Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Remembering a few folks...

Spent the holiday weekend with family over in Ohio.  My wonderful Aunt invited my whole tribe (all 16 of us) to come and stay for a few we did. Memorial Day weekend is a great time for cook outs, and swimming, and watching all the grand kids try to choke down as much watermelon as possible in the shortest amount of time.  It is also a time for us to remember what we have here in America, and then reflect on the lives of the men and women that have served in our military services to keep this land free. 

My dad was a retired Sergeant Major in the Indiana National Guard, he was also in the regular Army and served in Germany in 1959-1960, we lost him in January of 2016 at the age of 79.  My Uncle Ed was a retired Warrant Officer (W5) and he spent his time in the service flying helicopters, and we lost him last year.  My wife's Uncle Bill was a Navy man that served in WWII as a radio man.  His job was to sneak on to a pacific island, some as small as big rocks, and install comms gear so observers could report Japanese fleet movements to the US Pacific fleet. He also fought in several skirmishes around the Philippines, and sadly he's been gone for some time now. My mom's Uncle Bob served in WWII and was a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge, decorated with the Purple Heart, we lost him several years ago.  My Uncle Keith served with the US Army in Vietnam, and he survived the war but we lost him a couple years ago to lung disease that he likely picked up while serving. 

I would also like to remember two men here.  I am not related to them, but found their names during some genealogical research. 

Capt. Archie Andrew Hayman of Gallipolis Ohio.  He was KIA on 04/02/1968 in Kontum Province of Vietnam.  He was a helicopter pilot and gave his life trying to save troops on the ground. He is honored on Panel 47E, Row 39 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

1LT Tracy Henry Murrey of Miles City Montana.  He served with 2ND PLT, C CO, 4TH BN, 503RD INFANTRY, 173RD ABN BDE, USARV and was KIA on 11/20/1967 in Kontum Province Vietnam. Tracy Henry Murrey was killed during a massive attempt on Hill 875 near Dak To.  123 men lost their lives during this intense 3 day firefight. He is honored on Panel 30E, Line 46 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 

So I pretty much observed radio silence this weekend, and will get back at it later this week.  Coming home from vacation and going right back to work is a shock to the system. 

God Bless America! 

73 de KB9BVN

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wake the kids! Call the Neighbors!

As David Letterman  used to say on his television has been FOREVER since I had a 40m QSO on the HW8 but tonight I think I figured out my problem.  I am using a different HP laptop in the shack since my other one went south...and this different laptop is NOISY enough to hide signals from the HW8.  I shut it down and boy did that make a difference.  I was beginning to think I had radio problems but not so! 

So I need to find a quieter logging computer....may have to find a logger that will run on my Raspberry Pi as it is very quiet.  Conditions tonight we a lot better SSN:47 SFI:78 A:5 K:0 

Tonight I worked Adam KE8DNU over in Toldeo Ohio, home of the AAA baseball Mud Hens and of course good old Corporal Klinger from M*A*S*H fame.  Adam gave me a 599 and I handed him a 589...probably was a 599 but my antenna isn't the greatest.  Adam is new to CW and he is having a ball, I know this because he told me so.  I think he was using a CRK-10A QRP CW transceiver. 

It's great to be making contacts again! I'll try to get some more states in the log! Stay tuned. 

Latest QSL Cards received:

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Friday, May 19, 2017

What is the deal mother nature?

I was out of town working in Florida all of last week, spent a week in the sun and finally got dried out. When we got home the rains had slowed down but not stopped.  I can't remember when I have gone so long without a QSO on 40m but I have been trying for a couple of hours every night this week and have not had any success.  

Hamvention starts today and I am on call all weekend so that means I will be missing out on the inaugural Hamvention in Xenia Ohio.  We're starting to already get reports from FDIM and many of you that are attending the Hamvention, keep the updates coming and maybe I can live vicariously through your missives. 

I'm in the process of building my 30m One Watter, I have all the caps and resistors soldered in, and will get some time to work on it some more this weekend. 

ConnectSystems Inc is touting a new radio, which will be unveiled at the's a 5 band SSB/CW QRP rig for less than $400.  I would like to see some more specs. 

That's it for now, I hope to make some contacts this weekend. 

73 de KB9BVN

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How long can it rain??

Greetings from very wet central Indiana.  We've had thunderstorms and rain showers for 12 of the last 14 days.  So I have been on the radio very little.  With some luck this will all be gone by the weekend and I can get back to hunting down those last 20 states I need for WAS.

I got word today the Indiana Elmer Network will be hosting their first ever, Free Tail Gater at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance.  What's a Tailgater?  It's like a flash mob having a ham fest!

