07/26/07 Well after a lot of work, I'm finally on the air on HF. I've had the TS-440 for a few weeks now, but I had only a 10 AMP power supply for it, so I've been in listen mode. I should have been logging all the prep items like the antenna and accessories, but alas better late than never. I got the PS-430 today, so now I'm able to see what the G5RV and the TS-440 can do. I jumped on 20 meters right away and worked NJ2BB, The Batteship New Jersey Club Station. Mike answered on my first call and gave me a solid 5/9. I rolled down the band a little and picked up the Experimental Aircraft Association Special Event Station at Oshkosh, WI Station W9ZL. Once again a nice 5/9 signal on both ends. I took a look up on 10 meters to see if anything was open and worked Terry, KI7M in Oregon. Typically for the 10 meter band, the exchange was 5/1 and 5/2. I checked the bands after getting home from having dinner with the grandkids and found both 20 and 10 meters wide open to the west. I worked WB0VBW on 10 meters from South Dakota, He said that he worked me before. If that's true then his memory is a lot better than mine, since I haven't been on HF since 1994, hi! 20 meters was open so I worked XE1NVA, Luis in Mexico City and got a 20 over 9! Finally I worked VE2BR/VY2 on 20 meters. They were setting up for the contest this weekend and would be working from Prince Edward Island.

7/27/07 I got on the air a little later than I had hoped. I went to the gym and did some shopping this morning that stretched into the early afternoon. I noticed quite a few stations getting ready for the IOTA contest tomorrow. I caught N2US working 20 meters from Chincoteague Island in Virginia. Up the band a little I ran into Chris who was working W1AW. It was nice to hear the League Station on the air. We exchanged 5/9's. I'm so happy with how well the 440 is getting out on the G5RV! I worked W8M which was a special event station for the 50th Anniversary of the Mackinac Bridge in Wisconsin. Those people out there are crazy about their bridges!

Did a little "spiffing" up on the G5RV this afternoon. While there's no real need to be stealthy at this QTH, but I did want to lower the profile of the antenna a bit since it's visible from the kitchen window.

I painted the insulator a nice camoflauge green and that looked a whole lot better than the bright white that was there before. I also replaced the bright rope I had been using with a nice tree green rope.
There was nothing I could do about the pulley. I'm afraid that paint would gum it up and stop it from working.

I thought about painting the 2.5 lb weights (which I bought from Goodwill for $1.00 each!), but it already matches the tree trunk. Anyway, the entire installation looks much better now, and no, I don't plan to repaint it all in the winter!

I'll include a picture of my J-Pole It's not nearly up as high as I want, but I'm able to access all the local repeaters, so it will do for the time being.

After dinner, 20 meters opened a bit and I was able to work Victor, DJ5VB in Wesel, Germany. Bill, N5LYG was warming up his rig for the IOTA tomorrow. He was working from NA092 North Padre Island. I also worked EA1HS/P who was working from EU080, but the QSB was terrible. I gave him a 5/3 and he sent back a 5/7. Tomorrow looks to be a heavy day for IOTA contacts. I'm looking forward to it.

07/28/07 The RSGB Islands on the Air (IOTA) contest kicked off this morning and provided a wealth of contacts from the islands.

WP4U NA099

AA4V NA110

N4PN NA085

HR9BFS NA057

VA3RMF/V1 NA137

V31MX NA073

K1VSJ NA046

KM5VI NA046

NP3D/W2 NA026

I worked a few stations that claimed to be working IOTA but were not shown to be activated WZ3AR and N2BJ.

10 meters was open to the northeast a bit and I worked AA1KS, Rich on Moose Island in Maine. Got his 10-10 number, 56510 and had to dig out my old 10-10 number which is 46978. I'll guess I'll have to put that on the front page with the rest of the clutter!

I managed to work two Special Events stations, W9IMS at the Indiannapolis International Speedway where they're getting ready for the NASCAR race tomorrow. I also worked John at K4GV who was celebrating the 400th anniversary of Virginia.

07/29/07 After church and an extended lunch at Julia's Talley House I found that the 10 meter band was pretty much open to the west despite a rather low SFI (Solar Flux Indicator) of only 69. I remember well the days of triple digit SFI's when I could work mobile CW on 10 meters around the world. That made the boring drive time of the trip between Fort Meade, MD and my home in Glen Rock, PA so bearable. I worked WA5LOU in Louisiana who turned out to be a very nice gentleman. I looked him up on QRZ.com and found out that he's almost as pretty as me! Typically for the 10 meter band, we exchanged 5/0 reports!

I rolled down to 20 meters and found HH2FYD yelling CQ and we exchaged 5/9's and he moved on to work the pile up that started! It was nice to work Haiti, but I couldn't help but think of the terrible trials of the poor people who live on that hard scrabble island.

The high point of my day was working KE5PCV Josh in Louisiana on 10 meters. Josh is twelve years old and has been a licensed ham for only a month. His dad, AA5OC , taught him well. During the course of the rag chew, I reached over to look something up on the computer and I must have hit the tuning knob because when I came back I had to go looking for Josh. When we did get back together, he reminded that that using the freq lock would solve that problem for me in the future. I vaguely recall something about teaching old dogs new tricks, now if only I could remember what it was!

Later in the evening I looked around 20 meters hoping to work some DX, but what little DX that was there was being inundated by the "Big Guns." I heard GB5FI from EU124, and HC2FN but I was unable to break through the pile ups. I was dismayed to see that little has changed in the past decade, except that more people are running amplifiers than before. And the DX jerks who slice through the pile-up only to have the DX station says that it's the third time this week that they had worked, but DX jerk just wanted DX to know that he was getting through to the east coast (as if all the 1, 2 , 3 and 4 calls would not have been a clue for him!) and by the way, the weather here in (put location here) is just fine and he hopes the weather there is good also, but I won't hold you, I know theres a lot of other (puny) stations trying to call are still there.

 

07/30/07

I got the MC-60 in the mail today, so the station is complete now. I know, I know, no station is ever complete, it's always a building process; that's why God invented Hamfests! But I jumped on the air and worked two stations out in Illinois, W9CGZ and N9PFC, and got nice audio reports from both, so I guess it works just fine. I like it a lot better than the handheld mic. Thanks to K3JJC for the superfast shipping and nice packing.
I also received my first QSL card since I reactivated the station. Thanks, John! That was fast. As soon as W4MPY comes through, I'll have to get busy sending out some cards.

07/31/07 Well, 20 meters was open to Eastern Europe this afternoon. I managed to work 9A2X, Chris in Serbia, YU7GMN, Attila in Croatia and YU5EOZ, Igor in the Ukraine. I wasn't really thinking about it, but I gave Igor his signal report in Russian, and that probably didn't settle well with him; I'm sure he would have preferred Ukrainian. My Ukrainian, however, is very rusty.

After Dinner this evening, 20 meters was still open to Europe. I got a nice 5/9 from OK1CF, Karel, in the Czech Republic. Nobby, G0VJG/P in the Scilly Isles EU011 gave me a solid 5/7 and I also heard from Andy, HB9CVQ from Canton near Zurich in Switzerland. I never got to the Scilly Isles when I lived in England, but really wanted to go there. It's the only place in England where palm trees grow!

08/01/07 I sent my first file to the ARRL LOTW and was surprised to see that five stations had already logged our QSO's. This is something completely new for me, although I knew it would come someday. The system seems to be secure, but I'm sure that someone will figure our how to game the system!

DX is a bust this afternoon. The bands are really down, and maybe I'll try it again later. I did manage to work Dennis, W1UE/VE1 in Nova Scotia 5/9's both ways. And this afternoon I had the distinct pleasure of working the DAR sponsored Boy's and Girl's Club Station K8DAR. They are doing a great job of training new hams. I spoke with Jonte and Laura.

20 meters did open a bit after dinner, but the QSB was so bad it was almost impossible to hold a decent QSO. I worked PJ4/PA3CNX, Peter in Bonnaire with 5/9's both ways even though that was fudging it a bit. Then I worked Tony, G4JCZ in lovely Birmingham, England. I listened around a little more but DX was near impossible. I think I'll watch a little boob tube and wait for the 2 meter net at nine.

08/02/07 Not much activity on the bands this afternoon. I spent the morning at the gym and shopping for the big dinner with the grandchildren this evening. I taped my QSO with K8DAR out in Michigan, so I made a DVD to send along with the QSL's when I send them.

I worked Marco at HK4CYR down in Columbia. There's a lot, and I mean a lot, of QSB on 20 meters. Despite that we managed to exchange 5/5 and 5/9. I wish the 5/9 was because of my G5RV, but I know it's because of his very tall Tri-bander!

After dinner with the grandchildren and a very long telephone conversation with my brother-in-law, AG4AF and his lovely wife, Donna, I found FO5JV calling QRZ on 20 meters and got through to him on the first call! I'm constantly amazed at how well this GR5V does! It's interesting to note that I haven't heard any Australian stations on the air, and in the good ol' high SFI days they used to inundate the bands early in the morning.

08/03/07 Spent almost all the day on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Saw a lot of deer, but I didn't work a lot of DX, hi! It's always nice to have a little mountain time.

There's always something different on Ham Radio! I was listening on 20 meters when I heard Dave, VA3DZ working DX from his apartment in downtown Toronto. It seems that the elevators in the building generate a 20 over 9 noise on 20 meters, so he had to work stations between the elevator calls. It was a hoot listening to him try to get QTH and handles between the elevator calls. I guess the apartment is very busy on a Friday night! I did manage to work him however; we exchanged 5/9's.

08/04/07 I finally found my CW key. It was, of course, hidden in plain sight in a box that I had searched through at least a dozen times. I asked God for his help and I'm convinced that's what turned the tide for me. That doesn't mean that I'm on the air in CW yet, but I have been listening and I think I can pick it up again. I know I can do 10 WPM, but I'm leary about trying anything more than that. Anyway I feel like I'm really back now, because I took the skins off the TS-440 this afternoon to adjust the level of the sidetone. It was set so low that I'm sure this radio has never been used for CW. There is no filter, so that's a problem that needs to be resolved.

I did work some 40 meters this morning. I had a really nice ragchew with Phil, AG8U in Michigan, and as soon as I signed with him, I had a long chat with Rick, WA8NLX in Imperial, PA near Pittsburgh. Rick, like me, has been off the air for a while.

I worked the 10-10 QSO Contest this morning and made contact with K0RH, Jim in Kansas; KE9S, Jeff in Wisconsin; W0ME, Alvin in Kansas; KE9S, Jeff in Illinois; and N0WY, Steve in Nebraska. Steve is one of the directors of 10-10 international. 10 meters shut down early and didn't open again the rest of the day.

