Another month is in the books and the QSO a day goal for 2014 continues. April was successful in many different ways. First, it moves me one month closer to ending the year with a QSO each and every day. I also added two new DX entities to my DX list (Crete and Saint Kitts & Nevis) and I managed to get one state closer to WAS on a few different categories. Finally, I beat my monthly total QSO record of 393 (set in November 2013) with a grand total of 599 total QSO’s.
The surge in QSO’s for April is primarily due to my wanting to be better prepared in working contest pileup situations when it’s my turn to operate W1AW/Ø later in May. I’ve been getting on the air and operating the ARRL Centennial QSO Party as much as possible and as much as band conditions have allowed. It’s been fun. I’d love to work you and give you my 5 points as a VE.
I’ve also been successful at chasing (and catching) all the W1AW portable stations. I will need to make sure I catch a few states on their second time around later in the year. But my goal is to work them all.
Over the weekend I released the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast (PARP) episode 68. In this episode I discuss the ARRL Centennial On-Air Events currently taking place up and down the bands. This includes both the W1AW Portable stations as well as the Centennial Points Challenge QSO Party.
I posted my planned intentions of operating W1AW/Ø from Colorado last week. Unfortunately I’ve had to make a slight change to my on-air schedule to accommodate a scheduling conflict which will allow me to speak to a local amateur radio club about SOTA or Summits on the Air.
As it stands today, I will operate W1AW/Ø on the following dates/times/bands/modes:
23 May 0000z – 0300z – 20m – phone
25 May 1500z – 1800z – 20m – phone
I may sign up for additional time slots if needed. I’ll post an update the week before Colorado will be on the air. In the mean time, I’m getting on the air as much as possible and working as many stations as I can for the ARRL Centennial QSO Party. I hope to work you either during my time operating W1AW/Ø or as KDØBIK. Either way, ain’t this hobby great?
Unfortunately, I must report the change of power supply did not correct my issues I had experienced with my Yaesu FT-950. I blogged yesterday about the chain of events which took place over the weekend and my intentions of trying another power supply in the event my main unit is going defective. I had prepared myself for the worse case scenario and unfortunately that is what is going to happen.
I have boxed up my FT-950 in the original box (thankfully I keep these things) and will ship it out today. In an earlier telephone conversation with the Yaesu amateur service dept. I should expect a 10 day (or less) turnaround. As for repair costs, Yaesu charges $35.00 just to look at the radio and then $70.00 per hour labor. I’ll keep you posted.
I would like to just thank those who reached out to me via email and posted comments with suggestions of things to try. I’m fairly confident I’ve exhausted all options I’m capable of performing (or feel comfortable performing) on the 950 and all results remain the same. Something is preventing the 950 from operating at full power on 10 – 20 meters and zero power output on 30 – 160 meters.
Meanwhile, the 2014 QSO a day challenge does continue. I still have access to other HF rigs and will do my best to limp along working mostly digital modes and a few SSB QSO’s here and there. Based on the expected turnaround time from Yaesu, my 950 should be back in the shack well before I’m scheduled to operate W1AW/Ø the week of 21 May.
I truly had a blast this past weekend working 20m SSB contacts and giving away 5 points as a VE during the year long ARRL Centennial QSO Party. As I mentioned in an earlier blog posting, I will be representing the Centennial State of Colorado when the W1AW/Ø portable operations schedule makes a stop in Colorado. W1AW/Ø will be on the air from Colorado 21-27 May. My contest operating is typically limited to Field Day and the Colorado QSO Party, so I wanted to spend some time on the air over the next few weeks brushing up on my “operating a pile-up” skills.
I spent about 3 hours “on the air” over the Easter weekend and managed to add about 180 SSB contacts to my log. If you’ve done any operating the past few days you are well aware that band conditions have been up and down. I was surprised at the feedback I received regarding my audio quality. I think fellow hams are surprised to know that I’m running just 100w into a hamstick dipole mounted just above my roofline. But this is the way for those of us living in HOA-hell.
Of course, I also have some weird issue going on with my Yaesu FT-950. I promise I didn’t let the magic smoke out, but something is seriously wrong with my SSB workhorse. You can read more about some of the testing I’ve done here. As I stated in that blog posting, I do plan to try another power supply. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if the issue is with my current power supply. But I’m also prepared to quickly send my 950 to Yaesu California. I need to get it back in time for when I operate W1AW/Ø.
If I had the privilege to work you over the past weekend, thank you for answering my CQ and I most certainly look forward to working you again soon.