Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Normally I try for a CW contact every evening, but this evening the shack needed some cleaning.

On the plus side:

On the minus side:
Oh well, I've got a bit more looking to do before I go to bed.

[edit: OK, the MFJ-269 showed up, and I've figured out a way to get state information automatically added to my ACLog stuff during import. Tried to hear XF4DL on 160m. No joy.]

Good night all...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

CQ World Wide SSB Phone contest weekend...

The story so far...


Given very limited time this afternoon, and being kicked out of my shack due to a party being thrown by my XYL, I figured that 15m was going to be open in the afternoon.

So I throw a 15m ham stick onto my air. As long as I'm within 500 yards of the shack I'm good to go.

I practice at my daughter's horse lesson. The band is quiet, noise in the S0 to S3 range with LOTS of stations. Very tempting to work them for contacts and turn the log in as a check log. (I'm nowhere nowhere near competitive anyway.) But no, I'll be a good boy.

Get home, quick like a bunny copy down the already worked stations so I don't dupe, head back out the the car.

Sigh. Noise at S8 to S9. TOLD you my location is noisy.

So I run the band trying to make contact. Listened to about 10 stations, got contacts with none of them.

Turn off the rig and come back in for the remainder of the party. Not a happy ending.

Oh well, we've got Sweepstakes and a Spartan Sprint coming up.


Well after waking up I realized I've made two big mistakes:

  1. I didn't try to work the "split" stations on 40m. If there were stations in the US portion of 40m listening down, there were probably foreign stations listening up... Oh well... These things are a learning experience.
  2. I didn't get on 160m last night. Could have picked up some easy multipliers. Oh well... see above.

Well, it's past midnight and this "non-serious" contester's rate has dropped through the floor.

I'm a bit over 1700 points in about 5 hours in the chair. Still don't have a Europe or Africa.

Bob is all over the place...
Heard Kamal pick up a contact just before I dialed in. (At least I'm pretty sure I did.)
And "Radio Radio" was working 75 about 1/2 an hour ago.

Good night all, happy hunting and see ya tomorrow.


I know AE6RR is out there. Heard him make a JA contact.

Also heard Bob K6XX, made a quick call, but he was working a string of JA's so decided not to annoy him further.

I think I've got about 400 pts at the moment. Took me a while to figure out that working US stations wasn't worth anything except the multiplier. Rank beginner... That's me. In every sense.

Lots of JAs, some Argentinians.

Heard Germany earlier this morning but couldn't get to him. Grrr.

I'm only getting about 1/3 of the foreign stations I'm trying to call.

If I can make it in 6 or 8 go rounds I move on.

Right now seems a great time to work [far] east, but... it's dinner time.

There will probably be lots of VEs later tonight on 40m.

This is addictive. Wonder if I can WAC this weekend? Need Europe and Africa.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Slow night.

20m, 30m, 40m and 80m pretty much dead. I sent CQs here and there but to no response.

What the heck, tuned 160m and there was a bit of activity. One guy calling CQ.

I answered back and got him on the second call. We both had mediocre signal reports so it was a two and out, but... that was my first CW QSO on 160m.

My antenna is a 1/4 wave inverted-u over a 70 foot oak tree. It's feedpoint is 6-8 feet off the ground and has a single tuned radial. It is fed with 450 ohm ladder line back to the shack window. Then in a 4:1 balun, a couple feet of coax and into the tuner.

It isn't pretty, and probably is really lousy, but it IS on the air.

So there! Pbbbt!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tried to get XF4DL on 80m CW.

Too much ewwwww! (He was only working EU stations).

So I hopped up to 40m and made a DX contact with exotic Pasadena. That's OK he was a physics prof at CalTech.

That counts, right?

Heard the illusive Japanese maritime mobile again. JH8FNB/MM.

He comes up, makes a contact and seems to go away. I've heard him three times now and called twice.

THAT'S the sort of thing I can get into hunting.



