Posts Tagged ‘Operating. DX’

If you think today’s pile ups are a zoo – just wait!

As the Brooklyn Dodger fans used to day, "Wait till next year!"

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

I am addicted

Hello …. my name is Larry and I am a pileup addict.

Or at least that’s the way it seems lately!  For the past few days, everytime I have gotten on the air and worked a station, I had to bust a pileup in order to do it.  Of course, the Fox hunts are nothing but a big QRP pileup and I snared both Lee AA4GA and Johnny ACØBQ on 40 Meters last night.  OK, there really wasn’t much of a pileup on Lee, I have to confess – but there was for a while. By the time I was able to hear him well enough to work him, his pileup had dwindled.

But after the Fox hunts, I swung down to the low end of 40 Meters and busted the pileup to work Jim J6/W4QO, one of the QRP guys who is on DXpedition to St. Lucia.  Then, I beat two pileups at lunchtime today. The first was to work another good QRP friend on St. Lucia. This time it was Jerry J6/N9AW on 17 Meters.  That was a full blown pileup and Jerry was working them fast and fierce, in a manner that would make any grizzly hardened DXpedition veteran proud. And lest I slight him, Jim’s performance last evening was every bit as good as Jerry’s.  Two top notch QRPers and all-around ops in Jim and Jerry.

See, participating in those Fox hunts DOES help!  We actually learn a thing or two – not only how to navigate pileups, but also how to manage them.

Later at lunchtime, I busted a pileup to work ZD8UW on 12 Meters – Ascension Island.  At 5 Watts out from my end, that came out to just a smidge more than 1000 Miles per Watt.

Working a pileup can sometimes make you want to bang your head against the wall.  You’re in there, sending out your call in what seems like a hopeless battle, ala` Don Quixote.  But then, you hear your call coming back to you and you complete the exchange for another rare one in the books, and all thoughts of bloodying yourself disappear in the breeze!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

PS: I am working on the finishing touches to a new Christmas story.  Look for it here as we get closer to the Holiday.

A very good night

And if I wasn’t so tired, I’d probably stay on the air for a little longer; but alas, I am just about ready to call it a day. As soon as I finish this post, I will turn in.

I have read and heard reports of the big flare that occurred, and how we’re supposed to get hit tomorrow with potentially huge geomagnetic disruptions.. Main stream media news outlets are saying that we might see aurora tomorrow night, even here in NJ.  If that  is true, then tomorrow’s HF conditions will probably be, how shall we say, less than optimal?

But tonight was a good night.  20 and 30 Meters were exceptional.  On 20 Meters, I worked E74UB in Bosnia-Herzegovina, LZ1QI in Bulgaria, TF3JB in Iceland (with 2.5 Watts!), and the topper – the prize for the night A71CM in Qatar.  I have never worked Qatar before, ever  -and to get him in the log with 5 Watts had me doing the happy dance.

On 30 Meters, I actually had two honest-to-goodness QSOs with Lin G4DZE in England and Viorel YO6LV in Romania.  When you can have a civil QSO with more details that RST and TU, it’s always special.  Special thanks to Lin and Viorel for that.  I also worked SP6EIY in Poland and UY5BA in the Ukraine.

40 Meters was a little tougher, but I managed to work H70ORO, a special event station down in Nicaraguan to finish out the evening.

For the record, all tonight’s QSOs were completed with the KX3, using the HF9V on 20 Meters and the 88′ EDZ on 30 and 40 Meters.

I am making so many typos here that it’s ridiculous – thank God for spell check!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Frustration X2

In honor of Holy Week, I will be charitable and not refer to certain ops the way I might normally be so inclined.

I had two nice rag chews on 40 Meters busted up by inconsiderate ops.  The first QSO was with Howard K4LXY.  This was a 2X QRP QSO. Howard was using his KX1 and I was using my KX3. We were going at it pretty well until a certain W2 station (I will refrain form posting the suffix, although I certainly made note of it) came on frequency and called CQ right on top of us. Before that, another station came on frequency, but had the decency to “QRL?” and politely moved when he discovered that there was a QSO in progress.  Unfortunately, this W2 station didn’t bother with such niceties.

The second QSO was with Hank K1PUG.  Hank had answered my CQ, which I sent AFTER listening to the frequency to make sure it wasn’t being used AND after sending a “QRL?” with no response. Our QSO was evolving into a rather nice discussion about the Ten Tec equipment that Hank was using.  Again, this chat was going nicely until some digital mode (not familiar with the sound enough to know which mode it was) user came on and just put the complete kibosh on things. For crying out loud, we were on 7.035 MHz.  Can’t digital stations stay above 7.060 MHz? It’s bad enough when they practically come down to the Extra portion of the band on contest weekends. Can’t they leave CW ops in peace during a weeknight?

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon OF …… back in the 90’s when I was doing A LOT of digital mode work, we made sure to stay above 7.060 MHz on 40 Meters – EVEN during contest weekends.  Has civility been completely thrown out the window?  Man, I hate sounding like some bitter old man; but now I think I can begin to understand how they get that way.

Anyway, I jumped on over to 30 Meters to escape the madness and worked HC1MD/HC2, Dr. Rick Dorsch in Ecuador.  Rick is operating from the Fallaron Dillon Lighthouse through Friday, according to his QRZ page.

