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Portable Ops 23/45: 20 Meters Was Fun Today!

KM4ICI – a Virginia Tech Student I
worked today on 20 meters

You never seem to know these days how the bands are going to treat you!  After working just 4 stations in the SKCC WES this weekend – mostly due to only being able to operate for 2 hours – but the bands stunk for me, I was hoping today would be better.

I tuned around on 20 and heard a few signals so I dove right in and started calling CQ with my 5 watt signal from the KX3 into my vertical portable antenna.

I immediately starting working stations….

WJ2L – Bill was near Nashville, TN and was very weak – I couldn’t copy all the QSO, so I don’t know if he was QRP or not, but I think he was.  He also would sign WJ2L/4, which adds to my suspicion he was QRP.

KM4ICI – This was a quick contact, Xiaoyu was working the club station of K4KDS. He is from China but studying Electrical Engineering at Virginia Tech.  K4KDS is the club station of Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association. He is a really new General, and it was fun to work him!

N9ZXL (7114T) – A new SKCC contact for me – Dave was in Illinois and has a couple of Elecraft rigs as well.

W9AKS – Bobby was in Wisconsin and had a booming signal here to Kansas.  He was sending a bit fast for me, but I got the important info!

KE5AL (12776S) – Another new SKCC number for me, Jim answered my QRZ after wrapping up with W9AKS and had a great 599 signal to Kansas today from Texas.  He was running 90 watts, and I asked him to slow down for me as I was only copying about everyother character – and he graciously did!  He said QSB was heavy on his end, but it was not happening on my end.

NT9L (7328S) – Also a new SKCC number for me, John was in Colorado and was running QRO, but after I told him I was QRP he switched over and we completed the QSO both using low power!  He was 599 here, even QRP – his signal sounded a bit different, but still 599.  Thanks John!

So it was a fun time on the radio today from the park.  I have just 10 more unique SKCC numbers to collect and I will finally be a Centurion!  I am having a blast working these guys, and with the sun spots diminishing, keeps things very interesting and fun.

Portable Ops 23/45: 20 Meters Was Fun Today!

KM4ICI – a Virginia Tech Student I
worked today on 20 meters

You never seem to know these days how the bands are going to treat you!  After working just 4 stations in the SKCC WES this weekend – mostly due to only being able to operate for 2 hours – but the bands stunk for me, I was hoping today would be better.

I tuned around on 20 and heard a few signals so I dove right in and started calling CQ with my 5 watt signal from the KX3 into my vertical portable antenna.

I immediately starting working stations….

WJ2L – Bill was near Nashville, TN and was very weak – I couldn’t copy all the QSO, so I don’t know if he was QRP or not, but I think he was.  He also would sign WJ2L/4, which adds to my suspicion he was QRP.

KM4ICI – This was a quick contact, Xiaoyu was working the club station of K4KDS. He is from China but studying Electrical Engineering at Virginia Tech.  K4KDS is the club station of Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association. He is a really new General, and it was fun to work him!

N9ZXL (7114T) – A new SKCC contact for me – Dave was in Illinois and has a couple of Elecraft rigs as well.

W9AKS – Bobby was in Wisconsin and had a booming signal here to Kansas.  He was sending a bit fast for me, but I got the important info!

KE5AL (12776S) – Another new SKCC number for me, Jim answered my QRZ after wrapping up with W9AKS and had a great 599 signal to Kansas today from Texas.  He was running 90 watts, and I asked him to slow down for me as I was only copying about everyother character – and he graciously did!  He said QSB was heavy on his end, but it was not happening on my end.

NT9L (7328S) – Also a new SKCC number for me, John was in Colorado and was running QRO, but after I told him I was QRP he switched over and we completed the QSO both using low power!  He was 599 here, even QRP – his signal sounded a bit different, but still 599.  Thanks John!

So it was a fun time on the radio today from the park.  I have just 10 more unique SKCC numbers to collect and I will finally be a Centurion!  I am having a blast working these guys, and with the sun spots diminishing, keeps things very interesting and fun.

April 2016 QRP Operating Wrap-Up

It was another pretty active month on the radio for me and my KX3.  I have now operated portable 22 times – with my goal being 45 for the year – I think I will make it no problem!

I continued this month really having fun with the SKCC QSO’s and chasing members for my first 100 SKCC contacts so I could claim the Centurion Award.  I ended the month with 83 total contacts toward my ‘C’ – just 17 more and I will be there.

With WES coming up this weekend I should be able to get there in short order!

So here is the recap on the MONTHLY numbers:

Total QSO’s all modes: 81

Total CW QSO’s: 75
Total PSK31 QSO’s: 6

Total SKCC QSO’s: 65

I apologize to those I have worked but have not documented here on the blog during my portable operations – but sometimes lack of time gets the best of me!

A couple DX highlights from this month – I worked ZL2BLQ in New Zealand on 15 meters and LW3EX on 10 meters with just 5 watts and my portable QRP antenna from a local park!

