July 30, 2015

For a while now I have been hearing “CQ CWT” on occasion on 20m CW and occasionally 15m CW and this week I finally decided to look at why…


(Most of the info here is cut and pasted from their website with some minor editing as needed)

It seems that the CW Operators Club run a weekly hour long CW Contest every Wednesday 

CWops Tests are 60 minutes in duration and held on Wednesday each week.

There are three events at times that favor different geographic areas on this same day.

Everyone is welcome – you don’t have to be a CWops member to join the fun. CWTs are a good opportunity to meet other CW fans who may be interested in CWops membership.

Six bands are used – 10, 15, 20, 40, 80 and 160m. Suggested frequencies are from 28 to 38 kHz up from band edges.

If activity warrants, please expand up. Please be particularly considerate of ongoing QSOs and DXpedition operations. Please slow down when called at a slower speed – we want everyone to feel welcome. Lots of Qs or just a few, please submit your results for each session at http://3830scores.com


After checking out their website for more information it seems to be  a very friendly contest and easy to participate in as its only a hour long….


Just send your First Name and CWops member number.

Non-members will send First Name, and State, Province, or DX Country Prefix.

This will allow most operators to use a general-purpose logging program or a paper log if necessary.  A dedicated CWOPs module has been written for N1MM by Nick, NA3M.  Other logging programs are also available. See our website for more information http://www.cwops.org/software.html

Scoring: The final score can be calculated by counting 1 point per QSO (work a station once per band only) and multiply total points by the number of unique calls worked.  If you had 75 QSOs with 40 different calls, your score is 75 x 40.  State which power class: QRP, LP, HP.

Now this like I said is not time consuming and easy to participate in….

As a side note I would like to add that they seemed friendly and they were also sending “good code”…  Not sure if the stations I copied were using a computer, keyer or a key but they were sending code that my decoding program (CW GET) could easily decode at any speed…

Using my Flex 1500 along with the Elecraft T1 Auto Tuner and my wire in the Maple Tree I was able to make 4 Contacts on 20m and 1 contact on 15m yesterday.


Not counting the RAC Canada Day Contest on July 1st thats the most contacts I have made in a single day in way too long… 


So after yesterday I am hoping to spend a few Wednesdays trying to give out some contacts…  Yesterday despite what I would describe as “POOR Band Conditions” I was able to make a few contacts and now that I understand the contest I am hoping to improve on those results…

Hope I get you in the log next week…


Antenna testing at Hutton Park- Friday July 24

July 24, 2015

I figured I better date this one as I have been out at Hutton Park more than once testing out the gear….

If you remember back to the 2nd of the month (Blog Post) I commented that I had a failure with my W3EDP antenna and I was suspecting that moisture had penetrated the balun as I was using a non water resistant 4:1 balun…

W3EDP_Vertical_model_ve3clqWell I guess my suspicions were correct as I gave the antenna lots of time to dry out and when I went out to Hutton Park this morning to test things out everything seemed fine…


As you can see from the above pic I was set up at the softball diamond.  I tossed a weighted line over the back stop to support the balun of the W3EDP at about 15 feet above ground….  I then got the other end supported over a tree branch about 20 feet above ground and proceeded to test things out…

Before I left I had check the band conditions today so I knew things were not going to be good but the biggest test was to just see if the W3EDP would load up where it should using the LDG QRP Autotuner…


Well I was pleased to find out that…. Everything worked great.  The tuner was able to find a match on 10m, 12m, 15m, 17m, 20m, 40m, 80m and even 160m.  I did not try 30m as I did not bring my key with me and my FT817 is one of the early ones so no 60m in it and I never bothered doing the mod…

Seeing that I normally don’t operate in the rain and also that the S9 43 foot vertical being fed by my SGC 237 tuner will eventually be the antenna of choice in the camper I guess that all is well….  Lesson learned….

W9IMS qrz.com layout

However all I was able to do is prove that everything would load up….  In the hour I was out there I made no contacts…. most of the bands were dead but I was able to hear W9IMS calling from the Brickyard on 7.210 but although I heard him fine…  It was not a day for 5w and a wire…


I also heard the NCS for the SouthCars Net calling but from VE3 to W4 with only 5w on 40m was not going to happen today (although it has happened in the past)…

I’m just glad that everything was back to working as it should…. now if we could only get the bands to cooperate…


Wish I could afford it….

July 24, 2015

Recently there have been some rumours that the VY2ZM Superstation located in Prince Edward Island was put up for sale.  After doing some checking on his website…. Its true…

Wonder how many operators are trying to convince their wives AND Bank Managers right now???


A new rig for the Camper

July 22, 2015

I have been talking for a while about how I would like to get a 100w rig that I could use in the camper…  The idea being that I might be out of cell phone range on some of our anticipated trips and having a little more that my normal QRP 5W could be a good idea when traveling….

