Sunday, December 23, 2018

Worked Vatican - HV0A

I worked HV0A in Vatican City on 80m FT8!

Well you live and you learn. I never knew that Vatican City was a city-state. I always thought it was just a city in Italy.  I'm glad that they are on the air and glad to have worked them from my QTH!

73 and good DX de KG4LST sk

UPDATE 12/30/2018:
I worked HV0A again on 20m FT8!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Worked Falkland Islands - VP8LP

The 17m band often yields some great DX contacts.  Today, I was able to work the Falkland Islands! 

The Falkland Islands is an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The principal islands are about 300 miles east of South America's southern Patagonian coast, and about 752 miles from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, at a latitude of about 52°S. The archipelago, with an area of 4,700 square miles, comprises East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Worked Mauritius - 3B8FA

I had just arrived home for lunch when I received a text message from a good friend and fellow ham John (K4WCL).  He was at his "mountain house" in South Carolina and had found 3B8FA in Mauritius on 17m FT8 and he texted me to let me know that he had made the great contact.  When I finished my lunch, I went into my shack and settled in on the 17m band.  I waited a few cycles and then I saw the same station 3B8FA in Mauritius finishing a QSO.  I quickly clicked on the call sign and tried to make contact.  I got an answer!  I was given an RST of +3 and I returned an RST of +2.  Great signal reports considering the distance and I was only running 50watts into an OCF dipole!

At 9,860+ miles away from my QTH, Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 1,200 miles off the southeast coast of the African continent. The country includes the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues and the outer islands of Agal├ęga and St. Brandon. The islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues form part of the Mascarene Islands, along with nearby Reunion island.

FUN FACT: I've worked Mauritius, Rodriques, St. Brandon, and Reunion Islands...but have yet to work Madagascar.

73 and good DX de KG4LST sk

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The 10m Band Isn't Dead

This weekend was the ARRL 10m SSB and CW contest.  I didn't participate in the contest, but I did use it as an opportunity to play on the mostly quiet band.  There have been several times when I caught 10m band openings over the summer, but I didn't really know what to expect here in December.  To my surprise, I was able to make 7 voice contacts in the short time I was on the band.  Most of the contacts were in California, 1 was in Colombia, and 1 was in Chile!  I couldn't believe I got Chile at almost 5,000 miles away on 10m phone while I continually hear people say that 10m is completely silent until the peak of the sunspot cycle...

One reason 10m is so quiet is the fact that people continue to spread bad information. They say the band is completely dead and a waste of time.  So when there is an opening, nobody knows because they believe the band to be unusable...

I find that 10m and 6m are alot of fun since they present a challenge. What a great feeling it is to make contacts on these bands when they open!

73 de KG4LST sk

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Worked The Gambia - C5YK

While playing around on 40m, I ran across C5YK in The Gambia. I gave him a call and was able to exchange signal reports of 57.  I have a nagging feeling that he didn't copy my callsign correctly, so it may never get confirmed.  According to the C5YK QRZ page, Andre is "The only resident licensed operator here in The Gambia"!

At over 4,380+ miles away, The Gambia, officially the Republic of the Gambia, is a country in West Africa that is almost entirely surrounded by Senegal with the exception of its western coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. It is the smallest country within mainland Africa.  It is situated on either side of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the center of the Gambia and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

73 and good DX de KG4LST sk

Worked the Set of Last Man Standing - KA6LMS

In the TV show Last Man Standing, the main character Mike Baxter (played by Tim Allen) is a ham radio operator.  There is a functional radio station on the set that the cast and crew operate on their breaks as KA6LMS.

Tim Allen in front of the KA6LMS radio station on the set of Last Man Standing

I had seen the KA6LMS callsign a few times before on my DX cluster, but had never been able to work the station.  This time, I saw them spotted on the CW portion of the 40m band.  Since I don't know CW (yet), I just continued talking on VHF to some friends.  After a while of discussing how cool it would be to work the KA6LMS station and/or talk to Tim Allen (who is a licensed ham), I saw them spotted on the voice portion of 40m!

I quickly tuned my FTDX1200 over to 7.247.5MHz LSB and started to listen.  Sure enough, I heard a female voice say "QRZ, this is KA6LMS Studio City California".  I gave a call a few times and she picked me up!  I'm sad to say that I don't know who the operator was (it was definitely not Tim Allen), but none the less it was really cool to work the KA6LMS station on the set of Last Man Standing!

73 de KG4LST sk

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Serving as Activities Manager of an Amateur Radio Club

I'm not the most social person.  Even though I talk to many people around the world via ham radio, I consider myself a little bit of a loner with my radio hobby.  I have worked some contests, learned new modes, and much more all from the comforts of my shack and usually by myself.  For this reason, I was very reluctant to join an Amateur Radio Club.  I like the idea of having a club of like-minded people and being able to learn from, help, and support each other in our endeavors.  I like things like ARRL Field Day and portable operations.  But I again, searched for the value of joining a club vs just participating in club events.

One thing to consider is that these clubs may struggle to survive.  The events like Field Day are made possible by clubs.  They use their equipment, time, money, and energy to make these things possible.  Clubs provide and maintain the repeaters we use.  Clubs help promote our hobby of Amateur Radio and provide us with networks of people and resources.

So I joined the Lanierland Amateur Radio Club.  This club as been in operation for about 60 years.  It has gotten smaller over the years and has struggled to bring in new members and find interested parties to serve in the leadership roles.  Not only did I join the club, but the members of the club nominated and elected me as the Activities Manager for 2019.  Honestly, I was surprised. I was not prepared to take an officer position, but I will do my best to serve the club.  My best friend Brandon (KN4HDZ) has been elected President.  I hope that we will be able to serve the club well and start building it back up to it's former glory.

73 de KG4LST sk

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