Winding down a #Hamradio Weekend

Now thats something that I have not been able to say for quite a while.  But I managed a few contacts on VHF and UHF C4FM and FM along with a few HF SSB contacts and also 2 HF CW contacts.

In addition to that I also managed to find more “stuff” for the VA3QV table at the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club Hamfest on September 7th in Carp Ontario.

For more info go to:

Its really amazing when you do a “stuff” hunt what you can find when you look hard enough…  For most of the weekend my catch phrase seem to be

“I wondered where that was!!!”

Some stuff included:


My TakTenna… Its a limited space 10-40 m antenna that can be configured as a multi band or a single band antenna.  Not as efficient as a dipole but it has a small footrpint and it does work.



Also found was my Yaesu MD 100 Desk Microphone.  Its been sitting in a box in my garage for about 14 months now.  Finally found it.  Never really missed it as I prefer hand mics but it sure looks pretty on the desk.

No doubt it will find a new home after the Hamfest


A 2m mobile antenna and a 6m mobile antenna were hiding in the garage as well along with lots of COAX runs of various lenghts ….  Lots of small stuff as well…. a few small power supplies…. and gawd knows what else….

Above pic shows a much younger VA3QV at the hamfest more than a few years ago.  I’m the fat guy on the left.

And I’m still looking….

I earlier mentioned my Winkeyer USB and I am happy to report that its working fine and I managed to get CY9C (St. Pauls Island DXPedition) in the log on 30m CW and 40m CW.  I got them on Digital on the previous DXPedition so I left them alone there (that and I already sold my Digital Interface for the radio so…..)  I am still listening for them on SSB but not going to cry if I miss them.  There is only so much I can do with my compromise antenna system and I am ok with it.  As I have said many times in the past:

” I would rather be on the air with a bad antenna than not being on the air at all”

And with my setup I can get a weak signal out on 6m to 160m that hopefully a big gun station should be able to hear.

A DXPedition is not a big gun station…. 

Hell….their antennas are only marginally better than what I am using here.  Vertical and wires are better than my random short wire antenna but they mean that they are trying to get the signal out and the stations who want CY9 in the log have to work hard at it….

If you can’t make the contact its not them…..  its you!!!

The CY9C crew are spending a lot of resources to operate from that little speck of land in the Atlantic… time…. equipment….food and fuel…. so they can give out contacts….  They are trying to give out the most contacts in the time they have available and if thats SSB, CW or Digital (FT8) so be it.

After seeing some of the comments about the DXPediton on the cluster….  I think we are lucky that they don’t just shut it down.  

If you don’t like how they do things just leave them alone and let the rest of us happily make the contacts….

Sorry about the mini rant…..  Just an old Phart speaking his mind….

Thats it for now…..I think (hope) the next post has a camping twist to it….


Log them all and let #LoTW sort them out

For a change life has slowed down a bit here and I am finding much more time to hide in the shack.  For now time is spent catching up on some (LOTS) of non radio related paperwork at the same time as trying to complete my Digital WAS from the new QTH here in Kingston Ontario.

I’m using a rather simple way of it though….  Although at this time I am only missing 9 states for my WAZ those states seem slightly rare.  After a couple days of calling on the various HF bands although my signals have been spotted (tnx PSK Reporter) in the missing states it seems no one in those states were watching their screens at the right time so I am still trying….. and trying.

For now the preferred way is call and call and call on the various bands….  My “Stealthy Antenna ”  aka my “Disney Antenna (cuz its really Mickey Mouse) seems to work using my on board auto tuner on my Yaesu FT 450 on the following bands.  10-12-15-17-20-30m.  It used to like 40m as well but something changed…. dunno what…. and now no luck there.  If I insert my 40m Buddistick coil in just beside the balun I can also operate on 80m.

As the US call zones often cover more than 1 state and with their vanity call system often its hard to figure out where anyone is calling from till after the QSO has been made.  My answer is fairly simple…..  Work everyone I can and then let Logbook of The World figure it out.  Sooner or later I will work those missing 9 and then I can start on the CW and SSB WAS to complete my 2nd Triple Play.  When I was living in Ottawa I did manage to complete my Triple Play and it would be great to do it a 2nd time from here in Kingston.

With my great antenna restrictions here I just don’t think any rare DX will be in my future though I am able to reach across SA and most of Europe. Anything much past that is hoping for the Perfect Storm.

More on this later….


Still making contacts

I started back on October 3 with the new stealth antenna.  Its a twisted Zig Zagged almost vertical wire about 50 feet in length with 3 random length radial.  Its fed by a 4:1 balun and I use a buddipole 40m coil at the bottom of the wire (after the balun) so its kind of base loaded.  By pass the coil and I can operate on 10-12-15-17-20-30 and 40m.  Using the coil I can get 60 and 80m.

The SWR on all band is low enough (under 3:1) that I can get the internal tuner in the FT 450 to bring everything down to a decent match (1:1)

All this is stealth mounted in a large pine tree just on the other side of my fence line.  The balun and the radials are on my side of the fence and the wire runs up into the tree.  Stealth being the key words as there are some antenna restrictions I would rather not debate with the Condo Board.

So how does it work???? Well its better than not being on the air…  So far this month I have made 206 contacts.  A few were voice and most were FT8 with a couple of CW thrown in for good measure.

Contacts were made in North America, South America and Europe.

Now before October the last time I played radio was in the spring of 2018 so I don’t really know if this is good or bad for band conditions.  Either way….  It does not matter…  I got to spend some quality time in the shack and realized how much i missed it.  Right now I just try to spend a couple of hours in the shack each day and also try to upload my logs to LoTW and on a regular basis.

I need 5 more states for the WAS-FT8 and after those 206 contacts I still need those hard to find 5.  As far as the DXCC Digital go one of those 206 brought me up from 48 to 49 so I still have 51 to go …  It will take a while.

But as the camper is off the road for the season… (if you read my earlier post) I do have time on my hands now so why not.

In the mean time…. I am proving that you can make contacts in Amateur Radio with less than fantastic antennas if you want to take the time to work at it…

Hope to hear you on the air