As I continue to get settled and unpack many boxes, I find myself once again wondering how long I will be hanging onto my collection of QSL cards. I have each and every card I've ever received since hitting the power button on my brand new Icom IC-735 many years ago. As I continue to drag them along and as we begin to downsize, preparing for our retirement years (still have some time), I'm facing the same dilemma. Do I finally let go of my ham radio paper resume?
This is my personal, hard copy, ham radio timeline and even though it has no monetary value (although I hate to think what I spent in getting many of them over the years) it has sentimental value that reaches farther than any country I've ever worked. I feel like a QSL hoarder and even though electronic QSL'ing is very big today, paper QSL cards are still very popular. Pictured here are just a few boxes of QSL cards and I have several more which I have yet to encounter as I unpack from my latest move. The QSL cards are not costing me anything and they only use up a bit of storage space in comparison to other items. But as we begin downsizing, every ounce counts. I keep asking myself, how long is long enough? Will I ever use these again? Not sure my kids will enjoy being stuck with them when I climb the mighty tower skyward. And as bureau cards continue to filter in over the next several years, the boxes will continue to grow.
For now, the boxes of accumulated contact confirmations will once again be placed in a closet or dark corner of a spare bedroom. I could easily recycle these to the curb but I keep wondering if it would be one of those actions I would regret later? Maybe it's finally time to live outside the box...
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
|Portable Pack Out|
The rest of my equipment will soon be within reach and I'll be setting up the main shack computer. I need to update LOTW certificates, get to updating logbooks and it will be nice having more than one comm port to contend with. So, my new antenna's will get tested at the new QTH. It will be nice to unwind, officially unpack and check out the propagation paths on the other side of the valley.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Soon to be living in a more confined corner lot (hopefully), I won't have the room to put all of these up, so I'll focus on using one or two. My goal is utilizing my 5BTV, allowing me multiple bands in the smallest amount of space. While in Alaska, I purchased a Hex Beam and I'm hopeful that can go in the air as well. The beam will give me a few of the WARC bands, which I enjoy running. I'm fully expecting the propagation to be a bit more cooperative as I'll be living on a hillside and should only have one somewhat challenged propagation path. The days of having my 40 foot tower with my large Mosley beam nested at the top are probably gone. As I approach retirement and having a plan of being a full time RV'er for a large part of the year, I'm now focusing on a smaller, portable setup. This will give me a few years to have it tried and tested. I'm also going to get back into working satellites, too. Next will be a portable UHF/VHF antenna for that (SO-50). I hope to put together a small array for working the HF birds from home as well. My dreams are limited by budget constraints but I'm hopeful that Uncle Sam will return enough to donate to my antenna improvement fund.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
|My DX Zone Examined|
Realizing the terrain is going to make my contacts very tough, I just need to monitor and take advantage of those times when when I start to hear stations. I have the 20 meter pattern down and more times than not, I don't hear anything else on the higher bands. I will also call CQ and see what the Reverse Beacon system says of my signal.
|It Ends Just As Quickly|
I've been in reception mode for several days and ironically tonight, I worked K3Y/KH6 (Max) on 20 meter CW. It was not easy as it took a few times for Max to get my information after a few repeats. I began running 5 watts but as I listened to my path to Hawaii fade, I cranked up my IC-703+ to 10 watts, the maximum output for my rig. Max once again showed why he is a great operator. Normally, a QSO to Hawaii should be simple from here (Oregon). I've worked Max for the last several years and I know he has great station. Max had all the work and he pulled it off allowing me to add the QSO to my logbook.
I'm excited to relocate from our temporary location to a more permanent location which I feel will be much better for propagation. It will be a more populated area, so I'll be leaving one problem (lack of propagation) for another (QRN). Either way, no matter how challenging the band or conditions are, I will always make an effort to get on the air when time allows. It's an addiction that I've had for years and one I'm okay with.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
|JT65 Heard List|
I received notice today that my external antennas were apparently shipped so I'm looking forward to receiving those next week. I'm hoping the use of an external antenna will open up a bit more of the globe for me, as it should.
As the weekend approaches, my plans are to venture across the bands and warm up my straight key in the SKCC Weekend Sprintathon. I hope to do a bit of digital as well. Just with today's listening exercise, it will help me plan my weekend activity while chasing the various K3Y stations.
|PSK Reporter AK7DD Heard List Visual Report|
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
|WSPR Stations heard here|
|WSPR 12 Hour Map|
|All 20 meter activity in the same 12 hours|
Monday, January 5, 2015
|Straight Key QSO|
|Log Search / Statistics|
With a busy week ahead, I don't see much radio in my near future but hopefully next weekend will yield a few more contacts.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
|Using software with a wanna be computer|
|First JT9 QSO|
The highlight happened to be that we were both QRP and both portable. Sean was camping with his family at his favorite winter spot and I was running my indoor setup with my portable equipment. It's great to be able to decode and run either JT9 or JT65 within one program. JT9 takes up much less bandwidth and works well with low power and minimal setups like mine. You can see from the dB reporting in the screenshot above that I was not hearing stations very strong. Gotta love weak signal software. Living at the base of mountains that nearly surround me, I don't find the bands very cooperative. I believe it's time to install a wire or two outdoors which may help a bit.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
|AK7DD - Crater Lake|
My new callsign, which showed available at the time I was looking, had no record of being issued and was my only request on my Vanity callsign application. And on December 30th, 2014 my license was issued. And this is where the story begins. Welcome to Chapter 4...