DX, the bands are open again

Sorry I've been away from blog, but I've been very active on the radio past couple months, and I just haven't kept up with blogging. In the meantime, the bands have been open, and I have to say I'm chasing more DX than I every have in my ham career. Tonight, for example, I worked Fiji, 3D2A, on 10 meters at around 9 p.m. local time with my first call. That blew me away. Then I came back down and worked Israel, 4x4FC, on 40 meters on the second call. I just don't have that kind of results with my simple ground mounted vertical. In the lst week I've worked Greenland, Guam, Jordan, Sardinia, Fiji and Israel. Most of those are new countries for me, and using the Logbook of the World system, I've been able to watch my country count steadily grow. Then while I was writing this, I managed to workd JW/F8DVD which is an expedition to Svalbard, whcih is an island in artic sea north of Norway. I managed to snag him in a lucky shot in middle of pileup. Another new one.

Mini Cooper ham radio install

Here's more details on installing ham radios in Mini Coopers. On my R56 I used the heavy-duty Comet lip mount on the edge of the back hatch and had an ATAS 120 antenna on it. It worked well, and I could get into parking garages. When I was looking at trading the R56 for my Clubman, I assumed I could use the same mount on the center of the back doors. But I've spent days messing with it, and it just doesn't work well. The coax is just enough to bother the proper closing of the door. So at the moment, I'm confined to 2 meters and 440. I used a small lip mount on the club door -- I think that's what it's called, and it works OK. It isn't real pretty, but it isn't too obtrusive. Nobody has ever noticed it when looking at the car. Next summer I may try removing the AM antenna and putting a simple quarter-wave in its place. For the radio, I'm using a Yaesu 7900 with the radio mounted in the back cubbyhole under the false floor, and the control head at

Timewave ANC-4 works

I've been battling very bad line noise, and made the jump to buying a noise reduction device from Timewave, the model ANC-4. It uses a second antenna, picks up the noise, moves it 180 degrees out of phase, and removes the noise before it hits your radio. It sounded too good to be true, but it does work. It's not simple, and not 100 percent. After reading reviews, I saw a lot of positive, but also saw people who said it did nothing and they returned it. For the first couple days I was in the did nothing category, but I kept experimenting with different receive antennas, until I found a combination that worked. If you aren't picking up the noise on the second antenna, you can't use it to phase out the other noise. So that's the key. Now I'm using the dipole as my main antenna, and the vertical as the noise antenna. I have it set up so I can switch antennas quickly, using the vertical as main and dipole as receive. Meanwhile, my noise has gotten worse, so this is t

Sweepstakes results -- clean sweep

For years my goal has been to complete a clean sweep in the CW ARRL Sweepstakes. A clean sweep is working all 80 sections in the US and Canada, which includes Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Several years I've been close with 78 or 79 sections, but I never managed to get the Northwest Territory in Canada. This year I was fighting high line noise, and wondered whether to even take part. But I started out and started getting some of the rare sections -- North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota -- right off, so I got hooked. The contest started at 4 p.m. local time, and by the time I went to bed at 1 a.m. I was close to 400 contacts and had 76 sections. I was missing Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Newfoundland and Northwest Territory. So I thought I had a real chance for the sweep. On Sunday, I started out with a good run on 40 meters, and after it got light moved to 20 and 15 to look for my three missing multipliers. I didn't spend full time at the radio, just checking the s

Illinois QSO party

I had a great time last weekend working the Illinois QSO party. I wound up with about 375 contacts, and a good number of multipliers, so I should end up with a respectable final score. But what's more important, I had a great time doing it. Everything seemed to work -- I spent most of my time running frequencies (calling CQ and having people call me) on 40 and 20 cw, and when things were slow, I moved up to 40 SSB and did about 120 contacts, and picked up a bunch of new multipliers in counties that just weren't on CW. One of the highlights was having a European station call me on 40 cw at 3:30 in the afternoon. Working Europe at night on 40 is no big deal, but I've never worked Europe on 40 that time of day. In the end, I worked about 10 different Europeans on 20 and 40, which was nice and gave me six additional multipliers. The Illinois QSO party is always about three weeks before cw Sweepstakes, and gives me a good warm-up for it. I'm ready.

Radio for sale

My trusy Icom 765 is for sale on Here's a better photo than you can see there.

Contest season is back

Contest season is starting up, so I'll be more active, and share more here on the blog. I added the Elecraft P3 Panadapter a couple weeks ago, and I've been happy with it. This weekend was the California QSO party, so I used it as a good chance to see if I have all the software and radios working together. So far, it is. I can even run the P3 Panadapter and the LP-Pan Panadapter on the computer at the same time, so I have band scope both on the computer and on the screen next to the radio. The attached video gives a quick demo.