Wednesday, 30 October 2019


Just a quick note to inform my readers that I have had to limit comments to users with Google Accounts.  I did not want to have to do this, BUT.....there's always a's the only way I can stop the constant spamming of the comments section.

On the average day I was receiving up to 200 comments from European porn sites and it was a real pain stopping them before they went live on the Blog.

So, for a little bit of an inconvenience, I now do not have to check the Blog every 30 minutes to make sure some pervert hasn't spammed me and filled the inbox with some form of porn.

Thanks for your understanding!!

Monday, 28 October 2019

The Weekend...

This years edition of the CW WW SSB Contest is now over, and from what I have seen of some already submitted scores, you either had propagation or you didn't.

Due to some medical stuff going on we called off the mini-DXpedition to the QTH of VE9FI, where we have operated from for the past two years, and stayed close to home.

The propagation numbers were not very promising, the SFI=67, SN=0, A Index=18 and the K Index=3.  These numbers, unfortunately, stayed pretty stable for the whole weekend.

I managed to make contacts on all bands except 10m.  I even managed to make three contacts on 160m with my 80m OCF Dipole, which has very obviously stretched!!  But, this was the weekend I wanted to try out my new 35.5' vertical on 15m, and it certainly didn't disappoint me.

Amongst many others, I put HH2AA (Haiti), FY5KE (French Guiana), TM6M (France), PJ4K (Bonaire), and 5K0K (San Andres & Providencia) in the log, all worked on 15m, so I have nothing to complain about its performance.  I still plan on putting more radials down before the snow flies, and then it should just be about perfect for my use.

For the most part the bands were extremely noisy with very deep QSB.  Signals were S9+ and a second later were gone completely only to reappear a few seconds later as S4.  Lots of stations had big signals, obviously running a bit of power, but they were not hearing the stations calling them, they were completely deaf, and this led to more than a bit of frustration for the S&P guys.

The other thing that was going on was stations were rushing their callsigns so fast you couldn't understand them at all.  Then to top that off, they didn't leave enough room in-between their calls for you to sneak in your callsign.  It was rush, rush, rush, and in the end nobody won. Slow down so people can understand you and answer your CQ - then everyone will be happy.

The prize for the loudest and cleanest signal this year must go to ZF1A (Cayman Islands).  What a signal they had!  I think I worked them on three bands, and everyone was a joy to work, and very professional operators as well.

So that's it for another year.  Hopefully next year we will be back down with VE9FI operating with much better propagation.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Trans-Atlantic SOTA Event

Just a reminder for those SOTA fanatics out there reading the Blog - the next Trans-Atlantic S2S (Summit to Summit) event is on Saturday 2nd November 2019, generally between the hours of 13:00 and 17:00 UTC. 

For those with more battery capacity, summit shelters and generally more stamina than others, those timings may go out + 1 hour at either end of the above period.

You do not have to be on a SOTA summit to chase these guys, just get on the air, chase them, and support them.....they'll appreciate it.

For a list of available VE3 Summits have a look HERE.

Get outside, operate, and have some SOTA fun !!

Monday, 21 October 2019


CQ WW DX SSB is coming up next weekend: October 26-27.  The contest starts at 00:00:00 UTC Saturday and ends at 23:59:59 UTC Sunday.
The CQ WW SSB is the largest Amateur Radio competition in the world. Over 35,000 participants take to the airwaves this last weekend of October with the goal of making as many contacts with as many different DXCC entities and as many CQ Zones as possible.
The 2019 Rules can be found HERE.
This is by far my favourite contest, and one of the very few I do on a serious basis.  For the first time in three years I will not be operating from the VE9FI station in New Brunswick due to a couple of issues with the station, a number of items are out for repair and will not be back in time.  Propagation wise we're at the bottom of Cycle 24 and I don't really expect a lot this year, I think we'll have to fight for every DX contact we make.
I'm sure the FT-950 and the two antennas will get a good workout this weekend, and I look forward to writing another post telling you all how well I did.
Good luck everyone.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

New Antenna

I decided to put up a second HF antenna the other day as the 80m OCF I have up in the air will not tune on 15m at all.  Now, I know there's not much action on 15m these days....but one can always hope.

It's up in a tree that hangs over my back deck, and the radials are partly on the deck and partly on the lawn.  I built it with used 18 gauge speaker wire that was originally used for my 148' longwire that I took down last year.

After googling a number of different antennas I settled on the following:

So far it has worked great and I have had excellent signal reports from all the stations I have talked to.  It tunes up quickly on every band from 80m up to 6m with the FT-950's built in ATU.  That ATU is no good for mis-matches greater than 3.1 to 1.   

Next weekend is the NY State QSO Party, that will be it's first big test.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

New York QSO Party

Coming up next weekend is the New York QSO Party.  I'm hoping the propagation improves before then as I would like to better my QRP score from last year........but things aren't looking too good right now.

Rules can be found HERE.

Being so close to New York State I will be mainly on 40m and 80m with the occasional visit to 160m late at night.  I'll also give 10m and 6m a listen as well, you just never know when they will open up.

Hope to work you on the bands for this event.