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.
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.
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.
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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.
I’ve been participating in this winter season’s 80m CW QRP Foxhunt as both a fox and a hound. The event occurs every Tues. night from 0200-0330 GMT between 3550-3570 kHz. Two stations (foxes) are designated to transmit and the rest (hounds) are poised to attempt and contact the two foxes within the 90 minute time window. More info can be found at the QRPFoxhunt web site or their QFOX Yahoo Group. I’ve been collecting fox contact logs for both the 80m and 40m events and plotting various statistics on Google maps. Check out my 80m analysis and my 40m analysis pages for some interesting graphics.
I’ve developed a script to pull data from WSPRnet and display who has been copying my 20 milliwatt beacon. Below you will see a Google map on which I plot stations who have received my signal over the last week. 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] and line thickness represents the number of beacon transmissions copied [thin<5, med< 10, thick>10]. Click on the View Larger Map link below this map to see a larger and more interactive map with the same data.
View Larger Map
My beacon is running W3PM WSPR PIC controller code on a PIC-EL III microcontroller board by AA0ZZ. The transmitter is a DDS-60 20mw 0-60 MHz synthesizer board by N2APB. My antennas consist of a full wave 40m loop in the attic and a 20-15-10m wire beam also in the attic. Antennas are roughly 30′ above the ground. The wire beam consists of an all band dipole driven element and directors on either side, giving bi-directional gain. It is beaming NE and SW. The antenna is 2 elements on 20m, 3 on 15m and 4 on 10m.
I had the opportunity to operate in the ARRL Field Day this June with my local Fauquier Amateur Radio Assoc. I was captain of the VHF station and organized the construction and operation of that station. We had a tremendous 50 MHz band opening all day Saturday into Sunday morning, contacting over 400 stations all over the USA from New England, through the mid, north and south west and even out to the west coast and down into South America! Click the thumbnail below to see pictures of the VHF station as well as the other HF stations that were set up across the field in C.M. Crockett Park.
Below is a video of a 6 meter E-skip opening to New England with Rich K1HTV at the mic.
The video below is of Tom KG3V operating cw on the 15 meter band.
The next video is of Steve KW4H operating cw on the 40 meter band.
Finally here is a panoramic video of the Field Day site where we operated 3A VA, plus a VHF and GOTA station.
This February, with some help from John KX4O, I created and presented a PowerPoint slide show for my local Fauquier Amateur Radio Assoc. The presentation centered on the upcoming 2011 Virginia QSO Party. It covered general information including dates and times, rules and categories and contest exchanges and scoring. Also covered was past performance of the FARA club and its members for the various competition categories that were entered. Finally, some contest ‘hints & kinks’ were presented to give members an idea what to do pre-contest, contest weekend and post-contest to ensure they were prepared for the upcoming radio event.
If you missed the meeting or would like to download and review the PowerPoint presentation (6MB) please visit my W4VA page here and see the presentation links at the bottom of the page.