A business that could put ham radio “on the map”

March 6, 2015

I noticed a tweet that mentioned a new company that is making maps for Amateur Radio use…  I was able to find on twitter the handle ” @cqmaps ” and from there a link to his website ” https://cqmaps.com/”

From what I have seen from looking at my laptop screen his product appears to be a quality map that is geared to various amateur radio purposes and can be personalized with call signs and locations etc.


Above is a screen capture from his twitter feed… For better examples go to his website and look around…

I would love to have a framed map like he offers on the wall of my shack along with the usual DXCC and WAS certificates on the wall…  First though I gotta get a shack with walls…  Been waiting for 23 years to get out of the unfinished basement… gotta feeling I’ll be waiting a while longer…

I think its worth looking at though…


ARRL (SSB) DX Contest this weekend

March 6, 2015

Now as a #QRP Operator thinking of getting out there to operate #QRPSSB in an international DX contest is not one of my brighter moves if I was entering as an actual contestant.  The contest starts for everyone else at 0000 utc on Saturday March 7th and Finishes on Sunday March 8 at 2359 utc.


However if you think about it….  Some of the best international Amateur Radio Contest stations in the world will be looking for any and all American and Canadian Stations no matter how weak the signal (later in the contest). 


In the beginning the big guns will be running and running and I don’t have a snowflakes chance in heck of breaking any big pileups with my 5w and a wire. 


However late Saturday afternoon and onwards all of a sudden the popgun is a hunted commodity and the bug guns are now looking for me…

So for me…. “Giving of the contacts” starts before supper on Saturday evening and goes till around 0400 utc Sunday…. It starts again on the Sunday morning after breakfast and will continue onwards across the HF bands till I run out of people to work or the contest finishes on the Monday morning (0000 UTC)

I don’t expect to break any records but I do expect to give out a bunch of “5/9 ON” along with the required “73 and Good Luck…


With any luck there might also be a couple of new #QRPDXCC in there as well.  Another good thing about contesting…  Most of the participants up load their logs to Logbook of the World so if you do work any new ones there is usually an excellent chance of getting it confirmed…  Its also kind of neat to look through the results later when they are published and then see how many of the top 10 made it into my log…

Remember without the “Popguns” the Big Guns” would have no one to talk to…

If you click on the ARRL Radiosport graphic higher up on this page you will be taken to the ARRL Website where you can get all the information needed to participate…

As always….  Have fun… and Good Luck in the contest…


A couple of “New Ones” in the log

March 4, 2015

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a great day…

Nothing planned and I was able to sit in the shack and play radio…  The bands were cooperating and so I managed 3 QRP CW Contacts and as luck would have it all 3 were quickly confirmed on Logbook of the world and 2 of them were new ones for me…


KG4HF (Guantanamo Bay Cuba) 10m CW –  I had worked “Gitmo” before  10m QRP SSB from Brewer Park in Ottawa back on October 17th 2013.  (Yes I blogged about it so you refresh your memory here).  The problem was back then that the operator of the station KG4WV was not (and still is not) on LoTW so my QSO back then was never confirmed.  Today it is as a new DXCC for me both Mixed and CW


(Above map shows approx distance between Cuba and Ottawa-  Gitmo is at the south end of Cuba)

T77C (San Marino) 17m CW-  Absolute new one for me again.  I knew it was an European Station but somehow T77 was not on my gotta get list.  Now I gotta run a new list to double check what I need…  Anyway… I broke his pile up and then I uploaded my logs and went for lunch…  An hour later when I checked LoTW his confirmation was there and then I found out it was a new one..


HB9CVQ (Switzerland) 17m CW-  I have worked Andy several times in the past and it was great to get him in the log again.  If you check him out on QRZ.com you will see that his station was doing most of the work on this QSO.  When I checked LoTW this morning his confirmation was waiting there for me.


So there you have it….  3 contacts…. 3 confirmations and 2 new ones…  Not too shabby for 5w and a wire…  I’ll take quality over quantity any time but….



