I’m late in getting this update published. I was on vacation (staycation at home) as June ended and July began. This past week was my first week back and I was swamped at work. But all is on track and I’ve completed at least one QSO each and every day in 2014 and the challenge is well over 50% complete.
In addition, to keeping my QSO per day streak alive…I’ve also managed to add at least one new DX entity each month in 2014. June was no exception with the addition of Saint Lucia. This makes 10 new DX entities added to my log this year.
As I started with my May update, my progress in the 2014 ARRL Centennial QSO Party continues to progress. The numbers below are as of mid July.
You may remember from the April update regarding my QSO a day goal, that I had broke my monthly QSO record (which was 393 in November 2013) with a whopping 599 QSO’s in April. Well that record didn’t stand long. My total QSO numbers for May topped out with 826 QSO’s. However, I also made 504 QSO’s while operating as W1AW/Ø on two different shifts the week Colorado hosted the portable operation. While the 504 Q’s will be kept separate and not included in my main log, I’m honestly pleased to have made a total of 1,330 QSO’s in the month of May 2014. Again, this monthly report will only address the 826 QSO’s from my own callsign (KD0BIK).
In addition to a QSO each and every day in April, I also managed to add a few new DX entities to my growing list and quest for DXCC status. I worked stations for the first time in Antigua & Barbuda, Lithuania and Lebanon. May marks the 5th consecutive month of adding at least one new DX entity to my list.
Starting with this months update, I will also list my ongoing progress in the ARRL Centennial QSO Party. I’m not a big contester, but I am really having fun getting on the air as much as possible and making contacts. As a VE I’m worth 5 points and sure….it’s also fun to accumulate the points. I’ve been successful at working a few “big point stations”, but I’ve found most of my contacts are with ARRL Members (1 pts.), ARRL Life Members (2 pts.) and Fellow ARRL VE’s (5 pts). As of the end of May, my results are as follows:
Centennial Points Score: 6,664
Total QSO’s: 1,201
Rank (All): 1,495
Rank (Colorado): 18th
Finally, since really getting a lot more “radio active” in the past few months I’ve heard from many who listen to my podcast (Practical Amateur Radio Podcast) and readers of my blogs. I’ve also worked many of you on the air in the past 2-3 months. Most all tell me the same thing and that is I’ve inspired them to do their own QSO a day challenge and you are all on track to making it happen. Keep it up! But make sure you are having fun while doing it.
Colorado’s first week to host the W1AW/Ø portable station in celebration of the ARRL Centennial events has come and gone. This particular week was a busy week for me both at work and in the hobby of amateur radio. In addition to working two shifts operating W1AW/Ø, I also presented the Summits on the Air program presentation to two area amateur radio clubs. Yes…I also managed to keep my streak of at least one QSO a day alive.
As Colorado began hosting the W1AW/Ø portable operations, we also fell right into the middle of a weather pattern which almost like clockwork the heavy storms would roll into the Denver area from the west. These storms produced all your typical spring storm weather scenarios including rain (lots of rain in some areas), hail (enough to bring out the snow plows), thunder bolts and lightning (all very, very frightening) and yes…tornados. Tornados are somewhat rare in the metro Denver area, but this particular week we had sightings just about every day.
My first shift to operate W1AW/Ø was scheduled to begin at 0000z on Friday, (Thursday evening local). The storms rolled through Denver right on cue with tornado sirens and flashing of lightning around the area. Below radar image captured about two hours before my shift would start.
Thankfully the clouds parted just before the start of my shift.
On time, I began calling CQ on 20m. There had been a short gap between operators and our fellow hams were ready to attempt to work Colorado. Quickly I built a small pileup and began operating the strongest stations I could hear. I’m really glad I spent many evenings operating just as my own callsign and sharpening my skills in working small pileups.
If you’ve been listening to the HF bands in the past week or two, you certainly know conditions have been poor with noise levels very high on the bands. Of course the storms which had moved through Colorado certainly were not helping with overall conditions.
My friend Martin, W3MLK was my first contact and he was kind enough to run a few minutes of video/audio and posted on YouTube. Martin’s QTH is in Delaware. Thank you Martin for recording my audio.
Statistically speaking, my Thursday shift was far easier and a lot more enjoyable as band conditions were stronger. I managed 348 QSO’s during my three hour shift compared to only 156 on Sunday morning (1500 – 1800z). While I’m not sure how this compares with other operators, I enjoyed my time operating W1AW/Ø and representing the Centennial State of Colorado in the ARRL Centennial Event. It was a lot of fun!
OK….it’s now time to get back to work. My lunch break is over and this is another busy week in the office.
On this day six years ago, I took a cheap USB headset, plugged it into my computer and recorded episode one of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. As I stated in that short episode, I would continue to keep PARP alive as long as I had listeners willing to download, stream and listen to the content. While PARP hasn’t always been released on the most timely and accurate schedule….six years in I’m happy to say that PARP remains very much a passion of mine and I hope it continues for many, many years.
I know I have listeners who started with me in the beginning and I know new ones are added all the time. I thank you all for listening. As I say on each and every episode, the practical amateur radio podcast…creating Elmers one podcast at a time and please, please, please share knowledge with others. This is the true spirit of amateur radio!
If you operate your Elecraft KX3 in a portable environment (and perhaps even if you don’t) there are a few must-have add-ons which really help protect your KX3. You are probably already aware of the popular KX3 KX Endplates and KX Cover available from Scott, AK6Q and his Gems Products website. I received both as a Christmas present from my darling wife and love what they do for my KX3.
In addition to operating SSB phone via my KX3 on SOTA activations, I also enjoy grabbing my Buddipole a battery and heading outdoors for some picnic table portable operations in a park or really just about anywhere. In this setting I typically bring along my laptop and operate PSK-31 or JT-65. However, one thing I’ve noticed (and have been concerned about) is how the KX3 has the potential to heat up when running these digital modes (even at 5w or less). This is especially evident in the warmer months of the year.
A few weeks ago I was browsing the KX3 Facebook page and learned about an add-on heat sink designed, built and sold by a fellow ham in Canada. This OM’s name is Fred Meier, VE7fmn. I contacted Fred via email and he quickly provided a detailed response on how he designed his KX3 heat sink and provided cost and availability information. While I did find one other heat sink being marketed for the KX3, I believe Fred’s version is more effective at dissipating the heat from the KX3 and it looks great while doing it.
Here’s what Fred’s KX3 heat sink looks like installed on my KX3.
Fred’s KX3 heat sink is well built and designed to be durable. The fins on the heat sink are not going to bend or break off and only adds an additional 8 ounces of weight to the KX3.
I’ve conducted a few tests while in the shack and had the KX3 running PSK-31 and JT-65 at 10w and never received the overheat warning. I couldn’t run above 5 watts inside or outside the shack without the heat sink installed. I’ve yet to test the KX3 with heat sink installed outside in a portable setting, but I’m confident I will not have any issues. If you would care to read another review of VE7fmn’s heat sink, please go here.
As I’ve stated, I love operating portable with my KX3 and I’m Happy, Happy, Happy to have this wonderful add-on to help keep my KX3 Cool, Cool, Cool.