Saturday, 17 April 2021

Rough Day...

Wow, the propagation today was pretty bad, I wasn't hearing a lot of stations at all.   Today is the Ontario QSO Party as well as several more QSO Parties and other contests, and probably all of them will suffer because of the SFI numbers.

These numbers are expected to get worse over night as a G2 solar storm is in the forecast for tomorrow.

It seems that the propagation has been very poor over the past two weeks, so hopefully it will start to improve early next week.  

Of course it doesn't really bother me as I have no activations planned.  Here in Ontario we are currently under a "stay at home" order to help reduce and control the third-wave outbreak of Covid-19, which seems to be getting worse instead of better due to the different variants which are popping up.

Of course there are those idiots that see to be ignoring this provincial order and are still travelling to conduct POTA activations.  This includes one 'star' who today drove, from a known Covid-19 hotspot near Toronto, about 3 hours from his home to a provincial park for a POTA activation.  Apparently some selfish people only think of themselves, and not what's good for the population as a whole. 

Watch out for the idiots, and stay safe out there!!

Monday, 12 April 2021

Looking for things to do this weekend??? ...

While looking for things to do radio wise while we are under this provincially mandated Covid-19 "Stay at Home Order", I actually managed to come up with a couple for this coming weekend.

As I have said before, I no longer seriously contest, but I will sit in the chair for a few hours and give out a few points, but nothing too serious.

So the big event this weekend is the Ontario QSO Party.  It takes place from 1800Z April 17 to 0500Z April 18, and again from 1200Z to 1800Z April 18.

The Rules for this event can be found HERE.  

I actually just found out I won a certificate for last years event. The other good thing about this weekend is that it is also the Michigan QSO Party, and most operators hand out points for both events at the same time......so you can double your fun.  

The second event going on this weekend is the "Support Your POTA" activity. These are held 4 times a year and are designed to encourage individuals to get out into the parks and make contacts.  

The standard POTA Rules can be found HERE.

I'm hoping to get out on my own and activate a local park.  I guess if I'm by myself, I will be sufficiently socially distanced enough to keep everyone happy.  

If you can't get out and do an activation, do some Park Hunting from home, we can't have a successful activation without the hunters out there looking for us.

Stay Safe Out There!! 

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Well, life is on hold yet again...

So yesterday our Provincial Government announced another 30 day stay at home order, which means no POTA or SOTA activations from VE3 land.

Bugger!!!  It's 23C here today, under a cloudless, beautiful blue clear sky.  I even had todays POTA activation spot picked out and had done a drive by to check it out.   

It looks like the next 30 days will be spent as a hunter instead of doing the activations that were planned.  

I suppose in the long game it doesn't matter, the activation spots will still be there in a month, and hopefully then the propagation will have significantly improved over what we have had, or not had to be honest, over the past week.

Stay safe everyone, hopefully this pandemic will disappear sooner, rather than later!

Sunday, 4 April 2021

QRP To The Field...

One of my favourite events happens this month, QRP To The Field.  It takes place April 24th, 0800-1800 local EDT time.

Rules can be found HERE.

This year I'm hoping to be able to combine this event with a POTA activation...which would double the fun.  

Don't forget that the event also allows for the use of SOTA summits, so there are lots of excuses to get out of the shack. and play radio outside.

After the long Covid-19 winter it will be great to be able to get outside and operate again, even within the current lockdown rules we are currently under.

Stay safe out there!!

Monday, 29 March 2021

Quiet Bands...

While the HF conditions weren't too bad this weekend for the CQ SSB Contest, the bands certainly were not busy, but there was a bit of fairly deep QSB around.  In fact I simply carried on chasing POTA stations throughout Saturday, and didn't give the contest much thought......that was until I decided to pay a visit to 15m around 1600 local time.

What did I find on 15m at that time of day?  A cornucopia of DX stations all quietly and calmly calling CQ......and nobody answering them.

So in a period of about fifteen minutes I managed to work:

ZM4T, VK4KW, VK3IO, LU5FC, PT5J, HI3T, C6AGU, OA4SS, 3E3E, and TI1T.   

Not too shabby for 90w and an EFHW antenna.  Of course the highlight for me was the NZ station and the two Aussies.  I haven't had any of those countries in my log for at least three years, if not longer.   So, perhaps the bands are slowly getting better, and better days of propagation are ahead of us after all.

Stay safe out there!!

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

The Big Thaw...

Another quiet few weeks as the great winter thaw continues here in Eastern Canada.  It's pretty muddy in most places where the snow has melted, making it difficult to move around and do any portable operating.  It's quite frustrating really, but hopefully another week and we can get out and do things without getting filthy doing it.

I did get a nice catch yesterday from the home shack, ZF1DJ in the Cayman Islands operating from a POTA site, Park ZF-0015. Managed to get him on the first call, and while I only received a 55 signal report, I was pretty happy with that. The propagation yesterday was not the best and the QSB was very deep with S9 stations disappearing in seconds - never to be heard from again.

The bands should be pretty busy this coming weekend, the CQ World-Wide WPX Contest SSB starts at 0000 UTC on Saturday, March 27th, and runs till 2359 UTC on Sunday, March 28th. Hopefully the propagation will be much better than what we had for the ARRL DX Contest on the first weekend of this month. 

The Rules can be found HERE.

Stay safe out there!!

Monday, 8 March 2021

The Weekend...

I stayed off the bands on Saturday with the exception of making five POTA QSO's.  I've made a minimum of five QSO's a day since last September.

The bands on Saturday were in decent shape, but the large number of stations all screaming "Your 59, 1kw" was enough to tell me my 100w and an EFHW antenna were just not going to cut it.  So, I did what any amateur would have done, I turned off the rig and went for a beer.

On Sunday morning the propagation numbers were actually worse than Saturday, and were: SFI=76, SN=23, A Index=16, and the K Index=2.

Surprisingly though, the bands seemed quiet and in better shape.  I through out my call before I went out for my daily morning walk, and from 1402 - 1432 UTC I managed to put ten DX SSB stations in my log using only 10w into my EFHW.  They were:

CQ8M, HP3SS, HG8R, EB5A, IK0ETA, 9A9A, OK1DOY, SP8R, ED5R, and S57DX.

It seemed that there were very few US stations around at that early time, which of course only made it easier for a QRP station like mine to get its signal through and be heard.  It was only later that I realized that most of the US stations had probably taken the time off to go to church 😎

Stay safe out there!!

Thursday, 4 March 2021

ARRL SSB DX Contest

It's that time of year again, the ARRL SSB DX Contest is coming up this weekend.  While I am no longer a serious contester, I will be spending a few hours in the chair to 'hunt & pounce' a few select countries I am still looking for.

This weekend, along with the CQ WW DX Contest on the last weekend in March, are great opportunities to work some fantastic DX.  The bands will ....or should be....full of DX signals, normally you can work 100+ countries with no problem.

Now, the downside to this is the fact that the propagation has been garbage for the past 3 weeks, so let's hope it decides to propagate correctly this coming weekend for us.

The Rules for this event can be found HERE.