Solar Eclipse QSO Party

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The total solar eclipse that traversed the continental United States on August 21 was a golden opportunity to study the effects of the eclipse on  ionospheric radio propagation. A rather new organization, the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI), sponsored a QSO Party on that date to collect data to investigate what happens when the sun goes away for a few minutes.

From all accounts, the experiment was a success in that it confirmed the expected outcome – nighttime propagation conditions appeared, and then disappeared, in the middle of the day.

I took the day off from work and participated by setting up a portable station on my backyard deck. Continue reading “Solar Eclipse QSO Party”

Sweepstakes 2016

novembersweepstakeslogoWell, another ARRL Sweepstakes is in the books, and while I didn’t set any personal bests or come close to a clean sweep, I had fun during the time I had on the air.

In the CW weekend, I made 203 QSOs in 69 sections for 28,000 points in about seven hours in the NF8M shack. Additionally, I put perhaps 50 QSOs in the log at W8SH, my college club at Michigan State University. W8SH made just over 200 QSOs in total.

The phone weekend saw more limited time. Continue reading “Sweepstakes 2016”

North American QSO Party, CW

I enjoy the convivial fun of the semiannual North American QSO Parties, sponsored by the ARRL’s National Contest Journal. The exchange is simple – name and state – and you can work stations again on every band. Power is limited to 100 watts so you’re not competing with the “Big Guns”. It’s one point per QSO and states, counted separately on each band, are the multipliers.

It’s kind of like a pickup game of basketball, played by a bunch of friends from various teams during the off-season. Continue reading “North American QSO Party, CW”

CWops

cwops_225Earlier this year, I stumbled upon the weekly CWops sprints when working the monthly NAQCC sprint. Our “quiet” section of 40 meters around 7040 kHz was suddenly invaded by high-speed ops sending CWT and working each other with names and numbers. Sometimes, as QRP operators, we can feel like ants getting squashed underfoot, but among the callsigns were a few I had worked in the NAQCC events as well as some I recognized from other contests.

I recalled seeing the CWops events listed in WA7BNM’s contest calendar, so I checked it out. Continue reading “CWops”

WPX CW 2016

The portable "shack" location
The portable “shack” location

The CW WPX is one of my favorite contests, since I’m a multiplier for just about everybody I work. The CQ folks, however, schedule this contest on the last full weekend in May, which in most years also coincides with one of the biggest holiday weekends in the US, not only honoring our fallen service men and women but marking the unofficial start of summer. And is usually the case, my lovely XYL schedules us for a getaway “up north”, relegating any operation I had planned to whatever I can pack in the trunk of the car. Sure, I could stay home and spend my weekend in the basement talking to strangers, but I’ll take a family outing to Michigan’s Beautiful North and grab a few minutes here and there. Continue reading “WPX CW 2016”