In the mean time @ ON5ZO

The summer here continues to disappoint us but nevertheless I managed to prepare a 7m high support for the K9AY RX loop. The support is made of the remains of 3 fiber glass poles that cracked under the ON5ZO workload. I also collected all mounting hardware including a ground rod. I started constructing the relay box somewhere in 2002 only to realize the TS-850 does not have a RX input and I wanted to avoid yet another relay box for RX/TX switching. So the K9AY box was put on hold. Last year I bought a second hand commercial switching / termination unit because I knew the unfinished project would remain in the drawer. Earlier this week I opened the box and saw at least 3 poor soldering points. I hope the thing works better than it’s soldered!

Yesterday I did some woodwork. It can’t always be drilling aluminum or solder copper. I put my band decoder on top of my rigs. That’s cool with the TS-850 which is flat but I use the K3’s bail so the backside of the rig slopes down. This causes the band decoder to slide down to the back of the rig where it covers the amp module’s ventilation holes. So I made a small wooden shelf to put over the rig where the band decoder now resides in a flat position. By the way: the current economical lull shows in the DYI stores. In the past you could ask and get scrap pieces of wood for free. Leftovers from sawing big panels. Since I only needed a small piece the size of my K3 that matches the desk’s design, I wanted to go the free leftover route. Those times are gone. The policy now is to buy the whole panel and since you paid for it, you take the leftovers with you. As a result beggars like me are forced to buy a whole panel since there are no more scrap pieces. I refused to buy a panel only to use 5% of the surface. So I made my little shelf with a simple smooth wooden plank. It does not match the desk’s surface color 100% but it’s close enough.

Contest results, anyone? Results are out for the 2007 CW Oceania DX Contest. OQ5M is country leader! Yours truly is also the only Belgian log submitted. The sweet thing for me is that I made 5 QSO with ZL on 80m and some VK/ZL on 40m. 5 ZL’s on 80 in a short time span…

The ARRL managed to publish the ARRL DX CW 2008 results in less than 5 months. I only did this one very casual (see blog entry). I finished #11 world so I missed seeing my call in QST. That’s still good for #8 in EU for SOAB Assisted. With a serious effort Top 5 should be possible. So if in 2009 the WX cooperates, my K9AY loop is up and running and I’ll have the time to play… I do not mention the propagation factor. Better SFI makes for better competitor’s scores too.

About conditions: still no luck. This is what K7RA wrote recently in the ARRL Propagation Bulletin: "The weeks seem to drag on with no sunspots in sight… [snip]… I have no idea when this will turn around. Cycle 23 seems to be unusually long.". Yes indeed! But then again NASA tells us to stay calm and keep the faith (see link). Only time will tell.

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