I checked into the ICARS 10 meter sidband net tonight for the first time. W4DON, Don (net control as W4SNC); WB4WRY, John; N4WHK, Dennis and N5ACF, Ralph were in there. We had a nice rag chew. I missed the 10 meter CW net because it simply slipped my mind. However, with the present state of my CW proficiency, maybe it was a good thing!

I found out that my graphics station was the cullprit causing birdies in the 10 meter band. The laptop I use for logging and other ham chores is solid, and I'm really glad that's not a problem for the station.

08/05/07 I worked the 10-10 contest some more today. I worked N5PWW, KB5UNX, K5EWJ, N5XZ, NM5H, N5MT, W5GVP, N3EGO, WN4AMO, N5FJ, N0FCC, AND W0WWD. I submitted my log as a check log to the 10-10 email, so that's done. It was good to see so many new people working 10 meters. Several of the stations I worked had no 10-10 numbers, they were collecting the obligatory 10 numbers for their own application. The band held pretty steady right through to the end of the contest.

20 meters was open this evening like I haven't send it so far, I had a nice QSO with Mike, S58N in Slovenia and Juan Jose, EC5CSW in Valencia Spain. I had a very long rag chew with another Mike, at a club station in Calgary, VE6AO. We chatted at length about the old days of computers and card readers and JCL. He said that computers today are like appliances. I agreed and I'm surprised they don't sell them at Lowes and Home Depot!

08/06/07 There was not much time for radio today. Too much else is happening here at this time. However, This evening I did manage to look around the 20 meter band a little and worked Jose, YV5JF in Caracas, Venezuela. Jose's English was much better than my Spanish, but we managed to finish a very nice QSO. I see that the Italian stations are still booming into the East Coast like gangbusters! I don't know what the legal limit for amplifiers are in Italy, but it must be nearly unlimited! Fred, IK4JPK in Parma and Peter, IZ8FWN in Florence were working DX in tandem and it was a pleasure to work both of them.

08/07/07 The bands were simply closed this afternoon but I did work Ian, VE7/S55O who was portable in Canada even though the reports were 5/4 5/4. Loads of QSB. I worked Gene, C6ATT and gave him a 5/5. I got a 3/3 back and decided that's enough for DX this night!

08/08/07 The ICARS 2 meter net was on the air tonight. Quite a few check-ins. Tim, KC4MJC was the net control. Tim also manages the web site for the club, and he says that it will be back on line tomorrow. Not much time for DX today.

08/09/07 The ICARS web site is back up and operating. It looks really good. 20 meters is a little better today, I worked Dan, VE6ZM in Calgary. We had a nice QSO, but someone was tuning up on top of him. Made contact with Buc, W1FKD in Maine. We had a very long QSO. Buc is retired from the Navy and used to fly the P3 Orion aircraft for Anti Submarine Warfare in the Atlantic. With this unusually hot weather we're having here, it's 100 in Mooresville this afternoon, Buc says that the temps at night are in the mid-forties up in Maine!

At the club meeting tonight, W4SNC adopted my design as the official logo for the club. I'm very proud and humble they thought so much of my work.

08/10/07 The only DX I could work today was HR1AAB, Alberto in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Surprisingly, we were able to exchange 59's. The highpoint of my radio day was meeting a couple of local guys on 10 meters. I was calling CQ on 28.425 when Mike, W4OCO answered. I was surprised when he told me he was in Mooresville, even though I should have guessed that because the bands are so far down these days. We talked about the local ham environment. Before long we were joined by P.R., KA4EVU also in Mooresville. Mike invited me to join them on 75 meters for the old timers network late evenings. If I can stay awake, I think I'll join them.

I spent a portion of the day exploring all the features of my new N3FJP software. It is what I thought Ham Logging Software would be someday. I bought the whole package and used it for the 10-10 contest as well as everyday logging. I would recommend this software to anyone.

08/11/07 Jorge, XE2WWW had a really strong signal on 20 meters from Reynosa, Mexico. He's a very nice man and very chatty. We exchanged 5/9's. I answered a CQ from John Dickens, W0AMM/mm on 20 meters. He was in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida near Jacksonville. The signal was weak, 5/5 5/3, but we were able to hear each other. The vertical he was running didn't help my G5RV very much, but he did have a heckuva ground plane! There was a very fine signal from the American Victory ship located in Tampa harbour. I spoke with Morris who was operating the club station W4AVM aboard the ship. We exchanged 5/9's. I was particularly pleased to make contact with the special event station in Window Rock, Arizona, N7C which was commemorating the role the Navajo Code Talkers played during WWII.

Then, of course, there was the Maryland/DC QSO party this weekend. I made contact with only a few sttaions, KI3DS, K3ERM, K3TW, W3BNY, W4IM, KB3NDS, WY3P, and KD3JK. I think I could have done better, but it was my turn to man the bookstore at the Cove Church for the Saturday evening services, so my activities were cut short by a higher calling. I hope to work a few more tomorrow, but tomorrow is shaping up to be a real non-radio day.

08/12/07 Today was the most important day of my spiritual life. Though I had been baptised by sprinkling some years ago, today I was baptized by immersion and became a full member of the Cove Church.

I know it seems a little different for a 63 year old man to be dunked for the first time, but it means a lot to me. I was so happy that one of my sons, Stan, was able to be there for me. I wish that the rest of my family could have been there too. That is for a future time though. We live the life we're given. That's Rick Carney, one of the Pastors at our church trying to keep me from drowning!

I was surprised that so few stations from the Maryland/DC QSO party were on the air this afternoon. I managed to work WB3FTQ as the only and last station for the contest. I worked my second Mexican station since returning to the air. Jorge, XE2WWW had a very strong signal this afternoon.

I heard Dennis calling from the special event station W9S in Sycamore, IL. They were having a field day for steam powered farm equipment.

I spoke with David, TO1USB working from Guadaloupe Island. David had a spectacular signal from the Island. It certainly is a beautiful island.

 

I heard Titus, W4EOG in Georgia speaking with Shannon in Florida, whose call I could never pull out were talking about the old speed traps that caused such troubles for tourists on US301 in the bad old days. They were talking about the town of Ludowici, and I just had to put in my two cents worth. It was Lester Maddox, the governor of GA famous for keeping blacks out of his restaurant in Marietta who worked so hard to shut down the speed traps. He's the main reason that in GA, there are no unmarked cars doing traffic safety!

I heard a weak signal from 8P6GS down in the Barbados. Derek's signal came up quite a bit as we talked, but the QSB on the band was significant. I finished off the radio day by talking with Dennis at W9ISF at the Indiana State Fair ARC.

08/13/07 So Friday the thirteenth came on Monday this month! These things happen. Not a big radio day today. However, this evening after my Life Group meeting, I found that 20 meters was completely open out to the west. I heard several stations in CA and WA and some stations in the midwest. I figured we were getting a little double skip out to the left coast. I spoke with Chris, W6FTA out in Huntingdon Beach, CA just south of LA. Chris drives race cars. He was thrilled to speak with a fellow ham in Mooresville, Race City USA. we talked about NASCAR and motorcycle racing. His listing in QRZ is really something to see.

08/14/07 The computer interface for the TS-440S arrived this afternoon. It seems to work very well, but not with my laptop. It connects to the computer through a serial port and, of course, there is no serial port for the laptop. I have a converter that supposedly provides an interface for serial to USB, but it doesn't work very well. I used a simular interface for my GPS unit and it was hit and miss also. I need to reconfigure the shack anyway, this place is a big mess. I'll have to find a way to resolve the issue, because this is a feature that I really want to have.

I worked some 20 meters this afternoon and evening. I had a conversation wtih Joe, VE1CJB in Nova Scotia. The band was in serious QSB mode and we could barely keep the QSO going, but we had a fine contact with some effort. I made a brief contact with Carlos, KP4QV in San Juan, Puerto Rico, through the DX Family Hour. Carlos has a very nice listing on QRZ. I heard Marco, IK0PHY, calling CQ on 20 meters and responded. Big signal from Italy, we exchanged a 5/7 5/9. Before turning off the rig and heading for the old sleeping platform, I heard Paul, G6PZ calling CQ and had to respond to the British accent. Paul is a really nice fellow. I am constantly amazed at how well the G5RV is doing!

08/15/07

I spent a good deal of the morning moving things around in the shack. I moved the antenna feeds to come through the side window instead of the back window and that allows me to put the TS440S on the main desk with the main computer which does have a serial port. The connection works just fine now and the N3FJP software connects with the transciever. I'm telnet-ing the DX spotter network and the software automatically tunes the transceiver to the spotted frequency. WooHoo! Just like downtown!

After getting everything set up on the shack I turned the radio on to see what we could hear.  I heard Orrin, K9KEJ calling from Cook county, Illinois on 20 meters.  He had a booming signal into North Carolina.  That is certainly a nice fish in his listing in QRZ.com! We had a very nice five minute QSO.  Tilen, S52OW was calling CQ from Slovenia and I managed to contact him before the pile-up began.  We had more than the usual quick 59 and out, and he was a very nice gentleman.
Later on, I joined the W4SNC club 2 meter net. Don, W4DON called the net and we had only a few check-ins.  Tim, KC4MJC reported that not only was the website up and running, it was also running under the new address,  http://www.w4snc.org ,a change we all voted on in the last meeting.


Since I was up late anyway, I decided to jump into the fray on my old stomping grounds, the 3905 Century Club. I know how much they like new meat there and it’s nice to give the guys a new contact from time to time. I was very happy with the performance of the 440 and the G5RV on 80-meters. I made fifteen contacts from all over the US and Canada, but the one I prize the most was the contact with Guy, KG4GY at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  One of the stations on the net tonight was KE4UES from Mooresville! We didn't contact each other, but it was interesting that he was there. Needless to say I'm going to bed tired tonight!

08/16/07 I managed to work a few DX stations today. The 20 meter band was open for quite a while and the pile-ups were tremendous. I caught Juan, EC5CSW in Valencia, Spain as he just started calling CQ, so I didn't have to contend with the pile-up that followed. I have been trying for a couple of days now to work Panos, SV3DCX from Patra, Greece but have not been able to bust through the big pile-up. But as proof that persistence pays, I finally got through to him and got a big 57 back! I followed a DX spot to 14.220Mhz and worked Miguel, PY5HOT on the first call.

I finally ordered an interface to work PSK31 on the 440s. Now that I've decided, I can hardly wait for the hardware to come!

08/17/07 I guess I vaguely knew that somewhere out there was a "county hunters network" and I ran into it on 7.185Mhz. When I first got started in this hobby, my brother-in-law, John (then WA4IGL) told me that there was a niche in ham radio for everyone and I believe that to be as true today as it was them. I made contact with N2MH who was mobile in Essex County of New Jersey. He had a great signal for a mobile and a lot of stations wanted to work him. I guess Essex county is on a lot of people's hit list.

