Author Archives: wa2jqz

QSLs from Nat’l Wildlife Refuge Week

We received two QSL cards in the mail from when we ran our special event station for National Wildlife Refuge Week.  We operated our special event on October 11, in the field by the Tennessee River, to celebrate the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.  Part of the Refuge extents in to the Arsenal and the NASA Marshall Center.

KA5VZG in Tennessee, in particular, wrote to thank us for activating Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.  He showed us on his card that he is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Refuge Manager.

Our other card came from N1INI in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.  His card shows a photo of the Cape Naddick Lighthouse in Maine.

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Here are some more QSL cards we received for the special event, through eQSL.  N1INI sent us a different photo in this set.

N1INI 20151011 NN4SA 20m SSB NWR MA

N1DRS 20151011 NN4SA 20m SSB NWR MA WM0L 20151011 NN4SA 20m SSB NWR NE KF5KJN 20151011 NN4SA 40m SSB NWR LA

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CQ World Wide DX SSB Contest 2015

Bldg 4622 on Saturday afternoon October 24, during CQ World Wide DX SSB Contest.

Bldg 4622 on Saturday afternoon October 24, during the 2015 CQ World Wide DX SSB Contest. The HyGain TH-11-DX antenna at left is in use, pointing towards South America.

We participated in the CQ World Wide DX SSB Contest last weekend from the station.  I (WA2JQZ) came at the start on Friday evening (Oct. 24 00:00 UTC) and operated a few hours on 15, 20, and 40 meters.  15 meters was wide open to the Pacific in the early evening.  I heard DU7JAY in the Philippines and AH0K in the Mariana Islands.  But the propagation shifted before I had a chance to reach them.  I did work many Japanese stations.  Then I shifted to 20 and 40 meters, and worked stations in Europe and Latin America.  I heard a station each in Kuwait and Bahrain, but the wait seemed long and I moved on.  I spent time to get a few QSOs on 40 meters, as I figured we would not be able to use the lower frequency bands on Saturday during the day.  On 15 and 20 meters I used our new HyGain TH-11-DX directional antenna.  For 40 meters I used our 40 meter dipole.

Rob KB5EZ came at noon on Saturday and operated a couple of hours on 10 and 15 meters, also using the TH-11-DX.  For the first hour and a half, he pointed the antenna towards Europe, working Europe, Canada, and some of Africa including D4Z in Cape Verde.  He kept hearing South American stations on the side, and so for the next half hour turned the antenna towards them and worked them.

Rob KB5EZ working the 2015 CQ WW DX SSB Contest.

Rob KB5EZ working the 2015 CQ WW DX SSB Contest.

Rob KB5EZ

Rob KB5EZ

Matt KA0S and I came around 2 pm.  We took turns working more of 10, 15, and 20 meters.  During the afternoon, 10 meters was open just to Latin America and Canada.  15  also gave us Europe, plus KL7RA in Alaska.  And 20 meters gave us more of Europe too.  We heard several French island special event stations, but offhand didn’t know exactly where they were, except for their CQ Zone information.  Matt was able to look up a couple on his smartphone: TO4K was on St Barthelemy Island in the Caribbean (southeast of St. Martin), TO2M was in Martinique. Matt worked some countries that we usually only hear during contests: Luxemburg LX7I , Morocco: CN2AA CN2R CN3A, Barbados 8P5A, and Peru OA4SS.

Matt KA0S

Matt KA0S

I came back to the mike later in the evening.  10 meters opened to the Pacific: I worked many Japanese stations with some Australian and Canadian stations.  And on 10 meters I finally worked AH0K.  Then I switched to 15 meters.  I no longer heard western Europe. But I did work again many stations in Japan, plus more in Australia, in Hawaii, four in New Zealand, a few in Asiatic Russia, and one in Kazakhstan UP2L. And I worked AH0K again, AH2R in Guam, and after a lot of patience, V73D, a German DXpedition in the Marshall Islands.  I finished by getting a few QSOs on 80 meters as that band started to open to DX.  Then I was ready to go home.

By the end we worked 297 international stations, located in 55 countries and territories.  We earned over 200 multipliers, and claimed a score of about 168,000, in the “Multi-Operator, Single Transmitter, Low Power” category.  I believe we all had fun.  The new beam antenna was definitely an asset.  I think it made a difference in reaching some stati0ns, including to Latin American, the Pacific, and Asiatic Russia.

