10 July 2020

KS4TD

I checked my email this morning and my new amateur radio license was waiting for me.  I am now KS4TD.  After 23 years, I decided to change my callsign since I have lived in 4 land for close to 20 years now.  So I am beginning the process of changing everything over ... and there is a lot to do.  The FCC public database is lagging behind so if you look up my new call right now, it will show that it's expired from a ham (former ham) in Columbia, TN.  I'll start to use my new call immediately.  Yes, those are my initials ... STD.  Yes, haha, I get the joke but remember when I was born, those initials didn't have a negative stigma attached to them.  But still, I'm proud of my name, so my callsign is mine.  Now I won't confuse people by being a 5 call in 4 land either.

09 July 2020

SRY NIL

I have been receiving a lot of QSL requests for contacts I made in contests or in weekly nets, especially via eQSL.  I do not count contacts made during contests or nets as part of my normal contact log so please do not send me confirmation requests for those types of contacts.  If, during a contest, we're in a QSO, please ask me to do a separate contact for your purpose (DXCC, grid square, et cetera) and I will be happy to do that and log it.

03 July 2020

Week of contests

So, after Field Day, I've participated in the RAC Canada Day contest (my first time; enjoyed it; adding it to my calendar) and am now in with the 13 Colonies contest which is going well.  I've worked 11 out of the 13 stations and the bonus WM3PEN station ... now to work VA and NJ then try to grab the GB13COL (in England) bonus station ... another clean sweep!  I've participated in the 13 Colonies contest since it started twelve years ago off and on and, save for the boorish behavior of way too many contest participants, have had a lot of fun with it.

28 June 2020

Field Day 2020

I was going to join my local club for Field Day this year but I wasn't (and am still not) feeling so well with my broken foot.  I decided to stay home but I had the most successful solo Field Day operation yet.  I submitted my entry form online and have a total combined score of 284.  Not a huge score but I worked hard for with with the lousy propagation and working conditions during the contest.  Keep reading for a full breakdown and a map of the sections I worked.

21 June 2020

Why?

I just contacted a station that was activating a nature preserve in Indiana for Parks On The Air.  He was getting some steam going with people contacting him then some idiot started tuning up on top of him for no reason at all; this was malicious interference and not someone being an idiot just for tuning on top of a frequency in use.  The activating station gave up and shut down because of the malicious interference.  I cannot understand why these jackasses have a license only to run around QRMing everyone they think they don't like.  It makes me upset to hear that happening and it's happened to me before for no reason.

That's why I adhere to the DX Code of Conduct.  I give other amateur radio operators the same respect I want them to give me.  However, in today's world, it seems there's little respect to go around, especially in amateur radio, and it's really disheartening to see that.

14 June 2020

Been busy

I've been busy on the air!  I've been doing a lot of digital modes as of late but still making a few SSB contacts here and there.  Been cleaning up the shack, rearranging things, doing little stuff to keep me busy.  I switched my shack computer back to Windows 10 and installed all of my favorite software.  I even installed Echolink and RMS Express (Winlink) finally.  So far, so good.  Getting ready for Field Day.  I am considering going to a Field Day setup with a local club but it all depends if I can get a ride there and how the weather is.  If not, I'll run Field Day from home.  This year, for the first time, I'll give digital modes a try for Field Day.

24 May 2020

Caught up

I finally uploaded to LoTW and eQSL my logs for the past few days.  I've been busy elsewhere and just fell behind.  I have several direct and bureau DX QSL cards to work on as well.  I'll try to get to those tomorrow.  There's been a lot of good DX popping up all over the bands lately.  I use dxspots.com for my DX cluster and hamspots.net/hell for my Feld Hell spotting.  It's nice having a working station again.

17 May 2020

Busy on the air

My new antenna has been working quite nicely for me.  I have been busy making a lot of contacts and it's been fun.  I've worked all over the world even with not-so-good propagation though 20 meters seems to be doing better.  I've sent out at least 20 QSL cards this week and half of those via the bureau.  That new antenna seems to be making all the difference.  Tonight I worked Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Haiti, and Hungary.  I heard a station from Chile calling CQ but I couldn't work him unfortunately but I tried.  Been doing a lot of digital work with Hell and PSK31 which is a first for me.  A good way to pass the time while I am waiting to get my foot reconstructive surgery.

01 May 2020

Antenna is almost finished

Dad and I got the antenna mounted on the shed today but by the time we were done, we were both completely exhausted.  We will shoot the other end into a tall tree tomorrow but for tonight, I tied that end to a branch on that tree about six feet off the ground.  I went into my shack, connected the antenna to my antenna matcher and switched it to bypass (no matching needed), and immediately worked PB5X in the Netherlands, 4207 miles east of me, on 14.194 with a full 59 signal both ways.  So I'm already thoroughly impressed!  I then worked GB1954PJ in Bristol, England, and then worked PV8AL in Brazil, both on 20 meters.

I'm quite happy.  It's nice to be back on the air with my own antenna!  I'll try to get pictures of the antenna in the morning when there's no glare behind the antenna.