DX on 20 meters was pretty hot this afternoon. I finally worked Vojko, S51ZZ from Slovenia. I had been stalking him for a few days, but was unable to make contact. I must have had a pipeline into that part of the world, because I worked Emir, 4O/9A6AA in Serbia, Karel, OK1CF (for the second time and again he said that he really needed confirmation of Iredell county.) Karel has one of the nicest web pages I've seen so far. And I worked Serge, UT5UDX in Ukraine. Once again I tried to complete the QSO in Russian and again the reponse was in English. I know that historically the Ukrainians and the Russians have never gotten along, and now that they are no longer required to speak Russian, they prefer not to do so. Lesson learned. Lucio. IK6SNR was booming in from Italy with the typical Italian 5/9 plus 20! I heard Alberto, HK3PSA tuning up and calling CQ on 14.215 and called him before the pile up came. We had a very nice QSO. The highlight of my radio day was a twenty minute QSO with Bob, KA7SWP up in the White Mountains near the town of Show Low, AZ in Navajo County. I have to envy Bob, living up in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors except for the Elk and deer and the occasional raccoon. He is still keeping a paper log of his contacts and asked if I could recommend a computer logging system. I have been torn between Ham Radio Deluxe and N3FJP's program, but I've finally decided to stick with the N3FJP software and that's what I recommended to Bob. When I went to the web page for Show Low, AZ, I was surprised to see that the deuce of spades was incorporated into the city's logo! Navajo county has a rich history.

08/18/07 I got up early this morning and turned the radio on as I sat down to do my morning treatment (emphysema is no fun! Don't Smoke!) and as I rolled through the 20 meter band and heard nothing, I began to wonder. I checked 40 and 75 meters with the same result. I went outside to see if my antenna was still there and it was. It was 30 minutes before I heard my first station! The bands came up pretty quickly and I listed to the "Corn Cob Net" while I did my treatment and caught up on my Hamlog.

In the midst of all the activity on the bands today, I ran into K1MAN working on 20 meters and still broadcasting his junk. I thought that by now someone would have driven that jerk off the air!

Today was the North American QSO party and the Lighthouses on the Air Event. I liked the lighthouses deal and worked quite a few. I guess the most impressive was K2BR at USA 001. The first lighthouse in the US series. I also worked W2GSB, W4A, W2T, W3GV. W1AA, W2SO and K8FGL all lighthouses. That's a particularly fine-looking deployment van that W2SO has! In the midst of all that I heard Laci, OM2VL calling CQ from the Slovak Republic. He had a fine signal into NC this morning, and we exchanged 59's.

I spent some time today making and sending out QSL cards. I've ordered some cards from W4MPY, but they're a little late in coming. So I'll send out the customs cards to the contacts I really want to hear from and save the rest for the Buro.

I have been waiting for the Rascal digital interface for my station, and it came in the mail today. I tried connecting it and getting the software working, but to no avail. I could monitor stations, but when transmitting I could get a full signal out, but it would not drop the xmit after sending the message. I worked with for about two hours and then decided to sleep on the problem.

Today's mail brought QSL cards from Bob Vietz N3YK and Roy Acuff, K5WSC.

08/19/07 I couldn't figure our why this fine logging softrware wasn't bringing up the log information from QRZ.com like it had been doing. I wrote an email to Scott asking for a hint. He wrote back to ask if I had signed up for the premium service after my trial version had expired. I checked and, of course, he was right. I paypal'ed the subscription fee and everything was working fine again. My cheeks are red from such a dufus mistake! Thanks, Scott!

My puny signal got through to Julio, YV1RDX in Venezuela on 20 meters and we exchanged 59's. I was tooling around the 10 meter band late at night and heard a 2 land station, N2ZDB calling CQ. He was 59 and I was amazed until I found out that he lives in downtown Mooresville. Mike and I had a really nice QSO. He was working with a tuner on a 20 meter dipole up in his attic. Nice signal.

This morning before church, I worked N1P who was celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the Popham Colony up in Maine and W8CCE the Charlevoix Cheboygan Emmet Counties Public Service Communications station up in Michigan.

After church today, we drove up to Hickory to have lunch and take a drive in the countryside. When I got home, I decided to take another crack at the PSK31 problem. After some fiddling and a little more reading, I was finally on the air. My first contact on BPSK was Mike, WD5CCW in Marion County, Mississippi. He went easy on me as I futzed around with the software. Thanks, Mike!

My first DX on BPSK was Juan, XE3RBA in Cancun, Mexico. He had a very strong signal and we exchanged 599's. He was in a hurry to work some other stations, so it was the typical, "Hi, the name here is John and off the air" kind of QSO, but it was my first DX on this new (for me) mode. We'll go to bed tired tonight!

08/20/07 The 20 meter band was open this morning as I was waiting for Betty to get ready to go to the gym. I first heard YB0AJZ, David in Indonesia. He was 5/9 in NC, but I got only a 4/4 from him. I ran into another David, SM7JKD in Sweden, we exchanged 57 and 53. Shortly afterwards I heard LA2PA, Leif in Norway, we exchanged 53's and put it in the log. It seemed to be my morning for Davids, because my last QSO for the morning was David in Northern Ireland, GI0AQD. Quite a morning.

After fixing dinner for the grandkids and a few hours at my church life group, I was ready for some easy listening. I dialed into the 3905 Century Club for some good old "WAS" action. I worked, Glenn, KB1NGD; Ed, K3QX; Jim, KK4JC; Harold, W4NNO; Don, KI4GSF; Emory, KE4PD; Bob, N1ABA; Wayne, WD4LYV; Ted, WB9JOX; and finally Ron, NC4RS up the road in Greensboro. It makes for a fun (but late) evening. There wern't many checkins tonight. I think the bad crashes on the band hurt the list. The "tuners uppers" are still there interferring with the net. It's been going on forever and has had no impact. You wonder why they do it!

08/21/07 Once again persistence pays. I listened to Slava, RW0CD working DX from the city of Khabarovsk on the Far Eastern Coast of Asiatic Russia. I could hear him fine, but there was a big pile-up and I couldn't break through. I started calling him in Russian and he came back almost right away and gave me a 5/4. We had a nice QSO.

The 20 meter band was pretty much open this afternoon. There was a lot of DX, but there was also some really big pile-ups. I was trying to break through the pile up to Didier, OS8A, when he worked a Texas station that had just worked him yesterday. The Texas station then asked him to repeat his callsign since he didn't get it. He violated the first rule of Ham Radio... Listen! Listen! Listen! I finally got through to Didier in spite of the jerks.

There were two stations, Fernando, EC1CT and Oscar, EA1DR working the same frequency on 20 meters. They were truly interested in my puny station and we had a nice QSO. Oscar has a very impressive web site. http://www.telefonica.net/web2/ea1dr/ I had a nice chat with Steve, M1WDK in Lincolnshire, England. Very nice chap.

Betty and I crawled into bed early tonight anticipating a full day tomorrow. I'm building a new super go fast computer for her to use with her video projects, and this is never an easy task.

08/22/07 Well, the new computer project is on hold until a new video card comes via UPS. I have a very nice 512mb AGP board, but we decided to upgrade to PCI-E. Oh well. Anyway the 20 meter band was in top shape this afternoon especially after the thunderstorms passed through. I worked Mike, 9A950/JB (Home Call 9A3JB) in Croatia. He had a very nice signal and we exchanged 59's. I had my first contact with Cuba since coming back on the air, I heard Eduardo, CO8LY calling CQ with a particularly fine signal. It was nice to work Al, DK0PM at the IBM Club Station in Mainz in central Germany. He was strong into NC. My next contact was with Ivan, S51CK in Slovenia, also 5/9's. I can't help but wonder if that's his antenna in the photo on QRZ.com!

The highlight of my day was a contact with Debbie Underwood, KL7OU in Big Lake, Alaska. She has been a heavy equipment operator in Alaska for 25 years. I mentioned that I had spent a year on Shemya, an island out in the Aleutians, and she said that she had been out there. We both agreed that there are many nicer places in Alaska than Shemya!

I finsihed up the radio day with a call to Luis, CO6LP in Cuba. He had a nice signal, but almost no one was answering his CQ. Go figure!

I was telling Betty how well the TS-440 and the G5RV were getting out, and she suggested that maybe I didn't need that linear I had been talking about. I've learned when to keep my mouth shut!

08/23/07 This morning while doing my breathing treatment, the 20 meter band opened up like gangbusters I worked Mingo, HP3EFS, my first contact in Panama and Alex, YV5SSB in Venezuela. I heard Sergej, UA9MC just starting to call CQ from the city of Omsk in the Trans Ural area of Russia and we exchanged 58's. Finally, Sinisa, 9A3OS in Croatia popped up on the spotter net and I rolled down the band to work him. 59's both ways. I had to cut things short to go shopping for the big birthday dinner tonight. My grandson Chris will be fourteen. How time flies.

08/24/07 I had to make some serious changes to my web site. The most drastic change, of course, was the change to the new domain www.kr4ro.com. It took a few calls to my internet host, Host Monster, but the support people there were very gracious and made my errors go away with charm and panache. I think they've dealt with this sort of thing before! Anyway, when I took a look at 20 meters this morning, it was as if there was nothing there. I went downtown for a performance by my grandson at 9: 00 am local time and was gone until 5 this afternoon. I spent the rest of the day making a DVD of his performance and working on the website. I did work one DX station, Willy, DL1BJN in Northern Germany need the Dutch border. We exchanged 5/5's.

08/25/07 I went to an estate sale this morning for Henry Elwell, N4UH who recently went SK. Henry was a fine amateur radio operator and a fine Honor Roll DX-er. He will be missed by his fellows hams and friends. Although I never knew him, I know that he is spoken of highly by his friends in Rowan and surrounding counties.

I purchased this fine Heathkit SB-1000 that Henry built and maintained. So often when you buy a used piece of gear you have to guess what it's been through. But Henry kept meticulous records of every problem and how it was resolved. His contruction and maintenance notes are detailed and specific. The hardest thing about owning this beautiful piece of equipment is waiting for a 220 line to be installed in the shack and making up a connecting cable for the TS-440s. The waiting is always the hardest part!

I decided to get on the air and give out a few points to the fine stations in Ohio during their QSO party. I worked 13 stations today from 11 counties. WT8C, N8BY, NC8V, N8XQM, K8AJS, KD8CKP, W8JK, N8VV, NR8U, KC8YKQ, K8WFL, and AE8M. It was quite an experience. I'll send in a check log at the end of the party.

