Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Another milestone reached - over 100 DXCC confirmed on digi

Over the past couple of months, I've been watching as the number of DXCC confirmed on digital modes has been slowly creeping up on Logbook of the World. Because I am only an occasional digi user, my total was much lower than other modes. But recently I've been doing a lot of dabbling in digital, including RTTY, PSK and JT65. And the effort has finally borne fruit.

My total number of QSLs on digital is now 102
A few days ago, I saw my total number of QSLs hit 99. I needed just one more to get me over the line. However, next time I logged in it was 102!!! That was helped by my stint last night on JT65, which saw me working Brazil and Japan for the first time on that mode. The Japanese station confirmed our QSO on LoTW overnight!

Below you can see highlighted the three QSLs which brought me from 99 to 102. CT3MD Madeira Islands made it #100 with RTTY. This was followed by TI3EDM in Costa Rica on PSK31, and #102 was my JT65 QSO with JA3EGY, made with about eight watts on JT65.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dabbling in a bit of JT65 - 10w heard in Japan

Right now, I'm dabbling in a bit of low-power JT65. I was putting out a CQ using JT65-HF (version on 20 metres and, as you can see from PSKreporter.info above, my puny signal was heard in Japan!! Right now, I'm in QSO with W2ZEN (Locator FN30) and he gave me a SNR report of -21. I don't do JT65 very often. In fact, I've only used it a few times, but it is absolutely fascinating. Hopefully I'll get some nice DX tonight. I can't imagine I will make too many contacts though - it takes a full six minutes to complete a QSO properly with this mode!!!
All the stations that heard my 10w JT65 signal,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Very happy to receive XR0ZR Juan Fernandez LoTW confirmations

I have just received QSLs via Logbook of the World for my four QSOs with XR0ZR, Juan Fernandez. This is my 284th DXCC confirmed via LoTW. I am particularly thrilled to receive confirmation for my 80 metres CW QSO. That was an incredible distance to work DX using my dog-legged compromise inverted v antenna. I worked them at 7.46am on 18th November 2013. It was one of my most memorable QSOs on the HF bands!!

I participated in the IRTS 2 metres counties contest today from the home QTH and had a bit of fun. I made 31 QSOs with 11 different counties. I used my Icom IC-746 and my Watson W300 vertical. My best QSO was with Co. Galway.

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: