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Thursday, November 26, 2009

New QSL for W8GG

Greg, W8GG, has been working so much DX, he ran out of QSL's and had to get some new ones. Below you can see what he chose this time. Quite an impressive front to the card and even a nice photo of Greg on the back. (Click on any photo to view it larger.)


You should also note that he put the WVDXA logo on the back of his card. Way to go, Greg. The WVDXA logo brings a lot of status to your QSL and should insure a quick return of the QSL's you need. Nice job, Greg!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

KC8UHE Shoots and SCORES!

Back in April a DX'pedition to Western Sahara, SØ4R, hit the airwaves. Standing at No. 86 on the Most Needed Countries List, there was a good deal of interest in working this one. Tim, KC8UHE, displayed a LOT of interest as this would be another all-time New One for him. However, as it sometimes happens, Tim's work schedule got in the way of his working this DX'pedition. On April 14th he posted to the WVDXA Reflector:

Congrats to everyone who has had success with SØ4R...I have yet to be in
front of the radio. Only 3 days left. I do not have them logged on any band.
As Post after Post to the reflector showed various WVDXA members knocking off SØ4R on many bands and modes, the frustration began to build in Tim. As you may recall, at that time Tim was using a Kenwood TS-480S as his radio. This is essentially just a mobile radio. His did not even have a CW filter in it! Then early on the 15th of April Tim posted this:
Workable copy here tonight from SØ4R but no contact. I tried for over
1.5 hrs but could not make the Q. Greg I heard the DX come back to your call.
It should be in his log...
I have stayed up way too late. It is now 12:07 am eastern. My work
alarm will be going off @ 3:30 eastern for a 12hr day-shift Wednesday.
Call me crazy. Congrats to all that worked the SØ4R today. I have 3 days
left to make a contact with SØ4R. Work may get in the way on making the contact.
Everyone have a good night sleep.
But, he did NOT go to bed. At 12:42 a.m. he Posted a message with the following subject:
I couldn't go to bed yet - I was able to work the SØ4R on 80 SSB 3780 up 3802.
So, he finally made a QSO with a New One! Outstanding! But, still not wanting to let it go with just one QSO, Tim kept chasing the DX when the 12-hour work days allowed him to be at the radio. He desperately wanted a 160-M QSO and now put all his effort into that. Just before midnight on the 15th Tim Posted:
Did anyone Copy my qso with SØ4R?
He had managed a WA8VPN "possum" contact with SØ4R on 160-M. But, because of the massive QRM to his "mobile" radio, he was not certain the DX copied his full call. He felt the call might not have been correct and he sent his call again with his report only to get a "TU" from the DX. Then, when the online log was updated, his 80-M QSO was there but NOT the 160-M one.

Still not willing to give up Tim asked me for some help. I lent him 500 feet of No. 14 for a Beverage On Ground (BOG) and I lent him my brand-new Elecraft K-3. Tim was ecstatic! He just knew he would get that 160-M QSO now. So, under cover of darkness he ran the BOG out through a neighbor's pasture. I went home and at 12:38 a.m. on the 16th, I copied both sides of Tim's QSO with SØ4R. WONDERFUL! We both were on Cloud 9.

However, the next log update STILL did not have a QSO for KC8UHE on Top Band. RATS! Now the DX'pedition was over. So after a couple of weeks I emailed the QSL manager and told him that I had copied Tim's QSO (both sides) and I had discovered that there was a 160-M QSO in the online log for K8UHE which was not a valid FCC call! I politely suggested that the SØ4R operator may have failed to properly record Tim's call. The manager promptly replied that at the time I reported the QSO, they were NOT on 160-M and the QSO time for K8UHE also did not agree with the same time. He suggested that Tim had worked a Pirate!

Tim was obviously deflated as we both had been certain he had a good QSO. But, following my philosophy of "Never Give Up, Never Surrender" I recently helped Tim send a QSL with all three times he felt he had worked SØ4R on 160-M (along with his 80-M QSO) and we included a brief letter in English and Spanish explaining that K8UHE was not a valid call with the FCC.

Today I received a telephone call from someone who was screaming incoherently into the phone. I first thought it was a prank call but eventually I made out the fact that it was Tim. He had just come in from his mailbox and he had received the QSL you see here. (Click on the photo to see a larger image.)

