Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Great going with HK0NA - all SSB/CW slots filled

It hasn't taken too long, but there were some tough pile-ups. This evening, about five minutes ago, I have worked HK0NA, the Malpelo Dxpedition, on 20m SSB, thus filling all the SSB and CW slots from 80 metres through 10 metres. Needless to say I am chuffed with this. All I was lacking as of today was 15m CW, which I worked at almost 6pm this evening, and 20m SSB. I had already worked HK0NA on 20m phone but they must have busted my callsign because it is not in the log for that slot.

And this evening was not easy. My MA5B is resonant on 20m CW, about 14.050, but NOT resonant on 14.292, where he was listening. So I improvised! I switched over to my trusty HF6V Butternut vertical, which I was able to tune with the Acom 1000 to give 400 watts and shouted on that while switching back to the MA5B minibeam to listen to him on 14.159. It took quite a few calls. He came back with "Echo India Two again" and then "Echo India Two Kilo Charlie Xray Five Nine QSL" but the Xray had been picked up obviously from "Echo" as I gave my call twice each time. Eventually he gave "Echo India Two Kilo Charlie Five Nine" and I was thrilled to give him a big 59 and thanks.

Now all I have to do is work them on RTTY slots HI HI !!

By the way, I worked VP6T Pitcairn Island on 40m CW this morning for a second slot and already they have confirmed my 80m CW slot on LoTW. Thanks a million guys!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The early bird catches the worm

Sometimes I have to do some extra work from home. Early on a Monday morning I often find myself at the shack desk around 7.30am. This morning was no exception. It can be a great time to be on the bands too. This morning I worked HU2DX, a new dxpedition to El Salvador, on 80m CW followed by 40m CW, a  new country on both of those bands. This was followed by two further QSOs with HK0NA, Malpelo Island, on 80m SSB and 40m SSB for two new slots, bringing my total to 14 band slots so far.

But by far the greatest highlight of the morning was VP6T, Pitcairn Island, on 80m CW. This is a brand new country for me, never worked before, and to get it on 80m was a real pleasure. For a short time he was 579 and it only took me a couple of calls to get into the log. That was around 8.30am, with EI just coming out of the grey line. VP6T's signal faded fairly quickly after that such that I would not have been able to work them 10 minutes after I did. Great job. To make it even better, I am in their online log, so the QSO is solid. Thanks guys.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Five band DXCC worked in less than 23 months

I have just received a QSL confirmation from OH2TA for a QSO on 30m via ARRL Logbook of the World. This is my 100th QSL on 30 metres, and is a very very special milestone for me. I now have 100 or more countries confirmed on FIVE bands, meaning I qualify for 5-band DXCC, which I will be applying for at the earliest opportunity.

This has been achieved entirely though LoTW - I will not be using any QSL cards to apply for 5-band DXCC. And I have only registered EI2KC with LoTW, meaning that all of the contacts towards the 5-band DXCC have been made since 3rd March 2010. In effect, I've achieved 5-band DXCC in less than 23 months.

I hope this should be encouragement for any small station wishing to work DX. For a long time here I was using just 100 watts and a vertical. The addition of the MA5B minibeam last summer made a big difference and in early Winter I added an Acom 1000 to give me 400 watts when needed.

I will say one thing - CW (morse) has been a big factor in all this. While I love SSB/phone and I also dabble in RTTY and PSK, CW has helped me get my country total way up. I have 191 DXCCs confirmed on CW on LoTW, and 125 on phone. So learn the code - it will help your totals!

