Monday, June 28, 2010

Direct QSL cards starting to arrive

Some of the direct QSL cards I sent for have started to arrive in recent days. Today I received a card from K2EK, William in Florida. I also got a card from VK3MO, Ian in Australia. That is my first confirmed Australia contact, so I was grateful to receive it. Of course, I was delighted to make the contact in the first place. Ian Williams is a very famous ham radio operator, who works with a 20-element (four stacked five-elements) beam on 20 metres and can regularly be heard chatting with stations in Ireland, the UK and Europe at night time. It is usually early morning for Ian and he likes to work a bit of radio before heading to work.

I also got a card today from JA7DLE and that is my first confirmed contact into Japan - so thanks indeed for the prompt reply Sano san.

I had been away in Lanzarote for a few days at the end of last week and when I came back I was happy to have received QSL cards from both YI9PSE and VO1MCE. YI9PSE, as a lot of you will know, was a DXpedition to Iraq about a month or two back and I worked them on seven different band slots. Thanks a lot guys - and it's a lovely card. VO1MCE is the callsign of the Irish Loop Amateur Radio Club which operates from the Myrick Wireless Interpretation Center in Newfoundland. That is the location of one of the early Marconi wireless stations - this one opened in November 1904 at Cape Race. Here is some detail from their page:
Because of its location and powerful wireless station, Cape Race Radio could reach far into the Atlantic. It is probably most famous for its role in the loss of the Titanic and the part it played in handling the distress traffic (CQD & SOS) and relaying the information via "landline" and cable to the rest of the world. The call sign of the station from 1904 to 1912 was MCE. After the Titanic disaster, Cape Race became VCE, the call that it held until l967 - when the station was decommissioned by the Canadian Government. Cape Race was the first point of contact with ships coming to North America, and the last point of contact for ships going to Europe. It also was a telegraph station, and still is a Light Station and Fog Alarm Station.

I reckon at this stage I have about 23 countries confirmed by QSL card. I know it doesn't sound like much, but I only recently started sending cards via the bureau and direct so I wasn't expecting much up to now. I will keep you posted as more come in.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Receiving PSK31 is very simple - just watch this video by K7AGE to find out

Last night I used my computer to decode some PSK31 on 20 metres having watched the above video by Randy K7AGE. It was the first time I had successfully received a digital mode from the home QTH. And I was instantly amazed. Now I have to figure out how to interface by Yaesu FT-1000MP with the computer so that I can start sending and receiving PSK31 and RTTY.

Watch the above video for instructions on how to "see" what is being sent on PSK. You will be fascinated.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ham-Mag past issues now available for free

The creators of Ham-Mag, an e-magazine aimed at amateur radio enthusiasts, have ceased production of the publication after a year and a half due to lack of commercial backing for the project.

The publication was launched in January 2009 and while it was initially free, a charge was later required to download it. All issues of the magazine from January 2009 to May 2010 are now available to download for free from the website

I have already found some interesting articles in this little treasure trove, including one about antennas for operators in limited space and a small 50 Mhz yagi. But there's much more in each of these colourful PDF productions.

Monday, June 7, 2010

E4 on 50 Mhz, plus the longest callsign yet on CW

It was a busy week for E4X, the DXpedition to Palestine. They had a total of over 80,000 QSOs on the bands during the week. They paid strong attention to 6 metres, which was great, although their signal teased me all week as it came in and out. I eventually worked them on CW on Sunday, the last day of their QRV. I worked them on seven other band slots over the course of the week, but it was hard work I can tell you. The QRM was massive and the pile-ups were sustained. Europe in particular was calling like no tomorrow. The photo shows the band slots I worked them on. Mostly CW as you can see - the friendly mode of the small station!!

Today I worked the longest callsign on CW I have encountered so far. I worked EA3/HB9CYF/P on 12 metres. Needed him to give it a few times to get the whole thing but I got there in the end! Of course the pedantic among you will point out that he didn't need to send the /P because he already indicated he was portable with the EA3 prefix.