It took a few minutes for me to fully understand what he was screaming into the phone and when I did I asked him to run the QSL by my house on his way to another 12-hour night shift. I am pretty certain that tonight Tim will be wearing a silly grin throughout his entire shift.

BTW, he refers to this as a "Trophy" QSL because of all the effort he went through to get the contact including getting nipped in the rear by a mother horse as he rolled up the BOG at 2 a.m.! So even when it looks the darkest, you need to persevere as sometimes, dreams DO come true!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

WA8VPN Shoots Another Possum!

The following is copied from an email by N8RR on the WVDXA Email Reflector. It details WA8VPN's 40-M QSO with FT5GA on the last night of the DX'pedition. This is how the Big Boys do it, so take notes!

Papa November asked me to summarize the event sequence for his Glorioso CW QSO.

It was known that 7 October was the last day for the FT5GA Dxpedition. WA8VPN was still seeking a CW QSO. Earlier in the day, FT5GA was on 15 and 30 meters CW with a good signal. Papa November and others in WVDXA were trying for a QSO on 15, but Bob was unsuccessful. The band folded and Bob was still without a CW QSO with FT5GA. They were nowhere to be found.

Messages were posted saying some of the antennas were dismounted, but that some stations remained operational. However, late afternoon passed into evening, then late evening, and no FT5GA was heard or seen spotted on DX Cluster. I thought we had seen the end of the FT5GA operation.

Somewhere around 9PM local WA8VPN called me on the phone, and asked if I thought there were any chance FT5GA might make a last minute appearance on 40M CW. I had no idea, but thought the chance was slim. I have been hearing FT5GA on 40M CW previous nights somewhere around the 03z hour, if they have been on. On the previous night October 6 I thought they had a workable signal here. Bob asked if he could come over to my QTH, in case the FT5 showed up for one last hurrah on 40. He wanted to use my station because I have been hearing FT5GA. I invited Bob over.

Around 0200z Bob arrived. I had been listening on all bands and monitoring the cluster, and not a peep was heard from FT5GA. I showed Bob the station, demonstrated the beverages. WA8VPN operated on 80 and 40M working some DX, including TO7RJ and 3B8CF on 40 CW; he knew we had good propagation to the Indian Ocean, and were putting out a good signal into that area.

After about an hour of monitoring the bands, with nothing heard on the radio or Cluster from FT5GA, Bob was just about to pack it in as a lost cause. We both figured the equipment was dismantled and operations ceased with FT5GA. At the last minute, as he was walking out the door, a Cluster spot came up for FT5GA on 7002, sent by some DX outside of North America. Quickly the FT-2000 receiver was tuned to 7002 and zilch was heard. No FT5GA and no pileup.

Some very careful tuning over a 2 minute period revealed a whisp of a signal down deep in the noise on 7002. Yes, it was calling CQ. The call FT5GA was deciphered one time, and then the signal stood by. Bob was in the operating chair, and I thought he might have the big one.

I reached over and set the XIT control for +2 khz and said to Bob: "Call him. You may never hear him again, and this could be the last shot" Bob didn't even wait and listen to see if anyone else heard FT5GA and was calling. He just blind called up 2 khz and sent WA8VPN twice.

The ghost signal on 7002 came back to someone. Bob deciphered a W and an A but that was it. I said: " I think he has come back to you, call him again" Once again, Bob sent WA8VPN twice on 7004. This time, FT5GA came back to a call and sent a report. The signal was so weak and the noise was so high he just could not be 100% sure if the report was for WA8VPN. However, the timing sequence was right throughout, and the response from FT5GA was as expected. Once again, I suggested to Bob that this was probably as good a shot as he would have. I said "send him a report". Bob sent him a 599 three times, then repeated WA8VPN twice.

The ghost signal came back sending something that could not be deciphered because the signal was so weak, but both of us could hear UP. I looked at Bob and he looked at me. I said: "You probably just worked FT5GA, if it was really him"
We listened to the QSX frequency, and there were a couple of callers, but we believe they were attracted by the Cluster spot and zeroed in on WA8VPN's signal. We did not hear FT5GA work anyone else. I don't think he worked anyone prior to Bob's calling him.

