Posts Tagged ‘Amateur Radio DXPedition’

Upcoming Amateur Radio Special Event

January 22, 2016

I found the following after following a Twitter Link to the DX World website (http://www.dx-world.net/kl7rst-vy1rst-ve8rst-and-vy0rst/  )  Its a cut and paste from the .docx that they linked to (minus the graphics)

Amateur_radio_prefixes_in_Canada

If you needed KL, VY0, VY1 or VE8 for any awards or bragging rights this is an article you  should follow up

For those of you not up to date on Northern Geography… The map shows the Canadian Callsign Districts… KL7( Alaska)  would be that large grey area to the left of VY1.

The “popgun” will be out there trying its hardest for this one

Thanks to DX-World for making the information available to the Amateur Radio Community and thanks to the North Country DX Association for running the event.

The following is a cut and paste from the link on the DX-World website with no editing:


Updated…2016 Worked All NCDXA “RST” Stations: A Special Event Covering All of Northern North America!

Members of the North Country DX Association (NCDXA) will be active in February and March 2016 from several different locations in Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut using KL7RST, VY1RST, VE8RST and VY0RST to further promote Amateur Radio up north. This is a first for the north- a joint-venture KL7, VY1, VE8 and VY0 special event! All modes 6-160 meters and WARC bands are permissible. SWLs are welcome to participate. The object is to work or log (SWL) as many NCDXA “RST” stations as you can from their different locations. Work/log each “RST” station only once per their QTH/band and mode. No cross band, cross mode or remote operating allowed. For wildcards, Portable “RST” Stations will also participate and are worth 3 points each/mode and band but must be the “RST” stations mentioned above! The portable stations must be outside their own prefix to count (ie-KL7RST/KL7 does not count but KL7RST/VY1, VY1RST/KL7, VE8RST/VY0 etc. count- note portable Canadian calls are in accordance with IC Rules and Regs.). Watch the DX spots as we plan to have stations on from Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Anchorage, Fairbanks, a Canadian research station near the North Pole, a diamond mine in NWTand many other cities (maybe an Alaskan glacier or two!). QSL manager is K7ICE. KL7YK is LotW administrator for Alaska, VY0CF for Nunavut and VY1MB for Yukon. Please send your logs in adi format to them and myself. Optional full color certificates are also available (email JohnKL7JR@gmail.com for details) for working/hearing any of the “RST” stations. (QSLs printed by KB3IFH)

SPECIAL EVENT DATE: February 15 (0001Z) through March 27 (2359Z), 2016

EXCHANGE: NCDXA “RST” stations send signal report and QTH (ie- 5×7 Anchorage, 5×9 Whitehorse etc.). Receiving stations send signal report and state, province or country.

CERTIFICATE LEVELS: Beautiful full color certificates are available for working/logging (1) One or two NCDXA “RST” station (s), (2) any KL7RST, VY1RST, VY0RST or VE8RST, but must work one of each (3) for those more competitive (keep in mind the scoring is for certificate levels and this is not a contest), a highest score category. Certificates are different scenery shots from the north for each level.

Scoring example: K7QRM works KL7RST in Anchorage on 10m SSB, 10m CW, 15m SSB and 40m CW for his Anchorage total of 4 points. K7QRM works KL7RST at Matanuska Glacier on 10m SSB and 12m SSB for his Matanuska Glacier total of 2 points. K7QRM also works VY1RST in Whitehorse on 10 SSB, 15m digital, 40m CW and 30m CW for 4 points. K7QRM also works VE8RST in Yellowknife on 10m SSB and 20m SSB for a total of 2 points. K7QRM also works VE8RST in Hay River on 10m SSB for 1 point total. K7QRM’s grand total points are the city QSO sum of 13 points (plus any wildcard points). Handwritten or pc generated certificate applications are acceptable. First, 2nd, 3rd etc. places will be awarded. All certificates will be emailed in pdf format. Certificate deadline is May 15, 2016. As a bonus, pending snow depth and weather, we may also have KL7RST and VY1RST on together from the border of Alaska and the Yukon on the Alaska Highway. That has got to be another first for the north! A special QSL and certificate will be available for the border op. Thanks in advance for your DX spots! 73 de “Yukon John”, KL7JR


