Thursday, October 17, 2019

Happiness is a new Radio!

Several weeks ago I posted a message in the Hilltopper Radio reflector operated by the fine folks at the Four States QRP Group.  I was looking for someone to build a Hilltopper 40 for me to go with the Hilltopper 20 I bought earlier this year.  After a day or two went by,  I got email from Steve Miller N0SM out in Ottumwa Iowa, offering to do the build for me.  So I ordered my HT40 that night and Jim Pruitt WA7DUY shipped it out to Steve at my request.  I am so glad I didn't wait another day as the kit was successfully received by the QRP community, and sold out. 

Hilltopper 40 from Four States QRP Group

Steve contacted me as soon as he got it and we discussed my wishes to have the audio upgrade parts installed during the build, he agreed that he could do that, and would supply the parts to do so.  So we were off to the races.  We ran into a couple small obstacles along the way but to make a short story shorter, I got the radio in the mail today and it is a beauty. 

VA3ZB - Bruce 
As soon as I got it out of the box I connected it to power, my straight key, my half wave 40m attic dipole and tuned around, hearing all kinds of signals, it was alive!  I heard VA3ZB calling CQ on 7050.4 Khz and I answered him, and BOOM he had me on the first reply.  

Bruce is a ham that lives up in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, he was running 100w from his TS590S.  I got a 579 and sent him a 589, eventually in the QSO he said my signal had improved to a 599.  I was extremely happy with this QSO and logged it as my first QSO on the HT40.   I can't wait to make many more.  

It's always nice and fun to get a new radio, even if it's not a top of the shelf high buck adventure, the amount of fun I get from these little radios makes them bargains beyond compare.  So I'll be trolling the 40m band with this rig for the next few weeks at least, if you hear me out there, give me a shout.  Thanks again to Steve N0SM for building this kit for me and thanks to Dave Benson K1SWL for another fine kit rig.  

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Peanut Power Sprint Log for #398

This evening I was sprinting in the Peanut Power Sprint, in the "Roasted" class...which meant I was 5 watts from home (not portable).  I just happened to be Peanut #398 to all those out there sprinting.  I stuck to 40m, primarily 7062Khz and 7061Khz for my QSOs.  I worked one hour (6PM to 7PM EDT) and made 21 contacts, in 6 different states.  That was worth a score of 834 points.  I have posted my log here for your reading enjoyment. 

Peanut Power Sprint 2019 - Log for KB9BVN #398
It was great to hear John K4BAI and the others out there tonight, my Dixie Pipeline was working well. Remember, next weekend, Oct 12, is the QRP-ARCI Fall QSO Party and it runs from 00:00Z to 23:59Z on OCTOBER 12. Don't miss out! 

Peanut Power Sprint is tonight!

Greetings and salutations from Peanut 398, here in the middle of Indiana.  Tonight I will be sprinting with my K2 at 5w into the magic attic dipole.  I have been on 7062 for the last hour or so, just checking out band conditions, I have decided to just run on 40m tonight, although the contest is open to 20, 40, 80m. 

I did work KC4WZB Joel from down in northern Georgia, he was at his mountain cabin and making a few QSO's.  Joel and I exchanged 599's and he told me he was on the FT 991 today pushing RF to a G5RV up about 40 feet. 

I learned that Joel is a big time SOTA activator, and says that is one of his favorite ham radio things to do.  Joel is Mountain Goat #3 and is a member of the W4G Georgia SOTA Association.  Joel also authors a BLOG that you can read by browsing to 

Great fist, armchair copy, if you hear KC4WZB on the air you will want to get him in your log! 

Right after that QSO I was called by none other than Bill WA4FAT, Bill and I have QSO'd a couple times in the last few years, he's down in Alabama.  Makes me feel good that my Dixie Pipeline seems to be open on 40m today.  That'll come in handy for the Peanut Power Sprint.  We traded 599's and exchanged QSO info.  I let him know about the sprint coming up tonight, the more the merrier. 

Bill enjoys SKCC contacts as well, and is SKCC 11062S and that "S" means he's worked literally thousands of SKCC contacts.  Great fist too, if you hear WA4FAT, get him in your logs!  Bill also likes to design web sites for fellow hams, and you can check out his work at  - check him out! 

One hour to sprint time...might as well eat dinner now.  

