Posts Tagged ‘QSO Party’

2016 Colorado QSO Party–Next Weekend

  As the long, dog-days of summer begin to come to an end it marks one of my favorite operating activities and that is the Colorado QSO Party.  While I’m not a native to the Centennial State, I am always proud to represent Colorado and this year marks the 140th anniversary of statehood.

The 2016 Colorado QSO Party takes place on  Saturday, 3 September beginning at 0400 UTC (7 AM to 10 PM MDT).  I have a few mid morning commitments which I need to take care of, but KDØBIK should be on the air shortly after the lunch hour. 

Perhaps it is naïve to anticipate better band conditions for next Saturday.  After all…..

image

But I for one will be giving it a solid effort from the basement ham shack located in grid square DM79np.  I hope to work you in the 2016 Colorado QSO Party. 

Until then…

73 de KDØBIK

P.S.  Episode 71 of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast will release Saturday, 27 August.  Thank you for listening!

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

Centennial QSO Party

I truly had a blast this past weekend working 20m SSB contacts and giving away 5 points as a VE during the year long ARRL Centennial QSO Party.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog posting, I will be representing the Centennial State of Colorado when the W1AW/Ø portable operations schedule makes a stop in Colorado.  W1AW/Ø will be on the air from Colorado 21-27 May.  My contest operating is typically limited to Field Day and the Colorado QSO Party, so I wanted to spend some time on the air over the next few weeks brushing up on my “operating a pile-up” skills. 

I spent about 3 hours “on the air” over the Easter weekend and managed to add about 180 SSB contacts to  my log.  If you’ve done any operating the past few days you are well aware that band conditions have been up and down.  I was surprised at the feedback I received regarding my audio quality.  I think fellow hams are surprised to know that I’m running just 100w into a hamstick dipole mounted just above my roofline.  But this is the way for those of us living in HOA-hell.

Of course, I also have some weird issue going on with my Yaesu FT-950.  I promise I didn’t let the magic smoke out, but something is seriously wrong with my SSB workhorse.  You can read more about some of the testing I’ve done here.  As I stated in that blog posting, I do plan to try another power supply.  I’ll be pleasantly surprised if the issue is with my current power supply.  But I’m also prepared to quickly send my 950 to Yaesu California.  I need to get it back in time for when I operate W1AW/Ø.

If I had the privilege to work you over the past weekend, thank you for answering my CQ and I most certainly look forward to working you again soon.

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

W1AW/Ø is coming to Colorado

Mark your calendars, the ARRL Centennial QSO Party will make a stop in the Centennial State of Colorado in May.  The dates are 21-27 May and yours truly has signed up to represent Colorado in this incredible event. 

I’m sure by now you’ve already heard about the ARRL Centennial QSO Party and hopefully you’ve already been busy making contacts.  I’m slightly behind schedule, but thankfully each of the 50 states will be on the air twice during the calendar year.   My goal is to work them all.

When I first learned of the opportunity to represent Colorado in this event I knew I wanted to sign up for a operating slot or two.  While my station is a small pistol in the world of high power contest stations, I’m still excited to put the Centennial State of Colorado on the air from my home QTH during the ARRL Centennial QSO Party.

Currently my on-air timeslots are 22 May (00:00 – 03:00 z) 20m Phone and 25 May (15:00 – 18:00 z) 20m Phone.  You can learn more about this year long event by visiting the ARRL Centennial QSO Party website

I may sign up for additional timeslots if the need requires.  As we get closer to the event date, I’ll be sure to post a reminder.  You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook where I’ll post real time information on where you can find me on the bands. 

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

Colorado QSO Party – 2013

co_flag

The 2013 edition of the Colorado QSO party is complete and in the books.  Perhaps, with exception to Field Day…the COQP is my favorite on-air radio sport opportunity.  I truly enjoy representing the Centennial State and Denver County in this annual event.

The event is a full 16 hours from 1200 UTC (6 AM local) to 0400 UTC (10 PM local).  In past years I’ve honestly not bothered with setting an alarm in order to get up with the chickens and get on the air.  However, this year…well, my wife and I had just arrived back in the US from two weeks in Europe less than 36 hours before the start of the contest.  Needless to say, I was still on London time and I was awake at 4 AM. 

With coffee in hand, I switched on the computer and radio (my trusty Yaesu FT-950) and began spinning the dial promptly at 6 AM.  Band conditions at this time of the day and in Colorado just weren’t compatible with my contesting efforts.   Having been up due to jet lag for a few hours, I decided a nice morning walk was in order.  After all, I still needed to get in my 10,000 steps.  It was a beautiful morning in the mile high city and I used the time to walk along the DTC and admire the beautiful rocky mountains. 

Energized after the walk, shower and breakfast.  With even more coffee I headed back down to the basement ham shack and resumed my efforts of calling CQ Colorado QSO Party.  Ahhh, 20m was as awake as I was and we were well underway to putting Q’s into the logbook.

My somewhat loose goals for the 2013 COQP was A. Have fun and B. attempt to make more contacts than the previous year.  By the way, this number for 2012 COQP was 281.  The end result for my 2013 efforts would most certainly meet the “Have Fun” goal (after all, this is important) and would unfortunately fall short of breaking last year numbers. 

2013 COQP kd0bik

As you can tell from the screen grab from N1MM logger, I missed my Q goal by 23 Q’s. 

So what was different about 2012?  I decided for the 2013 COQP that I would work phone only versus in 2012 I operated mixed mode to include PSK and RTTY.  But I also believe last year I wasn’t jet-lagged and I was able to give a solid effort in the final hours of the contest.  Unfortunately, this year I was physically out of gas around 7 PM. 

