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Saturday, September 15, 2018

WeeeeHooooo - September 2018 Meeting

WVDXA Banner from 3YØZ
Steve Gillispie, K8LZ
YES, SIR.  Today's WVDXA Meeting was a Doozy!  We met at Golden Corral in Cross Lanes and had a bumper turn-out of 29 persons including some who had not been to a WVDXA Meeting before or in a long time.  Those attending were:  W8TN, his wife, Evelyn, KD8VNN, KD8BZY, KD8IZK, WW8RT, W8FG, W8OM, WA8ZDL, W8HC, AB8RL, W8OP, AA8WZ, N8RR, K8KT, WV8RC, W8IW, W8OI, WB8GSD, WB8CQV, Jonathan Jones, Jeffrey Jones, Janice Jones, K8JQ, K8RRT, W8JA, Oleta Aeiker, K8LZ, and W8ZT.

Steve Gillispie, K8LZ, brought a box packed with cables and goodies to distribute to the deserving and he did not take any of it home!  This was Steve's first WVDXA meeting in a LONG time.  Steve belonged to the WVDXA during an earlier manifestation of the group!  He was good to share some of his "Al Hix" stories with the group today.  Steve's photo is on the upper-right.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.

In just 11 days, Jimmy, W8JA's mom, Oleta Aeiker, will be 94 years young!  The group wished her a Very Happy Birthday with a great round of applause!  You can see a candid photo of Oleta on the left.
Oleta Aeiker

K8KT, W8OI, K8JQ, Nancy, etc.
On the right is a shot of some of those attending that includes Garry, W8OI, and his wife, Nancy, in the foreground.  Karl, K8KT, is expounding on something to Charlie, N8RR, who is out of frame.  And in the rear, Rick Robinson, W8ZT, (seen standing) is passing on his knowledge to Steve, K8JQ.

Another WVDXA member who has not been seen at one of our irregular meetings in awhile is Steve Courts, K8JQ.  You can see a candid photo of Steve below on the left.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.  W8TN pointed out that back in college he was "blown-away" by watching Steve (who is naturally left-handed) copy code by writing it with his left hand while he sent with his right!  This has made Steve quite the contester!

After everyone consumed a few thousand calories, W8TN narrated a slide show of some 385 slides.  He described the 1985 DX'pedition to Clipperton Island on which he was a team member.  W8TN wore his yellow T-Shirt for that DX'pedition.  As he stated, this DX'pedition was nearly half-a-lifetime ago!  You can see his photo in that shirt on the right.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.

W8TN - FOØXX '85
Steve Courts, K8JQ
The meeting was nominally scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. but by 12:35 p.m. there were 5 to 7 WVDXA members already in the room beginning to eat!  The meeting finished promptly at 3:00 p.m. and there was a half-hour or more of socializing before the room was vacated. 

A lot more people showed up than had posted to the reflector they were coming.  It seems that some had plans that fell through and allowed them to come.  For others it depended on how they felt today.  All-in-all it was an EXCELLENT turn-out and I think everyone had a WONDERFUL time!  From what I saw of the conversations, I think this was a really great meeting!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

July 2018 Meeting

With the temperatures in the mid-90's, it was a great time to gather together some 20 members of the WVDXA for a FANTASTIC meeting.  The venue this time was the QTH of Roger, KD8BZY, and Becky, KD8IZK, near Sissonville.  Roger and Becky have a really nice place and although the parking was a little limited, we still managed to pack their house full of hams.  So many that the cat was totally confused by all the people!  Those attending were:  KD8BZY, KD8IZK, W8TN, WA8WV, W8IW, KC8BFF, WW8RT, K8KT, N8RR, K8YYY, WA8ZDL, W8OM, KA8SYV, Paula Wildi, W8OI, KD8IPW, K4JWA, K8ZDL, WV8FV, and WV8RC.

Food was in abundance and very tasty!  Roger and Becky supplied the hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, trimmings, corn on the cob and even the cold beer!  Others brought a huge fruit salad, baked beans with little wieners, and the dessert table had cheese cake, Mary's (WA8WV's XYL) cake, Evelyn's (W8TN's XYL) brownies, cherry pie, apple pie and probably more things that I can't remember.

For a "program" W8TN gave a brief demonstration of the WVDXA Chat Page using his cell phone and the cell phones of others who were there.  Tim, K8RRT, although stuck at work, responded during the demonstration from his cell phone (PSSSST, don't tell his boss!)  There were about 5 people present who were not signed up on the Chat Page so they got a look at some of what it can do and I expect several will sign up soon.

The first order of business was by Charlie, N8RR.  Charlie discussed the history of the WVDXA "Japan on 6-M" pin.   Pete, K4OM, was (to the best of our knowledge) the first person in WV to work a station in Japan on 6-M.  Club member Phil, W8UV, (then K8UNV) had previously worked Japan on the Magic Band but Phil was living in Ohio at the time.  Pete, K4OM's QSO took place 10-years ago.  At that time, Pete had a badge made that said, "I Worked JAPAN on 6-M!"  He wore it proudly to emphasize his accomplishment.  I believe Greg, W8GG, (also in Ohio) worked a JA in 2009 but I don't know if the badge was passed to him before he became a SK.

Then in 2010, Charlie, N8RR, managed to make a QSO with Japan on 50 MHz. and Pete passed the badge to him to be worn until someone else in the WVDXA worked Japan.  Charlie worked a 2nd station in Japan on 6-M in 2011 but no one else in the group managed to make a contact. 

