Tags: dx

Monday ham radio

I made the trip over to Ft. Story this morning to activate the Old & New Cape Henry Lighthouses (USA 122 and USA 121). I wanted to accomplish a couple things:
(1) activate the lighthouses. I've activated them in the past with limited success and wanted to give ARLHS members a chance to earn the USAARS Lighthouse award.
(2) test out my mobile setup using my different antennas.
(3) attempt to use a logging program on my Palm Pilot.

I ended up having five contacts - all on 40M even though the noise level was pretty high. I called CQ on 20M for quite some time but didn't get any takers. I think I had two or three ARLHS folks qualify for the USAARS award. For the antennas, I started off with a trio of Hustler coils. The antenna went up quick on the 54" mast and I had already tuned them to be a good match for the ARLHS calling freqs. I then switched to the Hamstick-like Workman antennas, first for 40M then 20M. No real difference in results. I'm going to stick with the Workman Hamsticks when I'm actually mobile and use the Hustler coils when operating from a fixed site. Using the Palm Pilot for logging is not easy. Adding headphones with a boom mike might help. Using the Palm Pilot takes two hands so it requires setting down the handmike, inconvenient for fast paced operation.

Back at the home QTH I rolled up on 20M CW and got an answer to a CQ from DL4SEW, Stefan in Stuttgart. There was a lot of fading but I was able to get most of what he sent. This was my first QSO with Germany and my second with Europe.

Back in the mobile and heading to Fort Monroe, I answered a CQ on 20M from YU1XA in Serbia. He gave me a 59 plus and was surprised I was mobile. It is just pretty cool talking to Serbia while driving down the road.

CQ WW DX Contest Wrap Up

I now have the contacts for DXCC, time to get the QSL cards. My focus during the CQ WW DX Contest was to work those DXCC entities that I had not yet worked. Here's the results:

67 logged QSOs

Callsign Band
Aland Is. OH0X 20
Antigua &
V26B 15
Argentina LR2F 15
Argentina LT1F 20
Aruba P40W 15
Aruba P40A 20
Australia VK4CZ 20
Azores CU2/OH1VR 15
Azores CU2A 20
Azores CU2DX 80
Barbados 8P2K 20
PJ2T 10
PJ2T 15
PJ2T 20
PJ4E 40
PJ2T 80
Brazil PY2YU 10
Brazil PP5NW 20
Canada VE7SV 10
Canary Is. EA8AH 15
Ecuador HC1JQ 20
Finland OH8A 20
Grenada J3A 15
Grenada J3A 20
Guadeloupe FG5JK 15
Guyana 8R1EA 15
Hawaii KH7U 15
Hawaii NH6JC 15
Honduras HQ9R 15
Iceland TF4M 20
Ireland EI7M 20
Ireland EI7M 20
Isle of Man MD4K 20
Jamaica 6Y1V 15
Jamaica 6Y1V 20
Kaliningrad RK2FWA 20
Liechtenstein HB0/HB9AON 20
Macedonia Z35T 20
Madeira Is. CT9L 20
Madeira Is. CQ9T 20
Madeira Is. CT3YA 80
Madeira Is. CQ9T 80
Martinique FM/K9NW 15
Moldova ER0ND 20
Montserrat VP2MHX 15
Montserrat VP2MDY 15
Morocco CN3A 15
Morocco CN2ZR 20
Morocco CN2R 80
New Zealand ZL6QH 40
Nicaragua YN2EJ 20
Paraguay ZP5MAL 20
Peru OA4WW 15
Portugal CS2P 40
Revillagigedo XF4DL 15
Revillagigedo XF4DL 15
Scotland GM2T 20
& Tobago
9Y4NZ 20
Turks &
Caicos Is.
VP5DX 20
Turks &
Caicos Is.
VP5T 20
Uruguay CX5BW 15
Venezuela YV4A 20
Virgin Is. NP2KW 15
Virgin Is. WP2Z 20
Virgin Is. NP2B 80
Wales GW4BLE 40

Highlights include QSOs with Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Morocco.

Also plenty of contacts with places that I previously had no idea where they where: Aland Island, Guadeloupe, Madeira Island, Martinique, Montserrat, and Revillagigedo.

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

Call: AD7MI
Operator(s): AD7MI
Station: AD7MI

Class: SOAB LP
QTH: Hampton, VA
Operating Time (hrs): 8

Band QSOs Zones Countries
160: 0 0 0
80: 6 4 5
40: 4 4 4
20: 31 13 29
15: 21 10 19
10: 3 2 3
Total: 65 33 60 Total Score = 6,031


I had two short contacts during lunch on Wednesday. The first was with a station in Slovak Republic and the second was with a station in Croatia. Both gave me good signal reports. I also believe that the Slovak Republic is a new country for me.

I've started to try and count up my DXCC contacts - and it looks like I have maybe 60. Which is kind of dissapointing. Lots more work to try and reach 100.

When I got home last night, I tied my feedline off to the rain gutter above the radioshack window which raises it off the ground between the house and the tree where the center point and feedline are at. This will ensure no one trips over the feedline.

I didn't get on the radio last night.

Tuesday - On The Air

At lunch I was able to work a station on 15M from Pisa, Italy, IK5MEJ. I noticed some SWR issues on that band as well as 17M. But the contact went through.

Shortly after dinner I was tuning around a found CE/VE7SV from Chile operating on 20M. There was a bit of a pile up, but I was still able to work him fairly easily. I think this is my first contact with Chile. I then jumped up to 17M and was able to work Javier, XE2EX, operating from Ensenada, Mexico. This is my second contact with Mexico, but first Phone contact. The final DX contact was with Larry, V31LL, also on 17M and oeprating from Belize. A nice solid contact and Belize is a new country for me.

Just before bed, I jumped on the radio to get in a CW QSO. I heard KB2MBC calling CQ - I replied and he came back to me right away. It was Bill in NY, who I've talked to twice before. We exchanged RST (599 on both sides) and then commenced a 40 minute slow speed CW ragchew. Bill told me that it was currently raining and windy were he was at and was worried about his antenna comming down in the wind. He also told me about all the snow Bufflo, NY had received a few days earlier. It was nice departing from the standard RST, name, QTH, rig, WX exchange to a more free flowing conversation. Needless to say, I really enjoyed our QSO.

Lunchtime DX

Instead of trying to knock out a quick CW QSO, I decided I'd try to tune around 20M to see if the new antenna was picking up any DX. I was rewarded with a brief QSO SSB with Mike, RX6AM. I believe that was my first SSB contact with Russia, up to now I've only had a few confirmed PSK31 QSOs. The next station I heard was Abdula, 9K2GS from Kuwait! That marks a first - up to now, I'd never heard an amateur station from the middle east. I was unsuccessful in breaking the pileup and had to head back to work. All this is helping to build my confidence in the new antenna.

Weekend Wrap Up

I finally got the RadioWorks Carolina Windom 80 up in the trees! Again, a wonderful job done by the CSV19 Pneumatic Antenna Launcher. I used it four times, each time it performed perfectly.

The matching unit is up about 50'. I was able to put the 82' leg over the house and tied off to a tree in the front yard. The 51' leg went out the other direction tied off to a tree behind my backyard. Each leg is tied off at about 35'. Unfortunately, the antenna is not in a completely straight line from end to end, but I think its the best I'm going to get. So far I have noticed a lower noise level than my inverted vee. I particpated in the MARS training net tonight and was able to hear all the stations very well. I also had a 20M USB QSO with Argentina and a 40M LSB with southern Florida.

I had a few CW QSOs Saturday night. I hoping to have a few tonight and test the new antenna a bit more.

W7 QSL Bureau

I received some cards today for my old KD7PJQ callsign from the W7 QSL Bureau. The coolest one was from Senegal - there was also another from Grenada and one from Croatia. A bunch from Germany. After I've sent out what's left of the W4M cards, I am going to consolidate my old KD7PJQ log with my AD7MI log and figure out exactly where I am at towards DXCC. My guess is that I'm still short by about twenty confirmed entities.

Friday morning QSOs

I had the day off and had time to get on the radio this morning for three QSOs this morning. The first was Eric, F5xxx, near Bordeaux, France on 20M SSB. Eric told me he was near the Atlantic coast and gave me a WX report with the temp in Celsius and I told him I was also near the Atlantic and gave him a WX report with the temp in Fahrenheit. The DX packet cluster had a spot from Australia, I don't remember the band, but I could barely hear the signal and listen to an op in Tennessee work him. That is huge - I've never heard a station west of California, east of Moscow, or south of Algeria. It gives me hope that with further antenna improvement, I'll be able to work Hawaii, Japan, and Australia.

The next QSO was 40M CW with Dick, N2xxx, from Akron, NY. Nice QSO, Dick had a solid signal. The final QSO was also 40M CW with Rik, KB1BIC - the same gentlemen I talked to a few days ago. Our initial exchange was good, but Rik picked up the speed a bit and all I got was a jumble of letters. Just more motivation to keep working on my CW.

I received an email from The Willamette Valley DX Club - home to the ARRL 7th District Incoming QSL Bureau. They said they had some QSL cards for AD7MI and would I please send them a little bit of money for postage so they can mail them to me. I was able to mail off the check and hope to get the cards soon. I wonder who they're from? It's always neat getting cards from the bureau.

I got my Blinky Light kit from Electronics Rainbow. My plan is to modify it a bit and use it for Halloween.

VOAProp - the new propagation predictor

From the G4ILO's Shack: http://www.g4ilo.com/index.html
I am pleased to announce a successor to my popular HF band propagation program HFProp (http://www.g4ilo.com/hfprop.html). VOAProp has a similar user interface, but uses the VOACAP propagation model. Developed over 50 years by the US Navy Research Laboratory and the Institute of Telecommunications Sciences, with sponsorship from Voice of America, and validated using thousands of reception reports from Voice of America short wave radio listeners, VOACAP is probably the most accurate HF propagation model available.

VOAProp will show you the typical expected propagation for any month and time of day, from now back to the earliest days of radio. It can also generate a point to point propagation chart showing the best time of day, and band, to try to make a contact with any given location.

Mount Athos & Monk Apollo

From The Weekly DX SV/A – Mount Athos - SV2ASP/A, Monk Apollo, has been away from Mount Athos most of the summer. SV1DPI, Kostas, sent him a homemade interface to use for RTTY and PSK31. Apollo use to be QRV on RTTY, however over the last three years has not been able to operate this mode because of a broken TNC. Apparently NCDXF donated a new one (PTC II) but Apollo has not be able to get it set up. It's not exactly clear when he will go back to Mount Athos, probably in about 15-2Ø days, but it is hoped that he would then try RTTY and possibly PSK shortly afterwards. He is very comfort with RTTY and can manage the pileup better, plus this may mean more hours on the air as it will cause less noise for the other monks. Most DXers don't understand that Monk Apollo tries to be on the air as much as possible in his "free time." He often works the bands while the other Monks rest. QSL Printer LZ1JZ (lz1jz1@gmail.com ), Tony, has donated a new QSL design, which is a four sided folded card and can be seen at http://www.dailydx.com/sv2asp.htm . If you work SV2ASP/A make sure you QSL via Monk Apollo's QRZ.COM address. It does work and he is very reliable at confirming QSOs.

The Autumn/Winter 2004 issue of the Northern California DX Foundation Newsletter included an article by George Varvitsiotes (K6SV) about Mount Athos (SV2/A), one of the rarer DXCC entities in the world. The article piqued my interest in learning a little more about this very unusual place, and here is some of what I discovered. A self-governing entity encompassing an area of about 150 square miles in the Macedonia-Thrace region of northern Greece, Mount Athos is situated on the easternmost arm of the Halkidiki Peninsula that extends southeastward into the Aegean Sea. Since the first inhabitants settled there in the middle of the first century, it has been dedicated entirely to prayer and the worship of God. Presently, there are 20 monasteries in Mount Athos, mostly Greek, with each being a separate administrative territory. A total of about 1,500 monks reside in Mount Athos, which is considered the center of Orthodox Christianity. Access is very restricted, and no women at all are permitted. The Greek name for Mount Athos in Greek is “Agion Oros,” which means Holy Mountain. There really is an actual “Mt. Athos,” a 6,670-foot high peak. It is said that the Virgin Mary took refuge in the region after encountering a fierce storm at sea while en route to Cyprus. She called it a beautiful garden and it has since been generally referred to as “The Garden of the Virgin Mary.” It is today still called one of the most beautiful places on earth. Ironically, from a transportation standpoint it is virtually cut off from the rest of the world. There is currently only one licensed amateur radio operator in Mount Athos, this being Monk Apollo (SV2ASP), who operates on an irregular and very limited schedule. According to the NCDXF newsletter article, he is more likely to be heard in the days following Easter week each year. Unfortunately, no other amateur operations are permitted from Mount Athos, and no visiting amateurs are permitted to operate Monk Apollo’s station or use his callsign. Combining these severe restrictions with Monk Apollo’s limited on-the-air time, the opportunities to add Mount Athos to your DXCC entity totals are rare indeed. Nevertheless, the entity is workable and when you do work it you should consider it a real prize. It is truly . . . a world of its own!
Myron, W4UR

I think the whole Monk Apollo story is facinating. How cool would it be to get a QSL card from Mount Athos?!