Monday, October 29, 2018

CQWW 2018 - The World's Largest DX Contest I Forgot About

This past weekend was the CQ World Wide DX Contest.  CQWW is known as one of the largest DX contests!  The only problem?  I forgot all about it.

I had a busy weekend and stayed gone most of the day on Saturday.  When I got home late Saturday night, I heard some friends on the VHF repeater talking about how much activity was on the low bands due to the contest.  So I went into the shack at about 11:00PM ET and started looking for DX.  My very first contact was D4C in Cape Verde on 80m! That was a new DX Entity for me! I worked for a few hours and made some great contacts on 80m and 40m, ending the night with a 40m FT8 contact with VP6D Ducie Island!

We had stuff planned on Sunday too, so I could only get on the air for a few hours in the morning.  I worked several stations on 20m and 15m.  I worked PY0F in Fernando de Noronha on 15m and that was also a new DX entitiy for me! But sadly, I had to go QRT and get ready for our afternoon and evening plans.

All in all, I made 40 contact between Saturday night and Sunday at noon.  All contacts except the 40m FT8 Ducie Island were made on phone with 100watts or less.  I had a lot of fun and will probably submit my logs for the contest (if nothing else, just for a check log).  I wish that I had remembered the contest was coming up so I could have really participated for the duration.

Maybe next year...

73 de KG4LST sk

Monday, October 22, 2018

Yaesu FT-2000D vs FTDX1200 For My Station

Over the weekend, I had the chance to play with a Yaesu FT-2000D HF rig.  The rig came from a SK and had been donated to a local club.  It was a complete system including the matching power supply and external speaker.  I was instantly attracted to it.  It felt reminiscent of my FT-950 from years past.  I was somewhat familiar with the controls and it was really a beautiful rig.

Part of our duties was to test the equipment and get it ready to be sold at the upcoming hamfest.  We connected everything, switched it on, and began enjoying the colorful display, true analog S meter, and smooth sounding DX coming through the speaker.  It really was a ham's dream rig.  So much so that I started to consider getting rid of my Yaesu FTDX1200 and measuring my operating desk to see if it could end up in my shack.

When I selected my FTDX1200, it was based on the fact that I had loved my FT-950.  The FT-950 was no longer available and the FTDX1200 was it's successor.  My rig is of good size, very capable, and an absolute joy to operate.  So why did I consider trading for the FT-2000D?  More importantly, why did I change my mind?

The FT-2000D is a 200w rig, while mine is only 100w.  I liked that it reminded me of my beloved FT-950.  I appreciated the fact that it was more buttons and knobs and less menus than other rigs.  Not to mention the beautiful stance when paired with the power supply and speaker.

As you can see, my list is NOT very extensive.  In fact, I actually would have lost the band scope that my FTDX1200 has (unless I shelled out more money for the DMU).  I think I just genuinely liked the rig, but would there have been any real measurable gain for me?  No.  The extra 100w would have been nice, but I tend to operate with an amp and only use 65w of drive from my transceiver.  When I operate FT8, I use 50w or less.  So really there was no justification for it in my case.

It was no doubt a beautiful rig and great to operate, but I just didn't see any value for me.  It will make someone a great radio.  I enjoyed getting the chance to play with it, and I'm thankful for the reminder of just how much I like my own radio.

73 de KG4LST sk

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Worked Kuwait - 9K2HS

This morning, the bands were in excellent shape.  I made many enjoyable contacts.  One that was very special to me was Hamed, 9K2HS in Kuwait. I had never worked Kuwait before.  I saw Hamed spotted on the DX cluster so I tuned over.  I didn't want to tune up the amp on 15m, but I did dial my Yagi in on him to the best of my ability.  I gave him a call with just 100w (phone) and to my surprise, he picked me up and returned a RST of 59+.  Hamed was also 59+ and a very pleasant operator.  At over 7,000 miles away, I was glad to finally get Kuwait in the log!

Kuwait is a country in Western Asia. Situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

73 and good DX de KG4LST sk

Worked the Ducie Island DXpedition - VP6D

Last night while ragchewing on 80m with some friends, I was noticing some interesting Islands showing up on the DX cluster in Ham Radio Deluxe.  One island I kept seeing spotted was Ducie Island.  Since the public school system seems to have failed me, I asked some of the other hams if they knew where Ducie island was.  No one seemed to know!  So we looked it up and were surprised to find that it was just a small speck in the South Pacific Ocean.

Once I've got my mind on chasing some DX, I find it hard to concentrate on other QSOs.  I told my friends I'd be back and tuned over to the 20m band to see if I could hear the signal from the speck.  Unfortunately, I heard nothing.  I tried my dipole.  I tried my Yagi.  I heard nothing.  I returned to my group on 80m and would occasionally sneak away to check to see if I could hear Ducie Island.  Nothing heard.

When the group had all decided to sign off, I returned once more to 20m since I was still seeing spots on the DX cluster for Ducie Island.  This time, as I was rotating the Yagi in that direction, I heard a station coming over the very low noise level.  The signal was barely moving the needle on the meter, but I could hear the operator clearly saying "QRZ VP6D, listening 5 up".  I set the split in my radio, switched the amplifier off of standby, and gave a call.  He returned "the Kilo Golf 4 station, again?".  I gave my call again.  He returned "Kilo Golf 4 Lima Sierra Tango, you're 59 Ducie Island"!

I returned a signal report, logged him, and went QRT.  I couldn't contain my joy, so I sent a few text messages to some radio friends to let them know that I had made contact with a speck in the South Pacific!

Ducie Island is an uninhabited atoll in the Pitcairn Islands. It lies 332 miles east of Pitcairn Island, and 220 miles east of Henderson Island, and has a total area of 1.5 square miles, which includes the lagoon. Due to its inaccessibility and the distance from Pitcairn Island, Ducie is rarely visited today.

73 and good DX de KG4LST

I have now worked Ducie Island on 20m phone, 15m phone, 12m FT8, and 40m FT8!

de KG4LST sk

Friday, October 5, 2018

Worked Another Station in Antarctica - RI1ANL

Maybe it's just me, but I don't believe that there are many active ham radio stations in Antarctica.  I had made contact with KC4AAA on 20m SSB almost a year ago, but today I had the privilege of working another station "on the ice". 

Unlike last time, I worked RI1ANL on 30m FT8.  I sent a -13 and received a -14 which is not bad at all considering that contact was over 8,570 miles away.

73 and good DX de KG4LST sk

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