Tuesday, December 20, 2011

time to catch up

Well it has been quite a while and quite few QSOs since I last made an entry in this blog.  So I will try to catch it up in one post that covers a few subjects.

Let me see..............

Let's start with the gas plug "lightning arrestor" that failed.  I had an SWR problem that started with random high SWR that would throw my amplifier into fault.  At first it happened radomly and on was not band specific.  It started the day before the December 2011 ARRL 10 meter contest.  No matter what I did,,,,,,HIGH SWR.  I hadn;t changed anything so it seemed it had to be something variable.  I also had high swr with just the radio and no amp..  One a whim I started at the shack side of the coax run where it enters the shack from the garage.  I pulled the lightning arrestor and hooked up the coax directly and no problem!  I inspected the gas cartridge and did not see any issues.  Replaced the complete arrestor and off we went.  Everything functioning fine.  So, the moral is.............. I don't know........... if you have not changed anything, check the things that are variable.  In my case I could receive signals and hear the difference when I would extend the BigIr and contract it.  So I knew the motor was running and the tape moving.  I replaced all the coax labor day weekend.  So that pointed at a link somewhere in the system.  The easiest link to check was the gas plug lightnening arrestor.

Texas QSO Party:
I think I wrote about playing in the Texas Qso Party.  Turned out I did pretty well this year, I took 2nd in my category.  Up one place from last year.  The lack of multipliers held me back.  I did not make too many DX contacts this year and did not work as many counties as would have been nice.  I am not complaining, don't get me wrong.  I am quite happy with the the results.  I hope to do better next year.

Hawaii Qso Party:  I don't think I wrote about this one.  Having lived on Maui two different times this contest has a special place in my heart.  This year I managed to take first place in my class. 

U.S. Island QSO Party:
This year a local ham Jeremy k0jcc came over and helped me operate the contest.  This was a nice break.  It gave me a chance to do some normal things along with contesting.  Jeremy did a great job.  Don't know the results of this contest yet or the results of the IOTA contest.

Speaking of the IOTA contest, this evening, December 20, 2011 (Texas Time) I worked quite a few Japanese stations on 15 meters including some that I worked during the 2011 IOTA. 
Arigato for the opportunity to meet you again.

The ARRL 10 meter contest was held earlier this month.  I hate to say it, but I can't spend 36 hours of 48 working a contest.  I think I managed 10 hours.  It was lots of fun.  I alternated between holding a frequency and search and pounce.  I think I made 600 plus contacts.  The bands were great.  Lots of stations.  Much DX. 
I wish the ARRL would do a 12 hour (cumulative time) category for this contest.

If you are reading this blog, you are probably aware that the upper bands have been wide open.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to work many new countries, in some cases band fills but in others, all time new ones, including South Korea and India.  What a thrill! 
I know many people have worked these countries.  But, I am doing this with a vertical, in the southern middle section of the US, Texas.  Yes I run an amp, usually at 500 watts, but it does not help me hear the stations.  Hearing them is often the most difficult part.  The old saying is true, you cannot work them if you cannot hear them.

I am slowly working on QSL cards from the 10 meter contest.  I need some of those countries I worked on 10 meters.  I have replied to all QSL requests, except for six that came in this week.
I really wish the RSGBIOTA would accept LOTW and that more stations used it.  It is refreshing to see that a number of stations that were in the 10 meter contest have already posted their logs to LOTW.  I try to post mine every 1 - 2 weeks depending on how active I have been.

Well that is all there is time to write about tonight.
I am experiencing another HRD deluxe logging issue that I cannot get on top of.  I think it is caused by an update to office.  I will try to post it here this week with a screen shot.  It surfaced in the last two months.

Until next time.
Good DX and 73
Leslie, AD5WB
Galveston Island, Texas

Sunday, October 2, 2011

qsl cards and DX

All qsl requests for N5I and Ad5WB have been responded to as of today.
Unfortunately, there a were a couple of requests that could not be verified.  Sorry.   

I hope you have had a chance to get on 10, and 12 meters.  They have been WIDE OPEN.
What fun indeed.  DX from most directions of the globe!

Until next time.
73 and Good DX
Leslie ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas

Thursday, September 29, 2011

RFI revisited, N5I and TXQP

Where to start?  If you read my earlier post about having RFI on my transmitted signal on 40 meters, I led you astray.  I said it was my receive antenna that was causing the issue.  Truth be known, after replacing every piece of coax in the system, most of it needed replacing anyway, the problem turned out to be the connection from my transceiver to my signalink usb unit.  When I would run the amplifier on 40 meters rfi was king!  I disconnected the usb unit based on a suggestion I received over the air one night and low and behold the issue is behind me.  So nice to have this learning experience resolved.

The 3rd annual observance of the land fall of hurricane Ike and the rebirth of Galveston Island is behind us.  I did not get to operate as much as last year.  The four letter word, work, got in the way.
 The first batch of qsl cards went out in today's mail.  I hope to have them all mailed in the next few days.  Thanks to all of you who responded to my calls.

