Sunday, May 1, 2016

Near-Fest, more on projects and first Japanese CW contact

NEAR-Fest was in April this year and it was a good day. Clear skies and about 65~70.  The highlight for me was the home made apple pie at the church concession stand. HIHI

I actually went there looking for a "cootie" sideswiper key. I know I saw some there last year. Well there was none to be had. Oh well, I guess I will look on eBay and see if I can get one there. update: I bought a VibroPlex Single Level Paddle key. Let's see how I do with that.

I did pick up a in-line choke for me 160m antenna projects. Just waiting for the weather to get better to put it up.

I meet up with a ham I know from MA. His name is Brian WO1VES (wolves). Below is a picture of him dressed up in his wolf outfit. If you look closely, you can see the canine teeth, his tail and also two "tags" in his left ear. BTW the gentleman next to Brian is Harry WA1VVH. Sorry Harry.

April WES and SKS:
Had 41 QSOs in this months WES. Only spent Sunday doing the sprint. I was visiting my new grandson down in MA on Saturday. I was 52nd overall out of 243 and 40th out of 165 in the QRO 100 Watts or less category. Not fantastic but respectable.

For the SKS, I had 21 QSOs. I was 23rd overall out of 110 and 18th out of 86 in the QRO 100 Watts or less category. Again respectable.

Pretty much settled into a routine. I watch the SKCC sked page and also the SKCC skimmer looking for people that I can help or that can help me.

I have had 350 QSO logged in LoTW since Feb 21. Out of the 350 QSOs, 340 were CW and 10 were JT9.

I have been practicing with my SpeedX key. I still have problems with the dits.

I also was awarded DXCx25 and DXQx50. These are SKCC DX contacts. The DXC is unique countries and DXQ is unique SKCC members. The numbers represent the number of contacts.

I made my first Japanese CW contact on April 4. Was very surprised to see JR2IUB call sign pop up on the SKCC skimmer. Took a few tries but was able to complete the QSO with Takeya Saitoh. Thank you Take-San! Here is the QSL card form Take-San.

Rig has been preforming well. I discovered that if I set the filter bandwidth to 800 Hz and use both the NR (noise reduction) and APF (audio peaking filter), I am better able to hear weak signals. Still at software version 1.5. Don't see a reason to up grade as yet.

I have been doing things for my projects. First of all I have buying more tools. I was not very well equipped so I have purchased several useful tools: a board holder, a pin crimping tool and a really nice solder station that allows me to do surface mount components.

I have acquired most of the components for my WRAPS projects. Just a few more parts from the local hardware store to get.

The BITX20 project is sitting in the board holder. I plan on soldering some connectors on the PA board so I don't keep breaking the wires off the board. More work on this this coming month.

WAS awards:
Well I was finally able to get my ARRL CW WAS award (LoTW). I have them framed but not hung up yet. "Real Son Now"

OK I'll end it here for now - 73