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201603 KW4VA Virginia QSO Party

VaQP 2018 APRS Mobile Tracker

I’m hoping that any stations who will be going mobile during this year’s VaQP contest will email me and consider running APRS either on 2m FM on 144.390 MHz or better yet via internet on their smart phones using something like APRSDroid (free) or other Android or iPhone apps.

I’ve resurrected my VaQP APRS Mobile tracker map and I’m plugging in specific call signs of those who email me, to be tracked over VaQP contest weekend. Currently I’m tracking K0STP-5, K1RA, KD4QIT-9, KG3V-10, KG4UPR, KI4FW-7, KI4ZKJ-10(K4G), KJ4ADN-9, KJ4OAP-7, KK4ZUU-9, KN4IWV and NB3A VaQP APRS mobile stations posting GPS coordinates.

The difference between my map and or is that I’m overlaying the Va counties and independent cities so we can see when a particular mobile station reaches a new C&IC. You can check out my VaQP 2018 APRS Mobile Tracker here

Zoom in, scroll around or click on a colored county or the call sign of interest. Clicking a call will show the latest info message from that station, along with the GMT time of the last update.

Note, if your APRS app or TNC allows for a comment or message field in your APRS GPS broadcast, please enter something useful as I should catch it and display it if someone clicks on your call sign marker on the map. It could be your status, i.e. on-the-air, in route, current county, off-air, ETA to next QTH, bands, etc. but no specific frequency as that may violate the contest self spotting rules.

If you know of any other mobile (or portable) VaQP stations who will have or can take APRS, encourage them to do so and contact me at – Please email the URL above to your clubs and local group so they can watch and track your travels.

Email any other plans, comments, questions and suggestions to

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K1RA SDR online

Back during early 2016 I invested in a Kickstater project called KiwiSDR. This project was the development of an add-on cape to a small form factor, Linux computer known and the Beaglebone Black. This hardware allows for up to 4 simultaneous online users to tune in any part of the HF radio spectrum from 0-30 MHz, using several different modes, as well as providing visual feedback of signals and some demodulation of digital modes. The software employed in known as OpenWebRX and was originally written by HA7LIM, but was modified by KiwiSDR founder KF6VO to support some specific features of the new hardware. If there is an available slot on my SDR, located in Warrenton, VA grid FM18cr, you may tune in and listen for yourself by clicking on this link or picture below. If it is full you may try one of the many other KiwiSDR’s found listed at the OpenWebRX SDR list.

K1RA OpenWebRX KiwiSDR

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K8GP Rover June VHF 2016

Please check out an article I posted on my time spent with Terry W8ZN as we roved in the ARRL June contest.  There you will find pictures, audio and video of our operations from various grids square in western PA and VA.  I have also published numerous maps and stats of the stations we contacted across the 50 MHz – 10 GHz bands.  Please click K1RA @ K8GP Rover ARRL June VHF 2016 to read more.


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KW4VA VaQP 2015

I organized a few fellow hams to help participate this year’s Virginia QSO Party. With the help of Terry W8ZN, Craig N4OHE and the gracious host of Jim W4RX we put the KW4VA VaQP call on the air from Jim’s shack for the weekend of Mar. 21-22. We set up a small multi-multi station with 2 HF (80-10m) stations running Elecraft K3’s and an Alpha and Heathkit amps and one V/UHF 146/223/446 FM station running a Kenwood TM-742A. Our antennas ranged from some low dipoles for 40 & 80m, to a tribander for 10/15/20m and several monobanders. An 80m wire beam, a 40m 3L rotatable beam, a 5L 20m beam, stacked 5L 15m beams and a 6L 10m beam. For the V/UHF station we ran a triband vertical antenna up 50′. Full time op’s included Terry W8ZN, Jason KJ4EOO and myself Andy K1RA as well as part time ops Bill N4SV, Rich N3UW and Mike N2NAR.

Check out my photo album or a video collage with some pictures and video snippets from over the weekend below.

Our final contest breakdown for stations and multipliers contacted is as follows:

Total QSOs = 2408

Mobile QSOs = 323 (3pts each) = 969 pts
CW QSOs = 404 (2pts each) = 808 pts
Digital QSOs = 0 (2pts each) = 0 pts
Phone QSOs = 1681 (1pt each) = 1681 pts

Bonus Pts = 500 (K4NVA QSO)

Total Points = 3458

Multipliers = 266

DX = 89
VA Counties/Cities = 119 (of 133)
States = 48 (of 49)
VE = 10 (of 13)

Final Score = 920,328 points

73 and thanks for all the contacts!


