Archive for the ‘qrp’ Category

Hunting Foxes With QRP






For those of us that enjoy CW as well as QRP operating, the Winter QRP Fox Hunt nights make for an exciting combination of both interests.




The QRP Fox Hunt is an operating event during which low power (QRP) stations or "Hounds", attempt to make contact with specific QRP stations designated as "The Fox".

Spanning a twenty week period from November to April, each week sees two Fox Hunt events ... one on Tuesday evening and another on Thursday evening. The Tuesday night event sees the Hounds go hunting on 40m, while on Thursdays, the move to 80m, for an even greater challenge.

For each evening, there are two assigned 'Fox stations', usually one in the east and one in the west. The object of the hunt is for the hounds (you and I) to find and work the fox ... both foxes if you can, as bagging both is the ultimate goal. This all sounds pretty easy except for the fact that all foxes and all hounds are limited to 5W output or less, and therein lies the fun! If you have never heard a pileup of QRP stations, it is worth tuning in just to listen ... a multi-station cacophony of QRP signals, all around 559 or weaker ... it's not your typical kilowatt-laden ear crushing pileup!

The 40m foxes will be found between 7030 and 7050, while the ones on 80m will be between 3550 and 3570 kHz. Most foxes make a habit of working split, usually listening 'up 1', so once you find the pileup, the fox is easier to locate.

The hunts begin at 0200Z and run until 0329Z ... early evening here on the west coast and mid-evening out east.

Complete rules and a 'Fox Hunt Primer' may be found on the QRP Fox Hunt home page here. For discussion of the individual events and soapbox comments, join the QFox ioGroup site here or join the chat in Facebook's QFox QRP Foxhunt Group.

If you're in search of some challenging week-night operating fun, you may just find what you are looking for with the bi-weekly QRP Fox Hunts. Working both foxes is not as easy as it might sound and is an excellent test for your antenna system and of your CW operating skills. Come and join the fun this coming Tuesday ... no special hunting permits required!

Radio Kit Guide Updated

Updated radiokitguide at http://radiokitguide.com

This is a list I maintain of available radio kits on the Internet.

Feel free to suggest any that I missed.

–Neil W2NDG

Forward thinking and food for thought.

Sorry there has been very little activity from me during the last few months, family stuff has taken up a lot of my spare time recently, and radio has been well off the menu. However I will try and get back into the Blog as our Summer comes to an end.

I was recently contacted by one of the Telford Hamfest organisers asking me to give a talk:

 We would like to invite you to give a "talk" at our "Telford Hamfest" QRP, orientated, would be great. The date for our Hamfest is Sunday September 2nd 2018. We expect to put on three "Talks". The "Talks" would last about 40(ish), minutes, with a Q&A after each, with a gap until the next talk. The timings are 11.30,12.30 and 13.30. I hope you are able to take us up on our offer Steve
--------------------

The Telford Hamfest is a Radio rally which has been held around the Telford area for many years at various venues. But for a number of years has stabilised at being held at Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, and also now incorporates the G-QRP Convention as an added bonus.

Well Stephen had already decided he wasn't going to the Hamfest this year, so it all arrived too late! But it is with interesting thought what I would of talked about, and who actually put me up for this, I could name a few?

The last lecture I gave is when I ran a Packet radio BBS and node (GB7RUG) some 20 years ago. Talks don't just come together overnight, sorry I had no real time to prepare anyway. So Telford Radio club and G-QRP thanks for asking, I might do it next year if you give me enough time to think about it?

Actually by now I have mulled it over I have even thought in my dreams what I would of chatted about Hmmm! Humm!

See you all next year :-)


The Pedernal – My SOTA Activation

Some things in life are very special and others, very ordinary. The difference, I suppose, is dependent on the individual. I recently had an experience that, to me, was very special and, of course, it is the subject of this post. As I write this April of 2018, I have summited more than 265 mountains, hills and mesas as I enjoy the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program. For the uninitiated, SOTA is an award program for amateur radio operators who get points for making radio contacts from qualifying summits. Some summits are tougher than others, some higher than others but a few are very special. One such special summit for me is the narrow mesa in northern New Mexico called Cerro Pedernal. In English, the words mean "hill of flint".