Antenna work

Dad and I worked on putting up the new antenna on Tuesday (April 28) and got as far as getting the antenna tripod and my aluminum conduit secured together then installing the antenna balun on the conduit.  Here's what it looks like from the ground:

The unfinished antenna in all of its glory.
The antenna's quite sturdy though it doesn't look like it from the picture.  The antenna will be mounted on the shed that is behind it, giving me roughly 40 feet in height on this end.  The far end will be shot over a tree to be tied off on.  We're hoping Saturday, which is supposed to be sunny and 74 degrees, will be a good day to finish mounting the antenna.  I can't wait to try the new antenna out!  I've been waiting a very long time for this.

I still have my Mosley RV-4C 10-40 meter vertical antenna, which includes an optional 80 meter coil, to install.  It requires a lot more work and also a new antenna base which is around $50 with shipping direct from the Mosley factory.  Once I have my needed foot reconstruction surgery on my right foot and I'm able to use it, I may go ahead and set this up permanently at my parents' home (where I am at now) so my dad can use it if he wants.

I am also considering setting up my Raspberry Pi 3B+ with Slackware./ARM Linux and using it for a shack computer.  Considering I have a little eight-foot by eight-foot room to myself, that would save a lot of space for me.  I'd still be able to do everything I wanted on the little Pi though.  Another project to think about.

22 April 2020

New antenna arrived

My new antenna showed up today in the mail.  It's physically smaller than I thought but it's very well-built.  The factory was nice enough to install the connection kit parts to the transformer for me.  Here's what I received out of the box (my phone's camera isn't the best):


I'm going to mount the transformer on a 10' high piece of aluminum conduit that I'll be putting into a satellite dish tripod.  I ordered the tripod off of eBay (new) and it should be here sometime either before or on Monday April 27.  Dad and I will attach the tripod to the shed's roof and shoot the wire over one of our trees.  Really looking forward to getting this done and back on the air on my own.  I'll make sure to take pictures with my regular 16MP digital camera (Canon Powershot A810).

14 April 2020

New antenna on the way

I ordered a 10-80 meter EFHW antenna from myantennas.com finally.  I am waiting for it to get shipped.  I can't wait to get a good antenna up permanently.  I've also been working on getting my 2 meter radio in the shack up and running.  It seems that propagation is getting better with the new solar cycle and that's exciting for me.

11 April 2020

The shack

So here's what the shack is looking like right now.  I took this picture with my webcam so it's not the best...

That's my IC-718 on top and my MFJ antenna matcher underneath.  A good little combo for me.  You'll notice I have not one but two SignaLink boxes; the USB one was a gift and the SL-1+ on top I found in a box of goodies that was given to us by a friend.  Both work great.  I am going to use the SL-1+ with the 718 and use the USB one with a possible station in my motorhome.

On the air

40 meters has been crazy busy today.  There's been several contests including the Georgia QSO Party going on.  I've had a lot of local QRM and I'm thinking it's from the neighbor's grow lights.  It is what it is and I am happy to get on the air.  My dad, KD7SXQ, has been letting me "borrow" his G5RV when he is not using it.  I really appreciate that.

07 April 2020

What a mistake...

Yesterday, I had discovered that my dad had accidentally nicked one of my coax feeds with his lawn mower so he and I worked to get the cable up and out of where it was to fix it.  I then discovered, much to my chagrin, that I had mixed up my 40 meter dipole and my 2 meter J-pole connections ... and all this time I was trying to load my J-pole on 40 meters.  Oops.  For now, my dad ran a jumper over to his antenna switch from my shack so I am using his G5RV in the evenings.  It works quite well.

I am planning on buying a EFHW antenna from myantennas.com very soon.  I've already won approval from my parents to mount a 10' piece of aluminum conduit on my shed as a mount for the transformer end of the antenna and will run the antenna to one of three trees on our property.  I hope then I will be able to get on the air full-time again.  I'm really looking forward to it.

For now, I am just mostly listening these days but with what looks to be a promising start to solar cycle 25, I am looking forward for the bands to be "alive" once again.  I am unable to work digital modes currently but will be fixing that soon, hopefully.

14 March 2020

Antenna tryout

I bought a nice Jetstream 1:1 current balun for my 40 meter dipole and I discovered I'd cut the wire too short.  So I am ordering more wire and going to extend the dipole to a 80 meter setup.  The balun works nicely though.  I am still working on getting the IC-718 set up with my Signalink.  I moved my ham shack computer back to Windows 10 and installed several programs from the N3FJP suite of amateur radio programs I'd registered quite some time ago.  All of that seems to be working,  My financial situation and physical health have not been well so I haven't been doing too much with amateur radio but things will hopefully get better soon on both sides.

23 February 2020

Moving back in time

After several years hosting my own ham radio related domain, I have decided to start using this blog again for my ham radio hobby.  My main ham radio website is at https://www.qsl.net/kd5col if you would like to visit that.

KS4TD

I checked my email this morning and my new amateur radio license was waiting for me.  I am now KS4TD.  After 23 years, I decided to change m...