Radio W4KAZ

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Poisson d’Avril Contest DXpedition

Okay, I’m really getting excited about the 2008 Poisson d’Avril FauxExpedition to Sri Lanka. This has been a extraordinary effort on the part of many in the international community, and seeing it all come to fruition is truly exciting. Our travel commences immediately. Look for us on the air.

If I Don’t Do It, Who Will?(or “How to Sponsor a Contest”)

Faced with an ethical dilemma today. Subscription notices.

I’m not really a big fan of the current crop of ham radio publications. Not that there is anything wrong with the publications. I sure can’t do better. But for my own part, the advertisements are often the most interesting content. Facing facts, it is improbable that any hard copy publication can print content that will always be of immediate interest to so wide a niche audience. The subject area is just too wide and the interests of the all-too-narrow audience are just too diverse.

So upon receiving the third request to re-subscribe, I found a way to rationalize the subscription.


Continue reading If I Don’t Do It, Who Will?(or “How to Sponsor a Contest”)

Yaesu FP-1023 & Samlex Sec-1223

Well, it turns out I have a lot of stuff to add to the FP-1023/Sec-1223 page. So much so that I’m trying to figure out a better way to organize the website for presentation of multiple related pages. It is a content management issue.

I’d like the power supply content to be more easily accessible than normal blog posts. I would just rather not get bogged down in re-programming WordPress, creating a bunch of external pages, or writing a custom WordPress plug-in. (Aughhhh! Plug-in suggestions appreciated!)

I may get to that point one day – but not now.

Until then, there are some additions coming, including some close up shots of the new PS, and an interesting article sent me by Oliver, DG7XO on a nice digital meter project. Oliver included photos of his power supply with the meter mod.

So until I get all of the content organized, here is the DG7XO meter project as a teaser.

LOTW and Special Event Stations

Last year, I was part of two special event operations N4Q and N4A. Yesterday, I finally got the logs uploaded to LOTW. It turns out this process was simple, once I found it documented. Had I actually thought about it, it would have been obvious. (Too bad thinking has become so sporadic inside W4KAZ’s ‘brayn’…) This process is the same as uploading logs for a portable operation in a different call area or country(eg, “w4kaz/5″ or” w4kaz/m”).

NE1RD outlines the process in a posting titled “Adding a QTH to LOTW“. It is really just that simple. Request a certificate for the special event call, wait for ARRL to process the request, receive the cert e-mailed from ARRL, load the certificate, mark the log, upload the log.

It sounds more complicated than it really is, but NE1RD has it laid out step by step, with screen prints of the process. So there are now about 500 new LOTW QSL confirmations’s out there on the 2800 combined Q’s that I uploaded. The documentation work done by NE1RD has paid dividends to the ham community too.

Hopefully, uploading the QSLs will help someone reach an award goal. Even if it doesn’t, I feel better about it. I get a project closure, and the final loose end tied up.

2008 Russian DX – No Way!

I had planned to toy around with the Russian DX contest last weekend. It’s one that I have not been able to catch in the past. After plopping in the shack chair, and listening around the bands, I decided that 2008 was NOT the year to give it a go. Around 2:00pm local, it didn’t sound too good on my piddly little wire antennas. Ick. Thunder storm static too. Double Ick.

But it sure seems like a good contest. Once propagation returns, I’ll be back to try it again.

I used the time I had to re-straighten the shack – again. Then I promptly messed it back up.

I also spent a bit of time thinking about an unfinished project. (A homebrew antenna switch-future fodder) Note: I did not actually FINISH the project, just thought about it some more. I did discover a problem with the connectors I installed on one end of the box. That might be the only advantage to the procrastination. I get to debug the errors with fresh eyes.

Radio Contests of a Different Sort

Rob Sherwood, of Sherwood Engineering has posted an audio recording of his recent presentation to the Boulder Colorado ARC. He discusses his testing of various radios, explaining his methodologies, and discussing what he feels are problems that need to be addressed in recent radio designs. He also discusses areas he thinks need improving in the testing itself. If you have never seen it, there is also a summary of common contest rigs. Also, there’s a more comprehensive comparison.

Think of it as a discussion of ‘radio contests’–except the radios themselves are the competitors.

The presentation makes great background listening while you surf the net, or take it along on a lonely commute. No moving pictures… Not a problem for you RADIO folks, aina?


Operating at NT4D is always fun, and always a learning event for me. This year I learned an important lesson on packet spots: Beware the QSX! More than once the spots were incorrect in some essential, the most humorous being a 20m spot with QSX on 11m. Breaker, breaker good buddy…

The actual operating in the contest was really a bit of a drag. I was unable to establish any runs because I just couldn’t hear the stations calling. Even after dropping the power levels back in hope of attracting Q’s from more equivalent stations, the run rate was so low that S&P was more productive. Not wanting to be an ‘alligator’, I went back to S&P. This was a big disappointment, because I was hoping to run. Turns out I just don’t have the patience for it in the poor conditions. (Not really a surprise…)


Continue reading 2008 ARRL DX SSB @ NT4D

A Flock of Buzzing Cable Ties

Part of the ARRL DX SSB weekend was spent lending a hand at N1LN/N1YXU. Bruce and Laurie’s aluminum farm has sprouted a nice shiny new 5 element 15m monobander at about 95 feet. Really nice. That gives them three choices on the 15m tower, or beaming more than one direction for contest runs. Way cool.


Continue reading A Flock of Buzzing Cable Ties