2013- So how did I do?

January 1, 2014

If you take a look back in the archives to the beginning of the year I made a few statements… almost like Resolutions… of things I would like to accomplish in 2013… Lets take a look at them and see how I did…

1- So for this year…  My major goal is to work on my QRP DXCC.  I have completed  my regular DXCC and am awaiting some confirmations for my WAS.  As of now I have 32 DXCC entities in my QRP Log and I am hoping to go for it this year.

QRP-DXCC-ARRLNot yet but getting closer

Well, this part would have to be considered a success…. Although I did not obtain my QRPDXCC this year my total at the end of 2013 is 76.  Any year you can get 44 new DXCC entities in the log I would say that its one heck of a year…

2- I also would like to expand on the local DXPeditons this year as well. I think my first chance would be to operate from one of the rare areas for the two days of the Ontario QSO Party.  Once again (as always) there would be some logistical issues (transportation and accomadation) but it would be something to look into.  Last years day trip to Renfrew was great fun and also allowed our group to bring some wallpaper back.  (Congrats to VA3PCJ)  As all of these plans need warmth I beleive that the OQP might be the first event to aim for.


This one was not a success but not a fail…  I managed lots of Portable Operating this year but not as many were outside of Ottawa as I would have liked.  I think the best one of the year would have to be the SOTA Activation of Mount Morrisette with VA3PCJ in the summertime…


3- There will be a new HF Rig in my future this year…  I’m just not sure which one yet…  I will be asking your opinion later in the season however….  Right now its a toss up between the Yaesu FT 950 (replacing the FT450)  and keeping the FT 817 as my portable rig or…..  The KX3 (replacing the FT817) and keeping the FT 450 as my home rig…    I am still flipping the coin on this one though….  If this is the hardest decision I have in 2013 its going to be a great year…


Out with the old…

This one took a little bit more time than expected but after much deliberations….  The FT 450 left the shack to a new home and I replaced it with the Flex 1500 QRP SDR (Software Defined Radio)  This has been one heck of a learning process and although it is a FANTASTIC Radio… The learning curve for it is so steep I am slipping more than I am climbing…  But when I can get it working …. does it ever work well… All I gotta do is learn more computers….

flex_manual_cover… And in with the new…

I think that on a scale of  1 to 10 that honestly my rating would be about an 8…

Big raise in QRP DXCC  (32 to 76)

Substantial rise in DXCC (111 confirmed with 151 in the Log)

WAS up to 46 confirmed out of 50 in the log

And as always… I had fun…


And whats in store for 2014?

I gotta get my skills upgraded so I can use the Flex 1500 to its full potential.  This is crucial because most of my hopes for 2014 are based on me having a good radio…

I would hope that I get my QRPDXCC this year…

only 24 more to go…  I am starting to operate a bit more CW this year and as my skills improve… who knows what I will able to get in the log…


I am still looking to reach the Antarctic as the 7th continent for my WAS has eluded me so far…  I have worked the Falklands but still missing my 7th continent

As I work on my QRPDXCC its only natural that some more awards will come my way as I log all my contacts…

Some individual band DXCC (20m)…

This would not be out of the question but that depends on how many confirmations I can get on LoTW or if the EQSL folks and the ARRL can finally learn how to play nice.



One thing though on a sadder note (or not depending on what you think of this blog) … 

This is my last blog posting…. 

The last 5 years (2008-2013) have been great and hope you have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed writing…

  However there becomes a time that as a blogger I think its time to call it a day before you decide that I should call it a day… 

With the report you just read in the previous post from the WordPress Stats Monkey… I feel we are getting close to that time…

So with a smile on my face….






Thanks for riding along with me over the last years…  It was great having you with me…


I will still be out there making contacts…

I will still be out there promoting “our hobby”…

And I will still be out there trying to get YOU in my log…





ps… If you want to see what I’m up to you can always follow me on “Twitter”…  I will continue to annoy people in 140 characters or less… If you don’t tweet…  then on the right hand side of this page up near the top you will find “Bob said on Twitter”. 

I am keeping the blog up because its reflects our hobby in one way or another. 

