Monday, September 27, 2010

DH3RM Homemade Mag Loop

I have always been fascinated with antennas... especially portable and small indoor antennas. I worked Rainer DH3RM and he sent me this info on his indoor antenna ... Isn't it amazing what a person can use to communicate around the world !!

Hello Todd,

Here my picture of my homemade MagLoop antenna,
it's working under the roof.
14m high over the ground.
Diameter 1,1m
Material is aluminum for pipes to heated floor.
The split capacitor with 5 to 28 pF with little gear drive.
You also looking at, pictures coming soon.

Our QSO today on 21 Mhz at 1523 UTC.

73 and happy weekend

Rainer, DH3RM

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I worked Pierre / ZS8M on Marion Island this morning ..... We worked on  15 meter SSB for a all time new country... Boy that doesn't happen often !! ..... He was on 21.315 and I worked him split ( 5 up )... This is a rare one, so if you get the chance this one is worth the effort ... don't forget to watch the video on the ZS8M website ... man it looks cold there !!
Approx operating times:
Week days: 03:00 to 05:00z on 40m
  From 14:00z to on 20, 17, or 15m all subject to QRM
Weekends: 03:00z till late depending on propagation

Friday, September 24, 2010

N4LA ..... Polar Bear # 246

What is the Polar Bear QRP Club ? .....  The Polar Bears agree to go outdoors and operate their radios in any of the following months:
October, November, December, January, February and March.

N4LA ..... SKCC # 7066

Its official ... I'm officially a new member of the Straight Key Century Club ... SKCC # 7066  ... A special thanks goes out to Randy Drake (KB4QQJ) ..who loaned me this old military J-38 straight key to get started.
I've just got back into CW in the past year, so my skills are poor and code speed slow ... but hopefully with the help of a few friends who love CW ... I'll be up to speed in a few months !!
Guess I'll have to buy me a straight key soon ... and get this loaner back to Randy. I'm looking for a old Navy Flameproof  straight key thats in good shape ... so if anyone out there has an extra one ... let me know... 73 de N4LA

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Backpackers Dream Set-Up !!

Elecraft KX-1
I've been collecting gear for my ultra-light backpacking set up for some time now... Here is the Eqpt list so far...
The Tranceeiver I chose was the Elecraft KX-1 ... This rig was built by my good friend Larry Draughn (AE4LD)... and its loaded with all the available options... It covers 4 bands 20/30/40/80 and has the auto antenna tuner installed. This rig is a backpackers dream weighing only 11 oz fully loaded !!
The CW key I chose was the Palm Mini-Paddle ... Dimensions only 1 x 1 x 3 inches –perfect for travelers, backpackers and outdoor-QRP-fans !!
I also included a set of ultra-light Ear- Buds ...  and a BNC to binding post adapter ... which allows me to connect straight into my homebrew  W3EDP style longwire antenna and leave the heavy coax at home.
I've included some pictures CLICK HERE of my Jackite 31ft fiberglass portable mast that I can take backpacking if no antenna supports are available.
I also have the option of my Mini-Buddipole or various end fed antenna's made by Par End-Fedz  when operating portable.
I encourage all you Hams to become RADIO-ACTIVE .... Go Portable ... Get Outdoors ... AND HAVE SOME FUN !!
73... From N4LA  

HF Portable ... UK Style !!

2E0ZCL / Portable

I had a nice chat with Barry 2E0ZCL yesterday ( Sept 17, 2010 ) on 20 meter SSB.
He took this picture right after our qso and E-mailed it to me ... Thanks Barry !!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Video shot by EA1HFQ / Manuel... portable in Spain... on the qso with me ( N4LA ) ... He was Qrp ... running 5 watts with a fishing pole vertical !!

My 2009 CQWW SSB Contest Award arrived this week !!

Finally !!! ....My 2009 CQWW Award arrived in the mail this week..... I entered last years contest in the ... High Power / Single Op / Assisted / All Band  category ... This category is lots of fun because you can use the packet cluster to chase spots ... so there is never a dull moment !!
I submitted a claimed score of 3,412,435 ... but after the official log check ,I ended up with 3,272337 ... which is common for most all contesters.
I posted my all time best score for CQWW in 2009 ... so I thought I would share the final results with all those who follow my Blog.

Here are a few of last years stats....
I operated a total of 42 hrs out of a possible 48
Total contacts made ... 1973
Total CQ Zones worked ... 39 / I missed zone 23
Total countries worked ... 151
1st Place in 4th US call area
3rd Place overall in the United States
5th Place overall in North America
19th Place overall in the World

You can view my entire 2009 write up and overall stats  at N4LA 2009 CQWW REPORT
Don't forget to participate in CQWW 2010 ... SSB is October 30-31 & CW is November 27-28
I'm out of vacation days this year, since I'm headed down to J6 / St Lucia in December to play radio .. so I will not be putting in a full contest effort for CQWW 2010.
But I will operate on a limited basis, to hand out some points to all my fellow contesters ... hope to hear you in the pile-ups !!

