW on 4/22/16 on the Hexbeam.  I made another contact on the 30m vertical loop on 4/25/16 at 21:48 UTC

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The inspiration behind the 100 Day QRP DX Challenge

I have to admit that the inspiration for this challenge came from Chapter 16 of Don Keith's book "Riding the "Shortwaves".  It is about the fictional challenge between veteran DXer Clark W4OOU and Grace Wade KB4JJO - a newly licensed no code General Class amateur.  Grace wagered that she could work 100 countries in 100 days.  Now Clark was a crusty and opinionated DXer with over 300 countries confirmed and he was also convinced that with the poor propagation, and Grace's inexperience that she could not possibly do this.    Grace was a working mom with 2 children.   All that Grace had to work with was 100 watts, some wires and a wire beam.  Clark often belittled newcomers to the scene.  Grace did manage to work 99 DXCC with one day left.  She was desperate and realized she had not logged a US contact.  She logged W4OOU on 2 meter simplex for her final contact.  This was both an entertaining and memorable chapter.  From this chapter was born the DXCC QRP Challenge of 100 DXCC in 100 days.  Grace proved it was possible with 100 watts in a fictional account.  8 people have now proven it is possible with QRP power levels

N4MM 8 days - multiple yagis - CW and SSB
K4SV 23 days - 4 element yagi - all modes
N3CZ 33 days - 3 element yagi and GP - all modes
W2HTI 35 days - 3 element yagi and GP - CW
W4NL 44 days - 3 element yagi - all modes
NY4G 51 days - wire beam and wires - CW
W4KA 69 days - wires - CW and SSB - 
PE4BAS 79 days - 84m horizontal loop and home made HB9CV - all modes 

It is notable as well that the feat can be accomplished using a multi-band horizontal loop just 7m above the ground proven by Bas Levering PE4BAS.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Edisto Island

Made a few QSOs from the ocean - VE2PID and 8P6DR were the DX on 20m.  W0W was a special event station in MS.  N9ZXL gave a nice ragchew.   EA4BB came in loud but disappeared after a while. Propagation has not been very good the last few days.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

DXpeditioning Basics

I am a recent member to INDEXA - International DX Association.  While navigating their site - I happened to come across this great article written by Wayne Mills N7NG.  The URL is as follows:

DXpeditioning Basics by Wayne Mills N7NG

Another article worth reading is by Martti Lane OH2BH

It Takes Two to Tango - by OH2BH

Another really good book which should be required reading is the Complete DXer by Bob Locher W9KNI.  It is a 30 year old book but is still a gem and very readable and funny to boot.  It can be ordered from the ARRL at the following link

The Complete DXer - ARRL

DX University is also a very good resource for those who are either chasing DX or intend to become the DX

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hexbeam Now Camouflaged

Can hardly tell there is an antenna there.  Camo brown mast with camo green spreaders.  The centerpost is also camo green.  Just worked FT4JA on the delta loop - vertically polarized..

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Juan de Nova FT4JA in the log #291 DXCC

Some antenna maintenance work today - painted the. Mast camo brown to match the trees.  Painted the spreaders camo green and installed brand new center post from NA4RR.  I probably should have painted that green but ran out of paint.

I installed a 4:1 balance to the 30m delta loop and changed the feed point to the corner.

I decided to work FT4JA between chores and was able to get them on 17m 18087 CW after listening for a bit at 1913 UTC   There was a great op on the other end and was working the pile well.  I have just confirmed the contact through the Clublog on-line log.

Monday, March 28, 2016

QRP Challenge - PE4BAS Reaches 100 DXCC in 79 Days, W4KA in 69 Days

Latest News:

Dave W4KA just completed his Challenge on his day 69 and is the 7th finisher.  Dave's beam had a burnt balun and he had to make do with wire antennas.

Bas PE4BAS made a yeoman's effort at the CQ WPX SSB and managed to get 23 additional DXCC using SSB 5 watts on his FT817.  This is truly a remarkable effort.  At the end of the contest he was at 99 DXCC in 77 days.  He just got his 100th DXCC on 3/29 with his contact to San Marino T77C.    

