Quadruple QSO party weekend

There hasn’t been a whole lot of radio activity going on here lately since Field Day.

There were four state QSO parties going on this weekend (AZ, NV, PA, SD).  After getting a SD station (W0SD), I decided to try to get at least one contact in the other three.  I wasn’t able to find any more SD stations, but I did manage three contacts in AZ, three in NV, and eight in PA.

While tuning around the other bands (there wasn’t a whole lot), I scored contacts with hams in the Dominican Republic and Slovenia.  There was also someone in Spain, but he had a bit of a pileup going that I wasn’t able to get through.

Also came across the AMSAT International net that I listened to for a little bit.

Good weekend to be on the air.

Field Day 2018

This year’s Field Day was a pretty good one.

Started off doing the first hour of Field Day at home running the radio off battery power. With the radio running 25-50 W, I racked up a few good contacts tuning around 10m, mostly from up and down the east coast.

Field Day antenna setup at the house
Field Day antenna setup at the house

Then it was off to the usual Field Day on the USS Yorktown with the  club. This year we were operating with 2 stations plus a GOTA station that appeared to attract some interest.

The GOTA station was run on battery that was being charged by a solar panel, and also featured a couple of VHF go kits and some Morse code keyers to play with.

At the usual operating locations, people were busy making Field Day contacts. I spent about an hour at the phone station operating, but listening to the band chaos wore me out pretty quickly, so I switched over to logging for a bit.

WA4USN CW/digital station
WA4USN CW/digital station
WA4USN phone station
WA4USN phone station

Spent another hour operating Field Day from home on Sunday morning and was able to score a bunch more contacts fairly easily. Then it was back to the Yorktown to finish off the last couple hours of Field Day and then pack everything away.

At home, I ended up with about 25 contacts over the two hours I was operating. On the Yorktown, the club ended up with 582 contacts spread out over 4 bands and 4 modes. Pretty good this year. Maybe it was the sacrifice of AJ4UQ’s HT to the ocean that helped this year.

We were lucky enough to have a couple of CW operators who were going at a pretty steady pace both days. It was fun to watch them operating. Some day I hope to be there doing CW.

Sunday CW operating for Field Day
Sunday CW operating for Field Day

South Carolina QSO Party 2018

This year, my plan for the South Carolina QSO party was to head on over to the club station on the USS Yorktown to activate WA4USN for a few hours, then come back home and finish off the rest of the day playing under my own call sign.

On the Yorktown, I was joined by Tom,AJ4UQ, and we operated WA4USN for about 5 hours (I was there for 4) and had a pretty good time making a bunch of QSO in the contest. The first couple of hours were pretty slow. On 20m, there were lots of rag chews, the French REF contest going on, but not much activity for the QSO party. Found some more activity down on 40m, but it wasn’t until after noon that things really picked up. Band conditions seemed pretty decent on 20m and 40m, with stations across the country in WA and CA coming in loud and clear. We ended up the day with 167 contacts and a score of 15088 points. A fun time operating on the ship.

After getting back home, I got the antenna and the radio set up outside on the back patio and started tuning around the bands. My first contact was on 40m with OM2VL in the Slovak Republic calling for SCQP. Happy I was able to give him a new multiplier for his day.

Found an open frequency on 40m and called for a while, making a few more contacts, then took a break to tend to the dogs. Noticed the house was feeling pretty cool, and found that the AC was running even though the Nest thermostat was saying it was Off. After futzing around with the Nest a while and resetting breakers, I decided the Nest was borked and set about switching it out with the original thermostat that came with the house. That pretty much derailed my plans for the rest of the QSO party.

So, I finished off the SC QSO party with 5 contacts. Didn’t get to play nearly as long as I was hoping to. Guess I’ll have to try again next year.

Not sure what caused the Nest to fail (actually, the base of the Nest). I’ve had a previous Nest base fail on me a few years ago so it could have been a coincidence. Can’t rule out the possibility that the Nest base got zapped by some RF while I was playing on the radio. It’s not the first time I’ve been on the air here though, and none of those times seemed to have bothered the Nest.

Tennessee QSO Party 2017

Spent a few hours playing in the Tennessee QSO Party over the weekend.

As expected, all the TN stations I was able to hear were on 40 m. Made a few more contacts than I did last time, but I think more counties this time. Wasn’t able to find the bonus station though.

 Band     QSOs     Pts  Mul  Pt/Q
     7      27      81   21   3.0
 Total      27      81   21   3.0
Score: 1,801
1 Mult = 1.3 Q's

Wasn’t hearing a whole lot of activity across the bands in general, but the 40m shortwave broadcast stations that usually show up in the upper portion of 40m late afternoon/early evening seemed extra loud when they appeared.

It’s nice having the shack back up and running, even if setting up and taking down the antenna means it takes a little more time to get set up.

NA and Eclipse QSO parties

Got the antenna up this weekend to participate in a couple of events. It’s the first significant amount of radio activity I’ve done at the house since moving from the old house.

On Saturday I spent a few hours tuning around the bands working the NAQP SSB contest. Managed a couple dozen contacts casually spinning the dial around on 20 m and 40 m.

On eclipse day, I managed to get a few contacts in the Solar Eclipse QSO Party in the morning. Didn’t hear too many stations on 20m, but there were a few. I heard a couple of stations out in Washington State, but couldn’t get through the pileup they had going. Made contacts with three other stations participating in the eclipse QSO party and made periodic checks on the WWV broadcasts (heard 10 MHz faintly at times, but 15 MHz was coming in loud and clear).

Sadly I had to shut everything down due to a thunderstorm moving in just before the eclipse started so I wasn’t able to make any more contacts or monitor the bands as the eclipse happened.

Good weekend on the air.