I heard Collin, G3VCQ calling test on 20 meters and since he had such a nice signal, I called him to tell him that he was making the East Coast of the US with style. He had a bit of a hum between his rig and the linear; it sounded like a geiger counter to me. Nice looking station on his QRZ.COM listing. He was trying to get a Rig Blaster Deluxe up and connected. Hope he works it all out.

I made my first contact with a station in Poland when I responded to a CQ from Leszek, SP9LJD on 20 meters. He was 5/9 into NC and I got a 5/9 from him. There was a big pile up for Erik, PD1DX on 20, but I managed to get through on the second call! Those are some nice-looking towers on the farmlands of Holland. They look like windmills! I wasn't paying attention to the log and responded to a QRZ from Al at the IBM Club Station in Mainz, DK0PM. I had last worked him on the 22nd. Shame on me! This is what I yell at others about. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa!

That was the low point of my day, but the high point was hearing the Koolau Amateur Radio Club , KH6J calling CQ from Honolulu and no one answering. I got through on the first call with 5/9's both ways.

I have heard Chris, 9Y4D calling CQ for a couple of days now and was unable to get through the pile up. Today was my day, I guess, because he answered on the first call and I was able to put Trinidad and Tobago in the logbook.

08/26/07 I spent most of the day at church and at lunch and shopping with Betty. When I got home, I listened around 40 and 20 meters a bit, but I wanted to get out a shovel and clean out the shack a little. However, I found that if I sit down in front of the radio, that feeling goes away!

I worked Erik, S57EP from Slovenia. He was 5/7 into Mooresville, but he gave me a 5/9. I don't know if it was a courtesy or not, but I appreciated it. Maybe just having the SB-1000 in the shack is doing it for me. I'll have to get it running eventually! There was quite a pile up for Karl at the Radio Club at Bunde in what used to be known as West Germany, DL0B but I finally got through and we exchanged 5/9's. I worked my first station in Argentina since coming back on air. I head Juan, LU4DX calling CQ and managed to snag him before the pile up began. There were a few stations on the air from the Azores and the pile ups were large and deep, but I did work Manuel, CU1CB through the wall of calls. Jose, EA3NW had a particularly strong signal from Spain. We exchanged 5/9's. Every time I hear a Spanish Station, I think of EA7GRK, the first DX station I worked. I had put up a 10 Meter dipole that I built myself and the first station I heard on it was EA7GRK. I was absolutely thrilled! Mike at SV9CVY has been on the air for a few days now, and I finally got to work him tonight. He had a fine signal from the island of Crete and we exchanged 5/9's.

I checked into the 3905 Century Club, but they were late in starting and there was about 60 checkins. The band was inundated with static crashes and I could tell it was going to be a miserable night on 80 meters. I did work KB2ENF who was mobile and sitting directly on the Maryland-Delaware border. I know that parking lot well, because Stan and I were parked there with some other hams during a VHF contest in 1991. He was also using his club callsisn, WK3SS so it was "Double your pleasure, double your fun" time. The club is interesting. It was formed by three guys named Steve, and their club is the "Three Steves Club" I checked out at midnight local time. Too late for me!

08/27/07 Not much of a radio day. I did a lot of listening this morning, but we left for the gym early and didn't get back until late. I came back to tthe house around 6:00 pm to pick up my Bible for Life Group and heard Yan, FS5HL calling CQ and listening 5 up. This was my first chance to work split on the 440S so I gave it a shot and he answered me on the second call. We finished up a quick QSO and I was off to Life Group! We're planning to head for the Concord Mall tomorrow to get a taste of shopping in the big city. I guess the only thing I really miss about living in the Atlanta Area was having any kind of store you wanted at your finger tips. I really miss the book stores. There is a Barnes and Noble down in Huntersville and we're going to check that out. I received a QSL from W4A at the Tierra Verde Lighthouse in the mail today. Nice Card!

08/29/07

I spent yesterday afternoon and this morning finishing up Betty's new computer. She seems to be happy. It sure does run a lot faster. Went to the gym this morning and found this neat QSL card from the Dunkirk Lighthouse in the Mailbox when I came home. Thanks guys!

Twenty meters was really open this evening. The first station I heard on the air had a very strange call. It was "Mike" 9A950JB in Croatia. I've never seen a call that long! He truly was 5/9 in NC and he gave me a 5/9 in return. I heard Martin, OM5DP calling CQ from the Slovak Republic; nice signal into NC. Mike, IW3SSA had the typical Italian 20 over 9 signal and was calling and calling with no answers, I called him just to let him know he was getting out. I was sure that someone would pick him up at any moment. I was very happy to be able to make contact with Bill Scott, GI7AXB in Northern Ireland. I was looking back in my old logs and could not find a station in Northern Ireland, so to the best of my knowledge, this was the first for me. I've heard Adem, T94LW working on 20 quite a bit and I finally got through to him tonight. We exchanged 59's. Someone with a very distinctive "norteamericano" accent was calling CQ from the Venezuelan Club Station YW5AS. I was hoping to get his name, but he was all about 59 both ends and off to the next station. Who knows? It might have been Sean Penn! HI...

I had the nicest conversation with Denis at VE6FI. The station was built for contesting and much of the gear is homebrew. Denis is an engineer at Cameron Labs which is a telecommunications engineering consulting firm in Western Canada. Denis has riden the Blueridge Parkway on a motorbike. They are designing an 80 meter beam. Their website has a lot of detail; it's certainly impressive. I worked Edelve, CO6WD in Cuba for a short QSO and then the band took a nosedive. I'll try to stay awake for the 2 meter net at 9:00 pm local, but it will be a struggle!

08/31/07 Today was Hamfest Day! I took off early to go down to Shelby for the 50th Annual Shelby Hamfest and it was quite a show. I've never been before, but I'm told that this is the first time they've started on a Friday. Not all the vendors were there and the tailgating spaces were a little bare, but I found everything I was looking for, so that's all that matters. The Wireman, MFJ, Alinco were all there already, and from the empty look in the barns, many more were coming. I did take a couple of pictures and you can see them here. I got the material to make a 20 meter dipole. I want to get it up as high as I can and orient it in a direction different from my G5RV. I think that since it seems that 20 is THE SSB DX band in this phase of the solar cycle this is where I'll put my emphasis. I didn't find a used big boy antenna tuner like I had hoped, but I'm sure I'll find one on the internet. I have some qualms about buying an MFJ legal limit tuner, because I've read so much bad about them. I picked up a coax switch (just like the one I gave away for a song on Ebay lo, so long ago). I also got some coax from the Wireman. Boy, has the price of coax gone up. I wish I knew someone working at the local Commscope Plant. I tired out early and got outta there before the heat got to be too much. It was a lot of up hill and down hill walking which is difficult but beneficial for an old heart like mine. I was tempted to have a "Hamfest Chili Dog," but I called Betty so she could support me in my decision to wait for better grub. Some guy was making "Ribbon Fries" and from what I saw were merely homemade potato chips. All the gustatory delights aside, I enjoyed the hamfest. and I'm looking forward to going next year.

I did get a little DX in during the afternoon and early evening opening. It seems that the European stations were gearing up for Field Day and were all over the 20 meter band. I hear Gil, F5NOD calling CQ and we hooked up for some 5/5's. Very nice Website! Slavka, S57CQ was operating from Peru as OA4/S57CQ and I snagged him at 23:35 UTC. I next found AN7EB the "Eurobasket Spanish Station" and we exchanged 5/9s. I'll never get used to all the new prefixes! Finally I worked Tom, YV1CTE from Venezuela just before I ran off to the 40 meter WAS net on 7.178mHz. I worked ten stations there, WA2TEW, AD5XD, WN5M, NN5G, WA0ROH, KC0UPC, K5FNS, and finally WB5FDP. WA0ROH and KC0UPC were both portable in North Dakota. I checked out of the net early and moved off to bed.

As I close out the month of August, I just want to throw out some useless data. By the end of August I have worked 228 contacts on HF, only two of which were BPSK (I have got to get that thing working!) and I've worked, but not yet confirmed, 40 states and 53 countries. I have 8 DX countries confirmed and 11 States. Not bad for a month's fun!

SEPTEMBER

09/01/07 from a DX standpoint I started the month off with a bang. The European Field Day was in full swing when 20 meters opened early and CQ field day was heard everywhere. I worked Bob, G0KDV in the county of Kent in England. I then found the Bristol Contest Group, G6YB from the south coast of England. They have a very impressive website and you should check out the link provided. Edr, OZ9EDR has a particularly nice signal into NC and the obligatory DX 59 wasn't even necessary. Another nice website! I answered M5ARC from England. Those guys were having a very fun field day! In the midst of the field day hullabaloo, I took time out to have a chat with a neighbord Dana, VE1OTA who was portable in Canadian 9 land. The highlight of my day was the snag of GD0EMG on the Isle of Man, the contest station had a nice signal into NC, and to the best of my knowledge this was the first time I had worked the island. I also copied GI3DZE from Northern Ireland.

09/02/07 John, VP5/W1AI was having his own field day from the Turks and Caicos Island. He's got a job on his hand answering all those QSL cards (mine included, I hope!) He's the guy who runs HamTest Online. I keep thinking I need to check that out for my Extra ticket. I try to set aside time to study, but now that I'm retired, I have so little time! I did manage to snag a Dentron Super Tuner off Ebay at a price I could afford. I'm thinking about switching the SB-1000 over to 115 VAC for the time being and get it on the air sooner than I had hoped. After church today, we went to Julia's Tallyhouse for lunch and then I spent the rest of the afternoon working on a program to upload my call log to my web site and then allow someone to search it. I know that not many people would want to do that, but it's an exercise in learning new things. Anyway, I have had only limited success.

09/03/07 Happy Holidays! Betty and I just sort of chilled out this morning, and I spent the afternoon cooking for tonight's supper with the grandchildren and writing a program to print up QSL cards for the Bureau. I wish I had a source of 3.5 X 5.5 card stock, because the hardest part of the job is cutting down the larger card stock available at Staples. Anyway, I got that done and have the package ready to mail tomorrow to the Outgoing Bureau.

09/04/07 The 20 meter band was not so open today. There was a lot of noise. I did, however, manage to work a few DX stations. There was Steve, VO2ZT who has a very unique website! I finally snagged a station from Portugal when I heard Shel, CT1ZU calling CQ from Serra Dos Mangues. I heard Oscar, TI2GBY calling CQ from Costa Rica. He had a true 59 signal into NC.

Later in the evening I heard Bob, KC9DX calling CQ on the 40 meter band. We started a QSO that was soon joined by Mark, K2DGM. We had a 30 minute conversation about radios and such. Hi HI! What else. Mark is a lot like me in that he's just come back to Ham Radio after a long hiatus. So you see, people are coming back!

