Tuesday, August 14, 2012

News from A.R.S. W8MDE

During the summer months my amateur radio activity usually slows or is even non-existent at times.  When it's warm outside that is where I like to be.  The lack of ham radio related posts on the blog bears this fact out.

After a few weeks away from my basement ham shack I do start to get the urge to transmit some signals into the ether.  The SKCC Week End Sprint is always scheduled for the second Sunday of the month and luckily I had no obligations so I had a blast working stations around the country with my wireless setup.  Using the very fine SKCC NT9K Pro-Pump long lever straight key I jumped right in feeling like I hadn't missed a beat.  As far as straight keys go the Pro-Pump is the sweetest key I've ever laid a hand on.  Even if I haven't touched it in weeks the code just rolls off with machine like precision.

The SKCC club key is based on a world famous Danish design called the Amplidan Model 50713 pictured below.  The Amplidan which has unfortunately been out of production for a decade or so was manufactured by the MP Pedersen Company of Denmark.

Photo courtesy of Morse Express

    You can sure see the family resemblance.  The Amplidan was a professional marine key and a favorite of ship's radio officers from countries all around the world.  These days Morse Code graces the airwaves from one source alone -the amateur radio service.  After using my long lever key for a couple years I can sure understand why this style of key was favored by those whose job depended on well sent code.

August SKCC Week  End Sprint Log - W8MDE

7.050MHz    W9DLN    Wisconsin
7.053    KG4PRK    Iowa
7.055    KC3QU    Alabama
7.115    AC2C    Maryland
7.055    WA5KMA    Texas
7.050    W0YZZ    Missouri
7.114    KE1AF    Rhode Island
7.113    W7GVE    Arizona
7.052    WA1HFF    Massachusetts
7.051    KA2FIR    New Jersey
14.057    W0INS    Florida
14.053    WN4AT    Alabama
14.051    K7TKT  Idaho
7.053    WA3SEE    Maryland
7.052    WB0PYF    Missouri
7.051    KJ4AOM    Kentucky
7.055    K4ZGB    Alabama
7.049    KK0I    Wisconsin
7.053    AA5VE    Texas
7.051    K4CNW    South Carolina


Other than the contacts listed above my last radio contact was nearly a month ago and a memorable contact it was.  One day I was simply turning the big tuning knob on my radio listening to various hams transmitting Morse Code on the 40 meter band when I stumbled across a station calling CQ.  (CQ means "calling any station, if you can hear me please respond!") I recognized the call sign N8ZYA which belongs to a ham and fellow blogger named John who lives in Charleston, West Virginia.  I quickly answered and we successfully conducted our first radio contact.  I was very pleased to finally meet John over the airwaves as we have been following each others blogs for a couple years now. 

Besides radio John and I share a few common interests like bikes and guitars.  John lives in a historic district and cannot erect an outside antenna on his property so he works strictly QRP (5 watts transmit power) and utilizes indoor antennas for his amateur radio activities.  Because Charleston sits in a valley surrounded by hills on all sides John often jokes that his radio signals are reflected and  amplified by the big gold dome of the State Capitol building not far from his house!  Read about his amazing accomplishments on his blog: http://n8zyaradioblog.blogspot.com/


  1. Dude! So cool to see your card on this guy's blog! http://n8zyaradioblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/flying-pigs.html

  2. Hello Mike,

    Nice to see the familiar card. hihi I've been gone about a week. Looking forward to getting back to WV and spending a little time on the air myself. Hope you're enjoying the rides.