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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Fourth WVDXA "Virtual" Meeting

August 15, 2020, "Virtual" Meeting
Well this was a fantastic gathering of the WVDXA!  Saturday, August 15, 2020, SIXTEEN members of the WVDXA took the time and made the effort to show up AND to participate in a "virtual" gathering via Zoom.  Attendance was up 60% over the June meeting which was really good to see.

You can see a screenshot of the meeting on the left side of this Post.  Click on the picture to see a larger image.  

New members were welcomed, all members introduced themselves, and announcements were made about the WV State ARRL Convention next Saturday and about the current donations being taken by Hal, W8HC, for the JXØX DX'pedition.  Also, lots of information was exchanged back and forth, and members showed off their newly acquired WVDXA Mugs plus some recent awards and QSL's.  Charlie, N8RR, showed off his 3,000 ARRL Challenge Award and that garnered the greatest response from the group!

It was announced that the WV State ARRL Convention, usually held at Jackson's Mill near Weston, WV, this year will be held on ZOOM next Saturday, August 22, 2020.    Remember that the DX Forum is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 22nd.  The Topic will be "VP6R Pitcairn Island 2019 DX'pedition" presented by WVDXA member, Hal Turley, W8HC.  Details and a schedule of events can be found on the State Amateur Radio Council's website here:

We had a great number of WVDXA members attend this meeting from outside the state of West Virginia.  Those were:

Don, W8UZ, Woodburn, IN
Tom, K8TW, Columbus, OH
Wey, K8EAB, Cumming, GA
John, W4ER, Mobile, AL
Bert, N8NN, Summerfield, FL

Also, a moment of silence was observed to honor the passing of WVDXA member, Karl Thompson, K8KT.  He was an outstanding ham and an even better "gentleman."  He will be missed by many! 

The meeting ended very abruptly when the 40-minute time limit was reached.  In the past, Zoom has given us some grace beyond that 40-minutes but today, the clock ran out suddenly.  Lesson learned for future meetings.

If you have not joined the WVDXA "Virtual" meetings, you might think of doing so for the next one.  Members attend using external Webcams, built-in laptop cameras and a couple even use their cell phones. We hope to see you then!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Lists for the Serious DX’er

In light of the recent discussions on the WVDXA Email Reflector about the necessity of being “in the know” in order to be a serious DX’er, I was struck by the “How’s DX?” column in the August 2020 QST.  This column is written every month by long-time WVDXA member, Bernie, W3UR.  Knowing how seldom the following entities appear on-the-air will alert you to when you need to "pull out all the stops" to work one when it does show up.

The August column gives a HUGE amount of pertinent information needed by the aspiring DX’er.  I have re-printed below (with permission) three “Lists” that can provide the DX’er with a wealth of knowledge about what countries are the rarest.  There is a good deal more valuable information in the printed “How’s DX?” column and I suggest you read it to get the most out of what Bernie, W3UR, has put together.

The following “Lists” are from the How's DX? column on pages 76-77 of the August 2020 issue of QST which is edited by WVDXA member, Bernie, W3UR.

=====  Re-printed from QST with permission. =====

Top Ten Most-Wanted List

Most of the loyal readers of this column are familiar with Club Log's Top Ten Most-Wanted List ( It's a listing of the rarest DXCC entities.  As of the end of May 2020, the top 10 most-wanted DXCC entities were (in order from 1 – 10):

P5    North Korea

3Y/B    Bouvet lsland

FT5/W    Crozet lsland

BS7H    Scarborough Reef

CEØX    San Felix lsland

BV9P    Pratas lsland

KH7K    Kure lsland

KH3  Johnston lsland

3Y/P    Peter I lsland

FT5/X    Kerguelen lsland


Inactive List

Another list that some like to follow is the top ten most-inactive countries list.  This list includes the DXCC entities that have shown no activity for the longest duration. The top ten for this list (in order by years, not time on the air) are:

CEØX    San Felix lsland (18 years)

KH3    Johnston lsland (17 years)

BV9P    Pratas lsland (16 years)

KH7K    Kure lsland (14 years)

3Y/P    Peter I lsland (14 years)

YVØ    Aves lsland (13 years)

EZ    Turkmenistan (13 years)

BS7H    Scarborough Reef (13 years)

3Y/B    Bouvet lsland (12 years)

KP5    Desecheo lsland (11 years)


Activity List

This list may be unfamiliar to most readers. It's the top ten most-wanted countries that have had one or more active amateur radio operators within this year. These countries are:

SV/A    Mount Athos (SV2RSG/A)

4U_UN    United Nations Headquarters (4U1UN)

6O    Somalia (6O1OO)

T3Ø  Western Kiribati (T3ØTM)

KH8    American Samoa (AH8M)

ZL7    Chatham Islands (ZL7DX)

S2    Bangladesh (S21ED).

