Chasing paper

I am in serious contention for the ARRL Triple Play Award these days, with 129/150 137/150 slots confirmed. As of today, I need 9 4 CW, 7 6 phone, and 5 3 digital QSOs on LOTW for Triple Play., and I have one CW and one digital pending upload by the other station.

I am taking advantage of the ARRL Centennial QSO Party to get as many of the missing states as possible. In fact, the pending uploads are for W1AW/4 in Kentucky, which could happen at any time, now that his week is over.

I’m also working a lot of RTTY lately using my little Acer netbook and MMTTY.  I picked up some new countries in January in the ARRL RTTY DX contest, and most days hear a good amount of activity on 12 and 10 meters, sometimes with some decent DX to boot.

For now, I will be keeping on keeping on, chasing that wallpaper.

CW: need CO, IA, LA, NJ, NM, ND, SD, WY (KY coming soon!)

Phone: Need AR, IA, LA, ME, MS, MO, NJ

Digital: Need AK, IN, MS, NM (KY coming soon!)

(Updated 4/13)

 

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Triply Tripled Triple

I realized a while back that I had filled in quite a few slots in the Triple Play Award, so I have begun pursuing it in earnest. As of today, I have 119 (of 150) slots confirmed, and I’m waiting for 4 more to be uploaded.

I need 12 more CW contacts to finish out that column, and 8 phone contacts to finish that mode. Only 7 to go on digital modes (assuming the 4 I’m waiting for come through, that is).

I picked up several in the ARRL RTTY Roundup. But most of my recent digital activity has been using the JT modes, JT65HF and JT9. JT65 and JT9 are a good way to go for state hunting because the grid location is transmitted with each CQ. Just watch for the ones you need, and jump in. Of the last 50 QSOs I have logged, 28 were using one of the JT modes.

I have been especially lucky on 40 meter JT starting around 2300Z when there is a good mix of local and DX stations. Last night I worked OE5EGN in Austria on 40, while running 20 watts.

I’m taking a break for a couple of nights, I have to wait out the cold front before I can get back on. It’s far too cold to be sitting in the truck.

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Rittie Roundup

Okay, I meant RTTY roundup. 51 Q’s, 5 DXCC entities, including, surprisingly, V5/DL9NDS in Namibia for a 1st time contact. (Hope he confirms in LOTW.)

I only operated Saturday afternoon while it was still warm. Sunday was too frigid to sit in the truck.

So far 9 stations have confirmed in LOTW, adding one new DXCC in RTTY mode and 3 states for Triple Play. My Triple Play score is now 100 slots, 2/3 of the way home.

Part of my low(ish) QSO count was from N1MM logger refusing to behave on the Acer netbook. I don’t know if it is a horsepower problem or something in the software, but after working nicely for 10 QSOs, it just went away and would no longer respond. Restarting didn’t help, and it stopped responding immediately. I spent about an hour chasing that before switching to paper logging.

Around 6, (00 UTC Sunday) the cold front arrived and I packed up and went in.

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New Mode

I tried out a new mode today – JT9. The WSJTX program works well on my Acer netbook and I worked four stations on 10 meters. It seems like a robust mode, but like its cousin JT65, each QSO takes 6-7 minutes to complete.

So if you’re patient enough, give it a try.

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A little RTTY, some JT

I had a lot of fun in the CQ WW RTTY contest so I have been key shifting now and again to pick up some more QSOs. That got me LOTW QSLs from KG4HF and YN5Z for new mode/countries. and KI7MT and N2ADV for new mode/states, with Triple Play in mind.

Tonight I heard some 10m RTTY but was unable to make any contacts, so I moved down to 076 and tried some JT65. I made two QSOs with stations in Washington and California, but the PSKReporter showed I was being heard in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and around South America with my 20 watts.

Meanwhile, my web host has upgraded to PHP 5.4 which has had a less than desirable effect on my log page. A lot of the features have stopped working, and I am waiting to see if they can sort it out or tell me what changed from one version to the other so I can get it going again. Hope I can post this.

UPDATE: PHP 5.4 removes register global variables completely, which breaks the phphamlog view.php and logentry.php. After flailing around trying to convert the necessary variables (and failing, and nearly corrupting my log database in the process), I went here and used that script to restore my register globals and now everything works as it should.

And as far as getting help from my webhost? Their response was “We don’t do scripts, we just host. You should talk to the software vendor.”

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CQ WW RTTY Contest

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My station setup for CQ WW RTTY.

Final result: 66 Qs for 8,906 points, 15 zones, 30 countries, 16 states and provinces. The little Acer netbook worked pretty well, except it could not run N1MM and MMTTY together so I had to manually log the contacts.

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This, and that, and the other thing

That’s what you title a catch-all post, I think.

So the phone bands have been so atrociously bad lately that 90% of my recent QSOs have been CW, with a fair mix of countries in the group. Most of this has been on 15, but the last few days 17 meters has been a better choice in the 14:00 – 17:00 Zulu times when I am out in the truck, and most active.

Anyone who worked me on CW the last few weeks and thought my keying was a little strange? I probably was trying to merge into freeway traffic while sending. I can pull that off very well, but have to sacrifice some of my accuracy.

One happy score was today’s contact with BD4CQ on 17 meters. He must have amazing ears to pull me out of the noise.

I just recently received an Acer Aspire One from Amazon.com to be my main ham laptop. The Aspire is a neat little netbook with a 1.6 GHz Atom processor and is running VE7CC, MMTTY, Digipan, and JT65HF successfully under Windows 7. The only software that is not running correctly now is N1MM logger, which times out on the COM port. I hope to have that rectified shortly. It runs MMTTY with the EXT-FSK plugin with no problems in true RTTY mode on the IC7000, no worries about audio levels. But it also runs JT65 and PSK31 without any problems. The Dell laptop that is my main PC had big problems with RF and would freeze if the audio level was turned up too high.

I am very happy to be back into digital modes, and have already added some new countries to my count on those modes.

I will be walking around HAMCOMM in a few weeks so if you see me there, say hello.

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Powerpole Frustration

I spent way too much time yesterday replacing a PowerPole connector whose wire had pulled out.

I have one word of advice to anyone using these: go ahead and spend the 40 bucks for the crimp tool. That’s got to be better than what I went through.

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New QSL cards

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Ordered these online from Office Depot.

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K5GJ at LSDXA meeting

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Talking SDR and Flex Radio

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