Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Latest DX

I got home from work last night and found some time to turn on the radio, I checked the band condition reports and they were not too enticing but I fired up the K1 and tuned to the bottom of 20m just t see if I could hear anything.  I worked Amed CO2AME down in Cuba on 14017 and then worked Alexey HC2AO down in Ecuador on 14015.  Amed sent me a 599, and Alexsey sent me a 339.  I am constantly amazed at how far a little power goes, and how well CW works in even less than good conditions. Make no mistake about it, these fine operators have excellent receivers and antenna systems. I thank them for doing the heavy lifting in our contacts.  HC2AO  and CO2AME have very interesting biographies on QRZ, check it out if you get time.

Amed CO2AME - Habana Cuba

Alexey HC2AO - Guayaquil Ecuador
Best 73 de KB9BVN

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Good weekend for a new QRP CW state...

This Saturday brought a plethora of QSO parties.  New Mexico was partying, Georgia was partying, and the QRP-ARCI was partying. I was able to spend exactly one hour on Saturday morning, before family obligations kicked in, on the air.  The first contact I made was about 10:30AM and it was with James Lee NK7B  of St. Paul Minnesota.  A new state for the 2018 WAS effort!  James is a doctor, actually a retired Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!) , he has been licensed for 60 years, and is a fan of CW and Elecraft radios. 

Dr. Lee enjoys putting on a weird suit and then jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.

I also was very surprised to get his QSL card in the mail today.  His QSL policy is  mail his card right after the QSO.   Feast your eyes on the card from Minnesota!

My second contact was a quick exchange with Tom KA2KGP up in New York.  Tom is a very good CW operator.  He belongs to SKCC, Flying Pigs QRP, and NAQCC among others.  I got a 559 and Tom was worth a 589 from my end.   After that I had to QRT and do my family errands and to-do's for the day.

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Thursday, April 12, 2018

QRPGUYS has a new portable 3 band antenna...

The QRPguys have announced today, a brand new antenna kit for 3 band portable operation. This end fed antenna supports 20m, 30m, and 40m bands, is lightweight and can be deployed in minutes.  Perfect fro back packing, a day at the park, or just going on a QSO safari in the backyard. 

The QRPGuys Multi-Band End Fed Antenna is designed as a portable 40/30/20m two trap wire antenna with a built-in tuner and SWR indicator. It consists of a main board with tuner and SWR indicator, two trap pcb’s and an end wire support. It incorporates the N7VE led SWR indicator and has a board mounted female BNC for connection to your rig. The built-in absorption bridge design will ensure you do not damage your finals with a poor SWR. Our test show and SWR of 1:1 on 20m, 1.1:1 on 30m, and 1.3:1 or better on 40m. It is rated for 5 watts continuous, 10 watts PEP. The kit comes complete except for the user supplied #22-24awg wire for the elements. All S.S. connection hardware for the radiator and counterpoise connections. The tools required are a soldering iron with a small tip, rosin core solder, small side cutters, and can be built in an hour or two. On a difficulty scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the most difficult, this is rated at 2.  

Not a bad deal! 


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

How to Improve Band Conditions...

This is going to sound nutty, but this is what I have found.  When the band conditions are poor, like tonight, according to every band conditions website I looked at, there is only one way to improve things.  Get on the air.  So I did.  In about an hour I had four new contacts in the log.

As you can see...the 40m band seemed to be offering the best opportunity at having a QSO or two this evening.  So I tuned to the good old SKCC region (7053-7056) and started pounding out CQ's on my Nye Viking Master Key.

Nye Viking Master Key

First one tonight was Neill K3RNC out in Maryland.  I sent him a 589 and he sent me a 559. Neill is a SKCC member and his number is 10667T and we have never worked each other.  This is good news for me because now I only need 7 more Centurions, Tribunes, or Senators to earn my next award.  Neill is a retired chemist and lives very near the shore.  He has been at CW for about 8 years now and enjoys operating from the outdoors.  Thanks for the contact Neill!

