Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from N4LA

Today  I thank God for My beautiful wife Trica ...
My 2 beautiful daughters Taylor & Sydney....
I thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon me ...
I thank God For Family and Friends
I thank God for the USA
I also thank God For our Military men and women who are not able to be with their family and friends today ... These are the same men and women that are protecting me and my family right now ... they sacrifice their Thanksgiving so that all Americans will have this opportunity to give thanks today.
  ... and for that, I am thankful .... Lets remember our troops today, and while you watch this short video ..please say a little prayer for those proudly serving in harms way.


73 de N4LA
US Navy Vet

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Guam ..KH2/N2NL on 160 Meters this morning !!

This video is for those who can appreciate the challenge of working rare DX on Topband.
I put KH2/N2NL (David) on the island of Guam, in my Topband log this morning at 11:51 Z or 06:51 local ... for a new one on 160 ....I worked him 7 minutes before my actual sunrise.
David was working split (up 1) so qrm was minimal .... What amazes me is, I couldn't even hear him 15 minutes earlier !!
Signal reports were 559 both ways. .... Conditions this morning were great on Topband (Solar flux 91 / A Index 5 / K index 2)
I also heard a Russian station in zone 19 just after my sunrise .... I didn't call, since signals was fading rapidly.
Davids signal peaked about 1 minute before our sunrise.... he was S7 on the Inverted L.
The MAGIC of Topband !!! .... What a way to start the day !!
73 de N4LA / Todd

What is this ?
Click Here ... to find out on the KH2/N2NL website !!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The "MAGIC" of Topband !!

Ever since I was a kid  ..the " Magic" of amateur radio has captured my heart in a way I find hard to describe.
When I hear that voice from "far away"... it just has that special sound ...  a sound I really can't describe ....a sound that just sounds ...far away !! 
It's the voice thats gets me up early, before the sunrise ... and keeps me up way too late ... it's the voice I may only hear once in a lifetime ... It's the voice that may only be there for a minute or even seconds  ... just long enough to make contact, only to quickly say goodbye ... Then bam !! ... it's gone ... just like "Magic".
The "magic" itself  happens when you're at the right place, at the right time, if only for a split second... It's when you finally hear that lone voice you've been searching for ... It's the voice that  may  be thousands of miles away on the other side of the world.... yet it's the voice, that sounds like it's right there in the room with you.
It's why I don't sleep ... I don't eat .. and I spend money I don't have .... It's Amateur Radio ... and to me, it's still "magic" after all these years !!

This morning I came in from work and done my daily ritual  ... say hello to the wife and kids ...give them the hugs & kisses they deserve ... and then for 10 to 15 minutes, listen for signals on the low bands ... especially 160 meters.... before I take my oldest daughter to school.
Well this morning I had a nice surprise ... I heard a pile-up on 1.832  at 11:43Z or 06:43 EST... It was VK6HD / Mike  working the states on Topband !! Luckily I already had the Alpha 78 fired up ... so I grabbed the CW paddles and threw my call in the mix ..... after quickly repeating my call 3 times, the "Magic" happened .... I heard N4LA N4LA de VK6HD VK6HD ur 469 469 BK .... I quickly replied  ur 559 559 and said 73 from NC ...Finally after 3 lowband seasons ... a VK6 was finally in my log on TOPBAND  !!! .... After the short qso ....I found myself shaking, like a deer hunter with his crosshairs on a trophy buck !! .... Is that crazy or what !!!

After our quick cw exchange this morning..... I sent Mike / VK6HD this (thank you) E-mail ...................

Hi Mike ...
Thanks for the Topband qso this morning at 11:43Z ... you were the loudest VK I've ever heard on 160 meters ...
You were also my very first VK on 160 ... so thanks again !!
I would like to qsl via LOTW if possible ?
Also wondering what you are using for equipment on 160 ... you were very strong here in North Carolina !!
I'm using a inverted L w/ 200+ radials on TX .. and beverage antennas on RX
73 de N4LA / Todd
Denton, North Carolina

Here is MIke's (VK6HD) reply ..............

Hi Todd,
Pleased we got you in the log for your first VK...The QRN was horrendous ...the QRN was not too bad on 80m so tried 160 but in the end I had to give it away. The QSO has already been loaded onto LOTW. I have 156 radials under the antenna and using an IC7800 .I used to have beverages but got fed up with having to repair them on a daily basis due to damage by kangaroos.
73 Mike
60 years QRV and still a great hobby!

What a way to start your morning !!! .... 

I love the "Magic" of Amateur Radio !!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fall Portable Ops.. A Kaleidoscope of Color

I called my friend Larry up on Thursday ...and ask him to join me on a short hike in the Birkhead Wilderness Area on Friday morning.  First let me say... it's beautiful in North Carolina right now ... the leaves just passed peak color a couple of days ago, so the colors are spectacular.... plus hiking is loads of fun & great exercise.We decided we would take a couple of HF rigs for some portable ops as well. It doesn't get much better than this. My 2 favorite hobbies .. Ham Radio and Backpacking, in the same day !! I took my Yaesu FT-857D & A123 battery pack plus a 17 meter Par End Fedz antenna for SSB ... Larry took his little ATS4 (qrp rig) & straight key, a gell cell battery... plus a 40 meter Par End Fedz for CW.
When I do portable ops ...I usually try to fill up a log page( which is 15 entries) before I quit. Propagation usually decides if I make my goal of 15 contacts and how long it will take. Most of the time it takes a couple of hours at least... even with 50 to 100 watts output. But I guess the propagation gods were smiling on me today... I made my goal of 15 contacts in 53 minutes.... I even worked Budd (W3FF) on bicycle mobile using 50 watts ... and Paul (W0RW)while operating pedestrian mobile using 5 watts .... Plus I worked 3 European stations as well  ....Thanks for all the Q's !!!

