Monday, January 23, 2017

QRV on 60m

US hams have had the 60m band available for use for 14 years now. It has never appealed to me and many others due to the channelized nature of how the band is allocated. After all, we have VFO's, not channel selector switches.

But the factors that limit the band's functionality for DXing (ie, split freq operation, etc.) offer no hindrance whatsoever to the digital modes.

With a ladder line-fed 80m dipole that works a treat on any band 10-80, I finally decided to give the band a try a couple evenings ago on JT65. It tuned easily and my first QSO on that new-to-me band was with OM3EY.

Friday, January 20, 2017

2 new DXCC entities

At approximately 1700Z today the USA will divide into two new entities: TrumpLand and the Clinton Archipelago.

The maps below show the unusual geographic division, based on voter preference of the two candidates in the November 2016 election.

Expect Clinton Archipelago to be the tougher of the two entities to work. In fact, it may be quite rare as so much of its population moved to Canada back in early November.
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Unsolicited gems from the buro

It's always nice to get a QSL in the mail from a new entity or a big DXpedition responding to a QSL request...but by far my favorites are the surprises - the cards from rare entities that send out their QSLs before I've gotten around to sending mine.

These unsolicited cards "via the buro" made my day:
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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Don't call us, we'll call you - a new type of DXpedition

The upcoming (?) much-talked-about (in DX circles anyway) maybe-DXpedition to Bouvet by Dom 3Z9DX is offering a hint into a new way to finance such excursions to difficult and remote entities.

No details are yet on Dom's website but various methods of funding expensive DXpeditions have included various pay-to-play scenarios. It's been done before, though not recently.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Measurements vs. calculations (and a give-away)

Q-PWR-150
One of the most useful features in Elecraft's KX2 is also one of the least mentioned: the ability to measure amp-hours consumed.

Using it was an eye-opener for me in terms of how long a small battery would power a 10-watt rig.

I recently had the need to power another 10-watt rig in such a way (and with so many variables) that calculating the needed battery capacity would have been an exercise in frustration. Here are the details:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Flex updated, new DX goal for 2017

I spent half an hour yesterday doing something I'd been dreading like a root canal - updating the software that runs my Flex 6300. My dread stemmed from all the updates I'd skipped and thinking that there would be "issues" due to an unwanted Windows 10 "upgrade" my PC surprised me with several months ago.

I ended up doing the update as if it were an entirely new installation of the software. Removing the old version is more involved than simply running an uninstall routine but all the steps are detailed here (thanks, Tim - you da man) and the entire process was headache-free. The "new" Flex looks the same but with some significant behind-the-scenes improvements.

The next step was to install and configure WSJT, a mode I haven't used since playing with it briefly in 2015. An entire year went by without me using anything but CW (and a few phone contacts during NPOTA activations).

But that's about to change...