Sunday, May 1, 2022

Some radio time this weekend.


This past weekend was the running of the UK/EI DX CW contest and most of the time I have a great receive/transmit into the UK and so I was looking forward to this contest. I have seen sunspot numbers on the increase along with solar flux which is a good and bad thing. Good because the important numbers are rising and poor as this means the sun is active and at times lets loose with solar activity which can bring a rise to the Kp index. 

This weekend during the contest was similar to me using a string and tin can for communications. I did hear some UK stations but no EI stations at all. When I did hear a UK station at one moment they were solid and then in the mud. Generally I made contact with them and then the contest report at both ends was in the mud and needed many repeat backs. 

Well such is the life of a ham radio op they say....and what I add to that is any day on the radio is a good day! I was able to get some CW practice in and overall the time I spent in the contest (about 2 hours) was a nice time spent. 

I made 23 contacts for a score of 833. The picture above is my ADIF  log projected on a map to show contacts for the contest.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

My birthday gift has arrived.


A belated birthday gift arrived the other day, when the order was placed the item just went on back order so I had to wait. I ordered this item from Radio world here in Canada and I have to say that this company is first class. They are the DX Engineering of Canada and if you have ever dealt with DX Engineering you know what I am talking about. When the antenna was ordered I was not charged until the unit came in. Once it was shipped I was sent the tracking number and a link from there office that gave me updated information as to the where the item was in it 's travels. Then when it arrived the store sent me an email letting me know it had arrived. The expedited shipping is very reasonably priced, as in the past I have very frequently come across when shipping is more expensive than the item itself. This store is located in Toronto and when I lived in that city I often would drive up to their store. The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. In a very short time they knew your name and upon return visit to the store you were known on a first name basis. 

So what whats in the box? I will be waiting until the weather warms up a bit more until the assembly and tuning starts.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

2022 Q1 update


It's hard to believe that we are 3 months into 2022, winter should soon be on its way out and the warm summer breezes will soon be greeting us. I ended 2021 with a year in review post. In this post, my 2021 goals were to get less FT8 contact and more CW contacts. Not that I have an issue with FT8 but I did find I was paying way too much attention to this mode and my CW skills suffered. The plan was to shore up my CW skills, get into more CW contests and increase my CW contacts.


 As far as the past three months go my CW contest copying skill has gone from an average of 22 wpm to 36 wpm and 38 with some repeats. This was accomplished with daily practice of about 30-50 mins. Taking part in weekly CWops mini-contests on Wednesdays. In these contests I operate search and pounce as at this point calling CQ in this fast-paced contest is not in the cards as of yet. On Friday evenings K1USN radio club runs a slow-speed CW contest or SST as they call it. It is a slow speed contest but practice is practice and in this contest, I hold a frequency and call CQ SST for contacts. 


I am very pleased with the first 3 months of 2022, my CW contacts almost match the number for all of 2021! I am very happy with my increase in CW copying and my move away from FT8 and more CW. In the chart above from Club log it does show for 2022 a certain percentage for phone operation. Well, I don't have a mic in the shack and I am figuring my logging program logs the occasional QSO as SSB. It has done this in the past and this year I may not have caught this before uploading a log.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Lets get a healthy debate going shall we.....

Everyone is aware of what is going on in Ukraine with the Russian invasion. Each day we hear of new sanctions and boycotts regarding Russia. In Amateur radio circles I have heard opinions from both sides regarding contacting Russian stations or not. The RSGB has made it very clear that they will not accept Russian or Belarus entrants in any RSGB contest. At this point in time, I don't believe the ARRL or RAC has made any statements regarding Russian amateurs?


Here is my question, coming up next weekend is a very popular Russian contest for both CW and SSB the Russian DX contest. In the past, I have seen lots of participation on the bands regarding this contest and it has a very good turn out of Russian hams. Are you going to take part this year or boycott it? I have read both sides on this one, how ham radio and politics should be separate. Or ham ops also need to boycott as well to send a consistent message to Russia. 


This is the first time as a ham that I have run across this issue does participating in the contest show support for what Russia is doing or does it show we support Russian hams by participating and allowing world events to remain a separate issue?


What are your thoughts on the RSGB banning Russia and Belarus? 


Are you going to take part in the upcoming contest and if you are not a contest fan are you still contacting hams from Russia or Belarus?


Should the ARRL or RAC come up with a position either way? 


Finally, I would ask those who do comment to keep it polite and realize we all have an opinion that we may not agree with. I also will delete any inappropriate comments. I always think a good healthy debate is a good thing.