SC QSO Party 2013

Saturday I played in the SC QSO party for a few hours. Started in the early afternoon and spent some time tuning around 10m, 15m and 20m listening for activity, but like the TN QSO party a couple weeks ago, the only place I was hearing any SC activity was on 40m.

Dropped down to 40m and started hearing a few stations here and there that I managed to get. Later on in the evening things started picking up and I was hearing a lot more SC stations. This QSO party marks the first time I found a frequency and called out CQ, rather than operating in seek and pounce mode (which I also did). Sitting on a frequency and calling out is a bit of a different experience. I didn’t get any pileups or anything, but did end up making 16 contacts over the course of an hour or so. It was pretty fun.

Ended up the day with 30 contacts in the log and got 11 SC counties, including AA4XX in 3 counties.

Had lots of fun playing radio over the weekend. Definitely need a more comfortable chair for the shack.

TN QSO Party 2013

As a bit of a warm up for the SC QSO Party in a couple of weeks, I spent a few hours on the air yesterday playing in the Tennessee QSO Party.Started off slow, but then it started picking up late afternoon/early evening. Made 22 contacts in S&P (seek and pounce) mode tuning around 40m, including the K4TCG bonus station. Not a whole lot but I was content with it. According to N1MM, my score should be 620.

I wandered around 15m and 20m, but the only TNQP activity that I could hear was on 40m. Picked up plenty of rag chewing and nets on the other bands, but zero TNQP activity. I thought it was kind of odd, but maybe those signals were just skipping over me.

Logging was a little easier this time around because now I have a connection between the laptop and the radio, so N1MM is able to get the actual frequency from the radio instead of me having to go back and edit the contact afterwards.

Had fun making contacts. Looking forward to participating in the SCQP on the 21st. There were apparently no QSOs from Charleston County last year, so maybe that will make me a much sought after QSO.

NAQP 2013

Saturday I spent a few hours on the radio participating in the North America QSO Party. Managed to pick up 46 QSOs mostly on 20m and 40m. Added a few new states towards my quest for WAS, including CA, WA and CO. I was just tuning around casually picking out the reasonably strong signals that didn’t require me to work too hard to interpret, as well as states that I knew I didn’t have QSOs with previously.

One thing I did decide during the course of playing radio was that the shack needs a more comfortable chair.

#WATwitter QSO Party fun

This past Thanksgiving week was busy, but managed to get some time to play radio on a few days. It was the first significant amount of playing on the radio with my new call sign, AB4UG.

Broke out the radio in Connie’s car on the way up to Chattanooga, TN and managed to work a few stations while mobile. Even managed to get a SOTA (Summits On The Air) station in Pennsylvania while we were on the road. Worked stations as far away as San Diego, CA and up north into Ontario and Massachussets. Most of my contacts were on 20m, but I managed to get in a few on 80m and 40m. On my handheld radio, I got Connie on 2m simplex from across the parking lot. Hey, that still counts, right?

After playing around with a few different logging programs, I decided I liked the way CQRLog worked under Linux. Transferred the paper logs to CQR and uploaded an ADIF export to eQSL. Waiting on the postcard from ARRL to finish setting up my new call sign on LoTW and once that’s done I’ll send the logs there as well.

I counted up 32 contacts (including a duplicate or two) over the #WATwitter week. It was pretty cool making contacts and handing out 2-for-1 QSOs. Richard/N1KXR was even lucky enough to score a 3-for-1 QSO when Connie’s dad (WA4BXC) happened to walk by.

It was a lot of fun making contacts with people I see talking about radio on Twitter. Looking forward to doing more #WATwitter in the future once we get the shack set up.

#WATwitter QSO Party

This is an article about the #WATwitter Thanksgiving QSO party that I was asked to write for DXCoffee. You can see the original post here.

Twitter is one of many social media sites that helps connect people around the globe by letting people send short 140 character messages. As it turns out, there are a great many amateur radio operators around the world who also use Twitter. Some of them use their call signs as their Twitter ID, or might use something else. How do you find Twitter-using amateur radio operators? Try searching for a call sign, or look at the #hamr or #hamradio hash tags.

The idea for the Worked All Twitter Thanksgiving QSO Party started in 2011 when Connie Bird/NR4CB (@Bionic_Nerd on Twitter) came up with the #WATwitter hash tag to help arrange QSOs with other Twitter-using amateur radio operators over Thanksgiving. That grew into Twitter hams trying to work other Twitter hams. Like the Worked All States or Worked All Continents, the idea behind Worked All Twitter (WATwitter) is to make contacts with as many Twitter-using amateur radio operators as you can.

In September 2012, the idea of making Thanksgiving WATwitter a regular annual event was proposed. In the US, Thanksgiving is perhaps the largest holiday of the year involving mass migrations of people traveling to visit family. Many people are off work or school and close to their radios, which makes it easier to make contacts.

WATwitter Guidelines
This year the WATwitter Thanksgiving QSO party will take place between November 21-25, 2012. These are some guidelines proposed by Connie/NR4CB for the WATwitter Thanksgiving QSO Party

Who: Any licensed operator who also uses Twitter
Where: All bands, all modes. To let as many people as possible participate, use the portion of the band open to the most people, i.e. the technician portion of 10m, the general class portion of 20m, etc
Exchange: Your normal exchange plus your Twitter handle, especially if it’s not your call sign
Spotting: Self-spotting is practically required. Tweet your frequency, interact with people on Twitter, and get other people to meet you on the air at a specific time and frequency.
Hashtags: #WATwitter and either #hamr or #hamradio
Why: Connect with people using both social media and on the air

Have fun! Log your contacts, tweet your tallies to others, but there are no scores or awards. A nice twitter app created by Tomas/OK4BX (@ok4bx) will keep track of the activity during the event. Include@twQSO in all the QSOs you tweet.

WATwitter doesn’t have to happen at Thanksgiving though. It can happen at any time. If you’re on the air, throw your CQ out onto Twitter (using the #WATwitter and #hamr/#hamradio hash tags) and see who responds.