Upcoming Stuff (and stuffing)

November 26, 2015

Right off the bat…


Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in the United States….

Just to remind you that the Canadian Thanksgiving is held earlier than yours so we did have first pick of the Turkeys…  Enjoy your leftovers however… 

Though I do have to admit you guys do it right with the 4 day holiday.  We only get 3 days…. but then we have less people to try and get there and back so we can move it in only 3 days…

Now back to radio (and more stuff)…

cq_logoThis weekend is also the weekend for the CQ WW CW Contest (the link will bring you to their website).  If you are not a “hardcore contester” then its a great time in increase your CW DXCC count as there will be lots of “Big Gun Contesters” out there with the biggest and best radios and antennas all looking for your contacts.


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


Usually I am unavailable for most of the contests as they run on the weekends but this time I cleared my schedule for the Grey Cup Game (Canadian Football League Championship Game) as our Ottawa RedBlacks are representing Eastern Canada in the East Division vs West Division Final Game.  The game takes place on Sunday afternoon/Sunday evening depending which Canadian Time Zone you are in.


The game is being played this year in Winnipeg Manitioba (VE4 Land)

As an added bonus I now have free time on Saturday and part of Sunday to give out contacts in the contest.

With the assistance of the Computer Keyer in the Flex 1500 and my excellent decoding program CW GET, I will be able to send out contest exchanges at the same Rapid Fire Rate as the big guns.  I will searching and pouncing on strong signals and then later the regular signals…

It all depends on who can hear “5w and a wire” over the rest of the contest QRM.  In the past I have noticed that  Big Guns seem to hear better towards the end of a contest….

I am hoping to improve my DXCC Count over the weekend…  and also celebrate an Ottawa Win in the Game ( Local Pride)…

Enjoy your weekend whatever your plans and GO REDBLACKS….


It was a great day yesterday…

November 25, 2015

Tuesday was one of those lazy days…  We had the first snowfall of the season yesterday and its timing was perfect… no real plans made so I could hide out in the shack and ignore the weather…


QRP CW Contacts were made yesterday with the following…:

20M… CW… HR5/G4IRN… Honduras

15M… CW… PJ4/S53R… Bonaire Island

15M… CW… VP5/W5CW… Turks and Caicos

15M… CW… F6CEL… France

15M… CW… SM5CAK… Sweden

….All with 5w and a wire antenna

Bonaire along with Turks and Caicos have been contacted before as lots of contesters operate from there every year…  Recently I have had good luck working France and getting it confirmed fairly quickly if you remember my posting from about a week ago…

Yesterdays contact with HR5/G4IRN in Honduras stood out yesterday for a couple of reasons.  The first one being realized after entering the contact in the log and finding out that not only was this a new DXCC for me in CW but it was also a new DXCC for me in the mixed category.  A real brand new one…

The second reason became obivious 5 hours later when I checked my Logbook of the World account and found out that John had already uploaded his logs to LoTW and my totals had jumped up to  121 mixed and 54 cw confirmed.

The contact with SM5CAK also stood out because my neighbor and fellow blogger VA3PCJ/VE3DTI is operating portable from SM5 and if I could contact one station in SM5 it proved we had propagation, but I guess a 2 way QRP CW QSO was not in the cards as after exchanging a couple of Tweets there was no luck making a contact.

However Sweden when confirmed will be another CW DXCC for me as the count slowly climbs towards the magic number of 100.

Not sure yet what Wednesday holds for me….  The wx is foggy, damp and cold but Liz has Fizzio this afternoon at the Montfort. (my home away from home it seems) and I have to pack up a care package for a friend (sorry its taking so long John) and get it on its way to VE8Land before the Christmas Rush.  With any luck there might be time to play radio as well…



Bob’s Monday morning RANT

November 23, 2015

Good morning….

Hope your weekend went well.  I missed the Sweeps but I hope you made lots of contacts….

Here comes my rant of the day…


It just before 0730 am (1230 utc) and I am listening to the Heard Island DXPedition working stations on 40 cw.  For the first time I can actually hear them…

I could make out their call and the words UP….