I just feel that at this time… I have nothing further to add… 

2013 in review

December 31, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 65,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Spar Winter Field Day 2014 #hamradio

December 31, 2013

sparlogo(The following is from the SPAR Website but the added winter operating pictures are from previous winter blog posts )

Society for the Preservation of Amateur Radio

SPAR Announces Winter Field Day 2014


Not only during Field Day in June, do the bands come alive with improvised signals proving the ability to respond to emergencies. Since emergencies and natural disasters don’t always happen in the summer, during Winter Field Day, frigid winds, icy limbs and bitter cold replace the thunderstorms and blistering heat of summer.


In 2007 SPAR established a Winter Field Day event and invited all AmateurRadio operators to participate. The event was repeated in 2008 and was considered a success, so it was then designated an annual event to be held the last full weekend each January. In 2007 – 2013 the event was enjoyed by many, but it is time to issue the invitation for the Sixth Annual SPAR Winter Field Day!


The 2014 Winter Field Day will be held from 1700 UTC (12:00 noon EST) Saturday January 25, 2014 through 1700 UTC (12:00 noon EST) Sunday January 26, 2014. The object of the event is familiar to most Amateur Radio operators: set up emergency-style communications and make as many contacts as possible during the 24 hour period.


The rules encourage as many contacts on as many bands and modes as possible, because during a real emergency, the most important factor is the ability to communicate, regardless of band, mode or distance.


The official rules can be found at the SPAR web site. The event is open to all amateurs, although we encourage everyone to join in the discussions and other activities sponsored by SPAR. Information about SPAR can be found on the SPAR Home Page.


Membership is free and open to all amateurs who want to encourage technical and operating skills. You can register by going to the SPAR Forum and registering, using your amateur callsign as your user name.


Please join with SPAR in promoting amateur radio and keeping our bands alive!


I will be operating for for the daytime hours of the event… Not fussy about freezing and since my Doctor has me on blood thinners (has something to do with the NO CHEST PAINS tweets I make now and again) I really feel the cold more than I used to…


And one year I even froze my radio so I have to watch the minimum temps of the day


RAC Canada Winter Contest 2013

December 29, 2013

The contest ended at 7pm EST and after about 18 hours of operating with the Flex 1500 here is how it turned out for me…

Corrected results after double checking my log- December 29th 7pm est

Single Operator all Bands QRP (CW and SSB)

89 contacts for a total of 996 points with 38 multipliers for a TOTAL SCORE of 37,848 points

17 RAC stations contacted and 8 DX Stations


The Rig(s) used was my Flex 1500 and when my computer crashed I switched over to the FT 817 till my IT department was able to fix the problem.  Then I switched back to the Flex.  The antenna used was my 65 foot end fed long wire with 4 radials and fed with a 4:1 unun


Buts heres how it looked on a Band/Mode basis

10m CW- 1 contact  VE6

10m SSB- 6 contacts VE5 and VE6

15m CW- 1 contact VE6

15m SSB- 16 contacts VO1, VE4, VE5, VE6, VE7

20m CW- 4 contacts VE3, VE6, VE7

20m SSB- 24 contacts VO1, VE1, VE9, VY2, VE3, VE4, VE5, VE6, VE7

40m CW- 2 contacts VE3

40 SSB- 15 contacts VE1, VE9, VE2, VE4, VE4, VE6

80m CW- 9 contacts  VE1, VE9, VE2, VE3, VE4, VE6

80m SSB- 17 contacts VE1, VE9, VE2, VE3, VE4, VE6

160m CW- 1 contact VE3

And for those of you who did not bother to count… I made a total of 18 CW contacts  and got an extra 13 multis for my effort… Or to be more specific the effort of CW Get Software and the Built in Keyer in the Flex 1500


So there you have it… It was a great way to spend 18 hours… 2 pots of coffee and 1 box of Christmas Shortbreads and now its over…

This was the first time in a very long time that I have devoted this much time to a contest… Yes it was fun…  it had to be… But lets look at my contest requirements or goals

