Saturday, December 26, 2015

QRP DXCC Challenge - 100 DXCC in 100 Days

Participants So Far

W4NL  Lynn
N1DAY  David
VY2AJ/W4 Ariel
N3CZ Vlad
N4LAG Andy
KF4BY Stan
W2DGJ Dave
KW4JM Scott
K4SV Dave
W4KA Dave

Starting January 1st 2016, We will be embarking on a Challenge to work (not confirm) 100 DXCC entities in 100 days or less.


(1) Power is to be no more than 5 watts in whatever mode you choose.  Most modern rigs will allow the power to be turned down to QRP levels

(2) Modes:  Any mode, JT65, CW, PSK31, RTTY or Phone (VHF, UHF, SSB).  Cross mode CW in SSB portion of the band is allowed.  However, be careful as some consider this to be QRM and let your ethics rule here.  Example:  If one party is calling CQ on SSB and you answer on CW by giving your call - and he answers your call - this is OK.  Vice versa SSB on CW band will not work and may be considered deliberate QRM.  Only certain rigs can do CW on SSB - e.g. KX3, KX1, HB1B, FT817   etc.

(3) Bands - Any of the amateur bands - including 160m, 2m are at play.  Propagation is direct skywave with no use of repeaters on VHF/UHF.

(4) All amateur antennas, homebrewed or commercial are allowed.  No restrictions.

(5) Time limit:  There is no time limit.  However, the elapsed time based on your log will be posted on your certificate.  The goal is still to do it in 100 days or less

(6) Logs:  Use of the ARRL QRP/DXCC record sheet is encouraged.  However, a spreadsheet that contains the same information will also do.  The first log entry will have a date as early as 1/1/2016 but not earlier.  Please submit your logs to me either electronically or by snail mail upon completion of 100 DXCC entities.

(7) Spotting assistance, use of the cluster is also allowed.   Being QRP, this is not to your advantage, since by the time they are spotted, and even if it is semi-rare, you will have difficulty breaking the pileup.  DO NOT TURN UP THE POWER KNOB.  Use of dedicated QRP rigs with power limited to QRP levels is encouraged.

(8) If you are using a special QRP rig, key or antenna for this purpose and wish to incorporate that graphic into your certificate - please submit a JPEG of such items:  Examples Argonaut 515, Heath HW08, K1, K2, KX3, FT817, Magnetic Loops. etc.

(9) Awards:  A framed and matted certificate - 11x14 see example below will be given to each participant who reaches the 100 DXCC entity goal.  If you wish to get the ARRL QRP DXCC Award, in addition send me a check for $10 payable to the ARRL to cover the ARRL processing fee, along with the ARRL DXCC QRP Application form - signed and dated.  You will get your ARRL Certificate in the mail.  Subsequently you will be added to the list of QRP/DXCC holders which is updated yearly in December


(10) Eligibility:  You don't have to be a member of SCDXA, NCDXCC or Greer Amateur Radio Club to join.  Any reader of this blog who has a radio amateur license is free to join.  However there is an entry deadline of December 31, 2015.  Certificates for any DX entries, or any radio amateur outside of SCDXA, NCDXCC or GARC will be mailed electronically as a PDF file.


The NCDXCC, SCDXA, and Greer Amateur Radio Club reflectors can be used to post any interim progress.  Tho progress reports will be posted on this blog.


David Day's - directional and gain magnetic loop

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 Year in Review

PIt is Christmas Eve and I decided to put some time in for reflection over things that happened in 2015.  Of course there was much anticipation for the summer as we were scheduled to go to Prince Edward Island for the IARU HF Championship.

I worked 24 new DXCC entities in 2015.  It is smaller than previous years but still significant.

Since I first received my HF privileges in 2010 - 2010 was slow
2010 - 9 New DXCC
2011 - 84 New DXCC - this really was my first year trying to accumulate DXCC
2012 - 30 New DXCC - things slowed down as I tried to get my QRP-DXCC
2013 - 81 New DXCC - the year of the linear amplifier over 100 watts
2014 - 55 New DXCC
2015 - 24 New DXCC

Field Day June 28 from Holden Beach with Mat WM4AA  - mae about 300 QSOs

July 4th Week - Our State Team won the 13 Colonies with 15624 QSO's - I contributed a mere 917

July 8 to July 13, 2015 On to PEI -  Scored 633000 points for the IARU HF Championship as a team N4IQ, ND7J, AC4Q and NY4G.  Our call was NY4G/VY2.  All in all 1755 QSOs were made with this call sign..  Worked 80 countries and confirmed 61

July 14 to July 20, 2015 - On the St. Pierre and Miquelon - 2025 QSO, Worked 66 countries and confirmed 57

October 13-28, 2015 - Went to Turkey and had one day to make QSO;s - made 11 QSOs as TA3/NY4G.  Only had a couple of hours to operate.

