Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1915 April 25 2014

  • One-way record - 3100 miles on 630 meters down-under 
  • KickSat and its Sprites are now on-orbit
  • Locations of WRTC 2014 station venues announced
  • Registration for GAREC 2014 now open
  • Lots of enforcement action from the FCC
  • A very special new booth at Hamvention 2014
Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, is the co-founder and producer of Amateur Radio Newsline. Contact him at [email protected].

Nice SOTA Trip to New Mexico

I took a long weekend trip, Thursday - Monday over the Easter holidays, to travel to Santa Fe, NM to accomplish two things. The first, get a break from the day job and secondly to activate as many Summits as possible. It has been a while since I took a serious SOTA trip, way back in February to be exact and I was getting Summit fever. So I caught a plane on Wednesday night so I could hit the ground running, or climbing, on Thursday morning.

As the days passed, I activated 6 summits. Two each on Thursday and Friday and one each on Saturday and Sunday. Three of the peaks are mountains I had done before, Ortiz, Montoso and 7472 while the other three were new ones for me, Tetilla, Palomas and Escobas. Including the winter bonus I was able to collect 58 points to bring my total activator points to 349 or a little more than a third of the way to my goal of 1,000 points. On this trip I used the FT-817, pico paddle, Elecraft T-1 tuner and an LNR 40-20-10 EFHW mounted on my carbon fiber extendable 21' fishing pole. I operated 30 meters through 12 meters on most summits.

Operating on Palomas W5N/SI-010

Considering that I am a third of the way, what have I learned along the way. As I gave that notion some thought it brought to mind the following.

1. My activating process is much more efficient, i.e., pack weight, antenna configuration, set-up time.
2. I am much more confident in my previously rusty orientation skills. I don't need a trail to get to a summit and back.
3. I'm in much better shape than when I started. I've dropped pounds and added endurance.
4. I've explored much more of this country, getting to summits off the beaten path, than I would have ever done otherwise.
5. I've met a fantastic community of activators and chasers who share a common bond of a love a radio and the outdoors.

It is exciting when two of your hobbies converge into one activity and that is what SOTA is to me.

To add a star to this trip, my XYL Cris, KC5HZQ, was able to activate four of the summits on a combination of 2 meter and 10 meter QSO's. She now has 38 points. So she is off an running. I'm glad I got a 300 point headstart on her.

Mike Crownover, AD5A, is a regular contributor to and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Cut short

Every now and then, my lunch time QRP sessions are cut short by a work crisis. Such was the case today.  Not hearing many strong signals during my initial tune through, I decided to call CQ for a while and then go back to search and pounce.  I managed to call CQ alright, but never got to the search and pounce portion of the plan.  My cell phone buzzed in my pocket and demanded a quick return to my desk to handle "a situation".

The bright side is that my CQs, although unanswered, were at least heard:

Courtesy of Reverse Beacon Network and Google

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!
Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Pulled out my dummy load tonight

Press image for a better view of the dummy load
Testing a transmitter means the use of a dummy load. Trying to be considerate, I don't want to cause unnecessary interference with my signals. So when I want to test my Ultimate 3 QRSS/WSPR kit I also pull out one of my dummy loads.

It measures just 9-10 mm across and is the size of a BNC connector. It is simply one of the many Ethernet terminations that I have lying around. Its built-in 50 ohm resistor is rated at something like 0.25 W. Considering that the kit outputs something like 200 mW that should mean that there is enough margin and no forced air cooling or liquid cooling is required.

These terminators were used with 10BASE2 or 10BASE5 ethernet. They are not so common anymore so the terminators are not that easy to find any longer. But they are still very handy for testing QRPP transmitters.

The size of these dummy loads should point out in a very vivid way how tiny the power levels of these transmitters are. Despite that, when running with the effective WSPR code, they can still be decoded on the other side of the globe.

Showing just the back of a piece of equipment is contrary to my bragging instincts, so for completeness, the front of the Ultimate 3 QRSS/WSPR kit is also shown. It is housed in the minimalistic, but beatifully crafted acrylic enclosure from M0ION.

Related posts:

Sverre Holm, LA3ZA, is a regular contributor to and writes from Norway. Contact him at [email protected].

Doing the math

I've been doing some investigating with my computerized logbook.  In the over 11,000 entries that I have in it, I took the time to tally the numbers for CW QSOs vs. Non-CW (Digital, Phone) QSOs. CW makes up for 98.7% of my operating.

Speaking of computerized logbooks, I am playing around more and more with Log4OM and am taking a liking to it.  It may soon become my full time computer logging software.  I still have a few issues to work out - such as why the distances displayed are in kilometers even though I have the "display distances in miles" checkbox checked. Also, I have to get the program to hook up with LoTW and eQSL.  I think those are minor issues, especially after watching the YouTube videos on the subject by Terry G4POP.

