Sunday, October 26, 2014

Things are very slow on the bands

I have been on the radio now and then this past week the only one there was me and the static, there is nothing wrong with the K3 or the antenna the wrong has been the atmospheric conditions.  This weekend alone there have been 3 M class solar flares not making those in the CQ SSB contest happy campers. Not saying there is no DX out there as I have been reading from fellow bloggers and there has been some DX contacts but for me it's just not there. I was on the radio today and was not able to even raise U.S contacts just south of the boarder.
Lets hope the conditions some what improve this week…..

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nice to get back in the radio chair agian.

Nice to get back on the air again
Just this morning I was looking over my last blog post and could not believe it was posted 3 weeks ago! I will say that things here at VE3WDM have been busy and it has not been with radio time. We had our Thanksgiving holiday last weekend and that weekend was packed with family things, shopping and making a turkey dinner. This year for the first time I tried cooking the turkey on the BBQ using the rotisserie, seems it turns out much better when the bird is done old style in the oven........live and learn. The other sliver of my time was taken up with work and once you factor in sleeping and eating not much time was left for radio. Last evening I pulled a 12 hour evening shift at work and arrived home this morning not feeling to bad so Julie and went out for a nice breakfast and then home to some well deserved radio time. The rig was tuned to 17m and I heard GI4DOH calling
GI4DOH
loud and clear  from Northern Ireland. I gave him some calls but was not heard but I did hang in there and finally my 5 watts made it to him. It was nice to get back on the radio as I find this to be a very relaxing time. I then jumped off 17m and over to 20m but there was a huge contest presence there (not that there is anything wrong with that I am a huge contest fan) so it was back up to 17m again. It seemed that for this afternoon Richard was going to be my only contact but it sure was nice to get back on the air again!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Keep trying and you will finally get it!

My first PSK31 contact
For some time now I have been trying to get my feet wet with the digital modes and have had no luck. This morning I gave it another go with the setup, in the past I have tried Fldigi, Digipan, Digital Master 780 and WinPSK and the list goes on. These are all great programs as many use them and have great success but as for me I just was not able to make them tick with my set up. I became frustrated and it was do to me just not figuring out the setup. As I said this morning I tried it again but from another angle, there are two programs I use to control my rig from my PC the first being N4PY's program and the other program is DXlab. The DXlab program has many modules  from rig control, logbook, propagation, DX cluster and a digital program that's called Winwarbler! DXlab already controls my
Screen shot 
radio and does a fine job of it so I added the Winwarbler module and with a few configuration tweaks I had radio control and was able to read signals from the waterfall. It was now time for the moment of truth to see if I am transmitting a PSK signal. On 20m I pressed the "call CQ" macro button and low and behold my power meter showed 5 watts making it's way to the antenna!!! Next was to find someone calling CQ and make my first contact with PSK31. I saw W1AW/5 calling CQ and I gave him a call and W1AW/5 came back to me with a 599 report. I now can say that I am PSK active but there was not much time left to make any other contacts as things around the house had to be done. I was thrilled to get things up and running and the waterfall was very busy. One of the drawbacks to Winwabler is it's limited to PSK and RTTY but for now I'm ok with that.
The K3 all ready to go
This is the setup that I am running….
Rig is the Elecraft K3 in DATA A mode set at 5 watts
The sound card interface is the Signalink USB
Software is DXlab's  Winwabler
Antenna is the MFJ 1788
Some of the items on the "to do list" are
1. Set the macro's up as they are generic ones right now.
2. Learn more about the Winwabler  program.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Making your radio time interesting is what counts!

I spent some time on 20m in the CW portion of the band and as always I wanted to make contacts with the lowest power possible. I came across 9A2G who was calling CQ and at the time he was not to busy with takers. This is a great opportunity for me to drop my call to someone who is listening. I started out at 500mW's and moved all the way up to 5 watts and nothing no contact. He did have some stations answer his CQ  and some where very weak so  he had good ears but not for VE3WDM. I then came across EG7MAL and I worked my way up to 5 watts and he came back to me with VE3?. He decided to move on as I was just not making the trip. At this point I was wondering how my low power signal was doing so I decided to call CQ at the QRP watering hole on 20m. I was checking with the Reverse Beacon Network to see how I was doing.  My 500mW signal was heard by AA4VV in North Carolina which was just over 1,000 miles per watt. I then bumped my power up to 1 watt and was very happy to see F4DXW was hearing me which meant my 1 watt of power made it 3461 miles. I did not make any contacts but I did find a way to make the radio evening a bit exciting even without making a two way contact.