The date for this will be August 26th, setup will start at 6AM and and we have to be cleaned up and gone by Noon.  There will be no charge for admittance, and tail gate spots will be available on a first come first serve basis, also at no charge.

So be sure to mark your calendars and start collecting stuff to bring for sale or trade.

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Friday, May 5, 2017

New QRP and Hamvention Soapbox

We've had storms here for a solid week.  So I have not had the opportunity to get on the air much with all the thundering and lightning out and about.  I have still been QRPing though.  Last night a new group of QRPers met at The Knuckle Sandwich near Mooresville Indiana.  The HoosierQRP Group was officially formed and the membership present included Don W9DEW, Ivin W9ILF, Gary KA9ZYL, Jeff KD9FTA, Michael W9ODX, and Brian KB9BVN.   We elected Michael W9ODX as our new president, and his first official act was to resign and abolish the office.  Which suits us just fine since we're really more interested in operating QRP outdoors and having fun with radio.  Steve W9BRI was sadly unable to attend as he was teaching a motorcycle riding course for Harley Davidson over in Southport. 

We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of portable antennas...we decided the dipole would work better but it requires trees, whereas the portable vertical did not...but it was more to carry.  We also took a look at my portable operations bag, noting the battery, the Norcal 40a, the Parkwood Paddles, and the ZM-2 antenna tuner.  It was advised to all that before hitting the dusty trail for the first time this year, it would be a great idea to take ones portable pack to the backyard, pretend you are 100 miles from home, and then assemble your working will ALWAYS forget something and you do not want to hike back 8-10 miles to find out you can't operate because you left the feed line at home or the earphones are missing.

Several members are planning an all out assault on the state parks in Indiana, and getting as many of them activated with the POTA program as possible.  Sounds like a fun filled summer.  So stay tuned.

WA4FAT sent me a BEAUTIFUL QSL card with a really nice photo of the Birmingham Alabama skyline.  I'll get it posted up soon.

On the subject of the Hamvention.  Yes, it's in a new venue.  Yes, there will probably be some bugs.  Yes I think you should still go.  I am amazed at the number of bloggers and forum writers that are just wringing their hands at the prospect of a Hamvention failure at the new location.  Face it, Hara Arena was the place we all LOVED to HATE on.  It was nasty, smelly, dirty, falling was a breeding ground for tetanus...we get it.  This new facility is somewhat smaller but heck the bone yard at Hara hasn't been wall to wall since the 90's.  Maybe some physical downsize is in order.  I say give the Hamvention a chance, we can't afford to lose it.  We have nothing that even comes close in the midwest.  So try to remain positive and less persnickity about the 2017 Hamvention, the DARA guys have been doing this a long'll be better next year.

73 de KB9BVN

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Back in business...

Well the phone company came and replaced my dead DSL modem, so I am back online.  I was able to disassemble my logging laptop that got fried from the storm on Sunday and pulled the SATA hard disk.  I plugged it into my other computer and like magic all my data was there.  I can't tell you how happy that made me.  I have a new laptop on the way.  So fo now I am using a paper log and will add everything to the new computer when it gets here.

Got on the air tonight and had a two way QRP QSO with Tom AF4NC out in Pennsylvania.  Tom is the Assistant Section Chief fo the the ARRL section known as EPA (Eastern Pennyslvania). Not only that but Tom is also the traffic manager for the state.  Tom is a pilot too, and not just little puddle jumpers, but big jets like the 737, and Gulfsteams.  He's been around the world and likes to take his HF gear with him.  Tom has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the John Muir trail, plus he has climbed 11 peaks over 14,000 feet in Colorado. he is an avid backpacker and also a wildlife photographer.

Tonight he was using his HW-9 set at 3watt, so we were Heathkit to Heathkit QRP!  Check his radio out below.

HW9 of Tom AF4NC - NICE Paddles!
No new state tonight but that's the way it goes sometimes.   It does sound like 40m is picking up some steam.  

73 de KB9BVN

Lightning...oh Brother

Here in Central Indiana we received about 6 inches of rain between Friday night and Sunday night. In all of that we took a nearby hit of lightning, and it took out my logging computer, half our light bulbs, and my DSL modem.  I think my log data is on my Dropbox drive, but I won't know until Century Link gets time to come out and fix my DSL problem.  Apparently it's not a high priority. 

I got a nice QSL card from NZ0T this week, and the plug adapter came in so I can use my paddles and Norcal Keyer with the HW8.   Due to the storms I have had the HW8 unplugged from the power and the antenna since Friday contacts have been non-existent.  The thing I like best about this keyer is when I get a SKCC contact I can put it in straight key mode and work them straight key style. 

I hope to get back it it tonight when I get home from work.

73 de KB9BVN