Even with these poor propagation conditions, I am still having a blast with just 5 watts and a wire!

April 2016 QRP Operating Wrap-Up

It was another pretty active month on the radio for me and my KX3.  I have now operated portable 22 times – with my goal being 45 for the year – I think I will make it no problem!

I continued this month really having fun with the SKCC QSO’s and chasing members for my first 100 SKCC contacts so I could claim the Centurion Award.  I ended the month with 83 total contacts toward my ‘C’ – just 17 more and I will be there.

With WES coming up this weekend I should be able to get there in short order!

So here is the recap on the MONTHLY numbers:

Total QSO’s all modes: 81

Total CW QSO’s: 75
Total PSK31 QSO’s: 6

Total SKCC QSO’s: 65

I apologize to those I have worked but have not documented here on the blog during my portable operations – but sometimes lack of time gets the best of me!

A couple DX highlights from this month – I worked ZL2BLQ in New Zealand on 15 meters and LW3EX on 10 meters with just 5 watts and my portable QRP antenna from a local park!

Even with these poor propagation conditions, I am still having a blast with just 5 watts and a wire!

SKCC PFX Award!

As I have been documenting on the blog I have really been having fun using a straight key and chasing other SKCC members on the band.  Right now I have worked 78 members, I just need 22 more to get my Centurion award.
On the way to this achievement I was able to work enough unique call prefixes to earn the PFX award.  The basic way this works is that each unique call sign prefix is equal in points to their SKCC number.  For example my SKCC number is 8033, so my N0 prefix would be worth 8,033 points.
For this first award you need to collect 500,000 points – which I have been able to do.
If you enjoy CW and want to work a bunch or really nice guys, and great operators you really need to get involved with this club.  It is FREE to get involved with.  Just visit http://www.skccgroup.com and get your number! 

SKCC PFX Award!

As I have been documenting on the blog I have really been having fun using a straight key and chasing other SKCC members on the band.  Right now I have worked 78 members, I just need 22 more to get my Centurion award.
On the way to this achievement I was able to work enough unique call prefixes to earn the PFX award.  The basic way this works is that each unique call sign prefix is equal in points to their SKCC number.  For example my SKCC number is 8033, so my N0 prefix would be worth 8,033 points.
For this first award you need to collect 500,000 points – which I have been able to do.
If you enjoy CW and want to work a bunch or really nice guys, and great operators you really need to get involved with this club.  It is FREE to get involved with.  Just visit http://www.skccgroup.com and get your number! 

Portable Ops 18/45: 20 Meters was good today!

I finally got a chance today to play on the radio – my first time on the air since the SKCC WES!  Much to my enjoyment 20 meters was actually playing nice for me!

I went over the local park near my office and got set up – it is a absolutely beautiful spring day here in Kansas.

Setup in my Honda Pilot – J-37 key to KX3 coax out to
31′ Jackite pole with vertical wire from a 9:1 UNUN
 – works great!

After tuning around a bit and not hearing anything, I decided everyone must be listening and nobody seemed to be calling CQ – so today I decided to only call CQ!

And the contacts began almost immediately….

AI4UL (6327) – Bob gave me a call from North Carolina with a nice 559 signal – he gave me a 569 report.

VA5CW (4326S) – Bill gave me a call from Saskatchewan Canada – and he was very loud – 599!  He was running 100 watts into a yagi, so I am sure that helped.  He dropped his power to 5 watts and I could still copy him very well.  We had a nice chat, and a nice two way QRP QSO!

KF7WJY (14522T) – Tim returned my call from Nevada, but we both had very weak signals 339 both ways.  It was a slug, but we managed to finish up the QSO.  Thanks Tim!

K2PAY (4304S) – Jerry was very weak when he first returned my call from Long Island, NY – 339 here in Kansas.  He gave me a 459.  QSB got the best of his signal when he was telling me his power, so I don’t know if he was QRP or not – I think he said 50 watts, but not sure. (update: a PM on the SKCC sked page Jerry said he was at 50 watts)

KG7VTO (14714) – Bob called me with a 559 from Pendleton, OR.  After reading his QRZ page, and looking at his SKCC number, I figured out he is a pretty new ham.  He just got his ticket fall of 2015 and joined SKCC in December 2015.  Bob had a nice fist and it was a pleasure to work a newer ham – glad you were bit by the CW bug Bob!

W4RMM (2471T) – last QSO of the day goes to Bill from Alabama!  He was pretty weak here in Kansas with a 339, and he gave me a 449.  We kept it short because I had to get back to work.

Thanks to all that answered me – you provided me a truly enjoyable lunch time portable operation!

What a fun day on the radio!  I picked up several new SKCC numbers towards my Centurion Quest, and just had a fun time with the J-37 key.

The map of the Reverse Beacon Network from my calling CQ today – pretty impressive!


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  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor