Tuesday, March 20, 2012

30 meter Beacon

W0ERE/B   10.1288   RST 579  UTC 0506

Tuning around 30m in the early morning, found W0ERE/B from Grid EM36.   Good signal 579 into east coast this early morning.  Allan has a nice QRZed site and interesting YouTube videos on his experimentation with mobile beacons.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Exploring VOACAP in Texas

Great morning here, as I had a chance to take a day off from work and take kids to school.   I listened on 20 meters afterwards and answered the morning call of KE5SBZ, Ed in Texas.  Most of my radio operating is done late evenings, so sending a continuous wave (CW) through the air with the sun up is not a common occurrence....especially on a weekday.   Ed and I had a nice QSO with good copy throughout.   His signal report to me was 449 (fair signal, readable with minor difficulty) and I replied with 559 (fairly good signal, readable).   As we exchanged the usual ham pleasantries (rigs, antennas, age, dogs, and so on....) his signal improved steadily to 589 by the time I signed.

I took this opportunity to plot our locations and information on VOACAP (Voice of American Coverage Analysis Program).  I'm just learning to use this great on-line tool.   It demonstrates nicely that Ed and I were communicating right along the MUF, maximum usable frequency, around 1200 UTC on 14.050 MHz.

Thanks Ed for the fine QSO, and a little education on propagation.

73 de Phil, N1DN

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and Cobra Dipole

47 degrees, clear skies, 30.29" and steady

As the weekend winds down this Sunday evening, another fine Straight Key Century Club Weekend Sprint comes to a close.  More on these fantastic CW sprints in another post.   This month has been notable for the conjunction of the planets Venus and Jupiter in the early evening sky.  Tonight, I was treated to "triple conjunction" (kind-of) as the two planets approximated the Cobra Ultralite Senior Dipole suspended up about 50 feet between two tall oak trees.

The Cobra dipole has served me extremely well since getting on the air with HF.    Most all of my contacts have been made with this ladder line fed, multi band dipole.   It's manufactured by Joe, K1JEK in neighboring New Hampshire, and I can't say enough good things about this antenna.  In its 3 years of service, this antenna has survived one Tropical Storm, multiple Nor'easters and several epic winter storms...without a hitch.  In most cases, if I can hear you, the only limiting factor in making the QSO is my operating skill, not the equipment.

The Cobra has earned it's right to stand side by side with two great planets.    73, Phil