More about the antenna situation. A few weeks back, prior to the CW weekend of the ARRL November Sweepstakes, spouse and I installed the Spi-Ro D-52 trap dipole. That's the one that's advertised as covering all 5 bands, 80-10 (it doesn't: it covers 80 and 40). But I must say, it does a pretty good job on the bands it does cover.

3.500 11:1
3.860 1.1:1
4.000 4.6:1

7.000 5.9:1
7.210 1.7:1
7.300 2.2:1

50.22 2.2:1
145.95 2.0:1

OK, so it covers 6 and 2 with a tuner? Weird. The readings on 20, 10, and, strangely, 15 aren't worth mentioning ... sort of like 3.500. That 11:1 reading could be a problem with the upcoming RTTY Roundup since the digital sub-band is now squished down below 3.600 MHz.

I didn't spend much time on 80 during the Phone weekend of SS and it showed in the results - about 100 QSOs fewer than last year. Worked a bunch on 40, though, and during the CW weekend, I made all 50 or so QSOs on 40. RFI doesn't seem too bad either.

Oh, and I added an Ameritron RCS-4 to the mix. I have three of its ports active so far, with the 80-40 dipole as the default, the WARC-band dipole on another port, and the home-brew 10-m dipole on the third port.

The 4th port will have the 6-m loop eventually, but I just didn't feel like lowering the wobblestack to re-arrange the feedlines.

I was able to remove a 68-ft chunk of LMR-400 from service, though, which is cool. I'll be able to remove another chunk of RG-8 when I straighten out the 6-m stuff.

So far, the switch works great. I have the D-56 on port 1 of the 746 and the switch on port 2. I have 15 and 20 set (in the radio) for port 1 and everything else on 2. When I'm on the WARC bands, 10, 40, or 80, I just need to turn the knob on the controller and everything is groovy.

I worked a ZS on 80 phone the other day, so it must all be working.


More DX

It's been a good run, of late. I don't know if it's the few recent spots on Sol, or what, but I'm up to 145 as of this morning. Latest was OX on RTTY (#95 on RTTY). Got 9M6 the other night on "CW".

Last weekend, during the CQ WW SSB contest, I got KHØ, ZK2, and HBØ. I'm not entirely certain if the KHØ or the HBØ got my call correct, but I know the ZK2 did because he has an online log. Cool!

Before that, I got 4U1UN, UN Headquarters in NYC, which counts as a separate entity for DXCC purposes.

Don't know why it happened, but 13 new ones in October is pretty darn good. Hope November is as productive!


"I'm your host, Joe DX"

The tally box up there on the left now says 137 138. I've had a good run of late: GU, 3D2/f, FO/a, KH4, and FO/m. And VK on 'phone. Much of it is just happenstance. I use the DXLab Suite and the Spot Collector application works FB.

One evening, while filling out QSLs, I saw a VK7 (Australian state of Tasmania) spotted on 17 m 'phone at about 2100 local. I figured that this was a spot from a station outside of the middle part of the country -- Spot Collector lets you specify the origin of the spots that are displayed -- and that there was little chance of hearing him. Ha. Clicked to his freq and there he was, S9! It was midday in Tasmania and the op was working a little DX on his lunch break. Managed to actually break the pile-up, which made me happy. I've already confirmed him on LoTW for #99 on 'phone.

Well, make that 138. Just worked LA on the 17-m band. Thought I already had Norway, but no.

The others I got while looking for the KH4 DXpedition. I've been playing with the keyer memories in the IC746Pro again and worked the FO/m on "CW". As with K5D, I used UA9OV's CwGet to "help" with copying the code ... you know, since it was so fast and all. I worked K4M the same way. Actually, the K4M op was really cooking - about 40 wpm, I would estimate.

Now I just need to confirm them all. Don't have enough (and won't confirm enough) to get the 150-country sticker for my Mixed DXCC, but should be able to get Phone and 15 m this year.



Sometimes, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. At the last club meeting, the president announced that the EM had rescued some surplus Rohn tower sections from, literally, the scrap heap. Would any of us be interested in them?

Would any of us be interested in them?

Um, yeah.

Took spouse's truck to the appointed location and came home with 3 10-foot sections, a 7' top section, a "safety ring", a work platform, and three guy brackets.

Thirty-seven feet is not the world's tallest tower and I will probably try to locate two additional 10' sections, but man, I'm a lot closer to a tower than I was a week ago!

Thanks to the folks that made this possible!!!


Big day tomorrow

Sort of a big day tomorrow. Since I inherited the local VE team from the former Liaison, we've only done regular sessions. Well, save for one special session, but it was small.