Z6    Republic of Kosovo (Z61DX, Z62FB, etc.)

TT    Chad (TT8SN)

5A    Libya (5AlAL and 5AØYL)

It should be noted that there are multiple licensed amateur radio operators in Turkmenistan (EZ), however, they have not been authorized to get on the air since August 2006.  Syria (YK) has several licensed operators, but they've said they won't go back on the air until the civil war is over.  South Orkney Islands (VP8/O) has an Argentine Naval Base on Laurie Island, LUlZA, and is occasionally on the air with authorized military operators.  Tristan Da Cunha and Gough Islands (ZD9) have Andy Repetto, ZD9BV, but he has not been active for a while.


=== "Reprinted with the permission of W3UR and the ARRL. © Copyright ARRL." ===

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Third WVDXA "Virtual" Meeting

On Saturday, June 13, 2020, the WVDXA gathered via Zoom to hold our Third "Virtual" meeting.  Attendance was down substantially over the First and Second meetings.  We had 14 attend the April meeting, in May we had 20 attend, but only 10 were able to attend the June meeting.  Hopefully we can improve that on the next meeting...  Those who do take the time to attend have reported having a GREAT time!

You can see a screenshot of the meeting on the right of this Post.  Click on the picture to see a larger image.  Note: there is plenty of space available for your image to appear in future meetings!

If you have not joined the WVDXA "Virtual" meetings, you might think of doing so for the next one.  Members attend using external Webcams, built-in laptop cameras and a couple even use their cell phones.  Plus, this is good practice for the upcoming WV State ARRL Convention, usually held at Jackson's Mill near Weston, WV.  This year the State Convention will be held on ZOOM.  Details and a schedule of events can be found on the State Amateur Radio Council's website here:

Monday, May 11, 2020

Second WVDXA "Virtual" Meeting

May 9, 2020 - Virtual Meeting
On Saturday, May 9, 2020, the WVDXA gathered via Zoom to hold our Second "Virtual" meeting.  Attendance was up by 43% over the First meeting!  We had 14 attend the April meeting and in May, we had 20 attend.  YIPPEE!  Looks like this method of meetings, at least during the pandemic, has turned out to be rather popular.

You can see a screenshot of the meeting on the left of this Post.  Click on the picture to see a larger image.  However, it was taken before "late-comer" Jim, K4JWA, joined and after Bernie, W3UR, had to leave.  The meeting lasted one hour and from the comments received later, it was a big success.

If you click on the above image, you can see how people have chosen to identify themselves in the bottom left corner of each thumbnail.  The "speaker" is identified by a yellow border around their image.  The "speaker" in this screenshot happens to be the "King of DX" -  WOW!

John, W8WEJ, has attended both meetings and just contacted me with a request.  Because of his location and inability to travel long distances, John asks if when we return to regular "in-person" meetings, we might take advantage of the Zoom platform to include those members who can not attend in person.  That sounds like an OUTSTANDING suggestion and, if we can work it out, I think it would be a great addition to future WVDXA meetings.

If you have not joined the WVDXA "Virtual" meetings, you might think of doing so at the next one.  Members attend using external Webcams, built-in laptop cameras and a couple even use their cell phones.

Friday, April 17, 2020

First WVDXA "Virtual" Meeting

On Saturday, April 11, 2020, the WVDXA held its first "Virtual" club meeting.  With the "Stay at Home" restrictions currently in place plus the "Social Distancing" requirements, it is not possible to get together in person.

So, by using the Zoom Video Conferencing application, the club had a wonderful meeting in cyberspace!  A total of 14 WVDXA members showed up (literally, "showed up") and everyone could see and hear everyone else.  Plus, as a nice benefit, we had members from many states away who normally do not make it to a regular WVDXA meeting.