Both of us felt pretty good about the sequence of events but we were both skeptical. It was Bob's last shot for this Dxpedition, and he took it. The online log would tell if it were zero or 3 points!

At 0630 local I got up and checked the FT5GA log. WA8VPN was in there on 40M. Yes!!!!!! This had to be nearly the last, if not the last, USA QSO by FT5GA on 40 or perhaps any band. Condition were horrible, worse than I had heard FT5GA's signal on 40M any night they were on.

I would trade all of my FT5GA QSO's, with the possible exception of 80M, so that Bob could make this one. Fortunately, that was not necessary. This entire sequence and the unlikely unfolding of it is unique in my 47 years of experience. WA8VPN sure must be living right!

That's the story, and we are sticking to it.

73 Charlie N8RR

Sunday, August 23, 2009

FT5GA, Glorioso Island

The Ohio/Penn DX Bulletin reports that the 2009 DX'pedition to Glorioso Island now have their airline tickets to Reunion Island in hand. They are scheduled to leave Paris on September 11 and return on October 8. They will fly from Reunion to Glorioso via French Armed Forces aircraft. The exact dates for the operation are not known yet but they expect to stay on Glorioso for about 3 weeks. 8 French operators will man 4 complete stations each with KW amps. Glorioso is ranked as the FOURTH most needed country in the World! Click HERE to visit the FT5GA web site. Good luck to all WVDXA members who need this rare country.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Conway Reef, 3D2ØCR, October 1st to 10th

Tim, KC8UHE, sent a link to the web page for the upcoming 3D2ØCR DX'pedition to Conway Reef. Click HERE for the DX'pedition web page. From October 1 to 10 a team of 8 operators will activate this rare entity. Most recently it was ranked as the 19th most needed entity. Conway Reef is just 800 feet long by 500 feet wide and located some 280 miles southwest of the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific.

The team expects to operate three stations simultaneously 24/7. They will have three Elecraft K-3's and two K-2's plus a large selection of various antennas. In the first days of the operation one station will be dedicated to RTTY. They plan operations on all bands from 160-M through 6-M.

Donations are being requested on the web site. Click on the "How you can help" link on the web site. The first 200 individual contributors will receive a hand written QSL mailed from 3D2 or FK immediately after the DX'pedition.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CQ Zone, ITU Zone, Grid Square Maps, etc.

Have you even wondered what ITU Zone you were in? Or, what countries were in CQ Zone 34? Maybe you need to know what Continent for W.A.C. purposes a particular country is in? Or, do you need to know where a particular grid is in the world? Well, CLICK HERE for a great resource to fulfill those needs. All these maps and more are on this one page (be sure you scroll down the page to see all the maps.) And, the maps are interactive so you can click on a Zone and the map will expand and add more data. Click on the CQ Zone map and then click on a Zone and the map will expand to show that Zone and the countries found in that Zone will be listed underneath the map along with the Continent and ITU Zone for that country.

In addition to the above map resource (which also has a world-wide Maidenhead Grid Map), CLICK HERE for an interactive Google Map to show Maidenhead Grids around the world. If you know the 4 or 6 digit Grid Square you want, just enter it at the bottom of the map. If you don't know the Grid Square, just navigate the map by clicking and dragging the map around and using the "Railroad Track" Zoom bar in the upper left. The "Scroll Wheel" on your mouse will also activate the Zoom function. You can then find any location on the surface of the Earth and click on it to see what the Grid Square is.

Finally, if you need to compute the beam heading and distance between two locations on the Earth, go to THIS SITE and download "wingrid.exe" by clicking on the heading "New Improved" WinGrid4.1 (wingrid.exe) This will download a small program to your computer which you need to run by clicking on the "wingrid.exe" file. Then, enter the latitude and longitude of your home QTH and press the "Calc.Grid" button to determine your Home Grid. Once you do, pull down "Main" from the Menu Bar and chose "Save Home." Then, everytime you open the program, it will start with your own QTH as the "Home" location. Just enter the other station's grid in the "Destination Grid" box and press Calc. Lat/Lon or "Calc. Dist./Heading" and you will be presented with the beam heading (both direct and reverse) and the distance between you and the other station. Also, double-clicking anywhere inside the borders of WinGrid will change the input fields from "Degrees-Minutes-Seconds" to "Degrees" and decimal portions of a degree.

WinGrid does not install itself as a "Program" on your computer. It is just an "excutable file" that you have to start by clicking (or double-clicking) on the WinGrid.exe file wherever you downloaded it. I place a "Shortcut" on my desktop to WinGrid so that I can find it easily to start the program as I use it often.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

W8HIC Radio/Antenna Project Complete!

Today the Rig/Antenna donation project which was begun by Bob, W8QHG, was brought to fruition. Braving the heat and humidity, 6 WVDXA members converged on Jerry, W8HIC's, QTH and in short order installed a Hy-Gain DX-88 vertical with 15 radials. On the right you can see the Antenna Crew - left to right, Tim, KC8UHE, Pete, K4OM, Bob, W8QHG, Charlie, N8RR, Jerry, W8HIC, Garry, W8OI, and Clark, W8TN. You can click on the photo to see a larger image.

The operation was nearly scratched due to an anto accident which took out power to Jerry's QTH. But, in the usual WVDXA manner, we pressed on and by the time the antenna was installed, the power had been restored. After the antenna (donated by Phil, W8UV) was erected, Charlie, N8RR, pronounced it to be nearly perfect according to the MFJ-259B.

At that point we moved to the front of Jerry's QTH and The Elder Statesman of the WVDXA, Bob, W8QHG, presented Jerry with the Yaesu FT-450-AT which was acquired through the generous donations of many members of the WVDXA. The radio was purchased from Al, K9XR, who, upon hearing what we planned to do with the radio, graciously donated the shipping costs and included 100-feet of RG-8X with connectors (which was used to connect the vertical to the Yaesu.) That is a true indication of "Ham Spirit." And Rick, W8ZT, donated the Kenwood PS-40 power supply to the project and others added various and sundry items needed for the installation.

At this point we moved inside and thankfully the power had been restored and Jerry's air conditioning was functioning. The heat and humidity outside had taken a toll on some of the more robust members of the WVDXA (W8TN) even though ice water and Gatorade was available! Once in Jerry's shack it was a simple matter to connect the coax and the power supply. On the right you can see Charlie, N8RR, peering through the glare to adjust the radio. We quickly made a couple of contacts to confirm the system was fully functional and upon leaving, found the raindrops just starting! As they say, timing is everything.

This project was suggested to the WVDXA by Bob, W8QHG, back in February. It took some time to gather the donations both of cash and materials, locate a suitable rig, and schedule this antenna party. However, through it all, the members of the WVDXA have stood firm and pulled together to complete something that is seldom seen today. This out-pouring of generosity is a hallmark of those who belong to the WVDXA and something which all of us can be proud. I sincerely thank all who helped in whatever way, no matter how small or large your contribution. You can be proud that you helped us set up a new DX'er with a great first station.

Jerry will surely need more help in learning the ropes as time goes on. I have encouraged him to join the WVDXA Reflector and present any questions he may have to the group or to any indivitual member. I am certain he will be welcomed into the WVDXA with gusto! Jerry's photo has been added to the WVDXA Members Photo Gallery on this blog and it should show up soon. Congratulations Jerry and we all hope you work lots of DX with your new station.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

FT5GA

FT/G, GLORIOSO ISLAND (Update). Didier, F5OGL, Glorioso 2009 team leader,
announced this past week that the Glorioso 2009 team gathered at Frank's,
F4AJQ, QTH last weekend (June 6-7th), with some F6KOP team members. During
these two days the whole time was spent tuning the antennas, teaching
DXpeditioners about their settings, and to coordinating all of the packages.
The final setup was 4 complete stations (each with at least a 800 watts PA)
that will be shipped to Glorioso's main island. They plan to be active
as much as possible during the 24 hour day. Their antenna system will
consist of 2 Spiderbeams for 20/15/10m and another for 30/17/12m. They
will also have an Inverted L for 160m, one V10, one V80 and one HF2V
for 80-40m. Some other vertical elements were packed as well as a K9AY
array receiving system. A 6 meters station will monitor the Magic band
but only into a G5RV antenna. The complete crew (and they hope it will
not change) consists of: Freddy/F5IRO, Yves/F5PRU, Jean-Marc/F5RQQ,
Sylvain/F5TLN, Philippe/F4EGS and three SIRPA agents: Florence (YL)
journalist, Yann (director and cameraman) and Didier (cameraman and
sound engineer). They would like to thank Jeff/F6AOJ, Floyd/N5FG, Toshi/
JA1ELY, Mike/UA0ME and Lee/ZL2AL for being their pilot stations. It was
mentioned that they would also like to thank Floyd/N5FG and Jeff/F6AOJ
for their big efforts in the back office. For the first time the callsign
to be used for the Glorioso operation will be under the new French
Antarctic and Austral Territories (TAAF) regulation and is expected to
be FT5GA."
ADDED NOTE: As of 2005, the "Iles Eparses", Gloriosos, Tromelin, Juan da
Nova and Europa Islands are now put under the new TAAF authority. All
future callsigns, for these areas, will be issued with the following
prefixes:
FR/G becomes FT#G Gloriosos FR/T becomes FT#T, Tromelin
FR/E becomes Ft#E, Europa FR/J becomes FT#J, Juan da Nova