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With the solar flux rising again in the winter of 2014/15 I’ve finally got my Raspberry Pi microcontroller based WSPR beacon on the air. I’m generating RF on 160m, 80m, 40m, 30m at night and 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m and 10m during the day every 2 minutes using my club call sign KW4VA. The controller generates ~10 milliwatts of power to either a 40m horizontal full wave loop in my attic up ~25′ or ZS6BKW @ 50′ or 400+’ long wire in the back yard. I’d developed a script awhile back to pull data from WSPRnet and display who has been copying my 10mw signal. Below you will see a Google map on which I plot of the most distant stations who have received my signal over the last few months. The red 0 icon is my beacon location at the intersections of all the lines. The other blue icon #’s are placed over the 6 digit grid square or approximate latitude and longitude of the receiving station. Those blue # icons represent what band (in meters) my signal was received. Click on the icons to read more information about the receiving stations to include their call sign, grid, distance, beam heading, average signal to noise ratio, # of reports posted, frequency and first and last times I was spotted. The color of the lines represent received signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) in dB [red <-20, -20 < yellow <-10, green >-10]. Click on the View Larger Map links below this map to see a larger interactive map with more specific band data for my running total of unique DX country spots.

View Large Map for all time unique DX countries

My beacon is running Jamesp6000 WsprryPi C++ code on a RPi microcontroller board.

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K1RA @ K8GP Rover June VHF 2014

This past June I again had the opportunity to rove with Terry W8ZN. We had last roved in the ARRL Jan. VHF SS contest and had a great time and scored very well. Since the K8GP Grid Pirates Contest Group were unable to host an operation from their multi-op, multi-trasnmitter contest site in FM19bb, the two of us opted to pull together another plan to enter the Classic Rover category. Rich N3UW was kind enough to allow us to again borrow his rover for this event. Terry and I spent some additional time improving and re-engineering the rover given what we learned in Jan. Read more about our preparations, route planning, contest weekend experience and post contest analysis by clicking here.


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K1RA @ W4VA Field Day 2014

I had the opportunity to participate in the ARRL Field Day 2014 event this past June. I joined members of the Fauquier Amateur Radio Assoc. to enter in the 2A emergency power category. We operated from Crockett Park in the county, near Germantown Lake. We provided a GOTA (Get-On-The-Air) station for the public to participate, as well as established V/UHF station, a Voice station and a CW station for our club members to operate. We had great weather and a good turnout. I took a number of pictures, video and even some aerial shots from my quadcopter. To see a photo collage and some video excerpts of the weekend event, please see my Youtube video by clicking here, or below.

You can also view the static photo album.

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K1RA @ K8GP Rover Jan VHF SS 2014

I’m celebrating 35 yrs since I made my first SSB/CW VHF contest QSOs back as a young WB1ALW and KA1GD back in CT.  This year I was fortunate enough to be able to rove with Terry W8ZN in this past ARRL January VHF SS contest. I assisted Terry in rebuilding the rover of Rich N3UW who graciously allowed us to take it out on a maiden voyage. I wrote an in depth article covering the preparation and contest weekend experience. I put together pictures, audio, video and some graphics and analysis maps covering our various grid stops. Check out the full article for more or click the picture below.

N3UW Rover used by K8GP Rover in the ARRL January VHF SS

N3UW Rover used by K8GP Rover in the ARRL January VHF SS

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K1RA @ K8GP SVHFS Fall 2m Sprint 2013

Check out my article covering the 4 hour sprint event I participated in recently. I had the pleasure of activating the K8GP contest station in grid FM19bb on 144 MHz during a spectacular tropospheric opening that occurred in conjunction with the radio competition. I captured some weather maps to explain the conditions that lead up to the nights great propagation. Below is a snapshot of the live 2m APRS tropo map that gives a slight idea of who was hearing who. Also visit my article to see some statistics on my best DX contacts, view my log and even listen to some of what I heard. Click here to read more!

2m APRS Live Tropo feed animation loop for Fall 2m Sprint 2013 (2300-0300z)

2m APRS Live Tropo feed animation loop for Fall 2m Sprint 2013 (2300-0300z)

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K1RA @ W1RT Rover ARRL September VHF 2012

K1RA @ W1RT Rover Sept. VHF 2012

Please check out my article capturing the adventures of K1RA @ W1RT Rover in the ARRL Sept 2012 VHF contest by clicking here.

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