Out-of-state members who participated were: N8NN who joined the meeting from Florida (you can see the palm trees behind him in the screenshot above), WV4TN from Tennessee, W8UV from Delaware, and W3UR from Maryland (sitting outside in front of his Grand Mansion.)  Also, we got to see John, W8WEJ, from Vienna, WV, who has not made it to a meeting for many years.  And, relatively new members Bryan, NU8J, and Steve, WB8III, were there as well.

In addition to the above named members, we also had W8TN, WW8RT, W8IW, W8OI, N8RR, WT8V and K8OHZ.  Quite a diverse turnout.  Click on the photo on the right for a screenshot taken during the meeting.

Surprise visitors included W8OI's better half, Nancy, and W8UV's "keeper", Karen.  Plus, one of N8RR's furry felines showed up briefly as well.

Two of the attendees connected by cell phone and the rest from laptops or desktop computers.  The meeting went off with nary a hitch, just one or two very minor issues that were quickly resolved.  The only negative was we were not meeting at a place where food was served!  That's normally a mainstay of our meetings so I for one missed that!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Which PacketCluster Should You Use?

Do you use a PacketCluster which is displaying ONLY spots posted by U.S.A. or NA stations?  I don't.  I use VE7CC which displays spots from all over the world.  There are many other Clusters you can use which do this but I just happen to like VE7CC.

Why do I do this you may ask?  Yes, I do receive a LOT of spots which do not benefit me at all.  For example, in the image at the Left is a spot (the Blue one) for 9K2HS in Kuwait (6,700 miles away) on 160-M which came in at 1836 GMT.  That's 1:36 p.m. local time for me or 4 hours BEFORE my Sunset.  Absolutely no chance in Hades that I could make this contact on Top Band or even hear 9K2HS at that time.  (Click on any image to see it larger.)

However, seeing this spot alerts me to the fact that there actually is a 9K station operating on 160-M and that is a Band-Point which I need.  If 9K2HS is still there after my Sunset, maybe I'll get a chance to work him.  At least I know he is operating on that band.  And, most importantly, I can be ready for him before anyone in the U.S.A. or NA spots him.  (In this case I did not see 9K2HS show up that day after my Sunset.  But I did work 9K2HN a week later!)

The next morning I got up at 0945 GMT (4:45 a.m. local time) and got on the radio.  I saw some spots for E44RU on 17-M but at that time of day (3 hours BEFORE my Sunrise) there were absolutely no signals to be heard at my QTH on 17-M from anywhere.  Still, I put the radio on 18.095 MHz and set up for FT8 F/H as indicated by the spots I saw and just kept doing other things.

Then, just as the Sun peeked above my horizon - at 1250 GMT I first copied E44RU.  I started calling him at 1253 GMT.  It took me an hour and 23 minutes to finally make the QSO but I did make it running 1,100-watts to a 17-M Inverted-V (no beam.)  And, if you note on the PacketCluster list on the Right, there were ZERO spots from ANY U.S.A. or NA station during that period!  And, while I was trying to work him, I NEVER saw him call or work a U.S.A. or NA station.  Still, he did work me!  I was there calling him because I saw spots from other parts of the world which alerted me to the fact that E44RU was on 17-M FT8 F/H at that time.

Had I been monitoring a PacketCluster which was displaying only spots from U.S.A. or NA stations, I WOULD NEVER HAVE KNOWN E44RU WAS ON-THE-AIR!  As the image at the Right shows, there were NO spots from my part of the world for E44RU during this period - yet, as it turned out, E44RU was indeed definitely workable, in fact I DID work him, and it gave me a New Band-Point for the Challenge!

The end result is that I made the log (see the image on the Left) and scored a New One which I may have totally missed by only watching spots from my part of the world.  Restricting your PacketCluster spots to only those from your area can LIMIT the possibilities for you to work many stations!

This is a "DX Tip and/or Trick" sponsored by the West Virginia DX Association and comes to you FREE with your membership.  Those WVDXA Dues are worth every penny - right?

