Sunday, July 9, 2017

Got those Post Field Day blues...

Hi there, it's me again, I know it's been awhile since the last update, I have switched jobs, and have been too busy here lately to get on the air much.  Here's the latest report from KB9BVN and the search for HW8 WAS! 

The bad news is I have not increased my number of states in over a month now.  I am seemingly stuck at 30.  I have not been able to get my Eagle One installed in the back yard, so I am still operating off the attic dipole for 40m.   I had a fantastic Field Day and I hope you all did too. 

Field Day this year was with the Hoosier QRP Group.  Ivin W9ILF was kind enought to invite us to his home and we operated from there.  He lives in Morgan County on a few acres, so we set up two operating positions.  At the controls were Marty N9SE (CW), Michael W9ODX (CW and SSB),  Ivin W9ILF (CW and Cello), and yours truly operating the grill and some CW on 20m and 40m.  Our rigs were from Elecraft, W9SE brought his KX3, and W9ILF brought his K2 out of the basement and into the sunlight.  Antennas were a pair of OCF dipoles up about 30-35 feet aimed in opposite directions. 

Dan N8IE, the trustee of the Flying Pigs QRP Club International, loaned us the club call sign, so we operated the entire time as W8PIG.  We also kept everything at 5 watts or less, yes, 5w SSB and 5w CW.  The SSB guys were cracking up over our call sign but I honestly think it helped us get noticed. I stayed until about 8PM on Saturday night, and Marty, Michael and Ivin worked the night shift.  The die hard CW operators were Ivin and Marty and they worked all night and until the close of the event on Sunday. 

Marty had us using N1MM logger in networked mode, and it was pretty slick.   When the smoke cleared, we had made 309 CW contacts, and about 90 SSB contacts...using only battery and solar power and 5 watts.  We would like to thank every station that worked us, you did a great job of pulling us out of the noise.   It was glorious!  Not to mention we feasted on burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst and pizza!  We're already planning our menus for next year. 

On another front, I will be teaching a Basic Intro class on the Raspberry Pi SBC on August 10th at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance on the west side of Indy.  I have really been trying to incorporate a Pi or two in my ham shack but I am running into QRN issues with the little 2.5A 5v power supplies.  Unless I can find a way to quiet the thing down, I may have to scrap the idea.  It wipes out my HW8 on all bands.  (Not sure if it is the PS or the CPU causing noise...when it's off it's quiet)

The Indianapolis Hamfest was this weekend, and I was working as a VE with the Naptown Amateur Radio Group.  We tested 18 people, and gave 24 2 hours.  It was hectic but a lot of fun. One guy drove all the way up from Kentucky to take his Extra and he passed with flying colors.  

For now that's about until next time...

72 es OO de KB9BVN
Flying Pig -57

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What a month eh?

What can I say?  The first week of May my employer announced that we had been sold and would soon be merged with a competitor.  With all the legal stuff having to happen before the new outfit could be formed, we were told to expect consummation of the deal sometime near October.  Then we got no more info to speak of.  This saddened me greatly, as I really LOVE working here and the folks I work with are awesome and super cool.  I have been through a couple of these and in my experience if your name isn't on the company door when the smoke clears, you lost.  To say I was nervous about it is putting it lightly.  I'm not 25 years old. 

Long story short, one of my old customers, contacted one of my old employers and asked if they knew if I might be available.  They contacted me and and I contacted them and we met and we talked and a week later I got an acceptable offer.  Tomorrow is my last day, and Monday I start my new job.  That's right, the Monday after Field Day!  I am stoked.

So in my log for June I have made exactly two contacts so far on the HW-8.  One of them being this evening with Steve KE4OH down in Knoxville TN.  Steve was communicating with his old Tempo One at 100w and I was killing it with 2w from the was a tough one though as the QSB was very bad tonight...he'd go from 599+ to almost noise floor about every 3 I can only imagine how I sounded down there.  As a QRPer I always say thank you for every contact, I totally get it that the receiving station MIGHT be working harder than me to make the QSO happen. 

This month I also worked in the reconstructed radio room of the USS Indianapolis.  The museum ships on the air event was this month and I was there running CW and made 43 contacts in about 2 hours.  Ivin W9ILF and Steve W9BRI were there as well and between us I think we put in about 150 contacts combined CW and SSB.  400 Watts into an antenna 110 feet up makes things work a little better.  Check it out.  The USS Indianapolis Radio Room

No new QSL cards...go out and have a blast on Field Day this weekend and make sure to listen for W8PIG on CW and SSB running 2 Battery QRP from Morgan County Indiana!! 

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Cookie Crumble

The Cookie Crumble Contest is a fun QRP contest inspired by the popularity of Emily Saldana’s – KB3VVE – chocolate-chip cookies during the 2016 ARRL – National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) event. Emily, for the rest of time, will be known as the Cookie Queen – a moniker given to her by one of the NPOTA participants. 

Today June 11 is Cookie Crumble day!

Visit Cookie Crumble Contest site for all the details!

I am Cookie 255 and I will be on the air this afternoon. 

73 de KB9BVN

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sometimes Shack Work is no Radio...

In the continuing saga of my logging laptop replacement, I have decided to try using my Raspberry Pi 3B to become my logger with the CQRlog software from OK7AN.  I have managed to get CQRlog version 2.0.4 to install and run on my Pi3B.  I have not imported the logs I will be moving from N3FJP's AC Log program but I plan on doing that tonight. 

I downloaded the latest Raspian Jessie 8 with Pixel from the Raspberry Pi website.  I then installed that on a 16GB Micro SD card (you want to use a Type 10) and booted the Pi with it plugged into my network switch.   Once it finished booting I ran the following to update and upgrade the packages on it.

sudo apt-get update 


sudo apt-get upgrade

Now that will take about 20 mins to download all the updates and get them installed. 

Once that is done you will need to install MySQL server and MySQL client.   This is accomplished by using the package installer. 

Then you need to find and download a file called:


Once it is downloaded, right click and have it install. 

So I haven't started using it on a daily basis but I am hoping I can get it all configured and working well by Field Day.  The Raspberry Pi 3B is SO RF quite, it's pretty awesome. 

On another note...The QRPian podcast #3 is now online.  You can listen to it here on this blog or you can go to Spreaker and hear it.  Mike and I have fun making these monthly podcasts and we hope you enjoy listening in to our conversation. 

Best 73 de KB9BVN

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