Texas Qso Party
The Texas QSO party was last weekend.  (I am glad that the 40 meter rfi issue was resolved.)  As always it was a lot of fun.  Even visiting with the Troll who commented about my audio on 20 meters was, all things considered, fun.  I made over 900 contacts during the contest for my best ever finish.  But, we will see how it looks when the contest robot finishes looking at my log. I had a surprising number of duplicate contacts call me.  But what the heck.  Into the log they went.  Surprising openings on 15 and 10 meters.
I hope I had the chance to give you Galveston County.

Until next time.
73 and Good dx
Leslie, ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Museum Ship Weekend Revisited

In July, I attended the Texas City hamfest put on the the Tidelands Amateur Radio club, TARS.  I think this year was the 20th year for the hamfest.
While there, I ran into some of the group from BVARC, the Brazos Valley Amateur Radio Club.  They are the group that activated the USS Stewart and the USS Cavala for at least the last two years of the Museum Ship Weekend.
Bill was kind enough to give me copies of the qsl cards that were used for this years activation.
I want to share those cards with you. 

The radio room on the sub is incredibly small.

So, if you did not have a chance to work either the USS Stewart or the Cavalla this year, these are the cards.  If all goes as planned, you should have the opportunity to work them next year.

73, Good DX, and Good Propagation
Leslie, AD5WB
Galveston Island, Texas

Saturday, August 6, 2011

logs updated and qsl request

All logs updated through July 31.
Will start responding to qsl card requests next week.
If you need a card from NA-143 please read the qsl information on my page at qrz.com.

Very 73 and good dx
Leslie ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Iota Continued

Well, the contest is over.  It was fun.  I operated until around 2:00 AM local time.
My receive antenna was part of what was causing the rfi.  It was so bad, even with the coax choke, that the antenna was unusable.  A shame.  The idea of the antenna was to lower the static level on 40 meters.  The static at night on my vertical on 40 meters was s7 - 9.  I did not make as many contacts on 40 this year with island stations as I did last year.  I could not hear them.
Overall, I made more contacts this year but fewer with island stations.
I will find out in a few months how I did.
Of course I need to turn in my log first!

What next?  the Hawaii QSO party  at the end of August.

73 and good dx
Leslie AD5WB
Galveston Island, Texas

I actually heard the ST0R group fairly loud last evening, on 20 meters.
Wish they were that loud tonight, HI

Saturday, July 30, 2011

IOTA continued

Here we are after a nap and still on break.
I started thinking about the situation with the rfi.  I don't know why it started all of a sudden; but the idea is that rf is traveling back down my feedline (coax ) and getting into my rig.
The only 1 - 1 unun I have is on the vertical before the coax goes underground.
Wish I had another some times but.  So a coax choke to the rescue.  One coax choke made under the desk on a platic jar and a six foot jumber seems to have done the job.  Will know more later this evening but initial tests are promising!
Nice to be home and have the scrap materials to do this with.

73 and good dx
Leslie, ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas

IOTA contest

Well it is here.  The IOTA contest is at hand.  It started this morning. 
The bands are interesting.  They are shifty and sometimes there is propagation and other times it seems there isn't.  I think I worked more JA's this morning than at any one other time.
I started the morning on 40 meters and listened to my signal through the monitor.  Horrible.  Noisy!  Not intelligent at all.

Went to 20 then to 15 and have alternated between 20 and 15 meters for the first part of the contest.  I usually take a long break in the middle of the day and finish my 12 hours in the late afternoon, evening and early morning.
I spoke with some hams on 40 meters, late morning my time and they helped me identify that I have rf getting into the transceiver on 40 meters when I have the compressor turned on and especially when  transmitting through the amplifier.
I am not sure how this is occuring.  I never experienced any problems with this before.
The amp is usable on 40 with the compressor off.
Well we will see how it works tonight.
I moved some stuff around and changed a piece of coax, but the problem is still there.
Oh well.
Off to take what I hope is a long nap to get ready for the late shift tonight.
73 and good dx
Leslie AD5WB
Galveston Island, Texas

Friday, June 10, 2011

Follow up to Museum Ship Weekend

The bvarc group did a great job of setting up the stations.
There were two stations in the park and one of the Cavalla that were operating.
Here is picture of the two stations in the park.
The shade was really nice and we were fortunate to have a good breeze!  No mosquitos!  Yeehaw!
You can see the USS Cavala and the USS Stewart in the background.
Here is the view of the two ships from the park station:
 I guess I could have taken other shots; of the tugboats, ships, shrimp boats, etc that were passing by but somehow this seemed to be about the museum ships.  Suffice it to say, there was plenty of maritime traffic to be seen.
Unfortunately, the bands were somewhat dead on Sunday morning due to a magnetic storm.  Still a good time was had by all.
Until next time:
73  and good dx
Leslie AD5WB

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Museum Ship Weekend

On the weekend of June 4 and 5 amateur radio operators around the world will activate museum ships around the world.  The goal is make people aware of the ships and to make contact with other museum ships and ham radio operators around the world.
In Galveston, we have two museum ships.  The USS Cavala and Stewart.  The Cavala is a submarine and the Stewart is a destroyer escort.  The two ships are located on Pelican Island in Seawolf Park.
The Brazos Valley Amateur Radio Club will activate the two ships.  I am honored to be invited to operate with them.  I operated as a guest last year.  This year I should be on phone on Sunday morning.  I am really looking forward to this event.

