Amateur radio: 160 meters…maybe

I’ve been thinking about ways to get on 160 meters with my very limited space for antennas.  I use small transmitting loops (“magnetic loops”) to cover from 80 meters to 10 meters.  These loops are tuned by the amount of inductance of the loop and a variable capacitor. The frequency scales as the reciprocal of the square root of the inductance/capacitance product.  Thus, the obvious options were to build a larger loop to get more inductance, and/or use more capacitance. Continue reading


Amateur radio: 15-meter opening, September 24th

It’s been a while since I posted because I keep getting into the mindset that I need to make all the posts highly detailed.  But, I’m going to try to post smaller things more often.

With such low solar fluxes this year, activity above 20 meters has been fairly limited.  While working the second day of the Texas QSO Party, I saw on the DX spotting sites that 15 meters was open across the Atlantic from the eastern US.  The better news was that the opening was actually extending out West.

Continue reading

Video blog episode 011

I finally finished off the 6-meter Yagi project and got it on the air. I’ve actually been using it for a while, but needed the ARRL VHF contest to get enough activity on the band to shoot video in a reasonable amount of time showing me making QSOs. I was running 50 watts into the 4-element Yagi and worked sporadic-E clouds to 30 different Maidenhead grids, including two in New Hampshire, which were my first double-hop sporadic-E QSOs. Enjoy!

Amateur radio: I’m a 2nd Placer!

The 7th Call Area QSO Party (“7QP”) took place on Saturday, May 6th.  The 7th call area contains Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.  Most of these states have sparse populations, so a combined event was begun in 2006 and has become one of the more popular annual QSO parties.  Although the FCC long ago dropped the requirement that your call had to match your call area, most operators do have a call that matches, so the name still fits (in my log it was about 80%).  Also, the Delaware, New England, and Indiana QSO Parties were on the air the same weekend, so there were a lot of cross-contact between the various contests. Continue reading

Amateur radio: ARRL DX contest

This post is rather belated, but I thought I would finally write about the ARRL International DX Phone Contest, the weekend of March 4th.  Basically, as a U.S. mainland station the goal was to contact as many people outside the U.S. mainland in as many countries as possible, and for non-mainland the goal was to contact as many people as possible in the lower 48 states. Continue reading