Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ukraine with the PRC-320 at the UBA Contest

This is a video of a QSO I made today with Ukraine (UR5IZA). I also made QSOs with Russia (RF4M), Netherlands (PA1NHZ) and Italy (IZ6BXV).

The QSO was made on the 20m band with the British RT320 military transceiver, 4Ah NiCd battery, 4m whip (from the GDR), clansman headset and clansman handset (for the recording). Thanks to Anca (YO8SOY) for the video recording.

Kazakhstan (UN7MMM)

I have just received an eQSL from UN7MMM (operator Valery) from Kazakhstan. We made this QSO last Friday on the 2om band. The story of the QSO is that a fellow ham from Belgium (Alex, ON4FB) contacted me through the Yahoo pingbox on this site to set up a sked with me on that band. When I managed to set up my station the frequency was already occupied, but we finally managed to make the QSO thanks to Valery, who kindly lent us his frequency.

My portable station through a fisheye lens

I have just received a picture that my cousin Pedro took when I was at Monte de San Pedro last weekend testing the PRC-320 with my 4m-long military whip antenna from the GDR.
The picture was taken with a fisheye lens. You can see more of his pictures on his personal website

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Croatia and a couple of islands

Today I made a QSO with 9A9R on 20m with my "kornjaca" (aka PRC-320). Then I decided to try the FT857D, which is installed inside the car, because it was a bit too cold outside for portable operation.
I made a couple of interesting QSOs. One was with MM5DWW in SSB (operator David) from Orkney and the other one with OY1CT (operator Caen) from the Faroe Islands.
Orkney also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in northern Scotland, situated 16 kilometres (10 mi) north of the coast of Caithness.
The name "Orkney" dates back to the 1st century BC or earlier, and the islands have been inhabited for at least 8,500 years. Originally occupied by Mesolithic and Neolithic tribes and then by the Picts, Orkney was invaded and then annexed by Norway in 875 and settled by the Norse. It was subsequently annexed to the Scottish Crown in 1472, following the failed payment of a dowry for James III's bride, Margaret of Denmark.[9] Orkney contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe, and the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Is life too short for QRP? Slovenia with my "kornjaca"

I have just received an eQSL from Slovenia, for a QSO with S51ZZ (operator Vojko). He gave me a signal report of 59 from the West of Slovenia on the 20m band.
He was running 700 watts and I was using the PRC-320 with a military whip antenna. On his eQSL card you can see a picture of his dog Punca. I have had a number of QSOs with Vojko in the past, and I think he has also participated in the Southern Cross DX Net.
His signal is usually very strong over here, which probably has to do with the location (I think he is just a hop away) and the power he is using. If you look at his entry you can see a nice picture with his philosophy: "Life's too short for QRP."
Probably he is right, but the truth is that with my "korniaca" (it means "turtle" and is the way my radio was called in the former Yugoslavia) am enjoying again the quest for new DX countries... such as Slovenia... Hi Hi.

Monday, January 25, 2010

USA (NX7TT): The fourth country confirmed with the PRC-320

I have just received the eQSL from the US, which represents my fourth validly confirmed country on eQSL with the PRC-320. The qso was on the 20m band with NX7TT from Rigby, Idaho.
Rigby is most famous for being the "birthplace of television", a title the city can attribute to a high school student named Philo Taylor Farnsworth. Farnsworth drew up his first blue-prints of a television while he was a Jefferson County resident. Later he invented the vacuum tube television display. Original tubes from Farnsworth's early experiments were on display at the Rigby High School for many years. They are now held by the Jefferson County Museum in Rigby. A section of the Yellowstone highway, passing through the community, has been named in Farnsworth's honor.
NX7TT is retired from the USAF after 23 years. He did 43 countries with Uncle Sam, and you can see some of the calls he has had (AH2BE, AH2BE/KH9/KH6, KB6DAW/KH2/KH9/KH6, HL9MM, 8P9GI, HZ1AB...)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Testing the new Clansman 4Ah battery

I have just received a new Clansman battery and decided to test it with some evening work on the 20m band. The first picture shows how easy it is to mount the 4m military whip antena (ex GDR army). It consists of 4 sections with in-built bayonet style quick disconnects.
The second picture shows the PRC-320 station with the new 4Ah battery fitted. I charged it as it arrived today but it only took slightly more than 1Ah, so I hope it was not totally discharged.
The first QSO I made was with the US (NX7TT from Idaho). The next QSO was also with an American station, WA2VUY (operator: Angel), from a rural area in the state of New Jersey, some 8km west of the city of New York. He speaks perfect Spanish and gave me a signal report of 55.
Finally, I also made a very interesting QSO with the Catalonian Station EA3DTD from Delta del Ebro in Tarragona (operator: Toni) who gave me a signar report of 57. We thwn moved to CW to try to make a QSO in that mode. I was using the pressel switch (PTT) of the headphones as a key and it was a bit hard. I managed to copy him ok but there was strong QSB and I ended up losing him.
This QSO encouraged me to set up a sked with my friend Josep (EA3YK), so I gave him a call. He was on his way home, so I had to wait for 20 minutes or so. As the 20m band no longer worked, we dedided to try 40m.
I managed to copy his signal perfectly with the PRC-320 and the 4m-long whip (he was running 100W into a full-sized antenna) but he was not able to copy me at all. I even copied him when he tried with his AEG 6861 military transceiver running only 20W so I hope we will manage to make the QSO when there will be better conditions.
The last picture shows my particular logbook today. I had to improvise it because I often forget my real logbook when I take it home to upload the QSOs to eQSL.

