Not selling the Isopoles after all

Spouse finally got me to climb the ladder to do something about the Isopoles on the end of the house. I've got both the 2-m and 70-cm versions with a diplexer (band-pass filter) feeding them into the radio room.  Since they've been up, I've never really been happy with their performance.  I eventually stuck an Arrow Antennas GP146/440 up to replace them and just used the Isopoles for the scanners.

So when I got up the ladder and got all the dead vines away, I opened up the plastic box that holds the diplexer to start disconnecting things.  First thing I noticed was that one of the PL-259s, the one on the VHF port, was loose.  No big deal. Hmm, which antenna does this feed again? Maybe that's the problem.  Hey, look!  It's connected to the UHF Isopole.  And naturally, the UHF port was connected to the VHF antenna. 

Gee, do you think connecting it backwards is a problem?



RoIP and Digital Modes

I recently helped a couple of the local repeater elders set up a DMR repeater.  DMR, Digital Mobile Radio, is Yet Another Digital Mode That Has A Network Component.  Yes, just like D-STAR.  And System Fusion (YSF).  In fact, the one thing that I missed early on is that the network parts of D-STAR, DMR, and YSF are no different than IRLP, EchoLink or Allstar Link.  Once I realized that, it became obvious that they were all basically the same, with the only real differentiation being that D-STAR, DMR, and YSF are all digital modes over the air, while the others connect analog radios.  Other than that, the two groups are very similar.  You an connect to another station, another repeater station, or another virtual repeater ("reflector").

Anyway, I've been doing a lot of research on this primarily because the fact that, as the man says, "these systems are 95% the same and 100% incompatible."  I think that's silly in amateur radio, so I need to educate myself on each of these.


I need to keep up - Dipole back in air

Seriously ... over 2 years?  I do need to move this over to WordPress but even so .. two?  Maybe it will be better after graduation. 

Anyway, a year ago, the local utility was replacing poles on the property and inadvertently snagged the Spi-Ro D-52 40-80 trap dipole. So for the last year, I've been relegated to 10/12/17/30 m.  With the help of spouse, I've fixed the two breaks and hauled it back into the air.  Just in time for the ARRL November Sweepstakes.  And, I've even made a few QSOs.  Dips in the SWR are not as they were before (I need to find the old ones), but looks to be usable at the low end on 40 and 20 at least.

I see that my country totals are way off, too.  191/177?  More like 201/187.  Guess I should be sending out some cards, too, to get that 200 sticker.


Where was I?

Boy, I've sure let this go!  Let's see, since my last update I did complete 50-MHz VUCC with all credits via Logbook of the World.  And I did receive my 150 sticker for Mixed and my RTTY (not Data!) and 20-m DXCC certificates.  Been in something of a lull since then, though.  I'm qualified for 40-m WAS, but I'm going to wait until I have all I need for 5BWAS.  I'm only 15 states short of Triple Play, too, all on CW of course. 

How long before the next update? 


More on the paper chase

Here it is, six months later.  I've decided that my DXCC cycle will be to submit "sometime after Field Day" each year, meaning July.  That avoids the rush at HQ that happens at the end of the calendar year when everyone is trying to get the highest number possible for their listing in the DXCC Yearbook.

So, for me, none of that this year.  I'm up to 164 Mixed (so I'll get the 150 sticker) and I've also got more than enough for the 20-m DXCC and the RTTY DXCC.  Looks like I'll need to come up with two more frames that will fit 11.5 x 14 certificates. 

I've also got enough grids confirmed on 6m for VUCC, though only 96 of them are via LOTW.  I may do the separate applications thing (no hybrids for VUCC) since I do have the cards and need to visit the card checker for my DXCC application anyway (he's also a VHF Awards Manager).  Or I may wait to see if 4 more come in via LOTW.


Decision made

Didn't submit. I was waiting to see if I would get a few more confirmations before the year-end so I'd have some real reason to submit a DXCC application and get into the Yearbook.

Well, come New Year's Eve, I was only at 148 so I elected to put off the application. Soon enough, I'll have 150 (or more) confirmations and I'll also have qualified for 20-m and RTTY DXCC (I've got over 90 confirmed for both) so I'll save my money and submit later.

At least I managed to work a few New Ones, H40 and V5, the latter one already confirmed (giving me 149).


Pins, Needles

Well, maybe not that bad. I am sitting at 146 countries confirmed. At 150 confirmed, I can get an endorsement sticker for my Mixed DXCC award. Whee! :-)

So why pins and needles? Well, to be listed in next year's DXCC Yearbook, you have to make your DXCC application before the end of the current year. If you look at the calendar, you can see that I have about 15 days to do that.

Last year, I waited until the last minute and did a "hybrid" application. That's where you do the application online, submit Logbook of the World credits, then print some stuff and take it, with the cards you have, to your local DXCC Card Checker (dorky name - used to be "DXCC Field Representative"). It's actually easier than the paper application and lets you wait all the way to the last minute (paper-only applications have to be in Newington by 12/31, AFAIK).

Anyway, this year, I'm four cards short. The question is, do I wait until after the new year so I can get to 150 or do I wait to see if I get the 150 before the 31st (practically speaking, the 29th or 30th) so that I can get into the Yearbook?

You might say, "well, do one now, then do another later!" Here's the thing. Your first DXCC application in a calendar year is $12 but the second one is $22. So it would be an extra $10 to get in the Yearbook and not have to wait until next year for my sticker.

Decisions, decisions.

Right now, I'm just waiting. I sent a donation to the ZL8X folks by PayPal, so I expect that credit to show up any day, and I expect a bunch more via the BURO, which a little birdy told me will do another mailing to my sorter this week.

One thing is certain - I won't get to 100 on either RTTY or 20m. I'm in the 90s on both but won't make it to 100 by the end of the year.