Have Fun- Check

Work across Canada- Check

Work into the North- NO… Only heard 1 VY1  station and he was Searching and Pouncing so I could never work him.  Did not hear VE8 or VY0…

Have a Decent Score-  I think it is… My idea of a decent score is to be in the top half of my catagory.  I believe it should be… Was not the best but it will do…

So with 3 out of 4 goals attained in the Contest I think it was great time…

Lessons learned here will be used to prep for the 2014 Ontario QSO Party which will be coming up in April 2014…

High Points of the contest…. Getting VE3CLQ (VE3FCT) into the log on 80m SSB…. Working VE6 on 80m QRPSSB and having VA2BBW hear me make a contact using CW


ps…  as I did mention that I had some computer issues this contest my submitted score could be slightly different from what I mentioned here.  I will be going over the logs to make sure that when the computer froze up that nothing was lost (or added),,, It should be close to whats shown on the page…

Tokyo Hy-Power files for bankrupty

December 27, 2013


Another excellent line of Amateur Radio Equipment…. So discouraging…

Originally posted on Ham Radio Blog PD0AC:

When I wrote about the Tokyo Hy-Power XT-751 SSB/CW handheld, most of us couldn’t wait to get our hands on one. Unfortunately the company didn’t manage to become profitable. Losses mounted, and with a debt of 250 million yen there was no future for the company anymore.

Tokyo High Power

Tokyo Hy-Power Laboratory was founded by Nobuki Wakabayashi, JA1DJW, CEO/President of Tokyo Hy-Power Labs, Inc. in 1975, in Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo, Japan. Being a private company, the initial products were antenna couplers for HF bands such as HC-500 and HC-2500.

In 1977, Tokyo Hy-Power Labs, Inc. was formally established as a developer and manufacturer of high-quality linear amplifiers, antenna tuners, etc. for amateur radio stations. One of the early products, the HL-4000 linear amplifier using 8877/3CX1500A7 by EIMAC, was the first real HF band high-power linear of its kind in Japan and used by many enthusiastic DX’ers.

As HF mobile operation grew…

View original 53 more words

Getting ready for the Canada Winter Contest

December 26, 2013

Normally at New Years we would be saying “Out with the old and in with then new…”  This year its “Out with the new and back in with the old…”


For reasons I can’t explain other than admitting operator error I can’t get the Flex 1500 to play nicely with my computer using Power SDR (The most recent version)  I was able to make a contact with it but its acquired a 3 second lag between key up and transmitting…  It has to be my fault, but damned if I can figure out how to fix whatever I messed up when trying the configuration.


At this point its just easier to take the Flex out of line and go back to the FT817 for one more event than have my blood pressure go “Tilt” and just not enjoy what I am doing…  I’ll take some Valium or something equally as relaxing and look at the problem (and solve it) in the New Year…


Although its frustrating….  Its still a hobby and I would rather have fun making contacts than argue with a computer…

Hope I get a chance to work you in the contest


Christmas 2013 Greetings

December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to one and All

73 Bob, Liz, Erika and Trisha

Are you participating in the RAC Canada Winter Contest?