Farewell P43JB (Joop), Silent Key

I am sad to hear of the passing of P43JB, Joop, who is reported Silent Key by OPDX. I worked Joop on four bands, and he gave me the pleasure of a new country on 12m. All the contacts were on CW. Here is the report of Joop's sad demise from OPDX:

SILENT KEY. Carl, AI6V/P49V, reports that Johan (Joop) Box, P43JB, became a Silent Key (SK) at approximately 1700z, Thursday, January 19th. He states, "He had a severely infected kidney. When the doctors tried to remove it, they found the area surrounding it full of infection, so they could not remove the kidney. His wife, Yvonne, and daughter, Barbara, Sue, myself and Lisandro, P43L, were with him when he passed away."
OPDX and its readers would like to send out our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of P43JB.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Some of the latest arrivals in EI2KC's mailbox

These are just some of the latest QSL cards received via direct mail recently here at the shack. I'm not sure which I am more proud of, the one from Lord Howe Island or the one from Vanuatu. I would probably pick Lord Howe because the operator, Merv N6NO, attached a note saying that out of 882 QSOs with Europe, he only had two EIs in the log, and I was one of them! So that is very nice. I worked him on 30 metres with 100 watts.

YJ0VK has only 13 EI calls in his log. I worked Vanuatu on 20 metres CW with my beam and 100 watts on October 8th last. It was a tough contact but I was delighted with the new country, and to get it confirmed.

The card on the left is from VK6JX, John, in Western Australia, for a QSO we made on 30m in November. Thanks for the lovely contact John!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

International Space Station on a small handheld transceiver

This video is from Edmund (2E0MDO) who picked up the International Space Station on a small handheld 2m transceiver near Worthing in West Sussex, yesterday morning.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One of the best things about ham radio is that it brings friends together

This photo was taken over the Christmas period by Barry M0DGQ who was visiting relatives in the Drogheda area. Tony EI4DIB decided to take Barry on a tour of various shacks and to meet some of the local hams, myself included. This particular photo was taken by Barry (I will upload one with him in it when I get it!).

I would like to tell you something about this photo. It is a picture of a group of ham friends. Jim EI2HJB is the treasurer of Dundalk Amateur Radio Society and is an all-round great guy. He helps out any ham with any problem. He has been involved in a number of antenna repairs and installations at my QTH, and almost every day of the week he is visiting other hams helping them out. Oleg EI7KD (formerly EI2JK) is a CW only op, and loves contesting. Keep an eye out for some big news about Oleg coming soon! Currently he operates from a city centre apartment complex and is a genius with antennas and electronics. He modifies and builds his own radio equipment and antennas. To the right of me is Pat EI2HX, an avid fan of ATV on the microwave bands. Pat is not too active on HF but can be found most days on 2 metres chatting with us locals, and is one of the most sociable hams you could meet. He has also got me out of trouble a few times by helping out with antenna erections and repairs, and a few PL259s! He is fond of a cup of tea or seven! Tony EI4DIB needs no introduction. He won an award in 2010 from the IRTS for services to amateur radio, and well deserved in my opinion. He has been helping hams for years to get up and running on the bands and this seems to be one of his major driving forces. He derives great pleasure from helping others to get on the bands. I have been on the receiving end of this good will since I started studying for my licence. Thos EI2JD is a major DXer and contester, and runs a big station in Clogherhead, a small fishing village near Drogheda. He is one of only three EI ops to hold 10 band DXCC and runs the contest team EI0W. His love of the hobby is indefatigable and he has boundless enthusiasm, always dispensing advice and help where he can. He has given me lots of advice and support and is always willing to help a friend in need.

So as you can see, amateur radio is a wonderful hobby, and hams are some of the warmest and most helpful people you can meet. It is a great hobby. We are very lucky to be part of it.

Happy New Year to all my ham friends, those I have met, and those I have yet to meet!

Monday, January 2, 2012

100th DXCC worked on 80 metres

The first day of 2012 brought success on 80 metres, which is a challenging band for me. I nabbed HH2/HB9AMO in Haiti at around 1am, just an hour into the new year. That was DXCC number 99 worked on 80m. Tonight I worked V5/DK1CE in Namibia as DXCC number 100! I only started on 80 this winter on December 4th. At that stage I had just 87 DXCC worked so I have added another 13 in less than a month.

Also I had my 100th confirmed DXCC on 17 metres today by LoTW so that makes four bands on which I have qualified to submit for a DXCC award. A good start to 2012 . . .