Tomorrow's session is at the big regional hamfest. Ten candidates have signed up and I expect that there will be one or two walk-ins. I have firm commitments from about 6 VEs which is just enough. I suspect, however, that we'll have plenty tomorrow as a number of them are not online everyday and won't see my email.

Nonetheless, it's a bigger opportunity to display incompetence than the regular sessions (all of which have gone very smoothly!).

Also need to pick up various and sundry surge suppression accessories. :-)


As you can see in the Tally box, I'm up to 118 confirmed. Got a card from 6W in the box yesterday. For a QSO from 2000. :-)



Finally, finally got the Cushcraft A148-10S up in the air. Bought the antenna (and rotator and IsoPoles for 2 m and 70 cm ... and some speakers) from the widow of N5HZX 2.5 years ago. Hemmed and hawed (and then thought about it some more) and finally put a plan together a few weeks ago.

Originally, the top of the mast -- that's a ChannelMaster or Radio Shack 30' push-up pole -- had the old RS discone with the KB6KQ loops below. Well, I had those two loops way too close together and had poor SWR on both of them. Hasn't stopped me from working both coasts, XE, CO, and HI on 6 m (tuner!) and a 455-km contact on 2 m (with 3:1 SWR!), but still ...

So, the rotator is now at the top, with a 1-m mast above that holding the 2-m loop. I also dropped the 6-m loop to about the 20' level.

Ha - pretty close to flat SWR on both antennas! With spouse's help, I also got the SWR down to 1.4:1 on the beam. Interestingly, after I got off the roof entirely, the SWR is much closer to flat. I thought 15-20' away was enough for a good reading, but I guess not.

Now, I just need to work someone on the new beam. Made some 6-m contacts with the loop in the new configuration and heard a station near Dallas on the beam, but couldn't work him.

Oh, one other thing. The guying is crap. :-) I need to work on that, clearly.



Haven't been posting, obviously. Got on to see what I could work, new-one-wise for the CQ WW WPX SSB this weekend. Ended up making 92 Qs, which was more than I thought I would. Worked more on 20 than I usually do - seems I could actually compete for some reason. Heard, but did not work, 6W. Did manage to work 4O. I thought I'd already worked them, but that must have been before the latest split up.

Also filled a few TPA holes.


Desecheo II

I guess I'm done. I ended up getting them on:
  • 17M SSB
  • 15M RTTY
  • 80M SSB
  • 30M CW
Yes, CW. Did I hand-send the Morse? Oh, heavens, no. Used one of the four keyer memories in the 746Pro. Did I decode the DX's signal myself? Oh, heavens, no. Used UA9OV's CwGet.

Even if my code speed was better, and I have been practicing, there was no way I could have done the 30-40 wpm that K5D was doing. No way. Kudos to those that can, I'm just not one of them.

OTOH, I did think of an incentive today. I plan to try to get an ARRL Code Proficiency certificate. I figure if I can get to the 20-wpm level, I can buy myself a new set of paddles. We'll see if that pans out.



The KP5 folks have been on the air for over a week. I hate to complain about DXpedition operations, but man, these guys have been hard to work. I finally got them on 17 SSB last Wednesday morning. Worked them again yesterday on 15 RTTY and last night on 80 SSB. But man, they're never strong. Well, they were pretty strong on 30 CW today, but they couldn't hear me (I was cheating with CwGet and the memories in the 746 :-).

VP6DX and TX5C were easy to work by comparison and Ducie, at least, is much further away. Lack of sunspots isn't helping, of course, but that should mean they'd be loud at night on 40 and 80. Well, not really. ZF2AM was loud on 3794 kHz the other night ... S9+10dB loud. And the Caymans aren't that much closer than Puerto Rico.

Anyway, I got them on 2 modes and three bands. They're there for several more days so we'll see if I can get them on CW.

Or rather if my machines can get them on CW.



Been a dearth of new one lately, for me at least. Home today in honor of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr's, birthday and worked H4 on 17m for #126. Doesn't appear to be a LoTW participant, so will need to send a card.

Got my D4 card today ... Unfortunately, I got the LoTW credit a few weeks back, so the $2 for the card could have gone somewhere else. Ah, well. Didn't know that at the time.

Also, I'm up to 77 (of 150) on the Triple Play award and 189 (of 250) for 5BWAS.


Over to the low bands

This will be the real test of the CT-17 ... 40 and 80. Worked a few on 40 and no issues so far.

RTTY Roundup

Still haven't solved the RFI issues, but I am QRV on 40 and 80 thanks to the loan of a real Icom CT-17 level converter. I'm also doing pretty well on 20 and 15. Had a few runs even, and I'm over 125 QSOs. Not much DX on (PY, KH6, PZ, P4, LU, HI, XE). Did have a ZL call me while I was CQing, so that was fun. :-)

Back to the salt mines. Shooting for 500 Qs.