Thursday, June 25, 2015

Who says "the condx are no good"?

This afternoon (local time) I expected to hear mostly LP Europe, but got lots of US stations (it was getting pretty late there).  All good signals - even QRP (AK6VS).  My little hex beam was swinging from SP US to LP EU every few minutes.

All good fun and thanks guys for the calls (mostly "old friends").


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sulfur crest cockatoos "one" Patrick "nil".

In the last ten days or so flock of cockies got to like my Hex antenna. Here is the result:

It looks like I have to replace most of the wires now... Grrrrrrrrr..... Why me??????

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Musings on speed by contester in training.

  • Speed is everything.
  • Dogs and kids love speed.
All of the above is true, but would speed be the most important feature of contesting?  You the reader may assume the faster you send and receive more QSOs you log.  True or maybe not.

OK... I think that I can copy 100% the calls and the numbers exchanged in CW contest.  Let's say I'm quite comfortable up to or around 30 words per minute. Faster than that my palms get sweaty and the error rate shoots up.
Using the Morse Runner by Alex VE3NEA I'm quite proficient... all calls and numbers in say 30 minutes run.  Immediately I have to ask myself several questions what happens in real contest:

Is my opposite about the same?
  • How the noise and interference on the band affects my and his speed?
  • Since we all give 599, how can he really hear me? Even if I'm copying 599.
  • How sort of antennas my opposite has at his disposal?
  • How is his and mine tiredness  affecting the exchange?
  • How are 70 years old ears performing today?
The above questions are quite tricky to answer.

Any comments?

Patrick VK2PN

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Using the "little" folding antena hex at Steve's.

For the contest Steve very strongly suggested to bring the Folding antenna. Manufactured by Christian DL1ELU.  The antenna is frequent companion on Heidi's and my travels.  I've worked many valuable DX with it. It is a great performer (for Hex type beam), beats the vertical or dipole anytime.

 Starting to unfould the antenna.  There is only one way to do it... VERY CAREFULLY. Otherwise one will finish with tangled mess.

 Coming to successful conclusion.

 Carrying it to the right place.  It is amazingly light, however the Murphy will hook it on any available obstacle.

 Murphy's hook in action.  To clear please use swearword.

 Ready to mate it with the mast.

 Last adjustment... Just don't forget to screw the coax on. (don't lough - done it before).

 Using the drill to "realign" the fastening bolt.

SWR is good on all bands.

 Object d'art.... don't you think?

Not as high as Steve's "big toy".

Unfortunately we found that there was not enough of separation for not interfering with the other radio, despite the fact that we had the W3NQN filters, but used it sporadically mainly pointing to US.  It was very handy to instantly switch from other antenna to this instead of turning the big beam.

All photos taken by Steve VK3JA.


Is it a radio shack or is it a trophy room?

On departure from Steve's VK3JA (VK3TDX and NF6V) I could not help to take a few photos of Steve's shack.  All the walls are covered with plaques and certificates... Amazing stuff.

This wall has the most important certificates and a few plaques.

Ready to add not yet framed recent arrivals

Every nook contains some "valuable" wallpaper..

Another "piece" of wall covered.

The most valuable.

Stuff is everywhere.

The proud owner.

Steve some times says:  That stuff gives me "bragging rights"... For sure I'll second that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Anybody wants to stay without sleep for 48 hours?

Surely not... I'm positive that it is silly idea... of course.  But that what Steve VK3JA and I VK2PN did from Saturday to Monday for the CQ WPX CW contest.  We should have our old heads read.  The fun of serious contesting is for the younger fellows.... but on the other hand WE DID IT.!

The above is a screen shot of the score window minute after the test finished.  We did beat our last year score (the condx were better last year) and "maybe" will keep the VK record for another year.  I'm sure next year a pair of much younger guys will humiliate us... If you are contester and younger than us.... here is the challenge.

As time goes I'll enlarge this blog and/or write an other one with more observations and stories.  Watch this space.

In meantime:

Back again... I've decided to publish Steve's report to the 3830 so here it is:

CQWW WPX Contest, CW

Call: VK3JA
Operator(s): VK3JA VK2PN
Station: VK3JA

Class: M/2 HP
QTH: Rural Melbourne
Operating Time (hrs): 48

 Band  QSOs
  160:    0
   80:    0
   40:  381
   20: 1087
   15:  686
   10:   89
Total: 2243  Prefixes = 894  Total Score = 6,873,072

Club: VK Contest Club


Patrick VK2PN joined me as a multi-two entry for the third straight year in this
event and we enjoyed a long but rewarding weekend in the WPX CW.

Ten meters' condition was far below last year but 24 hour propagation on twenty
meters kept us busy all 48 hours.  Twenty was the best I can recall in WPX with
good participation and low noise and strong signals most of the day and night
in all directions.   A new 40 meter wire yagi at this QTH gave us nice boost
working EU and made up in our score for the poor conditions on ten meters.
Eighty meters was very slow here with no contacts made but 15 meters was a good
performer and even provided morning long path to EU - the first time I've seen
that path active at this QTH.

Mr Murphy tried his best to slow us down with some troubles on Patrick's
portable Hex Beam intended to be used pointing to NA in our morning hours but
it did come through later and it provided some good contacts on ten meters with
JA.  All other potential mishaps were worked around so we celebrated the contest
end with a bottle of Champaign with our cooperative XYL's and hope we may have a
new VK record for multi-two depending on the official scoring.

Thanks to all who called us.  We hope our VK3 multiplier was a help for many.
73!   Steve VK3JA

I guess I should "entertain" you with some photos... well here are some for start:

Steve's smile is most obviously that he just scored nice "juicy" multiplier.
The "champ" in full flight.

Second operator in operating position Nr. 1.  Note the can of Red Bull 
and the "induced" concentration.
 Still smiling.. must be doing fine.

With full support.  Please note the piece of lovely cake in foreground.
"The cake, food, XYL served coffee and other gastronomical 
treats plus lack of household QRM was likely worth at least 1000K 
  The "support" team in their "off" time.

The support team and us celebrating.


To be continued.

The results of the Commonwealth contest were published.

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