Saturday, April 19, 2014

A busy time . . . but still making some QSOs

I have to apologise for my apparent lack of activity lately. I've been very busy. Some of you might know that I play solo euphonium with the Drogheda Brass Band. We won our National Championships last weekend after a hectic schedule of rehearsals that forced my radio activity to take a back seat. We beat three other top bands to reclaim the title which we had lost last year. You can listen to our performance of the testpiece, 'Variations on Laudate Dominum' here:

We will represent the Republic of Ireland at the European Championships in Perth, Scotland, on May 3rd, so I still have a busy schedule of practices for the next couple of weeks.

I have been making some contacts, but only one or two per day. I worked three QSOs into A3 Tonga, a couple into KH8 American Samoa, and also a couple with Vlad UA4WHX, who is currently portable on Easter Island, signing as CE0Y/UA4WHX. Just now, I made a QSO with 3B9FR in Rodriguez Island on 17m SSB, a new band slot. Here is a video shot immediately after my contact:

And finally, I would like to say 'get well soon' to my very good friend and antenna rigger, Tony Allen EI4DIB, who is currently in hospital. All your ham friends in Drogheda and the wider world wish you a speedy recovery Tony. We hope you get back home soon and that you are on the road to better health.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

VK9MT Mellish Reef - my three QSOs are in the log!

Delighted to see my three QSOs with VK9MT Mellish Reef in their online log. My 15m QSO had been missing due to a technical glitch, but I got word today that it was in there. I consider myself lucky to have worked this ATNO (All-Time New One) on three slots, especially considering they went QRT early due to stormy weather. Congratulations to all the EI ops, and indeed everyone else, who made it into the log. Job well done! VK9/M Mellish Reef is currently the 22nd most wanted DXCC, according to Clublog.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A short video about importing LoTW QSLs into Logger32

I had only just uploaded today's log to ARRL's Logbook of the World and when I logged into my account I noticed that three of the QSOs had already been confirmed. So I decided to make a short video showing the process of importing LoTW QSLs into the Logger32 programme. 

The above is a brief self explanatory video on importing LoTW confirmed QSLs into Logger32. The error that popped up during the import is explained in the short video below:

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A brief introduction to a couple of features of Logger32

I recently added a new desktop computer to the shack to replace my old laptop. I decided to change my logging software and to give the much vaunted free program Logger32 a try. Having briefly installed it and tried it out on the laptop, I knew there were some issues that I would need to get ironed out before changing over to it. Gladly, I got a lot of help and advice on Logger32 from Declan EI6FR and some help also from Don EI6IL. Within no time, I had it up and running on the new PC and imported my old log and started logging new QSOs with it.

The above video is a brief attempt to show just a couple of features that initially I hadn't a clue how to use, but which, once explained, became second nature. The first is how to connect Logger32 to the DX cluster. The second is how to rearrange the columns in your Logbook page. I tried to make mine look exactly like my old log for the purpose of familiarisation. 

The video is not intended to be an extensive tutorial, and is merely a novice's effort to pass on information in case someone else has just installed Logger32 and doesn't know how to use these features.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Galapagos Islands on 17 metres CW - video

Vlad UA4WHX is now on Galapagos.
One of the best-known and widest travelled single DXers is Vlad UA4WHX. He has had recent stints to places such as Egypt, Palestine, Juan Fernandez and Providencia, and his whirlwind tour of the world's DX hotspots seems to continue unabated. He is largely a CW operator and has an excellent ear. He is currently QRV from the Galapagos Archipelago, and had a beautiful signal on 17 metres CW yesterday morning. Needless to say, it didn't take me long to get him into my log. He is operating as HC8ART. The video below shows what his signal was like immediately after I worked him:

Vlad also gave me the pleasure of a 12 metres CW QSO the previous evening. Although Galapagos is not a new one for me, I still need a number of bands and slots and I hope to be filling some of those out with the help of Vlad.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

VK9MT logged for a third time, and TX6G logged 13 times

This is just a very quick update because it's late and I need to get to bed!! I worked the VK9MT Mellish Reef dxpedition for a third time this evening, on 17m CW. He had a good signal, and was working both EU and Japan. I managed to get in after about five minutes of calling. Below is a video I made shortly after my QSO. You can hear EI7NET being worked by them:

The TX6G dxpedition is just about to wind down as I write this, but they are still on 12m CW and with a good signal here at 11pm local time. I decided to make a quick video of them before they close. It's been a fantastic dxpedition. They are brilliant operators, and they kept good discipline on the pile-ups too. I am both ecstatic and surprised to have worked them on 13 band slots, including that coveted 80m slot, which only three Irish operators managed. Here is the video shot a short time ago of TX6G on 12 metres CW:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

DXCC #306, Mellish Reef (VK9MT), in the log

It was always going to be tough trying to get VK9MT Mellish Reef into my log, today of all days. Why? Because today is Mother's Day, when traditionally mothers aren't supposed to do any household chores, and my XYL, being a mother, had a day off. I was on duty today for breakfast making and also for dinner, and myself and the XYL and family had to visit her mother and my mother, as well as a visit to my sister who just had a baby this week. So radio had to take a back seat.

However, sometimes luck is on your side when chasing DX (of course, sometimes it's not!) I had been trying VK9MT this evening, after dinner, for a short while on 20 metres, but his signal faded way down. So I gave up. Some time later, I got a message from Declan EI6FR saying their signal was good on 20 CW and that he had just worked them. He told me the split, and that the op seemed to be listening progressively up, so I went up a bit from where Declan had worked them and heard someone else giving them 5NN. So I went up a little bit more, and after just a couple of calls I was in the log!

That's DXCC #306 in my log, and I'm delighted. It takes the pressure off, especially as I will be working during the day in the coming week and will be unable to work them when their signal is good on the higher bands. VK9/M is 22nd on Clublog's Most Wanted DXCC list for March 2014.

I also managed a couple more QSOs with TX6G Austral Islands. I nabbed them on 17m CW late last night (23:25) and also early this morning on 17m SSB (09:27) and the total number of slots with TX6G is now 12. Previous to this dxpedition, I only had Austral Islands on two slots. It really is a top-class operation. Below are my confirmed slots with TX6G so far on Clublog:

 I have 12 slots in total with TX6G.
UPDATE!!!!!  I just worked VK9MT again on 15 metres CW at 10:17pm local time.