December 23, 2013
The following is mostly a cut and paste from the RAC website PDF File with information for the RAC Winter Contest.  I did have to edit it slightly for appearances (widows and orphaned words etc) but I might of messed up something in my efforts so…
In December each year, Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) sponsors the Canada Winter Contest. Amateurs all over the world are invited to participate.
Contest Period:
0000 UTC to 2359 UTC December 28, 2013.  Next year the contest will be held on December 27, 2014.
Bands and Modes:
160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6 and 2 metres, CW and phone (SSB, FM, AM, etc.)
Suggested frequencies:
CW – 25 kHz up from the band edge and for
SSB – 1850, 3775, 7075, 7225, 14175, 21250, 28500 kHz. Check for CW activity on the half-hour.
Stations in Canada send RS(T) and province or territory.
VEØs and stations outside Canada send RS(T) and a serial number.
Contacts with stations in Canada or VEØs are worth 10 points.
Contacts with stations outside Canada are worth 2 points.
Contacts with RAC official stations are worth 20 points.
You may work any station once on each of the two modes, on each of the eight contest bands.
It is prohibited to make CW contacts in the conventional phone sub-bands and phone contacts in the conventional CW sub-bands.
Contacts or soliciting QSOs through a repeater during the contest period is not allowed.
Thirteen in total, Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories. Each multiplier may be counted once on each mode on each
of the eight contest bands.
The multipliers, with their postal abbreviations and prefixes are: Nova Scotia [NS] (VE1, VA1, CY9, CYØ);
Quebec [QC] (VE2, VA2); Ontario [ON] (VE3, VA3); Manitoba [MB] (VE4, VA4); Saskatchewan [SK] (VE5, VA5); Alberta [AB] (VE6, VA6); British Columbia [BC] (VE7, VA7); Northwest Territories [NT] (VE8); New Brunswick [NB] (VE9); Newfoundland and Labrador [NL] (VO1, VO2); Nunavut [NU] (VYØ);Yukon [YT] (VY1); and Prince Edward Island [PE] (VY2).
Certain special Canadian prefixes in use at the time of the contest may also apply; however there may be no more than 13 multipliers on each band/mode. Please use the multiplier abbreviations, in square brackets, noted above.
Final Score:
The total QSO from all bands multiplied by the total number of multipliers from all bands.
The following 9 categories are eligible for plaque’s or certificates as detailed in the Awards section of the rules.
Single Operator All Bands High Power (>100 Watts) –
Single Operator All Bands Low Power (max. 100 Watts output)
Contest Club Ontario
Single Operator QRP (max. 5 Watt output) All Bands & Single Band **
QRP Canada
Single Operator All Bands CW only, any authorized power –
Maritime Contest Club
Single Operator All Bands PH only, any authorized power –
Saskatchewan Contest Club
Single Operator Single Band, any authorized power ***
Elkel Products
Multi-Operator Single Transmitter High Power (>100 Watts) * –
Alfa Radio
Multi-Operator Single Transmitter Low Power (max. 100 Watts output) *
Tony Allsop VE3FTA Memorial by the Mississauga ARC
Multi-Operator Multi-Transmitter, any authorized power –
For the Canada Winter Contest a special trophy is awarded for the
highest Single Operator (no power classification) Foreign Entrant –
Russ Coleston VK4XA Memorial by Alan Goodacre, VE3HX

