Radio W4KAZ

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2009 CQ 160m CW

Totally unexpected results. This was nowhere near a serious attempt to maximize the score, but rather have fun playing with the K2 on160m. It turned out to be a lot more fun than I really expected.

I did not operate long Friday. I was just too tired. But I was on long enough to realize the conditions were very good. The noise level was very low on the transmit antenna. It was possible to turn on the pre-amp for the weak signals. The big surprise was that most of the weak stations could hear me. Yikes.

But it just got better. I planned the day better on Saturday, and was more prepared to stay up a bit later to play more radio. Conditions did not seem quite as good as Friday, but the noise level was still low. I worked some new states for 160. Even more unusual, I also worked 14 European stations. Their signals seemed to come up with their sunrise. I knew I could hear them, as I had been listening to a couple of run stations, and I could copy most of their EU QSO’s. Tuning around with the K2, I was able to find several EU stations calling. The booming US signals made some of them too hard to copy, but several others were easy copy.

Low and behold, a handful of those were also able to hear the 100 watt tin whistle. Way fun. Apologies for the guys that really had to struggle to […]

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I’ve been running an experiment of sorts with Logbook of the World. I was curious to see where the tipping point might be for getting enough LOTW confirmations to qualify for either the DXCC or WAS awards from the ARRL. Right now, I have 17,829 QSO’s uploaded to LOTW. That is a mixture of both Phone and CW. The other item – they are all contest QSO’s.

Of those, I have 5,789 confirmations via LOTW, or just a hair shy of 33% confirmed. I expect most of the confirmations are from US QSO’s, because it is not very easy for DX stations to participate.

Nothing too shocking there. I think I actually expected more LOTW confirmations from contesters, since their logging programs make it easy.

Anyway, I hit WAS sometime last summer. I’ve been waiting to get WAS on both CW and SSB before getting the certified wallpaper. The last holdout for WAS Phone was NV.

I expected DXCC to take longer. My DX capabilities are poor with no amp, no tower, and no beams. But DXCC happened sometimes between ARRL 160m for 2008 and the NAQP CW. My DXCC total now sits at 102 confirmed in LOTW. The CW and SSB mode totals are 70 and 90. I will probably wait until I hit those to milestones before buying the wallpaper. 17,000+ Q’s is one season of contesting for a top ten station, but it was a few years of operating from the KazShack.

There is a big wiff […]

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One down, one fixed

The 160m-L has been “on the fritz” (i.e., broken) since the ARRL 160m contest. It went crazy when it started raining during the contest. The SWR went high, and it became deaf.

The ground was still covered with snow from our very rare in central NC five inch snowfall. Old XYL tales relate that antennas work best when installed/repaired in inclement weather, so the time seemed right.

It turns out there was a bad connection on one of the jumpers. I took a bit of time to find the problem, and only about 30 seconds to fix. To debug it I plugged the dummy load into the feedline system out at the antenna end. The high SWR into the dummy load told me the problem was in the line and not the antenna. Fixing the line solved the immediate issue.

That whole antenna system needs closer scrutiny. It was intended to be ‘temporary’ when it was hauled up three years back, and the feed line is a hodgepodge of jumpers which were available around the KazShack at the time. If it stays up, the matching network needs to be corrected. At last count, it now has 18 elevated radials. The feed point is about 8 feet off the ground mounted atop the kid’s wooden swing set. The radials are all of different lengths, tied off to trees. The distance of the tree from the antenna center determines the radial length. It seemed to be playing much better with 18 radials […]

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2009 NAQP SSB January as NC4KW @ N1LN

First, many thanks to N1LN and N1YXU for the invite, the great company, and the hospitality. The station and the setting are wonderful, and I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon of radiosport.

The contest operation itself did not hit the goals I had in my head for us. I really expected to beat our own score from August, but we did not. We actually came up quite short.

The 20m band was really abysmal. I started out the contest on 20m. After the first 40 minutes, the “run” dried up, and never was re-established. The first two hours ended with only about 45 Q’s on 20m, woefully inadequate. I knew it was going to be bad when NT4D lapped the QSO count the third time on the 40m station. He had 100+ while the 20m station was stuck at 33. Ick. No one else had any better luck on 20m either. Just terrible. 15m was far worse. I moved there to pick up the CA mult and 6 or 7 CA QSO’s. N1LN picked up another mult and another 6 or 7 Q’s on 15m a little later. 11 Q’s total.

