Monday, July 12, 2010

News From Amateur Radio Station KD8JHJ

As I noted in yesterday's post this past weekend was the July running of the Week End Sprint held by the Straight Key Century Club  I was looking forward to this event because lately It seems my code copying skills have reached the highest level since I became a CW operator nearly two years ago.  I'm sure the craziness of Field Day a couple of weeks ago had something to do with it.  I have also been making a conscious effort to practice head copy.  This means translating the dots and dashes of Morse Code in your mind without writing the characters down on paper.  I still have a long way to go but I have started to notice the ability developing.  I have my code practice software set at 30 wpm and while doing office work during the day I routinely hear three or more hours of random text or simulated QSOs (radio contacts) playing in the background.  This speed is too fast to keep up with pencil and paper so I am more or less forced to decipher the code on the fly.  The best way I can think to describe this process is like those red LED sign boxes that show the text flowing from the right to the left before disappearing.  I hear the code characters and assemble them on my mental chalkboard.  Sometimes half way through a word I am pretty sure of what the whole word is and the last few characters provide the confirmation.  I still use paper when engaged in actual radio contacts while running around 17 to 20 wpm but now I can look away to adjust a setting on the rig or open my logbook and continue to follow the message without totally falling off the wagon.  Becoming proficient with Morse Code has been quite an adventure and now I am starting to reap the rewards of my efforts.  The old adage "You get out what you put into it" really rings true with the Code.

Going into this sprint with enthusiasm and a positive mindset I posted my highest QSO count of any sprint since I started contesting last year.

Total QSOs:  35

States/ Provinces/ Countries worked:  MA, NC, FL, MO, MD, IL, NJ, WI, NY, AL, NV, VA, KY, PA, OH, MI, AZ, GA and Ontario Canada.

There may be some scores not yet posted but as of tonight my ranking stands at 15th out of 57 operators in the greater than 5w to 100watt category.  So needless to say I am feeling pretty happy with myself.

In other news...

Something that doesn't happen too often at KD8JHJ: I have added a new DX country to my list.  On Friday evening I was relaxing and watching some PSK-31 on the 30 meter band.  I noticed a strange looking call sign (SV1BDO/3) calling CQ.  Nobody answered so I threw my call out and to my surprise established contact with Sotiris, SV1BDO/3 located near Athens, Greece about 5,300 miles away.  I actually had to crack open the world atlas to see exactly where Greece was.  Not rare dx by any means but a new one in my log so all in all a great weekend in amateur radio at KD8JHJ.


  1. I saw that you had AZ on the list.....Good for You. Did I miss something, or am I just blind....did you list the frequencies you were using? Need to that WHEN I get on the air....we can duplicate the contact.


  2. AZ contact was with Ed, W7GVE in Golden Valley. 20 meters in the afternoon. 1,753 miles with 50 watts and a 46 foot piece of wire. Piece of cake on 14.050 MHz. The antenna was actually my 30 meter end-fed but I discovered my auto-tuner matches the impedence quick and it seems to work ok.

  3. Golden Valley, not near Scottsdale, but no reason in my mind why such a contact wouldn't work, especially if one of us had the wind at our back.

  4. Yep I know it will work. I worked W7GVE once before a month or two ago on 40 meters even. And another station in Pahrump, NV the other day. It seems the path is open to the SW much more often than it is the NW from my station here. The unpredictable nature of propogation is what makes it all so much fun!

  5. Propagation. Sorry, spelling is not my strong suit. No spell checker in the comment section.

  6. Now do you really think I would nottice?

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  9. So, did you participate in the recent Sprint on July 28th? I went to the SKCC's website to read about the sprints but I'm still not understanding what they are. They say that "The goal of SKS is to work as many stations as possible during the sprint period using a mechanical key", but what does that mean? Do you try to communicate with a station, get verification from them and move on to another one or something?

    Sorry for blowing up your blog with a million questions; it's just interesting.

  10. Mike
    Thanks for your interest. I thought somebody might enjoy hearing about this stuff. That's why I started this blog.

    Check out this post about contesting:

  11. That link explained everything. I can see how a Sprint would be a lot of fun but I can also see how you could get burnt out on it. I'm really interested to see your rig. I'll have to search the rest of your blog to see if you have it shown. Thanks.