Wednesday, 31 October 2018

CQ Contest - VE9FI

Don, VE3MNE, grounding coax.
Well, its nice to be home after 7 days away operating with the Hampton Amateur Radio Club.   The first few days where spent getting set up and acquainted with the shack equipment.   We also discovered that we had to ground the coax for the six element yagi to bring the noise floor down...but that was an easy fix.

We had a few issues - fortunately not very many - with the antennas, but quickly got them sorted out.  Mainly it was to to people operating on antennas that where too close together, or with similar polarities.

Friday night, for the second year in a row, we could not get a run on 80m or 40m, the stations just where not there.  One or two would pop up to work us..with difficulty..and then disappear.  It was very frustrating.  However, 20m was open into the Europe until very late, so we did well there.  We also managed a few contacts on 160m, all of them into the USA.

The propagation numbers for Friday night where:  SFI-69, SN-0, 'A' Index 6, and 'K' Index-3....not the best of conditions either.
Waterfall on the Flex, Saturday afternoon

On Saturday morning 20m didn't open up until 1200 UTC.  Before then we managed to work the odd strong station, most of whom I am certain were operating with more than legal power levels to reach out and work us.  After it opened it just went crazy, it was wall-to-wall signals right across the band, I've never seen it so crowded.

Our second station had a good day working 15m where a lot of contacts where made during the day.  It also made a few 10m contacts as well during the afternoon which was a surprise.  In the evening and overnight it was on 40m and 80m where business was slow.

On Sunday the bands opened up pretty much the same time as Saturday, and the day went pretty much the same with 20m being the crazy band again.  The 'A' Index had dropped to 4 and the 'K' Index dropped to 1, so that helped a bit with improving what little propagation we had.

Some of the more exotic stations we worked where in Malawi, Oman, UAE, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, and Senegal.  I even managed to work Malc, 2W0SEU, and surprised him by speaking a little Welsh to him.....not something he expected from a VE9 station!!!

Our total score was about 75 QSO's down from last year, but given where we are in the solar cycle we are very pleased with our performance.  Now we wait to see the posted results, and hope we did as well as last year.

Many, many thanks go out to Russ, VE9FI and his XYL Pat, VE9DZ for their great hospitality during our time at their QTH.  They take us feel so at home.

Here's a few more pictures.....

Operating station No. 1

Operating Station No. 2

Russ VE9FI in his shack

The lovely view of the snow on the way home at Riviere du Loup.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Trip to Hampton, New Brunswick

The trip started off under blue skies and continued just like that through Quebec.   Traffic was very light, flowed well, and construction was only in a few places and it didn't impede traffic at all.   The night stop was in Saint Basile, just south of Edmundston...and again the weather was great.

Then came the trip from Saint Basile to Hampton.   As the song goes "What a difference a day makes" !!

About 25 km south the roads took on a strange white appearance, and there was this strange white stuff flying around in the air as well.   The temperature went down to 0C, and it went downhill from there.

Trans-Canada Highway, Oct 24, 2018
By the time we got to Fredericton the road was covered in about 6 inches of fresh wet and sloppy snow, and the roads were truly awful.  South of Oromocto the snow turned to rain and by the time we arrived in Hampton the roads were clear.

Not much 2m activity on the 1200 km trip.  Worked the trans-Canada IRLP Net on the Fredericton repeater, and after the net I worked VE9MTB on the same repeater.

The last two days we have been testing antennas and the amps and so far everything is working as advertised.   It's a big learning curve switching from my FT-950 to the Flex 6700 that's at my operating position.

Hopefully on Monday the snow will have melted and temperatures will be more around normal for this time of year........and the trip home will be fine.

Near Woodstock, NB.  Oct 23, 2018

Friday, 19 October 2018

JOTA 2018

Hey!!!  This weekend is the Boy Scouts annual Jamboree on the Air (JOTA). JOTA is a worldwide event, and Scouting stations in Europe will be looking for contacts as well. 

In North America keep an ear on the following frequencies:

3.690 and 3.940
7.090 to 7.190

Get on the air and work the kids !!!!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Trouble Commenting

Several people have told me that they are unable to post comments on my blog these days.   I am also having issues answering those who can post comments.  I have no idea why things have changed as I have not done anything to the page settings in over a year.

Emails have been sent off to Blogspot outlining the issue so I will just have to wait and see what they can do.

In the meantime, if you cannot post a comment I apologize.....but it's out of my control at the moment, hopefully things will change in a day or two.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Coming up......

October.  That means fall colours and.......CQ WW DX SSB Contest, as well as a road trip to Hampton, New Brunswick to the big contest station of VE9FI.

Since last years contest VE9FI has added several new antennas, we now have quarter wave verticals on 80m and 40m, and another big amplifier for the second operating position.   So we should be in excellent shape for this year.....hopefully we will get a bit of good propagation to help us along.

The Rules for this years event can be found HERE.

I'll do a complete write up after the event on the trip down and back as well as the contest itself.  Hopefully it will be as good a time as we had last year there.

Not far from Hampton is the village of St. Martins.  We go there for great clam chowder and fish and chips.....but they also have a lighthouse. So if we get time we might spend an afternoon at the light activating it....stay tuned.

St Martins Lighthouse.  CAN-944