27 January 2015I was pretty excited to enter the ARRL VHF Contest this past weekend. I’d heard that we shouldn’t expect much if any sporadic E openings. That proved true. Six meters was not the band to be on at least here in North Texas. I managed to work eight contacts and four grids. There weren’t even many locals on to add to the totals. Late in the contest I heard a couple of guys chatting and asked them for their grid squares. Otherwise, I’d have six contacts. My highlight was a meteor scatter contact with K0TPP for a new grid. Since we’re Read more
10 January 2015I’ve been wrestling with adding an FM filter to my Elecraft K3 main receiver for a few years now. Mostly I’ve been looking for a way of receiving AM signals, not necessarily for shortwave broadcasting since that is mostly dead at this point. But for wandering around the amateur bands and trying out both AM and FM. I’ll also admit that there’s been a hole in the bank of five filters that is just crying out to be filled. Plus, INRAD’s annual offer to discount the filters on New Year’s Day by the number of the year has always been Read more
4 January 2015My results for the 2015 ARRL RTTY Roundup weren’t as great as 2014. I managed to work 402 stations in the 12 hours that I operated, virtually all search and pounce. The big difference is that I was only operating on 10-15-20 meters. I’ve taken down my 40-80 vertical so that I could set up my 6 meter mast, rotator, and moxon. Last year 80 and 40 represented 140 QSOs. The good news, though, is that I was able to sleep at night rather than work the lower bands. By and large this was an uneventful contest. Lots of signals Read more
1 January 2015Just received the certificate for the 2014 RTTY Roundup. It appears that I won the North Texas single op unlimited low power category. It was actually one of my better contests during 2014 with over 500 contacts. It’s running again this weekend. I hope to see you there.
26 December 2014Through some miracle my 100 watt 6 Meter CW signal, powered by a 2-element moxon, made it all the way to New Zealand. Of course, it helped a great deal that the guy on the other end was using a 7 element beam and a fair bit of power from the northern tip of the North Island. Even so, a 7,450 mile QSO on 6 meters is a bit unusual to say the least. One thing I liked about it was that even though ZL1RS was spotted on the various DX clusters, I heard very few other signals. Mostly I Read more
12 December 2014I just had the experience of communicating over 600 miles using the ionized trails from meteors to bounce my signal to its destination. It’s a good time to do this as the Geminids meteor shower is underway and is expected to peak this weekend. But what a fun way to extend the range of six meter VHF signals when little else is available. Meter Scatter Insight So what is meteor scatter? As meteors enter the earth’s atmosphere, which happens 24/7, they ionize the E layer of the ionosphere. This allows radio signals to be refracted back to earth and hopefully Read more
8 December 2014I’ve just completed the USA reports for the 2014 Jamboree on the Air. Overall, it was a successful year. Although, I would have liked to show some growth in the number of Scouts participating. One reason we weren’t able to show that increase is that many stations who register for the event, fail to file a report of their results after the event. We’re working on ways to improve this for 2014. This year the report took the form of an infographic, which I’ve copied below. I also created a video which is also shown below. You can find all Read more
7 December 2014Propagation really helps on 10 meters. Last year’s contest was quite limited with just a few stations even visible on the bands. This year it was nearly wall-to-wall signals. Of course, not everyone could hear me, but it was still a much better contest. I also like it when the band dies around 7 PM or so and picks up again around 7 AM. I can get some sleep that way. For this year’s event I put 164 QSOs in the log with 32 DXCC countries and 28 sections. It was a good effort on my vertical antenna. I used Read more
10 November 2014I’ve just installed a Yaesu G-450A rotator to point my six-meter stressed moxon in the right direction. The last time I put a rotator in place was in the 1970’s propelling a 2 meter four element quad that I’d made out of lumber and aluminum wire. That was a low-cost television rotator on a roof top tripod. This one is far more robust and on my push-up mast strapped to an arbor type of structure in my side yard. You’ll note my previous posts on VHF and then on the stressed moxon. I’d also been using a 15 meter moxon Read more
21 October 2014My CQ DX Award for confirming two-way communication with 100 countries on RTTY (radio teletype) arrived this week. I confess that I collect paper awards for making lots of ham radio contacts across lots of countries. I will place this award next to my CQ DX Award for CW (morse code) with 200 countries. I also have awards for DXCC in CW and RTTY. My next chase is VUCC — this time chasing grid squares on six meters. I’m sure I’ve learned through some personality tests, and certainly through my life adventures, that I am achievement oriented. It probably began Read more
Welcome to my amateur radio blog. Amateur radio is one of my obsessions, er… hobbies. My primary activities are DXing, Contesting, and VHF. I’m also involved in Radio Scouting — amateur radio in Scouting.