W9DXCC Press Release – Chicagoland Based DX Classes in September

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2012

W9DXCC DX CONVENTIONCOMMITTEE ANNOUNCES

“DX’ing from the Black Hole”

A multi-session course to be presented in conjunction with the 60th W9DXCC DX Convention (Schaumburg, Illinois)

The W9DXCC convention committee has announced it will offer a 4 session class on Friday September 14, 2012 to introduce ham operators to the excitement and fun of “DXing”, or contacting hams in other countries around the world.

The class will be held the day before the W9DXCC convention on September 15th, and has been designed for new and inexperienced DX’ers.

Each will cover a different aspect of DX’ing including operating practices, station design, chasing awards, QSL’ing and propagation from the Black Hole.

All presenters are accomplished DXers from the NIDXA (Northern Illinois DX Association) and include K9AJ, K9EL, WA9YYY and W9MU.

Between them they have over 100 years of experience that includes participation in DXpedition operations to rare locations around the world and numerous awards.

Registration for the class may be done online at the W9DXCC web site (www.w9dxcc.com) when Convention registration is active. Discounts will be available for persons signing up for both the class and the convention.

Please contact W9MU (jhudson) for further details and information.

I’ve always enjoyed the W9DXCC event, and with the classes it will be even more of service to the amateur radio community!

73

Steve
K9ZW

A few Hours of Interesting Band Conditions

The last few times at the radio the bands have been interestingly decent.

Here is smattering of the last group of SSB contacts worked 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m and 10m:

  1. ARGENTINA
  2. ARUBA
  3. AUSTRIA
  4. AZORES
  5. BALEARIC ISL.
  6. BELIZE
  7. BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
  8. BRAZIL
  9. CANADA
  10. CANARY ISL.
  11. COSTA RICA
  12. CROATIA
  13. CZECH REP.
  14. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
  15. ECUADOR
  16. EL SALVADOR
  17. ENGLAND
  18. FAROE ISL.
  19. FRANCE
  20. GREENLAND
  21. GUATEMALA
  22. GUERNSEY (BAILIWICK OF)
  23. GUYANA
  24. HONDURAS
  25. HUNGARY
  26. IRELAND
  27. ITALY
  28. JAMAICA
  29. JAPAN
  30. JERSEY (CHANNEL ISL.)
  31. MALPELO ISL.
  32. MARTINIQUE
  33. MOLDOVA
  34. MOROCCO
  35. PANAMA
  36. POLAND
  37. PORTUGAL
  38. PUERTO RICO
  39. RUSSIA (EUROPEAN)
  40. SCOTLAND
  41. SLOVENIA
  42. SOUTH KOREA
  43. SPAIN
  44. SURINAME
  45. SWEDEN
  46. TANZANIA
  47. THAILAND
  48. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
  49. UKRAINE
  50. URUGUAY
  51. USA
  52. VENEZUELA
  53. VIRGIN ISL.
  54. WALES

These are only the eQSL members out of the last bunch of contacts.

Hopefully the bands will continue to be “interesting!”

73

Steve
k9ZW

Sometimes the bands can leave a person simply puzzled!

Sometimes the bands can leave a person simply puzzled!

Working the regional 160m net was a chore, with S9+20 roaring noise.

It was only that I was having configuration troubles after upgrading software – much of which I may have avoided by more carefully reading the manuals and making better notes during upgrade setup – that I stuck in the station fussing with settings.

Much of the time I was wrestling with Audio Gremlins and Port Control Software configuration.

In the midst of messing, some listening & some DX Cluster watching suggested that 15m and 17m were moderate to long.

Hmmm……

A quick point to the Caribbean brought Martinique and Cuba quickly:

TO5K 31Mar2012
00:40 17M SSB

CO6LE 31Mar2012
00:42 15M SSB

Then a swing to Asia based on DX Cluster reports start with a long listening session interrupted with several reboots as I sorted out software and working Japan, Thailand, North Cook Islands and Cambodia during an hour of much listening a tweaking on the station. A kind fellow ham tipped me off that my Audio was still messed up, so it was dummy load at 10w time with PowerSDR set to monitor my audio output back into my headset until I adjusted out the issues. Here is what I worked in between software tinkering:

JK1MZT 31Mar2012
00:54 15M SSB

HS0ZJU 31Mar2012
01:27 15M SSB

E51M 31Mar2012
01:33 17M SSB

XU7SSB 31Mar2012
01:54 15M SSB

On Software the two recent station changes – upgrade of PowerSDR to the latest v2.3.5 and use of DDUtil integration software – the PowerSDR upgrade has been the most frustrating. It would seem that my cheat sheet of “good settings” from the prior version is not going to work, and many of the Audio enhancements are suddenly so sensitive that I have to either turn them off or cut them back to less than 25% of their prior levels.

Audio settings are important for me, as my natural voice is not a good DX voice, being too baritone and resonant. With the Flex-Radio I sidelined my external processing audio gear and use the various software equalizers, compression options and other enhancements to create a competitive DX Voice.

Basically I filter and process my voice to a broadcast sound that is higher in pitch focus and has a more precise audio core.

One really weird part of doing the monitor of self listening technique is the slight delays in the system – they are minuscule though you do end up talking slower as you naturally wait to hear the end of your phonetics – “kilo niner zulu whiskey” slows down into “keyyylooow nighnnneer zoooolooooo whhhhissskeeee” as instinct creates a feedback cadence slowdown. Sounded link an Andy Warhol painting in audio!

