Posts Tagged ‘QSO Party’

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. 


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

Colorado QSO Party and KD0BIK’s Ham Shack Grand Opening


It’s time for the 2012 Colorado QSO Party and likewise, it’s time to officially open my new ham shack, home office, podcast studio and general man cave that I’ve been talking about for so long. 

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 was to finish the basement ham shack and home office.  This was a project that began eons ago (or certainly felt like it), but actually I began framing the walls for the new space in 2008.  While the framing stage went fairly quickly, not a lot of work was done between mid 2009 and 2011. 

My wife has always been supportive of my hobbies, especially amateur radio.  I believe she could sense my frustration in finding the motivation to finish the new space.  Some of the delays had centered around decisions on sheetrock (drywall) or paneling or ???.  We began making decisions and started the sheetrock installation phase in February. 

In the February timeframe I began looking down the road to select a date and goal to work towards.  Let me state that I realize the work I’ve done (even including the framing from 200Smilie: 8) all could have been completed in a very short time.  Perhaps two people could have done everything in a short span of just 2-3 weeks working each day for several hours.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have that luxury.  Sure I could have hired a carpenter, but I wanted to do the work myself.

Anyway, knowing we would still continue to pace ourselves, I figured setting the goal date to be in the new space for the Colorado QSO Party weekend would be safe. 

Of course, as winter turned into Spring and Spring turned into Summer and watching Memorial Day come and go, then Field Day come and go and 4th of July come and go….WHOA!!!!  I woke up one day and it was August and inside of 30 days.  Would I make it?  Could I make it?  What if I didn’t make it?

Of course, nothing bad would happen if I didn’t make my goal.  My New Year’s Resolution was to finish the basement in 2012, the Colorado QSO Party date was somewhat self-imposed or should I say self-inflicted.  In any event, if I wasn’t in the new shack…I could certainly still operate in the contest from my old shack location.  I mean it works…right?  Also, I didn’t want to just move a chair, a desk and a radio into the new shack for 24 hours.  It was either all-the-way or no way.

Thankfully, things really began to click into place in August.  On August 1st (T-Minus 30 days) the sheetrock work was done, the texturing, sanding etc. was done, the paint on the walls and ceiling was dry, the floor was down, the cabinets were in place and the countertop was on the way.  I merely had just a few hours of finish carpentry to complete before the dust creation process was 100% complete.   Once I no longer need to cut trim in the basement area, I could safely begin bringing in my computers and radios into the new space. 

So what’s left to do?  Before I answer that question…let’s take a short walk down memory lane through pictures.  Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the plain concrete walls, so just use your imagination. 

Framed walls before sheetrock – February 2012

Measure twice, cut once – February 2012


Everything I needed to know to do this I learned in Kindergarten.  Just cut along the line. – February 2012

Getting there… – March 2012

Walls done – March 2012

It’ll need a ceiling right?  – April 2012

You’ll have to trust me that this is a picture of the finished/textured wall. – May 2012

photo (2)

Warp Speed.  From June 1 through end of July we managed to paint ceiling, walls, put down flooring and hang over 20 wall cabinets and drawer cabinets.  – August 2012


Let me pause for a second as I’m getting dizzy.  I worked mostly without any major plans.  I had an idea in my head, but it wasn’t until we reached the cabinet stage that I actually attempted to create some form of plan or layout.   I felt this was necessary so we could really get an idea of how the cabinets, countertop and space would all work.  The image below was done before flooring was complete and before cabinets were installed.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find any models of ham radios in the design software to place on the counter surface.

HBC_Taylor_Office 1_view 1

Now let’s look at the finished product.  This is the brand new ham shack for KD0BIK. 


In the above picture (from right to left) I have my Jetstream JTPS45 power supply which provides all of my 12v DC power.  It connects into a West Mountain Radio RigRunner (mounted below desk).  I also use the PWRGate which provides auto-switching from power supply to a 12v marine deep cycle battery.

Just above the Jetstream power supply I have an old style TV antenna rotator.  This provides a little direction to my 20m hamstick dipole.  Next is the Yaesu FT-950 HF radio.  I use this radio primarily for SSB ops. 

