Posts Tagged ‘Radio Sport’

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…..


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!

KDØBIK operating as W1AW/Ø

Colorado’s first week to host the W1AW/Ø portable station in celebration of the ARRL Centennial events has come and gone.  This particular week was a busy week for me both at work and in the hobby of amateur radio.  In addition to working two shifts operating W1AW/Ø, I also presented the Summits on the Air program presentation to two area amateur radio clubs.  Yes…I also managed to keep my streak of at least one QSO a day alive.

As Colorado began hosting the W1AW/Ø portable operations, we also fell right into the middle of a weather pattern which almost like clockwork the heavy storms would roll into the Denver area from the west.  These storms produced all your typical spring storm weather scenarios including rain (lots of rain in some areas), hail (enough to bring out the snow plows), thunder bolts and lightning (all very, very frightening) and yes…tornados.   Tornados are somewhat rare in the metro Denver area, but this particular week we had sightings just about every day.

My first shift to operate W1AW/Ø was scheduled to begin at 0000z on Friday, (Thursday evening local).  The storms rolled through Denver right on cue with tornado sirens and flashing of lightning around the area.  Below radar image captured about two hours before my shift would start.


Thankfully the clouds parted just before the start of my shift.


On time, I began calling CQ on 20m.  There had been a short gap between operators and our fellow hams were ready to attempt to work Colorado.  Quickly I built a small pileup and began operating the strongest stations I could hear.  I’m really glad I spent many evenings operating just as my own callsign and sharpening my skills in working small pileups.

If you’ve been listening to the HF bands in the past week or two, you certainly know conditions have been poor with noise levels very high on the bands.  Of course the storms which had moved through Colorado certainly were not helping with overall conditions.

My friend Martin, W3MLK was my first contact and he was kind enough to run a few minutes of video/audio and posted on YouTube.  Martin’s QTH is in Delaware.   Thank you Martin for recording my audio.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Statistically speaking, my Thursday shift was far easier and a lot more enjoyable as band conditions were stronger.  I managed 348 QSO’s during my three hour shift compared to only 156 on Sunday morning (1500 – 1800z).  While I’m not sure how this compares with other operators, I enjoyed my time operating W1AW/Ø and representing the Centennial State of Colorado in the ARRL Centennial Event.  It was a lot of fun!

OK….it’s now time to get back to work.  My lunch break is over and this is another busy week in the office.

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

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

ARRL November Sweepstakes

The 2013 ARRL November Sweepstakes contest is in the books for another year.  The main goal of having fun was successful from my modest basement ham shack and I believe I did pretty well considering. 

I had prepared everything earlier in the morning before a run out to the local shopping mall and lunch with my wife.  With computers and radios on, I sat down just before 21:00 UTC (2 PM local) and began scanning up and down the 20m band.  From the sounds of things, the band seemed to be in pretty good shape and many ops were beginning to stake their claim to their small chunk of the spectrum. 

Just like clockwork, I began hearing KK6L calling CQ Sweeps and quickly logged him as #1 from Eastern Pennsylvania.  I tuned up the band and quickly added Nevada, South Texas, Arkansas and Eastern Mass all within the first few minutes of the contest.  By this time I had also managed to settle into a rhythm with the long exchange.  It was time to try to run a frequency.

However, finding a frequency which wasn’t in use proved to be as elusive as stations operating in Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and West Texas.  I would tune to a frequency, listen, listen, listen…then ask if the frequency was in use 3-4 times.  Start calling CQ….then get chased away.  After this situation played out 2-3 times and getting a bit too close to those who occupy the space around 14.313, I decided I would just hunt and pounce my way around the bands.

2013 sweeps Map

As you can see from the above map (courtesy of the N3FJP Contest logger) I managed to work most of the sections (and US States) and with exception of Delaware, South Carolina, Utah, South Dakota and Wyoming…would have managed WAS in less than 24 hours. 

As I stated at the beginning, band conditions were surprisingly good.  I mostly worked 20 and 40 meters on Saturday.  Then on Sunday I found success in both 10 and 15 meters.  

The final damage after about 8 hours of contesting is as follows:

Total QSO’s: 200
Total Sections Worked: 72
Sections not worked: 11
Total Contest Points: 28,800

Contacts by Band
40 meters:    18      9%
20 meters: 144    72%
15 meters:    32    16%
10 meters:      6       3%

Looking at a few other statistics.  I worked Santa Clara Valley (SCV) a total of 17 times, followed by Maryland DC with 10.   Looking at state QSO’s, California with 40 Q’s followed by Maryland with 10, Virginia 8 and New York and Texas each at 7.  Finally, 180 Q’s were USA, 16 Canada then Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Is. all one QSO each. 

I wasn’t so surprised to miss working Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota.  However, I was surprised with no contacts in Delaware and South Carolina.  I just simply never heard any stations on the air from the First State and the Palmetto State. 

I’m not sure how my score ranks with other stations running in my category (Alpha), but will submit my log and look forward to finding out.  The other possible silver lining might also come in the form of filling in a few missing states on 20m and 40m ARRL WAS Phone category.  Time will tell…

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK (Jerry)

Colorado QSO Party – 2013


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


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

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Please support our generous sponsors who make possible:


Hip Ham Shirts

Georgia Copper
Expert Linears


Ni4L Antennas

R&L Electronics

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: