Another Reminder

October 28, 2016

This weekend is the CQ WW DX Contest


SSB: October 29 – 30, 2016

Starts: 0000 UTC Saturday     Ends: 2359 UTC Sunday


For more info please check the CQ Website (above link)


I’m going to be on a bit from the start till about 0300 which will not be the best time for a QRP SSB station but its the best I can do this year…


A new (to me )item in the shack

October 27, 2016

I did a bit of “horse trading” the other night…  

acer-aspire-one-aod250-1165_largeUnit on the left is the same style as mine but the one I traded away was white…

My old Netbook (still running windows XP) that was sitting in a box in the basement….  (I had spent more time looking for it in the last week than I had used it in the last year…) 

Is now no longer in my portable kit ( it had been replaced by the Samsung Tablet years before) and in its place is a lightly used ….


BAOFENG GT-3TP Dual band (2m/70cm ) Hand held 

The new arrival came with the standard desktop charger, box and manual.  Nothing outrageous but it seems to work fine.  

It has a 8w output and seeing that I could contact a few more repeaters than usual from my basement I would think that that statement would be correct.  As it came pre programmed with all the local repeaters ( and some scanner freqs) its fairly easy to navigate around with.  

I have been told that these units are popular with the ARES/EMCOMM groups as they have a little more oomph in the output and the cost is low enough should you damage it the financial hit is fairly low…

 I agree with the oomph idea…but I don’t want to lose a bit of kit… no matter how cheap it is…

Computer-whiz2_doc-300x296After taking a quick look at the book of words I am really glad that I only have to delete the scanner memories and not reprogram the unit.

Back in the day I used to monitor the public service freqs…  but as the years go by I got out of that side of the communications hobby…

As I really don’t do that much VHF/UHF FM work having the added bonus of an extra 3w of output power will most likely come in handy as I still have not put my dual band VHF/UHF antenna back on a masting (really should get around to that) and the radio that goes with the antenna is still waiting for a power supply (that has enough amps) to arrive.  

The last one was lost in the Camper fire and I never got around to replacing it yet…  

One of these days I’ll get around to it…

After a bit of rambling what I mean is that if I had to access a repeater… I would have the booming 8w and the rubber duckie to work with and nothing else at this time…


But the 8w of the handie would be better than the 5w of the FT 817 (which does cover 2m, 70cm and 6m) in addition to the HF bands…

Thats it for now…

Lets hope the bands improve in time for the CQ WW SSB Contest this weekend…


Be listening before the contests

October 26, 2016

You might remember that yesterday I gave you the heads up on the upcoming contests…..

We have the CQ WW DX Contests

cq_logo1SSB: October 29 – 30, 2016

CW: November 26 – 27, 2016

Starts: 0000 UTC Saturday     Ends: 2359 UTC Sunday

For more info please check the CQ Website (above link)

We have the ARRL Sweepstakes:


CW: First full weekend in November (November 5-7, 2016).

Phone: Third full weekend in November (November 19-21, 2016).

For more info check the ARRL Website (above link)


Well I did not mention that some of the really BIG GUN Contest stations that are in RARE EXOTIC DX LOCATIONS are in the process of setting up and this week (and every week before the various contests start) you have an excellent chance of working them before the contest starts….

They are (or will be) in the process of setting up and checking everything out before they play for real…

Antennas from this…



To this…


and even bigger will be out there trying to see if you can hear them and more importantly if they can hear you…

Toy_popgunBecause as I’ve said many time if the Big Guns can’t hear you then they have no one to talk to…

So try and prove their (and your) station is working and try and grab a couple new DXCC in the process…


Listen around whatever bands are open and you might be suprized by what you might hear and get into the log…

Happy Hunting

ps…. and remember to submit your logs after the contest and also promptly U/L to LoTW and EQSL if you can…


Contests and Time Management

October 24, 2016

Happy Monday….  5 more days till the weekend again….

