Sunday, February 22, 2015

ARRL CW Contest done QRP style

Oliver is asking……"Ahhhh dinner!!!
I took part in the ARRL CW contest this weekend in a part time way, I was not able to go full tilt as I had things around the house that needed to be done. I skipped the Friday evening as it's most of the big guns going at record setting CW speeds. I operated QRP, single band, non assisted, single transmuter and with my MFJ 1788 magnetic loop antenna. The bands were alive with CW and you would never think we were in the downswing of a solar cycle! Then conditions over all were great on 15m I was able to get on from early morning into the early evening. In the morning the bands were filled with
The rig setup
Europe and as the late afternoon rolled around the South Pacific started to boom in along with Central and south America. Some of the standout locations I heard were Bangladesh, Guam, Japan, New Zealand and South Sudan. None of which I was able to contact the pileups were HUGE!! Some of the highlights for me were contacting Hawaii, Cuba,  and grabbing a new DXCC Dominican Republic.
Score rundown is as follows
Contacts        DXCC's      Points
81                   39                9360

The equipment  used was the Elecraft K3 with 500,400 and 250 inrad filters, the Elecraft P3, Begali Contour Key and the Flex control external VFO knob and last but not least the MFJ 1788 Magnetic loop antenna. The software used were N1MM+ contest software, N4PY rig control software and MRP40 CW code reader for the chain saw speed code. I never had Murphy pay me any visits during
The contest software
the contest which really is a first time. I found 15m to be a great band very low noise floor and lots of action. I did venture up to 20m for a listen and from my location it was very noisy and I was glad I decided to stick with 15m.  Sunday seemed to be an easier day for making contacts I had far less repeats to do, Saturday I really had to work for each and every contact. Looking forward to the next CW contest!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Monday brings two dx contacts

Monday was a stay in and stay warm day oh and also I was able to fit in some ham radio time as well. Next weekend is the ARRL CW DX contest weekend and since I had time on my hands I thought I would finally install N1MM+ on my PC. Up to this point I have been using the older version of N1MM, the only time for me to update was just before a contest. According to Murphy's law if you update your contest software just before a contest bad things will happen! N1MM+ has some nice new features all of which I have not tried as of yet. While I was setting up and getting to know N1MM+ I had my K3 on and was rolling around the 20m band. I was able to make 2 DX contacts the first one being IK3VUT from italy. He was calling CQ and he came back to me on my first call to him. This was not your typically fast contact Luca gave you a report but also shared his name, thanked me for answering his CQ and asked my name. It was not a long QSO but it was nice to not just have a 599 and move on Luca gave me an honest 559 signal report.
late afternoon it was time to go out with Julie who had a photography assignment that involved us going downtown (Toronto) for some shots she needed to get. It sure was cold out but soon we would be back to our warm home and just a little more radio time as she edited some photos. This time on 20m  I heard HC5AI calling CQ from Ecuador and after some going back and forth he got my call and the contact was made.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

It's a cold one out there!

Steam coming off the water down at the lake
The little motor in the antenna
Today is supposed to be one of the coldest days this winter and up to this point we have had some very cold days! This morning I went out to get our food shopping done and going from the car to the market it was so cold it took your breath away. We live in a condo and in the underground garage the temp was -7C, most of the time it's well above 0C but not today. The temp this morning without the windchill was -22C and the weather is forecasting later later today with the windchill it  will drop to around -40C!! Today is a good time to stay indoors and play radio. The MFJ 1788 seems to have no problem in this cold weather. As a matter of fact the colder the weather be better the SWR, the little motor that operates the large capacitor has no problems in this weather. This afternoon I'm hanging out on 20m at the QRP watering hole of 14.060 calling CQ and listening. I was calling on 15m and it really did not seem like the band was open I then moved up to 20m. Since I was calling CQ I checked the Reverse Beacon Network and noticed that on 15m I was spotted by F5MUX from France. This is the first spot EVER for me from my new location being spotted  outside of the U.S. Well it's getting late in the afternoon and I was skunked on the bands today…..oh well maybe later this evening!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Im putting some items up for sale.

It's time to sell off some more items to get some ham bucks. These are things that have not been used in the shack and are just gathering dust!
1)The qrpometer is a great portable power and watt meter it's a kit that is no longer sold. The power levels go as low as 100mW's and up to 8 watts. I made a case for the unit and added an external battery compartment for easy battery changes. Also it has BNC connectors for easy connect and disconnect. For more info on this great unit follow this link  the price for this unit is 50.00 dollars SOLD 

2) A balun from from Balun designs it's a 1:1 balun and works great for coax line isolation. It's rated up to 300 watts for more info click on this link
The price of the balun is 25.00
3) Mini Circuits splitter for those of you with a K3 and have the subRX this is very handy to have. I have a link from the Elecraft reflector that better explains this pairing this unit with your K3

The price is 25.00
4)  The rig runner 4005 great for fusing and running your shack accessories and radios.
The price is 50.00
SOLD 
5) KX3 PCKT cables for the KX3 these are brand new and never used.
Price 20.00 including shipping 
SOLD

6) LP Pan and E-MU 0202 external sound card, the LP Pan is set up for the K3 all the cables are included. Also a  power cord for the LP Pan complete with Anderson Power pole connector and quality USB cable for the E MU 0202 as well as quality coax jumper for LP Pan to K3 or P3. The price for both is 270.00 SOLD

Extra connectors

7) Elecraft spare VFO A and VFO B knobs the set  for 15.00. SOLD