In the center below the two 21” LCD flat panel screens, I have the MFJ-4724 Desktop/Remote Antenna/Transceiver switch.  This allows me to switch between either my 20m hamstick dipole or my Hustler 6BTV antenna to any of my HF rigs in the shack.  No more having to move coax connections.  YAY!!!!

Moving on around, next to the left 21” LCD I have the Yaesu FT-897 HF/VHF/UHF All mode transceiver.  I use this rig primarily for all data modes.  Sitting just below the 897 is the West Mountain Radio RIGBlaster Pro. 

Just to the left is the MFJ Intellituner which I use with the FT-897 and sitting on top of the tuner is the Elecraft KX3.  The KX3 is just posing for the picture.  It’s main role is portable QRP and SOTA operations outside of the ham shack.  Sitting just behind the KX3 (and might be difficult to see) is the IMD Meter by KK7UQ. 

Finally, the radio to the far left is the Yaesu FT-857 which I keep mounted in a TAC-COMM TRC-1 metal enclosure and mainly mobile HF use.  But at the moment it is connected to my V/UHF antenna and what I use for local V/UHF Ops and Packet.  Just below the 857 is the Kantronics KPC-3+.   Just above the 857 are two of the three HT’s I own.  The Yaesu VX-8 is used on the trail and next to it is the only piece of ICOM equipment I own.  It is the IC-92AD for D-STAR operations.

This has been an incredible project spanning many years.  For much of the past six months I have worked for a few hours each weekend.  Now it is time to sit back and enjoy the new ham shack. 

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope it continues to inspire you.

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK

QSO Party Colorado Style

CO Flag

I’ve worked contests before.  Typically if I hear a contest taking place on the bands I’ll tune around and answer a few CQ’s to give points away.  However, I’ve never been serious enough about it to spend several hours working a specific contest and do most of it while running a specific frequency.  Most contests (excluding Field Day) I generally use the search and pounce method of scanning up and down the bands listening for contest stations calling CQ, then pounce and answer their CQ. 

I’ve had the Colorado QSO Party on my calendar for a few weeks now and coordinated the time with my wife so I could work the contest.  From the beginning I decided I wanted to try my hand at contest operations and I would log my contacts in a suitable logging software and submit my log.  I really had no expectations of just what the outcome would be.  My goal was to have fun and represent my state of Colorado as proudly as possible on the amateur bands.

The Colorado QSO party was scheduled to start at 6 AM (local) and run for 16 hours until 10 PM (local).  The work week prior had been difficult and I decided I wouldn’t get started too early of a start.  I had my priorities in the right order and made sure to switch on the coffee pot before the HF rig.  With coffee in hand, I turned on the computer and the HF rig just a little after 8:30 and positioned myself on 14.280 and began calling CQ contest. 

The Q’s began flying into the log book and I probably had logged 30 or so within what seemed like no time at all.  I quickly recharged my coffee cup and logged another 30 or so before lunch.  I took a short break for lunch and then things slowed down.  20m had been hot in the mid-morning hours, but all that changed after lunch.

The best laid plans, well…are not always exactly what you want them to be.  We’re trying to get new windows installed on the ground level portion of our house this year.  The salesman was dropping by for the contract signing and this took a little longer than planned.  After about 90 minutes the changes were incorporated (gotta keep the wife happy) and I was back on the air.  But I would have another 2.5 hours off the air as we agreed to attend a neighborhood BBQ (gotta keep the wife and neighbors happy).  I got back home and got back on the air for the last 90 minutes of the QSO Party. 

The final 90 minutes was slow and I switched between the 40 and 20m band and managed to work an additional 10 QSO’s.  All-in-all it was a lot of fun.  I worked a total of 138 QSO’s for a total of 8004 points. 
























My setup for the Colorado QSO party consisted of my Yaesu FT-950 (I really love this rig), a Heil Pro-Set headset with the HC-4 mic and for true hands free operation, I dusted off my Heil footswitch.  I also logged using N1MM software for the first time.  I had searched for logging software which would work for the Colorado QSO party.  This did the job and I look forward to using it again for other contest logging. 

In closing, I’m not sure where my numbers will rank in the totals.  I know others who participated scored much higher.  I didn’t begin it to win it, I did it to have fun and mission accomplished.  I do look forward to the next contest and of course next year for the Colorado QSO party.  Radio Sport is fun, exciting and ham radio.

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK/AE

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