Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Saint Patrick's Day aurora produced some interesting effects on 6 metres (50 Mhz)

This is a video showing me making a number of QSOs into the UK on 6 metres on Saint Patrick's Day. This was my first time working an aurora opening on VHF. It was quite interesting, and quite enjoyable. I also worked a few German stations, one French station and one Swedish station.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I am now officially in the VP8DOZ log

I've just checked the VP8DOZ South Georgia online log and my QSO on 17m SSB is in there! Very relieved to have this early confirmation  of my QSO with the ninth most wanted DXCC according to Clublog. That's my 314th country worked, although only 312 of those are current DXCCs.

Monday, March 9, 2015

VP8DOZ South Georgia in the log - another new DXCC, #312!!

A NASA image of South Georgia island.
When I heard that Denis VP8DOZ was going to be QRV from South Georgia for a couple of months, I was hopeful that I might get a QSO, despite the fact that he is an inexperienced operator. That part of the world (the South Sea, almost at Antarctica) is quite workable from here, as the path is mostly over salt water. Several Irish hams made it into the log over the past number of days, so I knew I was in with a chance. Denis seems to be QRV from around 20:00z for an hour or so each night, always on 17 metres, on 18.160 Mhz, and usually listening 5 Khz down.

Last night I got my chance. He was weak on my hexbeam, but just about hearable. I shouted. He came back with EI8HKC - it turned out that Pat EI8H was calling him too. So I stood by while Pat worked him and then he said "five to ten down" so I called on 18.153 and in no time at all I could hear what sounded distinctly like "echo india two kilo charlie, five and five".

However, despite the fact that the online log was updated today, I find that I am not in it. An email to log manager Paul ZL4PW confirms that my call was "busted" and he will fix it!

This is DXCC #312 for me, another all-time new one (ATNO). I'm delighted to get him into my log. I will look for the QSL card at the earliest opportunity.

A photo of my rig immediately after I worked VP8DOZ.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nice QSO with DK1IS on 80 metres with hacksaw paddle Mark II

Above is a video of me CQing on 80 metres CW using my new EI2KC home-brew hacksaw blade key Mark II. I had a nice QSO with DK1IS. This is the whole QSO. I am thoroughly enjoying this home-brew key, which was made with parts that were donated, found lying around the shack, and purchased. It cost me about 10 euro to make. And it's really quite genuinely nice to use. I will be writing an article about the construction of this, and the Mark I key, for a future issue of Echo Ireland magazine. I made some improvements from the Mark I version, although in fairness apart from a cosmetic difference, there is no noticeable difference in their use. They are both very nice to the touch and responsive. I may not revert to using my Kent dual lever paddle again!!
The Mark II key (left) beside its less refined predecessor.
The Mark II key.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Nice card arrives from Monk Apollo in Mount Athos

The QSL card from Monk Apollo, the only ham in Mount Athos!
I'm delighted to have received a QSL card in the post this morning from Monk Apollo SV2ASP/A in Mount Athos. I sent away for it a few weeks ago. It's nice to get this rare one confirmed on the following band slots:

12 metres SSB
12 metres RTTY
18 metres CW
18 metres SSB

Thank you Monk Apollo!

The card is pictured in front of the radio, showing the split on which I worked 3G0ZC Juan Fernandez on 40 metres CW at 8.05am. This was the last band I needed Juan Fernandez on (apart from top band!). I now have 11 slots with this excellent dxpedition, which features three Irish hams, Dave EI9FBB, Ark EI9KC and Mark EI6JK. Thanks lads for the excellent activation!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

3G0ZC Juan Fernandez worked on 20 metres SSB with one call

This is a video of my QSO with the 3G0ZC Juan Fernandez dxpedition on 20 metres SSB. I had been trying on 20m RTTY without success and saw a spot for 20 SSB so went up there. He was chatting with someone he knew 8 Khz up so when his chat was finished I just called on 14.208. As you can hear, he came back to me straight away with a five and nine. I love QSOs like that, but it was my third band slot attempt of the morning, having failed to work them on either 30m CW or 20m RTTY. That's the way the cookie crumbles!