This time of the year we are coming into some serious contesting times…

We have the CQ WW DX Contests

cq_logo1SSB: October 29 – 30, 2016

CW: November 26 – 27, 2016

Starts: 0000 UTC Saturday     Ends: 2359 UTC Sunday

For more info please check the CQ Website (above link)

We have the ARRL Sweepstakes:


CW: First full weekend in November (November 5-7, 2016).

Phone: Third full weekend in November (November 19-21, 2016).

For more info check the ARRL Website (above link)

Count em…  4… 4 Major contests in one month…  

Try and keep some of your time free to give out contacts and participate…  Remember to submit your logs….  Last year I decided to try the CQ WW DX CWcontest and even with my poor cw skills and operating QRP I did receive this:


Proving that if you want wallpaper you must submit your scores…

After checking with Liz ….  It looks like I will be able to give out some “5/9 04” and “5nn 04” on the Saturday evening of the CQ Contests and some some 5/9 ONE in the ARRL SSB Sweeps…. Might be able to squeeze in a couple of hours in the ARRL CW Sweeps but nothing definate yet…


Remember that if the “Popguns” don’t come out… the “Big Guns” will have no one to talk to but themselves…



Also with most of the Amateur Radio World out there for the contests…  It could be an easy way to grab a couple of new ones even if you don’t contest…




Digital update

October 21, 2016

Its a Happy Thursday EDST(if you like the Cleveland Indians)…. I’ll just swallow my pride and say congrats….

This morning I started to look through the logbook to see if I was getting any closer to my ARRL Triple Play Award (WAS in SSB, CW and Digital)…  

My Digital experience started in very late December 2015 when finally got the Flex 1500 and my computer (HRD) to play nicely…. In less than a year I have managed to get 37 states confirmed in PSK31 LoTW.


Above pic-  screen shot from some early 2m psk 31 experimentaion with my FT817 and a sound card interface 

In July of 2016 I decided the next step was to try and figure out JT65.  Although its not the most exciting mode to operate it does get a signal out and to my suprise when looking at my totals I find that I have 38 states confirmed in JT65 LoTW.


Between the two modes I now have 43 States confirmed in Digital LoTW

In reality I have worked all 50 states digitally but there are a few hams out there who are not using LoTW or seldom update their logs to LoTW.  

The same could be said for my EQSL Account as I upload to both LoTW and EQSL and it seems that there are people who do not use either service…

There is not too much I can do about it….  Options are slim….  I can hope they finally join the electronic age (strange as the modes they use need a computer) or I could re up my RAC membership and send out a bunch of cards by the buro and hope that they respond that way…. I guess I could print out the labels from an ADIF file and just sort and send about 700 or so cards out…..

2016QRP1In the meantime…  I’ll keep trying…. next week if the weather holds off…  perhaps taking the FT 817 and the NUE PSK Modem out for some fresh air might help…

Its easier to stretch out wire in the local parks now that the leaves are starting to turn and fall off the trees…


No bugs this time of year as well and of course no chance of heat stroke…


And as you can see from this picture from Weston Park the views are great as well…


2015 RAC Canada Winter Contest Results

October 19, 2016

Well till I saw a tweet from @VE6NR … I had kind of forgotten about the Winter Contest as this year I blew my scheduling and did not have much free time to spend in the contest….

You might remember that I posted this just after the contest….

They tell us that “its better to give than receive”….

santaThis past weekend I put it to the test and gave out some contacts in the RAC Canada Winter Contest…

Due to other commitments I was only able to participate for two hours but I was able to reach out and contact 28 fellow amateurs (21 Canadian and 7 DX) and give them the “Ontario” Multiplier and my best wishes…


For the record my unsubmitted score will be 224 points X 14 multis for a total of 3136 points…

My scores have been higher in the past but then I usually can devote more time to the contest.  This year I just could not do that…


You can find the scores on the RAC website following this link:

There is a saying that goes…

“you can’t win unless you buy a ticket….” 

Thats what the lottery agent tells me….  Lets take that a bit further and go with the saying that you can’t win a contest unless you submit your logs….  

Lets use the QRP results as the example….

