From my Twitter feed: Field Day, HackRF, intruders

N5NTG
AMATEUR RADIO FIELD DAY – GET OUT AND OPERATE: Field Day Is Just Around The Corner – Plan Now …http://t.co/crdHOFKEno

Chris_Diemoz
Who’s intruding #hamradio bands (and how)? The answer is blowing in the April @IARU_R1Monitoring System newsletter!http://t.co/Afp6XUScxH

n0rc
Giving Away HackRF #sdrhttp://t.co/zxXnOyg4q2 #hamr #diy#electronics

From my Twitter feed: N1MM, good-looking hams, ham-radio growth

EC7AKV
New Version 13.05.00 of #N1MM is available from website http://t.co/wtmm4Q8bj4 #hamr#hamradio #cqwpx #cqww #ure @ure_es

K1NSS
WHY HAMS SO GOOD-LOOKING? Miracle Mask secret coverup shockerhttp://t.co/ZVkrcQQsu8 #hamr #hamradio#RSGB #QRP #CQWW

nnerdsllc
Ham Radio Growing In The Age Of Twitter : NPR - #nerd #hamradio #hamr -http://t.co/4kZ1VJHDSS

From my inbox: 43 years of 73 magazine, SP DX contest, useless answer

I found these three items in my inbox this past week…Dan

73-apr-67-cover43 years of 73 on-line
Wayne Green has now released all back issues of 73 to the public domain. Although the last issue was published more than ten years ago, there’s still lots of good stuff to be found in them. You can download individual issues by going to archive.org. Indexes can be found on these web pages…

The first lists the contents of each issue. The second has direct links to the to the issues at archive.org.

The cover shown at right, a takeoff on MAD Magazine, is one of my favorite covers. Take a closer look at the soldering job Al Freddy is about to attempt. Click on the image to get a larger version if you can’t quite make it out.

Wayne Green actually published the first article that I ever wrote, “Assembling Robots with a TRS-80.” I was 23 or 24 at the time. It was published in Byte, arguably the first widely-read magazine for computer hobbyists. The article was a short one on how to program in assembly language on the TRS-80. It displayed a robot-like thing on the screen using the blocky graphics available on the TRS-80.

 

SP DX Contest actually wants my log
A month ago, I made a few contacts in the SP DX Contest. It was only 20 contacts or so, and I had meant to submit the log, but I soon forgot about it. Well, this morning, I go this e-mail:

The first review of logs received for the SP DX Contest 2013 shows that your callsign KB6NU apears in many logs. However you propably have not submitted your log.

The SP DX Contest took place during the first weekend of April (2013.04.06-07). This year we are celebrating 80th Anniversary of the SP DX Contest as it was organized for the first time in 1933. We would like to make the log checking process as accurate as possible. It will also be a honour for us to list your callsing in the final results.

We would kindly ask to send your log to the SP DX Contest Committee, even if you made only a few contacts, even if perhaps you are a causal contester.

Well, how can I refuse? I’ll have to do this as soon as I can get down to the museum again.

 

Useless answer department
I’ve been doing writeups for the product pages on AmateurRadioSupplies.Com. (Yes, that’s a plug for them, but they’re paying me to do these writeups, and they’re even advertising here on KB6NU.Com.) For the past week, I’ve been working on coax descriptions.

In doing this, one question that came up is why does marine grade coax have a white jacket? I e-mailed a question to Marinco tech support, and got the following answer, “It’s hard to say but I think it is to distinguish it  as marine grade vs. house cable.”

Seriously? That’s all there is to it? Does anyone know the real answer?

Think the bands are crowded during contests? You’re right.

While writing a post for Radio-Sport.net on the CQ WPX contest, I ran across this slide in a recorded webinar on rules changes for 2013:

cq-wpx-activity

I’m sorry about the quality of the slide, but that’s the best I could do. Even with the poor resolution, you can see that the number of logs that have been submitted for the CQ WPX have just about doubled in the last ten years. Nearly, 5,400 logs were submitted for the CQ WPX SSB contest last year, while more than 4,000 were submitted for the CQ WPX CW contest. These numbers do not include stations who participated in the contest in some way, but did not submit a log.

Want to get in on the action? Well, the RTTY and SSB contests are done for the year, but the CW contest is coming up on May 25-26, 2013.