10m? Ha.

The good news was that 40m/80m/160m all supplied a steady stream of Q’s. With 20m shut down tight, the “happy hour rush” was pretty slow, as 40m had been milked pretty thoroughly by 5:00pm local. I did manage to notice it was twilight, and picked up a handful of FL, […]

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2009 NAQP CW

Well, that sure was fun. If I were feeling better, I think I’d have made the 400 Qso goal, but as it sits there are 11 Q’s missing. But that is closer than I genuinely expected to get to the 400Q goal.

Summary: ——————- 160: 160 1 80: 201 41 40: 139 38 20: 47 18 15: 1 1 10: 0 0 ——————- Total: 389 99 Total Score = 38,511

TheGood: This contest went very well. The very high point had to be being called by UT5UIA in the last minute of the contest on 80m. I don’t actively pursue much DX on 80m, but it is obviously there. I hear lots of DX during DX contests, but have always assumed they were probably running power. The noise level on 80m was very low during the last half of the contest. Great 80m conditions.

I also had a few interesting QSO’s on 40m phone. KH6FI was so loud I thought he was in the mid-west.

Of the pre-contest goals, I was able to meet most of them, at least to my own less demanding standard. I fell short of the 400 Q goal by just less than one percent. Given the interruptions, my claimed 9.5 hours is more than I was actually butt-in-chair, having to get up several times for errands. Those times are counted as operating time, since the breaks were less than 30 minutes. I also had to take a break during the evening rush to meet the […]

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2009 NAQP CW – Goals

Today’s introspective question is “What’s a reasonable goal for this weekend’s NAQP?”.

Given the current level, I’m not sure 500 QSO’s is reasonable for a 10 hour contest. Thats where I would to get, but probably not for 2009.

So more modestly:

run stations at 24wpm shoot for 400 QSO’s shoot for putting in all 10 hours, despite the illness Even spread of Q’s on 20m/40m/80m, and pick up mults on 15m & 160m if possible Move the run frequency lower if possible

The first goal will lead to the second, but only if I manage the third. The reset is icing. We’ll see.

edit 2009-01-08, Stuck in the past….cuz these are 2009 goals….

Spotting Assistance?

Nope, no explosion of sunspots yet.

The current prediction graph is interesting. The graph of actual sunspot numbers is lagging behind both the “big cycle” and the “medium cycle” plots. But the graph of solar flux data shows an almost 1 to 1 correlation to the smaller cycle prediction. Peak of 80 in 2013? Ick.

For background here is the 2007 prediction.

Too bad. The big one sure would be more fun. But it’s all fuzzy science, so maybe King Sol will stir the pot a bit more for us. A couple million more years of observations, and maybe there will be a clear trend. But what if chaos reigns, and the patterns are temporal and more changeable than short term observations indicate? A moot question, but a curiosity nonetheless.

2009 – The Ascendency of Idiocy

New Year…..probably not so happy.

80 years of FDR socialism come home to roost in 2009.

Having been a pauper at the start I suppose I’m better prepared for it than most. It has been nice to be so fortunate as to improve substantially upon that meager station in life. The current successful defensive investment strategy will probably prove meaningless once my property is seized by the state. Yet I persist, as hope springs eternal. Is it time to go long again? Is a PE ratio below 8 going to last? It do seem unlikely in a stable market, and one must hedge. The real question is “Is this a stable market?”. My doubts are no doubt clear. 😉

Maybe the glee of having been correct several times will be enough to sustain the family once the actual assets themselves are seized at gunpoint by the neoCommie mob. Maybe it would be best to just spend it all now. Cash everything out and live large for a few years. Eat the seed corn. That goes completely against my naturally frugal nature, but it does seem to be a viable option. The current penalties for early withdrawal may, in hindsight, appear quite reasonable once we get to 2015. Alternatively, what hard asset will hold its value, but also escape the wrath of overzealous or targeted taxation by a failing government infrastructure? Gold coin is so impractical. Buy seed corn maybe?

Time for tea, as the Titanic slips beneath the waves! More […]

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