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201406 K8GP / Rover ARRL June VHF 2014
K8GP / Rover - FN00RG (looking SW) - ARRL June VHF 2014
WA3PTV/R antennas

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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K8GP / Rover - FM19AW (looking SSW) - ARRL June VHF 2014


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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 on JT65-HF

I’ve got the Elecraft K3 running JT65-HF in the house this winter using just attic antennas. I’m only running ~5w and the antennas are 40m = horizontal loop, 30m = dipole NW/SE, 20/15/10m wire beam NE/SW. All antennas are about 25′ off the ground. Below is a quick view of the last 25 station who have been hearing my signal on the HF bands. The number in the blue markers indicates the band in meters, the line color represents signal strength < -20 dB = red, -20 dB to -10 dB = yellow and > -10 dB = green. Click on the View Larger Map link below the map to interact with the markers and see the last 50 stations and even more details including callsigns, signal reports and distances for the stations that have received my signal.




Click View Larger Map of stations hearing K1RA

I’ve also created another map listing the last set of stations I have heard on JT65-HF, click here to view my reception reports. Click the Call – Grid combo link or the map markers in the regular and detailed map views to read more information about the reception reports.

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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. ┬áThis 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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K1RA mobile on APRS

I’m now active on APRS via APRSDroid. Find me when I’m mobile. I am usually active on HF on CW or SSB. I run an Icom 706mkIIg at 100 watts with a AH-4 tuner and a 2.75m steel whip. Hope to see you on the bands!



View Larger Map

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K1RA 144 MHz ESkip

I was fortunate enough to catch a 2m ESkip opening on the evening commute home Tues. July 24 from about 630p to 8p local. Many locals in the Va/D.C./Md area were on from fixed locations working the opening. Locals K1HTV, K4RTS, W4CLJ, KE2N, N3ALN, N4MM, K3ZO and K4HJF among others, were all heard working the DX from 0 land and 5 land, much of I which I couldn’t hear. I was only using an Icom 706 MKIIG @ ~ 50w and a dual-band magmount vertical on the roof of the SUV, but I was able to work 4 stations in the mid-west. I logged N0IGZ (KS – EM27 @ 932 mi.), K0WYN (MO – EM48 @ 759 mi.), W0BLD (MO – EM37 @ 844 mi.) and K5SW (OK – EM25 @ 985 mi.). I copied 8 other unique calls during this time to include AF5CC (OK – EM04 @ 1174 mi.) who heard me but never completed, WA0CNS (MO – EM48 @ 645 mi.), K0DOK (MO – EM48 @ 714 mi.), KC0SNN (MO – EM27 @ 918 mi.), WB5AFY (TX – EM04 @ 1233 mi.), W7QJQ (OK – EM25 @ 959 mi.), KB5MR (OK – EM25 @ 1016 mi.) and N5UWY (OK – EM15 @ 1100 mi.). Click on any of the calls above to hear what I recorded from the mobile on my Android phone using an MP3 recorder acoustically coupled to the rig’s speaker.

Here’s what the APRS 144 MHz real-time propagation map looked like for that time frame. You can see that many portions of the U.S. were experiencing wide area ESkip over 600 miles.

APRS 144 MHz real-time propagation map 07-24-2012

Another useful VHF propagation tool to watch on a daily basis for these types of openings is the DXMaps VHF MUF Map of North America, which offers a real-time view of the maximum usable frequency (MUF) across the country.

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K1RA as KW4VA /M in VaQP 2012

VaQP is over! You can read about my weekend experience by clicking the following K1RA as KW4VA /M in Virginia QSO Party 2012. In the article you can read and learn more about my operation as well as see pictures and videos from the weekend event.

I activated KW4VA from the mobile this past Mar 17-18 for the 2012 Virginia QSO Party. I ran 10 bands: 160-6m (SSB/CW) and 2m, 1.25m, and 70cm (FM). As the contest was broken into two segments 10A-10P Sat. and 8A-8P Sun., I’ve decided to run 2 separate routes.

Day 1 on Sat. I was to run west of Warrenton and down Skyline Dr. That consisted of 10 stops covering 12 counties: FAU, LDN, CLA, FRE, WAR, RAP, PAG, MAD, RHM, GRN, ALB and AUG. I didn’t quite make all the counties I planned.

Day 2 on Sun. I was to run an eastern route towards D.C. and south down I-95. That was to consist of 17 stops covering 17 counties and cities: FAU, PRW, LDN, MAX, MPX, FFX, FXX, FCX. ARL, ALX, STA, FBX, KGE, CLN, SPO, ORG and CUL. Again I didn’t quite cover all the ground.

You can see my planned route on the map below. It not exactly what I managed to cover. Read to follow on article mentioned above to find out the actual details.



View Larger Map

Above you can click on the icons to read more info about the locations. You can also view a larger more interactive map by click the link under the map.

For more info on the Virginia QSO Party please visit the SPARC VaQP 2012 web page and the VaQP statistics and tips page.

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K1RA @ K8GP Rover Jan 2012 VHF Sweepstakes

Terry W8ZN and I attempt to rove in the past ARRL Jan. VHF SS. If you care to check out the article I put together that covers our preparations leading up to the contest as well as our adventure on contest weekend please click here or the picture below.


W8ZN @ K8GP Rover Jan 2012 VHF SS

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