All contacts were made on the 17 meter / HF Pack / calling frequency ... 18157.5
Log Start ... 1542Z
Log End ... 1635Z

N4LA Log on Nov/12/2010 ...... HF Portable Ops

CALL ......My Signal .....QTH
1. VE5WX ... 53 ... W Canada
2. K9DIG ... 59 ... North Dakota
3. F6EZR ... 54 ... France
4. DL8ZT ... 55 ... Germany
5. W0RW ... 59 ... Colarado (Base & Backpack Mobile)
6. 6Y5WE ... 55 ... Jamaica (Mobile)
7. VE5CAT ... 59 ... W Canada
8. SV2CXI ... 57 ... Greece
9. N0EVH ... 57 ... Missouri
10. WM6Z ... 57 ... California
11. KD0CRI ... 55 ... Missouri
12. W3FF ... 59 ... California (Base & Bicycle Mobile)
13. KI0AJ ... 59 ... South Dakota
14. K7MCX ... 58 ...  Washington
15. W9BWR ... 59 ... Minnesota

For more pics ... Click Here

A special thanks to Paul / W0RW who spotted me on QRP Spots and HF NOW .... this certainly helped me fill my log in record time !!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

IT's NO JOKE ...A Buddipole Vertical ... On 40 meters ... in CQWW SSB !!!

I've been trying to find some time to give a quick report on my Buddipole Vertical I used on 40 meters last weekend during the CQWW SSB Contest. Well here it is one o'clock in the morning... we just set our clocks back one hour...  and I finally found the time I was looking for (Hi Hi) ....I know what you are thinking ... That Buddipole Vertical is too small to be effective on 40, and it will never bust the CQWW  SSB pile-ups with only 100 watts !!
Well let me tell you ... 40 meter SSB, running low power during CQWW is tough for any station !!!! ... even with big antennas and big towers... low power on 40 takes plenty of patience and determination !! ... 40 meter CW is much easier with low power in my opinion ...and with the sunspot cycle still below par ... 40 meters at night is a busy place, since 10/15/20 are basically shutdown after dark.....  BIG POWER & BIG ANTENNAS RULE at night on the low bands!!
I was not expecting much... in the way of DXCC country totals with the little Buddipole Vertical.... but I thought it would be a great testing ground for the antenna.... I thought "If I can work DX on 40 in this environment ... then this antenna will be a great portable antenna for 40 meters ... and a keeper indeed".

So I guess you are wondering ... How did it perform on 40 SSB during CQWW ?

I was really surprised at the results ... 
And I think you will be also !!

Operation Goals ... To work as many countries and CQ zones as time allowed ... to test overall antenna capabilities and performance.
Operating schedule ... off and on after dark  ...3-4 hours total
Total QSO's ... 48
Total DXCC Countries ... 38
Total CQ Zones ... 15

CQ Zones worked .....

DXCC Countries worked .......

1 Spain
2 Germany
3 Morocco
4 Virgin Is.
5 Barbados
6 Aruba
7 Slovakia
8 Italy
9 Madeira Is.
10 Turks & Caicos
11 Cape Verde
Click on picture to enlarge
12 Portugal
13 Dominican Republic
14 Hungary
15 Brazil
16 France
17 Netherlands
18 Belize
19 England
20   Cuba
21 Mexico
22 Colombia
23 Netherlands Antilles
24 Hawaii
25 Slovenia
26 European Russia
27 Croatia
28 Moldova
29 Bermuda
30 Montenegro
31 Senegal
32 Sicily
33 Alaska
34 Liechtenstein
35 Canary Is.
36 Mozambique
37 Ireland
38 Greece

Not to Shabby for a  so-called ...undersized ... under-rated ... 40 meter (ultra-light) vertical w/ only 1 radial and only 8ft off the ground  !!
This little antenna amazed me on 40 to say the least ... I never expected these great results or so much fun !!
Was I first in the pile-ups ? .... NO
Were the pile-ups tough to break .... YES
Were there pile-ups I couldn't break ... YES
Patience and determination were a must with this set-up during CQWW SSB
YES YES YES ... this antenna is definitely a keeper !!
My hats off to Budd and Chris at Buddipole for a great antenna design !!
For more info on Buddipole antennas CLICK HERE

73 de N4LA

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Par End Fedz EF-15 Antenna .. From LNR Precision

Here is a short video I took during the 2010 CQWW SSB Contest... It compares a Par End Fedz EF-15 on a 31 ft fiberglass mast (Vertical Configuration) ... to a OCF multi-band Dipole at 70 ft ... and a Multi-Band Yagi at 100 ft ...During the test all contacts were made on the EF-15 End Fedz only ... Totals qso's -  62 ... Total DXCC Countries - 46 ... Total CQ Zones - 17 ... Not bad for 100 watts and a wire vertical !!
73 de N4LA

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Aerial Tour of Damage on St Lucia (J6)

CASTRIES, Saint Lucia — A huge storm has ravaged the Caribbean paradise of Saint Lucia killing at least 12 people, wiping out the banana crop and causing millions of dollars in damage, officials said Tuesday.
Click here  ... for the complete story
DXpedition Update ........As many of you know ... We have a scheduled ultra-light DXpedition to J6 (St Lucia ) from December 5-13 .... Are we still a go ? ... YES ... as of right now .. We do plan to operate on schedule... Updates will be posted here if need be ... Thanks N4LA / Todd