Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happenings over the last few weeks

Over the past few weeks I have been able to get on the air during  the evenings for about an hour and this has paid off with some new DXCC's.  I have been finding a spot on one of the clusters (a DXCC I am in need of) from either DX Watch or the data base in DXLabs spotcollector software. Tuning to that frequency but in the past if I heard nothing I just moved on to another spot. Now I have been sitting on the frequency listening whilst doing other things on the this post. I have found that as conditions change the static breaks and the new country comes into focus!! At times I have had to use my Audio Peak filtering (APF) which works great to bring the new contact up from just above the noise level.  There have been times when I should had acted faster, like the time Somalia broke through the static. By the time I "filtered up" it was only static and no Somalia!!! 
 Below is a YouTube By PY1FR showing the APF on the K3 in action.

 Below are some of the contacts I had made along side a little background

D3AA from Angola:  I  had seen for many evenings D3AA on the spotting networks, I found either there was a huge pileup trying to contact him OR he just was not there even after laying in wait on the frequency for 15 minutes or so. Then one evening as I was looking at my Elecraft P3 pan-adapter, I noticed a signal to one side of the frequency I was monitoring. I spun the VFO and to my surprise it was D3AA calling CQ!!! He was just above the noise and I could copy him fine so I called and he came back to me first call with a 559 and he is in the log. 

FP/VE2XB St.Pierre& Miquelon: These are French islands off the coast of New Newfoundland...Here in Ontario that is like next door when it comes to ham radio. It surely would be an easy catch and one for the DXCC  books.....WRONG......The propagation gods were not smiling down on me at all. Most of the time I could hear the pileup trying to work FP/VE2XB but that was it. Every night he was on and the spotting network had him being spotted from all over but could he be heard here at VE3WDM...NO!! It was with this contact I found my new strategy, to just sit on frequency and wait and see. One evening in came FP/VE2XB and after a few calls I got him in the log book.


Here is an audio sample from my K3 of a DX-pedition operating split ( calling on one frequency and listening on another frequency)  using the main and sub-receiver. You can very clearly hear the pileup in one ear and the DX in the other have to have some headphones on to hear this. There is a point were a station is calling on the DX's  calling frequency.
This is just but another feature of the k3 that allows me to snag DX-peditions and add them to my DXCC count.

5N7M Nigeria: This contact was booming in and I called and he came back to me with 599 and that was it. Each night I have seen 5N7M spotted he has been booming, I wish all the DX was like this...oh well it would take the fun and challenge out of it. 

OY1CT Faroe islands: This group of islands is just above England and are Danish. To get this call into the log I had to pull out all the stops. He was fading in and out but when his signal was good it was about an S8 and then moments later just above an S2 noise level. I ended up making the contact when he was in around S3. I found I was watching my monitor that was displaying the feed from the Elecraft P3 pan-adapter. I could see his signal in the waterfall and it was then time to try the Audio Peak filtering along with Diversity receive. That did the trick here at the receive end but was my signal going to make it to him?? I gave him a call and he came back to me........well so I thought.....have you ever have this happen....You want to make the contact so bad that you "think" you hear your call but in fact it's just background noise?? This was what I thought was happening until he gave my call out again and this time he was S7 so the contact then was completed at my end.


  1. Hi Mike, some really great contacts there.

    You know, the QRP operating litany has been "antenna" "antenna" antenna" for some time now, and it is true. However, I am beginning to come to the conclusion that "filtering" "filtering" "filtering" may just be even more important. With all the electronic device hash on HF bands, Even a great antenna can't filter all that noise out.

    1. Good evening Richard, I agree not because my antenna is just an attic antenna and the power is max 5 watts BUT the filtering has pulled in the station many a time and to my surprise 5 watts made the contact.

  2. Hi Mike, have you tried the DX Lab add on called Spotspy.

  3. Good evening Paddy, no I have not but I am on the radio right now sitting on a spotted area of the band and I will now look it up on Google. Thanks very much for the info and taking time to comment.