The Pedernal, as it is commonly known, was made famous by the American artist Georgia O'Keefe,  O'Keefe is quoted as saying, "It's my private mountain. It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it." O'Keefe not only painted the mountain itself but incorporated its image in many other paintings. Moving to New Mexico permanently in 1949, O'Keefe painted the surrounding area in a prolific way, capturing the area in art as no-one has before or since. Upon her death, at the age of 98, O'Keefe's ashes were spread on the summit of the Pedernal.

Pedernal
Painted by Georgia O'Keefe 1942

 In SOTA speak, the reference for Pedernal is W5N/SE-018. A nondescript reference to a magnificent natural monument that doesn't do justice to the mountain it refers to. The Pedernal is much more than a number or a name. I had pondered climbing the Pedernal for a couple of years. One of my SOTA climbing buddies, Fred, KT5X, a full time resident of New Mexico, had climbed it a couple of times and had volunteered to show me the way. However, it seemed to never become a priority as we opted for easier climbs. Then an award was created by New Mexico SOTA aficionados called the Iconic Peaks of New Mexico award (check out WS0TA on QRZ.com for the list and rules). The requirement for a non-resident is to climb 5 of the 10 Iconic Peaks. I had done 4, The Pedernal would be the 5th and qualify me for Award #1 for the non-resident Iconic Peaks award. Not that I'm competitive but, with an award at stake, climbing the Pedernal became a priority.  

 Ascending the Pedernal is no cake walk. The summit tops out at 9,866 feet above sea level and dominates the horizon. Protected by cliffs, the summit is very narrow ranging from 10 ft - 20 ft wide and the slopes leading to the final, rocky ascent, are very steep. There is, however, a weakness on the back side of the mesa that allows those, willing to do a little rock climbing, access to the summit. Negotiating the rock face is the key to a successful climb.

The Near Vertical Climb
The actual route is up the left side

As we stood in front of the rock face standing between us and the summit, there was a bit of trepidation. I'd climbed faces more difficult than this in the past, albeit more than 30 years ago. After a few minutes of analyzing the route and some coaching on the best hand holds from Fred, I ascended the face successfully. The difficult part was over, but a steep climb up a narrow trail remained and close attention must be paid to ensure a totally safe ascent.

After some arduous climbing into the thinning air, we were on top. Summiting the Pedernal was an awe inspiring, almost spiritual experience. I've climbed dozens of mountains that are taller, much taller, but none of those climbs could match the experience of climbing this peak. I've stared at this iconic landmark for years, imagining what it must be like to be on top and now, here I was. For the first time in my SOTA activation history, I put the pack down and instead of grabbing the radio to set up, I picked up the camera to capture the moment. Fred and I spent 10 - 15 minutes just soaking it in. 

AD5A and KT5X on the summit of the Pedernal
We did finally put the cameras down and pick up our radios to set up on the summit. Too bad those calling us couldn't see what we saw as we made the QSO's, 31 of them with AD5A and 40 for WS0TA ( aka, KT5X),  which is a good day on any summit, but especially gratifying from the top of this iconic narrow mesa.
AD5A on top of the Pedernal
View from  the top
The trip down was uneventful, although I was a bit concerned about descending the rock face, getting down it was relatively easy. The hike back to the truck was very satisfying and I caught myself numerous times turning around to catch a glimpse of the summit from which I had just descended. Awesome.

Short Demonstration of Using Ham Radio Deluxe with WSJT-X and FT8 Digital Mode

Ham Radio Deluxe can log your WSJT-X FT8, JT65A, and JT9 QSOs, via the JT-Alert software. This is a demonstration of my use of HRD and Logbook, during an FT8 QSO,today.