Single Operator, All Bands, QRP

Call    Cdn  RAC  DX   Mlt  = QSO Score

K9OM 180 27 188 58 395 = 157528**

K3TW 118 27 99 56 244 = 107408

KS0MO 128 12 243 30 383 = 60180*

N0LY 112 12 136 36 260 = 58752

VE4VHU 53 12 32 22 97 = 18348* (1st Place Canada QRP)

WA8REI 57 5 78 22 140 = 18172*

KE0G 63 6 1 23 70 = 17296

KR2AA 41 4 76 19 121 = 12198*

N8XX 41 6 56 19 103 12198

K3HX 45 4 66 17 113 11254*

VE5DLD 31 2 35 20 68 = 8400* (High Score VE5- 2nd place Canada QRP

VE3CBK 27 7 24 13 58 = 5954* (High Score VE3- 3rd place Canada QRP

K8ZT 16 7 0 19 23 = 5700

AB3WS 20 7 8 15 35 5340

WO9B 21 5 45 12 71 4800*

WU0L 16 4 40 10 60 3200*

N9EP 16 1 26 9 43 2088

K0PIR 23 4 28 5 55 1830

VE3HG 12 2 21 7 35 = 1414

IZ3NVR 10 3 17 6 30 1164*

K3MSB 15 1 10 5 26 950

VA6TDG 5 3 6 6 = 14 732* (High Score VE6 QRP)

VA3WR 11 1 5 5 17 = 700

VA3RJ 11 2 9 4 22 = 672

G3YMC 7 0 22 5 29 570*

N9NBC 4 1 0 4 5 240

VA7AD 4 1 26 2 31 = 224* (High Score VE7 QRP)

OK6OK 0 0 104 1 104 208*

SP5XO 4 1 6 2 11 144*

JQ1NGT 0 2 6 2 8 104*

VE6SKY 0 1 0 1 1 = 20

DL1EFW 0 0 8 1 8 16*

UW5IM 1 0 3 1 4 16*

US5VX 1 0 2 1 3 14

YO4AAC 1 0 1 1 2 12*

As I looked at the scores (above) one thing painfully came to mind…. If I had submitted my score… my measly 3136 points actually did not look so bad…  I guess the 2 hours that I operated in was one of the better times to play….  


But as I neglected to submit….  I at least know (from checking the logs I did not submit) that a few of the highest scores in the contest managed to get the rare “Ontario” multi during that time…

I guess I’ll know better for the next time…..  

I  submitted my logs for the 2016 RAC Canada Day Contest and have cleared my schedule for the 2016 RAC Canada Winter Contest…

And next time I’ll buy the ticket….




Its the weekend…

October 14, 2016

TGIF…. (actually as I’m retired every day seems like Friday or the weekend) but to you “wage slaves” out there…  enjoy your time off…

As usual…  I will shut down the shack later today to return on the Monday morning….  If you see my callsign flash across your Digital Mode Screen after about 0000 utc (Saturday am)…. it ain’t going to be me….

But there is lots to do over the weekend….


First and foremost don’t forget the Scouts and their JOTA event….  look at yesterdays Blog Post for the details.


Also don’t forget the following events:


October 15th  1400hrs utc to  October 15th at 2300utc  

All Iowa QSO Party CW Ph Dig RS(T), county or SPC

October 15th  1400hrs utc to October 16 at 0200hrs utc

All New York QSO Party CW Ph Dig RS(T), county or SPC

October 15th  1800hrs utc to October 16 at 1800 utc 

South Dakota QSO Party CW Ph Dig RS(T), county or SPC


Please check the websites listed above for the most up to date information before starting the contests… Just in case I made a typo when I wrote this…

For those of you looking to fill in some holes in you Triple Play award or your WAS awards this could be an excellent weekend…  Lets hope the Propagation Deity co operates with you….

Just to share a moment with you….

Thursday evening I see FR5CB (Reunion Island) calling CQ on 40m JT65 around  0230 utc.  (yes its usually past my bedtime) and so I tried… no luck… I cranked up the power up to the full 5w ( to hell with my finals… this would be a new one for me) and still no luck….  I crank the power down back to 2w and continue calling him with no luck….


