Monday, October 28, 2013

G3TXQ Hex Beam - Figure of Merit Calculations by Steve Hunt

For a G3TXQ broadband Hexbeam taken from the inventors website - credit goes to Steve Hunt

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hex Beam as viewed from afar

The hex beam actually looks very discreet from afar.  The peak of my roof is at 32 feet or so and the baseplate is above it.

CQ World Wide Phone Contest

This was a wonderful weekend for radio amateurs.  Sunspot numbers were very high and the SFI was as high as 228 in the days before which made the high bands very productive.  I worked the contest mostly on Saturday and a couple of hours on Sunday and only in search and pounce mode and I was being very selective in picking out the stations that fill the holes in my band slots on 15m and 10m.  Some highlights that stand out in retrospect:

The pileups on Rwanda, Ascension Island, Samoa and other Pacific rim islands had been very large and even with my two element beam and the Drake L4B easily pushing out 1000 watts - I could not break thru.  However, I did get Guam, Alaska and Hawaii.

I picked up three new ones - #195 Nepal, #196 Andorra.and #197 Kenya

The pile-up on ON4UN was enormous and he easily had the biggest signal out of Europe.  I texted WM4AA to listen to his signal and it was showing up as S2 on his dummy load.  They really were not after the DXCC but after the man himself.  ON4UN - John Devoldere authored an essential book on amateur radio titled "Low Band DXing".

All in all, I was able to work 124 countries over the period of about 6-7 hours.  Clearly, the Drake L4B linear and the two element Hexbeam quad bander were both helping in a huge way.  I tried working a few stations QRP - and it was difficult.

The toughest DX to work was the Uganda station 5X1NH.  He was very deliberate and slow.  I  left the radio for about a half an hour and worked him in the second sitting.  He was the last station I worked.

There were a few gems on the CW portion of the band which were rather easy to get since everyone was chasing DX on phone. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

#190 to #194 Five New DXCC in one evening

Propagation was great last night.  It will be a few days before we pay for all this ionization when the CME hits.  Meanwhile 10 meters has been very good as I have been able to work Asian and African stations.

#189 China - I actually worked a couple of Chinese stations - one on 15 meters and one on 20 meters - the second one BY9GA was very strong

#190 Lesotho  7P8GF

#191 Ascension Island - I had been trying to work the pile ups on station ZD8O for a few days without much success until last night

#192 India - I worked a couple of Indian stations VU2RAK and VU3WIJ on the phone portion of the 20 meter band.

#193 Zambia station 9J2BO was found on 40 meters just before going to bed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#189 DXCC 9L1JT Sierra Leone

I first went to chase Ascension Island on 30m  when I saw the spot for Sierra Leone on 17m.  Since I was just there for CW night with N0TR, I was able to quickly get back on 17m and found the DX working with a straight key or a bug.  He was very copyable though.  He had a reasonable size pileup.  It took about 15 minutes of calling before he acknowledged me.  I later found Ascemsion Island ZD8O on 20m CW but could not break through the pileup before the DX called QRT.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

QSO with KG9HV - 5370 miles per watt

Propagation was great today.  KG9HV was calling CQ on the QRP watering hole on 20m at 14062.  I was waiting for a SOTA station from a spot.  John, the station Op was running an ATS570 at 5 watts.  We decided to back down to 100 milliwatts and carried on the conversation.  He gave me a 549 signal report and was still at 100% copy.  I cannot back down the K2 any less than 1 tenth of a watt.  So this is my personal best within the continental United States for carrying on a conversation from SC to Indiana 537 miles at 100 milliwatts.

Monday, October 14, 2013

GARC Club Meeting - EME and Meteor Scatter using WSJT

Nice talk tonight by Dave Anderson K4SV.

#187 DXCC C82DX Mozambique

40m band had lots of static but DX station was relatively loud.  Easy pickin in the pileup at 1200 watts on the ZS6 antenna.  Op had good ears..

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hexbeam at NY4G QTH

Barely visible against the clouds.  It is up around 30 feet above ground.

#186 DXCC Saint Helena ZD7VC

Saint Helena is a tiny island off the western coast of Africa in the Atlantic. The bearing is towards the southern tip of Africa - Capetown. Matt WM4AA was over helping me setup the hex-beam. So for the first time I might be sending out forward power at 6dBi. We saw Saint Helena on a spot in the DX Cluster and he was having a long ragchew allowing us to set-up the linear for 1500 watt output on 20m as he was on 14160 SSB. When he finally finished the QSO we discovered there were a lot of of people piled and waiting. A huge pileup ensued - and we threw out my call sign Norway Yankee Four Germany - twice. He returned with proper phonetics - November Yankee Four Golf and QSO started. We had a nice short chat and complimented the strength of my signal. Nice to have a first call QSO on SSB. Saint Helena station ZD7VC only QSL's direct.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

#185 DXCC KG4HF Gunatanamo Bay

KG4HF was working RTTY split listenong up a few kilohertz on 12 meters. It took about 20 minutes of calling as this was a relatively rare station. I transmitted 400 watts into the G0GSF. I just got confirmed on LOTW.

