Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A Great Day !!

Quite the surprise today after lunch when a FedEx truck delivered a large parcel to the house. 

I knew I had done well in the 2013 ARRL Sweepstakes, but little did I know that I had come first in Canada in the QRP category.....and if that wasn't enough later that day the Postman dropped off an envelope, also from the ARRL, containing a certificate for First Place in Ontario East for the same contest.

I'd better start working on a strategy for this years Sweepstakes......

Monday, 27 October 2014

A good weekend on the bands....


It would be very had to pick out the best part of the weekend, most of it was a blur of "CQ DX",  I was late getting on the air Friday evening, I felt it more important to watch the arrival of Cpl Cirillo, and his family, at the Funeral Home in Hamilton, and watch the outpouring of respect from the thousands of Canadians who lined his route home.  It was quite humbling to watch.

It was 0040 UTC before I turned on the rig and made my first contact.  Friday evening contacts were on a mixture of 20m and 40m.  But there was a problem, it seemed that many of the stations calling CQ were running too much power, and were transmitting far beyond what their antennas could actually hear.    It was quite funny really to sit back and listen to many stations answering these guys, and have these big guns just call "CQ Contest" over and over again.....if they only knew how many stations were actually lined up to talk to them.

Saturday morning was a 10m feast!!  The SSB on 10m started at 28.250 and continued, wall-to-wall non-stop to 29.190.  It was so good on 10m that I did not get to 20m until very late in the day, and I did not get to 15m until Sunday morning.    I shut things down at 2200 UTC on Sunday with 701 QSO's in the log, my ears just couldn't take any more noise.

I did not hear any band police over the weekend, but the idiots who like to tune up right over a QSO were out in force.

The worst behaviour I heard over the weekend was the pileup over A73A, the contest team from Qatar.  I felt very sorry for the operator as the jerks trying to call him would not listen to his instructions, and continued to scream their call signs at him over top of his QSO's.  Nearly all the offenders were, unfortunately, stations from the USA.

And finally, some operators still have not learned the most basic of rules when dealing with DX.  Use the standard list of phonetics, not everyone understands English well.  I listened in total amusement an exchange that went on 10 minutes between an American and a Latvian station.  Instead of using "Whiskey Delta Bravo", the American was using "Willoughby Divorce Beans".  In return WDB got back "BCN", and around and around they went.  In the end the QSO wasn't completed, the Latvian gave up in frustration.

The radio in action this weekend was the FT-950 and the 80m OCF dipole.  I did use the 15m vertical dipole as the 80m will not tune up on 15m.  Very pleased with the equipment, everything seems to be working well.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Julian G4ILO - SK

Julian G4ILO
Over the past few years I have been following the journey of Julian, G4ILO.  Julian is the founder of "Wainwrights On The Air", which is a program very similar to SOTA, but on smaller hills.

Julian has been a great inspiration to me, and many other hams, with his portable operations.

Unfortunately he was diagnosed with an un-operable brain tumour three years ago.  He never gave up, always positive in his outlook towards life and his future.  He lived life to the fullest as long as he could, and he fought it as long as he could as well.

We lost Julian this past Friday, October 14th 2014.  A true gentleman, he will be missed by me, and a great number of fellow hams around the world.

RIP Julian.  SK.

Friday, 24 October 2014

CQ WW SSB DX Contest

Tonight is the start of this years CQ World-Wide SSB DX Contest.  This kicks off at 0000Z and runs till 2359Z on Sunday. 

The bands are terrible right now (at 1530L).   Currently the SFI is at 227.  The SC is 126.  The 'A' Index is 10, and the 'K' Index is 4. 

Hopefully the bands will pick up soon, with the solar flux index above 200, and no geomagnetic storms in the forecast, band conditions should be excellent.

Rules for this years contest can be found HERE.

I'm going for a may be a long night J