California QSO Party

The California QSO party is one of my favorites. There are 58 CA counties to try and contact. This year I managed to contact 32 of them. I still use a very leisurely approach and only answer CQ’s and don’t make any calls myself. I had contacts on 40, 20 and 15 meters this year. The new MFJ-993b IntelliTuner worked great!!! I really like it!!! I operated only SSB phone at 100 watts into my G5RV-Jr dipole.

Here’s a screen shot of the N3FJP contest software:

cqp2012

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JT65 QSO with ZS2EC

Got up early this morning and was able to have a JT65 QSO with ZS2EC in South Africa. I answered his CQ three times before he heard me and then had to repeat my report once, but we completed the QSO! That in combination with a hot fresh cup of coffee is making for a good start of the day! Happy

saQSO
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2011 California QSO Party

I did not do as good as in prior years but I did get 23 contacts. :P I like how the CAQP team has added the rank numbers to the certificate.

KB5DRJ_CQPCertCertificate
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Field Day 2012

2012_FD_Logo

For me, field day is the most challenging of the contests. Why? Hundreds of portable stations are set up all over the country. They transmit a good strong signal, but their portable antennas seem to be a bit deaf. The end result is that on a 1D home station like mine, it sounds like everyone has turned on their radio and is transmitting at the same time. I’ll hear 4 maybe 5 stations on the same frequency calling CQ FD. They can’t hear each other so there are very few ‘this frequency is in use’ incidents, just the large amount of QRM. If you answer a CQ I have to listen carefully to pick out what station is contacting me. Happy Is it fun? You bet. This year I gave my Timewave DSP-9+ a good workout.

This year I used the Icom IC-718, The MFJ-993B tuner, and the G5RV-Jr antenna. I did not make any contacts with the GAP Eagle. Of course I used N3FJP’s Field Day contest log. I did not call CQ. I just wheeled up and down the bands answering stations I could here. I ended up with just 24 contacts and operated for just a few hours. It was fun.

Field Day 2012 N3FJP
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West Virginia QSO Party

Today is the West Virginia QSO Party. My first contact was the bonus station W8WVA. The cleaning ladies are here and I am in the shack with my dog who is barking his head off. Not sure how long I’ll be able to work this contest. Happy In the end I only got 2 contacts.
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MFJ-993B IntelliTuner

With the prospect of eventually losing my vision due to Retinopathy, I am retiring my manual antenna tuner and replacing it with the MFJ-993B automatic antenna tuner. It tunes really well and really fast. Quite a bit faster that my former LDG tuners. It beeps to let me know the resulting SWR so I really don’t need to see the tuner in order to use it. I purchased the optional cable to connect it to my Icom IC-718. I like the dual antenna switch. I miss the dummy load that my manual tuner has. So far I like the tuner very well. It works like it should, as have most of my new MFJ stuff. If you’re looking for a good automatic antenna tuner, I recommend this one.

2012-05-16 21.06.51
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APRS UI-View32 Working!!


I finally got my packet station working. I purchased a MFj-1270X KISS TNC. The first one was defective but MFJ replaced it with a new one pronto. I was surprised at the level of customer service from MFJ. Lesson learned: don’t pay attention to the griping in the forums. MFJ is a good company with good customer service. The TNC-1270X is easy to set up. I have mine connected via the USB port, but it works equally well on a serial port. I had to re-wire the cable for my FT-1900R, the one I bought for the FT-2800 did not work. All I needed to do was replace the RJ12 connector with the correct wires. I know very little about packet radio, but I am learning. I have it set up to forward packets to the internet. I am not using it as a digipeater since there seems to be enough of them around my area and my packets would likely be duplicates. No need for that. So to recap: I’m using UI-View32 connected to a MFJ-1270X connected to my FT-1900r transceiver running low output power into a copper j-pole up about 10 feet.