Friday, September 10, 2010

N4LA ... Portable from Elk Knob State Park

Today, I visited Elk Knob State Park in NW North Carolina ..... near Todd, NC. We started  up the Elk Knob Summit Trail around 10:15 EST  and made it to the top in about 50 minutes. This is a new state park ... so the entire trail is not complete all the way to the summit. The last 1/4 mile is up a old logging road . The grade is really steep with lots of loose rocks  ... the rest of the trail is quite nice. The day was great for hiking with the temps in the low 70's.... when we finally made the summit ... just after 11:00AM  ...we were the only hikers on the summit . So the antenna set-up went fairly quick...I operated for about 1.5 hrs and put 15 contacts in the log. 4 of those contacts were into Europe. The bugs were terrible on the summit ... finally after 1.5 hours I couldn't take any more ...So I packed up my equipment and headed down the mountain ...  My equipment was as follows ... Yaesu FT-857D @ 100watts .... A123 battery pack ... Antenna was a Mini-Buddipole ... set up as a Versatee Vertical w/ shock cord mast using 2 elevated radials.
Here is my log ....
1. IZ6FXP ... Italy
2. OT4A ... Belgium
3. 9A7V... Croatia
4. SM6CWK ... Sweden
5. W7EPA ... AZ
6. KJ4TAC ... NC
7. KG4RZW ... NC
8. K7MUL ... TX
9. N4ILK / Mobile ... NC
10. N7KRE ... WA
11. K6STS ... CA
12. KG7UFO / Mobile ... CO ( FT-817 @ 2.5 watts )
13. KB0SFP ... MO
14. KC4WDM ... TN
A special thanks to my good friend / Sherpa Guide ....  Tim Akins  who is NOT a HAM ... but waited patiently while I played radio for almost 2 hours !!

Monday, September 6, 2010

N4LA at The Birkhead Wilderness with a Par End Fedz

Yesterday I took my 20 meter Par End Fedz over to The Birkhead Wilderness Area and hiked up to the top of Coolers Knob... 
After about 30 minutes ...  I finally got my antenna line up in a tree and hoisted the far end of the antenna up to approx 35 ft ... the transformer was sloping down to abt 10 ft...headed to the NE.
This little 20 meter long wire was impressive .... I worked into Europe several times using 50 watts from the FT-857D and A123 ultra-light battery pack.
I operated from 21:00Z to 22:24Z .... or .... 5:00pm to 6:24 EST / local time ... run tine 1 hour 24 minutes.
NO ...I usually wasn't first in the pile-ups ... but I could work what I could hear, if I was patient and waited my turn.
Here is todays log w/ my signal report..............
KD0ETC... MN ... 59
E77DX ...   Bosnia ...59
PD1ALW...Netherlands ...55
CO6LC .... Cuba ...59
KI6EZA ...  CA / Qrp ...49
YU1PJ ...   Serbia ...59
J88CF ...    St Vincent ...53
WA7TN ...  WA ...55
EC7ABV ...Spain ...55
EA6AZ ...   Balearic Islands ....59

All pictures were taken by my 11 year old daughter "Taylor" ....who hiked with me up the mountain !!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

