Sunday, May 25, 2014


More numbers.
Ham radio club members are obsessed with trading numbers with each other. Every club has numbers it seems, even some of the ones of who don't have dues or officers!
here's some of mine:
QRPARCI (the first number I ever got) 10774
Flying Pigs: 2359
SKCC: 6161
4SQRP: 473
QRP-L Zombie: 1059

and most recently:

the NAQCC : 7276, the number featured as the title of this blog.

On Wednesday night, May 21 (22 May 0200 UTC) I decided to get a lil QRV in an effort to practice my rapid radio deployment skills.
Here's a short video I made when I got to work:

I moved the vehicle once the parking lot cleared out some, and stretched my antenna up and across the parking lot. It was about 6 inches higher than my upstretched hand at the middle. 10-15 feet at the highest. Not exactly the best placement, but I know from experience that this height will get me a good match on 40m, so a tuner isn't necessary.  There's a decent number of QRP operators between FL and GA so I figured someone would hear me if I could hear them.

When I'm at work, I don't really have much time to operate. I get a 15 minute break and a 30 minute lunch break. During my 15min break, I worked like mad to get the antenna fully deployed, and then started calling CQ just to see if I could get a reverse beacon spot, and figure out where in the band I was transmitting. Lo and behold, after the second round of calling CQ, I get a station come back to me! It was Jim, W3GYM, just down the road in "The Villages" FL. We had a short QSO, then I had to head back inside to work.

I copied Jim! W3GYM.

About forty five minutes after my QSO with Jim, things at the work front slowed down enough so that I felt comfortable clocking out and taking a "lunch break". The action began when I plugged the radio in, and tuned up and down the band.

Knowing where you are with "The Killer Watt Radio" is an exercise is best-guestimation. I know that at the bottom of the tuning range, I'm around 7005 KHz, and the top, 7070KHz. I had plans on building a freq mite, still might, but not sure if I want to do that, or just do something with a digital display. I go back and forth. Probably should do a freq mite. When Dave retired the Small Wonder Labs business, he gave the design to the 4SQRP club and they gave me a number, so I should support them.

I tuned up the band, trying to guess where 7030 was, and then down the band, trying to guess the same. Finally, a lound "CQ NA" came on the air, and I worked K4BAI. He's not a stranger in my log, and it is always a pleasure to work him. I tuned around a little more, and heard some more CQ's, but QSB and QRN fought to keep me from catching the whole call. Finally, I copied N5GW, and added DX to the log. Hey, when your antenna is between 8 and 15 feet off the ground, outside of your home call area is DX! I tried to call CQ NA on a clear frequency between these two FB OP, but no luck, only two contacts for me. I took the antenna down and packed up my station when I clocked out to go home that night.

key on my leg, gettin' 'er done!

The important thing about this little excursion was not that I scored well, or that I have a new antenna to share about, or even that I now have all kinds of nice numbers to trade with other people. Happily I got on the air, and made some contacts. Didn't need to make many, just needed to have one.
Mission accomplished.
Now to find another club I can join who will give me a number that I can trade...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

40m is Open

Missed the Four Days in May again, but at least I played radio today some, may even it the band up again.
40m is open!
Started at about 9:30, worked a fella in North Carolina.
(BTW, did the run fer the bacon get cancelled? I missed the memo.)
then, turned on the dx, worked a couple that I've worked before, Peter HA8RM, and  Mauro I1MMR.
Setup is non-standard at the moment. I'm inside the house, running a line out the door, to my end fed half wave antenna. Still need to get out the W3EDP and string it up...
maybe Saturday at work.
Rig I'm running is "The Killer Watt Radio", it's an SW-40 in a custom aluminium case (I butchered something up from Radio Shack the way I wanted to), and a 10 turn pot.
I also modded the bandspread so that it would cover 7.005 to about 7.070 MHz, I can tell you that's about as far as the bandpass filter will take it. I get about 80% max power on the edges of the band because the bandpass filter wasn't designed for a 65KHz spread.
Rig is also battery powered inside, using some 7AH SLA I got from a guy on QRP-L
so yeah,
Ham radio wise, things are looking up!
Life is good.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Broke a Dry Spell

Just this morning, I broke a month long no QSO streak, contacted YU100CER. from their web page:

Radio Club Nikola Tesla YU1HQR Sabac commemorate the 100th anniversary of the famous battle on the mountain Cer 1914 which is located close to the city to 31 December 2014 will use the special callsign YU100CER in memory of the victims. By way of management and outcome, Cer Battle is a masterpiece of the art of war, and as a remarkable example of the transition from the strategic defense of their counterattacks, she is still studying at major military academies, including West Point and the U.S..

For this event special QSL cards will be printed.

So I've contacted the Nikola Tesla Radio club, cool beans!
they were working 15m pretty good, just inside the extra portion of the band at 21.020 MHz.
Also worked a stateside station: K1LGM, Joe in CT.
that was fun too.
all at 5w using the Kenwood TS-140 at 5 watts to my W3EDP antenna.
The youngest harmonic wanted to play outside so I got an opportunity to quickly tune up the radio. CQ's on 20m went unheeded by all except the Reverse Beacon Net. PROOF:

Been wondering what I'm going to write my annual W3EDP post about, and I think I might do it on exploits while portable.
Course, now I got to go have some exploits.
Maybe something RaDAR related?

been pretty active on Instagram (qrprat77) posting pics of flowers, wild edibles, and my growing Bhut Jolokia pepper plant.
homegrown pepper
 that's the raw image of the pepper, three are this size right now.

Been lots of bird activity in the yard lately too. Saw a northern mockingbird eating some lantana berries. and got to thinking. This particular lantana bush sits on my property line, half the bush grows on my side, the other half on the neighbor's. I'm willing to be that this bush is there because some Mockingbird planted it via its digestive tract.
Kid #4 continues to progress along nicely!

Next week I'm taking a test to get certified as somebody who knows something about Oracle SQL queries and using SQL Developer. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.

 That's all I got for now.