73, Gary WA2JQZ

New DXCC entities confirmed from this contest:

  • AH0K Mariana Islands
  • GI6K Northern Ireland
  • TO1E Saint Martin
  • TO4K Saint Barthelemy

Some of the eQSLs we received so far:

VA7BEC 20151024 NN4SA 10m SSB CQWW BC Canada VE3UTT 20151024 NN4SA 10m SSB CQWW ON Canada VE7JH 20151024 NN4SA 10m SSB CQWW BC Canada VK4KW 20151025 NN4SA 15m SSB CQWW Australia YW4D 20151024 NN4SA 20m SSB CQWW Venezuela CX9AU 20151024 NN4SA 15m SSB CQWW Uruguay EC7WR 20151024 NN4SA 15m SSB CQWW Spain JA1CTB 20151025 NN4SA 15m SSB CQWW Japan KH6Y 20151025 NN4SA 15m SSB CQWW Hawaii KP4BD 20151025 NN4SA 20m SSB CQWW PR LT7F 20151024 NN4SA 10m SSB CQWW Argentina OO7P 20151024 NN4SA 20m SSB CQWW Belgium SK2T 20151024 NN4SA 15m SSB CQWW Sweden EA3CCN 20151024 NN4SA 10m SSB CQWW Spain IR4M 20151024 NN4SA 15m SSB CQWW Italy D4Z CQWW Cape Verde

National Wildlife Refuge Week Special Event, October 11, 2015

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This post is our update to our Special Events page. Photos by KB5EZ and NM4T. Text by WA2JQZ.

Operation Date: Sunday October 11, 2015
(National Wildlife Refuge Week was October 11 – 17, 2015.)
Time: 1400 – 1900 UTC (0900 – 1400 CDT).
Location: Easter Posey #2 Recreation Area, Shields Road, Redstone Arsenal / NASA MSFC.

NN4SA operated a special event station to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week. Parts of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal are in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Our club station Bldg. 4622 is located just a few hundred feet from the wildlife area boundary. To keep close in spirit, we set up and operated a portable station at the Easter Posey #2 Recreation Area. The recreation area is at the southwest corner of the Arsenal, by the Tennessee River, and also is near the wildlife area boundary.

The Wheeler Refuge was established in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a haven and breeding sanctuary for migratory birds and other wildlife. It is 35,000 acres of mixed habitat, located along the Tennessee River in north Alabama.

Wheeler NWR map with NN4SA

Map of the Wheeler NWR, with the locations of our field operation site for the Special Event, and the location of our fixed station at Bldg. 4622.

Easter Posey Recreation Area #2 pavilion

Easter Posey Recreation Area #2 pavilion

We were on SSB and RTTY with a primary 100 W HF station, on 15, 20 and 40 meters. We also operated a CW QRP 5 W HF station on 20 meters, to participate in the QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party. Each radio used EndFedz wire antennas suspended from the trees. Although band conditions were poor, we made about 40 contacts, including 4 RTTY and 8 CW QRP. We also joined in the Arizona and Pennsylvania QSO Parties. A few contacts resulted in ragchews, on phone and CW. We made several DX contacts: to Italy, to Croatia, and to the Canary Islands. This was a relatively relaxed special event for us. We had hot apple cider at the start in the cool morning, and we made a lunch break with fresh grilled hot dogs and accompaniments. Our operators were KB5EZ, NM4T, WA2JQZ, and N4MSN.

 

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Radio+Outing+10-11-15CWB+4

Radio+Outing+10-11-15CWB+3

Radio+Outing+10-11-15CWB+1 Radio+Outing+10-11-15CWB+2

Gallery

Photos from the Antenna Raising

This gallery contains 30 photos.

A photo album of photos I took last week Wednesday (October 7).  We attached the new HyGain TH-11-DX beam antenna to its mast on the tower, and completed assembling the last antenna segment. With much care and attention to safety, … Continue reading

National Wildlife Refuge Week Special Event, Sunday October 11, 2015 – Update

bannertop-B

NN4SA will operate a special event station to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week.

Date: Sunday October 11, 2015
Start Time: 1400 UTC (0900 CDT). End Time: afternoon local (CDT).
Location: Easter Posey #2 Recreation Area, Shields Road, Redstone Arsenal / NASA MSFC.

