Begali Traveler PaddlesAfter getting the two big awards this summer, I sprung for a set of Begali Traveler paddles. (14 September 2016)
160m antennaFor the first time in my life, I have a permanent 160m meter antenna. It shares a coax with the 10m antenna (hence the switch). It is an inverted-L with 40 feet (12m) of vertical pipe and about 100 feet (30m) extending horizontally from the top of the pipe to a nearby tree. (September 2016)
Awards time! 2016 editionCheck out the DXCC Challenge and 8 band DXCC plaques I just received from the ARRL.
Awards time! 2013 editionAt the end of each year many of us take stock to see if we met any of the goals we set for ourselves. I thought it would be fun to do a little awards chasing so I set goals of getting another band DXCC (40m) and raising my overall DXCC total to over 200. I met both goals and was pleased. Along the way I discovered some other awards programs including one at the German national club DARC. Here is a newly minted (12 December 2013) Worked All Europe award. Nice!
2013 IOTA Contest, Georges Island, Boston Harbor
27 July 2013. Left to right: Nick Maslon, K1MAZ, Scott, NE1RD, and ARRL Contest Branch Manager Mike DeChristopher, N1TA.
I received an email message from Mike, N1TA, the day before the RSGB IOTA contest that he and his friend Nick would be making the trip to neighboring Lovells Island to work a CW effort. On their way back they stopped by my operation on Lovells. Meeting Nick and Mike was a really fun way to end the day!
My gear on the picnic table working from left to right: The small black box with the white front is the controller for the Transworld Antennas Traveler TW2010 multiband antenna. It is powered by a power brick from Buddipole Antennas. Immediately next to the antenna controller is a Sherpa 50 power cell from Goal Zero that was used to power the rig. It was charged by a 27 Watt solar panel (also from Goal Zero, not pictured). The radio is an Elecraft KX3. The computer is an ASUS netbook. Headphones are a Heil Traveler Dual set. The interconnection between the Heil and the KX3, including the foot pedal, is homebrew.
March 2013. Since being licensed about a decade ago I had always run with 100 watts or less (often much less). The new house brought opportunities for new and better antennas. Suddenly I am hearing much better than I am being heard. It was time to get louder! My new Elecraft KPA500 amplifier arrived just in time for the ARRL DX SSB contest. Assembly only took an evening (March 1st, 2013). The MFJ VersaTuner V was purchased the next day.
The difference was amazing. In the first 6 weeks of operation I was able to make 1350 QSOs, 147 DXCC entities, and 462 DXCC Challenge slots. I still love operating QRP, but being loud can be fun!
Antennas: Force-12 vertical (dipole) antennas for 10m, 15m, 20m, and 40m, a SteppIR BigIR Vertical, a G5RV, and a Buddipole vertical mixed in for good measure.
Working the world on a battery!
February 2012. The Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club organizes an event called the Lantern Battery Challenge. Buy a set of batteries from the club for $15 and see how many QSOs you can squeeze out of them. The 2011 contest dates were set as 20 October 2011 through 1 March 2012.
I procrastinated and didn't get started until the North American QSO Party (NAQP) CW held 14 January. Then the fun began! I worked 150 Qs first with one of my Elecraft K2s on 10m and 15m for 18 total QSOs, then another 132 QSOs on 20m, 40m, and 80m using my Elecraft KX1. Who knew that little KX1 would be a nice contesting radio--but it was! And, at 2 watts out few complained about my signal strength.
Band QSOs Mults
80: 34 22
40: 49 25
20: 49 23
15: 7 6
10: 11 6
Total: 150 82 Total Score = 12,300
A rats nest of wires. A WinKeyer (far left) is connected to a netbook running N1MM. That is plugged into the KX1 key/paddle input. Paddles are Vibroplex Code Warrior, Jr. (I should have brought my nice Begali paddles upstairs for this!)
That's the lantern battery along with a small PowerPole distribution box and a power/ammeter that showed me how much juice I had pulled from the battery. The KX1 showed between 10-30mA on receive, perfect for this kind of challenge.