As some of you know, I have had some differences of opinion regarding the selection of frequencies chosen by the FT8 creators and advocates. Regardless, I do still use the mode. Here is proof:

Go ahead and share, if you would. And, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, as I will be creating many how-to videos in the near future.

Thanks and 73 … de NW7US

Ham Radio Deluxe 6.4.0.794 Released

I just received some good news from Mike, WA9PIE.  He writes in an email:

The first release of Ham Radio Deluxe for 2018 (Ham Radio Deluxe version 6.4.0.794) is now available for download. Please download it from the Download pages on our website at:

www.Ham-Radio-Deluxe.com

This release includes a number of important changes including the addition of the Icom IC-7610, resolves a Logbook exit problem, resolves “sort on LOTW date”, API for QSO Forwarding now populates Logbook with My Station data, a number of fixes for the Kenwood TS-480, applications remember screen position, enable CI-V address to be entered directly, and a number of stability enhancements.

The full release notes can be found here:

http://ReleaseNotes.Ham-Radio-Deluxe.com

I would like to acknowledge and thank Mike Blaszczak (K7ZCZ) and our beta team on their hard work in getting this release out.

All those who have purchased Ham Radio Deluxe at any time in the past should download and install this version in order to benefit from all bug fixes. You are entitled to them. Our clients who are covered by an active Software Maintenance and Support period are entitled to Feature Enhancements.

As announced previously, we expect to release as many as 9 releases in 2018. There will be no releases between 1-Nov and 1-Jan. We continue to focus on reducing our development backlog with five developers dedicated to all applications in the suite.

Please watch these newsletters for updates. Pass these updates along to your friends. Newsletters will also be posted on our website’s blog at:

https://www.Ham-Radio-Deluxe.com/blog

Thank you es 73 de Mike, WA9PIE

HRD Software, LLC

Keep The Faith, Having Fun With No Sunspots

I was motivated to write this today after looking at the solar flux number which sat at 67.  I don't know if I've ever seen the flux this low. I think I've seen 68 a lot, but not 67. Truly, things must be really bad.

As it would happen today, with the flux at 67,  I did my 258th SOTA activation on a summit near Santa Fe, NM that has no name, but goes by it's elevation, 8409. There are beautiful views in every direction, from the summit of 8409, and I enjoyed them immensely. With me, on my trek up the mountain, was my KX2, a 21ft. collapsible pole to support a 29 ft. piece of wire through an 81 to 1 transformer. I feed the antenna about a foot above the ground and run the wire up the pole in an inverted L configuration. The pole was propped up among the branches of a pine tree and I tied off the antenna to a close-by pine branch. I had the power set to 5 watts and tuned the wire with the KX2. I  operated CW using the Elecraft plug-in paddle and I logged with a golf pencil on a, write in the rain, index card. The temperature was a crisp 39 degrees, but the sun was shining and not wisp of a breeze. It was a good day to be on the mountain top.

I was on the air from 1642z - 1722z. I operated on 40, 30m, 20m and 17m and completed 40 QSO's in the 40 minutes that I was on the air from 8409. Also, with the flux at 67, I managed to work two EU stations, ON and EA. I heard a 9A calling me but we couldn't complete the contact. So, 40 QSO's, coast to coast in the US and 2 DX QSO's from EU was my catch for the day. Not bad for a short QRP/portable outing. Keep in mind that's with the flux at 67. I'm glad I didn't look at the numbers before I left or I might have been a bit discouraged and perhaps wouldn't have gone out at all. I would have missed the beautiful views, the warming sunshine and a QSO a minute QRP operation. I wouldn't have worked EU with 5 watts and a wire. I would have had to put off my 258th SOTA activation for another day.

The moral of this story is simple, don't look at the numbers. In fact I would recommend that you ignore them. There is plenty of fun to be had keying up your radio even when conditions, or at least the numbers, are this bad.

Keep the Faith. Go call CQ. I was glad I did.

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