09/05/07 Boy Howdy! I really slept late this morning. Usually I'm up at 7 or 7:30 at the latest, but I finally pulled myself out of bed at 10:30. When you get up that late, the day sure goes fast. I finally got to the gym at 12:00 and didn't get home until 2:00. I worked on my website this afternoon and finally got the QSO LOG on the site. I'm not finished with it yet; I'd like to add a look-up function to it, but that bit of programming is still beyond my ken.

I finally got my QSL cards from W4MPY. There were so many mix-ups, I thought they would never come. They look nice and they are spot accurate. I got a call from Wayne himself apologising for all the mix-ups. They're still nice people to do business with after all these years.

There was a lot of noise on 20 meters; everyone was complaining about it and then all of sudden, the noise went away and the band opened wide. I was able to work a few new countries and a few I had already logged. I've heard Rolf, HB9RDE on 20 quite often, but have been uaable to get through the pile-ups, but I snagged him today with solid 59's both ways. Alessandro, IK4ALM had a monster signal into NC this afternoon. He's a big talker and we had a nice little QSO in the midst of a big pile up. Viaceslav, PY2/LY4F was calling CQ from Bonaire. I thought about responding in Russian, but I was afraid that he'd be offended. You have to be careful these days... I've already learned that. Giorgio, IW3SNW just had a booming signal into the East Coast and no one was answering him. I called and we exchanged 59's.

When you have a small station like mine, somethimes you just have to play the odds. The DX net on 14.247 is a target rich environment for the peanut whistle crowd and today I found Javier, HR2J, Paul, GJ0KYZ and Ashley EL2AR working the net. I was happy to make their acquaintance and to put them in the log.

Later in the eveneing, I worked VP5/W1AI, John Cunningham for the second time, but this time it was on 80 meters! He had a very nice signal into NC. I also worked my second station from the 50th state, Fred at KH7Y.

09/07/07 Didn't get a chance at all yesterday to play radio and today Betty and I took a trip over to Seagrove, NC to take a look at some of the local pottery shops there. We stopped for lunch in Asheboro where we used to live many years ago and it was interesting to see how much the town has grown. I did work a few stations when I got home. Several European stations were gearing up and testing for the big contest tomorrow. I head Gianfranco, IT9SPB calling CQ and we hooked up for a solid 5/9. Senad, T94CT gave me my first contact with Bosnia-Herzogovina. Sal, AO7HBP had a monster signal into NC this evening from Spain. We exchanged 5/9's and some pleasantries.

I managed to work two Argentinian stations back to back Daniel, LU1DK and Vic, LU3HS. Thanks for the contacts guys!

I had never heard of the Route 66 event, but I was pleased to work three stations associated with it tonight, W60, W6C and W6J. I'll have to look into how to QSL. I tried to check into the 40 meter Century Club Network, but there was so many stations working nearby that I couldn't hear anything. I tried to check out, but I'm not sure if the NCS heard me or not. I think that this is not an activity for the weekend!

09/08/07 Big DX day for the peanut whistle stations. The European DX contest was (and is) still on the air. I only worked 20 stations but a couple of them were very special to me. First of all, Neil, G5VO was calling "CQ contest" and when I entered him into the log, I found out that he was located near Brimham Rocks near the city of Harrogate in North Yorkshire. I lived in the next village up the dale, Pateley Bridge for five years and in many ways I really miss being there. What I wouldn't give for a pint of Theakston's and a ploughman's for lunch at the Miner's Arms up on Greenhow. Those, indeed, were the days. Seondly I got to work a station from Kuwait. Hamad, 9K2HN was contesting and I was able to put him in the log. His listing in QRZ.COM shows a beautiful Palstar Tuner sitting in the background. In the midst of all the roar of the European Contest, I heard P41USA calling from Aruba. It was Roy, W3TEF commemorating the disaster of September 11. I took a moment, turned off the radio and said a prayer for the souls of the poor victims of that heinous crime.

The other stations worked were LX7I, OM2VL, MD0LON, DR5O, RW1AC, DF0HQ, ES5TV, ER4DX, DR1A, YT5A, IR4T, 4N8A, DQ4T, YT0W, DL1Z, and finally, EG5S. Wow what a day!

Like whipcream on the icecream of a perfect day, I received one of the nicest QSL's so far.

I received this QSL card and a very nice note from Debbie Underwood. I know I mentioned her further up in the log, but she's such a nice person and we've been to a lot of the same places. She worked the Roaming Over the Horizon (ROTH) radar system on Amchitka Island. I was on Shemya Island (not TOO far way, at least in Alaska terms!). We had an FPS-17 over the horizon radar there that we just called "The Monster." They say that when they get it up to full power, it can fry seagulls in mid air, I never saw it do it, but you could feel something in the air when it was operating!

09/09/07 The European DX Contest continues today. A lot of the same stations I worked yesterday are still on the air today. I didn't hear much from the Tennesee QSO party; I worked just one station, K4TCG. They need to move to a weekend that's not so full. The DX stations I worked today were, GW4BLE, Wales; IT9BLB, Italy, DJ6QT, Germany, DP9M, Germany, HA8JV, Hungary, OM3X, Slovakian Republic; TM3RWC, The World Rugby Association Station in France; DA3X and DP3A, both in Germany; and on 40 meters, I worked OE9MON in Austria, and DL2MWB in Germany. I come to find out that OE9MON is located in a monastery in Austria.

I heard a lot of other people on the bands yesterday compalining about the contesters, and I can see their point. After all, they're looking for a leisurely Sunday afternoon QSO with a friend or maybe some family. I enjoy the contests and although I'd never consider myself as a contender for a contest award, I always enter a check log for the sake of those who are working for awards. DX'ing and contests sharpen skills and create incentives for building better stations. As for the crowding, I looked around and found plenty of open spaces on the bands. It may be true that if you plan to meet on the same frequency every Sunday for your QSO, you may have had to go looking for a new freq, but that's not hard to do.

09/12/07 Not much time for radio the last few days. Betty and I went up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to cobble together a celebration for our 42nd wedding anniversary.

This is just a sample of the pictures Betty took; if you want to see them all take a look here. We had a very good time and didn't miss the radios or the television or the ipods or the dvd player or the myriad other things that fill our busy life. It was cool and really good snuggling weather!

We got home late this afternoon and, of course, I had to see what was happening on the bands. I head a young voice calling CQ on 14.179 and I responded to Willie (whom I called Roy several times... That's what you get for not paying attention!) KD5VVI. As it turns out, Willie is a student at the Nacogdoches Independent School District (NISD) Amateur Radio Club. Willie confirmed that he had not yet gained his license, but was working on it with the control operator listening in the background. I'm encouraged everytime I run into one of these new hams-to-be. Like the Wisconsin station K8DAR, there are some out there still turning out new hams, and they need all the encouragement that can get.

There was other DX available on the 20 meter band and I just grazed through for a little taste. I worked, Eric, F4ENK, who had a really nice signal in to NC this evening. And when I saw the big cubical quad, I understood why his signal is so strong. Next I worked Luis, AO1ABT who was not listed anywhere and I eventually had to get back on the air, track him down and ask for his QSL route. It is via EA1ABT . Mystery solved! I heard FP/K9MDO calling from St. Pierre & Miquelon Island and the pile up was tremendous! He answered me on the first call and I was stunned. My card will leave in the morning for his QSL manager W9NJB. I crawled into bed very early tonight, too exhausted to meet the two meter net for W4SNC. Sorry guys!

There was a very nice surprise sitting on the porch when I returned from the trip. The boat anchor tuner I had rescued from another ham had arrived. I Immediately took it apart and looked for burn marks and it is pristine inside. I hooked it up to my TS-440 and it tuned every band flat. Now I can hardly wait to get the SB-1000 up and on the air. If everything goes well, I may have it all done by this weekend.

09/13/07 I had a very nice chat this morning with Ed. NX7TT near Idaho Falls, Idaho. Now Ed is a very interesting guy, and I'm dying to find out more about the Hex Beam he's running out there in Idaho. I first found him working Dave, G3MWV from Cromer, in the UK in Norwich where I used to hang out a bit. I was listening, hoping to catch a few minutes with Dave to talk about Ol' Blighty, and I was surprised when Dave surrendered the freq to Ed. The bands into Europe were wide open this morning, and it seems that NC was the first skip between Europe and the Western States, so we were hearing everything! Ed and I talked for about five or six minutes. I sent a card to his QSL Manager. The rest of the day was taken up with appointments and dinner with the grandchildren. I did manage to make it to the ICARS meeting tonight, where I picked up the hats from the Shelby Hamfest. Thanks Don! They're a fine bunch of guys! 73 all... it's off to bed for now. We're still hoping for rain tomorrow!

09/14/07 I spent the day putting things together in the shack. The first task was to convert the Heathkit SB-1000 from 240 VAC to 115 Vac. Although this required only some soldering and a few new wires, anytime I take the skins off the equipment I'm aware of all the damage a klutz like me can do. So this entire endeavor was not without some anxiety. Someday, when I can afford it, I'll have a 240 line run into the shack, but until then we'll have to run with a lower output. I put in a new ground system using larger ground strapping that I was able to obtain at Shelby. I put up some new shelves behind my desk to take the power supplies for the TS-440s and the two-meter rig and various other accessories. I then had to open the TS-440s and make the mod required to the relay to allow using a linear amplifier. I hooked up the interface line from the TS-440s to the SB-1000 and sat back and had a little prayer before I started to tune it all up. The Dentron Super Tuner tuned the 440s flat on twenty meters and I set the Sb-1000 to the nominal settings as described in the manual and with only a small amount of adjustment, I loaded up the linear and was on the air.

The first station I worked was Matteo, IZ5HSK in Italy. He had a weak signal into NC and I gave him a 55, he responded with a 57. Not much of a report, but at least I was getting out and I could be understood. I picked Dirk, DM1DZ/HI7 from the DX Spot and gave him a 58 and he gave me a solid 59. Nice to work the Dominican Republic. Although I only got a 55 from the Irish Radio Transmitter Society, EI75RTS I was pleased because of the time of day on 20 meters, 2100Z. The same for Karl, DJ1QQ who had a solid 57 signal into NC. I quickly worked an Italian Club Station, IQ4AX; Manuel, KP4BI whom I had worked before. I answered his CQ because he had been calling so long, I was afraid he might think he had an equipment problem! HI HI. I finshed off with Pedro, HK3JJH and Eduardo, CO8LY. I was amazed that the entire setup was still working.

I tried to load the SB-1000 up on 40 meters and got nothing. It took me a while to realize that I had the read the suggested initial setup from the manual wrong and (See what I mean about the Klutz Factor?) I finally got it tuned up and went looking for someone to test it on. I found Dave, N3DV and Sam, W9SJ in a QSO and they kindly allowed me to join them. Dave embarrassed me by telling me that he was on the DXCC honor roll and had never run more that 150 watts! We had a nice long QSO and I was pleased to meet two such nice gentlemen.

