Two Down, Ten to Go

Yes..I know this blog update is late by several weeks.  But the good news is I’m still on track to complete my 2014 QSO a Day challenge.  As I write this, I’ve nearing the 90 day mark and all has been smooth sailing.   Hopefully my March update will hit your blog catchers in a more timely manner.

While my total QSO count is low for February, I did manage one new DX and added the Philippians to my logbook.

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The QSO breakdown for February is as follows:

Mode
Number QSO’s

JT65
34

SSB  
3

PSK31
0

2m FM
0

Additional notes of interest:

DX Stations Worked in February – 1

New DX Entities in February – 1

Total QSO’s for February – 37

Total QSO’s for 2014 – 110

Total consecutive QSO days – 59

Days left in 2014 – 334

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK (Jerry)

Posted in QSO A Day Tagged

One down, Eleven to go – QSO a Day

As previously mentioned, I successfully completed a QSO a Day goal in 2012 and was brave enough (or perhaps crazy enough) to attempt it once again in 2014. 

With January officially behind me, I’ve managed to get on the air and make at least one QSO each and every day for each of the 31 days in January.   I’ll admit…I’m starting out slow and pacing myself.  Most days its been “one and done” but a few other days I’ve managed to spend more time on the air. 

For January 2014, I’ve worked 73 (great number) QSO’s and all have been using the JT65 mode.  While each successful day was a high point, the greatest success was working French Polynesia and increasing my DXCC count by one more. 

While my actual “on air” time has been limited, I have been spending time assisting a new startup amateur radio club and completing a few projects related to the hobby.  

image

The QSO breakdown for January is as follows:

Mode
Number QSO’s

JT65
73

SSB   
0

PSK31
0

2m FM 
0

Additional notes of interest:

DX Stations Worked in January – 1

New DX Entities in January – 1

Total QSO’s for 2014 – 73

Total consecutive QSO days – 31

Days left in 2014 – 334

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK (Jerry)

Posted in QSO A Day Tagged

And so it begins…

The New Year (UTC time) begins just after 5 PM local time and when I’ll begin my 2014 QSO A Day challenge.  I successfully completed a QSO a Day back in 2012 and it was a lot of fun.  It also helped me meet several smaller goals of achieving my first WAS and build on my DXCC list. 

For 2014, I’ve stepped up my goals slightly and would like to achieve WAS in six different categories and of course also move me closer to DXCC. 

I have a brand new QSL card which I’ll start using in the new year (shown below).  Randy Dorman, KB3IFH did an excellent job on the card.  If you need QSL cards for the new year, please contact Randy.  You won’t be disappointed.

kd0bik_new_qsl

I also have to get back on track with my diet and exercise routines.  I had a stumble on the ice just after Thanksgiving and have been moving slower than normal and consuming more “comfort food” than I should.  However, with the new year comes new goals and new energy to achieve these goals.  The back and tailbone are better and I’m ready to get back to 10,000 Steps per Day.

Happy New Year!  Happy Amateur Radio!

73,

Jerry

Posted in QSO A Day Tagged

DVAP + Pi

I’ve owned my Raspberry Pi for a while now.  I purchased it around the time they were first introduced (early 2012).  Not having a lot of knowledge in the Linux OS, the most I ever really did with it was set it up and play around with it.  However, my reason for purchasing the RPI was to some how use it for amateur radio purposes. 

As I have mentioned before on my blog, I also own a D-STAR Digital Access Point Dongle (DVAP).  I purchased it in 2011 and had been using it connected to an older Windows XP machine.  I wrote a “first look” post as well as one where I was experimenting on the DVAP range away from my QTH.   However, in following my own advice given in my podcast, The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast episode 64 about the Microsoft Windows XP End of Life, I decided it was time to explore how the DVAP might be used with the Raspberry Pi.

In most situations, Google truly is your friend.  Just doing a simple Google search for DVAP and Raspberry Pi led me to more information than I had time to read.  However, the very first search result happened to provide all the information I needed to setup my Raspberry Pi to work with my DVAP dongle.  Special thanks to Bill, AB4BJ who had blogged about his experience in setting up his Pi for DVAP purposes. 