December 2 to Dec 9 - Went to Turkey a second time and made 50 more QSOs during the one free day that I had.

Going by the numbers to close out the year 281 confirmed - with 3 more in the works.

New LoTW QSLsLoTW QSLs in ProcessDXCC Credits AwardedTotal
Mixed *40275279279
CW *60264270270
Phone *10122123123
80M *00115115115
40M *10157158158
30M *30129132132
20M *20200202202
17M *20132134134
15M *30147150150
12M *30110113113
10M *10132133133
Challenge *1501156---1171
5-Band *---------------
5-Band 17M *---------------
5-Band 30M *---------------
5-Band 12M *---------------

* = Award has been issued

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

100 DXCC in 100 Days QRP Challenge

It can be done.  Dave Anderson proved it by working 100 countries inside of 2 months with 1/10 the power.    Here is the note from Dave Anderson from 2014:

"Hi Everyone,

As you know a challenge has been thrown before you work 100 DXCC countries using any mode or band.  There is no time limit since this is a personal challenge between yourself and the elements.

I completed my personal challenge today.  I learned how to crafty, cunning and cleaver in the way I had to work the DX stations.  With only 500 millawatts you can not waste them.  I think the tactics that I learned to get the other guy to hear my signal will help when I use higher power levels.

The log has more than 100 DXCCs in it because I made some duplicate country contacts and I had to run 12 watts for two stations 9M6 and BD to work them.  There is at least 100 good 500 millawatt QSOs.

I trust all of you are doing well.

Best 73
Dave Anderson, K4SV
Tryon, NC"

In fairness, however, Dave was running a very powerful SteppIR at 90 feet.  I am guessing a DB36 which has a gain of 7 dBi on 40m to 10dBi on 20m which I also assume is from free space.  Ground reflectance will probably boost this another few dBi.  A dipole is about 2 dBi in free space.  His 1/2 watt is still close to 2 watts in free space and perhaps closer to 4 watts with ground reflection.  His accomplishment is still impressive all things considered since we would still be running higher ERP effective radiated power with our dipoles and beams with 5 watts.  With ground reflection on a hexbeam - 5 watts is closer to 40 watts ERP.   Our dipoles will be running close to 20 watts ERP.

So as the old saying goes, the best way to improve your station is antennas, antennas, antennas, high and in the clear.

Monday, December 21, 2015

K1 Filter Board Complete

Passed all resistance checks.  I did initially put the X1 crystal in the wrong place and had to unsolder it.  That was the only Snafu.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

New QRP Rig Project

This was a nice little 2 hour project.  It transmits in 20m, 30m, and 40m.  30m TX requires a jumper mod.   It has remarkable sensitivity.  The paddle (not part of the kit) is a Palm Mini Paddle semi permanently mounted to the side with double sided adhesive.  It is CW only and weighs 300 grams.  Audio is by headset only.  It has 10 memories.  The build instructions are not the greatest but if you are an experienced kit builder - no worries.  With a small lithium iron phosphate battery, the whole thing weighs in at about 2 lbs.  everything fits into my little bag including the headset.  I have gotten out into NM and Puerto Rico with it RF wise (no not physically silly).  My first contact was AG4T.  With an Alexloop - you can climb mountains with it and not carry more than 4 lbs antenna included.  Just lash the Alexloop to your hiking pole. The video shows both the audio and the RF out on the QRP wattmeter.

Solution to Balancing DX and Chaser Audio in a Pileup

The solution involves purchasing a 2 line mixer.  The input are the channels of VFO-A and VFO-B which are streaming simultaneously.    The output goes to a Bravo headset amplifier which amplifies both signals.  The inputs can also be balanced with gain controls on the mixer,  Furthermore you can adjust the EQ on both signals for better inteligibility.   When the chasers gets too loud I just move the slider to squelch down the audio from that VFO.  Once I home in on where I think the DX is listening, I just leave the chasers squelched down and concentrate on the DX audio.  This way I can hear him clearly when he answers me.  While searching for the QSX frequency, I up the volume of the chasers to hear clearly which station answers the DX.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Maiden Voyage of EK1A QRP Rig

am surprised this worked at all with such poor instructions - parts list not matching the build and photos not matching the kit.  Photo had one less relay.  But I have built several kits so that experience paid off.  The connections for the toroids was lacking and I had to guess which holes to put the leads in.  But it worked surprisingly well.  I had a QSO with AG4T.  Wattmeter says 5 watts out.  The rubber feet are missing.  The nut for the final FET mounting to the heat sink is also missing.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

DXing as TA3/NY4G


As viewed from the 28th Floor facing the Aegean Sea from Izmir, Turkey.    Sunday propagation was decent and made about 50 QSOs including 4 Qs across the big pond into the eastern US including Dave Stansell W4KA.  With 10 watts on a vertical dipole - it is not easy to make it across.