09/15/07 It's nice to be on the air on this beautiful Saturday. We've had a nice soaking rain for the last two days and it was something very much needed in this part of the country. Fall is in the air! The Washington State Salmon Run was on the air today, and this is a great opportunity to talk with our fellow hams out in the Great Northwest. I especially liked working W7FLY the boeing guys out in Everett.

Washington State Contacts for Today

W7IU W7VJ W7FLY      

The first Station I heard this morning was the Hillsborough Inlet Lighthouse SES, W4H on 40 meters. There was a bunch of Boy Scouts doing what they do best... good deeds by cleaning up the area! I switched over to 20 meters to see if there was any early DX to be had and found, Sal EA5DY calling CQ. We hooked up for a pair of 59's. Rai, OE4XLC had a very nice signal in from Austria. Much later in the day, I managed to work another of the Route 66 stations, W6L Jay in Tulsa, OK.

I met the W4SNC Club net on 10 meters sideband tonight. Unfortunately only three people showed up, Ralph, N4ACF the NCS. John, WB4WRY, and me. John had to check out for other pressing business and that left just me and the net control. This is something that probably needs to be rethought.

Earlier, however, I was looking around on 20 meters to see what the early evening brought and found west coast stations with booming 59 signals everywhere. Also, I guess the Sprint had begun, because I worked the Stanford Amateur Radio Club, W6YZ and after the QSO, the operator said, "The frequency is yours." and ran off to another section of the band. I was, I admit, flabbergasted. Of course, by now you've figured out that I've never worked a sprint competition before. My first impression is that it's a lot of trouble and I'm not sure how it improves Ham Radio. I'm a great believer in contests because I feel they cause hams to upgrade their equipment and get more into the game, but a sprint? I worked Bob, KW8N in Ohio; Ron, N6EE in California; and the W6I Route 66 Station in Amarillo.

I heard, Serge, W5ZZ calling CQ from Louisiana. I popped his call into the log and his name came up at Sergej Semeykin. I could tell from his accent that he was an expatriate Russin, so when he answered my call, I came back to him in Russian. He certainly didn't expect it, but I think I made his night. Off to bed now. Early Church tomorrow.

09/16/07 After church and lunch at Julia’s, Betty and I decided just to chill at home today and catch up on some chores.  I specifically felt that I need to work on the old “working the entire world” chore, so I dragged out my old radio and started looking for DX.  The first station I heard on the air was the guys from the Flaxton Moor Contest Group, G3QI.  They had made some mods to their station, they just put up a new antenna, and they were giving it a test.  I’m quite familiar with Flaxton moor.  I lived not too far from there in Pateley Bridge in the Nidderdale.  The operator mentioned that a ham from over near there had helped with the antenna.  Sure enough, it turned out to be Neil Clark, G5VO with whom I had had a chat on 9/8/07 on 20 meters.  It is, indeed, a small world after all.  (Please don’t start singing the song!)

I next heard Tano, AO6AZ calling from the Balearic Islands. He was transmitting from the Island of Menorca with a special call.  QSL route was to his home call of EA1AZ.

The next station call I heard was perhaps one of the longest ever, it was Andre, VE1/GM3VLB/M who was mobile in Canada with some friends from South Carolina and his XYL Veronica.  His TS-50 had a good signal into North Carolina.  I was tempted to tell his passengers that the Panthers were losing, but I figured they’d find out soon enough for themselves.

I heard Alex, YO9HP calling from Romania.  He was 5/9 into NC and he gave me a 5/8.  Rumen, LZ1MS was calling CQ from Sophia, Bulgaria.  I snagged him as soon as I could because Bulgaria is a new country from this location for me.  I heard someone calling from the Escoffier Mehdi, F5PFP in France, but the QSB kept me from getting his name.

There were two stations working the same frequency from Barbados, There was Beres, 8P6EX and Haschel, 8P6GU.  They were trying to call stations in Asia, but the band had closed down on them.  We had a very nice chat in spite of the big pile up they generated.

I heard Clint Stein, WD6COV calling CQ from Fremont, CA.  He had a very nice signal into four-land so I gave him an answer.  It turns out that he used to live in Mountain View, CA where I used to do a lot of business with the people at Lockheed Aerospace. We chatted about radio things and the San Francisco area for about 10 minutes or so.  Nice fellow.

I exchanged 5/9’s with Pedro, HK1X from Columbia and then heard Jimy, CO6YVC calling from Santa Clara, located in the center of Cuba.  Jimy had a very nice signal.  By the time I started to work Frank, TG9ANF in Guatemala, it finally occurred to me that the bands were open to South America!  I settled down for a night of exploring our neighbors to the south.  I heard Aldo, LU3HAL calling from Cordoba, Argentina. Aldo had a very nice signal, but all of a sudden the band just closed for the night.  I hung around for another 20 minutes; thought about going to forty meters, but I finally decided that bed would be better!

09/17/07 Monday morning!  There’s a lot to be done today.  I have to study for my class at the church tonight; get together a meal for the grandchildren, work on my QSO log for the Web Site and work some DX.  Does this seem like work to you?  No, it doesn’t to me either!  I did improve the QSO log a bit.  I finally went back and got the dates and times sorted in order and added the Country/State as a column.  When I have another throw away day, I’ll work on putting in a search option.  Right now there’s only about 400 QSO’s, so searching is not a big problem. 

I heard Filip, ON4AEO calling CQ and I responded to his fine signal and we exchanged 5/9’s. I heard Bob, G3WTN calling from EA5 land.  Nice place for a vacation and getting to work some DX as well! I worked GI0AQD from Northern Ireland for the second time.  I worked him the first time on 8/20.  I try not to do that when there’s a pile up, and in this case he was just starting calling and I wanted him to know that he was getting into the East Coast. 

I had some tests scheduled at the doctor’s office at noon, so we shut down the station to take care of those chores.  We had lunch at a new place in town called Showmars.  Well they didn’t show me much! 

When we finally got back to the house, I was listening in to the DX net on 14.247mHz and heard Peter, 6W1SE from Senegal chatting with the NCS.  I hung around for a chance to work him and we exchanged 55’s.  Not bad for North Africa.  Speaking of North Africa, I heard Hassane, CN8ZG calling CQ from Morocco and exchanged 55’s with him as well.

After my class at church, the new radio day had begun and I was winding down a bit by sitting at the Kenwood.  There was a MONSTER signal on 20!  It was Hector, 6I2GAG from Ensenada in Baja California.  He was 30 over 9 here in NC.  Next I heard, John Silva, KE6TTG/M calling CQ on his way home from the chiropractor in Orange County, CA.  I kept him company on this trip until the QSB bit us both.

I was getting ready to turn off the radio when I heard Gennadij, UN7QF calling CQ from Kazakhstan.  I didn’t get much of a signal report from him; only a 4/4, and the best I could do for him was a 5/5, but I did get to speak a little Russian.  I wish I could hear more Russian Stations.  I used to work them by the ton from PA.

09/18/07 It seems that mid morning is the time to work stations in the former USSR.  I started out the day with a contact with Igor, EW8AM in Belarus and then I heard Valery, UN7QF calling CQ from Ukraine; I gave him a 5/5 and he gave me a 59!

After many days of trying, I finally worked 3B7C, the St. Brandon DXpedition on 20 Meters sideband!  He was weak, but he gave me a solid 55.  I was very happy to put that one in the log.  I have the QSL ready to go to England in the morning! 

I spent part of the afternoon signing up for E-QSL.  I think this is the wave of the future, in spite of the feud between E-QSL and LOTW!  There were a bunch E-QSL’s waiting for me and I was glad to collect each one of them.  When it comes to awards, I’m of two minds.  The competitor in me wants to garner all the awards I can, but the other half of me wants to just work stations and not worry about the awards.  Right now, I’m sort of running in the middle and keep my options open.  I do know how important it is for other hams to get my QSL cards, so I’ll continue sending them anyway.

I worked Rosario, IT9POD in Italy and I was totally surprised when I heard Andre, C56YK calling CQ from the Gambia and no one taking him up on it.  I called and gave him a 55 and he responded with a 5/9.  I finally realized that the difference lies in the fact that other hams have a better antenna and the linear I have lets them hear me better on their superior antennas.  I’ll have to talk Betty into buying me a tower and a Monster Tri-Bander! (No, I’m not holding my breath!) I finished out the radio day with a chat with Edor, CO7PH in Cuba.  He gave me a very nice “God Bless You!” at the end of the QSO.

09/19/07 I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a rehab unit for DX aficionados.  I had an appointment with my cardiologist and I almost missed it while trying to work Henri, LX1HD in Luxembourg.  He had such a fine signal into North Carolina, and I was convinced I could snag him before I had to leave for the doctor.  He finally came back to me and we exchanged 59’s.  I did make it to the doctor on time but just barely. 

Later in the day I hear Jurek, EA6UN calling from the Balearic Islands.  I remember when contacts with the Balearics was a rare thing indeed, but I’ve worked several just in the last two months.  I had a short chat with John Middleton, M3SON in Boston, Lincolnshire.  Betty and the kids and I stayed at a campground in Boston when we lived in England. 

I Heard Tom, S56RTH calling from Slovenia and we exchanged 59’s. I heard Simone, PP5/DJ4CW calling CQ from Brazil.  His QSL manager is AI4U.  Being a QSL manager must be a difficult job, and I wonder why hams do it.  All for the hobby, I suppose.

Later on I checked into the 40 meter Century Club Net and gave it another try.  I worked Ed K3QX who was mobile on the South Dakota/North Dakota line.  I tried to hang in there, but with 100 stations and a deteriorating band, I had to pull out and look around for some more DX.

There was a very strong signal on 20 meters and I was surprised when it turned out to be KH7Y from the Big Island of Hawaii.  The pile up was terrific, but with a little patience and this Big Old Sb-1000, I managed to work him and we exchanged 59’s.

I was surprised when Bill, FO5JV in Tahiti came back to my call on the first try.  There was a large pile up and I was happy to have gotten through so easily. 

I was on my way to bed and just spinning the dial for the last time when I heard Doug, KH6QR calling CQ from Kona on the back side of the Big Island.  Got a solid 58 from him, closed down the station and went off to a nice warm bed.

09/20/07 I worked only a few stations on DX today.  I heard Sal, IT9VPT calling CQ from Sicily; I responded and we exchanged 59’s.  I heard Leon, W4YFZ calling for check-ins for the RV net.  I gave a call and we had a fabulous QSO.  He’s retired near Corpus Christi TX and he has about a million stories (most of which he told me this afternoon!).  Thanks Leon for all the words of wisdom.  A few minutes after I signed with Leon, I heard the Radioklub Maribor, S59ABC calling CQ.  I responded for a pair of solid 5/9’s.