#184 DXCC MI0BPB Northern Ireland

12 meters and the high bands were pretty open today. It took a while to get my turn between stronger stations. I was transmitting 500W. Andrew Mulholland is the operator and very polite at that. We exchanged names and QTH and other pleasantries. Thanks Andrew.

#183 DXCC Papua New Guinea P29NO

After over an hour of listening and waiting for a lull between strong stations - propagation finally improved for him to finally hear me - transmitting 1000 watts. He was on the CQ Oceana Contest. I heard Matt a few minutes earlier (WM4AA) make it - so I thought my chances ought to be better. Thanks Naohiro and to gray line propagation early Saturday morning

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Omniangle Antenna

ARRL Simulated Emergency Test

Our ARES group participated.  KJ4RQZ Nathan and I were NCS at the top of Paris Mountain coordinating comm tests with Mobile Command Center Truck at Keith Drive - AJ4IK and Red Cross building in downtown WD4DYH Johnny

#182 DXCC TX5D Suitecase Dxpedition - Austral Islands

Finally landed TX5D - on 12 meters even - after many days of trying. Propagation is pretty good today. Tried the Omniangle 15m for the first time - no problem transmitting power through it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Number 112 QRP DXCC SV9/DL7UCX Crete

Worked simplex on October 7, 2013 in heavy static 0330 UTC. DX signal was very strong.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

#181 DXCC 5X1NH Uganda

This was on 10/6/2013 - late in the afternoon in the east coast about 4 pm.  The station was working split 5 up and I did not realize it for about 5 minutes.  The band cops were not telling  to QSY.  I was looking for callers 3 kC up but could not hear anything.  I thought he was working simplex  - but nnever returned my calls.  I decided to search 5 up and lo - there were the callers.  I immediately went to work splii and was able to work him with 500 watts.within a few calls.

#180 DXCC TO2TT Mayotte

This was on 10/5/2013.  A late evening contact at about 2 AM UTC.  Made it with the linear at low drive 500 watts.  The pile-ups on this Dxpedition had been large.

#179 DXCC - SV9DKL Dodecanese

My first time to work Dodecanse.  I had to muster all the power at my disposal to make this contact.  I was running the Drake L4B on 20m at 1000 watts on 9/30/2013 opn CW.  This was another contact very early in the morning.  He just confirmed me on LOTW a few days later - thank you.

#178 DXCC - CY0P Sable Island

This was the first day of the Dxpedition into Sable Island headed by Gary Bartlett from Canada.  This is the first of the 4 QSOs I had with the Dxpedition.  This was on 40m early (very early) in the morning about 5 AM EDT.  The fourth QSO was on 30m in another pileup but I was able to work the station with 5 watts QRP.

#177 DXCC 5R8FL Madagascar

This was a surprise present.  I was setting up for the CQ WW RTTY contest working a portable operation. As I was setting up for the digital modes.  I happened to tune into the 20m PSK frequency when I saw that Madagascar was calling CQ.  This was on 9/28/2013.  He was the lone signal in the PSK band width.  The OPs name was Andreas.

#176 DXCC AH0BT Northern Marianas Islands

Another great 30m contact into the South Pacific early in the morning before going to work.  This was on 9/27/2013.  For this contact I was running the KX3 into the Hardrock amp at just 50 watts.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Number 111 QRP DXCC - SV2GNC Greece

The DX station was working split listening 1 Kilohertz up.  This took quite a few tries to get the DX's attention but he fiinally dug me out of the noise .

#175 DXCC - VK9LL Lord Howe Island

VK9LL is one of those early morning grey line contacts on 40m early in the morning when 40m is really long.

Number 110 QRP DXCC - A45XR Oman

30m has got to be one of my best bands for working QRP DX.  A45DX was particularly loud so I knew I was going to be able to make contact even with many callers.  I uploaded to LOTW after the QSO.  The DX station also uploaded his log and confimred me within a couple of hours.

Number 109 QRP DXCC Liechtenstein HB0/DL2SBY

Still October 4th.  I had worked Liechtenstein before also on 30m but with 50 watts.  I have known from previous experience that 5 watts into Western Europe is very doable - especially with good propagation.   He did not have too many callers and it was rather easy.

Number 108 QRP DXCC - CY0P Sable Island Dxpedition

It was October 4th, 2013.  I thought working a pileup on 30m might be doable with 5 watts since Sable Island is only 1100 or so miles away off the Candian Coast.  Indeed it was, and it took a few minutes of anticipating where the DX station would listen before I threw out the call - sure enough he returned with a 599 TU.  I sent away for his card the next day - even knowing that he won't be back into Canada until 10/8/13