Sunday, June 28, 2020

2020 ARRL Field Day-ND9E

2020 Field Day

I did not have time to setup portable or even put up a portable antenna at home this year so I decided to stay home and operate as a 1D station like the majority of folks. Glad the ARRL changed the 1D rule for this year. 

Operating time was Saturday evening and Sunday morning. I started on 40 meter PSK31 and had so much fun that I didn't try 20M until 10PM. It was nice to operate on 10 and 15 meters again. Lots of folks are saying the bands were horrible but if you get 6, 10 and 15 meter openings it couldn't have been too bad. 

I had my normal trouble getting California and western stations but I never spent any time on 20 meters during Saturday afternoon. 

My final score was 750 per the ARRL. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Winter Field Day 2020

This was my 5th Winter Field Day event which was scaled down from previous years efforts. I was not able to operate the entire time and some other operators had other commitments so this was a
1 Home station this year.

I had planned to at least get an 80 meter wire antenna up but mother nature decided to flood a good part of my backyard so I had to use my 32 foot vertical which hurts me on 80 meters.

I was able to operate some Saturday evening so I missed the chance for any 20 meter operating and 40 meters was about dead so I had to limp along on 80 meters. Sunday morning I was able to make 20 and 40 meter contacts and I mainly focused on PSK31. Operating was done only on 20, 40 and 80 meters. I tried Sunday for any 15 meter contacts but had no takers. I did learn that on my IC-7200 I could use the manual notch filter (MNF) to knock down some of the monster PSK31 signals and restore my waterfall display. Usually the MNF is used to notch out birdies or someone that is tuning up near your frequency.

The station setup was a IC-7200 radio, LDG tuner, Signalink USB for digital, K42 CW reader for CW and the ground mounted vertical.

 Total Contacts by Band and Mode:

 Band       CW   Phone     Dig   Total       %
 ----            --      -----        ---     -----       ---
   80           4         1           24      29        29
   40           7        14          30      51        50
   20           6         8            7       21        21
                  --      -----         ---    -----       ---
 Total        17       23          61     101      100

Final results

Operator ND9E
17 CW contacts
23 Phone contacts
61 digital contacts
9 multipliers

Total claimed score was 4722

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

2019 Illinois QSO Party recap

Calling CQ, rinse and repeat

Alexander/Pulaski county line operation

I stuck with the same operating plan as the last 2 years by starting at the Alexander/Pulaski county line. This location is at boat ramp on the Cache River wildlife area that is seldom used. My travels started at 8AM and took 2.5 hours to get there which cut me a little close on setup time but I was mostly ready to go by 11:35. I ate a quick bite and got the logging PC and headset ready. AA0Z Kyle was operating as a rover this year so I sent him a text message and we met up on 80 meters and made an official contact right at the Noon start. Once again 40 meters was long and in-state contacts were tough but I was able to work the northern half of the state. People need to try 80 meters earlier in the day for in-state contacts. I operated until 2:30 and then did a quick tear down with a 40 minute drive to my next location. Here are pictures from this location. 

Antenna was a 40 meter dipole fed with ladder line to an AH-4 tuner. 

Pulaski/Johnson/Massac county line operation

This county line operation started at 4:30 by using an inverted L fed by the AH-4 tuner. I have a narrow area to erect the antenna and the dipole would not have been a good fit for the space. 40 meters was in better shape now but I think a bunch of folks were already starting the move to 80 meters. After a good run on 40 meters I went to 80 meters. Search and pounced on 80 CW and gained some new multipliers. Then I started a run on 80 phone that lasted for an hour and ended 10 minutes before the contest ended. 

I did have a weird thing happen on CW from this location. When I first tried CW the radio would briefly key the radio and unkey. At first I thought I had RF getting into the keyer but the display on the keyer looked normal. I must have bumped the speed control on the keyer because it was set for 136WPM. I bet the stations I tried to contact were wondering what was happening!

My score was down from last year as I hit 56K this year. 

Scoring history for ND9E
2019 56K (rover)
2018 86K (rover)
2017 71K (rover)
2016 31K (rover)
2015 9.8K (rover)
2014 71K (portable)

Map of Illinois counties contacted

Map of states contacted

Sunday, September 1, 2019

US Islands QSO Party, WWFF and POTA weekend

On Saturday August 24th, the annual US Islands QSO Party was scheduled and I combined two of the islands with WWFF and POTA parks to help drive up contact points for the USI QSO Party. My original plan was to hit 4 islands along the Mississippi River near Alton IL but things changed along the way. 