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

KC8UHE's New QSL

Now that Tim, KC8UHE, has received his DXCC Award, he decided that a new QSL was in order. So, he emailed a photo to Gennady, UX5UO, and a few weeks later, Tim had a nice photo QSL card to send to all those DX contacts he plans to make in the future. Here is the finished product:

So, if you want one of these exquisite QSL's for your own collection, you need to work Tim on the air. I'm sure he will be on 6-M a lot this summer and 160-M this fall so he'll be easy to find.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Glorioso

"FR/G - The long-awaited DXpedition to Glorioso (AF-011) is now expected
to take place in July. Three or four military radio amateurs,
along with two film-makers from the Defence Press Service, will be
on the island on 9-28 July. The team (including F5PRU, F5IRO,
F5TLN, and maybe F4EGS or F5RQQ) will be active with three
stations on 160-6 metres on as many modes as possible. Callsign to
be announced, QSL via F5OGL. A log search will be available and
updated on a daily basis at http://glorieuses2008.free.fr [TNX
F6AJA]"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

W8QHG's Radio Acquisition for W8HIC

The Elder Statesman of the WVDXA, Bob, W8QHG, recently asked the club if we could help out a new ham who by virtue of a disability had no funds to acquire a transceiver. Bob had met this fellow shortly after he acquired his General Class license and encouraged him to continue on and get his Extra. That he did! But, due his financial circumstances, he was not able to acquire an HF transceiver. So, Bob asked if the WVDXA could help - and help they did! We raised $490 toward the purchase of a transceiver.

In looking on QTH.com last weekend, I found a radio that met our criteria (a built-in antenna tuner, was a relatively recent radio, and was simple enough for a "newbie" to operate.) Even though it was being offered for several dollars more than what we had, I contacted the seller and after hearing about our project, he agreed to absorb the shipping cost and, in fact, he shipped the radio before I even sent him the money!

Here is a photo of the radio operating at my QTH:
The seller also was kind enough to include 100-feet of RG-8X coax with PL-259's already installed. And, he enclosed three extra Amphenol PL-259's for other antennas.

So, now we need to plan an antenna party to install a couple of dipoles for Jerry, W8HIC, so that we can get him operational as soon as possible. Bob, W8QHG, has told him about the radio and says Jerry is "beside himself" that we would do such a thing for him. Good job, WVDXA!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rockall Island - MMØRAI/p - A True DX Adventure

Have you heard of Rockall Island? It's a foreboding chunk of rock protruding out of the North Atlantic Ocean some 187 miles West of Scotland. It counts for Scotland (GM) for DXCC purposes but is possibly the "Most Wanted" location for IOTA hunters (it is EU189.) The island is about 83 feet by 100 feet at the base and some 70 feet high. There is a small "ledge" some 13 feet below the summit which is 11 by 14 feet. Those who have seen the Scarborough Reef photos would say it's a pretty good sized location. However, with near vertical cliffs on all sides and a being battered by huge waves, I'd much rather take my chances on Scarborough.
For the past 7 months a group of Five Belgian Amateur Radio Operators have been planning and training for a 2-day operation on this desolate rock. This is a VERY difficult location to put on an amateur radio operation. It is a 2-day sail from Scotland and then they have to scale the rock out of the sea! There is NO place to land and they will need to scale the rock using mountain climbing techniques which the team has been practising.
They plan to have two stations with verticals and a rotatable dipole. Because you only need to contact an Island in the IOTA program once regardless of band, they ask that you not make duplicate QSO's and leave an opportunity for others to make the QSO. The operation is expected to begin around April 30th.
You can check out their web site HERE and read about their extensive preparations. Also, you can view a video of Tom McClean landing on Rockall. He set up a shelter and stayed on the rock for 40 days! Tom was the first person to row across the North Atlantic in 1969 - solo!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

