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Showing posts from January, 2009

CQ 160 contest

Friday night at about 11 p.m. I realized I'd forgotten about the 160 meter CW contest this weekend. I tuned around the band, heard some stations, but it was dark, cold and snowy outside and I didn't want to go out and reconfigure the antenna. So I went to bed.

Saturday I went outside while the sun was out, it was still cold and snowy, and reconfigured the antenna so I could operate Saturday night.

I have a 80 meter off-center-fed dipole fed with ladder line up about 50 feet. For 160, I tie the two sides of the antenna together and feed it from the long wire connection on the Dentron MT-3000A tuner. On 80 meters, I've been running coax to a balun just outside the shack, and feeding the open wire from there to reduce RF in the shack. Hence the need to go outside to reconfigure antennas.

Saturday night I got on 160 about 5 p.m. as the band opened to the East Coast. I took a couple breaks in the evening to eat dinner and go somewhere with my wife, but by 11 p.m. I'd broken 30…

Noisy bands for NA QSO party

This weekend I spent several hours Saturday in the North American QSO party. This is a quick contest -- it only lasts 12 hours, and I operated about six of them. I wound up with around 240 contacts, but spent a lot of time battling my high noise levels. I could tell people were calling me, but I couldn't pull them out of the noise.

Noise has been an intermittent problem at my location, but it's gotten worse this winter. Hopefully, it will pass and I'll start hearing things again. If not, maybe I need that cabin in Arkansas with a remote station set up.

Straight key night

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Every year on New Year's eve and New Year's day there is an event called Straight Key Night, when cw operators get out the old straight keys and pound out a few contacts. I made eight this eyar, and it was enough to remember how much work is is to send with a straight key. Today we all use electronic keyers, much faster and much easier, but maybe not as much romance.

I'm always surprised my fist -- that's how well you send cw -- isn't that bad with a striaght key. I used two different keys, a Vibroplex I picked up at a hamfest a few years ago and an old miltary key -- it says WEP 1940 --on the bottom