My Most Recent QSO's

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A New DX Station in Martinique #112 .

Just when I thought all the Caribbean stations are worked, another unexpected contact yesterday, with this island just North of St. Lucia. I've not had much time on the air lately so this was a welcome addition to the log book. The Island of Martinique  makes my 112th DX station worked with five watts or less of power with the indoor random wire.

I continue to be amazed at the power of Morse Code. I stand by the phrase "the most efficient mode of communication ever devised that is decipherable with only the human ear". A simple transmitter and receiver using Morse Code is worth it's weight in gold. My antenna a indoor random wire about 50 feet long in a spare upstairs room. I've worked thousands of stations and still have much fun even after 25 years of QRP.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The NAQCC April Challenge

I keep a clock in my shack to commemorate the last "maritime transmission" to "ships at sea" in America. This is an inexpensive clock and can easily be converted into an "Atomic Clock". The instructions and a video is here. My sincere thanks to John (W3JAR) for the link for this project.

I've become quite fond of the monthly challenges of the NAQCC club. This certificate is for completing the March "Sports" Challenge! I enjoy completing these every month.

The "challenge" is to make words out of the call signs of the stations you've worked during the month. You can find instructions and tutorials at this web site.

The game changes every month. I've found using DX stations is a much quicker solution to the puzzle. I've already completed this months challenge. The theme this month revolves around the last CW transmission of the "maritime" stations. This was a " night to remember ".

This is not a difficult game to complete. As a matter of fact, you can easily complete this game by using DX contacts. I'm amazed at the DX contacts possible with only 5 watts of power and a simple wire antenna. The trick is being able to send a receive CW at around 20 wpm.

DX can be misleading and intimidating to newcomers but with practice, you can recognize and return your call sign and signal report in a "quick exchange". Although not always, 99% of DX is "thank you and 599".

You can do this....and it's FUN ! 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Nice QSO with Belgium Station

How often do you have an actual "QSO" with a DX station? If you're like me, not very often; but Nico (ON7NDR) drew me out of the noise this afternoon. We exchanged the standard "QSO" information. While looking at each others BIO on the web, and making comments; we wished each other a Happy Easter and glad tidings.

I followed up with an e-mail and look forward to hearing back from him. I sent this link to him from my blog: It's a TRUE random wire!

The short "video" explains it much better than I could describe it to anyone. As they say; a picture is worth a thousand words. According to the meter on my "tuner" my output is about three watts. This was fun!

Ham radio is such a great thing for friendship and fellowship on a world class level. Isn't this a great hobby?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015 Charleston Hamfest

For the second year, I gave a power point presentation at the Charleston Hamfest. I love the opportunity to stand in front of a "captive audience" and talk about the NAQCC Club. Like last year, I gave away a "dual band handi-talkie" which was randomly drawn from  those listening to the presentation.

John Shannon (K3WWP) graciously gave me the use of his NAQCC banner again this year. The banner makes a nice "focus point" for those attending the hamfest. I'd highly recommend talking to John if you're talking about the NAQCC club in your home town. It's a great promo item! I also gave out my "club cards" to those were interesting in us.

The presentation was well received. If you recall, last year I actually set up my QRP station and used a simple dipole to make DX contacts in Denmark, Germany and France while at the hamfest.

This was a very busy day for the WV Chapter. Eric (AC8LJ) provided food and beverages to us at his home at noon, and for that reason, I actually left the hamfest after my presentation. My wife and I had another obligation at the University of Charleston in the early evening hours. We're both active in a senior "bridge" group. We had dinner and played cards  until around 10 PM.

Much to my surprise, I had a message on the answering machine from the Hamfest committee when we returned from playing bridge. To my utter amazement, I was awarded the "Kanawha Valley Amateur Radio Operator of the Year 2015 Award". 

I'm very proud to display this nice plaque on my ham shack wall. 

This plaque is the result of our group efforts here at the WV Chapter. I would not have received this award if not for the support of our members. Our "core group" here in Charleston is devoted to moving forward as the spring season arrives. My thanks to all involved in our Chapter. I would not have received it without their support.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Charleston Hamfest Award

My sincere thanks to the Chalreston Hamfest Committee for the "Kanawha Valley Amateur Radio Operator of the Year 2015 Award"  

This award caught me totally by surprise. The last two years I 've done a "power point presentation" about QRP and CW at this hamfest. Last year at this hamfest, I set up and made QRP contacts using a simple wire antenna (dipole) to Denmark, Germany, and Spain. My presentation is always focused on the NAQCC Club.

It's been a good two years for the West Virginia Chapter of the NAQCC Club. We plan to be around for many more years!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nice Card from Poland

I like a well designed card. I was able to work this station a couple of day ago on the 30 meter band.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The ARRL DX CW Contest on 40 Meters

I made some interesting contacts this weekend during the ARRL International CW Contest.  I added TI5W in Costa Rica and PW0F (an island off the coast of Brazil) to my DXCC log book. These two new stations bring my total DX count to one hundred eleven. 

I've never heard the 40 meter band so active! Almost half of my contacts were on this band. My first group of 40 meter contacts on the 21st (made in a little over an hour) were with the  Slovak Republic, Poland, Germany, Slovenia, and Romania. On the 22nd (in about an hour) I worked Slovenia, Italy,Croatia, Africa, Serbia and the Czech Republic. 

I'm overjoyed to make such unexpected DX contacts with my simple station. As always, I used five watts of power and an indoor Isotron Antenna  on the 40 meter band. 

I've used this 40 meter antenna for almost 25 years now. At one time I had three of these wired together (the above picture) but I sold the 80 meter version since I seldom use that band. I still use the 40 and 20 meter versions when traveling. Both these antennas are easily set up in a matter of minutes. All it takes is a painters pole and a few bungee cords. 

The Isotron antenna is often called "The Bird House" because it's similar in size. It's a controversial antenna but in a restricted antenna area, it's brought me good results. I seriously doubt any of the stations I worked, at over 5,000 miles this weekend on 40 meters, had the slightest idea I was using such a simple antenna and running  QRP  power.