Archive for February, 2011


February 27th, 2011

A few readers of this blog may have been surprised to contact me on a new mode last night…RTTY.  I’ve tried radioteletype once before in the past (also in the NAQP contest) but rather unsuccessfully the first time.  The second outing was a bit better.  I suppose with practice it becomes fun, but the primary motivation here is ARRL’s Triple Play award for contacting all 50 states each three times, using CW, SSB, and digital.  CW was, of course, easy.  And, I’m making good progress on the SSB totals.  So, I figured I would stop putting RTTY off and give it a shot.

As you are probably well familiar, I normally contest with two TS-930s.  Their prior owners (who were CW contest/DX types like myself) made various “improvements” to them, most of which I appreciate, but I have no idea how they affect FSK. One radio simply does not work on FSK (need to look into this) and the other has the passband shifted about 50-100 Hz off-center of the normal RTTY frequencies. So, when I was running AFC in MMTTY, it would “walk” to the point that having a lock on the other station would put me at the edge of their passband. I had a terrible time making QSOs for the first hour until K0TI told me I was off-frequency (thanks, Dan!!!) and then I started paying attention to all of the numbers in MMTTY and turned off the AFC, which had some deleterious effects that I overcame thanks to the occasional repeat. Typical analog op becomes digital lid op.

I sent the MacBook (our “home” computer) with Sarah to a conference yesterday.  Since that’s the only place I have LoTW’s Trusted QSL installed and I failed to export a .p12 file, I’ll have to hold tight for a couple of days until they return.  (This is not entirely true, I have an old .p12 file, but I haven’t backed it up again since I renewed the certificate a few weeks ago.  Bad backup practices…although I just got a new external drive so the old drive can be used to do a Time Machine back up…finally.  Another day, another project.)

This post mostly mirrors my 3830 post, but here are the numbers for the curious.  My grepping missed one QSO on 80 meters when I did the totals (N1MM rounded the frequency up to 3600 kHz) for 3830.  So, these numbers are right, aside from log-checking discounts:

Call: K8GU
Operator(s): K8GU
Station: K8GU

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): ~3

 Band  QSOs  Mults
   80:   37    21
   40:   58    27
   20:   35    18
Total:  130    66  Total Score = 8,580

Club: Potomac Valley Radio Club

Team: PVRC #1

Wallops Island SuperDARN

February 21st, 2011

A few photographs from work on the Wallops Island SuperDARN radar last week…

NA Sprints, ARRL DX, and other notes

February 21st, 2011

February, like November, is a busy month for contesting:  the CW edition of the NA Sprint leads off the month (along with the Minnesota QSO Party), followed by the phone edition of the NA Sprint the second weekend, and of course, the ARRL DX CW contest on the third weekend.

In short…

NA Sprint CW SO-LP:  claimed 162 x 38 = 6156, preliminary 158 x 38 = 6004.  Four busted QSOs is actually better than I felt at the end.  So, that is good.  Still not happy with the numbers, though.

NA Sprint Phone SO-LP:  claimed 28 x 16 = 448 in 1 hour operating time.  As KE3X told me, his NS score was higher that week!  The phone Sprint is more fun from a bigger station, but really suffers from lack of participation.

ARRL DX SOAB-LP:  claimed 544 x 243 = 396,576 in 14 hours.  This should have been a bit better, but I got sucked into trying to make myself heard in EU on 160 before their sunrise.  Killed almost 60 minutes on 15 QSOs there.  Also only operated about 1-2 hours during prime EU time on each of Sat/Sun morning.  Efforts at getting a run started were a complete failure.  Need. More. Firepower. I was very pleased to work ZM1A on 10 meters, though.

Other notes…

After 17ish years of amateur radio, I finally installed my first 30-meter antenna—a dipole at 35ish feet.  First QSO was ST2AR, so I guess it’s working alright.

A box full of goodies arrived from Down East Microwave this week and I started working on buttoning up the 1296-MHz W1GHZ transverter.  Massive thanks to Ben, N3UM, who lives nearby for sharing his construction notes with me.  Not too far along other than punching and tapping a few holes in a diecast box.  The DEMI box also included a couple of LNA boards that I hope to tune up for 432.

High winds (90 km/h gusts, according the forecast) from Friday night through Saturday night did not manage to topple my FO12 and A50-3S from their perch on the chimney.  I haven’t checked the rotator to see if they still turn, though.  This antenna situation needs to change eventually.

Finally, I also managed to score about 250 feet of RG-213 and 10 feet of LMR-600 from a dumpster-diving excursion.  The LMR will make nice jumpers from the 903 and 1296 transverters to their respective antennas and I can use the RG-213 to replace the RG-8X on some of my HF antennas.