Radio W4KAZ

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Missing In Inaction

Lots of stuff to log in the blog since CQ WPX, but not much interest in writing it up.

To keep the record relatively continuous there will be a raft of stuff popping up.  Its always easy to write while I’m simultaneously getting my fill of college football.  And the season kickoff is at hand[boooo Ducks, yea Tigers!]  Lots of good matchups in the schedule this season.  Probably lose time in Sweeps again for the LSU-‘Bama game. Unless its available streaming so I can get the game in the shack.

Football and contesting – yea!


John, K3TUP is somebody I wish I had known. Its sad that he won’t live to see the millions of other lives he may save with his inventive cancer treatment. He’s a case study in how one man’s life can change the world.

His former television station has a good report.

Sunspots – Poised On The Cusp – Part Deux

On Friday, June 27th NOAA added a comment to the “Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Issued April 2007”. The comment basically says “that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it”. They may have fudged the graphs a bit toaccommodatethe year’s observations, but the predictions remain the same.

Boy, I sure hope we hit that steep curve for the upper end of the “big cycle” prediction, rather than the low end of the “teeny cycle” prediction. It was fun to hear short skip openings on 15m and 10m over FD weekend. I was born decades too late to catch the “hard sky” of 1958.

THAT would be FUN.

Good Deals – Ten-Tec Used Gear Sale

I see that Ten-Tec’s Summertime Used Gear Sale is on. They are re-selling OMNI-VI’s and Orions taken in as trade-ins. I’ve always liked the Omni VI. Its a solid CW rig with a great receiver. Sweet.

I am also fresh off a weekend using an Orion on bands loaded with Field Day operators. The Orion is also a sweet radio. It is a great S&P contest radio. You can set the CW bandwidth to a vary narrow setting and work stations every 250hz all the way up and down a band. Zero detectable ringing, even with the bandwidth cranked down to about 160hz.

Too bad my shack is not bigger. I’d sure like to have custody of an Omni VI Plus for three or four years.

I’ve always been somewhat hesitant to buy used gear, but the beauty of this sale is that the rigs have been checked out by factory. Plus they are tossing in a credit on an accessory item, a microphone, and picking up the shipping tab.

NO – I don’t get any kickbacks….

edit, 11:30 am 7/2/08: I’m also fresh off using the Omni VII, another fabulous radio. The Omni VII QSK is top notch. I like running with the side tone set to a low level, it makes the quality of the QSK jump out. I like the ergonomic design of both the Orion and Omni VII. Both radios are easy on the ears. But because of its small size and tolerance for low voltage, I’m happy with my choice of the Elecraft K2. It too is a fine radio.

Field Day – Daddy, Are We There Yet?

Yeah! Time to get the game on. The NC Contesters group will be operating from just south of Louisburg, NC using N4PY’s call sign. Y’all come. Hopefully the WX will be better than the forecast. Wet FD sites are less than ideal, and lightning can ruin everyone’s day PDQ.

We’ll be either 3A or 2A, operating with 100w. The rigs will be an Omni VII, an Orion, and a K2, with a Kenwood TS-930 as backup. We’ll be mixed mode, but probably mostly CW. The plans are to have two Vee beams, plus an assortment of alternate antennas. Our stations will be organized by band, with an 80m/20m station on the long Vee(266′ legs), an 40m station on the smaller Vee beam(200’legs), and a 160m/15m/10m station that will probably have a long wire as the main antenna. Look for us on 160m!

If you are not in the field, you can always operate as a “1D” class station from home, and still have fun. Even if you have only a few hours available, you can help fill the logs. The fun is NOT limited to North America – DX stations can operate S&P and make FD QSO’s too. A DX station’s exchange is “1D DX”, if you are operating from home. We’ll be glad to hear you.

Round em up. On air operations begin at 1800z Saturday.

Just do it…

N4A Rides Again- Cape Lookout 2008

Planning for the 2008 expedition to the South Core Banks Cape Lookout has begun. We will be activating Cape Lookout, and hoping to pass out QSO’s during the RSGB IOTA contest again. Our operations on Cape Lookout will be from July 25th through July 28th, weather permitting.

For 2008, we are hoping that Barry, K4CZ will be tossing his hat into the ring. An extra operator will be a big boost.

We are planning to activate Cape Lookout again this July 2008, once again as N4A. So island chasers can look for us sometime during the last weekend of July. We will be most active on HF during the RSGB IOTA contest, and may spend much of the rest of the time looking for propagation on 10m or 6m.

The RSGB IOTA is an interesting contest, falling as it does in mid-summer. Propagation conditions are different in the summer, so it is always a mixed bag. But it is worth operating just to explore summertime propagation. The IOTA is much more popular in Europe than it is here in the US, so the odds of working DX are also better. You can work any station, anywhere, but the island stations are the multipliers. The RSGB has an FAQ on IOTA on their web site as well as the full 2008 IOTA contest rules.