Special thanks to our sponsors for their support of the RAC contests

Category notes:
1) The contents of a log that is submitted for a specific category must reflect that category. In the event of a conflict between the actual content of the log and the stated category in the Cabrillo header or contained in other elements of the entry material, the actual contents of the log will be used to determine the category of entry where possible. In the event this cannot be determined or in the event where a log does not identify the entry category, the entry will be classified into the Multi-Operator, Multi-Transmitter, any authorized power category. Any entrant who wants to enter a specific category (i.e. Single band entry) but who also worked additional contacts outside that category may submit those additional contacts in a separate
check log file.
Do not include them in the main entered category log file.
2) Where the categories have a power class and the submitted log does not clearly identify the power class entered, then the log will be treated as if the highest power class for that category was entered.
3) Single operators who receive assistance from a DX spotting system, including Skimmer and similar technologies or any type of Packet Cluster network during the contest must classify themselves as Multi-ops.
4) * In the Multi-Single category only one transmitter and one band are permitted during the same time period (defined as 10 minutes). Exception: One, and only one, other band may be used during any 10-minute period, if and only if the station worked is a new multiplier. In other words the Multi-Single Transmitter class allows a second station to “hunt” and work multipliers only on a single separate band during any 10-minute period.
5) Multi-Multi category stations may operate on several bands simultaneously.
6) ** Although there is only one QRP category, which qualifies for a plaque or certificate, it is intended that the published results would show All Bands or the Single Band of operation. To facilitate this break out of the listings, your entry should indicate the band(s) or mode(s) operated.
7) *** Although there is only one Single Operator Single Band category that qualifies for a certificate or award, it is intended that the published results would show High Power or Low Power. To facilitate this break out of the listings, your entry should indicate the power class you used.
8) Operators who have participated in any multi-operator category entries may not contact the station they have participated in if they were to operate as part of another entry in the same contest. In addition, guest operators at any station regardless of entry category may not claim contacts with the station host owner or host station mobile call for points or multipliers.
Plaques will be awarded to the top-scoring entrants in each category, as noted above in the category list. Special thanks to our sponsors for their ongoing support!
Certificates will be awarded to the top-scoring entrant in each category
in each of:
Canadian provinces or territories
Continental US call districts, W0 through W9 as well as Alaska and Hawaii. US Commonwealths, Territories and Possessions such as Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, etc will be treated as equivalent to a DXCC country
DXCC country, excluding Canada and the US.
To facilitate the proper allocation of certificates, all US stations should indicate their actual US call district based on their actual address, as provided in the Cabrillo header, if different than indicated by their call prefix. DX stations should indicate the actual country of operation if different than indicated by their call prefix by indicating the country as part of the portable call sign designator.
RAC stations will compete and be considered the same as any other entrant for eligibility to plaques and certificates.
Will be published in The Canadian Amateur magazine by the Radio Amateurs of Canada. The results will also be published on the RAC website at http://www.rac.ca in the contest section.
All entries (electronic or paper logs) must be postmarked or electronically submitted by January 31, 2014
. Electronic entries will be confirmed by return email. Send email entries to: canadawinter@rac.ca
Send paper entries to:
Radio Amateurs of Canada
720 Belfast Road, Suite 217
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1G 0Z5
We will be publishing a list of logs received and the categories entered on the RAC website during and/or
after the submission period after the cut off date to assist in correcting any entry categorizations.
Paper mail entries must contain a summary sheet showing score calculation, a dupe sheet listing calls
worked on each mode on each band, a multiplier check sheet and log sheets. Logsheets must show
time, band, mode, call of station worked, exchanges sent and received and claimed for each QSO. New
multipliers must be clearly marked in the log.
Contest entry forms are available on the RAC website at:
Any entry with 100 or more contacts should be submitted in digital format. The preferred electronic format is the RAC Cabrillo format. The files must be submitted in plain ASCII/Text format.
While the contest committee prefers Cabrillo formatted submissions, we will continue to accept electronic logs from older versions of contest software, but your file must be in ASCII/Text format and have all the required information. Given there are
several free programs that support the RAC contests and generate an acceptable Cabrillo entry, we encourage you to seek out one of these programs.
The RAC Cabrillo format is described and its detailed layout is shown on the RAC website at:
Electronic logs that do not have a complete Cabrillo header should provide a summary sheet with the same information as shown for the paper log entries. The standard summary sheet provided by the typical logging program is generally acceptable, but you should confirm that it contains the same information as shown for paper log entries.
A properly filled out Cabrillo header section will be a sufficient substitute for a summary sheet for logs submitted in that format. Please ensure that you review the header for accuracy and that it is completely fill out.
Name your file with your Call Sign and the file extension .LOG (e.g., yourcall.LOG). If you email your log, please
send the file(s) as attachments
Do not paste the log file into the text of your message as there may be issues with the formatting making it difficult to properly extract the log. Large files may be zipped if necessary.
If you need help with preparing or emailing your log, please contact Sam Ferris: ve5sf@rac.ca
For the previous year’s contest results, visit the RAC website (http://www.rac.ca) in the Contesting section
The above was a cut and paste from the PDF File off the RAC Website and I did edit it slightly for fitting on my screen here for the blog.  For the official version please go to:
Thanks go out to RAC for running this very fun contest…
And I hope you can hear my QRP Signal giving out lots of “5/9 ON” during the contest…

Merry Christmas 2013

December 22, 2013

I just don’t feel like saying “Happy Holidays”…. Its not a holiday…. Its Christmas… I was raised to believe in the miracle of Christmas and to be honest after 59 years I’m not about to change now…

I am not forcing my beliefs on anyone else… and I don’t mean to offend… and if you don’t believe… then please accept my best wishes anyway….

