September 18, 2014
Zorro, E30FB is there and was working EU and East Coast plus a few Central stations with 100 watts to a vertical, but just came back on with full power. Several in the Denver area have worked him, and I can only hope his signal “marches out west” as ZS8M did back on 16-SEP-2010 at 0409 UTC. In just a little while, we will see the grey line over both of us:
Others in the SF Bay Area say they just hear noise – so we shall see. That area of the world is the hardest for me – but last October, 7O2A was very clear – and I worked him much easier (20M) than I did 7O6T on 17M. And that was with my Moxon at 55′ – my new yagi at 55′ is quite a bit better.
I am hearing him barely bobbing in the noise. Its 0249 utc, so lets see if we get the “enhancement” ……
We are, but its weak. I can hear his voice and hear who he is calling – most of the characters. The noise has dropped down. With the noise drop, I can call him now – but the competition is insane. I gave a few good tries anyway.
I think that “enhancement” lasted 10 – 15 minutes – so it was like ZS8M, except this time – the rest of the country was still calling him. With ZS8M – his signal “marched across the country” with the grey line – favoring each part of the country as it progressed.
The problem right now is he is soooo weak, and anything east of the Mississippi says he is S9.
Its 0323 UTC and I no longer hear him. The prediction was very much nailing the grey line.
Several recent postings have mentioned a full on DX-pedition coming up “soon”. Lets say its November, 2014 – for the SF Bay Area, 20M looks awesome on the morning grey line:
In fact – look how this path and time actually favors the West Coast – WOW!
Here is what DX Atlas says 1600 utc looks like on November 20th:
Fingers crossed – this would be something to really to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving!
September 14, 2014
The Best DX-pedition Leader EVER, is the last leader (and team) who gave me an ATNO. PERIOD.
When you read the eHam DX Forum, you will see that the one theme that the denizens of that fine lounge agree on – is an ATNO is revered – no matter who or how it was worked. That’s the only thing that breaks the usual din and drone and banter – its the one time everyone seems genuinely happy there. Lots of high fives – the most recent “biggie” being FT5ZM.
When I look through my DX Honor Roll QSL Binder – it reminds me who I need to be thankful for – and as far as I am concerned, anyone who gave me an ATNO deserves to be in the CQ DX Hall of Fame.
I started DX-ing in July 2001 – so missed many “legends” – even though these legends were out there activating places after I went inactive (1977) and before I returned to the hobby – as a DX-er.
I was surprised at how many have been chastized for this that or another thing. For example, I worked Desecheo (K3LP/KP5) BEFORE K5D, and that activation had to end abruptly, but those two guys (Dave and Kam) were my absolute heroes at the time because they went and activated an ultra rare entity and did it with a huge surprise. ZL9HR was one of my all time favorites – even with the ensuing controversy. Same with 7O6T (no controversy) – but – huge surprise. Vlad, UA4WHX – way too many ATNO’s to count. Mike and Jan, George and Tomi, Nigel and Roger, Chuck – N4BQW, scientists at Franz Josef and Antarctica and Macquarie, etc, Cordell Bob – San Felix and Kure especially, Five Star – 3B’s especially, Hrane – Baker especially, Siggi, Pierre (working as ZS8M), Microlite Penguins – FT5XO especially, Ed – P5/4L4FN, Ralph and Bob – too many to list just one, all those activating Andaman and Lakshwadweep, Pooyan – EP3PK, Diya – Z81D, Team Vertical, Monk Apollo, Elmo and Friends, Dietmar, Franz, Zorro, Joe and Friends, The guys who activated TO4E, Silvano and his crew, Martti and Wayne – too many to list, W6RGG with BS7 – see what I mean?
Some are at the top of my list because of what they did antenna wise (Team Vertical) – or propagation wise – independent of the “number of Q’s” made.
Now – this is coming from an “Armchair DX-er” – the guy who donates $100 for ATNO’s. I happen to donate ahead of time – and then donate more when I apply for the card on OQRS. I feel like I am a cheap skate – I know how much these activations cost . . . so I try to support at what I think is a “reasonable” level. But the League of Armchair DX-ers are “the customers” in this game. Are the customers always right?
Many, many DX-pedition Leaders and teams would qualify – way too many to count. I know I have missed some – but all of these people are special to me – when I look at my QSL book – these are the people I remember and hold high in esteem. And the DX-ing hobby would be boring without all of these different people and their different approaches and styles. And controversies. Its part of the “fabric” that gives the DXCC program its “mystique” – because if it were just a logical award with technically expert / precision DX-peditions I’d be collecting stamps instead.