Now to refresh your memory I am using a 50 foot end fed long wire along with 4 radials stretched out along the inside of my fence.  This is fed by a 4:1 balun and I use (need) an Elecraft T1 Auto tuner to bring the SWR down to a level that does not fry finals in my Flex 1500.  Now my Flex 1500 does have a great receive section but my antenna is less than the best…

Now if I can hear the DX calling “UP” why can’t the guys/gals who are running the stations with the beams etc who are insisting on calling on the DX Frequency and not up like the DX is requesting.  Now not only can I not tell if the DX is calling but even if I could I doubt I could hear the reply because all the LIDIOTS are calling where the DX is not listening for them… He told everyone he is listening UP…

Another morning shot all to heck because we can’t figure out what UP means…

Hope the conditions and the operators improve…


Great propagation to the south

November 20, 2015

This morning while having my morning coffee I was looking over my Logs for the last couple of days and couldn’t help but notice that most of my DX signals have been heading south…


Tuesday the signals were going more east to Europe with contacts made (and already confirmed) in the Ukraine and France …


Wednesdays signals seemed to be heading due south with contacts being made in Chile, Puerto Rico, Bonaire, Turks and Caicos along with a couple of contacts in W4 and W5 in the states…

Thursday the band stayed south with contacts in Guadaloupe and Curaco.

So far today (Friday) I have heard some stations again from the Caribbean but the band has not been strong enough for me to be heard.  Early this am I did hear Moldovia(just below the Ukraine) but missed them as well.

ARRL_November_SweepstakesThe day is young yet and I am hoping to get a few more contacts in the log before everyone takes a rest before the ARRL SSB SWEEPSTAKES start on Saturday afternoon (2100 UTC)

Hope that you might be one of the lucky few that manage to get a “Clean Sweep”.


Unfortunately, as usual my weekend commitments will exclude me from another contest.  I can’t really b!tch though as I do have 5 days a week to play radio… 

Its just that most of the good stuff does happen on the weekends when everyone else in the world seems to be able to participate.  But despite that I was able to get 3 new ones in the log in the past week and they are all on Logbook of the World (according to their QRZ.com pages) so unless I messed up their call or there is some sort of typo…

It should increase my QRP CW DXCC count slightly…

Enjoy your weekend and make lots of contacts….  CU next week…


Wednesday on the Radio

November 19, 2015

Yesterday was one of the best days on HF I have had in a long time…  I had a pipline south into the Caribbean and it was a treat…

15m QRP CW contacts (still having fun with the Flex and a wire) were made in the following locations:

Chile ( over 1000 miles a watt)

Puerto Rico


Curaco Island


Turks and Caicos Islands

Bonaire Island

Ontario (40m QRP SSB)

That’s 7 DXCC Entities which is pleasing to my log.  Chile when confirmed will be a new one for me and although not a new one Puerto Rico has already confirmed by LoTW and EQSL.


The day before I contacted a station in the Ukraine and a station in France and they both confirmed quickly via LoTW and EQSL as well.


It does make the hobby better (in my opinion) when the confirmations come in promptly.

So that has been the highlights over the last couple of days…  Making contacts and having fun and with whats been happening in the world over the last week… Having fun and smiling is a nice diversion… 

I am hoping to get lots more Radio time in today and tomorrow but right now I have a S9+++ noise level across the bands that knocking the stuffing out of anything I want to try and hear….  Either my neighbor decided to test out a new piece of electronic gear for the first time at 8am in the morning or we are having a Solar Event of some sort….

Please GHOD let it be a Solar Flare… 


That will pass in time…  and it will pass hopefully before the ARRL Sweepstakes this coming weekend….

More later….


ps…. update….. the noise seems to have stopped….. bands seem back to normal for now…. hoping it stays like that


Conclusive proof the bands are improving…

November 18, 2015

Easiest way….  I’m making QRP SSB Contacts…

If more proof was needed… I’m making QRP CW Contacts…

Yesterday and today (Nov 17 & Nov 18) I have had no trouble making contacts locally on 40m.  By “locally” I mean across Ontario and although hearing them is not a big deal…  Them hearing me at my QRP power level is a big deal.