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

40m Never Lets Me Down

I had a nice QSO this evening with Bob W5RG from down Florida way.  I called 7 CQ's and was just about to shut it down and he called me back.  As usual I was on the K2 at 10w to the mojo powered attic dipole I installed in 1998.  Bob was using his K3 and a long wire antenna at 100w and was fighting some pretty bad QRM on his end.  Surprisingly the QSB tonight was very light.  I sent him a 589 and got a 579 back.  

Bob lives in Panama City Beach, and he said it's been very hot down there and he is ready for winter.  I explained here in Indiana, it is not uncommon for us to experience all four seasons over the course of a few days...and we were not hoping for winter yet. 

I check Bob out on QRZ and found that he's been licensed about 60 years, he was 13 years old when he got his ticket and that was motivated by a couple of older guys in his Boy Scout troop having two way radios.  He also had an uncle that ran CW from a big old Viking back in the 1950's. Bob is a CW operator, and originally from Oklahoma, says he moved to Florida for love but didn't get to bring his towers.  

Seeing his mention of the Boy Scouts made stop and wonder just how many hams out there got their interest in radio stirred up by being a scout.  

I have been a scout leader since August of 1986 when my then first grader brought home a flyer showing they were starting up a new Cub Scout pack.  I have been a Cub Master, Den Leader, Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Merit Badge Counselor, Committee Chair, and last but not least a Chartered Organization Representative.  

I was a scout as a youth but was only involved in scouting for about three years, made the rank of 1st Class, and the smells of gasoline and perfume won me over.  I have two sons that are both Eagle Scouts (one a ham), and I have one grandson (also a ham) about to make Eagle and another just getting started out in the Cubs with his dad acting as an assistant Den Leader.  I guess you can say we are a scouting family. 

If you get a chance to assist a scout group with JOTA this year, do it.  It can be very frustrating at times and very rewarding all at the same time.  If you have some free time, get with your local BSA Council and sign up to be a Radio Merit Badge Counselor.  

See ya on the trail! 


Saturday, August 31, 2019

I smell Autumn

Hello there,  I have been neglecting my blog for months, it's summertime and I have been busy with work, and the grand kids, and all the other stuff that comes up in the summer time.  So here I sit in the shack this morning with the K2 turned on and monitoring 7115 Khz while I do some web surfing.  

At 15:00Z I hear Kevin N2AFX calling CQ and it's a almost perfect 599 and about 15 wpm.  Kevin lives in western New York in the finger lakes region. It must be very beautiful there this time of year.  Kevin was runing 100w into his G5RV from his Icom 746Pro this morning, and we had a nice chat for about 25 minutes.  Slow rolling shallow QSB was present but the band held up nicely for our QSO.  I got a 579 and sent him a 589.

When I checked Kevin out on QRZ I found that not only is he primarily a CW operator, but he is also a book author and his favorite subject is longwave radio. (0-500 kHz) 

Kevin's book is Listening to Longwave (ISBN 9781882123391) published by Universal Radio, Inc.  Kevin is also a former writer for "Monitoring Times" magazine and is currently the publisher of "The Lowdown", the journal of the Longwave Club of America. 

Bloomfield has a population of about 1800 people, and is home to Crosman Corporation, maker of fine air rifles and BB guns.

So here it is August 31, and summer is about 67% in the rear view mirror, I was sitting on my back patio last night listening to the cicadas and I smelled it.'s coming in 23 days and last night I caught my first whiff.  I always look forward to the changing of summer into autumn, things seem to start to slow down a bit at work, and I find more time to be on the radio in an evening.

Until next time!

Best 73

Saturday, May 25, 2019


So I m on call all weekend, all holiday weekend, and I was sitting at my home office desk and had the K2 turned on and was listening to the QSB when I heard a CW CQ from WA4LJJ on 7042 Khz at abotu 18:41Z.  

I thought it was probably another GA or NC or SC station calling, and he was pretty loud,  so I answered him with the straight key.  Doug WA4LJJ is a Air Force retiree and is 77 years old, he is a good CW operator, and we probably could have chewed the rag for an hour but the QSB was becoming a problem. 

Doug lives way down yonder in Eastern Kentucky in Pikeville.  Pikeville is in Pike County and the population there is about 7000.  If you enjoy bluegrass music, and I do, this is the place to be.  Pikeville is also home to singer Patty Loveless, singer Dwight Yoakam, and aviator John Paul Riddle (he founded the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University). 

Doug is a higher speed operator and is a member of the CFO (Chicken Fat Operators #386) and belongs to the SKCC as #16280.  He is also part of the CWOPS group.  Check him out on QRZ.COM as he has a very interesting biography. 

73 de KB9BVN