Archive for February, 2008


February 29th, 2008

This week has been a banner week in the publication department.  On Tuesday, we got the proof of our paper “Optical observations of the growth and day-to-day variability of equatorial plasma bubbles” back from Journal of Geophysical Research.  On Thursday, I completed the final draft of “A multi-instrument technique for localization of equatorial ionospheric scintillations” which will go either to JGR or Radio Science on Monday.  And, also on Thursday, the National Contest Journal showed up with my article on bandpass filters and switching.

Unfortunately, I’m not completely happy with the NCJ article from a variety of standpoints.  I don’t believe it represents my best work, and I tried to cover too much too quickly.  I’m not really an expert on filters, either, just a cheap ham (that is, poor grad student) trying to do SO2R on a budget.  Perhaps I should have taken that tact.  Live and learn.  On the bright side, Zack Lau, W1VT, sent me a couple of QEX articles he’s written on filters for in-band operation.  I’ll have to look into those.  I hope to put an errata/bonus material page for the article on the filters part of the site.

Back to the grind of crunching numbers so I can write about them…I guess that outlook sounds bleaker than it really is!

TLF on the Mac

February 24th, 2008

Last Sunday night, I hacked PA0R’s TLF Linux contest logging software to build on the Mac.  I tried it once before without much luck.  But, this time it seemed work much better.  If anyone is interested in a REAL contest logging package for the Mac, this might be it.  I’m going to try to get it going with a WKUSB at some point.  If you’re interested, shoot me a note.

The Golden Log and more…

February 24th, 2008

N6TR posted the preliminary CW Sprint results earlier in the week.  I was hoping for top-10 low power; but, ZF2BJ surprised and bumped me out.  However, the really good news is the Golden Log (no copying errors)!  This is my second golden log in a Sprint; the first was during the LP Sprint in April 2006.  I’m pretty happy with my result because it’s within 20 QSOs of KA9FOX (my closest geographic competitor in the top-10) who has a 100-ft tower with 2-el on 20 and 40.

Scott kicked my butt on 80 and 20.  I’ve got about the best domestic 80-meter antenna I can squeeze onto my lot right now.  I’m thinking of replacing the TA-33jr at 18 feet with a little more firepower on 20.  I’m not sure exactly what, yet, though.  I really am looking forward to putting the KT-34XA stack that’s piled next to my folks’ garage up (they won’t mind that one bit, either).  But, first things first.

I skipped Sunday School this morning to spend some time with cocoaNEC on my MacBook.  (Why go when I’m going to be dreaming about antennas the whole time, anyway?)  This is some pretty sweet software.  It really lets you manipulate the NEC internals all the while having an EZNEC-style interface for entering wires.  It’s a lot better than 4nec2.  I’ve been thinking a lot about building a lazy-H (two horizontal collinears stacked vertically) that fires East-West.  But, I just don’t quite have the height.  This antenna would also be an awesome cloud-burner on 40, although, I hope we move before we get enough sunspots back to really have fun with that.

My biggest problem is working adjacent states on backscatter…I can always hear W9RE and N9CK on 20; but, they can never hear me.  I think that the lazy-H would work well for that.  My second problem is to be loud enough if we get an Es opening into New England, Texas, or the Southeast.  I’ve thought about building a 20-meter 4-square on the roof.  But, the material cost is relatively high given the performance.  I can’t lay down enough radials to do a parasitic vertical array.

Who knows if any of this will actually happen…  I just finally cleaned-up the shack today after months of squalor.  It was even a heap for the Sprint, as much as I prefer to have things cleaned up for contests.  The buro cards are starting log-jam again.  I need to run some more CE/K8GU cards.  Speaking of being DX, I’ll be on Crete for a conference during WPX CW.  Still haven’t decided whether to bring a radio or not.  Sarah might not be too happy if I spent a lot of time at the conference and on the radio…although, SV9/K8GU is tempting especially because Greece is a CEPT country and there’s no licensing hoopla…  I’d just bring an antenna for one band…probably 20…  The DK9SQ mast is a little too big to schlep along…I’ll see how packing goes…

Ham Web vs. Ham Radio

February 11th, 2008

It seems that there are a lot of people on the Web who like to talk about ham radio.  How many of these people actually talk on the radio?  New challenge: operate more than I spend time on the Web doing ham radio stuff.

Sprint and SO2R thoughts

February 3rd, 2008

The CW Sprint is one of the best contests going. It’s also the first contest that I ever tried operating SO2R a couple of years ago. After last night’s Sprint, I’ve decided that one of the greatest secrets of learning SO2R operation is knowing when NOT to use it. And they say it’s a bolt-on advantage…

Band QSOs Op Time
80: 98
40: 93
20: 29
Total: 220 Mults = 41 Total Score = 9,020

This was my first effort over 200 QSO’s. I’m already shooting for 250 the next time. I really need to get my mobility up! I’m never quite sure whether my poor performance on 20 is due to the lack of a good antenna there or lack of propagation. Maybe a little of both. I do keep thinking of putting up a lazy-H. But, then, I’d have to move the 40-meter dipole that has performed so well.

I never heard WV or NV, which is unusual.  I did hear K5RC calling in the FOC Marathon.  I was tempted to see if I could talk him into a Sprint QSO…but, I decided against it.  I was using the TS-930 he sold me on 40 meters, though!  I read VE6EX’s post on 3830 that he had S9+30 noise on 80!  I called him for over a minute near the end of the contest before K5KA swooped in and got him.   I heard him and VE6CNU on 40; but, was always out-of-sync.  I heard K4FXN (KY) on 40, also…welcome to low-power, low-antenna, contesting.

Goals for next time:  250 QSOs, better multiplier total.