K3RNC at the Key on his HB1B QRP Rig
Next up was Butch KD5RSS from way out in Oklahoma.  Butch is a retired volunteer fireman and works as an electrician. He enjoys ham radio and has a Ten Tec Jupiter according to his QRZ biography.  Butch is SKCC 1910S and since we have worked before this one does not add to my award total but that's cool with me. I liked working Butch anyway.

Butch KD5RSS in his shack
Bernie KF0QS was next and Bernie brought me a new state!  Bernie is out in the state of Colorado, which is a new one for me this year.   He is SKCC 8872, a huge Elecraft fan, likes working CW and the sats, and is also an amateur astronomer.  I think it's is cool that a lot of hams are into astronomy as well.  I sent him a 589 and got back a 599 on my 4w K1...not too shabby!  Thanks for the QSO and the new state Bernie!

Elecraft Collection of Bernie KF0QS
Last but not least was Jim KI4VH down in Georgia, he's a peach of a fist and I enjoyed working him tonight.  We traded 599's and Jim is SKCC 12113.  He runs a Ten Tec Scout  out to a Hustler 4BTV vertical antenna.  He also has a OHR 20m QRP rig as well.  Jim is a retiree and has been a ham since 1962.  Great QSO Jim, and thanks for the 599!

SCout and OHR rig of Jim KI4VH - NICE Operating Position!
Not a bad collection of contacts tonight, sometimes even when the experts say the bands are bad, you just have to turn on the radio and go fishing.  Best 73!


Friday, April 6, 2018

Good night for SKCC

Tomorrow is Saturday, and not just any Saturday. It's time for the monthly SKCC Weekend Sprintathon.  So tonight after dinner I fired up the K1 and tuned to 7054 Khz in the 40m band.  I worked three SKCC members getting ready for the Sprintathon this weekend. 

22:48Z - 04/06/2018 - First up tonight was Peter AK3X out in Glen Burnie Maryland.  We had a snow storm and some rain moving in from the west so the QRN was a little intense at times.  Peter gave me a 599 and I gave him the same.  He is SKCC 7217S and an Extra class in his 70's.  Glen Burnie is a suburb of Baltimore and was founded in 1812 by the district attorney Elias Glen.  

22:58Z - 04/06/2018 - Next up was a NEW STATE for 2018. I was calling CW and got an answer from Jim K5TSK.  Jim got re-licensed in 2015 and is an Extra with a taste for QRP. According to his QRZ bio page he's running a KX3. Jim is also SKCC member 14893T and lives in Pearcy Arkansas.  his antenna is a 40 foot vertical with 50 radials under it for good measure.  Pearcy survived the 2011 Super Outbreak of Tornadoes which destroyed a lot of homes in the nearby town of Sunshine AR.  Thanks for the QSO Jim! 

00:05Z - 04/07/2018 - Final contact tonight was Bruce WA8OJR down in Spartanburg SC.  We always like to stay in Spartanburg on our way down to the beaches of South Carolina.  It's a quaint old town and home to the Presbyterian College.  Bruce is SKCC 14120C and we traded 589's in the noise.   We had another station drop in and start CQ'ing right on top of us...without so much as one lousy QRL? I'm 4 watts, my guess is they didn't hear me.  I won't lose any sleep over it but folks, please QRL? before you start CQing.  

Downtown Spartanburg SC 
That's it for tonight! 

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Good Vendor!

As you know, I broke the power supply connector on my Ho Elitebook last week.  I was about to throw it away, but I thought I would Google power jack repairs.  Man was that a great idea.  I found a place in Chicago that would take my laptop apart, remove the broken power jack, and replace it with new parts and make it stronger so it won't happen again for a long time. 

Check out:

710 MILL CIRCLE #107 
Phone: (847) 529 9441 

For $100 they will dismantle your laptop, fix the jack, fix your power plug, and SHIP it back to you.  OR...if you do the heavy work of removing your system board and only send that, they will do the repair for $60 and SHIP it back to you. 

I sent mine up on Tuesday, and got it back, repaired like new on Friday.  If you have a busted power jack on your laptop, don't cannibalize it and throw away the bones, call Applicasoft and get it fixed! 

73 de KB9BVN
One Very Happy Camper