ON5ZO – OQ5M

Earlier this week I noticed a broken streetlight on a pole just across the street (less than 10m from the couch in the living room). FEAR of QRM but I didn’t dare to switch on the rig. So I filed an online alert on Tuesday, got confirmation that they took notice of the broken lamp. It isn’t broken, it’s flickering which is even worse I guess.

This afternoon I put up the SO2R high band vertical (seems to work) and the 40+80m antenna. Lamp stil broken, flashing and arcing. Bummer!
Sunset here – streetlights switch on – exit low bands. Aaarrgghh!!! With CQ WW just around the corner? I need to take affirmative action on Monday with the utility company. That or a double barrel shotgun to deal with the broken lamp?

Still I worked V8 on 40CW for an all time new one. Later (before writing this) I CQ’ed on 80m and worked 20 JA’s! Through the QRM!
I also got called by BD and DS for 2 new ones on 80m and by regular P43JB and a dozen W.
Did I mention I worked 20 JA on 80m tonight?   ;o)

More later, stay tuned but don’t tune on my frequency!

This weekend I won’t be near the shack. I’ll skip WAE RTTY. That doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything for the hobby.

For "future use" I’m making my own StackMatch. There are several homebrewed versions out there: T93M, SM0W and my friend ON4BAI all succeeded in building one. Only: mine does not work YET. It seems that I’m having problems to wind the 2:1 balun. All the mentioned versions use bare insulated wire without outer jacket, but I saw this which gave me the idea to use this "parallel wire". That makes it easier to keep the wires together and parallel. Maybe that is my problem? Back to the rawing board it is!

Yesterday I completed a software project. It’s finished and working (at least something that does!) but I need to tweak the user interface. I use DX4WIN as my general DX log and award tracking software. But I’d like to start using the Global QSL service which needs the QSL VIA info exported into ADIF. I’m still with DX4WIN V6 which doesn’t export QSL managers in the ADIF file and I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT want to buy another upgrade to migrate to V7. I’m sick of that. DX4WIN is dead – it doesn’t evolve anymore and user support is… "not so good". All upgrades I did since buying the program late 2000 have cost 25Euro but were mere bug fixes. So like hell I’m going to pay for yet another silly "upgrade". There is an alternative software suggested by the globalQSL folks but I like to use my DX4WIN QSL info in stead of adding it manually by going through the log. That’s what I want to avoid.
DX4WIN allows exporting the QSL mgr database to an ASCII file so I wrote my own ADIF parser that takes the call from the QSO and sees if there is a match in the QSL MGR file. If the DX call has a manager, my software inserts the right ADIF tag. There you go, that was a Friday well spent!

All for now, 73 / CU.

I just emptied the mailbox and found a QSL from K1QS. Walt called me in the CQ WW SSB last week and I took the time to tell him he was my very first American QSO when I got on HF late 2000. My call back then was ON4CLN. He asked me if I received a QSL, but unfortunately I have been staring at the ‘cfm=N’ field in DX4WIN for all those years.
Walt told me he’d send a QSL card and I anticipated on receiving it via the buro the coming months. But there you go: a QSL direct from K1QS, my first W station ever logged almost 7 years ago. He was my 5th overall QSO on HF. As a matter of fact it was my first excursion on the HF bands.
A lot has happened since but some QSOs you never forget. This is one of those. I needed to QRT to go to work that morning but I believe he called me for a quick one. I was glad to make the QSO – now I’m glad to mark it as confirmed. TNX OM!

The sunrise operating on 40/80m yesterday turned out to be a non-event. I got in the shack at 06.30z which is my sunrise to find 40m and 80m full of USA stations working ARRL Sweepstakes CW. They were quite loud so that’s a good thing on my 80m vertical. I took it down and didn’t find anything wrong. My plan is to look it over next weekend but the WX forecast predicts strong winds and rain. WW CW approaching and WX declining fast – sounds like a repeat of 2006. Oh my!

Anyway with the lower bands showing no activity for the Ukrainian DX contest I went to 20m and had some rate. Then off to 15m where I didn’t manage to get rate but got called by YC1KAF, HS0AC and 9M6XRO. I even managed to call ZM2B and log him without repeats. Great! Then it was time to do an urgent repair in the house and quit the contest with just over 500 CW QSOs. Funny: a not too serious period in a small contest using CW gives me relatively more rate and contacts than SSB in the biggest of ‘m all (CQ WW SSB).

Interesting and enjoyable reading I found through 3830: the 8P5A story in CQ WW SSB 2007.

Don’t expect any updates soon. My holiday is over and I’m back to work so the level of radio activity will be quite low the coming days (weeks?). Who’s reading al this anyway???

I’ve been playing on 17m lately and I must say the band seems to improve. Solar numbers don’t tell yet it feels better. I worked LU / W / HS on 17m one day at about the same time and the next day got into W6 with at least a dozen true W6 (QTH = CA). All this with 600W or less and my rotary dipole at about 9m high around 1600utc. 17m is a great band – I like 30m a lot too. And I’ll start loving 12m when SFI allows.

This morning I fixed my 80m vertical and made the vertical part 2m longer. While my hands were dirty I did some jobs in the house too. Then off to the shack. First impression: there is something wrong on 80m. SWR almost flat over 200kHz. Before I had a nice dip covering about 100kHz with 2:1 SWR bandwith. It feels something isn’t right. I played a bit in Ukranian DX: on 20m, 40m and stayed up long enough to type this ànd get on 80m.

Normally I don’t have to repeat but this time even EU stations ask for a repeat. So there is something wrong on 80m! Yet I get called by US stations as far as Texas (on their grey line). And I got called on 80m by a 8P and a VP9 – so maybe it isn’t all that bad? Still I need to check that 80m antenna before CQ WW CW in 3 weeks.

Jerk of the weekend: SN5G. Around 23.50utc I am called by a K2. He wasn’t very strong but I could copy him easily because there was no QRM. No QRM, until SN5G fires away without checking. Away goes the DX. I still managed to work the K2 and engaged in a frequency fight but I let him have the frequency – "be the better man" and let him be the moron. Wonder if he got called by 8P and VP9   ;o)

Almost 2AM local here so I’m off – CU at my sunrise – that is in less than 6 hours   :o)