The highlight of the day was celebrating the 17th birthday of our oldest grandchild. It's amazing how quickly times passes. We are so proud of our children and our grandchildren.

09/21/07 I didn’t get to play much radio until the afternoon, but 20 meters was open for DX.  The first station I heard was from the Maribor radio club in Slovenia, S59ABC.  We had a solid 5/9 both ways contact.  I hooked up with Ron, KY6N who had a very fine signal from Humboldt County in Northern California.  Ron seemed like a very laid-back person, but he’s an impressive entrepreneur who established and operates a self-storage company in and around Eureka, CA.  Very nice web Site.  When I finished with Ron, Jim, KC0FYN gave we a call from Lafayette County in Missouri.  We had a nice chat but band conditions didn’t allow us to make much progress.

I went on to work another of the World Rugby Association Stations in France, TW0RWC and Mauritsio, IW5ELR in Italy.  I've looked all over the web for a QSL route for Mauritsio and I find him mentioned in several places, but have sill found no way to QSL except via the buro and LOTW. I heard Pedro, HK3ELR calling from Columbia and we exchanged 5/9’s.  Saturday was shaping up to be a big day.  I really wanted to work come of the Scandinavian countries during the contest, so I got to bed early.

09/22/07 Scandinavia day!  I worked all of the Scandinavian countries except Norway.  I didn’t hear a single Norwegian station on the air! The stations I did work were:

OH2VB SK3W OH0JFP SG5X LN3Z OZ5ESB OZ2PBS  
OE4EMS SL0W SK6AWS OZ2HT OF7M OZ2TF    

in the midst of the contest, I heard the Mississisauga Amateur Radio Club, VE3MIS, calling from Ontario, Canada. Had a quick but nice QSO. I also heard DL1FDH calling from IOTA EU128 and we exchanged 5/7's.

As the radio day drew to a close (and after I realized that I had missed the 10 meter local net for W4SNC) I could hear some other European and a lot of South American stations up and working on 20 meters. I worked Pedro, EA5LC in Spain and Hassane, CN8ZG in Morocco for the second time. There was Gereardo, YV4ALP in Venezuela and Marco, PY5YA in Brazil. Alberto, HR1AAB has a particularly nice signal in from Honduras and we exchanged 5/9's.

At the end of the day, I made contact with Paul, N7WZE out in Mojave County in Arizona. We had a very long chat. Paul has, like me, recently returned to amateur radio and is working with a G5RV and a tuner. He had a nice steady signal in spite of the QSB on the band this evening. He was literally "Off to the Races;" he was going to the local drag races, so we cut it short. All in all a great radio day.

09/23/07 After church and lunch, we took a little ride through the countryside. With the price of fuel these days, this is becoming a real luxury! I heard Steve, W7CI ending up his chat with another station and I hung in there to have a chat with him. He lives on Oriole drive and has an interest in birds. I told him that our hummingbirds left for the south in a hurry. One day they were here and the next day they were gone! It was almost like a magic act. He had an absolute Q5 signal into NC and it was a real pleasure to have a nice long QSO. Just at the end of the radio day, I finally snagged a good quality signal from Utah when Steve Blackwell, N1VL answered my call. He also was Q5 into NC, so the pipeline out west was open on 20. I worked Bernie, LU3EGT in Argentina and Kiko, CE5JZO in Chile before I turned in for the night.

09/24/07 I haven't had much time for the radio today. I've been studying for my class at church tonight and since it's Betty's day to cook for the kids tonight, I helped with the shopping and the prep work. I was sitting at the radio this morning and there was nothing to be heard on 20 meters except some local guys chatting about lawn care. So I did something I rarely do, I started calling CQ and after a few calls I heard Don, V31PC answering my call. He wanted a signal report because he was tuning up for a net on 20 meters. I gave him his 58 and got one in return. Maybe I should call CQ more often!

Although I treasure every QSL card I receive, I'm always happy to see one that has special meaning to it. P41USA was on the air for several days and I'm proud I had a chance to work him.

This afternoon I was listening in on the DX net at 14.247mHz when I heard the other stations working Mikey, ST2M in the Sudan. I took advantage of of the opportunity. I could just barely hear him, but we did make contact. Now if only I can get the Post Office to sell me some IRC's, I can get a QSL from this rare contact. The PO here says they've never heard of IRC's and even though they have some in stock, they "don't know how to sell them." I wrote the Postmaster General about the problem, but, go figure, I haven't heard from him either!

I just picked up a new country. I was tuning through 20 meters and I heard Octavio, YN2N working a pile up from Nicaragua. He gave me a 59 + 20 and he had an absolutely Q5 signal into NC!

09/26/07 I haven't had the time to keep up with the blog, so I've missed a few days. The day before yesterday, I decided to solve the problem I had with my QSO log on the web site. I had progressed to the point where I could recall the entire log, but I wanted to be able to search for the activity associated with a particular callsign. The web site has been a real learning experience for me . I did have some expertise, but not nearly enough to make it like I wanted it to be. Well, I worked almost all day long and finally had a major breakthough. A person can now search the database, but the wrappings for the process need to be refined a bit. At least the heavy lifting has been done.

I've worked a few new countries since last I made an entry into the Blog, specifically Evodio, HI8ARK in the Dominican Republic; Jean-Claude, J28JA in Djibouti; K0ARY/VP9 in Bermuda, and interestingly enough, two stations from the US Virgin Islands, Manny, NP2KW and Palmer, WP2/K4FO. I heard Baerbel, J6/DL7AFS calling from St. Lucia. I didn't realize it until I looked him up in QRZ.com, but Baerbel lives in Kassel, Germany about three streets over from where Betty and I lived from 1965 to 1969!

This afternoon I worked Bruce, K0ARY/VP9 from Bermuda; another new country for me. I heard Debbie KL7OU working a large pileup all afternoon on twenty meters. Debbie was my first contact from Alaska since getting back on the air. She is working the pile-up like a real professional!

I need to shovel out the shack and clean it up a bit. I've been having so much fun working Ham Radio, that I've let some things go. The drought has pretty much obviated the need to mow the lawn on a regular basis, but it really needs it now. We're going to celebrate Betty's birthday over the next few days, so that'll be a good excuse to not work on the lawn!

09/27/07 I worked all day long trying to get my BuxComm Rascal working. I finally got it to read a signal late in the afternoon, but I was unable to hold it. I'm surprised because when I first installed it, I made two nice PSK31 contacts almost right away, but I've been unable to do so since. I need to find someone who does a lot of PSK and have him come over and help me fix this problem. I did make contact with Alex, HR2/K2BB from Honduras. He was getting tuned up for the RTTY contest this weekend. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

09/30/07 I set out to work 40 stations in the Texas QSO Party this weekend and I did finally. It went down to the wire, but I finally did it. It was more difficult than I thought it would be. I assumed that I could just drop down to 40 meters, crank up the linear and work stations at will. I did work a few stations on 40, but mostly no one could hear me there, even though I could hear them. Twenty meters was the ticket for me and that's where I made most of my contacts. Imanaged to work WB0H/M in five counties for a 1000 point bonus!

Over the last few days I did work some other stations between the Texas calls. I worked Declan, EJ9HQ; Steve, KZ2I in Charlotte and Dennis W7WHO in Oklahoma in the Irish QSO Event. I had the linear turned on when I answered Steve's call down in Charlotte and almost blew him out of the shack! I'll have to send him a card, he may be the only HF contact I'll have with Mecklinburg County! I worked a few of the Coast Guard Auxilliary stations that were on the air this weekend, specifically K8K, K7A, and N4A. N4A was on St. Thomas and I'm not sure if that qualifies as a new country for me or not. I'll have to check it out. I worked Special Event station W0W which was being run by Rick at the time. I heard Carlos, TI8II calling from Costa Rica and gave him a shout. Not a bad weekend for radio considering that it's Betty's birthday and we fit in several celebrations and a morning at church on Sunday!

These are the stations I'll submit in my log for the TQSO Party:

Rec# Call Rec County Snt Date/Time Mo Bnd
1 NX5M 59 BURL 59 09/29 14:06 PH 20
2 NX5M 59 BURL 59 09/29 14:14 PH 40
3 K5NA/M 59 FAYE 59 09/29 14:46 PH 20
4 AI5RC 59 BEXA 59 09/29 14:52 PH 20
5 W5MF 59 HARR 59 09/29 15:02 PH 20
6 N5DO 59 BREW 59 09/29 15:09 PH 20
7 W5YAA 59 COML 59 09/29 15:19 PH 20
8 K5DX 59 HARR 59 09/29 15:21 PH 20
9 W6WF/5 59 COML 59 09/29 15:22 PH 20
10 KE5KWD 59 TARR 59 09/29 15:34 PH 20
11 KB5U 59 HOPK 59 09/29 15:38 PH 20
12 KB5U 59 DELT 59 09/29 15:39 PH 20
13 WB5HHH 59 HILL 59 09/29 15:42 PH 20
14 N5DZY 59 NAVA 59 09/29 15:50 PH 20
15 AJ5DX 59 WISE 59 09/29 15:56 PH 20
16 WA5BJ 59 HARR 59 09/29 16:08 PH 20
17 K5EEN 59 FANN 59 09/29 17:23 PH 20
18 KB5IQJ 59 GUAD 59 09/29 17:32 PH 20
19 WD5DDH 59 ELLI 59 09/29 17:33 PH 20
20 W0BH/M 59 HEMP 59 09/29 17:40 PH 20
21 W0BH/M 59 ROBE 59 09/29 17:40 PH 20
22 W0BH/M 59 GRAY 59 09/29 17:40 PH 20
23 W0BH/M 59 WHEE 59 09/29 17:41 PH 20
24 W5RQ 59 LOVI 59 09/29 17:44 PH 20
25 WN5ROC 59 LAMA 59 09/29 17:56 PH 20
26 KD5VVI 59 NACO 59 09/29 18:07 PH 20
27 N5HYP 59 DALS 59 09/29 18:38 PH 20
28 NU5DE 59 BAST 59 09/29 18:41 PH 20
29 WA5DTK 59 WMSN 59 09/29 18:51 PH 20
30 AJ5DX 59 WISE 59 09/29 20:11 PH 40
31 K5NA/M 59 STAR 59 09/29 23:36 PH 20
32 K5NA/M 59 ZAPA 59 09/29 23:56 PH 20
33 W5RQ/P 59 LOVI 59 09/30 15:47 PH 20
34 K5NA/M 59 ZAVA 59 09/30 15:59 PH 20
35 W5AZO 59 MORR 59 09/30 16:00 PH 20
36 KA5WZY 59 ARAN 59 09/30 16:15 PH 20
37 K5EJL/M 59 BURN 59 09/30 16:27 PH 20
38 K5NA/M 59 FRIO 59 09/30 17:01 PH 20
39 N5NXS 59 HARR 59 09/30 17:13 PH 20
40 N5EII 59 BEXA 59 09/30 17:28 PH 20
41 W5KAM 59 WALL 59 09/30 17:33 PH 20
42 W0BH/M 59 DSMI 59 09/30 17:41 PH 20

