AA8IA Amateur Radio

Archive for the ‘MDC’ tag

Maryland QSO Party 2011 Summary

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I’m not even going to post my full summary. 5 Qs. I just didn’t hear many. One of the bonus stations was heard, but they apparently weren’t hearing me. There was a lot of QRN on 40m, which would have been a good band for this during specific time periods. I was not operational on 80m CW because I couldn’t manage to tune up there, and I actually didn’t even think to try out 80m since QRN was so bad on 40m.

Written by Mike

August 18th, 2011 at 12:40 am

Posted in Contesting,QSO Parties

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A Rough Radio Weekend

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During the past week I swapped out my ~105′ ladderline-fed doublet for an Alpha Delta DX-LB Plus. I finally got the LB up in the air on Friday, with the help of some family. The LMR-400 I’m using to feed it is heavy, and the LB Plus itself is heavy, so it was causing the mast to bend pretty good without guy wires above 25′. As a stopgap measure I tied a piece a rope to the top section and secured it down in a way that would bring the mast back to vertical.

The LMR-400 was purchased from a place who had premade 50′ sections with N-connectors used for wireless backhauls. Not only do I not need LMR-400 on HF, but I also don’t need N-connectors on HF. This just causes me to have to use adapters to connect it to antennas and radios. The current LMR-400 likely has water breach. The N-connector on one end can easily be twisted, and there is intermittent connection of the ground. I ordered some RG-213/U with PL-259s which should be here this week.

I didn’t get an opportunity to even attempt to tune the 10/20/160 wires. The antenna doesn’t resonate inside the band edges for any ham band. Although, my LDG tuner will very quickly tune up on 10m through 20m. I was also able to tune up on 160 around 1820 khz. I can tune up on 40m as well, but there is RF floating around in the shack. I’m not sure if it is due to the close proximity of the antenna to the shack, the bad shield connection on the coax, or a combination thereof. So I can’t run 100w on 40m right now. I’ll worry about that once I have the new coax in place. I can tune on 80m, but only in the SSB portion. Not good — I prefer CW.

It rained most of the weekend. Fortunately there was no lightning, but there was no way for me to know whether there would be lightning. T-storms were forecast. So it was always in the back of my mind that I may have to quit any contest I was operating in this weekend. The noise on 40/80 was rough.

I attempted to operate in the WAE CW contest this weekend. I didn’t do as good as last year, but I didn’t put the time in either. I missed some opportunities because I couldn’t operate on 40m without the RF taking out my keying interface every time. So it was a 10-20m contest for me. Unfortunately, there was no Europe to be heard on 10m. On 15m I felt the conditions were mediocre at best. I did make some EU contacts, but there is no way in hell I would consider it to be good propogation on 15m this weekend. Others in Ohio who worked this contest wouldn’t agree, but they are also running high [and often directional] antennas and high power. 20m was good though, and that is where I made most of my contacts.

I worked a few MDC stations for that QSO party, but try as I may I just couldn’t find many on the air. I worked what I heard though. The MDC QSO party is like the WVQP — a handful of in-state stations who have all the fun working the casual people who run across them, but in my opinion there aren’t enough in-state MDC stations to make the contest fun for those out of state. Contrast that with the FLQP, GAQP, TNQP, OHQP, PAQP, CQP, and the 7-land QPS, where there is plenty of fun to be had for both in-state and out-of-state stations.

On the bright side, I was offered some help by my niece’s husband to relocate the current antenna support to another part of the yard farther away from the house. We’ll do that in the next month or two. We’ll dig a hole and cement a pipe into the ground and then mount the 50′ Max Gain Systems mast to it. I’ll put the DX-LB Plus on top, and perhaps I’ll stick a single-band wire below it. We’ll get some solid end supports in the ground as tall as I can get them… above 10 feet at least. Hopefully I can figure out how to do this in a way that allows me to use pulleys on it to raise and lower the wire(s) rather than having to retract the mast for maintenancce or during inclement weather. The 50′ mast has 8′ sections, while my current mast has 6′ sections. So, retracted it will be more difficult to work on things using the 50′ mast. And I definitely need to get that DX-LB Plus tuned for resonance inside the band edges of as many bands as I can.

Written by Mike

August 15th, 2011 at 10:08 am

Upcoming Operating Events

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Below are some of the upcoming operating events I am interested in. For full details on any of these [and many others], check out the WA7BNM Contest Calendar

CWops Mini-CWT Test
1300Z-1400Z Wed, Aug 10
1900Z-2000Z Wed, Aug 10
0300Z-0400Z Thu, Aug 11

Hard for me to find time midweek for these short ones, but they sure are fun and help break up the monotony between the weekend tests.

WAE DX Contest, CW
0000Z Sat, Aug 13 to 2359Z Sun, Aug 14

Single-op stations can operate up to 36 hours, multi-op up to 48 hours. I forgot all about this one. I had a blast last year, but I struggled learning the whole QTC thing. I don’t think I’ll be any better off in that regard this year. The EU ops are brilliant, patient, and eager to take QTCs.

Maryland-DC QSO Party
1600Z Sat, Aug 13 to 0400Z Sun, Aug 14
1600Z-2400Z Sun, Aug 14

Two time periods. I want to make some Qs in this one since MD-DC is “just down the road” from me and they make contacts in the OhQP for us.

0000Z-0800Z Sat, Aug 20
1600Z-2400Z Sat, Aug 20
0800Z-1600Z Sun, Aug 21

This same weekend is the CW Ops Open inaugural and the NAQP SSB. I will have to sit out the SARTG WW this year.

CWOps CW Open
1200Z-1559Z Sat, Aug 20
2000Z-2359Z Sat, Aug 20
0400Z-0759Z Sun, Aug 21

I’m looking forward to this one. I’ve only operated once or twice in the mini tests, and they are great. I want to be there with bells on for this event.

Three separate four-hour tests. Work any or all three slots.

North American QSO Party, SSB
1800Z Sat, Aug 20 to 0600Z Sun, Aug 21

Single-op stations work 10 of 12 hours, Multi-op work all 12 hours.

SSB typically isn’t my game. Mediocre stations make poor SSB contesting stations. However, this is a domestic constest and is limited to 100w, so there will be lots of mediocre stations just like mine operating. I’ll play in this one.

Written by Mike

August 8th, 2011 at 1:13 am

Posted in Contesting,QSO Parties

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