Thursday, April 10, 2014

Being heard, but not hearing...

I have been playing around with PSK31, WSPR and JT65 since I got my 30' long wire with UNUN installed in the attic.

I have noticed something that is bugging me a bit.

It appears that I am being heard much better than I am hearing other stations.

When I call CQ on PSK31 - the PSK REPORTER site shows my signal being heard from coast to coast and beyond.  Most time I get a return call, but many times I can just barely see them on the waterfall.

I have noticed the same thing with WSPR - heard all over the place, but hardly hearing anyone.

So it has me thinking about the antenna.  Could it be that it is a better radiator than it is a receiver?

I am going to be putting a 66' ladder fed dipole up there sometime in the next month - so that might tell me more.

You guys with more experience - what do you think might be going on here?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Birthday....KX3 Model

So yesterday I celebrated my 47th birthday.  I had a great time eating a nice dinner with my Wife and children.  Perfect night!

My 14 year old son, Ryan, has discovered a graphics program called Blender - he is teaching himself how to use it and has really done some cool stuff.

Well, for my birthday present he made a graphic of my Elecraft KX3!  He apparently had been making clandestine trips to my newly implement shack to see what the rig looked like and then model it up in Blender.

Here is how it turned out....very cool....I just had to share it with you guys.

What a great birthday present from him - I am gong to make it into my wallpaper on my shack computer.

Thanks Ryan - you did a great job!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 Wake Island

Since I put the 30' EF long wire in the attic I have been playing around with digital modes - PSK31 & WSPR.

I fired up WSPR on 20 meters remotely this morning using Team Viewer and much to my surprise I was heard by WA2YUN on Wake Island.

Pretty cool to for my 3 watts to be heard on a location with such historical significance!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Finally! On the air from home QTH...

Several months ago I built an UNUN, like the one I use for my portable ops antenna, but this one was going in my attic.

I finally had time this weekend to get this thing installed in my attic.  I cut a piece of wire 30' long for the radiator.  My shack is in the basement, and one wall is the garage wall.  So I drilled a hole at the bottom of the garage wall, and in the ceiling of the garage.

I then ran my coax from the basement up into the attic - very easy.

Then came the fun part, walking on roof trusses to get the wire installed.  Pretty easy, and luckily it is still cool outside.

Once installed I went down to the shack and hooked up the KX3 to the antenna.  It tuned up nicely on 40 thru 10 meters with the internal tuner.  So I put a quick CQ on 20 meters and was spotted coast to coast on the RBN - success!

About 11:30 pm on Sunday night I had time to get down to the shack again and see what was going on.

As soon as I turned the radio on I heard W1AW/5 (NM) calling CQ with no takers.  So I threw my call out and he came right back with one repeat on my call.  We exchanged 599 and it was fun.

I then spent about another hour messing around with FLDIGI and WSPR - with no success.  More to report on this later....these modes are all new to me, so there is a pretty big learning curve.

So now I can actually have some ham radio fun from home!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Norway, Bulgaria and Philly - QRP!

Had a brief time to head to the park at lunch today - and once again had a blast!

Here is the low down....

LA5UF - Joe was calling CQ on 21.040.  It took him a bit to dig me out and get my call right.  He gave me a 449 and he was a solid 559 here in Kansas.  Joe hails from Norway.

LZ2HR - I heard him calling CQ on 28.0299 with no takers.  I threw my call out and he came right back to me.  He gave me a 589 and he was a solid 599 here.  Fun!

I called CQ for some time on 10 meters, and even though I was spotted all over on the RBN - no dice.

Then I heard....

K3DY calling CQ on 21.0469.  We had a nice QSO with more than just a contest exchange.  The band was a bit up and down, but solid copy both ways.  Tony said he was reading my page as we talked.  Thanks for the nice QSO Tony!  Tony is outside Philadelphia, PA.

Any lunch time with a little CW is always fun!

I hope to get a version of my Portable QRP Antenna installed in the attic this weekend.  We will see how that goes.  I would really like to get a station setup at home, and eventually try some of the digital modes.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

From Russia with Love...

Its been to many months since my last lunch time QRP session!  Finally had a warm day with no work activities over lunch so I headed out to my favorite park and had a blast!!

As soon as I turned the KX3 on I heard...

KC2EE calling CQ on 14.060 - we exchanged 559 reports - he was in Houston, TX. Working Sid brought back the great feeling of sending some CW - although I was rusty!

Then I went on to work...

NA6MG was spotted on SOTA GOAT, so I tuned to 18.090 and there he was coming in at 599.  Dan was on W6/CT-231.

OH4MDY was calling CQ on 18.075 and was a solid 599 here.  I had to call a couple times, but finally made it.  Retu was in Finland!

Next up was my best DX yet!

R7LA - Vasily was calling CQ on 24.893 with no takers.  He really had to work to pull my callsign out, but then it seemed to get better.  He copied my well after getting my call, so the conditions must have improved.  He gave me a 559 and he was 599 here.  He must have pulled up my QRZ page while on air because he told me that my QRP signal was FB!  What a hoot!  Thanks Vasily for pulling my 5 watts out of the mud, you made my day!

Not that spring is here, I will be operating much more at lunch time.  I am still working on getting my home station set up.  Antenna is ready, I just need to get it in the attic!  I really want to start working some digital modes from home.  I think they might work best because of the loud interference I experience there.  We will see.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A BEAUTIFUL DAY.....and no coax!

Today I finally had a free lunch period to get out and play radio, so last night I loaded up the antenna and radio into the car.  Drove to my normal park at lunch - with much anticipation of the possibility that 10 meters was open.


Discovered that I had left my coax at home - kind of important to have the antenna connected to the radio!