Category Archives: DX

Another good mobile cw day

This afternoon I was downstairs playing with the radios and noticed that 20 meters was wide open to Europe, with lots of stations coming in. I worked a couple, but then thought “I wonder how it would be from the mobile.

Last week was a busy week and I never drove the car to Rockford, so I never have had any operating time with the new control head setup. So I went out in the car, headed west on I 88 and tuned around 20 meters. I answered a DL (Germany) CQ, did a short contact, signed, and had a pileup calling me. In the next 20 minutes I probably worked 10 different stations, but I didn’t have scratch paper with me, so I have no log of it. After a while I turned around to come home, then realized I had the little logger on my iPhone. I made one more contact after that, with Guatamala, and managed to get it logged.

Oh well, it was a blast having all the EU stations calling me. I’m really, really impressed with the Little Tarheel antenna.


Mobile CW in Mazda 3

My log for this week. This is a great logging app for the iPhone.

The install in the Mazda 3 has been a big success. I made a half dozen good contacts during our short road trip to Nebraska., and have had nothing but good reports.  Last week Ihad two days where I did the long commute to Rockford and made a couple good contacts each day. I even worked some DX, Columbia, on Tuesday on the way home on 20 meters.

Today I did more work on the install, and will put up more photos tomorrow.

I have started using HamLog, an app on the iPhone to log mobile contacts. The biggest challenge on CW mobile is remembering who you talked to, their names, etc. With this app, I can easily get the call typed in while I’m listening to them, or I make a voice recording of the call and fill it in later.

This program is very slick. You can even e-mail an ADIF file to yourslef from it, so you can merge these contacts into your main log. It also has some cloud logging features, that I’m just starting to investigate. More on that later.



DX contest and bands are hopping

This weekend is a major DX contest, where stations try to work as many foreign stations as possible over a short period of time. Due to the increased solar activity and sunspots, the upper bands of 15 and 10 meters are active again after years of near silence. So it’s easy to sit in the basement on Saturday and Sunday morning and work hundreds of stations from around the world.

I didn’t make a big effort of this, as we had some company in town and after all, this is just a hobby. But for the few hours I operated, it was a lot of fun.

DX, the bands are open again

Sorry I’ve been away from blog, but I’ve been very active on the radio past couple months, and I just haven’t kept up with blogging. In the meantime, the bands have been open, and I have to say I’m chasing more DX than I every have in my ham career. Tonight, for example, I worked Fiji, 3D2A, on 10 meters at around 9 p.m. local time with my first call. That blew me away. Then I came back down and worked Israel, 4x4FC, on 40 meters on the second call. I just don’t have that kind of results with my simple ground mounted vertical. In the lst week I’ve worked Greenland, Guam, Jordan, Sardinia, Fiji and Israel. Most of those are new countries for me, and using the Logbook of the World system, I’ve been able to watch my country count steadily grow. Then while I was writing this, I managed to workd JW/F8DVD which is an expedition to Svalbard, whcih is an island in artic sea north of Norway. I managed to snag him in a lucky shot in middle of pileup. Another new one. So I’ve got DX fever for now. It’s really different to see all the DX popping up in the log.

Random new country

I was doing my usual Saturday morning routine of tuning around 40 meters CW when I heard Zl7LH calling CQ. I replied, and worked him on the first call. ZL7 is Chatham Islands off the coast of New Zealand, not a bad Saturday morning QSO on 40, and a new country for me. That was a good way to start Saturday.

Last night I had a good high-speed CW contact with Neal, N4HAF in Raleigh, NC. It’s nice to get back on CW and get the CW muscles working again.

ZK3OU, new country on Saturday morning

I had a nice start to the weekend. I turned the radio on 40 meters and heard a bunch of people calling someone around 7030. I tuned down a little and heard ZK3OU. I assumed it was South Pacific because of the ZK call, since New Zealand is ZL. I set the K3 to split and watched the action on the panadapter and listed with my transmitting frequency in the right ear, and ZK3OU in my left ear.
I soon figured out where he was listening, and listened to him work a W3. I called immediately on that frequency, he came back to K9OG (a common mistake as he missed the last dit on the Z) so I sent K9OZ again and his report. He came back to K9OZ, and I had him the the log.
Then I looked him up. ZK3OU is a mini-dxpedition, tw guys from the West Coast operating down there for a few weeks. They were operating from the Tokelau Islands, which are a territory of New Zealand. It is also a new one for me, a DX entity I’ve never worked before.
So that was a nice start to a Saturday morning. It all happened the old-fashioned way as well, with me tuning around the band and happening across DX. There’s something to be said for that in this Internet age.
After that I slowed things down and tuned to 3885 and listened to the Midwest Classic Radio Net at 7:30. I always enjoy listening to the old AM gear on this net.

