Practicing with the Begali

Got my Begali Camelback straight key wired up with a standard 3.5mm TRS cable, and made up an adapter cable to connect it to the Heathkit HD-10 keyer.

Morse code keys and bug connected to a Heathkit HD-10 electronic keyer

I’ve been really enjoying practicing Morse code with the Camelback. The solid, weighty base gives it a super stable feel and a nice satisfying thunk-y sound as opposed to the more clack-y sound from the J-38 key. I’m sure if I mounted the J-38 on a more solid base, it might also have a nice thunk-y-er sound. I’ll have to look around for something heavy to attach the J-38 to now.

The Camelback is hefty enough that it doesn’t move around while I’m keying. The Vibroplex bug is also pretty hefty, but will slide around a bit while I’m using it. I probably need to replace the feet or put some grippy pads on them to keep it from sliding around.

USS Yorktown (CV-10) Commissioning 80th Anniversary

USS Yorktown (CV-10) aircraft carrier at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

The special event station to commemorate the Yorktown’s 80th anniversary went reasonably well. It was a nice day and good weather for operating on the ship. Ended up with a total of 5 other people joining me to run the station. Two of us were operating, and the others shared logging duties (two were new-ish hams and didn’t want to get on the air yet).

Ended up operating for just under 4 hours and got about 27 contacts in the log, all on 20m. Even had a bit of a pile-up going for a few minutes at one point.

Heard lots of POTA and Michigan QSO party stations while tuning around the band. It was an interesting day on 20m. The stations I heard and contacted were either super loud or really faint and hard to hear, without much in-between.

Even though we didn’t get as many contacts as I expected, it was still a fun day of operating. It’s been a while since I was last operating in the club room. I think I need to spend more time playing on the radio there.

Special Event: USS Yorktown (CV10) Commissioning 80th Anniversary

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the commissioning of the USS Yorktown (CV10). Like I did 5 years ago for the 75th anniversary, I’m planning to run a special event station from the club room (WA4USN) on the ship.

My current plan is to get started around 10AM or so, and operate probably until about 4 or 5PM. Activity will be on 10m, 20m, and 40m, depending on how the bands are behaving that day. We’ll also be listening on the 2m repeater.

Patriot’s Point will also be commemorating the occasion with reduced admission and events on the Yorktown throughout the day.

NC QSO Party 2023

Spent a few hours playing in the North Carolina QSO party, returning the favour for the NC stations that I got the previous day.

As usual with the nearby states, all the NCQP action I heard was on 40m, and all of them were coming in pretty loud.

Ended up the day with 47 contacts, 31 counties, and all but two of the bonus stations (N4[WRIGHT]) set up to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the Wright Brother’s first flight. I was just missing N4W and N4R. I did manage to work a W4W station though, but that was a different special event station.

Contest: NC QSOPARTY
 Band     QSOs     Pts  Mul  Pt/Q
     7      47      94   31   2.0
 Total      47      94   31   2.0
Score: 2,914
1 Mult = 1.5 Q's

Update 2023-05-30: The results for the 2023 NC QSO party were posted a few days ago and my 47 contacts got me 3114 points, including 200 bonus points. If I counted right, that put me at 31 out of 102 submitted logs in the out of state, phone, low power category.

SC QSO Party 2023

Made it back to participating in the SC QSO party this year after missing it last year. Apparently, the county we’re in wasn’t activated at all last year, so several of the SC contacts I made were a bit surprised they were able to add the county to their list. Surprised me too considering how many hams there are in my neck of the woods.

We put the Half Wave Society club call, W4BXC, on the air for the QSO party this time and had some friends over to participate. Had a lot of fun and made a bunch of contacts in both run and search/pounce modes.

Most of the SCQP activity ended up on 40m with a smattering on 20m. 20m was pretty crowded with a lot of POTA activations, and I didn’t hear a lot of stations calling for SCQP. I was even able to make a contact down on the upper portion of 75m although the radio wasn’t very happy with the antenna there, judging by the SWR meter.

Ended up getting the two bonus stations as well (W4CAE and WW4SF), but the highlight stations were OM2VL (Slovakia), Connie’s dad WA4BXC, and NT7S and his boys in Oregon.

Had a good time getting back on the radio for the QSO party. Looking forward to doing again next year.

Contest: SC QSOPARTY
 Band     QSOs     Pts  Mul  Mt2  Pt/Q
   3.5       1       2    0    0   2.0
     7      63     184   29    1   2.9
    14      11      44    5    0   4.0
    28       3      12    3    0   4.0
 Total      78     242   37    1   3.1
Score: 9,946
1 Mult = 2.1 Q's