Operating notes: MI QSO Party, Rookie Roundup

I started the weekend off by going to the ARROW monthly breakfast. I don’t know why, but attendance was way down this month. Only eight of us showed up. One notable presence was Sam, KC8QCZ. We hadn’t seen him for quite a while.

After breakfast, I had intended to make a ton of points in the Michigan QSO Party from the Hands-On Museum station. Instead of using WA2HOM, which would have only confused people, we used W8CWN, the former callsign of Dr. Richard Crane, a U-M physicist and the builder of some of the earliest exhibits at the museum.

Ed, AB8OJ, met me down there, but unfortunately, the propagation gods were not with us. 15m and 10m were completely quiet. 20m was a little better, but even there, conditions were only fair to poor. After about three hours, we just gave up with only 74 QSOs in the logbook.

As it turns out, all the activity was on 40m, and we still don’t have the 40m inverted V back up yet at the museum. I really should have made more of an effort to do this last fall. It’s the first thing on my list to do when (if?) the weather here warms up enough to get up on the roof.

Saturday evening, I did operate the MIQP from home for about three hours. Since I don’t have an 80m antenna, I stuck to 40m. I was thinking of trying 20m again, but there was so much activity on 40m, I didn’t bother to listen to 20m.

The propagation was very favorable for MIQP operation. Not only was the propagation long enough to contact the eastern half of the U.S., it was also short enough to make contacts in the neighboring states and many MI counties. I ended up making more than twice as many contacts at home as I did at the museum in roughly the same amount of time. I quit at just after 10pm with just over 40,000 points.

On Sunday, I went down to the museum again for a short time. 20m was still in pretty lousy shape, but I made a couple of CW  contacts, then went looking for the Rotarians on Amateur Radio net. I was again unable to find them, but I did log into the Heathkit Net right at the tail-end of that net.

I then tuned around a bit before pulling the plug. I found a couple of stations working the Rookie Roundup. One of them was working W6YX, the Stanford University Amateur Radio Club station. The other was a husband and wife team working the same station with both their calls. I thought that was pretty cool.

KB6NU places second for Michigan in the Florida QSO Party

I got this in the mail yesterday:

2012-fqp-certificate

My first thought was, “Boy, it sure took them a long time to send this to me.” I honestly don’t even remember working this contest.

Then, I saw the info sheet for this year’s contest. The 2013 Florida QSO Party takes place the weekend of April 27-28. They’re just trying to drum up business. I’ll have to try to get #1 this year. If you’re in Florida, listen for me.

WA2HOM Operating Report: Toad Suck, counties, Polish DX

I had a blast down at WA2HOM today.

One of my first contacts was with W5STR, the club station for the Small Town Amateur Radio Service (STARS), a club in Arkansas. The club was operating from a campground in Toad Suck, AK. Yes, you read that right–the place they were operating from is named Toad Suck, a place that a recent poll says has the “most unfortunate name” in the U.S.

As you may know, I’m a sucker (pun intended) for odd place names. That being the case, I had to find out how Toad Suck got its name. According to their website:

Long ago, steamboats traveled the Arkansas River when the water was at the right depth. When it wasn’t, the captains and their crew tied up to wait where the Toad Suck Lock and Dam now spans the river. While they waited, they refreshed themselves at the local tavern there, to the dismay of the folks living nearby, who said: “They suck on the bottle ’til they swell up like toads.” Hence, the name Toad Suck. The tavern is long gone, but the legend lives on.

I love it.

og3077f_back_1_

Next, I worked Heikki, OG3077F. On his QSL card, found on QRZ.Com and shown above, Heikki says, “I applied for this special callsign to commemorate my contacts with all 3,077 U.S. counties, all on CW, which took me 24 years to complete. I started chasing U.S. counties in 1987, which I met Bud, W0UBT, in Minnesota. He gave me the USA County Record Book, as a gift, and upon my return to Finland, I started to fill it up. Many thanks to all of my local and international county hunter riends for all of your support throughout all of these years.”

Finally, I worked 20 stations in the Polish DX contest. One of the stations I worked was SP9ATE, whose QSL card will be a nice addition to my collection of QSLs from stations whose callsigns spell words. I almost worked SP9GEM, but after many attempts to get him to copy my callsign, he gave up and went on to the next QSO.