ARRL DX contest

I had a good time this wekend with the ARRL DX contest. We’ve had sunspots the last month, so it appears propogation is finally improving.
I managed to make contacts on 15, 20, 40, 80 and even three on 160 last night. As a result, I wound up with over 400 contacts in about 10 hours of operating. I had a great time.
With a DX contest such as this, you work different parts of the world on different bands at different times. There is enough activity, that you can really hear the propogation changing and get a better understanding of where in the world a band is open to at a particular time. You use your knowledge of how the bands are, to pick the right bands at the right time. If it all works, it’s great.
The contest also sold me on the K3. It is just the nicest contest and DX radio I’ve ever used. I switched to the Icom 756 Pro III for a short period last night, but soon went back to the K3.
On another note, the line noise that has plauged me most of the winter seems to have subsided. Both the electric and cable company have been working on the lines in this neighborhood, and my hope is somewhere during that process the faulty insulator, or whatever was causing the problem, was replaced.
Now that I’ve said that, the noise will probably return. All I can say is it wouldn’t have been much of a contest this weekend with the noise present.

Ham radio I phone apps

My resolution for the new year, be a better blogger.

I took some time off over the holidays and spent a lot of time playing with the radios. Mostly, it was nice rag chews on 40 and 80 meters, but I spent some time on the Stew Perry Distance Challenge — a 160 meter contest — and running mobile on 40 adn 20 meters over New Year’s while driving to Memphis.

I enjoyed getting back on CW mobile, but I’m afraid my trusty old Yaeseu FT 857 is seeing its last legs on HF. During a contact on the drive south, I unfortunately had stuffed a coat over the radio while packing the car, and the radio overheated and quit operating. It later cooled down and I got back on the air, but it died on me again part way through a contact. I should have known better, and broke one of the basic rules of mobile operation — watch the ventilation around your radio.

I’ve been discovering a bunch of IPhone apps for Ham radio. Some are very useful, some I wonder about. I can now practice sending CW with my IPod touch, which isn’t very useful, but I also found a very slick logging program called HamLog. It makes a nice little mobile log, and it can be exported to another logging program, which is very slick. More on that in the next post.

Got Midway DXpedition

This week the K4M DXpedition to Midway Island has been on the air. I made a few half-hearted tries at working them on 17 meters this week in the late afternoon, and heard them before work on Friday morning on 40 meters, but didn’t have time to chase it. So this morning (Saturday) I got up at 4 a.m. as they are only on the air for a few more days.

By 4:40 I had them in the log on 40 meter cw and I got them on 30 meters by 5:30. I spent a little time on 80, but I couldn’t hear them very well. I actually heard them better on 160 this morning, but didn’t have any luck snagging them there. I tried a little on 40 SSB, but at that point the sun was coming up. Oh well, I got them on two bands, so I’m happy.

Now it’s 7 a.m. and I’m ready for a nap. Tomorrow is the Illinois QSO party, and I plan on hitting it hard. I’ll have an update tomorrow night.

There is a new radio in the house. I’ve had sellers remorse ever since I sold my Icom 756ProIII a year and a half ago. I even bought a used 756Pro to try to make up for it, but still missed the extra features and tweaks in the Pro III. So this week I bought a Pro III on close-out, for about what I sold my old one for last year. The Pro is up on E-Bay this morning.

In my DX chasing, I was jumping between the Pro III and the K3 on different bands. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, but I’ll say I’m happy with my purchase of the Pro III. On some band conditions, it heard K4M better than the K3. In other conditions, the K3 heard the station better than the ProIII. Both are great radios. I’m happy.

Early morning DX

This morning the Oceana DX contest was on, and there on the bottom of 40 were quite a few Australians and New Zealanders calling CQ. I worked everyone I heard. Nice to start the weekend with a little DX on 40.

Gearing up for Illinois QSO party next weekend. I plan on hitting it hard from the home station. I’m not exactly in a rare county — DuPage — but looking at last year’s results I didn’t do bad. It would be nice to break into the top 10 this year.