Spent the past couple of days at Sierra Sky Ranch in Oakhurst CA.

I was able to get on the air for at least one contact each day.

The Yaesu FT-817ND was the rig for all my HF activities. (I also had my mobile dual-bander in the truck, but couldn't find anybody to talk to on the local repeaters...)

Thursday I put together my Pac-12 antenna first thing in the morning and checked into the "Gordo" net. Later I pulled out my 50' No Counterpoise antenna and checked into the Noon Time Net.

I tried to make a QRP CW contact for 3 hours before hooking up with a chap in Chico, CA.

Friday and Saturday I used my Appalachian Trail dipole (a 40m doublet) as an inverted-vee. The "water bottle" method managed to get the center point up 35' or so.

It was pretty humorous, the total span of the antenna and support lines was 150' or so. I had to go way, WAY out to get the guy lines above head height.

Anyhow. The dipole is the gold standard of antennas. The Appalachian Trail dipole was head and shoulders above the other two antennas. The additional height and apateur might have helped... ;-)

My Friday contact was made even before I got the antenna tuned in.

Saturday was harder. There was a RTTY contest going on. So? So I got killed on 40m then jumped up to 20m and had a nice QSO with a guy near Houston, TX.

No big DX. No huge numbers of Qs. But I did have fun and operated QRP portable in the great outdoors. (3 more logged CW QSOs and 2 new FISTS numbers. wo0T!)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Things are settling down into a nice pace.

And a best ever Morse Runner at 24 contacts/24 multipliers (100% valid) in 15 minutes...

UTC Call Recv Sent Pref Chk
00:00:35 YY5AFD 599 002 599 001 YY5

00:01:27 JH7GYG 599 002 599 002 JH7

00:02:01 DK7DV 599 002 599 003 DK7

00:02:44 PY2NA 599 003 599 004 PY2

00:03:52 JE3HHT 599 005 599 005 JE3

00:04:33 SP1AMU 599 007 599 006 SP1

00:05:14 DC8QT 599 005 599 007 DC8

00:05:51 UY5QJ 599 003 599 008 UY5

00:06:19 YI9ZF 599 017 599 009 YI9

00:06:50 W1NA 599 004 599 010 W1

00:07:18 MD6V 599 011 599 011 MD6

00:07:44 I1OCQ 599 022 599 012 I1

00:08:05 KR4WI 599 007 599 013 KR4

00:08:47 VK2BPN 599 009 599 014 VK2

00:09:11 G5BM 599 007 599 015 G5

00:09:30 AJ4DX 599 002 599 016 AJ4

00:10:04 DG8DBW 599 007 599 017 DG8

00:10:36 IK3OYU 599 026 599 018 IK3

00:11:26 W2MUM 599 030 599 019 W2

00:12:12 UR8QR 599 020 599 020 UR8

00:13:09 UA3QNS 599 018 599 021 UA3

00:13:40 VY1WUD 599 009 599 022 VY1

00:14:11 N7WA 599 013 599 023 N7

00:14:49 SQ1BVG 599 003 599 024 SQ1

Monday, October 09, 2006

Life has finally settled down enough so I could get on the air for a random CW QSO this evening.

N9TMU "Clay" from IL.

Darn that feels good.

(And that was after a full day of work, a post-placement assessment from the social worker in charge of Joey's adoption, a 20 minute talk on comparative religion with my 7 year old daughter...)

Life is good.


On Saturday I worked the Ridgetrail Cruz event.

Got to spend from 9:30 until 2:30 on the ridge just west of Skyline Road. Wonderful weather.

Things were REALLY slow about noon so I set up my FT-817 with the Miracle Whip. 40 meters was in beautiful condition. Signals from EVERYWHERE were loud with almost no noise.

Unfortunately I couldn't get out using the Miracle Whip. Sigh... Why bother?

I wanted to get on the air for the California QSO Party that evening, but the XYL had me booked for a "real life" party. I had fun, but the contesting would have been a good experience too.

So it goes.

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