Original plan: 
Cora Island MO006R
Ellis Island MO003R
Chouteau Island IL003R
Walker Island IL019L

I started at Cora Island MO006R which is also part of the POTA program as K-0374. 40 meters was very kind to me so I stuck with it for most of this location. Advertising the POTA program on the DX cluster is what boosted the QSO count. 68 contacts were made with 5 of them being islands. Logging this year for the USI QSO Party was done on N1MM+ which worked well on my small Winbook PC. Below is a picture of my standard portable setup. 31 ft mast with an AH-4 tuner using tape measure radials.

My stay at Cora Island went long so I decided to skip Ellis Island since it was not part of WWFF or POTA and therefore it would be hard to get many contacts there so I went onto Chouteau Island in Illinois. 

Chouteau Island IL003R is also a park in the WWFF and POTA programs. KFF-4116 for WWFF and K-4116 for POTA. I primarily worked this location as a park but used the USI Facebook group to let the island chasers know where to find me. 80 contacts were made here with all but one on 40 meters. 
Contact was made with 4 islands from this spot.

It was decided to skip Walker Island and get home to mow the grass as the weather forecast did not look good for the next two days. Turns out this was a good call as we received multiple inches of rain on Sunday and Monday.


For only operating from two locations this needed to generate 5 different logs not counting LOTW. 

Cora Island- USI rover log for MO006R, POTA log for K-0374 (Big Muddy)

Chouteau Island- USI rover log for IL003R, WWFF log for KFF-4116 and POTA log for K-4116

Cabrillo logs went to USI and ADIF logs went to POTA and WWFF. Then the Cora Island log had to be uploaded to LOTW as a different location since it was in Missouri and under a different county. 


It was a good outing even if it didn't go as planned. There wasn't any radio or antenna issues. I got the usual stares at the big antenna attached to the truck but ever since I started putting signs in the window saying "amateur radio" people have pretty much left me alone. See the links below to these fine organizations. 

US Islands program US

World Wide Flora and Fauna (USA) WWFF-KFF

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Activation of KFF-4134 Kaskaskia State Fish and Wildlife Area in Illinois- ND9E

ND9E successfully activated KFF-4134 with 46 contacts made. Once I was setup I checked the noise level and was surprised with only a S2-S3 noise level on 20m. The lake I was at is a cooling lake for the Baldwin power plant so I was concerned that the noise level would be high. So I started on 20 meters and quickly put 31 phone contacts in the log. I switched to 40 meter phone and had a tougher time getting contacts. Noise level was slightly higher but only S5. I know towards my last few contacts that lightning crashes were starting up somewhere in the country. There were 2 park to park contacts made. Logs were uploaded to WWFF and POTA. 

This activation appears to be the first one for WWFF and the second for POTA. 

Here is a map made showing my contacts. It is made with the website DYIMAPS.COM. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Field Day 1D operation

2019 ARRL Field Day

I had other commitments throughout the weekend but I was able to get on the air for a few minutes. My station was my normal home setup and I didn't have time to hookup the batteries so I was a 1D operation. I made 20 contacts so this was mainly just a quick test of my equipment. Sounds like everyone had a pretty good Field Day in our region. Temps were lower than normal and of course folks got rained on. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

7 Area, New England and Indiana QSO Parties

The weekend of May 4th was a big weekend for state QSO parties with the 7 area, NEQP, INQP and DEQP all happening on Saturday and the NEQP continuing into Sunday. I had carved out some time to work these events but plans are always subject to change.

This year my plan was to put up my 80 meter doublet mainly for getting the Indiana contacts as I had just experienced the Missouri QSO Party where 40 meters was way long for in state contacts. It also has been monsoon season here in the St. Louis area which left my yard standing water in the spots where I always setup the 80 meter doublet so I had to just use my 31ft vertical.

7 Area QSO Party 

This event started early in the morning and I was able to make contacts on 20, 40, and 80 meters on phone, cw and digital. I made 40 contacts for a point total of 3210. 

Indiana QSO Party

Well just like the MOQP, 40 was long and my contacts were all on 80 meters phone and cw.

I made 5 contacts for a point total of 45.

New England QSO Party

I did not get to spend much time on this event and I was unable to play on Sunday. My contacts were on 20, 40 and 80 meters on phone and cw. 

I made 18 contacts for a point total of 392. 

What is nice about these contests is that all 3 QSO parties use the same exchange if you are out of state. I used N3FJP for logging. Rig control was not setup since I could only have one program talking to the rig so I just changed the mode and band manually in each program. It was easy to keep up with the changes. I am looking forward to this same weekend next year.