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Archive for the 'contesting' Category

Published by W7CF David on 01 Nov 2008

W7CF moving to new QTH, so QRT for now

back in September my XYL Lisa and I bid for a new home with 2.5 acres of space, a bright quilt studio for her, a large woodworking shop for me and surrounded with plenty of 80-110ft high antenna supports. Last week our purchase finally closed.

I’ve been off the air for the past 6-8 weeks already (missing dear contests like Salmon Run CalQP, NAQP, CQ WW DX RTTY, etc), as we were too busy getting our old place spiffed up and updated and get it ready to put it on the market.

Yesterday, I disconnected and packed my radios, antenna and feedlines. Once the dust of our move settles, maybe in 2-3 weeks, I can think again about getting an antenna up and be QRV again

Published by W7CF David on 04 Jul 2008

What is contesting?

this is  a question I do get asked by friends and coworkers when I mention that I’ll be spending my weekend in front of a radio…. Admittedly, to make sense of such an intention, one has to experience the music and rhythm of the contest exchanges, especially in CW.
BTW: last weekend (FieldDay 2008 with RTKCC, MicroHams and RedmondARES), I sat next to Alan AC2K for almost an hour just listening in how he search&pounced the band and made plenty of contacts. He didn’t even bother using precanned CW sequences, all code was live keying with his Begali single-lever key. Ok, now I know why I need to further practice my code speed 🙂

Here’s a YouTube video that explains and conveys the contest rhythm quite nicely:


Published by W7CF David on 24 Jun 2008

ARRL VHF contest June 14th

This was my first attempt at both contesting outside of HF and away from my QTH: packed up my FT-817 up to TIger Mtn (CN97) to participate for a good hour in the VHF contest, namely on 6m. RX was great, helps to have an antenna more than 2700ft high 🙂 But reaching more remote stations, TX with QRP level is quite limiting unfortunately.

Published by W7CF David on 11 Feb 2008

Debugging my antenna

Several weeks ago, in the ARRL RTTY Roundup, I noticed a weird effect when sending in rapid succession: over several seconds, the SWR at my radio ramped up to ~3:1, consequently my transceiver folded back its output power. After maybe 20-30 seconds of rest, everything resumed to normal again.

On first hunch, this looks much like a thermal issue, something is heating up and cools off to revert to normal. On to debugging my antenna system. A quick test with a dummy load hooked directly to the transceiver showed no problem with either PA nor power supply.

Rain, work (and skiing, I admit) kept me from looking closer at the outside antenna components; besides, with lighter load cycles e.g. in CW, no repro. But this weekend, there was yet another RTTY contest, CQ WPX RTTY.

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Published by W7CF David on 25 Nov 2007

first contest

what a thrill, this weekend I participated in my first contest, CQ WW CW! Well, stricly speaking it is my second contest, I had fun for a few hours with the WA state’s QSO party, the Salmon run, earlier in September.

Given that my CW skills aren’t a full match to the typical 25-35WPMs, I limited myself to Search&Pounce. I’ll do more practicing with MorseRunner to at some point be able (and having the confidence) to actually run a frequency (for the non-hams: running the frequency means staying on one frequency and keep calling CQ so other stations will contact you)