Say it ain’t so! (by K1TTT)

I’ve been counting down to cycle 24. I want sunspots, I want propagation, I want bands to open up and stay open. I want to be on 10m again!
Then K1TTT posts a message on the CQ Contest reflector with a link to this bad solar news. Say it ain’t so indeed! Two cycles gone to waste? That means I’ll be retired (retarded?) by the next decent cycle…

By coincidence I ended up on the website of the hamfest I visited a few weeks ago and saw myself with ON7WZ and someone handing out flyers. It seems that I sneak in there each year.

Last night K7GK called me on the phone to say that 20m was wide open. We tried a QSO but I immediately knew it would be a mission (almost) impossible with the tower cranked down. East coast would work, West coast with the current solar activity? Nope, phone didn’t work and CW only barely. That brings me back to the topic of this posting…

Other than this, nothing to report. QRU ES QRT


Viva Verticals!

This AM, I worked 5 ZL stations in a row at my sunrise – on 80m! Plus a bunch of VK/ZL on 40m, and a loud ZL7. My verticals really do play. Each vertical has 2 (tuned) elevated radials, and I think it is the simplest and cheapest antenna to work DX.

I spent an enjoyable Saturday in the company of a visiting US ham and let him use my station in the EU Sprint CW. I think he enjoyed it and made the most of my setup. What a great hobby we have!

73 before we jump into the working week…


DX on 17m!

Breaking news! I cranked the tower up this afternoon and around 1800utc there was DX life on 17m, I worked into W6/W7! I don’t think I made it that far on 17m in a long time. 3B7C yes, but W6?
Then I dropped to 20m where I worked some VERY loud W6/W7 again but VA2ZZ pinned the meter on 30dB over S9, with a peak to 40dB over. Currently SFI=69 and A=0. I can’t stop wondering what my setup will do when SFI goes above 100… Can’t wait for 20m to stay open and 10m to carry loud DX signals. And of course nice DX on 12/17m. And SSB single band contesting on 15m! Anyhow that ain’t gonna happen before 2009-2010.
But a little dreaming hasn’t hurt anyone – yet.




Actually, the update is just to say that there isn’t much to say.
I participated in the EU Sprint SSB last weekend, but as always Sprint isn’t my thing. The good thing is that I spent the whole Saturday prior to the contest fixing my 80m vertical’s feedpoint construction. I noticed that the fiber glass portion of the actual antenna has split in the bottom section so I need to redo that too.
I got ready just in time (15.35utc) before the start (16.00utc). My elevated radials are cut to CW length and I didn’t bother adjusting them so it didn’t give an ideal match. Though it seems that 80m worked best, maybe conditions were just plain poor – again!
Friday I cleaned and assembled the Fritzel 3 band vertical and with only 1 elevated radial per band, the antenna analyzer shows a good match right at the feedpoint which will broaden due to the added feedline loss.
Other than that no news from the ham front. Next weekend is EU Sprint CW but I have a (ham) friend coming over so we’ll see what gives. Tune in (but don’t tune on my QRG) after the weekend.

Bad conditions…

I was not very active in this weekend’s CQ WW RTTY. I made just over 100 QSO’s, mainly on 20m. SFI = 65 and A was high, so you can imagine what the bands were like. Probalby S&P would have been much more productive but I like to run.
That got me thinking about CQ WW SSB. I did SB20 in 2005 and 2006 and probably again in 2007. I don’t like SSB and especially on 40m it’s a pain. But 20m with these conditions? It’s been a long time that I had a decent DX run… I hope Cycle 24 will soon be here! I can’t wait for USA runs with high rates and big signals. And bands that actually open up and stay open.

About the hamfest: I didn’t buy anything. Actually I don’t need anything. I checked some rotary inductors for a high power matching network and an AC motor with reduction to crank up the tower electrically. But I guess I don’t have the time for all these projects right now and I didn’t feel like stocking too many items for future use. I sitll need to redo the 80m vertical that I have used for over a year in a temporary construction (hey, it works!) and get that bargain three band vertical up ‘n running.
I met a lot of people though and had a chance to chat with some amateurs.

NW QRU. 73!