Our Ham Radio Blog

The activities of KB5HPL & KE5DBB while having fun operating our ham radio equipment.

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        I had some time this weekend, and thought I would work some PSK31.  I realized that an RTTY contest was in progress, it was the DARC Worked-All-Europe (WAE) DX RTTY Contest.  So, I thought I would make a few RTTY contacts since there were so many people on the bands.  I was sucked into the fun.  However, I found myself with the question: "Do you have/need QTCs?"  I politely said no.  It bugged me, what are QTCs? Finally, I checked it out in the Contest Rules. I learned QTCs are reports of QSOs that took place earlier in contest, and were being sent back to a European Station or different continent.  You copy the report down, and insert them into your contest log submission.  You get additional points for these exchanges.  So, I learned something new about the WAE DX RTTY Contest. Next time, I will be ready.  

           I had fun working the contest. I finished up with 96 QSOs, 0 QTCs, and several new countries worked.

             Also, I found a good reason for always submiting your logs to DARC contests. The
Deutscher Amateur-Radio-Club e.V. 
(DARC) has a DARC Contest Logbook to which the submitted contest logs are deposited.  These QSO are cross check with other logs, and once QSOs are confirmed, they can be used to apply for DARC Awards (Worked All Europe(WAE), Europe Award, & Europe DX Award) without needing a supporting QSL card.

New QSL Card

I just recently completed the design of my new QSL card.  With the new QTH, I needed to update my card with all the new information. I have several people waiting on one...but it takes time to come up with a good idea.  And I have been thinking about what kind of card I would like to have...and one day the inspiration came to me. 

   The main picture is a photo of my QTH with USA & TX flags hanging from the front. You can see the vertical antenna just off to the left of the house. It also includes an inset of me at the radio. I think this adds a nice touch to the card. The back side has a post card format with room for remarks. I designed the card using GIMP software on my computer, and my digital camera for pictures.  

I have sent it off to the QSL printer (QSLWorks.com). 

                -- Peter (KB5HPL)

Setup new Station w/ Antenna

        I completed installing the vertical antenna on the side of the new house.  Most of the day was spent fishing the coax, and ground wires through the house from the study to the side of the house.  Then, the rest of the day was spent setting up the computer and radio.  By the end of the day, I was making contacts with the new station setup.  

                 -- Peter (KB5HPL)



Moving the Ham Shack...

        We have been in the process of moving our house for the past several months from mid-December thru mid-March.  The ham shack had to be packed up and stored for the past few months, but the benefits out weight the inconvenience to operating for the moment.  The new location will be in an area which has only has a few minor restrictions and will allow for setting up a good antenna.  I am looking forward to developing a good antenna, and getting back on the air!

                        -- Peter (KB5HPL)


PODXS 070 TDW Contest

 Operation during Contest

       When I started working PSK31 on the HF bands, I talked to several hams about thePODXS PSK31 070 Club sponsored by the Penn-Ohio DX Society (PODXS).  In just a little while, I had made the minimum requirements for membership, and joined on April 12, 2007.
        This weekend was the Three Day Weekend (TDW) contest from Friday, June 1st (0000Z) to Sunday, June 3rd (2359Z).  The object of the contest was to work as many 070 members on HF bands during the allotted time using the PSK31 mode.
        On Friday night, I realized the contest had started, but was very tired...so my plan was to spend some time on Saturday working the contest.  I was able to work about 9 hours mixed with other family responsibilities.  Then, I worked the last hour and a half of the contest on Sunday after church.
        I was able to make 69 QSO contacts with 41 members of the club, and 600 bonus points for a total claimed score of 3429.  Based on the preliminary 2007 results, I am not the Top Dog, but will probably be somewhere in the middle of the pack.  The final standings will be posted to the TDW Contest Results page.
        I had a fun time trying to hunt down members on the HF bands.
                -- Peter (KB5HPL)


        I had a great time working the contest with my new setup.  It gave me a good idea of how well the HF station performed.  The contest ran from Saturday March 24th 00:00 GMT to Sunday, March 25th 23:59 GMT.  I was able to work about 15 hours of the 48 hour contest.  I made 135 contacts for a claimed score of 21,994 points.  I will be interested to see how my station compared with other stations of my class when the results are published on the CQ WW WPX website.     
                    -- Peter (KB5HPL)

HF Station on the Air

Today, I completed assembly of my portable HF station and put it on the air.  

 Over the past year, I have been in the process of purchasing the equipment and materials needed to put the station together.  I purchased an Icom IC-706MKIIG HF radio, LDG AT-100Pro Auto Antenna Tuner, microHam USB Digi keyer interface, DC Power Supply,  Apple iBook G4 laptop, MacDXLogger software and a Comet CHA-250Bx vertical antenna.  As well as the wood, cables, screws, brackets, pole, bucket, and concrete needed to complete the project.

Then, I worked to design, and build a shelf like stand which holds all of the equipment neatly together so that it would be portable.  The wood pieces were cut out, sanded, stained, and screwed together with screws to assemble the shelf.  The radio was mounted to the top of the shelf using the mobile mounting bracket.  I found a spare mobile mounting bracket that worked for mounting the antenna tuner next to the radio.  The power supply and interface are mounted to the bottom of the shelf by screwing their lids to the shelf and running the cables through a hole in the bottom of the shelf.


The last part was assembly, and installation of the antenna system.  I assembled the antenna per the manufacturer’s directions on the ground.  The antenna was attached to a longer section of pipe which, when installed, puts the antenna at 13 feet.  For the base, I used a bucket with a short section of pipe mounted into concrete.  Then, the antenna & long pipe section were hoisted up and slid into place on the short pipe section in the base.   The pipe is attached to the porch cover for stability.  All that remained was routing the coax cable, and installing a ground rod for my station.  I was on the air a few minutes later and made a contact to the state of Virginia.
                   -- Peter (KB5HPL)


Amy passes License Test!

Amy w/ new license & radio

I would like to inform you that Amy passed her Technician class ham license test today. Amy has been reading the license study material and studying for the test for the past few weeks. We practiced the exam several times a day during the last week. The license test session was sponsored by the Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club (CLARC) & American Radio Relay League (ARRL).
During the last week, I decided that I knew enough of the information for the General Class license test. After taking the practice exam several times on the internet, I was fairly confident that I could pass. I took the test on Saturday and passed. So, I upgraded my license (KB5HPL) from Technician-Plus class to General class.
                   -- Peter (KB5HPL)

(Updated: 11/18/04) Amy’s new call sign will be KE5DBB.

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