Thursday, March 5, 2020

WVDXA Supports Club Log in 2020

Upon unanimous consent of the membership, 'da Prez made a donation to Clublog in the name of the WVDXA in the amount of $100.00 U.S. (£74.78 British Pounds).  This will help support the operation of this great resource that many of us use at least weekly (if not daily!)

This 2020 donation has been credited to the West Virginia DX Association.  This brings our total donations to Club Log to $598 since 2013.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

February 2020 WVDXA Meeting

What a MASSIVE turnout at our February 2020 meeting!  The sign-in sheet contains 32 names!  Here are those who attended this meeting: W8TN, Evelyn Stewart, WW8RT, KD8IZK, KD8BZY, N8RR, K8OHZ, NØULL, NU8LL, N8ULL, W8IW, K8RRT, N8DX, WA8ZDL, N4HT, WE5P, W8OP, WA8WV, W8OM, WV8FV, WV8RC, K8BT, K8KT, K8WEE, KB8KIM, W8UQ, W8OI, KD8VNN, AB8RL, W8HC, WB8III, and K8YYY.

That's a BIG meeting for us!  We certainly stretched the new venue (Ryan's) to near its limit.  I suspect the great turnout was due to Hal, W8HC, giving his presentation “VP6R Pitcairn Island 2019 DXpedition” which included many beautiful photos and videos of the trip along with Hal's commentary.

Speaking of the presentation, I have received MULTIPLE comments about how much folks enjoyed it.  Hal, W8HC, gave us a great insight into how a major DX'pedition requires WAY more work than many realize.  A fantastic element of his presentation was the history lesson about how Pitcairn Island came to be settled.  I can tell you the audience was "riveted" to the screen during this presentation as evidenced by the photo on the left.

As a large benefit of our getting together, we almost always have at least one ARRL Card Checker attend since ALL THREE ARRL Card Checkers in WV are members of the WVDXA. And, in fact, this meeting did see all three (W8HC, WA8WV, and W8OP) attend.  I don't know if Alan, W8OP, or Hal, W8HC, checked any cards, but I know that Dave, WA8WV, (seen in the bottom right of the above photo) was kept busy checking cards. A shot of him (and his Green pen) actually checking cards is shown on the left.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.

In fact, Dave made one WVDXA member VERY happy by checking his QSL Submission!  Tim, K8RRT, gave Dave his application and those confirmations put Tim over the 2,000 level on the DXCC Challenge!  You can imagine how happy this made Tim.  And, just to be able to attend this meeting, Tim had to get a workmate to fill in for him so that he could leave work early for the meeting.  Plus, Dave checked a few QSL's for Charlie, N8RR, leaving him needing only THREE MORE confirmations to reach the 3,000 Challenge level!

Those who attended the meeting came from all across the state with several attending from the Far North Enclave of the WVDXA: Wayne, KB8KIM, came from Randolph County, Bill, K8WEE, came from Summers County, Steve, WB8III, and Alan, W8OP, came from Fairmont in Marion county.  In addition, several came from other states: Jack, N8DX, came from just north of Cincinnati, Ohio, Harry, N4HT, again came from Lexington, Kentucky, for his second WVDXA meeting and he brought his friend, Bill, WE5P, also from the Lexington, Kentucky, area for his FIRST WVDXA meeting!  You can see Harry, N4HT, and Bill, WE5P, in the top photo above with N4HT on the left.

Back to the presentation, this was the first time we used the Laptop Projector which was secured for us by Steve, WW8RT.  It has always been a hassle to try and find someone to bring a projector from their work so we can use it.  Now, thanks to Steve, the WVDXA now has its OWN projector!  THANK YOU, Steve!

Who knew that hams used their hands so much when speaking?  As you can see on the left, Alan, W8OP, in the foreground and Dave, W8IW, in the background made extensive use of their hands in their conversations.

And, some were so excited to be here that they had that "deer in the headlights" look.  Steve, WB8III, in the red shirt on the right seemed to always look surprised in any of the photos that Hal, W8HC, and I took.  I just assume that was his excitement at being able to participate in a WVDXA meeting!

Finally, the group voted to make another of our annual contributions to support Club Log.  This is the SIXTH time the WVDXA has made a financial contribution to Club Log.

In the end, everyone left the meeting having satisfied (for a brief time) their desire to talk about DX.  Another extremely successful WVDXA meeting, for sure!