Thursday, December 5, 2013

House sitting near Taree

Again the time of the year when the owners of the beautiful piece of paradise are going on a holiday and needed  somebody to "cut the grass".

Had to bring - of course - the radio and antennas and work some DX...

Apart of the OCF dipole for the morning nets I had put up the folding hex antenna.  I'm very impressed by its performance.  OK, I admit "issuing" a few expletives when erecting and collapsing the kit...  but when it's up... it works great.

When I put it up (please note: one person's job) I was able to work LP US N5ZB in Louisiana for 559.  Today I got on a third call T32RC.  Easy.. too easy..

The radio is IC-7000 100 W.  I'm pretty happy old fellow.

Being QRV while camping/house sitting is fun.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The 2013 CQWWCW contest

Hi all...
Well that's it.

  Band       QSOs    Pts      ZN    Cty
           7      102     287      21   30
          14     678    1997     32   77
          21     253     738      26   44
          28     268     789      16   17
       Total    1301    3811   95  168

            Score : 1,002,293

Gear is K3 + SPE 1k, antennas Hex and OCF dipole on 40 m.

I was using N1MM for logging.  The program had matured in the last number of years.  It works very well.
All the gear associated with the station performed flawlessly. No issues what so ever.

I did not go as well as last year.. (last year: 1593 QSOs and 1,290,266 points).

The conditions were very good..  My feeling that 10 m was not as good as last year, but there was plenty of action. 

I did find the 40 m signals little down, but the 15 m and 20m was great.

That brings me to a nostalgic thought... next year we may/should have "the pleasure" to have lesser condx.  Who knows.  Now the thought in my mind is, that in 11 years I will not have the mental and physical capacity to do it again... So that's it... (depressing eh?).

I may conclude with the usual grumpy remark:
The EU ZOO was "right on mark" (God it is hard to work them). The last couple of hours of the contest on 15m  (where the condx were superb) the US cousins gave me hard time trying to match the EU cousins.. (shame on you cousins). There is a rule: Listen first and then press the F4 key.

The JA as always were gentlemen.

If I had stepped on anybody toes... please forgive the old bloke... it was not intentional.

Forgive the old grumpy man. At my age I have the right to be grumpy. 

Thanks to all who called me... it was fun despite that my blood boiled few times.  You all had GREAT signals.

Patrick VK2PN

This is me... after the contest.  Sad, but glad.  Cheers to all participants and thank you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wind destroyed my Folding antenna as well.

The windy week.

On Sunday we went for a drive to Diamond head.  Unfortunately I've left my camera back home (the van), otherwise I'll show you nice place in photographs.

When we returned the Folding hex antenna was on the ground and one spreader broken.  The wind was simply too strong

So that was the end of my efforts to work some DX.

The whole weekend and the rest of the week was a disaster as far as amateur radio goes.

The sunrise with all the smoke in the air from the bushfires.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Oceania CW 2013 contest.

I guess I should "report" on the last weekend contest.  The bands were kind and the 10 m was nice surprise being open for many hours.

Annoying part was the number of stations calling me spot on frequency and my old ears not being able to resolve the calls.  Please chaps .... next time use the XIT button/knob and call a few Hz of my frequency... OK?... Thanks.

The above complaint was expressed by quite few contesters...

Let me first congratulate to all with the high scores...  Well done.

My results:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Pfx
         3.5       9      90    8
           7     117     585   93
          14     168     168  120
          21     143     286  119
          28     154     462   86
       Total     591    1591  426

            Score : 677,766

About quarter to two on Sunday afternoon  the strong wind broke my SpiderBeam antenna and shortened the pole for G5RV.  Well that was it... Until then I thought I was doing mildly OK...
 Still ... it was fun...

Cheers es 73 to all.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The perfect red wine for CW operation.

What will they think of next??

For the elegant convenience of the CW operator.

Ready to go:

Guaranteed to improve sending and receiving speed in any contest or DX.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Russian RTTY Contest on the weekend

On Saturday afternoon I had a few hours without "supervision" and could play radios for a while.  Checking around the bands, I've discovered the Russian RTTY contest in full swing and pointed my fldigi at it and discovered that Steve VK3TDX was having a good time running.  I've started the N1MM, set is for RTTY (my first) and discovered that it was not very difficult (gosh it is a good program).  Had some more play with selection of the TTY modem... N1MM can use the MTTY, MMVARI and fldigi as the soundcard modem.  I've played with all three and found that the fldigi is the easiest to use with N1MM (for me).

I was quite surprised how easy it is to setup and operate.  I started cautiously with S&P and then after gaining more confidence started running...  Pleasant surprise.. it went like a rocket..

Hmmm ... I think I can get used to it... Not as high buzz as CW contesting, but good fun.  With CW one has to be concentrating 100% all the time.

