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!


Low on shack time

Typical situation: too much work to do and no time left to be on the air. Not quite work but close enough: I’m watching some ASP.NET movies trying to get started. It’s quite fun. I downloaded Microsoft Visual Web Developer Express and it’s actually quite powerfull for those familiar with one of the programming languages like Visual Basic. I am currently converting myself from VB6 to VB2005 for which I also downloaded the free Express Edition.

The Linux – Open Source community likes to bash Microsoft but here’s the deal… Last summer I experimented with the Ubuntu Linux Distro. That works but it’s a pain to get to the point where it starts working. Furthermore my laptop’s WiFi cannot be supported under Ubuntu (if someone knows how: please tell me!) – so there you go. Then I ran Drupal as a Content Management System (CMS). Drupal gets credit for being the best CMS – but again quite a pain to get started. It seems like that Linux – Open Source is like a brotherhood not willing to share easy info for newbees but only publishing tons of very confusing stuff. I think I am above average when it comes to using computers so I figure it’s a Mission Impossible for Average Joe.
But Microsoft products work, or at least easily give the impression to do so. And with the free Express Editions anyone can get started for free, and there is a lot of good starter’s material out there!

This weekend is CQ WW RTTY. I like RTTY but after an hour I have enough of that slow mouse clicking mode. I’ll get on for a couple of QSO’s, and maybe work some in the "Special QSO Party to mark 75th anniversary of Irish Amateur society". And there’s the Texas QSO Party too. Always nice to work some USA hams. And on Sunday there’s Belgiums biggest ham fair. But you know: Big in Belgium…

That’s all for know, 73.



So here it is, my first blog entry. YAB- Yet Another Blog? Should I or shouldn’t I?
Who’ll be reading this? Will anyone read this? Does that matter? Do I care? Do I have to care?

Anyway, this will be mostly about ham radio and contesting and all things related. Like telling I have been chasing 3B7C for two weeks in three modes. Or that I urgently need to work on my antennas. Or that last week I picked up a 3 band vertical (20+15+10m) at a bargain price. Or that I am hopelessly behind in QSL’ing.

That’s all for now, let’s not overdo from the first day shall we? 73!