Although Dr. Rick was 599 here, I didn’t know whether or not to expect that I was going to be able to get him with QRP.  For some reason, I don’t always have the best of luck working South American stations.  I guess maybe my antennas don’t radiate all that well in that direction.  But I did indeed, work Dr. Rick with 5 Watts with the 88′ EDZ antenna.  According to the QRZ page, Dr. Rick was using a Yaesu FT-857D at 100 Watts to an Outbacker vertical.  When I read that after our QSO, I was even more impressed! I wonder if he’s an ear doctor, because he has to have a good pair of ears to have picked me out of the pack!

And so ends my night.  Have to turn in so I can get up and go to work tomorrow.  But Friday is a day off as it’s Good Friday.  The bad news is that W3BBO e-mailed me today to inform me that the Easter Island DXpedition ceased operations today.  Another one missed!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Right place at the right time

I was able to get on the air for a bit this afternoon – I guess it would be more appropriate to say this evening, as it was getting dark.  The Christmas lights in the neighborhood, or whatever, were playing havoc with my receiver tonight.  It seems like there’s S9 noise no matter which band I go to and no matter which antenna I switch to.

However, on 17 Meters, blasting in above the noise was JN4MMO calling CQ.  Japan!  I have worked Japan before, but never QRP.  Japan to New Jersey is always a long hop and with 5 Watts, I really had my fingers crossed.

It took some patience to be heard and then a few repeats – but Andy finally heard me!  I gave him a 599 report and got a 539 in return.  It was dusk here and just a tiny bit past dawn in Japan (according to DX Atlas) so I am willing to bet that there was some grayline influence there.

No matter!  I will take a QSO with a Japanese op any day of the week.  Now as far as I’m concerned, that’s DX!  And it just goes to show (at least in my case anyway) that you don’t always have to be good, you just need to be lucky!

I am hoping for a bit more activity on 80 Meters tonight as we get further into the darkness.  I would like to get some practice in tonight with the Bug, in anticipation of Straight Key Night tomorrow evening.

As the New Year approaches, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish all of you a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.  May your days be filled with laughter and enjoyment, love and happiness. And may you always have numerous sunspots and really good propagation when you turn on your radios!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!


Lots of yard work today.  As a reward, I put some time in behind the key tonight.  All the bands seemed to have a lot of background noise tonight for some reason. Last night, while listening on 20 Meters during the QRP Fox hunt, the background noise was almost non-existent.

Anyway, I worked OK1DX on 30 Meters at 10.120 MHz. He was calling “CQ DX” and wasn’t getting any takers. So I threw my call out there and got an immediate response.  Pavel was 579 here and I got a 559 in return.  No surprise there.  The QSO was a bit more than your normal run of the mill DX QSO; and by the end, Pavel had told me that I had also come up to 579.

Here’s the kicker.  I was running 5 Watts to my 88′ EDZ antenna.  He was pushing 400 Watts into a dipole. My first inclination at learning he was pushing 400 Watts, was to wonder why he was only 579 here. I would have thought at that power he would have been 599+.

Of course, there are reasons for that, I know. But sometimes, even as a QRPer, I fall into that “more power equals louder” trap myself.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Happy Dance Time!

Turned on the radio to around 14.060 MHz, hoping to hear some QRPers, only to hear “CQ NA”.  I didn’t remember that the North American QSO Party was this weekend.  Regular readers of this blog know that except for short QRP Sprints, W2LJ is not big into contests.  I have nothing against them; just can’t force my butt into a chair for a long enough period of time to make it interesting for myself.

So instead of kvetching, I pushed the band button on the K3 and took ‘er up the road to 17 Meters.  I love 17 Meters! When the band is open there is usually all kinds of good DX.  Tonight was no different – and since 17 Meters is a WARC band – no contesting!

So, as is my usual routine, I started at the bottom of the band at 18.068 MHz and slowly twiddled the VFO dial upward.  I came to a stop at around 18.074 MHz. D3AA calling “CQ UP” – not too many takers, a small pile up building, but still not bad yet.

Where the heck is D3AA?  I quickly plop D3AA in to AC Log.  Angola.  Hot dog – Angola is a new one!  Never worked Angola – QRP or QRO (100 Watts) before.

I throw my call out a couple of times; but no dice.  D3AA is up and down. One time he calls, he’s 599 – next time, 569. So I’m thinking to myself that he’s going to fade and that I missed the best propagation (as usual).  But no!  As time goes along, he’s actually getting louder; but the pile up is also growing, commensurately.  The K3 makes it pretty easy to figure out where he’s listening as he stated he was listening up.  So I go to where I heard the last few stations he worked and figured out that for the time being, he was staying put and not drifting up after each contact.

Patience and persistence are a big part of QRP and this time was no different.  I stayed at it for about 15 minutes and finally, I interjected “W2LJ” at just the right moment and was rewarded with “W2LJ 599 TU”, to which I responded in return, of course.

Coolest of the cool beans!  A new African country – a new country via QRP (or ANY power level for that matter).  I opened up Chrome on my netbook and figured I would post this to QRPSPOTS. Most of the time I figure that if I was able to work a station with my simple antennas, then a lot of other QRPers should be able to, also.  I posted anyway, but saw that I was beat to the punch by my good bud, John AE5X – Amateur Radio op, DXer and QRPer and photographer extraordinaire

Anyway, that’s the reason for “The Happy Dance” tonight.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

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