    RUSDXRTTY Summary Sheet

       Start Date : 2013-09-07

    CallSign Used : VK2PN
      Operator(s) : VK2PN

Operator Category : SINGLE-OP
             Band : ALL
            Power : HIGH
             Mode : RTTY
       Default Exchange : 30
      ARRL Section : DX
        Club/Team : VK Contest Club
         Software : N1MM Logger V13.7.3

        Band    QSOs    Pts   DXC   OBL
          14       80      800    25    14
          21       23      220     5      2
       Total     103    1020   30   16
       Score : 46,920


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hard work of a DXer. Yoshi FO/KH0PR

As some of you may know that there is mini-expedition in Polynesia.  Look at the pile up.  The guy (Yoshi) is having a big battle here:
It is one of the biggest pileups I've seen from my home QTH.

By the end I managed to work him too.  I had an easy job day earlier on 30 m.  I think I got in on a third call then.
It was not like that yesterday.  The EU stations are very strong in Oceania this time of the day - late afternoon on the long path.

Just a small recording of the hard work Yoshi had to put in.

73 to all

Monday, September 2, 2013

The new HexBeam is up and working

In the last few months the old Traffie Hex was getting sick.  The corrosion of the wires made it unreliable.  When I've removed it from the mast some of the wire elements broke to pieces.  However the rods and the rest of the hardware is still in a good condition.  Will find a way how to replace the wires and will keep the hex as a spare.

A new K4KIO hex was waiting for me when we got back from the Outback trip. During the last week I started the work and today I've completed the swap.

Had to straighten the mast and clean the trust bearings.  Today I've assembled the new hex and mounted in on.

Here the rods are attached to the base plate and the shape is formed

The band wires are in place.

This was the hardest part of the job.  Attaching to the mast.

It is now upright and ready for work.  Quick trip down to the shack to check if it hears and transmits.

Beautiful sight... isn't it?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rememberance Contest 2013 in the Outback

We were in Innamincka when the date for the contest came up.  Interesting QTH to be and to operate radio.  Hot during the day, freezing at night, incessant flies, snakes, dust and everything else the outback has to offer.
I had all the adverse effects in one day.

First my "antenna erecting device" broke.

Then the flies found me.

With the sun setting the flies "dropped" and the cold got me.  You can see my teeth chattering.

The little KX3 performed well, logging done by VKCL log.  The antenna was G5RV  with the apex about 7 m up.

Thanks everybody for listening to my weak signal and taking the pains to make the QSO (especially Tommy VK2IR).  In all it was fun from very EXOTIC location.

Ah... Alan VK4SN .... I demand extra points for all that "hardship".. <grin>

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Another for the collection..

In Birdsville we have met another traveling amateur.  Joe VK7JG picked me on the account of the antenna (the Outbacker on the nudge bar).

Please note that with the "silly" grin is me again...

cheers 73

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another ham I have met on the way

In South West Queensland we met another amateur who spotted my "fishing rod antenna".

Greg VK2JCT from Nelson's Bay.

 I apologize for the silly grin on my face... I'm simply not photogenic and can't smile for the camera.  Greg makes up for both of us.

Boulia caravan park on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Chance meeting in Cunnamulla

We are away five days now... had a few nice places to overnight and enjoy the nature.  The country is fascinating.

In the caravan park in Cunnamulla I've met a ham operating his FT-817 into a Buddistick.

Ian VK3FD and I had nice chat.

Thanks Ian and hope to meet you again on the road or on the air.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

The VK/ZL Trans Tasman contest at the Manly Warringah Radio Society club room.

Well it happened.. we as a club entered local VK ZL contest on Saturday the 20 July 2013.  We all met at the club in the afternoon to set up.  Week earlier we set up the inverted L antenna for 160 m (the antenna which Miro OK1NG brought from OK land to be used at Lord Howe island).  It was only thrown over some trees, but it worked.  Ben VK2BEN measured the antenna with his new antenna gadget and it resonated on 1.97, so the antenna tuner(s) had no problem with it.

The operators were:

Greg VK2XE taking care of the SSB on 160 m.

Matt VK2RQ was operating the 80 m CW station using the club radio and dipole antenna.  I also helped for about couple of hours to give Matt some breathing time.

I was the CW operator on 160 m assisted by Rob VK2MZ (who had to go home early and reluctantly)

 Greg and I shared the 160 m antenna.

Considering that this is one of the boring contests... the fact that we had a team made it good fun.

The statistics:

2013 VK/trans-Tasman Contest


        Callsign:       VK2MB   (Multi)


        Category:       Both Bands - All Mode Multi Op

                Hour:      1        2         3          4          5        6
                Points:   84     108     103     107      83       3
                Bonus:    60      92      94        64      64        0
                Total:   144     200     197     171     147      3

        Total Score:       859

        Log Created By:  VK3AVV VK Contest Log (Ver 3.4a)

 We do not expect to win but surely hope to get "honorable" placing.

Thanks everybody who helped... it made the contest soooooo easy.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

IARU HF Championship

This last weekend was the IARU HF Championship contest.  I found myself with some free time (Heidi was in Melbourne therefore no Heidi QRM).

