Monday, 23 November 2015

Not quite a "Clean Sweep"......

Another contest is over, and what a weekend it was!!  Overall the bands were not in bad shape, and the propagation numbers stayed pretty stable for most of the weekend.  We started off with: SFI=121, SN=52, K Index=4 and the A Index=1, and ended up with pretty much the same.

No band police were heard at all, which is a nice change from the profane language and screams of "UP!! UP!! UP!!".  However, the "Tuner Upper" Lids were out in force again tuning up right over on-going QSO's.

It really was very nice having the second HF antenna ready for this contest, it meant I had 15m available.  However, it wasn't all smooth sailing this year.  For some reason both antennas gave me really bad RF in the shack on 80m.  All the other bands, on both antennas, were fine.  I've never had this happen before, so I'm not quite sure where to start looking for an answer.  I put extra beads on the coax, but they have done nothing at all.

Saturday afternoon was a feast of the west coast, and in short order I have all of the California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii sections in the log....all on 10m.   It wasn't until after dark and 40m came alive that I started getting the "close in" sections.  Sunday was a great day, all the bands seem to have been open, at least I made contacts on them all.  The workhorse band was 15m for me, it was open to just about everywhere.

I managed to get 76 Sections of the available 83, the missing ones I never heard at all, on any band.  Now the wait till December 19th, when the RAC Winter Contest is starts.  Hopefully the bands will behave for that contest as well.

2015 Sweepstakes Worked Sections Map

Sunday, 15 November 2015

November Sweepstakes

Coming up next weekend is the 2015 ARRL Sweepstakes SSB Contest, and I'm in a quandary whether to do it as a QRP station....or a QRO Station.  No doubt I'll make my mind up at the very last minute after checking the propagation.

This year the contest runs from 2100 UTC on November 21st till 0259 UTC on November 23rd.  The rules can be found on the ARRL website....HERE.

I'm looking forward to this contest so I can try out my brand new addition to my antenna arsenal, a 148' inverted L which runs across my backyard approximately South-West to North-East.  It's about 60' off of the ground up in my trees.  Over the past two months I have been experimenting with various wire antenna designs, and none of them have come close to my 80m OCF Dipole up at 50' from the ground.  Most signals have been 3 to 4 S units down from my dipole.  We will see how this antenna does and do a full report after the contest.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Get Ready..............

Get Ready, Winter Field Day is coming !!!!   January 30th & 31st, 1700Z to 1700Z.  
Don't be late !!

Check out the new Winter Field Day Association Website.....HERE.

Monday, 9 November 2015

In Remembrance

In Loving Memory of the
Officers, NCO's, and Men
2816 Squadron RAF Regiment
1941 - 1946


In Memory of
WO Derek Pilkington, BEM
Cpl Dave Crombe

United Kingdom Mobile Air Movements Squadron


Monday, 26 October 2015

CQ WW SSB Contest

What an outstanding weekend on the bands!!!!!  I think all the bands were full of DX signals, I know 20m, 15m, and 10m were rocking practically the whole contest, and 40m was hot at night.  It was really nice to have 10m wide open, I spent a lot of time there.

I managed to work 158 countries in a little over 12 hours operating.  All the usual suspects were on the bands, but I did get to work a new country, 4L0A from the Republic of Georgia, heard him on 20m and snagged him on the second call.  That's the first time I've ever heard Georgia on the air.

I also worked VU2CPL in Bangalore, India, on 20m Sunday afternoon on 20m.  How I broke that pileup I will never know, it was frightening!!

The downside of the weekend is that on Saturday afternoon, in the middle of a huge pileup, my antenna decided it would be a good time to come down.  Outside I went, man it was cold in the wind, I managed to get it back in the air and also put up a 31' vertical and some radials down as a spare in case I needed it during the night.  We had winds of 60 kph gusting to 75 kph all afternoon and over night.  So two hours of valuable operating time was lost.

Once again the "tuner uppers" were out in force, tuning up on top of active QSO's, and a few band police were heard, but not as many as usual.  There were tons of European stations between 7.040 and 7.124, and very few of them working split for a change.

Overall  the propagation wasn't bad, it certainly wasn't as bad as the numbers would have led us to believe.    We started with SFI=115, SN=91, A Index at 7, and the K Index at 1, and finished on Sunday with the SFI=106, SN=74, A Index at 11, and the K Index at 2.  The bands did get a bit noisy, but there was so many signals on them it was hard to tell what real affect the SFI had on them.

It's all over except submitting the log, and then it's getting things tuned up and sorted for the ARRL Sweepstakes on November 21st & 22nd.