2010 Shelby Hamfest

I traveled with Larry / AE4LD to the Shelby hamfest ... we left Asheboro NC about 6AM Saturday morning, and made it down to Dallas NC ... (where the hamfest is located) in just under 2 hours. 2 meters was alive and kicking during the ride down via the Asheboro repeater. We met up with Randy / KB4QQJ ( better known as Mr QRP ) when we arrived.... And let me tell you this man can spot a deal !!
This was my first trip to the new location and my first thoughts were ... what a great place for a hamfest !!
Compared to the old Shelby Hamfest location ... this was much cleaner ... better modern facilties for the indoor venders ... and more room for the average ham to tailgate. But ... If you don't like to walk .. Beware, because you'll have a lot of ground to cover at this hamfest.
I also noticed that parking locations were great ...there were plenty of shade trees ... which is great for both the vendor and the customer. The facilities were well groomed ... the grass was mowed, and dirt was at a minumum ... The Dayton hamfest organizers need to visit this place and take notes !!  ... I also noticed plenty of food vendors ... and yes the food was actually really good.
Now for the negative ... I wish there were more facilities for indoor vendors and dealers ... It would be nice if more of the big name dealers had been represented ... Both Yaesu and Icom were represented well ... but no Ten-Tec ... Kenwood ... or Elecraft .
I would love to see Array solutions ... DX Engineering ....Optibeam ... Force 12 ... Buddipole ... Micro-Ham and a few more .
MFJ was well represented as always, and covered the most indoor floor space... Ham Radio Outlet was 2nd in area coverage.
If these two dealers had been missing ... the hamfest would have suffered in a major way.
As for the boneyard .... it was BIG !!! ... lots of sellers showed up with a variety of gear .... there was plenty of the vintage / boat anchor gear available as well .... the people were friendly and the smell of food filled the air.
The only downside to the boneyard ..... there was quite a bit of illegal CB equipment for sale .... which in my opinion should not be allowed to be sold at a hamfest ... FCC approved CB equipment is fine ... and I have nothing against CB ops ... as long as they show some respect to other ops and the hobby itself.... That works both ways of course ... Hams need to show the same respect to the hobby.
My final rating on a scale of 1 to 10 ..... RATING 8 .... mainly because of lack of big name dealers, and the sale of illegal CB equipment.
Main thing was ... This was not a JUNK fest ... and yes I hope to be back next year !!
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Meet the new owner of PAR END FEDZ ... HF wire antennas

I had a chance to go by and visit my friend Larry Draughn / AE4LD today and tour the facilities at LnR Precision Inc.
Larry is the new owner of Par End Fedz HF wire antennas... Larry also hand crafts a beautiful line of straight CW keys formerly known as Key Concepts.

Below is a note from the former owner ... Dale Parfitt / W4OP.

On August 2, 2010 LnR Precision, Inc.  acquired the popular Par EndFedz line of amateur and SWL antennas. Larry, AE4LD, will be the new owner. Larry is a talented machinist, active amateur, QRPer and will be far better equipped to manufacture and expand the EndFedz line of antennas. In recent  years, PAR has had to resort to only accepting orders in 1 week windows in order to better balance their growing commercial segment and the amateur products. LnR Precision will have much larger manufacturing capabilities and thus amateurs will benefit from much faster order filling. Dale W4OP will be staying on to complete new designs and offering technical assistance to LNR Precision. Amateurs can expect new novel EndFedz models in the near future. "I wish to thank the many thousands of amateurs who have bought EndFedz and whom I think of as friends. I will continue to design/manufacture both commercial and amateur filters and expand our line of commercial and amateur VHF/UHF antenna products and hopefully some really interesting surface mount accessories for HF rigs." -Dale W4OP 

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Buddipole w/ Cap Hat ... on the beach !!

( Click on photo for larger image )

Here is a recent report sent into the Buddipole users group ( BUG ) ... by Jerry / W5TDY 
This is a great example of  a high performance ...portable antenna system.
Notice it does not use a loading coil ... the cap hat gives it added length to make this antenna a very effective low angle radiator !!
Thanks for the report Jerry.

Operating Portable from Port St Joe, FL
Yesterday was a good Day to operate from the Beach. I setup the antenna 2' from
the waters edge. By the time I got through operating the tide had moved to the
base of the antenna.
I setup a 20 meter vertical using 2-22" arms, one 4 section shock-corded whip
with the Capacity hat on top. The wire "counterpoise" was approximately 16'6" in
length pointed north west. Feedpoint was approx. 9' above the water. I have
posted pictures on QRZ of 2 different configurations for the 20 meter vertical
setups I use with the Buddipole components while portable at the beach.
I was really excited to make contact with Bill W7ZT another Buddipole user.
Bill THANKS for looking me up and making the contact!
On Tuesday, I made several contacts to Austria and Central Italy with my
Buddipole setup on the Beach.
I plan to be on again today and tomorrow. I will try to post a note when I get
on with an open Frequency if possible.
Here is a listing of some of my contacts yeaterday:
Callsign Date UTC State 1st Name Freq.
W7ZT 9/1/2010 21:55 USA AZ William 14.265
K7RPR 9/1/2010 21:42 USA AZ DALE 14.265
KD0CTC 9/1/2010 19:36 USA KS DAVID 14.265
AC0SL 9/1/2010 19:33 USA CO DORIAN 14.265
K7KEG 9/1/2010 19:29 USA OR David 14.265
KF5DMO 9/1/2010 19:25 USA TX DAVID 14.265
W4GOV 9/1/2010 19:23 USA VA ADAM 14.265
KC8RMR 9/1/2010 19:21 USA MI Claudius 14.265
KC9MEO 9/1/2010 19:18 USA WI RUSSELL 14.265
W5TDY - Jerry