Monday, February 27, 2012

You Never Know Till You Try!

Reports on QRZ confirm what I said in my previous post and show that 10 meters is in a pretty bad state, however since I’ve spent a load of time building my moxon I am determined to get some results and so most mornings I am to be found sat at the radio tuned on to the CW portion of 10 meters. Occassionally I get lucky but most of the time I hear nothing and to be honest I rarely call CQ which really is not entering the spirit of the hobby.

The messages coming from the QRZ forum points towards the fact that if you don’t call CQ then you’ll never know who is out there and really it's right, if you don't try you wont know. A lot of amateurs just listen hoping to catch some DX and for some reason especially on 10 meters you don’t seem to get many callers, or is it just me? 

I was thinking about this early Saturday morning whilst sat in front of the rig tuned in at 28.030 and all as usual seemed dead; it was the same when I tuned up and down the whole band and even a quick jump up to SSB proved fruitless. I thought "here we go again another weekend of the band being completely quiet".

So simply for the hell of it and before I switched down to the lower bands I called CQ and blow me within three calls had a reply from a Japanese station, who gave me a 579 and we had a good chat for about fifteen minutes. Of course as soon as we had finished up popped other Europearn stations desperate to contact my Japanese friend! Just goes to show it’s always worth a try and so in future I will always do a CQ just in case there is someone hiding out there.

I can’t remember if I said I had been looking in to building a five band hex beam, since building the cobweb and moxon I’ve been mulling over about doing another project and the hex seemed quite tempting. But unfortunately after thoroughly measuring up and really doing my research I’ve come to the conclusion that it is just too big and I wouldn’t get away with an antenna that size in the garden. Which is a real shame but I have to be very careful living in area of outstanding natural beauty and I don’t want the wrath of any locals especially since I’ve got away with the cobweb.
......Ah well back to the drawing board!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekend Listening and Some Cluster work

10 Meters has been rubbish the past few weeks, although yesterday there was a contest and I did managed to hear a few stations but nothing like what we were hearing about a month ago, I just hope things haven’t peaked. I keep reading on QRZ that things hopefully will pick up again, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed as it would be a shame now I have the moxon really running well to miss out on all the fun. However, using my tuner I can switch the moxon down to 12 meters and could hear a few JA’s unfortunately I had no luck in contacts.

I’m getting to the stage now where I do a lot more listening than sending, mainly because I get fed up with just working the European stations, I must be getting too picky as now I will only reply to CQs from DX stuff or QRPs!  30 meters is still as reliable as ever and using my good old inverted Vee you can occasionally get some great DX stuff and it always amazes me if you are patient just what you can hear on the band. VK’s and JA’s will appear from nowhere especially up around 10.128/30 and provided you’re quick and get in before the big guns you can have some fun.

Although I've read about it I've never used Cluster websites before, mainly because the computer is situated downstairs from the shack and I'm too lazy to go running up and down the stairs monitoring the bands. But over the weekend I decided to give it a try and after checking what was about I zipped over to the radio to have a listen.
First impressions are that if its on the cluster then you are obviously up against a number amateurs going for the same station so sometimes it’s a real struggle to work out what’s being said, but on the whole it was a good experience and no doubt with practise I will develop the learning process.

 The other habit I’ve recently picked up is to listen to 80 meters first thing in the morning before work, having a tune round you hear some marvellous conversations going on and usually pick up some useful hints and tips from the old timers!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Wee Bit Chilly!

I haven't changed the wiring, it's frost!

A tad cold today minus 10, but still managed to get in a couple of JA's before breakfast!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Antarctica Calling

Been having some fun with 30 meters; last night around 21.30 GMT I was having a listen on the band and it seemed very quiet, I thought maybe the recent sunspot activity had made things quiet.

Then out of the background noise I heard a very faint call, VP8DMH, Mike Clarke down in Antarctica at the Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf. It’s the second time I’ve managed to contact him and I’m chuffed to bits, although our contacts are short it just really good to know that a simple home made 30m inverted V dipole is getting out all the way down to Antarctica. The morse is fairly slow so it would be excellent for any newcomers to CW to try a bit of DX.

Have a listen, he’ normally about on 10.118 at around 21.30 hrs GMT.