Operating notes: DX, OKQP, U-M net, LOTW

DX, DX, DX. I’ve been working a lot of DX lately. It’s almost as if I can’t avoid working DX. About half my recent contacts have been DX contacts, when you subtract the 50 Qs I made in the WI QSO party last weekend. A lot of these have been made calling CQ. It’s still a rush when a DX station answers my CQ.

Working the OK QP at WA2HOM. The Russian DX contest just swamped the Oklahoma QSO Party yesterday. I worked a few OK stations on 20m CW yesterday from WA2HOM, but just about as soon as I worked them, they were gone, as stations working the Russian DX contest took over the frequencies. Phone operation was about the same.

10m was dead yesterday. I only made one contact, EA5BY (which I can hopefully add to my QSL collection as I don’t have a “BY” yet). I called CQ TEST for about ten minutes 3 kHz below EA5BY, but never got any replies.

LOTW. I don’t know what I did differently, but I just got the N3FJP ACLog program to upload my log to Logbook of the World (LOTW). Not only that, LOTW processed the upload in a matter of minutes. So, it looks like the ARRL folks really nailed those LOTW problems…at least for now.

There were four new entities in this latest upload, including Uganda, Oman, and Burundi. This brings my DXCC total up to 118 now, and that doesn’t include my contact with TX5K on Clipperton Is.

U-M ARC Net.  The University of Michigan Amateur Radio Club Net meets every Sunday night at 8pm on the W8UM repeater on 145.23 MHz. It can also be accessed via EchoLink (W8UM-R). It’s a very eclectic net, and you never know who will join us. One guy checks in from Honolulu, mainly to gloat about the weather. Another is  U-M astronomy professor, who sometimes checks in from Chile, when he’s working at a telescope facility down there.

Tonight, I put out a call on Twitter, and Flo, @WM6V joined us from Livingston, TX. Flo is the first of my followers to check in to the net as a result of my Tweets. That was pretty cool.

Amateur radio in the news: School Roundup in WA, Laporte (IN) hamfest, the magic of ham radio

Middle schoolers in North Bend, WA participate in the School Roundup.

Two Rivers calling: Ham radio roundup connects students with learning moments
After a slow morning of attempting to contact other ham radio operators, middle-schoolers at Two Rivers School in North Bend enjoyed an afternoon chatting with people all over the world, as part of the annual School Club Roundup.

Amateur radio enthusiasts flock to La Porte for annual event
For one man it was the discovery of a nearly 100-year-old radio in his attic. For another, it was a Christmas gift that connected him to voices from around the world. And for a third, it was his father’s military career that led him into the world of amateur radio. Hundreds like them gathered in La Porte on Saturday for the annual Cabin Fever Hamfest at the La Porte Civic Auditorium.

Magic Valley Ham Radio Operators Share the Fun
Video allows Magic Valley (ID) amateurs share the magic of our hobby.

Operating Notes: Africa, four new countries, JT65

Operating notes from the last couple of days:

Africa
I finally worked the 5X8C DXpedition in Uganda Thursday night on 40m. They must have worked nearly everyone that’s wanted to work them because they were actually calling CQ. I got them on the second or third call.

On Friday night, after the DX contest had started, I worked 9U4U DXpedition in Burundi on 30m. I thought this a bit odd because I would have thought they would be operating the contest, but apparently not. That made it much easier for me to work them. They were actually calling CQ, and I was able to get them on the second call.

Three new countries for WA2HOM
Yesterday, I went down to WA2HOM. I hadn’t really intended to participate in the ARRL CW DX contest, but after making a couple of phone contacts, I couldn’t resist tuning around to see how conditions were. As it turned out, conditions were pretty good on 10m and 15m. Ii was able to add four new countries (errrrrr, DXCC entities) to the WA2HOM log:

  • New Zealand: ZL3IO, 15m.
  • Peru: OA4SS, 15m
  • Senegal: 6V7S, 10m

@kb6nu
I’m @kb6nu on Twitter and enjoy tweeting about my operating activities there. Several of my followers have said that they enjoy reading my reports. One night last week, after complaining about not getting any replies to my CQs, @VA5LF saw that tweet, fired up his rig, and came back to me. We were having a nice chat until his QRN level jumped.

A lot of the guys on Twitter seem to enjoy working JT65. I’m going to have to look into that.