Back to my content:

popgunWell it does look interesting and its most likely your only chance to get all the Northern Areas at the same time.  Personally I need Alaska in Digital, and all 3 Canadian Northern Territories in CW and Digital, so you know I’m going to be spending lots of time in the shack if the band conditions cooperate for Popgun with 5w and a wire

73bob

Monday morning “stuff”

December 7, 2015

Hope your weekend went well…  as usual for me family commitments kept me away from the shack but now things are back to their regular schedule…


LoTW_2

cq_logoWhile not in the shack I was able to keep track of my logs (both EQSL and Logbook of the World) and noticed that with the results from the CQWW CW contests flowing in as the big guns (and some of the smaller calibre) promptly uploading their logs my QRP CW DXCC counts have jumped up to 64.

biggun

I am impressed as on the 17 of November it was at 52.  To the operators who did this promptly…  A BIG THANK YOU…

popgun

While checking my “raw score”  From what I can figure out that my score before the log checking goes into place I ended up with 16,748 points.  It will be interesting to see what I finish up with as I am expecting that a few of those exchanges flying by at 30+ wpm might of been copied in error.  I know I got their calls right but….  who knows and with the log checking we will find out.


Heres part of the “stuff”….

After reading from the DX World site I see that the North Korean DXPedition is getting closer to occurring…  FANTASTIC NEWS for our hobby other than I don’t honestly see me breaking the SSB pile up  (only mode being used) with my 5w and a wire antenna.

DXCode_Logo_smallLets hope everyone out there will remember the “DX Code of Conduct” for this one.  “But I am guessing once the blood gets into the water the feeding frenzy will start…”

Doubt the big guns would let me in there even if they were planning CW.  But I might be able to hear a 100w SSB signal with a vertical antenna calling CQ…. but work them…. really doubt it…

More “stuff” will follow later…

In the meantime enjoy your week and remember to play radio…

73bob

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…

soapbox-600

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…

73bob

Lets give them something to talk about…

October 6, 2015

Yesterday I got a comment in my posting “Slow times in Radioland” which asked the following question:

“Howdy from Bill K7MT in Helena, Mt. Good on your APRS. I got to set up a APRS Igate at McMurdo Station Antarctica when I was there for two summer seasons. My family and friends watch me drive to the airfield over the Ice. I was stationed at CFS Masset while in the U.S. Navy 65 – 85. Never got to Alert but heard a story or two from canadian co-workers. Are there any plans/thoughts on a 2017 150 years celebration to activate VE8 at Alert ??? Cheers from Montana.”


Well I fired off an email to  Ken Halcrow who is the trustee of the VE8RCS call and asked:

Hi Ken,

I had a reader (from my blog) ask me if there was going to be an activation from Alert of VE8RCS as part of the Canada 150 celebration in 2017….

“Howdy from Bill K7MT in Helena, Mt. Good on your APRS. I got to set up a APRS Igate at McMurdo Station Antarctica when I was there for two summer seasons. My family and friends watch me drive to the airfield over the Ice. I was stationed at CFS Masset while in the U.S. Navy 65 – 85. Never got to Alert but heard a story or two from canadian co-workers. Are there any plans/thoughts on a 2017 150 years celebration to activate VE8 at Alert ??? Cheers from Montana.”

Anything in the works?


To which Ken quickly replied:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for passing on this inquiry.  The short answer is “Yes”, however there is a lot of paperwork and approvals to go through before anything can be finalized.  I don’t expect to see a definitive answer till mid to late 2016.

As you can imagine this is a very expensive expedition but well worth it should it go forward.

Keep an eye out for further details.

Please pass my best regards to Bill and tell him I spent 5 years stationed at CFS Masset and a few trips to CFS Alert.

Ken

VE3SRS/VE8RCS


ve8rcs_vy0_qslcard


 

cfsalertAbove is a copy of the QSL Design they used on the last DXPedition to Alert.  Its one that I don’t have in my collection as last time I heard them but they did not hear me…  My operating skills have improved (I think) in the last 7 years and I know my equipment has improved as well.


So there you have it…  There is a chance that VE8RCS/VY0 will be on the air sometime in 2017.