QSL'ing "Hints"

I've been doing some "QSL Catchup" tonight and thought I'd post a few "Hints" for those who may not be aware of these resources. If you have any "Hints" that I have overlooked, send them to me or the WVDXA Reflector and I'll modify this Post.
Pathfinder Web Client allows you to enter the call you need a QSL route for just once and check a dozen sources of information. Very handy to check and see if several sources have the same info before you spend the bucks to mail the QSL.
IRC/GS Chart will give you information about the number of IRC's or "Green Stamps" needed to get that precious QSL back to you. This page also has some neat "Conversion" lists to help you identify that old QSL or that Russian QSL to tell what country it is for. You can download the IRC/GS chart in a Spreadsheet format so you don't need to be online to use it.
N6DHC's IRC Chart is another page similar to the one above. And, K4HB's List is even more extensive with a note that some of his information comes from Bill Plum.
HB9BZA's LoTW User List is a great place to check and see if the station you need a QSL from is a known user of LoTW. Save those stamps and Green Backs!
Addressing International Mail is a page on the U.S. Postal Service web site that gives information on how to address an envelope for international mailing. I'm sure we all know not to put callsigns on the envelope and to make it look like it is mail that does not contain anything valuable to prevent it being pilfered.
N6HB's IRC Primer gives some basic information about the IRC. HERE is a link to a photo of what the current IRC's look like. Note, unlike the old IRC's that never expired, the current IRC can only be redeemed through December 31, 2009. I plan to use up my stock of IRC's before June to give the receiving station time to exchange them.
QSL'ing Tips is a compilation of tips that were posted on the DX Reflector.
Finally, for the trusty old Buro route, here is the ARRL Outgoing Buro information. This is the most economical way of exchanging QSL cards (except for LoTW) and you also need to keep envelops on file at the 8th Region Buro. Doing that alone may result in some QSL's arriving at your door that you never even sent for!

I'm sure some of you have even better ideas than those I've listed here. If so, please share them with the other WVDXA members by posting to the Reflector or emailing me directly. DX IS - but you need to QSL!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

VK9LA - Lord Howe Island

The VK9LA DX'pedition is now well underway. Some of the WVDXA have worked them on at least one band and WVDXA callsigns are already showing up in the online log HERE. They have had some equipment problems already but are continuing to brave the QRN to hand out QSO's from Lord Howe Island. Don, N1DG, the VK9LA Pilot has written about the equipment: "The ACOM [amp] was DOA and one AL811H blew a tube. One IC7000 has failed after 2 days. So while their equipment means less coverage of the bands, they will always be on LF bands QRO."

You can listen to some of what they are dealing with as Stan, SQ8X, one of the VK9LA Operators has posted some MP3 files on his Blog HERE. He also has posted several photos of their operation. The main VK9LA web page is located HERE. GL to all who need this one.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

VK9GMW - Mellish Reef - March 22 to April 6

AA7JV and HA7RY are on their way to activate Mellish Reef as VK9GMW. They are currently at Marion Reef (about 1/2 way from Australia to Mellish Reef) and waiting on the weather to improve before heading to Mellish. Check out their web site HERE. They will be operating on all HF bands but will have a strong low-band focus. For equipment they will have an Elecraft K3 and an Icom IC-746 PRO along with two 500-watt amplifiers. Interestingly they have designed an antenna for mounting not on the beach, not close to the sea but actually "IN THE SEA." Mellish Reef is about 8,700 miles from West Virginia so it's not a "chip shot." Look over their web site, especially the photo gallery, and imagine yourself on that 56-foot boat traveling through rough seas in Cyclone Season for some 560 miles across open ocean. Yep, that's a DX'pedition!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

K4M, Midway Island, October 2009

Woo, Hoo! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authorized another DX'pedition to a rare DX location, Midway Island. This will be the first radio activity from this location in 10 years! A team of 19 operators will have 10 days to work the world.