Additionally, Ham Radio Deluxe has developed a glitch which has me puzzled.  When I have the Cluster display open, if I click on a DX station that is on a band other than what I am currently on, the KX3 will go to that station and then immediately back to where I am/was.

Let's say I just worked W1AW/1 on 7.038 MHz, and I see on the Cluster that EM7XX is on 14.004 MHz.  If I use my mouse to click on EM7XX, the KX3 will go to 14.004 MHz, but then will immediately go back to 7.038 MHz.  It never used to do that.  In the past, it would have gone to 14.004 MHz and would have stayed there.  I have de-installed and re-installed HRD, but for whatever reason, it doesn't want to behave properly anymore.  And while I'm trying to save up for the PX3, I really don't want to pop a hundred bucks for the new version of HRD. Log4OM is not behaving that way, it's acting like it should and it's free, so ............... I think you can see where I'm headed.

I have played around with the DX Lab Suite and for some reason it would not import about a 1,000 of my QSOs via ADIF import.  The same thing happened with Logger32. Log4OM imported every single QSO that I had in HRD. I was looking at nGenLog and kind of liked it, but for some reason after the initial session, it hangs up and freezes my computer when trying start up the next session. It's so bad that I have to hit CTRL-ALT-DELETE to access the Task Manager in order to stop the program and get the computer running again.

Maybe it's also time for a new computing platform in the shack.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!
Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

W1AW/Ø Change in Schedule

I posted my planned intentions of operating W1AW/Ø from Colorado last week.  Unfortunately I’ve had to make a slight change to my on-air schedule to accommodate a scheduling conflict which will allow me to speak to a local amateur radio club about SOTA or Summits on the Air.

As it stands today, I will operate W1AW/Ø on the following dates/times/bands/modes:

23 May 0000z – 0300z – 20m – phone

25 May 1500z – 1800z – 20m – phone 

I may sign up for additional time slots if needed.  I’ll post an update the week before Colorado will be on the air.  In the mean time, I’m getting on the air as much as possible and working as many stations as I can for the ARRL Centennial QSO Party.  I hope to work you either during my time operating W1AW/Ø or as KDØBIK.  Either way, ain’t this hobby great?

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

Jerry Taylor, KD0BIK, is a regular contributor to and writes from Colorado, USA. He is the host of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. Contact him at [email protected].

LHS Episode #127: Dirty Catfish

Walking Catfish moving across muddy ground , out of waterIn this episode, your intrepid hosts discuss several ham-radio related stories including operators interfering with jail communications, getting lost in strange valleys, and transmitting through a hammock. But that’s only the beginning. Thanks for tuning, and for being a valued listener of our show.

73 de The LHS Guys

Russ Woodman, K5TUX, co-hosts the Linux in the Ham Shack podcast which is available for download in both MP3 and OGG audio format. Contact him at [email protected].

20 m in a good shape

Propagation on 20 meter was very good this morning. Best DX was ZL3DMH 18668 km with WSPR 5 watts. Also a lot of short skip in Europe.

Paul Stam, PC4T, is a regular contributor to and writes from the Netherlands. Contact him at [email protected].

This Spewed Out of the Internet #27

0511-0701-3118-0930More important things spewing forth from the interwebz:

The Ham Hijinks guys have been at it again, with this article: New Drug Aims To Get More Hams On The Air
Warning: Do Not Take These Guys Seriously, It Only Encourages Them

Chiming in on April 1st, Dan KB6NU reported that the FCC is going to reinstate the Morse Code test.

I posted an article about using UTC over at Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

KB9VBR has a nice article that explains the common types of antenna connectors used with ham radio.

Elliot KB0RFC has been writing some interesting stuff about D-STAR, DMR and other things digital on his blog. See his latest article: Developing a DMR / D-STAR radio

James R. Winstead, KD5OZY, of Coleman, Texas found out that sometimes the FCC does show up and bust radio amateurs that are causing problems on the air. See the ARRL article here. It always cracks me up when the FCC Engineer reports that during their station inspection, the offender’s radio is still tuned to the frequency where the problems were occurring.

Serious DXers all over the world are in severe depression after finding out that Crimea is Not a New DXCC Entity. Conspiracy Theory: the whole thing was instigated by a group of hams that believed Crimea would be a new one.

73, Bob K0NR

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

LHS Episode #126: We Blinded Ourselves with Science

o-GRAVITY-WAVES-570In this episode, we get all science crazy. Lots of fun science topics to tickle the brain are in store. Along with that, we pursue the new LTS release of Ubuntu, the disappearance of Maylasia Airlines flight MH370, and some pretty cool tunes. There’s even some ham radio content thrown in, ’cause that’s how we roll.

73 de The LHS Guys

Russ Woodman, K5TUX, co-hosts the Linux in the Ham Shack podcast which is available for download in both MP3 and OGG audio format. Contact him at [email protected].

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