UI-View32
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At Last - ARRL WAS Award! Happy

I’ve been waiting for this day to arrive since 1978!!! Happy

20120420 -  ARRL WAS award
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Winradio WR-G305i - Wow! Happy

Yesterday I received my new Winradio WR-G301i PCI radio. So far I like it a lot. I can see that I’ll want to upgrade to the professional demodulator to get the advance filtering for CW. The audio is really good. The radio is quite sensitive, maybe just slightly better than my IC-718. My camera did a bad job making this video. I will try again when I figure out the best way to do it, perhaps a video screen capture program would work better. Happy


winradio
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Timewave DSP-9+

I am the proud owner of a Timewave DSP-9+. I have no idea what version of the firmware it has. I can say that it does pretty good eliminating random noise. I do not have CW filters on any of my rigs so this will help greatly on crowded CW bands. Happy

I bought it on eBay for $88.00 shipped. Is that too much? I don’t know and I don’t care. It was ‘Buy It Now’, and that is what I like - near instant gratification. Thanks, Jeff, for selling this to me. I will take good care of it for you!

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Soon to be father… MFJ-407B Keyer

Found and bought this on eBay this evening. I need an audible sidetone for a couple of my QRP rigs. I will take good care of it for the prior owner, W3NP. Thanks for selling it! Happy
This looks like it will work for me just fine. I prefer Iambic ‘B’ mode and this will do that.
My paddle is a CT HAM IAMBIC purchased from the maker in Ukraine. I’m trying to build up my fist stamina which has given me fits from the diabetes and twitch in my hand. I did have a contact the other day on my ‘new’ HW-8 transceiver.

Screen Shot 2012-01-24 at 2.53.45 AM
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New addition - Heathkit SB-303

I purchased a really nice SB-303 from Joe WA2GZE on eBay. Joe went through this radio and it is in clean, excellent shape. The top scale is a little out of alignment thanks to UPS, but otherwise the radio survived the trip nicely. I have the audio out connected to my Radio Shack DSP-40 audio filter connected to a Polk Audio speaker shown on the left. The sound is good. I will have lots of fun with this receiver, I’m sure.

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IC-718 and SignaLink discovery...

I think I knew this, but had forgotten it somehow. When transmitting through the 16 pin accessory port, the IC-718 does not disable the mic input on the front panel. So - when you are transmitting your digital mode stuff, you will also transmit sounds for the ham shack, music, voice, etc. Yikes! I only did that for a couple of years. Fortunately I don’t talk to myself much.
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Woot! Woot! First contact with the HW-8!!

This morning I couldn’t sleep well because of the thunderstorm, so I got up and played with my new HW-8 (good time to play radio, huh)?. I tuned up on 40 meters and called CQ once and got a call from NM3B, Wayne, in PA. He was coming in 599 with some QSB and he was reading me at 559 to 579 and said the QRP signal was FB. I get excited on first contacts. Thanks Wayne for putting up with my rough fist. Happy The replacement front end RF transistor mod worked really good and I had no trouble copying his signal at all. Was going back to bed but I’ll never be able to sleep now. Happy My output was about 2.5 watts into my G5RV JR up 30 feet.
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Playing on 40 meter JT65

Tonight I did a little playing around with JT65. Effortless contacts that don’t require any brain activity. Happy I ended up working France on 40 meters at 10 watts into my G5RV Jr antenna. I’ve worked quite a lot of DX with JT65. My SignaLink USB works very well with the JT65-HF software. I tried contacting the German station DL7BA without success, so I went to bed for a much needed nap.

JT6501022012
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Heathkit HW-8 - I'm in LOVE! Happy

Last night I saw an eBay posting for a Heathkit HW-8 with the matching HWA-7-1 power supply listed as a fixed price buy it now. I have a weakness for ‘biuy it now’ items. I don’t know what these things are worth and I don’t care, just make your auctions ‘buy it now’ and I’ll look at them. Happy
I’ve wanted one of these HW-8 transceivers ever since I saw one at the KH6SP Pearl Harbor Submarine Base radio station. Well, my dream has come true! So happens that the seller lived just a short distance from me and was willing to drop it off to save the trouble of packing and shipping it. I don’t blame him. It’s not every day that an eBay item arrives in less than 12 hours. Happy
All the bands work great. In fact, the radio works perfectly. The tuning is smooth. The audio is pretty good and the Radio Shack DSP 40 makes it even better. It transmits. And it is incredibly clean inside and I’m very impressed. I’ve been listening to QSO’s for the past hour. My New Years resolution is to get back into CW. Happy
It has an ’s-meter’ mod that gives a good idea of receive signal strength in addition to transmit relative power. That is the only mod it has. The rear panel is all original with no extra holes.
I’ve done the mod to replace Q1 with a MFP102 RF transistor and it has improved sensitivity. It is working very well! Happy
This is going to be fun!
Here’s a couple of pictures:

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