Ruhr: European Capital of Culture 2010 (DR2010O)

This morning I made a QSO with the special event station DR2010O (operator Nico) from near Cologne, celebrating the Ruhr 2010 European Capital of Culture.
I was using the PRC-320 on 20m SSB with the Clansman headset ans a 4m whip antenna.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Germany and Slovenia with the PRC-320

Today I made some contacts with the PRC320 on the 20m band. One was with the German station DL8MX (op. Wil) from near Nuremberg. He was using an IC756pro3 and a linear amplifier (400W) and a 4element yagi 13m above the ground.
The other QSO was with the Slovenian station S59AKR, which belongs to the Akrapovic Exhaust Technology ham club.
Akrapovic d.d., is a manufacturer of top quality exhaust systems, carbon parts and casted titanium products. The concept of a scorpion, the leading motif of their logo, originates from the surname of the company’s founder Igor Akrapovic (in Turkish Akrap means Scorpion). What started in 1990 as an innovative, driven group of six, is now a modern prominent company of more than 13,000 m2 of production and commercial space and with over 420 employees.
The idea of founding the Akrapovic radio club was born a while ago. S59AKR is the calling code which helps operators Tom, Peter and Marjan by connecting fans of Akrapovic products all over globe.
I did not know the relationship with Akrapovic when I made the QSO but, curiously enough, I am also a fan of Akrapovic exhausts, which are used by many professional enduro teams.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Maryland on 15m (K3LU)

Today I made a great QSO with K3LU (Ulises) on the 15m band. He speaks perfect Spanish and we were talking about the reform of the Spanish ham radio licensing system that merged all the licence classes into a single one. We also talked about vanity callsigns and the virtues of the higher bands. He is now 45 years old and has been a ham since the age of 14.
I just checked his entry and he's got an excellent collection of funny amateur radio stuff he has photoshopped or edited throughout the years. He is a real artist, really fun. Check it up.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Netherlands: Third country confirmed with the PRC-320 (PH9HB)

Today I made a QSO with PH9HB (Jerry) with the PRC320. The Netherlands was a new country for me with the portable setup, I have already received his eQSL card. This represents the third country confirmed, after Germany and Italy. Curiously enough, I still haven't got Spain confirmed.
Jerry was using a Yaesu FT-950 and a horizontal loop antenna 10 metres off the ground and gave me a signal report of 44. He is also a pilot flying Boeing 737 NG (-700 and -800) for a Dutch carrier based at Amsterdam-Schiphol. That is probably where the picture in his eQSL card comes from.

Telde, Gran Canaria (EA8FC and EC8AAD)

I have been making some QSOs with the PRC320 on the 20m band, some of them with stations I had already worked before in worse conditions, such as I2OHO (Luciano from Milano) or EA8FC (José Antonio from Telde, Gran Canaria). Other stations I have worked are DJ1KJ (Hans) from Frankfurt and EC8AAD (Candi) also from Telde.
The presence of Franciscans from Majorca in the XIV century make Telde, created by papal decree in 1351, the first city in the Canary Islands from a European perspective. Telde was the eastern centre to the Guanches, and the renowned Guanche King Doramas, it's believed, lived here.
Telde's name actually tells us something about where the original settlers on the Canary Islands came from. Telde, situated in a most fertile area of Gran Canaria, has it's equivalent province in Morrocco in a very fertile region called Tedlah. Telde is the spot where the famous Idolo de Tara figure was discovered.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Austria with the PRC320 (OE4RLC)

Yesterday I made a QSO with OE4RLC (operator Rai) with the PRC-320 and a 4m whip from a parking lot on a hill just outside the city of A Coruña. It was on the 20m band and I got a signal report of 59.
Rai speaks perfect Spanish. Reading his entry I just found that he holds one of the two remote licenses that have been issued in Austria and is now working remote via Internet through OE4XLC, Clubstation of the Austrian Military Radio Society.

Monday, January 11, 2010

PRC-320: QSO with EA8FC (Canary Islands)

I have made another QSO with the Canary Islands using the PRC-320 and a 4m-long military whip on the 20m band. José Antonio (EA8FC) gave me a report of 5 by 5 and also let me listen to a recording of my transmission.

The PRC-320 headset seems to be working alright.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Testing the Clansman headset

Today I went to Monte de San Pedro in order to test the Clansman headset with some DX work and the result was very satisfactory.
It was late already and the 20m band was only open to the West, but I was able to make a couple of QSOs with the Canary Islands (Manolo - EA8CEQ - from La Palma and Orlando - EA8CCQ from Gran Canaria), one with the US (Rich - W8VS from Michigan), and one with the neighboring town of Ferrol (Diego - EA1GWL).
The one in the picture is me with the Clansman headset. It was really cold outside.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

8Q7CE from the Maldives

I have just chatted with Cezar (YO8TLC), who is already on Feydhoo Island, Addu Atoll, where he will be active as 8Q7CE until 25 January. Holiday style operation on 40m, 30m and 20m bands, mainly CW and some SSB.
He has just finished installing his antenna and made his first QSO with UN9GD. His working condition consists of a Yaesu FT857 at 100W, a manual MFJ971 antenna tuner and a vertical multiband antenna (Rybakov style with 10m fiber glass mast).
His QSL manager will be EB7DX. Luckily, he will also upload his log to eQSL.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The refurbished PRC-320

This is a picture of my PRC-320 in its current form after receiving a new hand o paint and new screws.
I have also installed some rubber feet on the upper and lower sides of the transceiver so that it does not scratch the table. They also help to hold the rig in place when using the hand crank generator.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Morocco: The country no. 64 (CN8YE)

I have just receive the eQSL for a QSO with CN8YE, which represents the country number 64 for my eDX award. The QSO was in SSB on the 15-meter band, which is probably my favourite and for DX. I am using it more often now that I have the Yaesu FC-40 autotuner and I can move from one band to another very quickly. My 4m-long military whip works fine on that band.