 

But for now stay tuned and see what happens along with keeping your fingers crossed…

If you need some background info on their last activation…. You can still find a lot of info from Google although there are some broken links…  But this one is the best I have found so far…

73bob

ps….  and Bill…. theres your answer…

Urban DXPedition Report ON 297 Rideau Island

September 18, 2015

Just got back from Rideau Island after approx 4 hours of operating QRPSSB.

RideauIslandrigyaesu hat.

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The rig used today was my Yaesu FT817.

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PAR_outofthebox-475x475

The antenna of the day was my Par End Fed QRP antenna which was helically wound  around my MFJ 33 foot telescopic mast. 

rideauislandantenna

As the Par is 40 feet long and the masting was 33 foot high there was a need to design this as a helically wound vertical antenna.

I operated on 17m, 20m and 40m and managed to make contacts on 20m and 40m… I heard some stations on 17m but I guess it was not a QRP Day for that band…

qrpnotforsissies

Anyway after 4 hours of operating I had managed 13 contacts in 3 DXCC entities… (Canada, United States and the US Virgin Islands.  Canadian contacts were Ontario and  New Brunswick.  American contacts were Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

It was a good great afternoon.  The weather was great and considering I was operating with 5w and a wire on a day the bands were not really cooperating I was pleased with the stations logged.

In addition to my efforts (as VA3QV) Jose VA3PCJ/VE3DTI was operating QRPCW from a location about 500 feet east of me.

rideauislandsite

Picture courtesy VA3PCJ

This is what Jose saw of me…

It worked out great as we were just far enough away not to interfere with each other.  I never heard “dit” from him all afternoon.  From what he told me (but don’t take my word for it… check his blog) he made contacts in Europe which is great as I never even heard any SSB signals coming our way from there.

As I said the weather was great and the rest was good to…  The contacts have been logged and now I am planning my next Urban DXPedition which should be on Friday September 25th which will be a return to Maple Island ON 277.

maple islandLast time I was there was 10 years ago when Martin VA3SIE and myself did the first activation (new activation new Island) of Maple Island. 

I have talked with Martin and asked him to join me next Friday….  Returning to the scene of the crime so to speak….  Back to where it first started… First (of many) DXPedition…  They say you never forget your first…. 

Well not sure if we will be there but I know (WX permitting) I’ll be there!

73bob

The “Urban” DXPediton

September 17, 2015

Now this might take a bit of explaining so lets just go with this one… :

I consider an Urban DXPedition to be an Amateur Radio activity that can be done close to where you live.  This could be a SOTA, Lighthouse, an Island Activation or a VHF Gridsquare activation…. or anything else that interests Amateur Radio Operators (you understand what I mean…) but I will add the stipulation that its also close to where you live and so its easy for you to get there and on the air…

Using myself as the example:

As you know I live in Ottawa and in close proximity to my home QTH I have

1 Lighthouse

lighthouse00

4 Ontario Islands (Maple, Bate, Rideau and Green)

Ottawa_Islands_1

The above locations are easily acessable via Public Transit (City Bus) or Bike paths… A couple of them (the Lighthouse and Rideau Island) are within walking distance of my house.  Bate Island is a little further west but is also accessable via OC Transpo and about a 10 minute walk after I get off the bus.

Now I’m willing to bet that there are sites in your local area that are begging to be activated if you take the time to find them….  Google Maps can be your friend…  Take a close look at the “Earth View” and see what you can come up with…

In the meantime before the cold sets in and I hibernate in the shack for the rest of the winter I do plan to activate the islands I have mentioned above…  It will be a QRP Operation…  FT 817 and my Par End Fed QRP antenna ….  All will start on 40m SSB and then move up to 20m SSB as the day progresses….  As 80m (daytime) ssb is not the best choice for a QRP Operation best I can offer you will be 20 and 40m….

twitterHowever the best way to find out where I am and what frequency I will be on is easier to predict.  As all these locations are local to me I can easily update my status via Twitter and let you know what time and what island and what frequency I am currently operating from….

logo-wind.

I have an excellent data plan for my Tablet so…. why not?

If you click on the Twitter Icon (on your left) you will be able to access my “Tweets” from my Twitter Home Page…  also if you are reading this right now….  look on the right side of the page and you will see the “Bob said on twitter” column (top right) and that will let you know where I am and what I am up to…

If you follow me on Twitter please RETWEET any of my Island/Lighthouse self spotting.