September 13, 2014
I will be presenting in the Friday Antenna Forum at Pacificon 2014. Here is the link to their web site:
Look at the Forums section, and then the Antenna Forum section. In case you can’t make it, here is the presentation:
September 12, 2014
My submissions to the DXCC program have dwindled down to next to nothing. 160M DXCC is a sloooooow slog – but I like the fact that it is “throttled” by the lack of people on 160M from the various entitities – because this way I will have something to chase after every “DX Season” for the next few years or so.
I am predicting that it will take 2 to 3 more Winters to get to 100 on 160M.
September 11, 2014
The 20M 3L full sized, home brewed yagi is now up 55′
I have found that this antenna works very well on 17M as a rotatable dipole. So, 20 and 17M are very well set.
The 40M phased array will stay up. It really rocks on 40 and 30M, and at the last minute, I decided that taking the 20M yagi from 45 to 55′ was enough – I did not want to add extra weight to make it top heavy. Also – I used my tuner on the driver element on 40 and 30M and found that at 36′ – a shortened dipole at 55′ would be about the same as the phased array. I know a full sized dipole at 70′ would be better, but 55 to 70′ is a big difference on 40M.
160M and 80M are very well set. I have “run the gauntlet” on what I can do on these low bands – and on the air tests show that this 55′ vertical is very much equivalent to a Hy Tower. Which is easily as good as it gets on a tiny lot.
This antenna plays better than trying to use the 20M yagi driven element on 15M. This Moxon also plays very well on 12 and 10M as a rotatable dipole – so I am now covered on all bands, and can run full legal limit.
Of course, the best thing is that I can hear almost everything that is spotted in the SF Bay Area. I have come a long, long way since July, 2001 – when I first started DX-ing.
These are the best of DX times!
September 11, 2014
Dany, ZS3D is S8 right now, and Q5. This certainly heralds the Autumn equinox – almost like a beacon. I haven’t heard Dany on this path since the Spring equinox. But – over the summer, the morning grey line to ZS was excellent. Any way – this really reminds me of working Pierre, ZS8M on this path when I was still worried about how long it would take me to get to Honor Roll – hi hi.
September 10, 2014
Before I made Honor Roll, I secretly wanted to get Honor Roll over with – so I could just have “one antenna to rule them all”. I knew that 20M is, was, and will probably remain the biggest “money band” – at least until we get to the bottom of Cycle 24. I also have to work 38 more on 160M to get that out of my system.
We were at the bottom of Cycle 23 for what seemed like 3 years (at least), and there were many, many days, weeks and months on end when even 20M was completely closed.
Luckily, the low bands stayed open, and my 40 and 30M tallies grew. My dream this time is to replace my 20M yagi – which will be up 55′ by tomorrow, with the antenna you see above – W6NL’s modified Cushcraft XM240 40M monoband shortened yagi.
I don’t chase DXCC Challenge slots any more – just wait for ATNO’s and work 160M DX – when something I need is actually on. I only worked one station on 160M all summer – an HK, and that was fun – otherwise its been since March or April since the last time I worked a new one on 160M.
Anyway, one thing I have done is camped out all summer on the morning grey line, and worked many, many ZS’s and some FR’s and even an FH on 40M – and mostly SSB, actually. It has been a ton of fun – and there is a group I jump into here on the West Coast where we are all LP Africa “junkies”. One morning I worked V51B, Andre 2 or more hours past sunrise – with S9 +20 signals – it was amazing – and quite a long distance on the LP – I think the farthest. My 500 watts and phased verticals worked very well.
Now – at night, I have also really enjoyed 20M SP to AF, EU and the ME, so between these two antennas and bands – I get my DX-ing “fill”. And NONE of this was working DX for any kind of award credit – it was just to marvel at propagation. That night time path is fading – but HOORAY! The 40M night time grey line is just starting to crank up. I’ll never forget working Pierre, ZS8M on the night time SP grey line path to Marion Island – one of my favorite QSO’s ever. Made me a big lover of the Autumnal Equinox – which we are just about at.
It may sound crazy, but I even like how when the 40M band goes from long to shorter, there are still people to work all over the western states – so even checking into the “noontime net” is fun. In fact, there is always something interesting going on 40M – 24×7 – maybe that’s why I like 40M the most. During the Winter – 40M stays pretty long all day too – so that’s fun. Funny too – when I was a Novice in 1973 – I was “stuck” on 40M with just a few crystals. I hated 40M for that – but my, how have times changed. Even the SW broadcast stations are mostly gone – at least in the bottom portions of the phone band. CW has always been fine.
But at some time – before we move away from Orinda (in about 10 years), I will put up a 40M monoband yagi at 60′ and really have some big fun. I expect to do this is 4 or 5 years, and that time – I might even be done bothering with any awards. I have been finding that even my last little “hurrah” chasing any DXCC awards have days that are numbered. I think DX-ing for DX-ing sake is plenty enough of an award.