QRV again

It was almost a year away from ham radio due to work commitments but today I finally managed to take a day off and enjoy some QRP mobile work while driving to Kennedy Space Centre to see ULA launch to ISS. And what a day it was!

On the way to Cape Canaveral, while driving on I95 and checking APRS.fi, I noticed John K2ZA driving a few miles behind me. When he got closer, I called him on 146.520 and he responded instantly. Then, W4UDP also joined the chat from his QTH and we had a great small group until we drove too far away from him. Thank you for your great company, gentlemen!

Then, on the way back from Cape Canaveral, I put my trusty MFJ-1620 7′ long fibreglass 20m hamstick whip on the roof and Yaesu FT-817ND on the passenger seat, and started calling CQ using 5 watts.

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Except later I discovered that it was actually 2.5 watts (!) but nevertheless that was sufficient to complete a short QSO with Virgil N9TMU in Illinois who were about 1,000 miles away as I was driving just south of Vero Beach, FL on I95 which made it almost 2,500 miles per watt!

Then I realized that my power output was set to 2.5 watts only… Switched it to proper 5W and started calling CQ on 14.061:

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Much better! Doubling the power helped and the RST reports I received have improved.

More great Qs followed: two on CW – K3SEW, VE3EYI, and two nice Qs on SSB: Christian FG5DHF in Guadeloupe (1380 miles), and Christopher W8/SP4RF (?) in Michigan.

Thank you all for your patience. It is fascinating how far a little power and great operator’s skills can go when operating QRP.

I hope, I wrote down the callsigns correctly – it was challenging to make notes while driving and keeping eyes on the road!! All Qs are now in QRZ.COM logbook.

Very 73’s!
DE Paul WA4PAW / M / QRP

MFJ-2320

 

Kenwood TS-520 for sale (UPD: SOLD)

UPDATE: The rig has found a new shack. 

My beloved Kenwood TS-520 is for sale. I haven’t been using it much ever since I moved on to QRP / portable and digital modes so it is time to let it go.

Comes with VFO-520 and SP-520 (speaker). Also included: spare tubes, power cable, VFO cable, MFJ hand mic, user manuals.

All in 100% working condition, non-smoking environment. For more information, please contact me at my QRZ email address or post a comment in this blog.

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712 active (on HF) hams in Canada according to ARRL LotW in 2014

If you happened to work any of the US ARRL Members during this year, and, you upload your logs to LotW, your score and QSO count will get displayed on ARRL Centennial QSO Party Leaderboard.

Out of curiosity, I checked how many Canadian hams participated (uploaded their logs) this year. After cleansing results (removing duplicate, visitor and special event callsigns), the total count came to about 715 VE hams only – not too bad! Out of this, 312 hams (44%) were in Ontario (VE3/VA3):

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New DXCC worked – Turkey on 40m SSB, and Nicaragua on 40m CW

Worked Mehmet TA1CM last night on 40m SSB. And this morning, received a beautiful eQSL card via eQSL.cc:QSL_TA1CM

Isn’t it amazing what technology does? I wish eQSL count for DXCC awards…

Also, worked H5T5 (Nicaragua) on CW on 40m and 30m tonight. Now to confirm a hard-copy QSL via direct mail.

ARRL Field Day 2011

I was busy during the weekend and was able to monitor 15m & 20m from my QTH on Saturday’s night during 22:00-23:00 UTC only. I used my HF portable receiver and an outdoor wire antenna stretched along the fence.

I noticed an extremely high level of static noise (some sort of impulse noise across the band and strong AM modulation on certain frequencies; plasma TVs?). As a result I had to discard the external antenna and use the telescopic one at the receiver. The CW reception was quite decent but the SSB reception was very poor. I did not try digital modes this time due to lack of time.

Due to the strong noise and attenuation, I could only receive the strongest signals (the ‘kilowatters’):

20m:
VE3ZM
A2MW
KB2BSA – there was a big pile up but I could not hear most of the
other parties well

15m:
K9SH – big pile up

The contacts were very short (well, it was a contest after all, right?) and a bit boring because I could not hear other parties well neither I could jump on the band wagon. The signal was fading very often thus making reception even more difficult.

After I moved on to VHF/UHF bands, I came across an active VHF echolink repeater (441.950MHz @ VA3XFT ?) which was re-transmitting a field day ham net from beautiful California which I then monitored for some time. The net was operated by Suzi WA6DKS and had many operators connecting from many different states using either VHF/UHF echolink repeaters or just plain echolink.

TAFL licencees on Google Maps

Was looking for a way to put TAFL information on Google Maps. Surprisingly, this has been perfectly done already!

Here we go: http://tafl.jonathanmorgan.net/

P.S. The TAFL data is updated once a month.

VA3PAW

Got my Basic+ Licence from Industry Canada in the mail today!

Joined RAC and ARRL.