Monday, 20 April 2015

Not Much Contest Activity

It was a pretty quiet weekend for the Ontario QSO Party.  Saturday most of the SSB activity was between 7.060 and 7.099 and stayed there until evening and then it moved to 80m around 3.730, but to be very honest I didn't hear too many stations calling for the QSO Party.

There was lots of traffic calling for the Michigan and Nebraska QSO Parties so it wasn't like the bands were in bad condition.  Saturday afternoon the SFI was: SFI-148.  SN-93. A Index-25, and K Index-2, in fact those numbers never changed all weekend.

I did manage to find a few contacts on 20m on Sunday before the contest finished but it was pretty hard slogging most of the weekend.  There was a bright spot though.....I did work VA3QV on Saturday evening!  Yes, the ever elusive Bobster is in the log once again.   For the Ontario QSO Party I managed to put a dismal total of 26 stations in the log.

The IC-703 performed as advertised and I had many good signal reports over the weekend.  Obviously the punch of the 703 and the height of my dipole is a winning combination, I think I'll leave everything as they are as I've tweaked everything as much as I can.

In between hunting elusive VE3's I also spent some time hunting SOTA activations using the SOTA Watch website (HERE), and I managed to snag three USA activations over the afternoon.   It was a lot of fun working those guys and I actually had QSO's with them, not just a quick "59, Thanks, QRZ?"

I also worked four DX stations on Sunday afternoon, R120RM in Moscow, S57V in Slovenia, J79MM in Dominica, and AO2015WRD in Spain.   Not too bad for a QRP station.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

QRP To The Field

Coming up on Saturday, April 25th, is this years edition of QRP to the Field.  I always enjoy this event although I don't always submit my results.

This is one of the very few QRP events that has a SSB category so the IC-703 will be getting another workout this month.  It's funny as I was talking about selling the radio but I find I'm using it more and more these days, so it's off the market.

The event also includes the use of local SOTA Summits......which we don't have in VE3 Land, but it's still a great excuse to head out and operate portable from you favourite park bench in some little park.

The rules for this event can be found HERE

SSB Frequencies to use are: 3.985, 7.285, 14.285, 21.385, and 28.885.

This event runs from 0900 to 1800 EDT......hope to work you on the bands that day.....and that means you too QV !!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Ontario QSO Party 2015

Coming up next weekend is the Ontario QSO Party.  The airways should be alive with VE3 and VA3 stations calling CQ.

I hope the propagation will be better than we have had over the past week otherwise we're in for a pretty slow and dismal weekend.

The rules for this event can be found HERE.

I had the IC-703 out today checking it out as I will be doing the contest as a QRP station using my VE3FCT callsign and handing out contacts from the "very rare" Frontenac County.  Not sure if I will operate portable or stick around the shack, I'm leaning to operate portable, but not sure where I should do that from.

Hope to work some of you guys next weekend............perhaps even that VA3QV character!!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Update on the W3EDP Antenna.......

A few years ago I wrote a blog entry on the W3EDP Antenna (HERE).  That article seems to be one of the more popular ones I have posted according to the stats for this blog.  The W3EDP is a good multi-band antenna that gets a bad rap from some sources, but it doesn’t deserve it at all.

Recently while surfing the net I can across a couple of articles written by Fred Benson, NC4FB, about some experiments he had conducted using the W3EDP antenna.  Knowing how popular this antenna is with the portable operators in Eastern Ontario, I had a good read of them.


There is some interesting information in those articles and I decided to experiment on my own.  I build my first W3EDP several years ago, and have used it mainly for Winter Field Day and Chillycon, places I want to get a working antenna up fast.

I chose to try the twin radial version, one radial of 33’ that is put in line for use on 80m and 40m, and a 17’ radial that is used for 20m to 6m.  Only one radial at a time is used.  Used with a 4:1 balun with these radials the antenna works like a charm.  I’ve also tried it with a 9:1 balun with success as well.  I’m going to use my analyser and record the difference between the two different baluns, and I will post that information here.

This antenna can be set up in any fashion that you like, inverted L, inverted V, sloper, or as a flat top, it works very well in any configuration.   It’s definitely worth while building and having in your antenna arsenal.

More real experimentation is needed on this antenna.  Once the weather warms up I can get back at this..........hopefully next weekend! 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

CQ WW WPX Contest 2015

Well, it's over for another year............let's hope CQ Magazine manages to survive and sponsor it again next year.

Conditions when we kicked off at 0000Z Saturday were just great.  Within minutes I had worked ZL2IO in 10m and got him on the first call with 10w.  New Zealand was quickly followed by Moldova, San Marino, French Guiana, Japan, and Morocco, and I had a blast!

After a few hours sleep and coffee with the boys, it was up and at them again Saturday morning.  The propagation numbers for the morning were SFI=137. SN=109. A Index=8, and the K Index= 3.  Bands were very noisy and had some QSB.  On 20m I could only hear US stations calling for Europe, 15m was full of Europeans calling North America, but they weren't hearing us calling them.  The only decent band was 10m and that was full of Caribbean stations, and I think I worked them all.

Again my three big bitch subjects have to be mentioned.....Hispanic stations giving their callsigns at triple the speed of light.  These guys need to understand that if we can't make out your callsign we are not going to work you.  Then there were the LIDS tuning up right over the calling stations....why do they do this?  And then there were those "Alligator" stations again who were all being received here at 59+++ yet they couldn't hear the stations replying to them at all.  More proof that 1500w is no better than 100w at times.

The main band in use on Saturday was 10m and it was pretty good.  I had the occasional foray to 15m and 20m but really didn't have enough luck there to stick around.  40m opened up in the evening and I made a few good contacts into Europe there.

Sunday was a waste of time.  The bands never seemed to open here, and when they did they had some pretty good deep QSB on them.  The propagation numbers on Sunday were the same as on Saturday.  10m and 15m seemed to be totally dead most of the time with not a station to be heard on them, and 20m was full of US stations calling CQ looking for Europe.

My final score was 134 contacts with 110 multipliers, and I worked 81 countries.  So I guess overall it wasn't that bad.....the lack of constant action just made the weekend drag on and I found that it just wasn't very enjoyable this year for me.

So, when's the next contest ???????