Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015

15 degrees, clear, winds calm

This is Straight Key Night, and there is a lot of activity on the lower bands.  I called CQ using 5 watts with J38 Straight Key on 40 meters then 80 meters for some time with no takers.  I then got a reply from Ron, operating WA1WCC, the Chatham WCC Amateur Radio Assocation from Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Code.  Ron and I exchanged 599 both ways for a quick solid QSO.   What a great way to start 2015.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

21 degrees

Chilly morning with frost on the ground. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nancy Sprint

I had the privilege of participating in tonight's "Nancy Sprint" co-sponsored by NAQCC and FISTS.  This event was held in the memory of Nancy, WZ8C (SK) who was a strong supporter of telegraphy, and the clubs promoting Morse code communications.   I made 4 contacts, mostly with NAQCC members while using 5 watts - low power.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DXLab Group Rocks

I've used various loggers over time, and have settled on the DXLab Suite of integrated programs.  They work well with my PC / Flex 3000 / PowerSDR.  Updating one of the programs this week was troublesome as Norton Antivirus kept blocking the exe file.  I consulted the DXLab support group on Yahoo, got quick guidance on how to keep my PC safe with Norton, while allowing DXLab to update frequently as needed.  This has to be one of the best support site in radio.  Thanks!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Double QSL Treat from KH6LC

77 degrees, 29.89 in
A brief passing thunderstom with a touch of rain

I had the opportunity to work the  KH6LC Hawaii Contest Station on two bands during this year's ARRL International DX Contest, WAY BACK in February.  Outgoing QSLs sat on my desk, burried under 'stuff' for many months.  I finally cleared out the pile several weeks ago.  Lloyd was very kind to give me a quick reply with 2 QSLs and a personal note. You can see from the website, this is a big operation! KH6LC Contest Station  I really appreciate the personal attention to QSLing!  Thanks Lloyd.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Straight Keys and Fish Tacos

Tonight was the monthly Straight Key Century Club 2 hour Sprint.  Just prior to the Sprint, I upgrade SKCCLogger and set the program options to work with my Flex 3000 and PowerSDR.  Works like a charm!  Thanks Ron, AC2C for a great logger.  I had a nice run on 40 meters for about 30 minutes.  Thanks to all for your calls!  Some ?automated wide band digital activity took over the frequency, so I took the opportunity to watch a Bobby Flay grilling show on fish tacos.  I came back just before the end and enjoyed the 'rush' near the top of the hour with S&P QSOs with W4KRN and K2DEP.  I enjoyed meeting several new members on the air tonight.  Thanks for your SKCC NRs:  Dale K3SEN, Louis WB9YJE, Foster WF4O, and James KC0JKD.  At the close of a nice evening, I had 13 QSOs and a neat recipe for Mahi Mahi fish tacos!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Just 1 QRP contact

There was little time for radio tonight, packing the kids who will leave for school soon.  Starting up DXLABS, I was first greeted by my friend Norton SONAR who promptly deleted Commander from my system.  I tried to fix this problem using the excellent DXLABS group on Yahoo - wonderful help there.  However, the problem persists, and even Windows firewall decide give me trouble tonight as well.  I've posted a request for help on the Yahoo group; more to come on this soon.

I called CQ on 30 meters using 5 watts, with no answer. I then decided to try the reliable QRP section of 40 meters.  KX4P was calling CQ, and answered my reply on the first try.  John, KX4P is located in Pittsboro, North Carolina and gave me a 559 report.  John's a great CW operator, and I was please to copy his code without difficulty guessing at around 22 wpm.