 

OCTOBER

10/01/07 Wonder of wonders!  I finally figured out how to connect my laptop to the radio so that I can get on the air with some digital signals.  This happens, of course, just after the World Wide RTTY contest!  I have to use a USB to Serial adapter because my laptop doesn’t have a serial port.  Anyway I could not get the adapter to work.  I tried to use various comm ports to no avail.  The software allows the use of ports 1-8 only and for some reason all ports but port three were blocked.  After some research, I found out how to reassign the ports for different functions and that brought the Buxcomm Rascal online finally.  So now it would key up the transceiver, but there was no output.  I checked all the audio levels over and over again but could not get a pulse.  After lunch and a little time away from the problem, it finally dawned on me that the laptop unlike the desktop system I usually use has a volume wheel on the side of the computer!  I reached down and advanced that wheel and the audio sprang to life.  Do I feel stupid?  Well, not really; o.k. really I do.  Regardless I got on the air and made BPSK31 contacts with Larry, KI6KVN out in Palmdale, CA.  We chatted for some time before I accidentally let my finger slide over the touch pad and lost the frequency.  Oh, well, there was a lot of QSB on 20 at that time and maybe he thinks I just dropped into a big fade.  Sorry, Larry.  I also made a BPSK contact with Fernando, EA1BZ in Spain, and this was the typical signal exchange, thanks for the QSO kind of DX contact. 

I used to work FSK RTTY with my old Kenwood TS-820 and a Pakratt PK-232 and I really enjoyed it.  This new way of working digital signals is quite strange.  You don’t HEAR anything.  It’s a lot like typing on Windows Messenger, and I’m not sure I like that.  I think that I need a T-connector so that I can run part of the audio to another speaker so I can hear what’s going on.  Maybe that will make things better.

I rolled up the 20 meter band to see what the SSB part of the band had to offer and I found Holger, 8R1XR calling CQ with all his might and no one answering him.  I called him, and he responded immediately with a solid 59.  He was 57 into North Carolina.  I spotted him on the DX net and all of a sudden he became very, very busy.  Guyana is a new country for me; sometimes you just get lucky.

10/02/07 I fixed up the interface with a T connector so that I can hear the signals. I realize that it doesn't help me to tune them, but I just like to hear the noise. It's an operator thing left over from my days at the Agency. Anyway I feel a little better about working PSK now. I'm getting the macros set and that's makes it easier to operate. I might want to look at some new software. I'm using WinPSK now and I'm not TOTALLY satisfied with it. I worked three stations today on PSK31: Leon, ON4VLM in Belgium; Javier, HR2J in Honduras whom I have also on SSB on the DX net at 14.247; and Ken, NT3W in "The land of Enchantment" New Mexico.

The 20 meter band was also open for voice today, and I enjoyed a very nice QSO with Ed, 8P6JQ in Barbardos. I also worked Holger 8RIXR for the second time. I should have paid attention to his callsign before I pounced on him!

10/03/07 I think I'm getting the touch for this PSK thing. I worked four stations this afternoon: John, KE5HOB in Harris County, TX; Pedro, CO2DT in Havanna; OK1VRV whom I see mentioned in dx logs all over the place, but I'm unable to find his name; and finally Pat, ON4CLQ in Belgium. I nearly hooked up with a few others, but the band was experiencing a lot of QSB which seems the norm for 20 meters in this part of the solar cycle.

I did manage to work some station on sideband as well. I was especially happy to work Chris, G5KC from the Flaxton Moor area of North Yorkshire. I had worked the club station G3QI during a contest and Chris was the operator. I had my first contact with the Madiera Islands when I worked Jose, CT3MD this afternoon. I have heard Jim, VP5/N9JZ on twenty meters for a few days and have been unable to get through the pileups. But I caught him today and he came back to me on the first call. He has only one more day of vacations in the Turks & Caicos and he said he wanted to make the best of it, so he was working as many stations as he could.

10/08/07 Actual on-air operating time has been cut very short over the last week with the notable exception of a few days. I only worked one station Giorgio, IW3SNW from Italy on the 4th, and on the 5th I worked Jacky, HB9FAX from whom I've already received an E-QSL, Thanks, Jacky, and I worked Giancarlo, IZ1GRI on PSK from Italy. The 20 meter band was really open to the East and I was able to work Portugal, CT1ILT, Filipe and Spain, AN5KB, Pepe.

I made contact wtih Mal, M0BZH from Barnsley in South Yorkshire and we had a very nice long chat. We talked about pubs and ales and CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). Mal says that many pubs have been converted over to family style restaurants. I know that there's always room for progress in any society, but the pubs of Yorkshire have been a refuge for the people for such a long time, it seems a shame that they would fade away.

I heard Zoran, T96C calling from Bosnia and gave him a shout. We exchanged 59's. I then worked Michele, HI9/IK5ZUI on vacation down in the Dominiacn Republic. I snagged another station from Guyana, Martin 8R1XT he was a solid 55 into NC and he gave me a 59. I worked Jimy, CO6YVC for the second time in a month.

I heard Scotty, KE7NCO calling CQ from Nevada and gave him a shout. It seems that he and his friend Frank took their exams together and have consecutive calls. Frank's call is KE7NCP. I had a long chat with both of them. They are really nice guys. I listened in for a bit after I signed and heard Sotty tell Frank, "Well, we got North Carolina, do you want to go get another one?" I love that kind of thing!

The 6th dawned warm and clear and I had cleared the decks for a trip up to North Wilkesboro for the Apple Festival. Betty and I left early and made it up there about ten O'clock. It was a great time and we had some fabulous food. The fried apple pies and the funnel cakes were food to die for. We got home about 2pm and the California QSO party was in full swing. When I worked the Texas QSO party I had as my goal to work 40 stations and I just barely made that. And for the CQP I had set a goal of 50 stations. I worked 65 stations on the 6th and for one hour before church on the 7th. It was mostly 20 meters with a few contacts on 40 meters thrown in for good measure. Regardless, you can see my log on the California QSO Party page.

Today was a busy day in our household. We went to the gym early, then food shopping and home to prep the meal for our dinner with the grandchildren. I turned on the station about noon and found very little on the bands. I decided to work a little PSK but encountered more problems with the comm ports on the laptop. For some reason, the computer keeps turning off comm port two which is the port required to connect the Rascal to the computer. It took a while, but I resolved the problem and managed to work Jean-Pierre, F4EZD in France. The QSB on the band kept us from having an extended conversation, but the contact was nice.

This morning, before taking off for the gym, I head Bani, ZS4U calling CQ from South Africa, but his signal wasn't all that strong into the East Coast and I couldn't break the pile up. About 3pm local time, I was tuning through again and heard him loud and clear. The pileup was still there, but this time I got through on the first call. I gave him a 55 and he gave me a 57. New country for this go around.

Speaking of which, I worked Bob, MD0CCE on the Isle of Mann, another new country for this iteration of my ham-hood (can you say that?)

I though that rule 9 of the DXCC rules meant that I had to start my DXCC all over again because I had "moved my station." I find out that's not true and I still have credit for all the countries I had confirmed as KD3IC. Good news for me.

10/09/07 I sent off to the DXCC commitee for a listing of all my confirmed countries, and I'm thinking about going back and intergrating all my old logs into the new qso log. It would be a Herculean effort, but one that I would only have to do once. I received a few QSL cards to day. I got one from W7KOI in Nevada, from KZ2I in Charlotte and the following card:

This card from the Boeing BEARONS team is really neat. I used to know some of the guys in the club when I had contracts with the Boeing company.

10/16/07 I know it looks like I've been really lazy since I haven't been on the air much lately, but I have been working on the station both electronically and physically. I did manage to get on PSK with my laptop finally, but that simply doesn't do it for the setup I want. I dragged out an old ASUS Motherboard with a Pentium IV 1.6gHz CPU that had been stripped bare. I had a bunch of peripheals laying around the shack, so I put in a gig of memory, a 160GB hard drive and an ATI dual monitor graphics card with 512k of memory. It makes for a really sweet controller mainly because it has two, count 'em folks, two comm ports on the motherboard. (Those were the good old days!) That means that I can run both the Kenwood and the PSK31 interface off the same computer. I tried running PSK on the graphics station, but the on-board audio would not support sound card PSK. I had intended to resolve the desktop space issue of running two computers with a good quality KVM switch, but my son, Stan, suggested that I use a remote desktop connection instead. He set it up for me and now I can open a window on the graphics station and access the control computer using just one keyboard and a single mouse. I worked some PSK last night, but it was late when we finished and the band was closing down rapidly. Everything worked just fine. This morning I was speaking with John, GX4LYW a club station at a boarding school in Bath, England. Logging through the N3FJP software was without event and the DX spotting works just as it should.

The other improvements around here include a new paint job for the walls. When we moved in in April, we knew that a lot of painting needed to be done, but we simply have not been doing it. Well, now that I have the station together, I'm going to take it all apart tomorrow so that we can paint in here and get it organized as a real ham shack. Betty wanted to veto painting the walls Kenwood Gray and this is still under discussion.

At this moment while I'm trying to catch up on my blog, we're having a local ARES excercise with a failed nuclear power plant as a scenario. I am the commuicator at the Red Cross Center at the South Iredell County High School. This is, fortunately, a "tabletop" exercise and we don't have to actually deploy.

I am now a proud member of the YLISSB club and my number is 16246. This is a really nice net that meets on 20 meters daily. I spoke with several of the regulars, especiallu Debbie KL7OU up in Big Lake, AK. I also worked Bob, K7PVZ up in Washingotn state on the net.

01/30/08 I've been gone so long it may seem as if I've given up on Ham Radio. I did make a few contacts in the last few months but not many. We have been overcome with family and health problems, but things are much better now. My biggest excitement in this month was working PZ5YV the dxpedition of the 4M5DX group to Suriname on the 7th of this month. I posted my QSL today and hope to hear from them soon. Twenty meters was open today and I worked Filip, ON4AEO for the second time today. I last worked him in September of 07. I also caught Seth J79XBI from Dominica, Alfredo , EC8ADS in the Canaries, and finally Cosme. LU8XP in Argentina. The band was still open, but I wanted to get started on my blog again.

I did finally receive my QSL from the St Brandon DXpedition. It was a very nice card.