Easter Posey Recreation Area #2 pavilion

Easter Posey Recreation Area #2 pavilion. [Photo: KB5EZ]

Parts of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal are in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Our club station Bldg. 4622 is located just a few hundred feet from the wildlife area boundary. To keep close in spirit to this special event, we will operate as a portable station at the Easter Posey #2 Recreation Area. This is at the southwest corner of the Arsenal, by the Tennessee River, and also is by the wildlife area boundary. In case of rain, we will operate from our club station.

We will have a primary 100 W HF station active throughout the event. We may also operate a CW QRP 5 W HF station, to participate in the QRP-ARCI Fall QSO Party.

The National Wildlife Refuge Week event continues through the next Saturday.  However at this time we plan to just operate on Sunday October 11.

The Wheeler Refuge was established in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a haven and breeding sanctuary for migratory birds and other wildlife. It is 35,000 acres of mixed habitat, located along the Tennessee River in north Alabama.

Wheeler NWR map with NN4SA

Map of the Wheeler NWR, with the locations of our field operation site for the Special Event, and the location of our fixed station at Bldg. 4622.

September antenna work continues

For our work-play session on September 16th, we assembled the antenna elements of the TH-DX-11.  We were visited by KS4UA, who took the photos.

IMG_0451_25pc

Matt KA0S applied a paste on parts of the antenna rod elements where they were to be inserted and clamped inside an adjacent rod. Gary WA2JQZ then connected the rods to the correct dimensions and clamped them. [Photo by KS4UA.]

IMG_0450_25pc

Don N4MSN (left) and Rob KB5EZ (right) checking dimensions in the antenna manual. [Photo by KS4UA.]

During lunch on September 28, Don N4MSN met up with Stephen Duncheskie KK4IBB and his post driver at at the club.  Within minutes they finished installing two ground rods adjacent to the tower.  They are hard to identify in the pictures so Don circled them.  [Photos by Don N4MSN]

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Stephen KK4IBB using his fence post driver to drive two ground rods for the new antenna tower by the base. [Photo by N4MSN]

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The ground rod locations, indicated by the red circles.  [Photo by N4MSN]

Retuning the 160 meter OCF

Redoing our 160 meter OCF antenna. Our group changing the length at the northeast side.

Redoing our 160 meter OCF antenna. Here our group took down the northeast side of the antenna, and soldered a different length extension.

At our last Work-Play session on August 12th, we tried to retune our 160 meter Off Center Fed (OCF) antenna.

We had been using it as our primary multi-band HF dipole antenna.  It worked well on a number of bands: 80, 40, and 30 meters, portions of 17, 15, and 10 meters, and the upper half of the 160 meter band.  We could not, however, tune our transceiver on the lower portion of 160 meters, including the CW portion, without using an extra antenna tuner. Now we have dedicated dipole antennas for most of those other bands.   And so, led by the Station Operation Committee team, we decided to try to retune the 160 meter OCF, to make it usable on the rest of the 160 meter band.

Our first attempt was to change the lengths of the antenna wire at each end.  We removed earlier extensions at the ends and soldered different lengths.

DSCN7792

Temporarily removing the southwest end of the 160 meter OCF antenna from the fence post.

DSCN7794

Michael KG4OZK, Emily KM4LLT, Rob KB5EZ, and Matt KA0S. Rob attached an extension to the southwest half of the OCF antenna.

Emily and Rob soldering an extension to the southwest half of the OCF antenna.

Emily and Rob soldering an extension to the southwest half of the OCF antenna.

View along the OCF antenna from the southwest to northeast.

View along the OCF antenna from the southwest to northeast.

Dave KK4IKR reattaching the southwest end of the OCF.

Dave KK4IKR reattaching the southwest end of the OCF.

Matt KA0S tested the 160 meter OCF with his antenna analyzer. He also checked the other dipole antennas that have replaced the OCF on the other bands, to make sure we have the capability on those other bands.

Matt KA0S tested the 160 meter OCF with his antenna analyzer. He also checked the other dipole antennas that have replaced the OCF on the other bands, to make sure we have the capability on those other bands.

The antenna analyzer results looked good.  That is, we had resonance now at a lower frequency on the 160 meter band.  However, later testing with our rig showed we still had a high Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) with the rig grounded.  Time for more Sherlocking.

After working on the OCF antenna, we reviewed how to use our radio and software for meteor scatter.

After working on the OCF antenna, we reviewed how to use our radio and software for meteor scatter.