The KX4P gave me several "P"s to work toward this Month's NAQCC challenge - collect call signs to spell out the names of the original continents.   While I'll never make the full nine name, I just need ONE for a participation point with NAQCC.   I just need an "F" to complete my spelling of Africa:

A - AK4NY
F - any takers?
R - K1RIB
I - K1RIB
C - G4CLD
A - AK4NY

73, phil

Monday, July 14, 2014

Lots of CW on the Air

This was an interesting radio weekend.  I started off bouncing back and forth between the IARU contest and WES.  I soon realized that WES was a lot more fun!  Some highlights:  I was watch the waterfall on 6m and spotted a CW signal - who else but Mark KO1U!  Sunday afternoon I decided to work a little back yard QRP using my FT817 and American Morse Straight Key.  Thanks to Julio, NP3CW and Tony, W4FOA for answering my 2.5 watt signal.  As always, thanks to everyone for making this one of the best events each month.  73, Phil

Thursday, July 10, 2014

ARRL Field Day 2014

The ARRL states the object of Field Day is "to work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions."   I use this challenge as an opportunity to try something a little diffferent each year.  For 2014, I decided to work toward the NAQCC Field Day Challenge.   The North American QRP CW Club holds montly challenges to encouragge members get on the air with low power (QRP) operations of 5 watts or less.  You can earn a certificate from NAQCC for making contact with 20 or more states during Field Day.  




My portable field station consisted of the Yaesu 857 at 5 watts, home brew 80m off center dipole suspended from a tree, American Morse kit iambic key, and laptop with N3FJP's Field Day logging Software.  I was able to put in about 4 hours of operating on Friday afternoon / evening.

I was operating outside, different from the usual home based station.   Conditions were very nice, and not really "less than optimal" as the ARRL mission calls for.  In fact, even the mosquitos were quiet!

I made contacts with 23 states and was pleased to contribute to field day while earning a certificate for this month's NAQCC challenge.  73, Phil

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Enemy of the Special Event

Having fun as coordinator of K2D, the Original 13 Colonies Connecticut team.   We got off to a great start.  BUT thunderstorms are rolling in, putting a damper on operations. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Getting around on 500 milliwatts

I brought my Yaesu 817 into the shack to explore very low power operation.  I don't have an attenuator for my other rigs, and the 817 allows me to transmit as low as 0.5 watts.  I didn't have luck calling CQ on 40 or 30 meters, but multiple stations on the Reverse Beacon Network consistently reported my signal.   However, several ops were great in digging out my signal when I replied to their calls.

30mAA0YYMO0.59721944
40mKE4TWITN0.58131626

Mark, AA0YY came right back to me with a 579 signal report.  We had a brief chat despite ending up in the edge of some pileup.  That QSO represented 1,944 miles per watt.

Thanks also goes to James, KE4TWI who answered my call with a 339 report.  We had solid coopy at both end, his signal from Watertown, Tennessee.  That adds another state to my 1000 MPW log.

73/72
Phil, N1DN

Thursday, June 26, 2014

D-Day Challenge


Words related to D-DAY, including the beaches of Normandy, make up the June NAQCC Alphabet Challenge.   This was the first time I participated in their monthly Challenge.  I have to admit that I had a lot of fun.  I've spent a great deal of time this month operating QRP.   Bascially, you use the letters and numbers of call signs you've worked to spell out words included in the month's challenge.

 Most words came pretty quickly early in the month.  Finding all the Rs was a little harder.  That final T was the most difficult!  WA4FAT in Birmingham, AL came to my rescue.  I had a lot of fun and plan on participating regularly.  I finished up on Friday, right before Field Day.   Hey, just in time to start the NAQCC Field Day Challenge!

Here's my list of works, and Call Signs I used.  Thanks to all for the contacts.

