Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Frustrations with LID’s, QRM and other nastiness….

You might be wondering what I am rambling on about again.

For a change I am in control of all of the above and yet I choose to live with it, and why?

Well I have been playing with the brilliant piece of software “Morse Runner” I had downloaded this software some years ago and never really thought it was worth much. I was wrong; this is a brilliant tool to sharpen CW contest skills. It is so incredibly realistic that one soon forgets that it is only a virtual contest. All the normal issues of: QRM, QRN, Flutter, chirp, poor operating technique and other LID like behavior is present. Even the ‘fists’ and character spacing is accurately replicated.

I have no doubt that if I had the discipline to use this tool for 30 minutes a day that my CW skills would improve in no time to a point where I would be more comfortable with ‘running’ in contests.

I believe, Alex Shovkoplyas VE3NE has done the amateur radio a huge favour by making this fantastic software available for free. I am sure thankful.

We have no excuse we can be contest ready at all times, regardless of the band conditions and or work schedules etc…..

Morse Runner 31 July 2012

Monday, 30 July 2012

Another DXCC entity bites the dust….

I am over the moon with working Saint Paul Island CY9M today on 10m.

I have been trying for days without any success. They were workable on 40 and 30m, especially 30m, but the wall was just too big and I had no chance of a QSO.

Today at 12:30z I was lucky enough to be one of the first to see them being spotted as being active on 10m CW. I was there in a flash. The VOCAP predictions did not show any chance of propagation between us so I was a bit negative, but I was extremely pleased to see them romping in with a S7 signal. One single call and the deed was done……

Once again I must say I have huge respect for the very capable DX expeditions. This CW operator was most capable and efficient.

This QSO should give me my DXCC on 10m with 100 confirmed entities.

73, Pierre ZS6A

Sunday, 15 July 2012

IARU contest 2012 feedback

Well that was Fun!

I volunteered to operate as one of the ZS9HQ CW operators. I don’t have effective gain antennas and volunteered to help mainly on 10m knowing full well that conditions most likely would be very poor at best, thus leaving the prime bands 15, 20 and lower bands to the more capable stations.

I am pleased to report I was wrong; once again it was evident that a contest can open a band regardless of the fancy solar numbers and supposed doom and gloom of a CME wiping out all HF communications.

I used “Log Checker” to create the pretty graphic below. I am fairly pleased with my performance, all things considered. Pity the program does not have the associated file to do the statistics for this contest.

The 10m band did open nicely in the last hour and it gave me the opportunity to “run” Truth be told I still get very intimidated by this and I need much more practice and skills dealing with poor manners in pileups. I will get there……

I am looking forward to see the logs of the other ZS9HQ CW operators, but I am sure it will be much more impressive than my effort.


ZS6A - ZS9HQ - contest 2012

Thursday, 5 July 2012

LoTW works

I am extremely pleased to see the high success rate I am achieving on getting QSOs confirmed via LoTW. Many of these are truly rare DX stations that could easily have chosen the more lucrative Dollar collecting route, but they choose to support the LoTW system.  I think it is becoming very clear who the real amateurs are as opposed to the ones with ulterior motives?

I operate a small pistol station with very basic antennas on HF, yet I am very close to obtaining a DXCC on 10m primarily using CW in about a year. I have also had good results on 6m from working mainly European stations. In many cases, I received a LoTW confirmation and a paper QSL card for the 6m QSOs.

This is almost without any effort.  This was achieved mainly due to the effectiveness of LoTW and the radio amateurs that choose to support the LoTW program.

Thank You!!

Pierre ZS6A

LoTW Jun 2012