This coming weekend is the ARRL SSB DX Contest and I am hoping that lots of you out there takes the time to make it into my log as I try to continue to prove that “Size does not matter” and you can make SSB DX Contacts with 5w and a wire…





Update on the Android CW Reader

March 2, 2015

If you remember from the previous post I had installed a CW Decode APP on my Android Tablet and was testing it out…

Well it works….

At my QTH it seems that if the cats stay quiet….  the furnace does not kick in  and the phone does not ring it does a decent job of decoding CW that is sent by a computer keyer…

Its still not reading as well as “CW Get” which I use on my desktop and is getting its audio via the computer but you have to consider that with my Android tablet sitting beside the radios speaker its decoding the CW with no audio connections just speaker beside input mic….  not too bad…

I would still like to test it in the great outdoors but that ain’t going to happen till late spring or early summer so….  look for another update before Canada Day…

My tablet has not blown up and all is good…  Its a free app so…  There is still the thing about you get what you pay for….  I think its worth a lot more….

The link to it is here if you want to check it our for yourself  AT YOUR OWN RISK



Testing out an Android CW Decoding APP

February 25, 2015

As you know my CW skills are not the best and I tend to rely on the Decoding Program CW Get (works well for me) for when I am in the shack operating with the Flex.


I am planning to be a bit more portable this year with the FT 817 and the Camper operating from different areas I thought it might be easier if I was to find a decoding program that would work on my Android Tablet,  Its always good to have something to fall back on just in case its too fast for me to try to copy by ear

Looking at the Google Play Store I found  “Morse Code Reader”  and installed it on my tablet.  It uses the built in mic of the tablet to hear the CW coming off the speaker of the radio and decodes it… Seems simple enough….

Early testing has proven to me it works…  but not as good as CW Get.  It managed an approx 60% copy of the W1AW CW Bulletin where CW Get was 95%.  As it uses the audio output to audio input (without wires) background noises can greatly effect the accuracy of the RCV.

At this time I cannot recommend this piece of software.  However I can’t say anything bad about it either.  I have no opinion and feel it deserves better testing.

I hope that I will have a chance to test it out in a contest situation where its basically callsign and 5nn TU so I can compare it against CW Get…

As with all Software Decoders it can only decode a “good fist” or a computer keyer….  If you are trying to copy a bad fist with poor spacing etc… nothing outside of a good operator with a good ear will do it…


It is a free piece of software so nothing ventured nothing gained….  But as always… if you download it…. you do so at your own risk…. The fact that my tablet has not blown up does not mean yours won’t… 

I will play with it for a while longer and then let you know what I think…


The link to it is here if you want to check it our for yourself AT YOUR OWN RISK


A Couple more QRP DX Contacts

February 25, 2015

For those of you who live on the Eastern Side of North America…. you know why I wanted to spend as much time as I could in the shack today…


It was Freezing out there….  

Good conditions or bad conditions…. today I just wanted to stay inside as much as I could and stay warm…  It paid off…  I managed a few good contacts….

9A5CW (Croatia) 40m CW – 4100 miles

C6AUM (Bahamas) 15m CW – 1300 miles

KH6/NA2U (Hawaii) 15m CW- 4800 miles

Once again my Flex 1500 and its booming 5watts of raw power came through and contacts were made


As an added bonus 9A5CW and C6AUM were both on LoTW and already have confirmed our QSO.  C6AUM is also on EQSL as you can see from below…


No more waiting for cards from the BURO or direct….  Make a contact and upload your logs….  If everyone did that it would make the DX Scene much more enjoyable….