Higher up on the bands (15-17 &20m) I am able to make some QRP CW contacts as well as check into a few of the 20m SSB nets.

So far this week contacts have been made in North America and Europe.  I did hear an African Station but that was a pile up I could not break with 5w and a wire…

I don’t see any changes to the antenna system here before the snow falls…



The length of the antenna is now approx. 50 feet and I have doubled the radials to 4…

Usually I try to run out a couple more radials at the beginning of the snow season along a un cleared pathway and then once the first snowstorm hits for the season then they are safe till the spring melt.  That could happen again this year but the antenna is working so good the way it is… why mess with it?

Here are some suggestions for places to go where you can find operators to help you with signal reports etc…

20m – 14.300 is the home of the Intercon Net followed by the Maritime Mobile Service Net.  Depending on when 20m is open in your area you should be able to get checked in or relayed in to the net.  These nets service the Maritime Community so they are used to dealing with weak signals… The NCS  signals are usually fairly strong

20m- 14.332 is the home of the YL Systems Net again with various control stations through out the day so someone should hear your signal.  You might have to try a few time as lots of fixed stations call in to visit with old friends which makes it a bit harder for a mobile or a portable station, but there is lots of people there… but you have to be patient at times

40m- 7.055 is the home of the Trans Provincial Net.  This net runs Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm Eastern time.  The NCS stations at this time all mostly from VE3 with a couple of VE2s but sometimes VE1, VE9 and VE4 can be found in there as well.  The net is conducted in voice (LSB) but in some cases the NCS can work you in CW but most of the time its voice.

For those Snowbirds who head south for the winter or those who check in from the USA remember that the Canadian Bandplan allows Voice in that (7.055) area but the US rules only allow CW/digital there…

40m -7.255 Is the home of the East Coast Amateur Radio Service (ECARS). For those of you (Snowbirds) travelling down to the southern States for the winter it makes a great frequency to sit on while in transit.  Once you have arrived it makes a great frequency for a morning sked back home.  A very popular net so you might have some issues checking in with a mobile or weak signal but once you get heard or relayed in you will be welcomed…

80m 3.755  is the home of the ONTARS (Ontario Amateur Radio Service Net).  Running from 7am to 6pm eastern time this net mostly covers VE2 and VE3 along with W1, W2 and W3 but can extend depending on condition.  If you can get a signal out on 80m in the daytime then its a place to be…

Now there are some other nets that run for a shorter period of time…. some once a week and others just a hour or so a day….  I’ll mention those in another posting that’s coming soon


camper4Once again… if I am able to get a few contacts in the log with 5w and a wire then I’m guessing that your results are even better…  I am looking forward to these conditions hopefully improving or at least holding and when Liz buys me that new HF rig for the camper seeing what I can do with 100w and a wire…




Finally a “New One”

November 17, 2015

Its been a while since I have been able to work a new DXCC either in CW or SSB. (Still not figured out the rest of the digital modes yet) but just as I was getting discouraged I managed to snag ENoU in 15m CW.

5W and the wire came through again for me…

Ukraine once confirmed on Logbook of the World (according to his QRZ page he uses LoTW) will be my 53rd QRP CW DXCC logged.

Between bad bands…. bad timing on my part ( I have commitments on the weekends and so I miss most of the contests) and the fact that I am a QRP operator all seem to work against me when I try to get more DX in the log.  Not complaining but rather making excuses to my self to I don’t give up…


There have been other countries worked but all the operators seem to be wanting me to send direct along with a few extra green stamps to cover the DXPedition costs, the printing costs, the postage costs and their first born college fund.


I tried that route but all I got as an empty mailbox in more than one occasion.