Operating at Cape Lookout like this is really a miniature DXpedition. The only creature comfort is the availability of a few small cabins that can be rented from the vendor serving the National Park Service. The cabins have running water and plumbing, but that is it. Everything else is hauled in on the ferry that provides transport to the island, which is three miles offshore. There are no paved roads, and the Outer Banks are barrier islands, i.e., all sand, all the time. A 4WD vehicle is advised ֠no tow trucks for miles. No tall supports for antennas either. An always lots of mosquitoes and midges looking to snack on your hide.

Sound like fun yet?

CW Skimmer – Barking At The Moon

I’ve been rather enjoying the discussion of the CW Skimmer concept, and how it may or may not apply to contesting. The technology is certainly quite interesting from a technical aspect. but….

I think most of the discussion is bypassing the crux of the problem. The good/bad/ugly of the Skimmer technology is not the issue. New ideas will continue to pop up, as sure as the sun rises. The real problem is that the contest rules don’t take into account the fact that new methods, technologies and ideas are constantly percolating up. There also appears to be an assumption that anything not explicitly prohibited is therefore fair game. Now why is that? That seems bass ackwards.

That brings me to a secondary problem – the lax attitude taken towards a common sense plain English reading of the rules. Human nature being what it is, I guess parsing the meaning of “is” is now widely accepted. But is THAT in the best interests of contesting?

Continue reading CW Skimmer – Barking At The Moon


This is one of the things about Amateur Radio. I’m going to miss someone whom I’ve never met, other than via a few e-mail exchanges.

From the ARRL Notice:

In his Web reminiscences, Cebik summed up his own life in Amateur Radio: “My Dad was a part of my Novice beginning in Amateur Radio, and I strove to send CW with a straight key so that one could not tell it from a keyer. He remains a strong part of my effort. He noted that the ham spirit is to give, if needed, the shirt off one’s back to a fellow ham and to expect — not its return — but rather that it be passed on to the next ham who needs it.”

It seems to me his dad would have plenty of reason to be proud.

73 OM

SOLD – Yaesu VX-5R 5w HT

This Item Has Been SOLD!:

Ebay Item number:130215741568

I have for sale a excellent condition Yaesu VX-5R HT. The asking price is $200.00 USD, plus $20.00 UPS ground shipping within the continental US. I prefer PayPal, but will also accept Money Order. Contact W4KAZ.

I am the original owner of this HT(see PHOTOGRAPHS here). It has seen light use, and has no known defects. The SMA connector is in very good shape, showing no stress damage. It will come with the following accessories:

  • FNB58 – Original battery
  • NC-72B- Original AC charger
  • original antenna(3-pieces)
  • !!! YES! Also the “ORIGINAL BOX”!

SOLD: Yaesu FT-100D

As of 4/26/2008 – This Item Is SOLD!

Thanks for looking……..

“No longer” available only via Ebay, Item #130215730096

I have for sale a good condition FT-100D. The asking price is $550.00 USD, plus $25.00 UPS ground shipping within the continental US. I prefer PayPal, but will also accept Money Order. Contact W4KAZ.

This would make a good backup radio for anyone. The FT-100D is the Yaesu mobile radio that has HF/VHF/UHF (100w HF&6m, 50w on 2m, 20w on 70cm). All pigtails are in very good condition. It is fully functional on all bands/modes. , but keep reading…

This radio(See PHOTOGRAPHS Here) will come with the following accessories:

  • Microphone Yaesu MH 36B
  • CT-62 CAT cable
  • LDG OTT Interface
  • Heil AD100 adapter(modular to 8-pin)

I DO NOT have the remote kit.

I am NOT the original owner. I purchased this radio used from HRO in 2005. It is fully functional on all bands/modes. It is a good mobile radio/backup radio. But it is NOT 100%….

It has the following two KNOWN DEFECTS:

Defect #1: – The radio has four threaded holes, two on each side, for mounting to the OEM mobile mount(not included). One of these has a mounting screw broken off(flush) and lodged within the hole. It was in this condition as sold to me by HRO.

Defect #2: – The CAT feature is not fully functional. It may be the ct-62 CAT cable, but for the sake of this sale assume that it is the radio that is malfunctioning. My computer control/logging program can send data to the radio(i.e., you can change frequency/mode/ etc.), but cannot reliably poll the radio for frequency. Often no data is received from the radio. This same jack on the radio is used for ATAS/tuner control, so I assume that is also NOT working. I don’t have the ATAS antenna system, so its never been an issue for me.

MODS: This radio came from HRO with no DC plug or jack attached. I installed Anderson Powerpoles rather than the proprietary OEM plug.