I’m going to do more research but so far at the top of the list is:


The IC 7100 from ICOM…. (Thanks to Radioworld for the information)

It has the 100w output along with a decent receive section.  Covers 70cm, 2m, 6m along with the 10m to 160m amateur bands and has a detachable head for mounting convience.


It will work with my SGC 237 tuner feeding the S9 43 foot vertical…

camper8Canadian Flag attached 6 feet below the top of the S9 43 foot vertical

and the price line is close enough to the other brands that its very competitive… 


The added bonus is that its DSTAR ready so this gives me more VHF/UHF Options to use when operating….

However its not a done deal yet….  I have not really had any experiences with ICOM over the years and will have to do my homework before I make up my mind…  Seeing that its now almost the end of July  there is no rush.  The camper will be going into storage for the winter shortly after Chillycon and there is no real reason to pick up the new radio (what ever brand and model it will be) before the springtime…

Perhaps something else new and shiny will grab my attention,,,


Chillycon 2015 (Mark your calenders)

July 22, 2015

Well its official….

Chillycon 2015 will be held on Friday September 11th, Saturday September 12th and Sunday September 13th at the Rideau River Provincial Park in Kemptville Ontario.

Before I forget…. Campsite fees or daily access fees do apply and you must regester at the park front gate

Chillycon is the annual meeting of the Ottawa Valley QRP Society and is a QRP- Portable op camping style event that lets you participate up to the level that you feel comfortable at….  Some spend a few hours….  Others spend the whole weekend and others spend a few extra days and just relax…  The choice is yours….

There are some friendly competitions such as the furthest contact….I think that last year is was contact from Kemptville to VK Land…  I know I did not make it….

Along with the traditional Pizza supper on the Saturday evening….  Nothing says camping like having Pizza delivered to your campsite….  The first year the Pizzeria said… “you want HOW MANY pizzas???? and delivered to where????  Now they look forward to Chillycon almost as much as we do….

The pizza dinner is a pre pay deal…. you tell the organiser how many slices you want and he puts the order in and you pay for what you order….  Its suggested that before you arrive at the park you pick up enough soft drinks to get you through the day from a store you will pass en route to Chillycon



As an added bonus this year Chillycon is the same weekend as the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club Hamfest in Carp Ontario so you can buy some goodies on the Saturday morning then come out to Chillycon in the afternoon to test them out.


Here is a map from the Hamfest to Chillycon just in case you need it…

All in all its a great time for however long you can participate for and yes….  Its a rain or shine event so dress accordingly…. and bringing some bug spray would not be a bad thing…


There is a covered area by the beach which we can operate from if the weather is not cooperating and a few of the experienced ones bring a couple of tarps as well….A few lawnchairs are not a bad idea either…



 FT 817 with an arrow dual band beam on the tripod working some VHF SSB


As a reminder the Chillycon weekend is also the weekend for the ARRL September VHF contest so there will be lots to do and see…

Follows is part of my blog post from 2012 as it pertains to VHF Operating from Chillycon:

Now back to radio…

I started out by setting up at a picnic table by the beach…  The antenna was my Arrow Satellite antenna (without all the 70cm stuff) on a camera tripod and the tripod was set up at one end of my picnic table.  This was a vhf contest weekend and I was hoping to give out a few FN25 grid squares from the park.  I aimed the beam North East and North West trying to talk to some of the locals (Ottawa Area) who I figured would be on the air.  No Luck….  I then swung the beam straight south and did not hear much…


I then swung the beam South West and heard K2OS calling CQ on 144.195.  It was hard copy but he was there and more importantly he was able to hear my signal and then FN25 was in his log and FN12 was in mine.


As you can see by the map this was a contact of 185 miles which for a VHF QRP SSB contact was about my longest ever contact.  I have talked further but not at 5w.


If you have looked at the QRZ.com webpage for Frank K2OS after looking at his station setup its easy to see he was doing 99% of the work but I was able to get out enough of a “Popgun signal” for the “Big Gun” to hear… (how many times have I said that in the past???


I also managed (almost) work VE2HAY Vittio in Laval QC…  That would be about 100 miles east of where I was operating from.  I got his callsign and his grid square FN35 and he got my grid square FN25 but I don’t think he got my callsign correctly so in my log its an almost…

With 1.5 contacts in the log after 1 hour of CQing I decided to take the 2m stuff down and switch over to the 6m dipole I always keep in the backpack.  I managed to get it about 20 feet AGL and aimed south…  I first swung the dial from 50.100 up to 50.250 and only heard one beacon.  That was the West Carleton Amateur Radio Club beacon which would of been local (more or less) to me…  I then tried for the next hour calling CQ on 50.125 and up about every 5 but had no luck…

At that point I figured my attempts to give out the rare FN25 square were finished and so I took down the 6m dipole and put the W3EDP antenna up in a sloper configuration with the high end up at about 40 feet (lucky with the weighted line) and the lower end south west of the high point on a picnic table near the water…

See you can work QRPSSB and make a difference to someones score…

Hope to see you there…


Well its not the radio….