This is the USS Cavala

This is the USS Stewart

This is a shot of both vessels on location at Sea Wolf Park.

Hope to work you!
73 and Good DXx
Leslie, ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas

Sunday, May 15, 2011


What a nice treat today.  I worked through a month plus of qso's that I wanted to request confirmation for.   I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the other operators had used LOTW.  This was by far the largest amount that I had come accross.  It was at least 50 %!
This really helps financially.  To request a qsl card from some stations is up to $4.00 US.  One dollar postage from here and three dollars from there.  It does not takke long for this to add up to serious pocket change.
Now................if only the iota program took lotw!
Until next time:
73 and good dx
Leslie, ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas

Thursday, May 5, 2011

spring / summer time

Ah............ the work year is almost done at school.  At some point next week I hope to be able to start vacation for the summer.  I am looking forward to spending some time putting the island on the air.  I have had some days where I have played radio these last few months, but I am looking forward to some prolonged sessions of calling:  "cq cq island on the air.  This is AD5WB, Galveston island, NA 143 QRZ!"

Hope to see you in the pile up.

73 and good dx
Leslie, AD5WB
Galveston Island, Texas

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yahoo! log woes solved

I am glad to report that my log issues with hrdlog have been resolved.  The upload  code evidently identifies with an individual computer.  So when I changed computers in January the old code would not work with the new computer.  I now have my online log with hrdlog working again and back on my qrz page.  All is updated.
I am also glad to write that JO3AXC, Masa, in Japan, is safe.  The part of Japan he lives in was not impacted by the earthquake or tsunami.  He and I have been trying to meet on the air for sometime but have had no joy.  But as conditions get better our chances get better.
Until next time:
Good propagation and good dx
Leslie ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas

Monday, March 14, 2011

log woes

I just realized yesterday that since I changed computers, in January, my online hrdlog has not been functioning.  SO..............
I removed it from my qrz profile.  When I can get it back up and functioning I will restore it.  In the mean time:  I will continue to upload to LOTW, ClubLog approximately every two weeks.  Of course, EQSL is till working on a real time basis.
Thanks for your patience.
Wishing you good propagation and good dx
Leslie, ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas

Sunday, February 13, 2011

dxpeditions and Japan

The last few weeks have seen some improvements to the bands and conditions have improved.
It has been interesting from my qth with a vertical antenna. 

I spent some time listening for the CE9/PA3EXX dxpedition to SA-097 and never heard them, except for one evening.  When I did hear them I spent an hour or so calling them.  When the op came back to me he had the number in my call sign as 9 instead of 5.  I corrected him and then the band immediately packed up and moved away.  I never heard a peep from them after that contact.

The same thing happened with the VP8ORK dxpedition to the South Orkney Islands.  In between work and family life I only heard them once.  It was really interesting to hear the pileup and see it on the cluster.  People from all over were working them and I could never even hear them.  Keep in mind, I am not shy about calling for a station even when they are faint.  As long as I have a resonable copy I will call.  But, I never heard them.  Finally one night on 17 meters I heard them and managed to work them right before they did an operator change.  They were loud and clear and I was able to work them easily.  Thanks for the new one guys!

It is amazing at what a little propagation will do.

JO3AXC and I have been trying to resurrect our sked of attempting to make contact.  So far we have not been succesful in making contact, but as conditions continue to improve I am hopeful that it will work for us.

I need to call about my amplifier.  I hope to get it back on the desk soon.  It would have saved me some time in working the TJ9PF dxpedtion to Cameroon for an all time new one.  I spent an hour or so calling yesterday on 20 and 17 meters before I managed to work them on 20.  My 100 watts and vertical was not quite getting through the pile up.  But, I got lucky and managed.  Thanks guys for the dxpedition.  I hope to work them on other bands before they quit.

So, that is about all the news.
I hope that conditions continue to improve.
Until next time....
I hope to meet you on the air.
73 and good dx
Leslie, ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

logs and amplifier

Just quick note regarding log books.
All logs are updated and online including:  lotw, club log and qrz. This is thru 1/1/11. 
HRD and eqsl update automatically.
I took my amplifier in to be worked on yesterday.  I hope to have it back in a couple of weeks.  There have a been a couple of times I really would have liked to have it working this Christmas vacation.  But,...............soon.

73 and hope to meet you on the air.
Leslie ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas

2nd addendum to contest season

As I looked at materials from the contests I realized that I did much better in accuracy in the TX qso party than I did in the IOTA contest.  In the IOTA I lost 13 qso and 7 multiplier credits.  The TXQSO party I lost 4 qso and 2 multiplier credits.  Something for me to work on in the future, for sure.
I can put this theme to bed.  Still waiting on the results of the w/ve island qso party.
I will post when they are announced.
Until then
73 and hopw to meet you on the air.
Leslie ad5wb
Galveston Island, Texas