I will also be sending activation alerts to the Canadian Island Activators Website so please take a look at their site as well!!!

These Mini DXPeditions will be spur of the moment stuff….  Mention it in the morning….

FT817_and_VX8GR_WestonPark

Pack the gear in my old red backpack…. double check the propagation from home and then walk over to the bus stop…. Less than 90 minutes later I should be flooding the airwaves with CQs….

Aug23_westonpark1

I have enough battery power to last the day…. and as I can operate for a couple of hours then switch islands or just take a break for a coffee as in Canada (especially in Ottawa) we seem to have a Tim Hortons on every corner…

va3qvcoffee

I spend so much time there I even have my own coffee cup…

If you happen to work me….PLEASE spot me on the cluster….  EQSL and LoTW will be updated daily... NO BUREAU please….

maple island

If you need a paper QSL for some sort of Island Award then email me and I get something out to you via the post..

picnictablesnow

So thats my outdoor radio plans till the snow falls….  Hope to get you in the log…

snowman

73bob

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Amateur Radio Event

August 3, 2015

I got this in my email inbox from fellow blogger Bill VE3CLQ…. 

Its speaks for itself and its worth a read…


Greetings all, coming up on August 29th is the W/VE Island QSO Party.  
Traditionally this event has been held in late October, and our club has activated a number of islands that day.  Due to the cold weather last year and the very poor participation numbers from Canadians, the US Island Award event sponsors have agreed to a permanent move of the event date into the warm weather of late August.
Over the past 7 years there has been less and less Canadian participation in the event, some due to the weather of late October, and some do to the issues related to lack of advertising by the management of the old, now cancelled, Canadian Islands Award program.  Hopefully this change of date and a lot more advertising can change this.
This email is being sent to hams coast to coast, and a few in the middle, in the hope that we can get the word out and start rebuilding this event in Canada.  If you write a blog, please write about and push this event, mention it on your club’s repeater, and most of all pick and island and get out there and take part.
We have had our first Canadian activation notice from the guys who live around Grimsby, Ontario, and they plan on being active both Saturday and Sunday (but the actual event is only on the Saturday).
Have a look at:  http://veislandactivators.blogspot.ca  Details of who’s activating what will be posted there.

Speaking from experience this Island activation can be fun….  You get to take your portable gear out into the field and play radio in whats hopefully good weather for a few hours…. If the “Propagation Ghods” are co operating you should find out what its like to be controlling a pile up…  If not you will still make a few contacts and still have fun….

Here are a couple of hints for operating from an island:

Remember the locals-  Looking for rare DX is fine and dandy but…. working an hour on 40m and/or on 80m can give the close in operators a chance to get an island in the log as well.  The same could be said for making a couple of calls on your local 2m fm frequency.

maple island

Whatever battery you would take out to the field….  Double it.… I normally use a 7ah battery in the field with my ft 817 but after calling CQ for 4 hours non stop I did need to put in the 2nd battery to continue on with the activation of Maple Island back in 2005.

Spend more time on the air than getting on the air…. A simple multi band antenna that you can install quickly will usually get you more contacts that the more complex antennas.  You most likely will be time challenged  so keep it simple and use your time wisely

HAMPTONPARK4_OCT_8

Test your station then pack it and leave it packed till your event.  Once you know everything works… pack it in its bag and DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING till you take it to the island.

weston2015-1

If you pack it away complete then you can’t forget anything at home (coax, microphones and power cords come to mind speaking from experience)

Don’t forget the logbook and extra pens….  Know your operating location… Do you need to bring a folding table and camp chair or are their picnic tables???

BATEISLAND

If you do cause a pile up… and you feel overwhelmed don’t hesitate to slow things down to your speed…  They want you in the log more than you want them… and remember in 99% they have more power than you and most likely a better antenna so don’t get upset if you can’t work everyone you can hear…. but try and work everyone who can hear you…

bateisland2

Finally don’t forget to have fun….  It has to be fun because if its not… Why did you do it?

73bob

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….