Saturday, March 26, 2016

30m Delta Loop For Heard Island #290

VK0EK has been working 30m almost round the clock on 30m - I need an antenna for 30m with gain over my vertical. My vertical with the ground radials was at best 0.69 dBi based on my EZNEC models

I took down the 160m inverted L - thinking I would put up my 80m inverted L which also works on 30m.  Then I got to thinking, a 30m delta loop has gain on a dipole, 0.65 dBd - to be exact in free space and  -  if I put it up 70 feet, I can squeeze out as much of that 0.65 dB over a dipole..  I also get a quieter antenna so the signal to noise ratio is better.  My friend Matt - took on a different tact and fed it at the corner to have a vertically polarized pattern and to get a lower angle of radiation.  He was saying that he saw 3 S units improvement over his 80m inverted L.   It took a little work to put up the new antenna since I had to shoot up a new line into the tree. The pneumatic launcher came into play.  First I used the Chinese made string spools from eBay - that was a piece of crap - broke the string as the weighted tennis ball arched 20 feet over the 100 foot tall tree.  So I threw all 4 spools into the trash.   I went to my old reliable - 30 lb nylon line wound on a PVC coupler at the muzzle of the launcher and it worked like a charm.   This time I shot way up on a high branch.  My 165 feet of rope was not enough to make a full loop so it is at least 80 feet high.  I added another 20 feet of rope to make a continuous loop.  I did not have a 4:1 balun so I just matched it with the tuner.  The match SWR was 2:1 out of the box so it was an easy match for the tuner.  The delta loop was calculated to be 97.2 feet long forming a continuous loop and feeding at the center of the horizontal leg to polarize it horizontally.  I was probably able to get the apex as high as about 65 feet or so.

They say the proof is in the pudding.  I started calling when a VE and a US station was answering 599. I could hear VK0EK just above the noise floor saying NY4G NY4G 599 a few times - plus their new live web site confirmed it - 00:38 UTC logged Heard Island for #290.

Similarly, friends Paul W4FC and George W4BUW put up a 30m dipole just for grins.   Both of these guys are on the honor roll, so they don't need VK0EK for an ATNO.  They were also able to work the DXpediton on the dipole they erected.

In any event, time for a new stick pin on the map.

Monday, March 21, 2016

3C7A In the Log for DXCC #289

The 3C7A (aka 3C7GIA) is a solo effort by Ken LA7GIA.   I have not had the opportunity to find him working North America until the second to last day on 3/20/16.   I got home from church around 4 pm local time - 2000 UTC and sat there while he worked W6/W7 for about an hour and a half it seems.  He finally lifted the W6/W7 restriction started working NA again.  I was ready for him and knew his pattern from sitting there observing him answer station after station.  Within a few calls on 2218 UTC I was able to get in his log on 20m CW.  He did not work many North Americans and I consider myself to be fortunate in having worked him.   This is probably amongst the top 10 hardest one for me to work.  He is now QRT as of 1400 UTC on 3/21/16.

Going HF Mobile

That is a 20 year old TS50.  Still puts out full power in all its power settings of 10/50/100  watts.  I am waiting for a Kenwood 500 Hz filter.  The autotuner works well .  The antenna for the truck is just a hamstick for 40m.  Still a good rig by today's standards.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

New QSL Card

My BEGALI Adventure

Well - the key is perhaps more expensive than the rig.  I had to sell a few things to get it.
Bob Mayo has the same key mounted on a steel plate which I ordered also from Amazon.

Monday, March 7, 2016


I delivered Stan's Begali Adventure.  We saw that 10m was open and hopping and 5J0P - San Andres and Providencia DXpedition was on.  I decided to work him from Stan's place while I was there .  Stan had his KLM KT34 4 element yagi at 23 ft pointed at 158 degrees.  Not familiar with the K3, it took me a few minutes to find out where he was listening.   I then proceeded to call about 1.5 kC from his TX frequency.  Within a few calls he answered.

5J0P 1801 UTC on 10m at 28015 on 3/7/16