Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The little antenna that's working the world

This is my SP7IDX broadband hexbeam on its pole, just now, in the light of a waning gibbous moon. The low, fast-moving cloud is being lit up by the lights of Drogheda. Light pollution is a big problem these days for Irish astronomers, where once it wasn't a difficulty. The hexbeam is a lightweight and small structure, ideal for small properties like mine. It has helped me work some fantastic DX, including ZL9HR, Campbell Island, just about the furthest place from Ireland. Anyway, I'm off to bed. No HF tonight. I spent a while out in the garden with the 25x100 binoculars, watching the moon, before taking a few shots with the Nikon D7000.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

100th DXCC confirmed on 80m gives me eight bands

Another historic milestone has been reached today in the shack of EI2KC. I've just received confirmation of my 100th DXCC confirmed on 80 metres on ARRL's Logbook of the World. That makes my eighth band on which I have received 100 or more confirmations. I am now entitled (when I get the money together!) to apply for 11 certificates - DXCC Mixed, DXCC Phone, DXCC CW, DXCC 80m, DXCC 40m, DXCC 30m, DXCC 20m, DXCC 17m, DXCC 15m, DXCC 12m and DXCC 10m.

The screen shot shows my current stats, with 243 DXCC confirmed out of a total of 281 worked. And that's just on LoTW, not counting cards. All my awards will be applied for on the basis of LoTW only, with no cards. I still need 6m and 160m for ten band DXCC but that's a long way off. I have 72 DXCC worked on 6m and only 66 worked on top band. But it's always nice to have a challenge for the future!!

My confirmations on 80m had been at 89 for months. So I decided I would participate in the CQWW CW contest in November on 80 metres only. This helped push my confirmations up to 98 and then I also received an LoTW confirmation from the 5T0SP Mauritania dxpedition. The 100th confirmation was from PJ5J Saba & St. Eustatius.

I suppose in the meantime I should hit the airwaves on digital modes and try to get to the 100 on that band...

All of the above has been achieved in less than three years. I only use EI2KC QSOs on LoTW and I got that callsign in March of 2010.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A couple of nice incoming QSL cards

I got two cards each from 1A0C and NH8S
These QSL cards have arrived in the shack of EI2KC. I received two cards each from 1A0C, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and NH8S, the Swains Island dxpedition. I had no less than 12 slots confirmed with 1A0C, and a respectable eight slots with NH8S, which was active from Swains in the Pacific Ocean during September.

In my latest HF Happenings Column, going to press this week for the new issue of Echo Ireland, I wrote a review of 2012 from a DXer's point of view. There were quite a few excellent dxpeditions last year, and a few really rare ones on the air. Plus I look forward to all the forthcoming DX. Don't miss it !

Friday, January 4, 2013

Comreg publishes new amateur station guidelines

Comreg, the Communications Regulator, who govern the Irish amateur radio service (among many other communication services), have just published the updated Amateur Station Licence Guidelines. Two very notable changes include the increase of the power limit on the 10Mhz band (30 metres), from 100 watts to 400 watts, and also the allocation on a secondary basis of 472-479 Khz for use with CW, QRSS and narrow band digital modes. The maximum power allowed on this MF allocation is 5 watts (7 dBW).

If my calculations are right, that means the wavelength on 472 Khz is 220 metres, meaning if you wanted to put up a quarter-wave dipole for that band you would need 55 metres (181.5ft) of wire!!

Also, under section 8.2, maritime mobile operation is allowed.

Under section 8.1: Land Based Mobile Station Operation the following is interesting to say the least:

67. An Amateur Mobile Station may not be established or used at sea (other than
as part of Maritime Mobile Operation) or within any estuary, dock or harbour
or in the vicinity of an airport or radio navigation installation.

Also interesting is a five-year timeout on Silent Key callsign applications (where next of kin want to apply to retain or re-enact the callsign of a deceased relative):

53. The only exception to the rule that Amateur Station call-signs issue for the
lifetime of the Amateur Station Licensee is that a “silent key” call-sign may be
transferred to an immediate next of kin of a deceased Amateur Station
Licensee. Such a transfer will only be permitted where that the call-sign in
question had not lapsed within the lifetime of the deceased Amateur Station
Licensee and an application to obtain the call-sign is made within five years
of the date of death of the Licensee. "Next of kin" for these purposes means a
child, grandchild, sibling or spouse of a deceased Amateur Station Licensee.
Further, a next of kin who applies for such a call-sign must hold a valid
Amateur Station Licence or have passed a HAREC exam.

(10) All files relating to cancelled licences are destroyed after five years in accordance with ComReg’s Data
Protection guidelines

The new Amateur Station Licence Guidelines can be viewed on the Comreg website here: http://www.comreg.ie/publications/amateur_station_licence_guidelines.583.104272.p.html