KX3_1920

buddistick

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…

73bob

After the Ontario QSO Party

April 20, 2015

Well it was fun…

I had very limited time to participate in the event due to some non radio commitments…  I was able to get about 2 hours in on the Saturday evening and never made it back into the shack for the Sunday portion…  I did manage 14 contacts total between SSB and CW split almost evenly on 40m and 80m…

flex_manual_cover

I was operating with the Flex 1500 (Elecraft T1 Auto tuner, 4:1 balun and 55 foot end fed longwire with 4 radials) which as you know has been the same setup I have used here for about 18 months now… 

T1_photo_b1

Operating strictly in the Search and Pounce mode  was my choice of operating styles so….  If I heard you…. I called you but I was only looking for OQP stations just so I could give out the “OTT” (Ottawa) multiplier…  The score was nothing to write home about but it was a fun way to spend a few hours…  With the noise levels on 80m I was shocked that so many actually heard me well enough to copy the exchange (59 OTT or 5nn OTT)

I seem to have lots of time to play radio but it seems the weekends are all shot till the summer holidays….  Monday to Friday loads of time for DX’ing but Saturday and Sunday always seem to be booked….  My summer break will see the camper heading out for  Field Day in Eastern Ontario then heading to a location in Western Quebec for the RAC Canada Day Contest… Its going to be 2 weeks of camping with a couple of Radio Events splitting up the time…

After that Liz and I will be doing some short camping trips (within 200km of home) and the radio gear will be going along but the operating time will not be as much as I would like, but it will be more than she wanted it to be…

There are some plans in the works for the CQ WW SSB Contest in late October but for now its still just me thinking out loud…  Nothing carved in stone yet…  It depends on how well the camper behaves itself over the summer camping trips….

My ongoing quest for my QRP CW DXCC is going fairly well.  43 confirmed so far and I am awaiting LoTW Confirmations for another 15.  A few of those will not be confirmed and a couple more might get confirmed on EQSL but this is something that is not going to happen overnight.  I am impressed however how far my CW Signal has made it using  “5w and a wire”…  Although I am still not a CW Fanatic I have to admit that the mode does get a signal through…  This winter i hope to start into working for my Triple Play award which means I finally will have to figure out the digital modes…

In the meantime have fun playing radio…

73bob

Upcoming QRP CW DXPedition

November 27, 2013

It seems there will be a QRP CW DXPedition early in 2014…

africa

Ulrich Steinberg, N2DE, will be active QRP for about 5 weeks from three DXCC entities in southern Africa, beginning in mid-January. In order, he plans to be on the air as A25US in Botswana, 3DAØUS in Swaziland, and as 7P8US from Lesotho. Steinberg said the exact dates and times will be determined according to his schedule “and on short notice.” He’ll be using an Elecraft KX3 running 10 W, CW only, on 20, 17, 15, and possibly 10 meters, if conditions permit. He may also get on 40 meters. As with his early 2013, 7P8US operation, he’ll operate 31 kHz above the lower band edge, targeting 14.031, 18.099, 21.031, and possibly 28.031 MHz. QSL via N2DE. — Thanks to The Daily DX

According to what we read above he will actually not be QRP as the release says that he will be running 10w with a KX3 and by normal standards QRP is considered 5w or less whatever mode.  But I have heard people taking liberties of the 5w defination in the past.

VA3PCJ_KX3_Station

Above- The KX3 of VA3PCJ just for visual effect.  This one will not be going to Africa in Jan 2014

Is that 5w leaving the radio or is that 5w entering the antenna?

In most cases anyone operating QRP would be using a shortest feedline to the most efficient antenna they could find anyway so its really a moot point…

Oct_17_FT817_Rear

Above my FT 817 showing the Par attached to the LDG Auto Tuner with no coax in the line whatsoever

In my own case although I do need all 3 entities for my QRPDXCC and two of the Entities would be new ones for my DXCC the fact that its a CW DXpediton greatly narrows my chances of getting anything new in the log.  For anything new I would need to get the Flex running 5w CW to break what should be a really crowded pileup and then for me to correctly hear the confirmation that Ulrich heard me…  I might give it a try but not feeling overly confident in the outcome…

But in the meantime I am getting trying to get  FLDIGI set up on the laptop to run with the Flex so you never know…  If I manage a contact in the RAC Canada Winter Contest then perhaps I give it a try early in Jan when the DXPedition is supposed to start…

No matter what, I will be watching the DX Cluster very carefully…

73bob


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