Off the air for a while

I’ve been quite busy with work and home life and haven’t had time to get on the air. I’m hoping I’ll be around this weekend…

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13 Colonies clean sweep

After some rather rough operating conditions concerning propagation, weather, and just plain rude amateur radio operators, I completed my “clean sweep” with K2J this morning. I did work WM3PEN last night on 80 meters, complete with static crashes, but the operator wasn’t going to let something like lightning stop him, heh. I appreciate the time and effort the 13 Colonies group puts into this event every year. There were some incredibly rude and ill-mannered amateur radio operators (also known as “lids”) that were “involved” maliciously. Why people cause problems for the rest of us I’ll never know. If you don’t like a contest, turn the VFO dial!
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Good weekend for DX

I had a fun weekend on the air. I successfully worked six of the 13 Colonies stations and then this morning before work, I worked a seventh. I’m hopefully on my way to a clean sweep.
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A good night

I didn’t do a lot of DX tonight but I did contact KA0BOJ in Raymond, Nebraska, at the Branching Oak Observatory. In 20 years of being a ham, this was my first NE contact. That was fun though I did have to try for 30 minutes to bust his pileup on 20 meters.
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Ever- changing bands

The past few days, I’ve come home from work and stopped by in the shack to take a listen to what I can hear on the air. I wound up working Canada, Grenada, and Northern Ireland (the last two being FIFA special event stations). I still haven’t fixed that G5RV I’m borrowing of my dad’s but I’m hoping to this weekend even though it’s supposed to be near 100F (37.7C) when it’s all said and done. Anything for my favorite hobby, I guess…
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Field Day 2018

This year was the first year that I actually accomplished something on Field Day.  I decided to work Field Day at home and not visit any sites this year.  With the amount of driving I’m doing a month (well over 2000 miles) for work now I just decided to stay home and relax.  It also gave me a chance to “break in” my “new” FT-450D which did an excellent job.

I had a total of 84 phone QSOs.  I used 100W so I was able to claim the 2x multiplier for low power for a total of 168 points.  I ran a 1D station (using commercial power) so there were several potential contacts I had to pass up.  It was a pretty decent experience for me.  I didn’t qualify for any other multipliers.

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Almost time for 13 Colonies

This is one of my favorite times of the year for my ham radio hobby.  There’s Field Day, of course, and that’s followed immediately by the 13 Colonies special event.  This event celebrates the founding of our country with one station set up in each of the original 13 colonies using callsigns K2A-K2M and two bonus stations, WM3PEN and GB13COL (located in England).  It runs from July 1, 2018@1300 UTC to July 8, 2018@0400 UTC.  This event started in 2008.  I’ve participated twice and even had a “clean sweep” one year.  I’m looking forward to participating in it again.  This time, though, I will have 80 meter capability which helps tremendously in my working the states that are very close to me.

You can get a certificate for the event and you may also get QSL cards from each individual station (you’ll need to look up each station on QRZ for their requirements to get a QSL card).

There’s always a good pileup with each station but I have found that your patience does pay off.  Many people will give up after a while and let you jump in even on 100 watts and a wire antenna.  The “big gun” stations will come and go.

If you’re wanting to try out a contest for the first time, I recommend this event.  It’s pretty easy, fun, and the station operators are a pretty patient bunch.

For more information on the 13 Colonies special event, please check out the 13 Colonies website.

(I am not associated in any way with the event or its organizers except that I really enjoy participating.)

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You never know

I was talking to one of my co-workers, Kelsey, today at work.  She’s a nice young woman who helps me out occasionally in my daily job functions (I am an IT technician).  Today I was telling her about Field Day and as I started to go into my usual non-ham explanation about FD, she stopped me and said “I know what Field Day is; I’m a ham also.”  Come to find out, she’s also known as KJ4GFJ.  That just about floored me.  It’s one thing to run into another ham but to meet a YL ham these days, for me, is not a daily occurrence.  Her father is KJ4GFI.

I know of a few other co-workers who are interested in becoming hams also.  So I am trying my best to get them excited about the hobby.  I hope I can be a good Elmer to them and help them get their licenses.  I explain to people that ham radio is still a vibrant and interesting hobby even with the world being interconnected via the Internet.

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Back at it

Last night I decided to get on the air a little. Worked a station in Brazil and then a station in Illinois (a 14-year-old girl named Abby who was calling /AG). Not bad for the rather poor antenna installation I have right now. My dad and I are going to extend the antenna from 84 feet to 100 feet tonight and reshoot the far end of the antenna into a slightly higher tree on our property in time for Field Day. I’m seriously considering purchasing a 130′ EFHW antenna from myantennas.com. It’s a good price and has a large transformer on it. I really can’t use any other antennas currently, save for a vertical, in my current living situation.

Speaking of Field Day, I set up my registered copy of N3FJP’s Field Day logging software. I wish I had a headset and a footswitch for FD as I could keep the hands on the keyboard. Maybe I’ll have that for next year. I plan on visiting a few other Field Day operations in the local area Saturday afternoon and then spend my evening working FD from home.
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Interesting ham radio book

I was browsing the Web today and I came across this book called “Handheld Radio Field Guide”. It explains how to program 65 different handheld radios from the front panel. A very interesting read, I’m sure. I might get a copy for myself. You can check out the book at http://handheldradio.net/.

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