Great New Tools on Club Log

I just went onto Club Log to confirm that my 7O6T contact was showing, and discovered that they’ve added some wonderful new analytical tools to the site.

First, for any dxpedition using Club Log, there’s complete statistics on the distribution of qsos; by continent, by band, by mode, and combinations thereof.

Select the MAP tab, and you will be presented with a map showing the present daylight/darkness.  Click on your location, and you’ll get complete statistics on the contacts with your zone by band and hour – a great tool to determine how propagation has actually worked for your area.    Propagation tools such as VOACAP tell you what it should be, but this chart tells you what it’s actually been – very useful in planning your attack.

Click on GEOGRAPHIC PROPAGATION, and you’ll see a great circle map, and qso charts that allow you to see color coded where the bulk of the qso’s are for any band at any hour – again great tools for analyzing when your best chances will be by actual historical data, not just propagation charts.

My least favorite is the leader boards.  Frankly, I don’t like listing who’s made the MOST contacts.  I think the emphasis should be on how many unique individual calls a dxpedition has worked, not who’s worked them the most number of times.

Club Log has become an indispensable tool and they just keep making it better.  If you’re not using it, you really should be.

Country # 299 – IN THE LOG

Finally…..

After trying on and off for 5 days, and 90 minutes effort this time, worked 7O6T on 15 meters CW.  The pileups are intense, but he had a very good signal into the west coast, and was working a lot of 6′s and 7′s, so I knew there was a chance.

Spent about an hour, took a break, and worked him in 10 minutes after coming back.  Seems like that’s always the way it works, for some reason.

Now that I have them in the log once, the rest will come easier.

That makes two all-time new countries this week, and I’ve discovered that once you get to this point, new ones don’t come very rapidly – especially with 100 watts and a dipole.  (soon to be changed)

Now on the hunt for country # 300.  Wonder what it will be!!!!!!!!

Worked an All Time New One, and Didn’t Even Know it

This afternoon, while at least 500,000 others  were chasing 7o6T, I came across PY0FM, and worked him.

DX Lab was down, as I was rebooting my computer, but I knew this was one I hadn’t worked this year yet, so I called about a half dozen times and worked him.  Then when DX Keeper came up, added him to my log.

It was about three hours later that I happened to look, and realized it was an all time new one for me – #298.  I just thought it was going to add to my Marathon total!  What a great surprise.

Now, if I can manage to get Yemen, and the Bahrain station that was so strong the other night, I just might hit 300 this month.

Thank you TJ6RM

First time I’ve worked Cameroon since 1980, and I never sent for the card from that contact.  It’s almost as good as a brand new country.  You can bet I’ll send a qsl to this one!   10104, calling cq, no pileup!  What a way to go.

Along with Moldova, that’s two fairly rare countries in one evening.  Now if I can just work 9M0L!!  Not a new one, but would sure like to add it to my Marathon count for the year.

 

The antenna project is moving ahead

After being exceedingly busy with work and preparing for a large ARES exercise the last month, I’m finally back at DX’ing and preparing for the upcoming (???) rise in the solar flux.

The OCF windom, which came down when the top of one of it’s support trees fell is now back up in the tree and working fine.

But on a grander scale, the upgrade parts for the KT-34 have come in, and very soon, I”ll start the upgrade process, element by element.

This week, I’m ordering the Harbach upgrades for my SB-200 – the soft start, new power supply board, and the soft- key modules.

The weather has started to get un-rainy  (we had the wettest March in recorded history), and  the site survey for where to place the tower can commence.

And just yesterday, I worked four new countries towards the 2012 Marathon, bringing the total to  150 countries, and 36 zones, all with 100 watts and a dipole.

So, everything is on track to break 300 this year (I”m at 297 worked right now), and then move well towards Honor Roll.

Just been appointed as EC for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management Amateur Radio Unit.

As of the first of March, I’m now the EC (Emergency Coordinator) for the ARES Unit attached to the State of Oregon, Office of Emergency Management.

OEM is the central hub of activity when a local emergency becomes of a size and scope that assistance from the state, and then even the federal government is requested.

As with most ARES units, our role is to provide adjuct or backup communications should the normal communications channels either fail to work, or become overburdened due to volume of traffic during an emergency.