Well, Charlie has had the "burden" of carrying that badge for 8 years until this summer, with the advent of WSJT-X and the FT8 mode making it a little easier to work the very difficult path to Japan.  You can see Charlie at today's meeting wearing his badge in the photo on the left.  (Click on any photo to see a larger image.)

Then on June 19th of this year, things opened up and Charlie with his big EME array, managed to decode several JA stations and to work JA7QVI.  The next day he hit the "Mother Lode" and worked 13 JA's.  The big antenna system was proving it's worth.  Then, another couple of JA contacts came the following day.

But, things were looking up for the rest of us as Tim, K8RRT, decoded 3 JA's and called some plus his signal was decoded in JAPAN!  This proved that those of us without the EME size array have a chance.

Finally, on June 29th, it happened!  THREE WVDXA members, W8TN, W8OI, and W8HC each worked JA stations on 6-M!  And on July 9th, TWO more WVDXA members, WB8CQV and KA8SYV both managed to score their first 6-M QSO's with Japan on 6-M.

So, in the space of 10 days, FIVE WVDXA members managed that most elusive of 6-M contacts - Japan!  Well, this placed Charlie in a dilemma.  To whom was he to pass the "Japan on 6-M" pin?  As usual, Charlie (a born problem solver), came up with the most elegant solution.  He had badges made for EVERYONE who worked Japan on 6-M!  In the photo on the right you can see three of the five recipients of those badges.  Charlie also planned ahead by having an additional 5 badges made for the next WVDXA members who make the contact!

To summarize, the WVDXA Summer Bash was a HUGE success!  No one left hungry and all had an amazing time.  Our THANKS to Roger and Becky for opening their home to the group and for all the work they did preparing the food and their home!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 2018 Meeting

On short notice, the WVDXA gathered together at the Golden Corral restaurant in Cross Lanes, WV, for one of our irregular meetings.  This meeting was to allow the members to view an exciting presentation by Hal, W8HC, on his recent DX'pedition to 3YØZ, Bouvet Island.  Since the date was picked quickly, we were at the mercy of the restaurant as to what times they had available.  The only slot left on Saturday, April 21, 2018, was from 11 a.m to 1 p.m.  But, even with those constrictions, we had a really good attendance.  Nineteen persons signed the attendance list and included: Clark, W8TN, Paul, WV8PR, Tim, K8RRT, Eric, K8OHZ, Marissa Mynes, Seth, W8FG, Charlie, N8RR, Karl, K8KT, Alan, W8OP, Lonny, WA8ZDL, Garry, W8OI, John, WB8CQV, Jonathan Jones, Janice Jones, Steve, WW8RT, Tom, AB8RL, Terry, AA8WZ, Hal, W8HC, and Terry, WV8V.  You can see a few of those attending in the photo at the right.  This was taken during Hal's presentation as everyone was paying apt attention to the screen.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.

The Golden Corral has a very nice meeting room which has doors that can be closed to keep the noise from the rest of the restaurant from being a distraction.  Plus, there are blinds on the outside windows which worked great to keep the sunlight from interfering with Hal's presentation.  A special thanks is due to Becky, KD8IZK, who provided the laptop projector and screen for the presentation.

Upon arriving the members picked their meals from the buffet and we arrived at that time when both breakfast and lunch foods were available.  While eating there was a great deal of interaction between club members.  This is one of the best aspects of the WVDXA meetings.  Lots of good information was shared at this time.

Just after noon, Clark, W8TN, presented the Treasurer's report on behalf of the Club Treasurer, Dave, WA8WV, who was unable to attend.  Once that piece of business was out of the way, he introduced our own internationally recognized WVDXA member and DX'peditioner Extraordinaire, Hal, W8HC!  Hal's presentation included slides and video/audio which detailed the planning and execution of the recent attempt to activate 3YØZ, Bouvet Island.  Bouvet is the second most needed country in the world and this was the most expensive DX'pedition ever mounted with a budget of $750,000. 

It was amazing to see the planning, preparation, staging, moving, traveling, training, and just flat-out effort these people engaged in for the sole purpose of activating a rare DX entity.  Hal gave us a peek into the "behind the scenes" activities which most folks are never aware of but which happen on nearly all DX'peditions.  Hal shared his insight and knowledge freely with the WVDXA and his presentation was very informative as well as entertaining.  Hal shared facts with those attending that were not made available to the regular ham community and the very real dangers faced by this group of intrepid DX'ers was staggering.  To travel to a location where there is simply NO OTHER LAND withing 1,000 miles puts you in a very lonely and dangerous place.  Then to have a failure of one of your two engines followed by a failure of the only spare replacement part, leaves a sinking feeling in the hearts of those involved.  The word used most often by members who attended to describe Hal's presentation was "AWESOME" and that is a fact!

Above, on the left, you can see a photo of one of the slides from the presentation which shows the DX'pedition members onboard the M/V Betanzos surrounding a Banner for the WVDXA.  In addition, all the members of the 3YØZ DX'pedition signed the WVDXA Flag and in the photo below, you can see Hal presenting that to WVDXA President, Clark, W8TN.
I expect that those who saw this presentation will be forever changed in how they view DX'pediitons in the future.  For that, the WVDXA gives a very big THANK YOU to Hal, W8HC.