As C6, 9A and KH6 were previously confirmed by LoTW no new DXCC for me today but….  Any day I can work something with 5w and a wire its a really good day…

As of today’s date I am sitting at 34 QRP CW DXCC in the log so there is still 66 more to go and that will take a while.  I have lots of time left so I am confident that sooner than later the CW DXCC will be added to the list…



I am estimating about another 45-60 days before the temps rise enough to melt the snow and then we get to see the picnic tables again for portable operations….  I was hoping to get the Camper out for the Ontario QSO Party but now I’m not so sure that things will be defrosted enough by then…

In the meantime…  Keep the faith…  and try and keep warm…


Making (Giving out) contacts in the ARRL DX (CW) contest

February 23, 2015

This was a great weekend…

I really needed to make a few contacts after being shut out in the last couple of DXPeditons that have just finished lately… I was doubting myself and my equipment and nothing like working some DX stations to eliminate the doubt…

We always seem to have a full slate on weekends like most other families,  but as I had not blocked off time on our schedule I was limited as to how much time I could spend in the shack but… It was quality time to say the least…

I made contacts on 10m, 15m and 20m and remember that all of them were made QRP CW with my end fed wire antenna…


Above diagram almost correct…  Its actually about 55 feet long and I now use 4 radials instead of 2.

Contacts made as follows:

10m-Spain (3500 miles)

10m- Maderia Island (3200 miles)

10m-Turks and Caicos (1600 miles)

10m- Bonaire Island (2340 miles)

10m- Alaska (3100 miles)

15m- Hungary (4100 miles)

15m-  Germany  (3800 miles)

15m- Maderia Island (3200 miles)

15m- Latvia (4100 miles)

15m- Portugal (3300 miles)

15m- Aruba (2300 miles)

15m- Brazil (4130 miles)

15m- Hawaii (4800 miles)

20m- Italy (4000 miles)

20m- Portugal (3300 miles)

20m- Czech Republic (3800 miles)

20m- Italy (4000 miles)

20m- France (3200 miles)

20m- Spain (3500 miles)

So by my counts thats 22 contacts and 21 multipliers giving me a score of  1388 points if I was submitting anything else other than a check log for this one.


However for this time its good enough to upload the logs to LoTW and EQSL and just sit back smiling about how great everything seemed to work when it had to…


Hope your weekend went as well as mine did…


Well the gear still works

February 20, 2015

This afternoon I decided to spend some time in the shack and try to make a couple of contacts…  After not being able to break the pileup for K1N, I was wondering if I was having any antenna issues…

I managed to easily get the State of Kentucky in the log at 800 miles and also get the Cayman Islands in the log at 1800 miles.  K1N on Navassa Island was just over 1800 miles so I have regained confidence in the equipment…  You can make QRP Contacts when someone is calling and listening for you but…  trying to break the mother of all pile ups with 5w and a wire might be a different thing…

This weekend is the ARRL DX Contest (CW) so perhaps I’ll get to make a few contacts…


I still feel the same way many years later

February 18, 2015


I will be referencing this over the next little while…. ARES, EMCOMM and FREECOM will be discussion topics in a series of postings coming soon.
Please take the time to re- this one…

Originally posted on VA3QV's Weblog:

WhenAllElseFailsA while back I wrote the following:

Many years ago when I first got my callsign (I was VE3YBC back then) I attended a presentation that was given to civic officials on Emergency Planning. One of the first things stressed is that they should make friends with the local amateur radio clubs in their areas as the “hams” could do it all!!!

Now in reality we know that Hams can’t walk on water, but we do know where the rocks are hidden just under the water, so it seems like we can.

Now many callsigns have passed (VE3YBC,VE3UAX,VA3RCS and now VA3QV) since I heard those comments and technology now brings new toys. And most of these new toys mean that don’t need us as much as they used to. In most of the urban centers we have been delegated to passing routine traffic between shelters if needed.

Cell Phones, Blackberrys…

View original 368 more words

Where does the time go?

February 14, 2015

I have this thing about remembering stuff…  Birthdays…. Anniversarys  and the like….  Actually I know when they are but I have trouble getting my mind to remember what the dates are in comparison whatever the date is today….

Heres another example…

Feb 10 2008 was my first posting on the blog….  I knew it was in early Feb but after checking today found that I missed it by 4 days….

So after 7 years…. 2137 Actual Blog Postings and  472,150 visitors thanks for hanging in there with me…


ps….  I did remember Valentines Day….


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