July 21, 2015

Still no luck with my attempts to talk to my neighbor… (See my previous post) …


but I have been able to log a couple of stations and that proves that the Flex 1500 radio/ Elecraft T1 Tuner  and my end fed long wire antenna are functioning….


I’m just having no luck breaking pileups…

The signal is getting out…. just not to where I want it to go….

Still hoping that the Ghod of Propagation will start to smile on my QRP Station again…see-the-light


Trying to work the guy down the street….

July 21, 2015

Well its not as easy as it looks….

Craig VE3OP is on holidays in KP2 (US Virgin Islands)….

I heard him on Sunday evening on 20m SSB and he was working lots of Canadian Stations as well of the rest of the world…

But could not hear me!!!!

I heard him on Monday afternoon on 15m CW and he was working the world… If his statements on Sunday were correct he was using his KX3 and a Buddipole on the beach today….



But could not hear me..

The funny thing is that Craig lives across town from me…  Under 10 miles (16km) according to QRZ.com….

I don’t need KP2 in ssb or cw but I thought it would be a neat thing to make a contact with an Ottawa based station while he was on holidays….  I still think it would be neat…. and I have one more week to make it happen….

Hopefully the propagation Ghods will smile on me by then…


VHF Contest Weekend

July 17, 2015

This weekend is the CQ WW VHF Contest…

cq_logoYou can find the rules here

Most of the new HF Rigs these days have at least 6m built in and others  have UHF/VHF capabilites built in….

Why not give out a few contacts to those who are participating?


I guess its the CW…

July 16, 2015

I was checking the new RAC Website and found the results of the 2014 RAC Canada Winter Contest posted on line.


Checking the QRP Catagory I was pleased when I saw the following:

This year Thomas J Warren, K3TW, achieved first place in the SO-AB-QRP category with a score of 121,396.
Ron Schwartz, VE3VN took second place with a score of 49,476.
Bob Sharp, VA3QV took third place with a score of 39,546,up from fourth place last year.
Dan Alwin, KE0G won 4thplace this year with a QRP score of 33,300 ahead of Tom Cleveland, VE3RSA in 5
th scoring 29,350.

Now considering what I am using for antennas…. Pleased is actually an understatement….

Since I got the Flex 1500 just before the 2013 RAC Canada Winter Contest I have been using the following for an antenna:new_wire_antennaAnd the 4:1 UNUN is being fed by 40 feet (give or take a bit) of RG 58 Coax through an Elecraft T1 QRP Autotuner…

Thats it… no fancy beams… not even room for a proper dipole of a windom antenna…  An end fed wire draped over a tree branch along with a few radials…. Is the best I can do at this QTH…

Since I got the Flex 1500 I have entered following Contests with these results:

2013 RAC Canada Winter Contest-  4th Place in SOAB QRP

2014 RAC Canada Day Contest – 3rd Place in SOAB QRP

2014 RAC Canada Winter Contest- 3rd Place in SOAB QRP

Now for years I have been entering these contests with my FT 817 and other radios and never have had those results whether it has been in the SOAB QRP or the SOAB LP PH so something had to have made a difference…

morsekey1This has to be it….  Its not that my CW Skills have suddenly improved…. no they still would have to improve to be considered poor but….

The Flex 1500 has a built in keyer and the computer I use to run the Flex has enough horsepower to run the decoding program CW GET.   So suddenly I can send and receive the contest exchange ( 5NN ON) at a speed comparable to the serious contesters out there…

CANADA_MAPSeeing that the contest multipliers are the Canadian Provinces and Territories and on any given day with decent band conditions my station should be able to contact anywhere in Canada.  So as long as that station has a good receiver to hear my 5w signal,  the ability to send and receive CW has now effectively doubled my scores…

canadacallmapIts not really my skills but the ability to use better tools to my advantage that is making the difference. 

Now if I could find somewhere I could get a tri band beam up into the air along with antennas for 40m, 80m and 160 then that would be interesting…

spiderbeamwindomantennaNow I doubt that will ever happen but….  I can dream…


New addition to the Shack….

July 15, 2015

Today I got a pleasant surprise…  I was gifted a MFJ 259B antenna analyzer.  Its previous owner no longer needed it and was caring enough to make sure it went to a good home…




If you follow this link you can see its specs

(courtesy of Universal Radio)


Thanks for providing the excellent reference source.


The new addition should help me in my quest for a 160m antenna that can function in my very space restricted back yard…  It will be a fall project that I need to get finished before the snow gets too deep….  Although QRP 160m operating might be a bit of a challenge…. It might be nice to get a couple of extra multipliers in the various contests come the colder months…  Not sure if I can do it but it will be fun trying and…. this is a hobby and hobbies are supposed to be fun…

I’ll let you know how things are progressing



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