UTAH – KD8DEU KT1K AB3AP OE7WRH
OMAHA – ON7LB CO8RRM AB3AP OE7WRH AB3AP
GOLD – N7IGK ON7L  ON7LB KD8DEU
JUNO – WA2QAJ KD8DEU N5KIP CO8RRM
SWORD – F6BSQ EW8CP CO8RR  CO8RRM KD8DEU
OVERLORD – OE7WRK OH6NPV EW8CP CO8RRM ON7LB OE7WRH OE7WRH KD8DEU
6JUNE1944 – F6BSQ WA2QAJ EU1FY N5KIP EW8CP SV1ENG KC9W K4GM K4GM
NORMANDY – ON7LB OH6NPV CO8RRM CO8RRM AB3AP ON7LB KD8DEU EU1FY
INFANTRY - N5KIP EA6NB F6BSQ EA5HPX EA6NB WA4FAT CO8RRM EV1FY
PARATROOPS - N5KIP EA5HPX RA9DZ EA6NB KT1K OE7WRH OH6NPV WF8O N5KIP F6BSQ
SAILORS - LA5SAA EA6NB N5KIP LA5SAA WF8O RA9DZ LA5SAA
AIRMEN – LA5SAA WM9I W2NRA WM9I OE7WRH N7IGK
ARMOR – LA5SAA W2NRA WM9I WF8O N4RAY

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A trip to the Mailbox Brings Back Memories

3 Great QSL cards came in the mail today.

WN9M - Dean in Merrill, Wisconsin
JT65 contact on 21May2014
Comparing QSL cards and websites, Dean and I seem to share enjoyment of straightkey CW QSOs as well as JT65 contacts.   I think it's very interesting how contrasting technologies over 100 years apart share a common bond among many ham radio operators.

KV4PC - Robert in Madison, Alabama
Robert was another digital QSO.  I couldn't pass his call up, when I saw he's located near my hometown in Madison County, Alabama.  In fact, KV4PC's QSL card has an arial photo of the Alabama Space and Rocket Center that was just blocks from my highschool home.    Robert and I both remeber one of the oringal "Book & Computer Stores"...Madison Books & Computers located in the area.  I bought some of my first computer gear there in the early 1980s.  It's great to see they are still in business - Madison Books and Computers .

G7CNF - Nige in Shepton Mallet, England
Nige has a GREAT assortment of YouTube videos, including top notch instruction on personalizing PowerSDR software located here.   It was great making digital contacts with him recently on 12 and 15 meters.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

(Pre)Valentine's Day Winter Storm


Graphic courtesy of NWS Taunton, Mass

A good little storm has blown through the area today, and is to extend through most of tonight.  Here are the totals from West Hartford, Connecticut so far:

3:00 am ~ approximate beginning of snowfall
12:00 pm ~ observation 4.3 in snow, 0.35 in total precip
2:00 pm ~ period of moderate to heavy blowing snow
3:30 pm ~ observation light mixed winter precip, 4.1 in snow, 0.48 in total precipitation
6:36 pm ~ observation freezing mist, 0.2 in ice accretion, 0.21 in total precipitation

Interim Storm Totals - 8.4 in snow, 0.2 in frozen precipitation, 1.04 total precipitation

More to come.....
-----------

2/4/14 Well, more snow and frozen precip overnight.  Here's the total for this approx 27 hour winter storm event:

Snow - 10.2 inches     Total Precipitation - 1.71 inches     Ice 0.3 inches

Thursday, January 16, 2014

PSKfest 2014

I recently joined the PODXS070 Club for their great operating events each month.  I got my membership number just in time for the January PSKFest.  I'm just getting my station back 'digital ready', with the virtual serial ports and virtual audio cables set to go.  I only made for QSOs, but in the spirit of "Participation" I submitted these for the contest.  Thanks to  KE5PRL, W0KIT, K5AHL, KK4HEG for my first PODXS070 contest QSOs.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

QRP on 40 meters

The Straight Key Century K3Y Anniversary Event is in full swing, and you can always count on plenty of CW stations to call.  I've "almost" swept the 9 call areas for K3Y, and I want to spend the rest of the month working QRP, or low power CW.  Chas, K0CW was working K3Y/0 tonight and imediately answered my call with a 559 signal report.  I then called CQ on the old novice portion of 40 meters, and Maurice, KA4NIC returned my call.  Maurice was using a new KX-1 rig at 4 watts to a long wire antenna.  We exchanged 559 signal reports and had a nice chat.  Things were cut a little short when a DX station started calling CQ on top of us.  I used tonight as an opportunity to work on the NAQCC Montly Challenge for January.  More on that later.   73, Phil