Thursday, November 22, 2012

Starting to get back to normal maybe?

After a prolonged period dealing with all the issues around the publication of my second book, I have started to become a wee bit more active again on HF. During the past week I have been catching up with the PT0S Dxpedition to St. Peter & Paul Rocks in the Atlantic, and I'm glad to say that I now have nine band slots, making me the third best EI behind EI9KC on 11 slots and EI2CN on 10 slots. I still need 15m SSB and 10m CW so hopefully I will get those slots before the expedition finishes.

A photo of my old Butternut HF-6V
Last night I put some RF into the Butternut vertical on 80 metres for only the second or third time since last winter. I also added a 66-foot radial under it (last year's two radials were both damaged by the lawn mower HI HI!!) and managed to get an SWR of 1.5:1 on the CW portion of the band. And that's where I caught some nice action in the early hours of this morning.

In the space of about an hour, after midnight, I managed to nab FOUR new DXCCs on the 80 metre band. They were, as follows: VP2V/AA7V, British Virgin Islands; P4/R5GA, Aruba; PJ2/DF9LJ, Curacao; HT9H, Nicaragua (regular prefix YN). Because the Butternut is only a 26-foot tall vertical, ground mounted in the middle of a housing estate, it does not hear half as well as an elevated dipole cut for that band. Hence it is difficult for me to work new DXCCs on it. So it turned out to be a really great night, bringing my total DXCC worked on 80 metres to 118. It's a band I would dearly love to do more on, and to enjoy more regularly, but it is a big challenge for me. Last winter was very rewarding because I got over the 100 DXCC mark for the first time. This winter I will just try to nab more new ones, and try to bring my LoTW confirmations on 80m from 89 up over 100 hopefully.

I have one issue with the Butternut that is troubling me though. After a while, the SWR suddenly jumps from 1.5:1 to about 3:1, and I have to adjust the linear. Then it will, after some time, come back to 1.5:1 again. At least 3:1 is manageable with the Acom 1000 but it's annoying me that the SWR is changing during the course of the night. If there's anybody with any suggestions as to why that might be happening, or indeed with any experience of Butternut SWR issues, I'd be glad to hear from you.

In the meantime, I got some nice contacts this morning, including Lord Howe Island again, this time on 17m CW. VK9/OH3JR was just in the back of the box, and working simplex, so there was considerable QRM. But I heard him calling "EI2?" and got him logged after a minute. PJ7I on 12m SSB was a new band slot and C6AUM in the Bahamas on 10m CW just a short time ago gave me DXCC #210 on that band. Here's my band stats now:

160m: 64 / 47
80m: 118/94
40m: 177/130
30m: 188/127
20m: 239/169
17m: 237/149
15m: 224/130
12m: 214/133
10m: 210/134
6m: 72/53


  1. VK9-L congratulations Tony! I am still looking for them for a new one on HF but no luck here as I am not at the radio when they are there hi hi. Good Luck on 80m this winter season!
    Vy 73!
    Ark EI9KC

    1. Thanks indeed Ark. I was very lucky to get him because he was so weak and there were a lot of people calling him, some of whom were calling on top of him while he was CQing - they mustn't have been able to hear him!! Anyway it was a great pleasure to get this rare one into the log on another band. Congrats on PT0S - brilliant going. Hope to hear you in the CQWW pile-ups! I won't be taking part seriously, but just looking for new ones, especially on 80m. I got the Butternut sorted out today and have 1:1 SWR on the CW portion of the band!!!

      As we say in the hobby - good luck in the contest!!

      EI9KC de EI2KC 73 OM SK


All comments are moderated - so spam will not get through.