I have since given up with paper QSLs and just use EQSL and LoTW along with uploading my logs to HRDLOG.net as well.  So far I have a better confirmation rate on LoTW but I’m sure all the W1AW/p stations confirming from the Centenary Contest had something to do with that.  EQSL seem to be at the 30% return rate and I am patiently waiting for the day that the ARRL and EQSL learn to play nicely.  Perhaps one day…

But In the meantime… I will continue to try and work the DX and hopefully get the confirmations needed for the wallpaper


A few contacts made….

November 13, 2015

If you remember a couple of posts ago I mentioned that I wanted to spend a bit more time in the shack and get some contacts in the log….

I was successful with some contacts made (locally) on 2m along with some contacts in Ontario and Quebec split between 40m ssb and 80m ssb,,,

I must admit that the best results were made on 40m.  Using the Trans Provincial Net as the medium I managed contacts in North Western Ontario and Southern Ontario along with some contacts closer in Central Ontario and Eastern Ontario.  Its been a while since I have been rag chewing and I was happy that the band conditions would allow making contacts with the booming 5w of the Flex (QRP SSB)

I was hearing some DX at times today mostly on 15m and 20m but was unable to break the pileups or just get heard over the “QRO+”  stations but it was good to hear the activity on the air…

eat-dxTomorrow will be another day in the shack and perhaps I can get some DX to finish off the week


To our Vets…

November 11, 2015


Thank You

Good Tuesday morning

November 10, 2015

Welcome back folks….

As predicted I did not get any radio stuff in for the weekend….  Seems I never do anymore…  My weekdays (Mon-Fri) are usually open unless we have medical appointments but the weekends are just packed with family stuff and usually I never even make it down the stairs to the shack….


So what did I miss???  How did you do in the CW Sweeps??? 

Did you manage a “Clean Sweep”?


Actually never made into the shack on Monday either as Liz had a Fizzio appointment at the Montfort Hospital yesterday afternoon and after that we went home, changed then went out to a Fantastic new (to us restaurant) for her birthday supper.  They just opened up a 2nd Ottawa location within walking distance of our place.  Food was fantastic… but it did take me a while to figure out how to order food on an I pad… then send the order directly to the kitchen….

Liz would kill me if I was to tell you her age so I won’t….  But she is 4 years younger than me….. and  I’m 61….  but you will have to do the math yourself to figure out how many candles on a cake it take to set off the smoke alarm…

Now back to radio…  Tues am and I’m finally in the shack…  Boot up the compter and fire up the Flex and leave it running on 7.055 lsb in the background.  And I hear Barry VE3ISX calling in from Hamilton Ontario.  Barry is the net manager of the ONTARS Net on 3.755 and even though today he was on 40m his signal was fantastic over the 255 mile distance between our antennas.


We are fortunate in Eastern Canada to have two nets to check in with during the daytime.  ONTARS on 3.755 and the Trans Provincal Net on 7.055.  ONTARS is well established and managed and the TPNet is in a rebuilding process.  Why not drop in and say hi to the NCS of either net and let them know their dedication and service to our hobby is appreciated…


For those of us who still travel with an HF rig in the vehicle I find  that it gives me that “Warm Fuzzy Feeling” knowing that if I am traveling in a place with poor cell phone service and sometimes poor repeater coverage that I can still fire up the HF rig if I need assistance.  The Nets are the first place I would look for assistance and hopefully there would be someone there to help me.

camperatlighthouseEarly next year when Liz and myself hit the road again with the camper comes to mind…


Not quite sure what the rest of this week will include.  I normally walk down the street to the Veterans Home and watch the local Ceremonies for Remembrance Day.

Lots of people go to the big event in downtown Ottawa but over the years I have preferred to visit the smaller ceremonies and pay my respects.  The Rideau Veterans Home is just down the street so I get to thank my neighbors for their service to our country…  It seems fitting….

Back to radio again….  for this week the schedule is fairly open and the plan is to spend most of it down in the shack.  I just want to make some contacts…  SSB or CW…. does not matter….  Local or DX…. does not matter…. I just want to get some contacts in the log…  Its getting a bit chilly for the parks so… the shack it is… 

Hope the band conditions cooperate so we might be able to make that contact…



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