I have also just worked EX8MLE in Kyrgyzstan on 12 metres CW also. Thanks for new band!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Annual general meeting of Dundalk Amateur Radio Society

Last night the annual general meeting of the Dundalk Amateur Radio Society (EI7DAR) was held in the clubroom in Dundalk. The club has bestowed on me the honour of being its Public Relations Officer (PRO). Thanks indeed - it's a great honour and I hope i can fulfil the role with enthusiasm and zest.

Thos Caffrey EI2JD was returned as Chairman. The Treasurer is Jim 2I0SBI and the Secretary for the forthcoming year will be Aidan EI7JC.

Above is a photo taken immediately after the meeting concluded. I will endeavour to give all the names and callsigns here!

Back Row Left to Right: Kieran EI9DA, Andy MI6GNT, Mickey 2I0EIB, Anthony EI2KC (me!), Doug EI2CN, Oscar EI7IW, Pat EI2HX, Tom EI9CJ, Mark EI9FX, Kenny MI6KJW; Front (seated) L-R: Michael EI5GG, Michael EI1581, Jim 2I0SBI, Mickey 2I0MMT, Thos EI2JD, Seamus GI4SZW, Aidan EI7JC, Joe, EI1539 and Peter EI4HX.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

34 countries so far in my first season on 6 metres!

I have to say that since it started opening in EI about two weeks back, 6 metres has been nothing if unpredictable. Yes, that's me stating the obvious!! I had been told a lot about the 50 Mhz band but had no experience of even listening to it. It was a brand new experience for me over the last fortnight. And it has been fascinating.

The first opening gave me contacts on CW into places like Poland, Germany, Sweden, Slovakia and Austria, but as time has gone on there have been some more exotic contacts.

Only a couple of days ago, using my Yaesu FT-897 with 100 watts into a 6m dipole (pictured above), I made contact with HI3TEJ in Dominican Republic and NP3CW in Puerto Rico, both on SSB. So I was impressed. However, there are down sides too. Yesterday (Tuesday) I felt sure that I would get E4X, the Palestine DXPedition, into the log as they were getting strong on both CW and SSB at various times. But nada. Still, I will keep trying until they finish on Sunday next, June 6th.

My country tally so far on this first season on 50 Mhz currently stands at 34. Here is my tally on the 6 metre marathon:

date: time: dxcc: call: mode:
01/06 1207 ES ES0NW CW
31/05 1210 GW MW0ZZK SSB
31/05 1135 HI HI3TEJ SSB
31/05 1104 G G1SWH CW
31/05 1053 EA8 EA8BLL CW
30/05 1714 YO YO8MI CW
30/05 1704 UY UY5BC CW
29/05 1011 KP4 KP4EIT SSB
28/05 2217 TF TF2JB CW
26/05 1854 IS0 IR0LVC CW
26/05 1817 EA6 EA6AM SSB
25/05 2301 OH OH2MA CW
25/05 2237 OZ OZ6DL SSB
25/05 2226 LA LA5YJ SSB
25/05 2159 OH0 OH0/PA3BAG USB
25/05 2147 LY LY2X USB
25/05 2123 YL YL2LW USB
25/05 1908 OK OK2YT CW
25/05 1229 F F6EWB CW
24/05 1810 ZB ZB3B SSB
24/05 1323 HB9 HB9RXC SSB
24/05 1319 EA EA5FX CW
24/05 1302 IK IK0CNA CW
23/05 1723 E7 E77ZM CW
23/05 1635 LZ LZ2UZ CW
23/05 1628 9A 9A5CW CW
23/05 1607 HA HA1XY CW
23/05 1548 S5 S57TW CW
21/05 1411 OE OE5FIN CW
15/05 1745 EI EI2JD SSB
19/05 1306 OM OM5MZ CW
19/05 1250 SM SM7CFR CW
19/05 1233 DL DL1LQR CW
19/05 1224 SQ SQ1DWR CW

I visited the station of EI2JD this morning to try and get E4X on six metres but it was not a good day for E propagation. However, I did nab them on five other band slots, so I'm happy enough.

I am up to 64 countries confirmed on eQSL so I'm happy about that.

Happy DXing. 73 de EI2KC Anthony.