I didn’t work but heard 9N1AA (Nepal) and an Indian station – the pileups were huge and I didn’t want to add to the din with questionable audio & weak copy on receive.

As I didn’t have Thailand or Cambodia in the log under my own call, it was a real pleasure to find that my “Mr Fixit” session had a bonus of a couple new DX Entities!

Sometimes the bands can leave a person simply puzzled!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Doing a QSL Seminar for Mancorad W9DK

For the upcoming Saturday January 21st I’ve been drafted to do a presentation and lead a discussion on QSLs for our local radio club – Mancorad W9DK

My outline points for the presentation on QSLing are:

•When should you QSL?
•What should be on your QSL card?
•What to do when cards you receive have problems?
•How to ask for aQSL Card?
•How to actually GET that Card?
•Ways to send your QSL cards out.
•The Electronic QSL – eQSL & LoTW options.
•The Famous “Plum Method” of Foreign Stamped SASEs.
•Bureau services like GlobalQSL.
•What are those SWL Cards and do you answer them?
•The use of “Green Stamps,” IRC (International Reply Coupons) and Donations.
•Special Twists, Like the Special Currency System.
•QSLing with DXpeditions.
•What is a Bureau and how do I use them?
•What does all this Cost?
•When to trade Money for Time, or Time for Money, in QSLing?
•Resources for the QSLing Radio Amateur.

I’ll be leading the presentation and discussion, hopefully with one or more of the guests I’ve invited.

Should be fun and if the handouts are well received I’ll see about getting them put up on the club blog and perhaps here.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Getting my QSLing Up to Date!

Making an effort here to get my QSLing up to date.  Unsing Global QSL http://www.globalqsl.com/ the vast majority of my DX QSLs should be caught up.  From the No Manager/No GlobalQSL/No Bureau courtesy information from GlobalQSL of the last roughly 1100 cards about 7 or 8 will have to be done here manually as directs.

While this takes care of my DX catch up, I am at least 400 cards behind on domestic QSLs.  I had been pretty good until until I bluntly just got a bit bored with the paperwork side of QSLing and let that side slip.

I do eQSLs as well http://www.eqsl.cc/ automatically as as much of a back-up log as anything, and about once every couple years I put up with the silly technical hurdles of LoTW and upload my logs there.

I’ll have to see about setting up a label printer and doing the domestic QSLs in arrears, so I can get back to even up.

BTW here are my current GlobalQSL card front faces.

K9ZW Home QTH QSL Frontside Image

K9ZW Home QTH QSL Frontside Image

and

K9ZW Washington Island WI001L QSL Frontside Image

K9ZW Washington Island WI001L QSL Frontside Image

My domestic cards are not all similar, as I often use a Lake Michigan Theme card I had printed up.

73

Steve
K9ZW

DX Video Review: K5D Desecheo Island 2009 DXpedition DVD

The KP1-5 Project 2009 K5D Descecheo Island DXpedition was an amazing event for the DX Amateur Radio enthusiast.  An island “DX Country” so close but basically closed to Amateur Radio for years.  Only a small number of contacts from a series of small scale DXpeditions had been made from KP5 over the 30 years it has been a DX Country, with the result of a huge demand to log QSOs by radio amateurs worldwide.

Desecheo was in the top handful of needed DX Contacts for almost everyone working DX.

Here is a link to the National FIsh & Wildlife information page on Desecheo Island, an informational PDF is linked from their webpage:  http://www.fws.gov/caribbean/Refuges/Desecheo/default.htm

The February 2009 DXpedition achieved 115,787 QSOs with over 32,000 separate radio amateurs! I was able to work them on six bands 160, 80, 40, 20, 17 & 15m despite a busy work schedule keeping me mostly off the air.

As part of the project a DVD has been produced, and I was able to arrange to view a copy in advance of the general release.

K5D DVD

K5D DVD

While a DXpedition’s first radio purpose is to make the QSO’s they have set out to do, it has become an added treat when a DXpedition does a documentary Book or DVD.  Bob Allphin K4UEE Adventures in Ham Radio’s K5D DVD is a standout in that added pleasure!

Using a very effective combination of graphics & stills interspersed in fantastic on-island film segments, the story of the DXpedition is well told!

I imagine it a challenge to make a DXpedition story, a project so complex as to take years to bring to fruition, into an hour’s telling to be a supremely difficult challenge to meet. The K5D DVD team has done a superb job of presenting the DXpedition in a storyline that will appeal to casual DXer as well as having interest to the serious DXer.

You can preorder the DVD at K5D Desecheo Island DXpedition 2009 Order Page, an expect your DVD copy in a few weeks (in October) when the production run is ready.

The DVD is specially interesting to me as it provides a wonderful overview of a very difficult political process, without bogging down in minutia. QSO & Operator segments were specially interesting, as I have long been interested in the technical setup DXpeditions have found worthy of taking to the field.

Given the time constraints there is a lot of material special interests might suggest going into more depth, but that would be at the expense of audience not sharing those special interests.

A highly recommend DXpedition DVD and hats off to Bob K4UEE for allowing my early review of it!

Now one item that did seemed skirted, or just perhaps wasn’t important to the story, is the KP1 part of the story – will the KP1-5 Project succeed in obtaining permission & putting together a DXpedition to Navassa Island?

Here is a link to the US Fish & Wildlife Page on that island: http://www.fws.gov/caribbean/Refuges/Navassa/default.htm

Let’s hope that their success on Desecheo NA-095 results in a Navassa opportunity sometime soon!

73
Steve
K9ZW