Saturday, December 13, 2014

Having a little bit of fun in the ARRL 10 metres contest

I am dipping in and out of the ARRL 10m contest this weekend. Low power mixed. Running 100 watts into my Antron 99. Did some CW after this video. Conditions have faded a wee bit.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Doing a little bit of JT65 over the weekend

When there's no big dxpeditions on and no particularly rare DX to be worked, sometimes it's nice to unwind with a bit of digital mode action. I personally like to do some PSK and occasionally some JT65 on such occasions. I find digi modes relaxing. I don't need the linear on and I can work at a fairly relaxed pace. Last night, I made a couple of QSOs on 80 metres using JT65 running just 15 watts. I was surprised at how quiet the band was. There was no DX on, but I didn't mind. Today, I was decoding JT65 on 20 metres and even made a QSO into Greece using the WSJT-X software. Here is a screen shot:

Earlier, I made a couple of ragchew QSOs on 10 metres CW, using 100 watts and my Antron 99 vertical. I had a chat with VE1DX, Paul in Halifax, and WA2DTW, Steve in Pennsylvania. I find that I can now ragchew on CW, and although I still miss words, I am much more comfortable than even a year ago.

Friday, December 5, 2014

South Georgia - so near and yet so far

Mike VP8CMH was active briefly from South Georgia Island yesterday evening as VP8SGK. He did, after all, manage to get to the island but his operation was extremely brief and, sadly, he chose 15 metres instead of 17 or 20, so there was no chance for EI. When I arrived home from work, I did briefly hear him. All I heard was "Victor Papa Eight" and then noise. I heard nobody calling him. He was working simplex. Several spots suggested Africa and Middle East were working him, but hardly any EU, and definitely no EI.

I had worked Mike as VP8CMH/MM on 17m CW and 20m CW over the previous evenings, and found him quite workable. Unfortunately when his brief moment on South Georgia finally came, he was on 15m. So that was an opportunity to work an All-Time New One that sadly didn't happen.

I worked him on Tuesday evening when the ship was moored alongside South Georgia. That's the irony of the situation. I know I could have worked him when he was on the island, but by the time he got there, 15 metres was closed to Europe.

Ah well. What can one do? It's another of the 31 remaining DXCC that I need that will have to wait for future activations. In the meantime, there are probably a few dozen people out there who have Mike in their log from VP8/G and are delighted. So well done to those who made it in.

And for those who didn't? Our day will come!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Galapagos Islands - all bands now worked!

Galapagos Islands.
Last night, I worked HC2AO/8 on 30 metres at a few seconds past midnight. This was the last band that I needed Galapagos Islands on. I first worked this DXCC in May 2013 and now have all HF bands from 10 metres through 80 metres worked. I still need 160 metres and 6 metres, but I have Galapagos on all the HF bands on which I am active.

The current operation from Galapagos is fantastic. HC2AO/8 alone has given me seven band slots. HC2OGT/8 and HC2AWT/8 have both given me a slot apiece. And HC2AO/8 has already confirmed a few of my slots via Logbook of the World. Happy days.

Monday, December 1, 2014

CQWW CW 2014 - a brief summary of DX contacts

I dipped in and out of CQWW CW 2014 over the weekend. I was not active and will not be submitting a log. However, as always, I find this contest fantastic for working new countries on bands and slots and that proved to be the case again. Here is a summary of the contest activity:

Four new DXCC on 80 metres: 9K Kuwait, A7 Qatar, VP9 Bermuda and XE Mexico.

7O2A Yemen (rare one) worked on three bands - 10, 20 and 40. New country on 40 metres!!! The 40 metre QSO was made near the end of the contest through an intense simplex pile-up. Here's a video taken immediately after my QSO when lots of contesters were still trying to work him:

9Y4/VE3EY Trinidad and Tobago, new country on 10 metres.

Three QSOs with VU4KV Andaman and Nicobar - two contest QSOs and one RTTY contact on 17 RTTY. New country on digimodes. They went QRT at the end of the contest!!

HC2AO/8 Galapagos - worked on 10m and 15m.

5K0A Providencia - 10m CW.

A few non-contest QSOs:

TG9AHM Guatemala - 12 metres SSB - new slot.
TG9IIN Guatemala - 10 metres SSB - new slot.
VP8CMH/MM Falklands - 17m CW.

And just to finish, here's a video showing the signal from 9K2HN on 80 metres. I had worked him just after the contest started, at 14 minutes past midnight on Saturday. This was his signal on Sunday:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Update: five new countries on 80 metres in two days!

There is an update to my previous post! Last night, I managed to work 8Q7DV in the Maldives on 80 metres CW, although it was a bit of a struggle to be honest. I was first logged as EI2EZ, due to the persistent callers who never listened and QRMed me despite repeated efforts to get my call through. Not satisfied with the busted call (and with some encouragement from EI6FR!) I decided to go at it again. It took me another hour to get in again, and in all that time the signal from 8Q7 was quite QSB, so it was fairly readable at times and then quite unreadable. Nevertheless, I finally got in with EI2KC this time.

I also worked OD5NJ in Lebanon on the same mode, and to my surprise I found that I didn't have Lebanon on that band. So in the space of less than two days, I have five new DXCC on 80 metres.

I'm delighted with how the inverted v is performing, despite all its shortcomings. The important thing is that it's resonant, and that makes a huge difference.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Three new countries on 80 metres in 24 hours

I'm delighted to see that winter propagation is good on 80 metres. I've worked three new countries on that band in the space of 24 hours.

Yesterday morning I worked VP2EIM Anguilla on 80 cw.
Last night, to my great delight and with not much effort, I worked VU4KV Nicobar, also on 80 cw, battling against an EU pile.
And just now, this morning, I worked HC2AO/8 on 80 metres cw. You can see his signal strength in the video below. He was struggling to hear EU because of QRN and as soon as I stopped making this video he disappeared from the QRG. Lucky me!!