If you have a Raspberry Pi, a DVAP Dongle and a D-STAR radio sitting around your ham shack, it’s very easy to set it all up just as I have done.  In the below picture, I have my ICOM ID92-AD, the DVAP Dongle and the Raspberry Pi setup.  Once configured, the Raspberry Pi will function stand-alone (without keyboard, mouse and monitor).  I can access the RPI via VNC from my iPad if needed. 

2013-11-24 13.39.52

Raspberry Pi running Debian Linux and the DVAPNODE and IRCDDB software.  DVAP is connected to REF001A in Aurora, Illinois.  Screenshot from iPad VNC session.

photo

For now, my setup will remain in my ham shack.  I know many build this setup for mobile/portable use.  At the present time I do not have wireless capabilities for the RPI.  I also want to see just how stable this setup is before making any additional changes.   I was pleased to wake up this morning and find the RPI was still running and the OS was stable.  Time will tell…

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK

Posted in Amateur Radio, Experimentation, Gadgets Tagged , , , ,

ARRL November Sweepstakes

http://blog.amateurradiosupplies.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/SS801.jpg

The 2013 ARRL November Sweepstakes contest is in the books for another year.  The main goal of having fun was successful from my modest basement ham shack and I believe I did pretty well considering. 

I had prepared everything earlier in the morning before a run out to the local shopping mall and lunch with my wife.  With computers and radios on, I sat down just before 21:00 UTC (2 PM local) and began scanning up and down the 20m band.  From the sounds of things, the band seemed to be in pretty good shape and many ops were beginning to stake their claim to their small chunk of the spectrum. 

Just like clockwork, I began hearing KK6L calling CQ Sweeps and quickly logged him as #1 from Eastern Pennsylvania.  I tuned up the band and quickly added Nevada, South Texas, Arkansas and Eastern Mass all within the first few minutes of the contest.  By this time I had also managed to settle into a rhythm with the long exchange.  It was time to try to run a frequency.

However, finding a frequency which wasn’t in use proved to be as elusive as stations operating in Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and West Texas.  I would tune to a frequency, listen, listen, listen…then ask if the frequency was in use 3-4 times.  Start calling CQ….then get chased away.  After this situation played out 2-3 times and getting a bit too close to those who occupy the space around 14.313, I decided I would just hunt and pounce my way around the bands.

2013 sweeps Map

As you can see from the above map (courtesy of the N3FJP Contest logger) I managed to work most of the sections (and US States) and with exception of Delaware, South Carolina, Utah, South Dakota and Wyoming…would have managed WAS in less than 24 hours. 

As I stated at the beginning, band conditions were surprisingly good.  I mostly worked 20 and 40 meters on Saturday.  Then on Sunday I found success in both 10 and 15 meters.  

The final damage after about 8 hours of contesting is as follows:

Total QSO’s: 200
Total Sections Worked: 72
Sections not worked: 11
Total Contest Points: 28,800

Contacts by Band
40 meters:    18      9%
20 meters: 144    72%
15 meters:    32    16%
10 meters:      6       3%

Looking at a few other statistics.  I worked Santa Clara Valley (SCV) a total of 17 times, followed by Maryland DC with 10.   Looking at state QSO’s, California with 40 Q’s followed by Maryland with 10, Virginia 8 and New York and Texas each at 7.  Finally, 180 Q’s were USA, 16 Canada then Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Is. all one QSO each. 

I wasn’t so surprised to miss working Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota.  However, I was surprised with no contacts in Delaware and South Carolina.  I just simply never heard any stations on the air from the First State and the Palmetto State. 

I’m not sure how my score ranks with other stations running in my category (Alpha), but will submit my log and look forward to finding out.  The other possible silver lining might also come in the form of filling in a few missing states on 20m and 40m ARRL WAS Phone category.  Time will tell…

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK (Jerry)

Posted in Radio Sport Tagged , ,