Saturday, March 21, 2015

VE3WDM is back into QRPp very low power contacts!

I was feeling under the weather this weekend and thought it would be nice and relaxing to spend some time on the radio. It so happens a CW contest was in full swing the Russian DX contest. I was not into competing but just handing out points. The propagation conditions this past week were a struggle to say the least. Today the conditions were on the rebound a K index of 2 and the Sunspots were in at 27 and the solar wind was still up at 615. I parked on 15m and there was lots of DX rolling in for the contest. I made only 7 contacts for Saturday (so far) most were done with QRPp power! I was very pleased that my condo antenna was able to get out to make some great QRPp low power contacts. My K3 is only able to get down as low at 100mW's silly me I sold my attenuator thinking my contacts under 100mW's were over! I was able to make 3 contacts at milli watt power, 2 contacts at 1 watt, one contact at 3 watts and finally 5 watts. My first QRPp contact in the contest was K5WA in the states, my next QRPp contact was with EA3CX in Spain. Then finally F5IN in France with 500mW's of power.
The 7 contacts break down as follows
1. F5IN          500mW          7,500 miles per watt
2. K5WA       100mW         13,213 miles per watt
3. EA5CX     100mW         39,956 miles per watt
4. DK3QZ     1 watt             3,818 miles per watt
5. DL0AO     1 watt             3,818 miles per watt
6. HC2SL      3 watts            
7. ZF2DX      5 watts

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My QRP signal is spotted in Europe!

I had some down time over the weekend and felt it was time to spin the K3's VFO and see what was out there. I started on 15m it really did not seem all that busy but I was hearing some German stations so the band was open. My Elecraft P3 is great as I was able to get a snapshot of the CW portion of 15m. This allows me to not spend time moving up and down the band blindly and maybe just missing some stations as they end their transmission. One could end up concluding the band is dead and move on when in fact they just missed a station or stations calling CQ and waiting for a reply.  I ended up calling CQ in and around the QRP watering hole at 21.060, in the past I have checked the Reverse Beacon Network (or RBN)  just to see how my QRP signal was doing. At this new QTH
P3 on 20m showing some signals
for some reason I have been only able to get spotted in Canada and the U.S. To my surprise when I checked RBN I had been spotted in Hungary, Switzerland and Germany. I was very shocked and it kept me on the band calling CQ. Unfortunately there was no answers I then moved onto 17m and was spotted in France but again no answers to my CQ! I then ventured down to my standby band of 20m and found F5GPE Pierre calling CQ. His signal was in around 559 and I gave him a call and he came back to me with a report of 539. I did send him an email thanking him for the contact, he did get back to me giving me more details about his setup.

Friday, March 6, 2015

What happens when the lights go out……not much.

Candle light
This sure has been a long week on Tuesday of this week we had a snow storm that due to warm  temp's then turned into an ice storm. The power went off here at 4pm on Tuesday and did not come back on until Thursday evening! We were in the dark and boy you sure don't realize how much you depend on electricity until it's GONE!! I live in a condo and we do have a generator for the stairway lights and underground parking lights and door, as well as the security scanners to allow you in and out of the building. The Elevators are hooked into the generator as well but for some reason they stopped working and it was the stairs!!! I was going to get some radio time in as I do have batteries for the KX3 and MFJ 1788 control box. I decided not too as the household was a bit stressed regarding no lights, a warming refrigerator, no heat and dropping temps outside to - 15 at night. The indoor temp was in around 50F, nothing an extra sweater could not take car off. I was able to get lots of reading in using a flashlight but there are so many things you just take for granted and forget about until they are gone………the cold showers sure was an eye opener! Have  you ever had an outage? what did you miss and how was it an eye opener for you?

Monday, March 2, 2015

You can save some cash by double checking.

Over the past few weeks I had put some extra dust gathering ham gear up for sale. The sale was a successes and I ended up making 400.00 ham bucks. My main purpose for selling off some gear was to gather the funds for the new Elecraft K3 synthesizer (KSYNA3A as it's called) Without going into detail…..it's a very nice upgrade to the already great K3. While at the Elecraft site I was looking at what else the my K3 could do with in regards to upgrades. I came across the high stability ref oscillator  called the KTCXO3-1, it would be a great addition since I am now getting more into the digi modes and the less frequency drift the better. It's a 100.00 dollar upgrade and I wanted to do some more research on the topic before dishing out the cash! I ventured over to Google and typed it in, low and behold one of the sites that came up was VE3WDM blog!! Hmmm did I post about this at some time?? Off I went to my site and to my shock I found out I ordered the KTCXO3-1 when I ordered my new K3. It sure was good I looked into this before placing my order but having said that Elecraft is a great company and after explaining my realization I have had no problem sending it back. I'm getting older so the memory is getting shorter.