I wrote the following for a column I used to write for the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club Newsletter called the Rambler…(My column was called “Ramblings”) way back in December 2005. I was club president that year. It describes an event that occurred around the mid 1990s (I can’t find my old log books) but still holds true today….

“Try and find the time on Christmas Day to check into a couple of the HF nets on 20m. One of my best Christmas’s ever (as an amateur radio operator) was while waiting for the turkey to come out of the oven I managed to sneak into the shack and spin the dial. On the Maritime Mobile Service Net (14.300 USB) I heard a call for a Canadian Station. I jumped in and was able to make a contact with a VE0 (Marine Mobile) who asked me to contact his home and wish his family a “Merry Christmas” as he was not able to be home and had no Telephone Capabilities at sea.

Although I had no actual Phone Patch to use, a bit of improvising with a speakerphone did the trick and he was able to have an actual conversation with his loved ones.

Hearing the joy in their voices, as they were able to communicate made my Christmas.”

Back then SAT Phones were rare and expensive…

If you check out their website at www.ovmrc.on.ca and follow the links to their newsletter and go back from August 2005 to June 2006 you will see that even back then I was an opinioned SOB but that’s another story…

Five years ago now. VE3GNA Glenn sent me this URL which I think is just fantastic and last year I asked you to visit it. I checked last week and its still there up and running and so I ask again that you turn on your speakers or put on your headsets then click the url because its well worth visiting. It brought a smile to my face and warm memories back to me so if it works on me… it should work on you…

Anyway before you click on the url…

On behalf of myself, my wife Liz along with my daughters Erika and Trisha and the family felines Saber and Shadow (aka Yaesu FT 950 ) I would like to offer my wishes to you and your families for a Very Merry Chirstmas and a FANTASTIC 2014.

I also hope that Santa brings you a new radio toy because I know all of you have been good…

AW Shucks!!!

The URL I would like you to click on is here

Merry Christmas and best for the New Year


Back to Basics for the RAC Canada Winter Contest

December 21, 2013

Had some issues with the Flex 1500 yesterday that has me a bit confused….


NO OUTPUT ( that I can detect at least)

Last time I had these fears after taking the radio over to a local Flex Guru to get checked out it was determined that if I re installed the software everything would be all right and sure enough it was…. I was back to making contacts and even made a few CW contacts with it (if you read back a few posts)…

However this time after doing the re-install on the software… no joy…  and no apparent RF…

Its a bit confusing as I was not messing around with stuff…  made contacts on one day and made nothing the next day…  same antenna, same tuner… same Flex 1500…

So the first step after software to to re install the FT 817 back in its old place in the shack so I can participate in the RAC Winter Contest next weekend … Everything is working fine there with the old school toys there and I will be “Radio Active” for the contest…


In the mean time the Flex is back in its box and I will be doing some reading along with installing the software on a stand alone computer (Dell Laptop) so I can try software changes and setting changes without risking the shack computer…  After that it will be a last resort visit to someones place ( a few Flex’s here in town) for a swap out to see if it works over there… if it works there and not here then it will be a head scratcher but then it would not be the first time that Murphy has visited my shack over the years…  No point in getting the blood pressure up and to be honest there is just too much stuff to do over the Holidays so…  as long as I have a radio to use (FT817) for the contest all is good (so to speak)

I’m crossing my fingers that its operator error, but as I did not mess with anything I’m not sure how I could of <Censored> up and done anything wrong…

Although its still receiving fine…. I also would like it to talk…

Not blaming the rig on this one (yet) as my computer skills are lacking and I was warned about something like this…. but it was working great and I was honestly impressed…  Not a biggie if I have to sent it out to get checked  as I have confidence in the Service Dept at Radioworld … Over the years I have been treated well there…. and its under Warranty as its a new radio…

Perhaps its getting homesick and just wanted to go and visit its brothers and sisters back in the Radio Store in Toronto…  You know “Home for the Holidays”… but due to my mistrust of Canada Post, even if its defective it won’t be shipped till early in the New Year…


I’ll look at it when I can find the time… Right now getting everything ready for Santa’s arrival is more important…



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