HK0NA DXpedition

I’d been trying to bag HK0NA for two wks but could barely hear them most the time.  Then, this wkend I broke thru (100 w, wire antenna) and worked them on six bands and two modes.  How did that finally happen?

They work split, which I find dicey on CW but not bad at all on sideband.  I am just not that good on CW and can’t tell where they are listening so I just have to guess around and follow the pileup while trying to stay at the edge of it in case he moves out.

Anyway, it was pretty satisfying to work them once but six times?  Priceless!

They are on a tiny tiny island in the Pacific off the coast of Columbia; so tiny, it is not listed in my fancy glossy World Atlas (but, like everything else apparently, was easily found by Google Earth.  Thank you, Serge.

With the snagging of HK0NA and a random capture of a station in the Bahamas on 20m I’ve brought my 20m total entities worked to 101; hope I can get 100 confirmed.  Of the 101, 94 are phone so I’ll next strive to get that up to 100+. 

And, I have 95 on 15m and 88 on 10m so I’m wanting to get them up to over 100 soon. 

That’ll go a little slow for me as these are all daylight bands and as a guy with a day job, I can only work those on wkends. 

QSO365 is still progressing and these tend to be after work contacts on 40 and 80m.

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A few CW tips

  1. Join FISTS – The International Morse Preservation Society – www.fists.org.  “When you’ve worked a FISTS, you’ve worked a friend.”
  2. “Accuracy Transcends Speed.”  While no doubt true, even at my slow speed, my sending accuracy less than perfect.
  3. Don’t id with each transmission.  Once every ten minutes is all that’s required..
  4. Use abbreviations, Q’s and prosigns, and use them properly
  5. Cut out unnecessary words.  E.g., No need to say “name here is Ken;” just say “name Ken.”  We know where you are!
  6. If you have a longer or less common first name like I do, Wayne, use a shorter nickname in CW, esp with intl ops.  My middle name is Kenneth so I use “Ken.”
  7. This one is hard to break but try not to repeat everythiing unless asked.  For me, in Atlanta, GA, that’s a lot of letters to repeat. 

Plain and Simple Station

My table used to be full of misc gear, books and mags; cluttered and hard to work in.  Then, I had to move everything out of the shack to have the hardwood floors refinished so when it was time to move back in, I “cleaned house,” at least the shack part of it.  Now, it is clean and tight and I could make it even more spartan by removing the signalink I barely use (for PSK) and maybe even the mic since most my work is in Morse.

QSO 365

I am following G6NHU’s QSO 365 Challenge (http://qso365.co.uk/what-isqso365/) to make at least one qso everyday.  Today is Jan 28 and I’ve succeeded to make 28 daily QSO’s so far this year. 

In my time zone, eastern, 0000Z occurs at 7pm, so I’ve been waiting till after 7 to get on the radio every day.  Yesterday and last night I was out of town so when I got back today I had to get on the air before 7pm to make my qso for Jan 27, then waited a bit till after 7 and made mine for the 28th.  #28 was Croatia, calling CQ on 40m CW. 

Thoughts so far: this is both a burden and good discipline.  Most of my contacts are CW and a New Year’s Goal has been to get better at CW.  I don’t have time to actually practice CW but getting on the air daily, even tho just for a short qso, has improved my ear.  I am still solid at 17wpm but shaky at 19 and up.  In the low twenties, the speed of most DX stations, I have to hear the exchange several times to catch the whole call sign and then thankfully all I have to do is send and receive 599.

So much for the good discipline part; the burden is that I have to do this every night, even if I’ve been out for the evening or I’m tired or something else, or have to be darn sure I can get on the air before 7pm the next day. 

Since I’m doing this at night (as I have a fulltime job), 40m and sometimes 80m are all that’s been open.  This weekend I hope to work on 20m and up during the daylight. 

I don’t think I can keep this up for 365 days unless I get a mobile HF rig I can use in the car and take on trips.  Alas, Dayton is too far off to be of help here!

SKCC – Straight Key Century Club

Interesting QSO Thursday nite involving my new discovery of SKCC.  So we exchanged a few emails and here’s the thread:

Ron, emjoyed our QSO tonite.  SKCC I told you abt is at www.skccgroup.com.  I only learned abt it last wkend when I worked someone at 3550 who asked me for my SKCC #!  I ckd it out and joined (free) and got my # 2 days ago.

Wayne, I checked out the website you gave me after our QSO and, after sleeping on it overnight, I have decided to join too.  It seems like SKCC is a good place to meet some interesting old-fashioned hams.  I had never heard of it before last night.  Thanks for the introduction.

I do appreciate straight key proficiency and try to keep mine up to a decent level, but I use a keyer/paddles most of the time except for New Year’s Eve.

I just happened to be trying out my old Kenwood TS 830S that hadn’t transmitted into an antenna in about 15 years last night and the straight key was the only one I had handy with a cord having the plug for it.  I didn’t realize that I was sending CQ in the SKCC 80 meter working frequency range.

Ron, amazing coincidence that you were calling CQ in SKCC range.  I just got my # Weds so wanted to try it out Thurs.  I read on the SKCC website to tune dn 2 kHz fm 3550 if a straight key and tune up if a bug.  So I blew the cobwebs off my old key and got on freq, and there you were!