K5MQ/P at Buhlow Lake Louisiana

Received a phone call last night from Dennis W5LD. He told me that Bryan AF5JA the president of our ham club invited the members to operate portable Saturday afternoon from the Fort Buhlow Recreation Area.  Lake Buhlow is located in Pineville LA about 35 miles southwest of me.  Well I got up early and mowed the yard and made it to Lake Buhlow just in time for lunch.  Had some hot dogs and boudin cooked over charcoal on one of the grills at the lake.  We set up 3 rigs and operated a couple of hours.  The weather was beautiful, temperature in the low 70’s.  We made several contacts on 40, 30, 20 and 17 meters.  We had a great time and hope we do it again soon.  Below are a few pictures of our setup.


Buhlow5

Here is Dennis W5LD operating with his Elecraft K1 .  Has 40 30 20 and 15 meters and the internal tuner.   A very fine rig.  This is the first time I have seen a K1 in person and I am impressed with it.

Buhlow3

W5LD was using a Buddy Stick vertical.  He had an adjustable length counterpoise wire.  It performed well on all bands.

Buhlow6

Here is my rig.  A Ten Tec R4020 and an Emtech ZM2 Tuner.

Buhlow2

My antenna was a fiberglass push up pole with about 30 feet of wire as a vertical and a 20′ counterpoise on the ground.  I only worked 20 meters and it preformed well.

Buhlow1

AF5JA Bryan brought out the “Big Gun” portable rig.  A Ten Tec Eagle and used a G5RV antenna pulled up into a nearby tree at about 35 feet high.  Also had a 2000w  generator to provide power for the 100 watt rig.

 

WSPR 100mw on 40 Meters

I have been running WSPR for 4 days at 100mw output on 40 meters.  I have used WSPR quite a bit on 160 meters with 1 watt and wanted to try lower power on 40 meters.

WSPR 100mw

Using an Icom 7000 with an OCF dipole up 30 feet.

WSPR 100mw Transmit

The 100mw WSPR signal was heard by 53 different stations during the 4 days.   One station in Spain, one station in Alaska and one station in Canada.  All of the other reports are from the U.S.  The picture at the left is a list of unique stations sorted by distance that copied me during the 4 days.  I left the station running 24 hours a day.  K9AN at a distance of 1003km copied my 100mw throughout the daylight hours many times.  He must have a great receiver there.

Below is a list of 108 stations I heard during the 4 days.   I received VK6KOZ running 200mw at 17387km 48 times over 2 days.  His signal was up to -18db once.  VK6KOZ was transmit only, so no reception reports from him.   If you click on the list below it will open in a new window, you may also have to click on it in the new window to make it full size and readable.

WSPR 100mw Received

 

 

Realistic DX160 Shortwave Receiver

Found a Realistic DX160 Shortwave Receiver this morning.  Went to the Rayne LA hamfest this morning.  It was a good hamfest with quite a bit of used gear for sale.  Also good to see some old friends.

Rayne LA Hamfest 2015

I was not particularly looking for anything but ended purchasing a few items.  First item was a tripod for supporting a portable mast.  I have a 33ft fiberglass telescoping  mast that would work well for portable operating.  The tripod will support the telescoping mast.  The second item is even more mast.  I bought one of those bags with the military surplus stack-able fiberglass mast, 12 sections.  The stack-able mast will also fit the tripod perfectly.  May use 25 feet or so of the stack-able mast to support a wire when portable.

Then I saw the Realistic DX-160.  If you look at other posts here you will notice that I love shortwave radios and shortwave listening.  The last thing that I “needed” was another receiver.  Many times I have come close to purchasing a DX160.  The Realistic DX160 is a radio that I wanted even before I became a ham operator but it was too expensive for me when I was a teenager.

Realistic DX160

The radio had the matching SP150 Speaker and was very clean.  The seller had the price at $45, I offered $40 and the seller accepted!

Returned home this afternoon and set the DX150 up in the shack and powered it up.  I used a couple of alligator clip leads to connect the antenna jack to the shield and center conductor of the PL259 that goes to my 160m dipole.  The radio works fantastic and sounds even better!  I listened to a few AM broadcast and AM shortwave stations.  Also tuned on 20 and 40 meters and listened to some ssb and cw signals. The only problem so far is the radio has a noticeable slight drift in frequency when the BFO is on but it is acceptable.   I will look into the drifting problem later.  Below is video of the rig receiving some shortwave stations between 9mhz and 13 mhz.  Local time was about 5pm.

QRP Oak Hills Research (OHR) Explorer II

I built the OHR Explorer II QRP rig in the late 1990’s from a kit.  Also built the OHR WM-1 QRP watt meter at the same time.  The WM-1 watt meter is used in the shack all the time.  I used the Explorer II quite a bit the first few months after building it but is has been on the shelf for about 99% of the time for the last 15 years.  I am in a new ham shack after moving last year.  Unboxing all kinds of goodies the last couple of months.  Last Sunday afternoon I hooked up the OHR and it still works!

OHR Explorer IIHere is a picture of the OHR with the WM-1 watt meter, showing just a little below 2 watts output.  This Explorer II is built for 40 meters.  It covers 70khz of the band.  Mine is set for 7.000 to 7.070 mhz.  It it about 2 watts output and has RIT +- 1 khz.  Also has an adjustable receive filter, about 350hz to 1500hz.  The receiver is not as hot as some of the kits are today but it is no slouch either.

Called CQ Sunday evening on 40 meters and wanted to make a video of a QSO using the OHR.  After CQ’ing for about 15 minutes and being heard by 8-10 reverse beacon monitors I finally had a caller.  W9PP Lyle in Indiana.  Below is a video of part of the QSO with W9PP.  I was using a J37 “Mae West” straight key and a OCF dipole at 30ft.

 

Vibroplex Bug in the Shack

I now have a (borrowed) Vibroplex  Bug in the shack.

Back in January 2015 I was at N5YA’s (Bill) HF contest site with W5LD (Dennis).  It was a Friday night before the ARRL January VHF contest that we were going to operate in the following day at  K5QE’s contest site.  Dennis and I were making a few QSO’s on HF cw from Bill’s  nice station.  W5LD brought his Vibroplex bug for the contest weekend.  Dennis informed me that he prefers to use the bug over using an iambic key.  I have been on CW for over 30 years and am proficient with an iambic key.  I have never touched a bug before that weekend.  So i gave the bug a shot after watching W5LD use it and I was ABSOLUTELY horrible, but interested.

Last week W5LD and I attended a hamfest and he offered to loan me one of his bugs to try it out.  I accepted and look forward to learning to send CW with the Vibroplex.

Vibroplex Bug

I hooked up the Vibroplex this evening and practiced for a bit.  Using the bug is a blast!  Hope to be proficient enough soon to try some QRP QSO’s with the bug.

Below is a Youtube video by WB8SIW on how to Properly Adjust and Use a Vibroplex Bug.   Very good information in the video.