Monday, 30 July 2012

The Madmen of Colorado

This Sunday sees the annual "Colorado 14er" event.  This is a unique ham radio event were sane men and women hike up 14,000' peaks in order to operate their ham radios.............don't ya wish we had a few here in Eastern Ontario?!?!?!?!?! (Yes Bob, I'd carry your oxygen bottle for you!)

The goal of this event is to see how many of the mountaintop stations you can contact. The prime operating hours are from 1500 to 1800 UTC.

Last year I took part in the event as VE3FCT and had a blast, but the highlight for me was to be one of the 104 contacts made by KB0SA - Boy Scout Troop 6 from Monument, Colorado from the summit of Pikes Peak. 

What is really great about this bunch of Scouts is that everyone of them has a ham ticket, as do their leaders. 

Troop 6 will be back up in the 14,000' peaks this coming Sunday for the 2012 Colorado 14er event and I hope to make contact with them again.  It's always good to support the kids in this hobby of ours.

The website is HERE, and the suggested frequency list HERE.  This year for the first time they have agreed to combine the event with the SOTA program to encourage participation in it.

Hope to hear you all on the bands this Sunday encouraging these guys.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Islands on the Air

This weekend is the annual IOTA weekend.  Lots of great DX should be on the air for this, including CY9M from St. Paul Island...look for them on 14.185. 

The contest runs from 1200Z July 28th to 1200Z July 29th.  The rules can be found HERE.

As I can't operate from my shack this weekend I'm going to have to find somewhere local to operate portable from, and someone to come along and give me a hand.  It's going to be very nice just to have nothing to think about and to be able to just play radio.

Fort Henry Hill is no longer an option thanks to the new visitors interpretation centre recently built on the east side of the parking lot.  The new centre is equipped with 25 or so plasma information screens being used entertain the visitors and the noise floor has duly risen from S0 to S8 and S9.

Antenna of choice will be my MFJ-1910 mast with a 31 foot radiator taped to it, and six 16 foot radials and two 31 foot radials.  This antenna works very well for collecting DX with a 4:1 Balun, and it's very light weight and easy to put up.  I have a drive on mast base for it.

Hopefully the SFI Gods, and the weather Gods, will be shining on us.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

IARU - - - the aftermath

Things did not go the way I wanted them to....but when do they ever?  Selling our house, and looking for a new one got in the way of going to Hay Bay and using the high antennas.  Oh well, "She who must be obeyed" is happy at least.

So instead I stayed at home and operated in bits and pieces, closing down, and leaving the house, when we had a showing. 

On top of this I did another couple of goofs, the first one was my AF Gain was turned down and secondly I spent half of my operating time at 10w because I didn't check my power setting.  Obviously there's still more to learn with this radio.

The antennas used at home were a 40m off center fed dipole at about 30 feet, and a homebrew 31 foot vertical with 10 radials spread out on the grass.  Both antennas worked perfectly and I had great results with them.  A total of 120 contacts were made:

66 SSB on 20m
40 SSB on 10m
14 SSB on 40m

Contacts where made with stations in Europe, South America, North America, Africa, and the Middle East.

The bands were up and down with some very deep QSB at times, and the SFI, A, and K indexes were nothing to write home about fact this morning they're bloody awful:

SFI = 148
A index = 17
K index = 6
SN = 120

It was 30C here in Kingston yesterday with "a lot" of humidity, seems to be cooler today though.

All in all I'm happy with my score, considering I was only a part-time operator.

We'll see what happens next weekend for the VHF Contest.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

IARU HF Contest

This coming weekend will see the 2012 IARU HF World Championships take place.  Should be a great weekend out at Hay Bay.....if the bands cooperate!

This contest is designed to have hams contact as many other amateurs, especially IARU member society HQ stations, around the world as possible using the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meter bands.

Timings for the contest is beginning 1200 UTC Saturday and ending 1200 UTC Sunday.

In the past few years it has been possible to work all of Europe in a few hours of the contest start time, so hopefully this year will be outstanding.

Radio being used will be the FT-950 into a 160m Off Center Fed Dipole up at 100 feet.   There will also be a 31 foot ground mounted vertical with multiple ground radials laid out. 

Here's hoping for a good weekend!