Overall I felt band conditions were just as good (or as good as I could remember them to be in 2012).  Below is a map showing the 258 Q’s I worked during the 2013 COQP.  By the way, I created the map using K2DSL free service

co_qso_2013_map

I truly look forward to next year and I hope to work you.

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK

Upcoming Colorado on-air activities of interest

Even with a busy schedule, I am trying to make time for a few on-air activities and these might also interest others.

On Sunday, 4 August listen for Amateur Radio Fun in the Colorado Mountains or perhaps better known as the Colorado 14’er Event.  Hams from all around Colorado will climb many of the 14,000 foot mountains (known as 14’ers) as well as other SOTA summits to setup amateur radio stations and get on the air from the top of the world (or at least the top of Colorado).  This event started in 1991 by Bob Witte, KØNR and 20+ years later it is still a popular activity. 

2012 was the first year this 14’er event incorporated the over 1700 SOTA qualified summits in the state.  For those who want to chase from the comfort of their home ham shack, keep in mind that not all stations operating during this event will be doing so under the guidelines of SOTA. 

As for me, I plan to activate Genessee Mountain, W0/FR-194 and make it a combined amateur radio outing and picnic with my wife.   Genessee Mountain is an “two pointer” SOTA summit with easy access to the top and will be a nice, relaxing morning in the Rocky Mountains.

Just a few days after the 14’er event, my wife and I leave for an almost 3 week vacation in her home country of Belgium and England.   It’s been a long, rough and difficult first half of 2013 and we are both looking forward to our vacation.

Once we return from vacation I’ll have less than 36 hours to prepare for the Colorado QSO Party.  You might remember last summer I was working at a feverish pace to get the new basement ham shack finished for the 2012 Colorado QSO party.  Last year I made 281 contacts and my goal for 2013 is to try to break that number while having fun doing it.

The Colorado QSO party takes place starting 12oo UTC 31 August until 0400 UTC 1 September (Saturday 6 AM – 10 PM MDT) and is sponsored by the Pikes Peak Radio Amateur Association

Keep your ears open towards Colorado and I hope to work you in either or both events. 

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK (Jerry)

2012 Colorado QSO Party Results–KD0BIK

The 2012 Colorado QSO Party is over and I had a fantastic time.  The new ham shack which I scrambled to get ready for the event performed beautifully.  It’s really a comfortable and inviting space which I believe is important when working a multi-hour contest.

At best, I consider myself a casual contester.  I do enjoy operating during many of the contests taking place throughout the year….but for the most part, I am just giving away points to other contesters and trying to add to either my WAS, DXCC etc. etc. 

Last year (2011), was the first year for me to take a serious approach to operating in the Colorado QSO Party.  I operated for approx. 6-8 hours of the 16 hour contest.  I managed to make 138 QSO’s in 2011.  My goal for 2012 was to try to break that.

Before I discuss my 2012 results, I just want to say “Thank You” to my wonderful wife.  Without her organization skills and encouragement to me throughout the summer months, the new ham shack wouldn’t have been ready.  Thank you honey…

Oh…one more thing.  While I’ve mentioned the new ham shack is ready, this is really only partially true.  Yes, the shack operating position is setup and fully active.  But I still have some painting and touch-up work to do in the space.  It is my hope to get this all done in the next several weeks.  Also there is still much work required on fully evacuating the old space and getting everything organized and into its place in the new area. 

Again, my expectations for 2012 was to beat 138 Q’s.  The contest began at 6 AM, but I made a slow start to the day and managed to get on the air around 7.  I was surprised to hear 20m open to the east coast that early in the morning.  The first 100 Q’s seem to fly into the logbook.  I took my first break around 10 AM and had already logged over 100 Q’s. 

As I returned about 15-20 minutes later, the band had shifted and the Q’s were slower to get logged.  I focused mainly on 20 meters.  I would occasionally check 10 and 15 meters, but heard nothing and would go back to 20m after 15-20 minutes of calling CQ. 

My friend Bob Witte, K0NR posted a note to an email reflector about a SOTA activation taking place on Mt. Evans (W0/FR-003).  The activation consisted of several operators from the Colorado QRP Club and one was operating on 146.52 VHF FM.  I worked him for both points in the Colorado QSO Party as well as earned myself 10 SOTA Chaser points.  Not a bad deal for about 60 seconds of effort.

During the afternoon hours, 20 meters came back to life and I had a nice pileup going for almost an hour.  I worked stations all over the lower 48 and Canada.  One call sign I heard answering me sounded familiar.  Kilo, Five, Sierra, Oscar, Romeo. 

As a young child, I would listen to my uncle talk on his ham radio and while I didn’t know any of the other phonetic alphabet names, I knew Kilo, Five, Sierra, Oscar, Romeo.  YES…my Uncle heard me calling CQ from down at his QTH in Texas and answered me back.

While I’ve worked over 70 DXCC, have multiple versions of the WAS awards….the most sought after QSO for me since 2007 has been K5SOR.  Yes, we perhaps could have setup a sked to work each other, but this particular QSO…unexpected…is one that I will always cherish. 

Ok…enough rambling.  My 2012 Colorado QSO results ended up with 281 QSO’s and 25,852 points.  I more than doubled my 2011 results and got the one QSO in my log I had been wanting for a long, long time. 

kd0bik_coqso_2012

My station setup consisted of the Yaesu FT-950 running 100 watts into my 20m hamstick dipole.  I received some really great signal reports with this setup and when asked, many found it hard to believe this antenna setup produced the results others were hearing.  The new voice keyer and keypad setup for the 950 really helped as well. 

All in all….I truly had a blast operating and representing Colorado in this QSO Party.  I would like to thank the Pikes Peak Amateur Radio Association for sponsoring this event.  I certainly look forward to next year.

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK


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