ARRL Field Day is in 2 weeks

As the ARRL Field Day is quickly approaching, I signed up as an operator for the night shift for Davie/Cooper ARC.

The club is planning to have 2 HF operating stations, plus a VHF (2m/6m) and a GOTA stations at Markham park in Broward county.

mkparkmaplarge

Most likely will be working on 40m – CW + SSB, logging QSOs with SQIRL logging software.

Stop by to say hi, or look for NA4DC on the bands on June 25th!

73’s!

 

CQ WW contest – QRP

Made a few quick contacts during CQ Worldwide contest today using 5 watts only (FT817ND).

The stations coming S9 and stronger had no problems picking up my signal. The stations coming S7/S8 or lower couldn’t hear me.

QRN was high on all bands. Few contacts on 20m, not luck on 15m. Caribbean and Europe came strong on 10 meters. The farthest distance worked – 7,147 km (Bosnia & Herzegovina) on 28.400 USB at 1400Z (E7DX).

E7DX antenna farm in Bosnia Herzegovina

2014 CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW

Encouraged by W2LJ post about his plans on participating in upcoming CQ Worldwide DX Contest in QRP CW category, I decided to give it a try as well.

I did not bother turning up the radio on the Friday night and Saturday morning due to extreme pile-ups. The Saturday afternoon, and then Sunday were much calmer so my tiny QRP signal and omni-directional no-gain 31′ long-wire antenna had more chances between the big-guns.

Thanks to the great antennas on the other side of the QSO and great ears/equipment, there usually was no problem making a QSO. I had to QRS and repeat the call two-three times sometime but that was it.

The band conditions were great. I only wish the local noise was lower as I could not hear any JA this time on my long-wire antenna, although they would probably hear me. The farthest station was VK4KW in Australia on 15m. I also added 3 new DXCC entities: 3B8MU (MAURITIUS ISLAND), P33W (CYPRUS), and 4L8A (GEORGIA).

The total count is 179 QSO, 83 countries, and 57,276 points claimed.

5 watts can go a long way

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IARU HF Championship results + WRTC 2014

Sent my IARU HF contest log to ARRL. Was running 100W and a vertical 40m wire antenna after sunset; mostly S&P CW with some occasional SSB.

Got 220 Qs, 26 ITU zones and 24 HQ stations here. Also, contacted all of the 59 WRTC competing stations (three-letter K1*, N1*, W1* callsigns).

Conditions during the day weren’t good on neither band; at night it was so much better – especially 40m and 80m.

Class: SO Mixed LP
QTH: FN03
Operating Time (hrs): 9

Summary:
 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  Zones  HQ Mults
-------------------------------------
  160:                           
   80:    7             1       1
   40:  107     46     10      13
   20:   46      3      8      10
   15:    8      2      6       0
   10:    1             1        
-------------------------------------
Total:  169     51     26      24  
Total Score = 32,200

 

Field Day 2014 and RAC Canada Day contest

This year the ARRL Field Day and RAC Canada Day contest were coincidentally only 1 day apart. As I had a campsite booked for 3 nights in Bon Echo provincial park, this presented a great opportunity to test my new FT817ND in the field and participate in both events in QRP CW category.

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Get on the Air

Came across an old article I wrote some time ago for VA3CTA and decided to crosspost it here. The article was addressed to the newly licensed hams.

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ARRL DX CW Contest – February 16-17, 2014

This was the first time I attempted this fine contest. I worked S&P and mostly spent time practicing copying calls rather than actually working the callers.

Nevertheless, the weekend proved very successful with 133 QSO and 28 countries, apparently, including 5 new as per Clublog:

  • 6W SENEGAL
  • OZ DENMARK
  • OH FINLAND
  • FY FRENCH GUIANA
  • J3 GRENADA

My total DXCC list is at 99 mark (worked) and 76 confirmed (LotW).

The breakdown by band was as follows:

Band  QSOs Pts Cty
  7   17   39  10
 14   26   69  17
 21   45  129  28
 28   45  132  28
Total 133 369  83
Score: 30,627

CQ WPX Contest 2013

Large envelope came in the mail sometime ago:

CQ WW WPX Contest 2013

ARRL 10m contest

Propagation was not great to say the least recently. Had some interesting contacts during ARRL 10m SSB contest but not as many as hoped for.

Need to make a dedicated 1om antenna for next year!

Illinois QSO Party and MFJ-290K4

My Kenwood TS-520 came with an old and beaten CB mic so I needed a replacement asap. MFJ had a Kenwood replacement mic on their website which I immediately ordered:

MFJ-290K4

MFJ-290K4

The price was sweet – just $19.99. However, once the shipping & handling got added, the total went up to $44 which more than doubled the original price.

Still, I badly needed a new mic so I went ahead and ordered it hoping that will solve my problem quickly. It turned out to be rather naive though:

1. Right after I paid the order, the status changed to inventory check – apparently MFJ didn’t have it in stock or couldn’t find it on their huge warehouse. It took nearly 3 months and couple of reminder emails for the status to change to shipped.

2. Once the mic arrived, it was DOA. After opeining the mic and the connector, I realized that the connector was incorrectly soldered. Also, there was a gap between the connector sleeve so the wire was loose and the two of the four wires were broken. A few turns of electrical tape, opening up a mic, and resoldering connector and the wires inside the mic fixed the problems.

3. According to MFJ website, the mic comes with extra long cord. Well, the cable was only about 10″ long… is that extra long?

4. The sensitivity and a response of the mic were mediocre at best; had to shout every time using it.

5. Today, after one year of moderate use, the cable finally failed completely right in the middle of Illinois QSO Party. RIP MFJ.

Resume – I paid to $45 for a defective mic; it took 3 months to deliver; the mic was DOA, and the cable failed after 1 year of moderate use. Not sure if I ever risk buy anything from MFJ again.

Luckily, I had a used TenTec desk mic I bought for $40 at a hamfest in Brampton which needed a new connector. The mic  needed a fresh battery and a new connector.

Ten Tec mic

Ten Tec mic

After opening the mic, studying the PCB and identifying which wire goes where, I resoldered the connector going to the rig and was back on air calling CQ ILQP just in time to realize that the party ended 5 minutes ago…

On a good side, the TenTec mic seems to be working quite well – I had a short qso with Keith N8WSM from West Virginia giving me a good report and apparently my audio was okay. He was off frequency though for some reason – I wonder if my transmitting frequency is slightly off and my rig needs a realignment.

Update: a friendly ham noticed on air about my mic feedback was too strong; seems like the output voltage is to high – a 330kOhm resistor in series with the mic output seems to have fixed the issue.