September VHF Contest (AKA Dead Air)

18:00 UTC: I’m sitting in the truck with the HO Loop up 15 feet or so listening to the static noise on 50.125 MHz. I expect this September VHF will be like last year – few if any stations heard.

At least the weather is cooperating – a cold front passed through last night dropping the temperatures into the 80s, a 15-20 degree drop. This would have been unbearable otherwise.

I suppose the band could come through and get me some contacts, although this year’s sporadic E season would suggest otherwise.

19:00 UTC: 1 hour in and I’ve heard a few stations in the noise, nothing that would support an actual QSO. Barring a miracle, I expect I won’t be submitting a log this year, because I won’t have any contacts in the log. The last three VHF contests have really given me an appreciation of the June 2010 contest, when 6 meters was open late into the night both nights and I was able to make 160 contacts in 100 grids without really putting much effort in. Big contrast to the more recent ones. In this year’s June contest I managed 44 QSOs, with a lot of tuning between contacts.

20:00 UTC: Stations heard: 1 QSOs: 0
That sums it up pretty well. I am a casual contester at best, and the only thing keeping me here is the time it will take to take down the antenna, coax, etc.

20:15 UTC: I am officially out of the contest.

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Adventures with a TenTec R4020

I recently picked up a TenTec R4020 to try as a traveling QRP rig. It looks nice:


It comes with battery holders so you can go true portable in the field:


The instructions say to install the battery holders with double sided tape and wire in series. Straight forward, except for one small detail:


See those crystals in the center of the board? No way, and I mean NO WAY can you get those battery holders in and clear those crystals.

Any one who has done this, I would appreciate knowing how you accomplished it.

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New Wallpaper

Just received my WAC certificate.

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Back from 6Y land

Spent part of a week down in Jamaica, but didn’t take any equipment along. I thought about it, but some comments around the interwebs weren’t particularly encouraging. We were in a second floor room with a balcony, so I might have been able to bootleg a 15 meter vertical dipole.

Anyway, here’s a picture to make you jealous:


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The June VHF contest brought me up to 75 confirmed grids in LOTW, so I’m closing in on VUCC. I’m always happy to get some more wallpaper.

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June VHF Contest


My hook for catching signals out of the air.

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HAM-COM 2012


The MFJ booth at Ham Com


Getting a bite for lunch


Everybody wanted one of these


The ICOM booth

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Thank you, Buro

A surprise came in yesterday’s mail: an envelope from the W5 buro with a nice batch of cards inside. Thanks also to OM2VL, SF7WT, RU3ZX, EA8ZS, OR7R, and ES5QD for the nice cards.

The last one puzzled me for a bit, as I had only one QSO logged on the date of the card, from a Japanese station. It finally hit me that that date was when I was traveling from Texas to Los Angeles, and making QSOs that I didn’t log.

I have sent answering cards back via the buro to all these stations. Thanks again, guys.

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Made It

Just received an LOTW QSL from HC2/W7SE, giving me 100 countries confirmed. Application is already in to ARRL.

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