I check PSK reporter and see that I got spotted by FR5DN (on the other side of Reunion Island) with no problems …  check the bottom right of the above picture (just to the right of Madagascar) ….  I call one guy and his neighbor hears me but he does not….  Oh well maybe next time….  Its not always easy to be QRP…

So enjoy your weekend…. make lots of contacts and most importantly have fun in whatever you do…


A reminder…. for this weekend

October 13, 2016

Just to jog your memory….


is this coming weekend…

For more info go to:   or

Now in the past I have assisted with JOTA with several different Scout Groups… If you go back (using the following url) to:

You will see the fun that can be had introducing some new blood into our hobby.


Even if there are no Scout Groups close to you or if your local club is already doing something and you can’t get out…  

Take some time in the shack and just listen and when you hear a station calling saying that he has some Scouts waiting to make some contacts… throw your callsign out and invest some time in talking to what could be the future of our hobby.

You won’t be disappointed …












Well spent time in the shack…

October 12, 2016

Well now that I can move around again after the intentional overdose of Turkey with all the fixings…. and the leftovers… 


Here we go again….  back in the shack….

For what appears (to me at least) to be bad band conditions I am impressed at everywhere my QRP Digital Modes signals have been getting around to…


My next wish would be that I actually made contacts everwhere my signals had been spotted ….


But wishes don’t always come true…

However I seem to be able to make contacts across North America and the Western parts of Europe along with the occasional contact in South America with my simple setup running approx 2w into my wire antenna.


Most of my contacts seem to be confirmed either on LoTW or EQSL…

Out of my last 30 contacts 20 were confirmed (66%), 18 were confirmed on EQSL (60%), 13 were confirmed on LoTW (40%) and 10 were confirmed on both…


And for those contacts and the confirmations… Thank you…

I’m not sure how much time I will be able to spend down here in my warm cozy shack…  There have been some rumours of my landlord replacing the back yard fences before the snow arrives…  that would force me to remove the mast that supports my OTA TV antenna, the small masting that supports my 4:1 unun that feeds the long wire which is my only HF antenna as well as the mast that supports my VHF/UHF J pole.  Although this would be a temporary removal…  I don’t really want to re install everything once the cold weather sets in and the ground freezes… (I will if I have to though…) I keep crossing my fingers in the hope that the promised work will happen in the spring instead.. If the last time we had contractors in was any indication…  When ever it happens should force me off the air for about 10 working days…

In the meantime I will keep trying to give out the rare VA3 Prefix to whoever has a good enough receiver to hear my 5w and a wire or 2w and a wire in the digital modes…


…and with any luck hopefully a few of them will be with the 7 states I am missing for my Digital WAS and my ARRL Triple Play…

Hopefully one of those contacts will be with you…



Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

October 7, 2016

Sitting in the shack on a Friday….. Making a few  JT65 contacts with 2w and a wire on 30m and thought I would “reshare” the following with you:

Very good chance this weekend that you will hear a lot more Canadians (VA/VE/VO/VY) on the air.  Especially on the Monday which is Canadian Thanksgiving.  Yes this is our Canadian Thanksgiving Long Weekend (Sat, Sun and Mon)  Good spot to listen would be 14.140 on Sunday and Monday around 1800UTC on the Trans Canada Net…  (I think I got the conversion done right…)


We hold our Thanksgiving earlier in the year as compared to our American Neighbors for two major reasons:

This way we get first pick of the Turkeys…  The ones they get in November are the ones we did not want…


And the second reason is have you ever tried to travel in Canada in Mid November?… 

Fairly good chance that the words “Snow”, “Cold” and “Weather Delay” come to mind.  

Lets face it the weather is much nicer in October so lets take advantage of it…

For those of you who have a callsign that starts with VA/VE/VO/VY have a Happy Thanksgiving… and try and sneak into the shack and make some contacts this weekend…  And leave some Pumpkin Pie for me…



PS… and for those of you with a good memory….. you have seen this post before…. As they say…Recycle… Reuse….