Back in 2007, during a major flood in a northwest Oregon county, amateur radio was the only way to get traffic into and out of the emergency area.  ARES set up and operated a Winlink system which provided rapid and accurate communications from the affected counties to the state.  The governor, upon seeing the level of service we provided when everything else was down asked “how much would it cost to equip every county in the state with this capability?” and in short time a $250,000 expenditure was authorized.  Every county now has HF, VHF and winlink capability, and the state ARES structure is the best I’ve ever seen it.

I was with this unit before my 20 year hiatus from ham radio, and just rejoined in January, 2011.  Being selected as the new EC is a real honor, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue to shepherd this unit in the fine tradition of those who’ve served before me in this position.

Ordered the Upgrade kit for my KT-34 today

The used KT-34 I bout is over 20 years old, but has been sitting semi-assembled inside a garage for the last 20 years, so it’s in excellent shape.

That being said, however, there’s no doubt the connections have oxidized somewhat during that time so it has to be disassembled and reassembled anyhow. SO, I’ve ordered the upgrade kit from M2 Antennas which provides a substantial mechanical improvement to the structure of the antenna.

Over the next few months, I’ll rebuild the elements one at a time, working carefully because these antennas are a real erector set. But, when I”m finished, I’ll have an excellent 4 element on each band antenna,

Next BIG project is to figure out where to put the tower this summer. THis is proving to be a real challenge due to the layout and structure of my backyard.

My Dipole is now a Sloper!

My OCF Windom is between two big evergreen trees about 60 feet in the air.

Or at least it WAS

Yesterday, we had a storm come through with wind gusts of 53 mph. Darn if one didn’t take part of the top of one of my trees out, and of course, that end of my antenna with it.

The antenna didn’t sustain any damage – just broke the nylon parachute cord that held it in the tree.

So now, one end is about three feet off the ground. It slopes towards Japan. Still seems to work, but conditions have been so bad I can’t judge how well.

Until this afternoon, my plan was to shoot another line over the remaining top of the tree and put it back up as soon as the weather turned halfway decent.

But this afternoon, a ring at my doorbell changed my plans.

THe top of the tree fell onto the city streets, and the city crews cleaned it up and hauled it away. But in the process they determined that “my” tree is actually on city property, and now they’re planning on removing it because it’s now a hazard. They’ll replace it with a nice deciduous tree of some sort.

But there goes one of my antenna supports.

Oh, well. I was planning on putting the tower up this spring anyhow. It’s been laying on the ground for 20 years, and I’m now in the process of getting it ready. Rotor is being refurbished, new antenna is purchased.

The biggest problem is WHERE? You’d think with a half acre yard, it would be easy, but my entire upper back yard is taken up by a pool and pool deck, and there doesn’t seem to be any place to put it close to the house that will still allow me room for guys.

Hmmm. Got to do some planning.

But at least, I still seem to be on the air – at least somewhat!

New Antennas in the Works

Since getting back on the air in January 2011, after a 20 year hiatus, I’ve been working with only a dipole and an off center fed windom for antennas.  Still managed to work 203 countries and 40 zones last year, and bring my DXCC total from 265 to 298.

But new countries are getting harder and harder to snag, because they’re typically fairly rare, and the competition is pretty stout.  So, new antennas are in the works.

Over the weekend, I purchased a used KT34 in excellent condition – the elements have been fully assembled and stored in a garage for the past 20 years. It was partially rebuilt, and I’ll do the M2 upgrade over the next few months.

I also started to refurbish my old HD73 rotor, and get my Ham II out of storage to get them checked out.

The 60 feet of Rohn 25G , which have been laying beside my house for 22 years, are now getting cleaned up and ready to reinstall.  Now all I have to do is figure out where to put it.

Hopefully by this summer, it will all be in operation, and the going will be a little easier.

THen the next project will be to refurb the SB200 and get it in line.  By the end of this year, I should have a much better signal!

Honor Roll, here I come!

Finally getting QSL Cards Printed!

After being off the air for 20 years, and then back on for the last year, I’m finally getting some new QSL cards designed.  What you see below is a one-sided design, and I’m not working on a two sided design.

I’m a portrait photographer by profession, and the picture I’m working with is one I recently created of my two favorite subjects – my two granddaughters Cecelia and Kennedy. They were born a month apart three years ago, and I have to admit, are the sunshine of my life. I simply can’t get enough of either one of them.

Here’s the two sided version: