KR8L Blog

2022 July 6

630 Meters — Signals Received

Filed under: Uncategorized — William @ 10:57 am

For the last couple of days I’ve been emailing with N9RU to get his help with learning about 630 meters. Tom told me that he is usually on in the early morning, so last night I set up my Airspy HF+ Discovery to record the 630 meter band from 0915Z to 1030Z. I succeeded in copying KB5NJD calling CQ, N9RU calling CQ, and N9RU working KB5NJD. I’ve linked to three small audio files so you can hear what my reception was like. For the KB5NJD file the audio of interest starts at about 20 seconds, the others it starts within a few seconds. Receive mode was CW with 50 Hz bandwidth. N9RU is 35 miles away and KB5NJD is 560 miles away.

2022 July 4

13 Colonies

Filed under: Uncategorized — William @ 3:13 pm

I’ve been chasing the 13 Colonies special event stations the last couple of days. My first one was K2E in Delaware on July 2nd. As of this morning I had eleven worked but had not yet heard K2C (RI) or K2I (NJ). This afternoon I found K2C running a huge pileup. Fortunately he was working by call district and once he got to the “eights” I managed to get through after a few calls. Just now I turned the rig on to check the bands and it was pretty quiet on 10 through 17. I checked 20 CW but no luck, then started tuning through the phone portion and quickly found K2I. Got him on the first call and he went QRT shortly after that. That makes all 13 plus the WM3PEN bonus station.

VLF

Filed under: Uncategorized — William @ 8:54 am

Continuing with my exploration of VLF with my Airspy HF+ Discovery receiver and Airspy YouLoop antenna, last night I had good copy on NAA (Maine, 24 kHz), NML4 (North Dakota, 25.2 kHz), and WWVB (Colorado, 60 kHz).

Here’s an interesting article about NML4.

2022 June 30

BCB DXing

Filed under: Uncategorized — William @ 10:53 am

Broadcast Band DXing is something I do only very occasionally and very casually. I think I was about 14 years old when I got a Zenith Royal 100 “transistor radio” portable. I don’t think I really had any idea what was on the radio back then other than the morning talk/DJ program that my mother listened to every day. But, I had an uncle who had a tiny transistor radio and I was fascinated by it. I think it was my first introduction to TECHNOLOGY and especially MINIATURIZED TECHNOLOGY. Of course I discovered the local stations, some of which played “rock ‘n roll,” but I also found that I could sometimes hear distant stations at night. I specifically recall being amazed when I first heard a station in Atlanta, and I soon discovered and became a regular listener to WLS in Chicago.

Over the years I’ve occasionally dabbled in BCB DXing, somewhat recently with my CC Crane Skywave SSB receiver. About three years ago I bought a Tecsun AN-200 passive loop and used that for a while to enhance the reception of that receiver. Last year I bought an Airspy HF+ Discovery SDR which I use with my HF9V vertical and have occasionally used it to check out the medium wave broadcast band.

Yesterday I was reading an article about BCB DXing. The article mentioned using an SDR which, of course, was no news to me. But the article also mentioned using the Airspy YouLoop for medium wave. I had never thought about using my YouLoop for medium wave and assumed it was too small to be effective on those frequencies. Well, last night about 10:00 PM I gave it a try and was surprised at the results! In a short time I logged WRJZ (5 kw, 620 kHz) in Knoxville, KDKA (50 kw, 1120 kHz) in Pittsburgh, and WVOC (5 kw, 560 kHz) in Columbia, SC. (I got lucky and managed to hear the station ID from all three with just a few minutes of listening.)

A footnote to using the YouLoop on lower frequencies: I was also able to copy WWVB on 60 kHz. Not as strong as on my HF9V, but still audible. As Eleanor (from the PBS Kids show Eleanor Wonders Why) says, “We need more observations!”.

2022 June 26

Field Day Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — William @ 10:55 am

Yesterday I quit after about 2.5 hours total on-air time with 50 contacts. Today it is raining heavily and looks like it may not clear up until 2000Z or later, so I may not be able to get back on the air. That’s OK, I had lots of fun yesterday and got a chance to check out my 40/20/15 EFHW wire, which I have not used in quite a while.

2022 June 25

Field Day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — William @ 3:28 pm

It’s 95 degrees and 35% relative humidity. I’ve set up between the house and the barn with my 40 meter EFHW antenna attached to my 40 foot Spiderbeam mast, and with the mast supported by a modified bicycle rack mounted on our utility vehicle. Because of the heat I’m operating about an hour at a time with breaks in between. Here’s a look at the setup. First, here’s the complete station:

The antenna is fed via a QRPGuys 49:1 transformer and 25 feet of RG174 coax. The transformer is tied off with some micro-paracord:

A close-up view of the mast mount:

I use this same bicycle rack on the back of my truck for POTA. Note that the rack is tilted forward a bit from its normal position and locked in place with a C-clamp. The pipe cap at the bottom is wired in place to help stabilize the mast. The ropes help to stabilize the rack while driving the RTV (not required on the truck). No, I don’t drive with the mast erected!:

Finally, a slightly more “honest” view of the station, with a USB fan to keep me “cool” (i.e., less hot) and my tablet running the W1AW live stream to keep me company. Toward the end of the second hour I did hook up my microphone and made a few 40 meter SSB contacts:

2022 June 24

POTA K-4112, Cache River SNA

Filed under: Uncategorized — William @ 12:49 pm

We went to the Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center this morning. It’s been quite hot this week, but this morning was a little cooler, around 80 degrees. My wife was doing a butterfly survey so I set up in a shady spot with the KX2 and AX1. I tried 40 meters for ten minutes or so but got no responses so I went up to 20 meters. I made 12 contacts in 30 minutes including three P2P contacts. Seems like the skip was fairly short this morning.

2022 June 20

Pedestrian Mobile

Filed under: Uncategorized — William @ 3:48 pm

It was pretty warm today (92 degrees) but not too bad for a short time in the shade. I went out with the KX2 and AX1 to do a bit of Pedestrian Mobile around the farm. I worked K5KUA at POTA K-2986 (TX) and CM6SQ (SKCC 23719T), both on 20 meter CW. I was heard but too weak to copy by a couple of other stations, one on CW and one on SSB.

2022 June 18

Lewis and Clark Trail — Nebraska

Filed under: Uncategorized — William @ 2:33 pm

I checked the schedule page and saw that W0WYV was on 20 meters from Nebraska for the event. Gave them a call and got them in the log. That makes 15 of the possible 16 states! Missouri isn’t on the schedule for the rest of today or tomorrow so that’s most likely where I will finish. A great event and very glad I could participate!

2022 June 17

Lewis and Clark Trail Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — William @ 4:24 pm

There I was, stuck at 13 of the 16 possible states, missing only Missouri, Nebraska, and Idaho. None of those three were showing on the schedule for the last three days of the event, so I was resigned to missing all three of them. Kind of sorry to miss Missouri since it’s next door, and really sorry to miss Idaho since we lived there for a dozen years.

Well, it’s another really hot day so I was relaxing in our sunroom, and I decided to get out my little portable shortwave receiver and tune around. Didn’t find much on SWBC nor on 40 meters so I went to 20 meters and tuned up the band. Still no very strong signals until I got to 14.236 MHz. Wow, really strong. And identifying as K7ID. I immediately recognized that as one of the L&C Trail stations. I put down my receiver and rushed to the shack, fired up the rig and tuned to that frequency. A couple of calls later I had him in the log.

Here’s a short audio sample that I recorded after I went back to my portable shortwave receiver:

K7ID audio

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