I was looking forward to some excitement on the HF bands and joined the CW section.  All was fine and the bands were kind to me and others except the ten meters band, which was very quiet.

Picture below is showing 10 kHz portion of 20 m band.  Plenty of strong signals there.

The same bans little later

After about 10 hours of operation Mr. Murphy interfered again.  Something happened to the antenna/coax system and the SWR become high.  Had lot of RF in the shack and that affected the USB ports and my Winkeyer.  Had to stop in the middle of great fun.

The results:
       Band      QSOs      Pts      ITU     HQ
             7        48       218       10       2
            14      231    1111       15      9
            21      128     560        15     15
           28         15      73           4       0
       Total     422    1962        44     26

            Score : 137,340 

If only I could operate another 10 hours.. I'd get acceptable score... Ah.. well ... next time.

BTW some stations were giving the CQ zone numbers...   I wonder if it will affect the scoring???

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Playing with the USB TV dongle

Yesterday I found in the letterbox the USB TV dongle (Realtek 2832U chip), which I've ordered some time ago at a cost of couple of coffees.

It took me more than half a day to get it going... Hard work for old bloke who is not very computer smart.

OK I got it going and now I can receive FM radio...

All compliments to the creator(s) of the HDSDR program  it is very very good.  I've played with it before using my KX3 as a SDR radio and with soft rock receiver before that.

Now the question is:  Will I be able to make it work as HF receiver??

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day two with a good propagation to US

Several days ago I was asked if the propagation between NA and VK works in our local late afternoon.  Now I can safely say... yes it works if the US station stay awake for a while...

So the answer is YES for sure.

TU all and 73

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pleasant surprise - 20 m propagation to US

The local time is 16:30 and I would expect the LP Europe will be booming.  But instead I got few calls from North America... Nice surprise and thanks OMs for the calls.

73 and hope to see you all again.

Monday, June 17, 2013

All Asia CW contest.

On Saturday I found some free time and decided to have some practice in contesting and at the same time to give some numbers out.

        Band    QSOs    Pts  WPX
           7        1            1      1
          14       1            1      1
          21     169        169   79
          28       2            4      2
       Total     173       175    83

       Score : 14,525

Ten meters band was very disappointing... However it was very pleasant to work Japanese stations.. They certainly behave like true gentlemen.

VK2PN Max Rates:

2013-06-15 0330Z - 3.0 per minute  (1 minute(s)), 180 per hour by VK2PN
2013-06-15 0336Z - 1.6 per minute  (10 minute(s)), 96 per hour by VK2PN
2013-06-15 0341Z - 0.9 per minute  (60 minute(s)), 54 per hour by VK2PN

That run at 0.9 QSO per minute sustained for the whole hour was good fun.

Total Time On was 04:17  (257 mins)

Thanks everybody who called me.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The K3 is repaired

Only yesterday I've unpacked the radio(s) from their traveling cases and put them on the bench.
The poor K3 is deaf... I can hear (or see on the P3) the signal but it is way down.  So I've pulled out all the manuals and started reading.  The fault must have been most likely in several PIN diodes switching/routing the signal.  The first diode (D25) took quite while to find but ... hey it was damaged:

 The little bulge on the middle is the spot which left the smoke out.

I was lucky to have another two in stock from previous "accident".  I'm not telling how it happened... it was me being silly and careless.

 Here is the new diode in place... I'm not that proud about the soldering... but it works..

There you see "the happy family" again... The smile on my face is pretty happy too.  It feels good to fix something so important as radio... eh?

Just worked II1TLC Luc 599 both way via  LP.  Life is good again..

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The CQ WPX CW is over.

As I'm trying to write this... I'm struggling... The CQ WPX CW just finished and Steve VK3TDX and I VK2PN are very tired but delighted.

         Band    QSOs    Pts      WPX
         3.5      13           70      2
           7       237        1387   41
          14     930        2754   398
          21     674       1952    274
          28     356       1036    115
       Total    2210    7199     830

            Score : 5,975,170

Steve's "magic bullet" the rhombic....  Worked pretty well

The "boys" hard at work
48 hours in the chair with very little rest/sleep.

Coffee is coming
Unfortunately we had Murphy to visit us... My K3 packed in after about 20 hours of operating.  It may have inhaled an unhealthy dose of RF into the front end...  Luckily I had the Little K3 with me and I jerry rigged the station to be able to do the job.

I'd like to thank the Manly Warringah Radio Society (my radio club) for a loan of the traps.  Without those we would not be able to transmit at the same time.

Also thanks Trent VK4TS for the tip of using the sugar free Red Bull drink... Yes it works.
Using the KX3 as a main rig... not bad.

Here is the happy team - operators and support after the contest.

Glass of bubbly to all.

The results of the Commonwealth contest were published.

  As I member of the team Australia 2, I was quite pleased with the result.