Saturday, June 21, 2014


Last entry in February, uff. Does that mean I've not been playing radio? No, but means I've not had much time to do any updating. And actually, less time to play radio as well.

The first event after my last entry was my participation in ARRL SSB. I entered 15m HP and had an absolutely amazing time, working over 2000 stations and only missing 3 multipliers (the usual Canadian ones). I had a good head to head race with EA7KW down near Seville and while he pipped me to the post in the end, we had a great time.

However the sad news is that 3 days after the contest, the 80' crank up tower holding the 15m stack and the 2 ele yagi for 40m came crashing down in a storm. No damage to persons or property, and the tower will be salvageable, but the antennas are complete scrap. Juan has done a good job on repairing the tower and we can get around 70' of it to be serviceable again, but for the time being we have no antennas and the tower is not installed back on its base. It has come at a time when all of the TCC members are very busy with other things in our lives and we just haven't had the time, energy, or inclination to do anything about it. Such is life.

As far as the IARU contest goes, we have decided that since we can't take part on 15m, we will take part in 10m SSB instead, since the 10m stack and the optibeam are still working perfectly. We look forward to operating as part of EF4HQ on 10/11 July. Propagation of late has not been good on 10m but we are holding our breath and crossing our fingers just in case :). No other hints as to what EF4HQ has in store, but we are going all out this year to win the HQ category after two years of second place.

In the car, no news ones worked but I did get Myanmar confirmed. My new working hours mean that I cannot come on the radio at lunchtime any more, however I do finish work a bit earlier and in theory will get radio time after work. In practice I am never managing to finish work on time and getting a bit fed up of the situation. Lets see what happens. Today I did manage to get 3 hours of morning grey line operating done, conditions were pretty good considering today is our summer solstice and that the SFI is not particularly high.

As for new antennas, I started a project of comparing different types of vertical antenna and radial systems. However I am finding inexplicable problems to get some of the quarter waves to work and also the GTU is functioning very erratically. More news on that front if I ever get there.

On 20M I have a new antenna which arrived 6 months ago and still haven't had a chance to test. This is a high power end fed vertical for 20m made by the dutch firm . The idea is to hold it up using a 12m spiderpole from Spiderbeam with a base made by a couple of local guys in EA5 which fits under the car wheels, specially adapted for the spiderpole. Lets see if I get a chance to test it out one of these days.

I also received another "new toy" the other day, a four square controller by Comtek, now run by DX engineering. This will need four new 15m verticals, plus I need to cut all the control lines, so it won't be on the air for a while yet I reckon. But looks very promising for 15m contesting from the port!

And the last new toy, received about 10 days ago, is an Elecraft KX3, a great little software defined radio with almost everything incorporated inside, for easy low power operating while out and about. I bought it primarily for the bicycle, but it's first outing was last week for the anual DVGE trig point contest. I worked around 50 stations on 40m just running 5w and a vertical, not the best antenna for local 40m work but its what I had. It'll take a while for me to get used to all the possibilities this rig has to offer but my initial reaction is very favourable.

No photos of any of this stuff. My trusty old BlackBerry has been pensioned off and I now have a Windows phone, which I haven't even tried to plug into the computer yet to download pics. Maybe later.

And lastly, in reply to a petition from German ham Marcel DF1MP, here's a parts list for some of the pieces I use on the car:

Hustler ball mount for the roof:

MFJ 1664 screwdriver:

MFJ 1979 long telescopic whip:

I guess there are more places too.

That's all for now folks....