This will be a VERY expensive operation. Travel to Midway is only allowed by chartered aircraft and the size of the aircraft will only allow transportation of the team. Equipment will need to be sent by ship some months ahead. This leads to high expenses for transportation, daily fees and other USFWS charges. If you can afford to do so, please consider a donation for this operation. I would like to see the WVDXA come together like we did for Desecheo and make a substantial donation on behalf of the WVDXA. So, start putting your spare change in a piggy bank now.

Midway is 5,300 miles from West Virginia. That means it will be a little more difficult to work than Desecheo but not much more difficult than Hawaii. Since the operation is scheduled for October, propagation should be good on all bands. But, with only 10 days to work the group, you need to be prepared.

Team members are AA4NN, EA1IR, DJ9ZB, KH7U, KI6TVS, KL2A, N1DG, N4PN, N4XP, N6GQ, N7CQQ, WB4JTT, W6KK, W6OSP, WA7NB, W8CAA, W8GEX, WA8NJR, and OK1KT. Off site support is being provided by AA1V, W5DNT and W6XA. A web site has been established HERE.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Latest WVDXA Meeting

I'm not much of a writer, but I wanted to get it started. Please add your comments and make this better.

There was a great turnout today at N8RR's qth. What a great place and antennas in all directions. We had a good meal and a lot of good fellowship. I really enjoyed seeing everyone and exchanging stories.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Aves Island, YWØA, Coming in March

OK, now that everyone has pretty much finished the warm-up exercise of Desecheo, the next "Big One" is fast approaching. YWØA will start up soon (probably in March) for a week by a large (more than 15 operators) and well-equipped team. The opening page of their web site has a FANTASTIC photo of the island. CLICK HERE to see that. To just go straight to the main web page without loading the big photo each time, CLICK HERE.

I think this is the first major DX'pedition to use the FT-2000 transceivers. They will have three of the FT-2000's and three FT-950's. Four amps will also be there.

They have requested to be allowed to be active for a full week. But, as always, WFWL (Work First, Worry Later.) In other words, you need to jump on this one quickly. Since transportation to and from Aves Island is provided by the Venezuelan Navy, the DX'pedition's exact operating dates are under military control.

Click on the "About Aves Island" link to see photos of the island and the "military base" which stands up on "piles." This facility houses the visiting scientists and radio operators.

The log will also be uploaded to LoTW within a reasonable time after the operation.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Add DAY and DATE to Your Taskbar Clock

Normally when you hover your mouse over the clock in your Taskbar, it will display the date. I get frustrated often when I try that and my computer fails to display it. Just another Windows ANNOYANCE! So today I found a small utility program that will change the display of the clock so that it prints out whatever I want! I decided to have it display the DAY, DATE, and TIME - All The Time! That way, I never have to "mouse over" the time to see the date. As an "extra added attraction" this program will display a Calendar on your screen when you simply left-click once on that part of the Taskbar. This calendar can then be moved anywhere on your screen and it stays on top of all your other programs. (NOTE: You must open TClockEX Properties, click on the "Calendar" tab, and un-select the "Close when not active" button in order to have the Calendar stay visible all the time.)

Here is a screen shot of my taskbar with the program installed and running:

You can right-click on this part of the Taskbar and choose TClockEx Properties and adjust it to display pretty much whatever you want. You can also choose the colors of the background and the text as well as the font and text size. I changed the Default display so that the Day would display as one digit if less than 10, I removed the seconds display, and I added the AM/PM indicator. I also changed the text and background colors and under the Calendar tab, chose the "Remember Last Position" option. Here is the Clock Format that you see in the above screen shot:

ddd, d MMM yyyy h:mm tt

The program can be downloaded HERE just click on the "Download" link on the left and then click on the "tclockex.exe" link under the "EXE File" column. It comes as a self-extracting EXE (executable) file. Just run it and it will install on your computer and can be uninstalled later if you wish. The author says it will work on Windows 95, 98, NT and XP. I am running XP Pro and it seems to function perfectly. This is FREEware so it fits anyone's budget!

After it is installed, just right-click on this part of the Taskbar and select TClockEX Help. This will give you all the directions for using this neat little utility.