After a year or so of trying, I finally got the ARRL’s WAS award. For those who don’t know, WAS stands for Worked All States. In order to get the award you have to prove that you talked to someone in every state in the US. You can prove it by either getting QSL cards and having them checked and/or using Logbook of the world (LoTW).
ARRL has an online QSL service that allows operators to upload their logbooks into a giant database. After the log is uploaded, the contacts are crossed checked against other uploaded logs from other operators. If a match is found then the contact is confirmed. Those confirmations can add up and be used for all sorts of awards that the ARRL and CQ.
Before LoTW you would have to use QSL cards that involving printing, sorting, labeling and mailing. Most people want a SASE (Seld Addressed Stamped Envelope) to be included with the card. For other countries, you could save some money by sending the card through the Bureau. With LoTW it makes the process much easier, After setting up an account and confirming it, you can sign and upload logs to LoTW. No cards, SASE, postage necessary.
I wish that all operators would use LoTW. Some choose not to use it for one reason or another. Some people that don’t use it give the excuse that it’s too hard to register and use. I wouldn’t tell you that it’s easy but it’s not that difficult if you follow directions on the ARRL website. It seems difficult because of the security involved in making sure that you ARE the operator uploading the log and that the log belongs to you. If it wasn’t secure then LoTW couldn’t be trusted so that is why I support what the ARRL is doing.
So if you don’t have an account and you use an electronic logging, I strongly suggest getting an account with LoTW
I have the Basic WAS award. It just means that I made contact with every state. It doesn’t matter how you did it. You can get multiple WAS awards for each band and mode. You can the triple play award by working each state using Morse code, Voice and Digital.
Hopefully I can get triple play by the end of the year.
The Quick Way!
You can get the WAS award by casual contact with operators but if you want to make things go faster, there is a couple things you can do to make getting the award a lot easier.
RBN (Reverse Beacon Network) – With SDR technology, computers are scanning the bands and looking for CW contacts. If someone is calling CQ, there is a good chance that an SDR receiver heard it and posted (spotted) your CQ on the internet for all to see. You can use RBN to find state and/or country you need.
Ham Spots – This website collects and indexes the “Spots” from all different networks. It allows you to pick and choose who to make contact with without having to search the bands
Those two services depending on operators “Spotting” other operators. Even though the CW contacts are automatic. The state or country you want to make contact with might now be on the air. You can schedule (sked) a contact with an operator from the state or country needed.
K3UK’s sked page – This is an online chatroom/forum that allows you to schedule contact with other ops in the room. You will both get on the air, make contact, log it and then return to the website to work more
Over the Air Nets – There are many nets on the air that are meant for chasing awards. You check in and wait your turn to make contact with another operator on the net and vise verse. One that comes to mind is the OMISS Net
Hope to catch you on the air. If you need Massachusetts for anything, you can contact me and I will set time aside to help you!
Thanks for reading,
After a year of chasing stations, waiting hours in pile-ups, chasing LoTW DX ops and checking LoTW whenever I uploaded my logs. I finally got enough entities to apply for my DXCC award.
Earlier this week I have DX Labs Spot collector running and with 20m acting the way it has been for the past week (very good), I saw a couple stations being spotted that I’ve never worked on before. I got to work ZL2WL (Wayne, New Zealand) and MD0CCE (Bob, Isle Of Man). MD0CCE uses LoTW and confirmed to be my 100th entity. Then last night I made contact with MW0ZZK (Steve, Wales) that confirmed my 101 entity.
Now I need to apply and get the paper. Then I’ll start working on 5-Band DXCC and finishing up my WAS
Thanks to all who use LoTW!
Edit 6/7/2012: I submitted my application using only LoTW credit and using the LoTW website on 6/1/12 and I got the actual certificate in today.
I decided to participate in CQ Magazine’s World Wide CW (Morse Code) contest. It’s one of the, If not the biggest CW contest of the year.
I have been trying to learn CW off and on since the summer so I needed some help if I were to even make one QSO on CW. I setup N1MM logging software for the contest and used DM-780 that comes with Ham Radio Deluxe to decode and encode the CW.
Since I never participated in a CW contest before I wanted to see how it worked so I can configure my macros to work with the contest. I was very impressed on how fast contacts and exchanges are made. It’s way faster compared to SSB, RTTY and PSK31 and I felt even more compelled to learn CW after playing in this contest. I worked the contest off and on so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed about the activity. I started off searching and pouncing (S&P) on only the strongest signals. I would wait until I have their full call and exchange before even attempting to contact the station. N1MM does help out by looking up the CQ zone which came in handy a couple of times. After establishing contact I would get the typical 599 and zone exchange. After the first night working the contest. I have learned what my new call sounds coming back to me and phrases like “TU”, “TEST”, “?” and some of the shortcuts ops used to make a faster contact like instead of a RST of 599, it will be 5NN and A5 would be zone 15. I went to bed with code buzzing around in my head. I woke up the next day to play again. I’ve managed to make 100 contacts even though I know for a fact that I can make more. I just wanted to see what it was like to play in a CW and I liked it. Nothing like just jumping right in with both feet and absorbing everything. Once you learn the key terms in code the contest went much easier. I would encourage ops who want to learn CW to work in a contest. After learning what some of the stuff sounds like, the only trouble would be on decoding the call sign. I just hope that the people on the other end got my call right.
This now leads me to my rant. I lurk around on a lot of Ham radio related forums and also hear it by ear. I see a lot of people saying something along the lines of “These No-Coders are going to ruin HF” and “Amateur Radio is going to be just like CB” because the FCC dropped the Morse code requirement years after many other countries dropped the requirement. Now all these “Techies” or Technician license holders are upgrading to general and/or extra without passing a Morse code proficiency test.
After spending a couple of years on HF I have not seen much (or any) evidence to support this claim that has been spewing out of the elders mouths for over 4 years now. A lot of the Issues I see have a lot to do with elder hams. For example, when it comes to contacting a DX station I see a lot of things happening. Things like after the DX station acknowledge someone, there are still people trying to crowbar their callsign in because there is a second of silence. I also hear 1KW amps tuning up RIGHT on frequency of the DX station then spew out their call (like we don’t know who you are when you’re 40+ on my meter). Then you got those that see a massive pileup trying to contact the station and when acknowledged, will try to strike up a rag chew session by describing their town and the weather and their medical ailments even though there are 100′s of people waiting. And if the DX working split… FORGET ABOUT IT! They endlessly send their call even though you have a bunch of people telling him that the DX is listening 5KC up. Try listening to the RX Frequency of the DX station working spilt. Wholly crap there are a lot of people who don’t even come close to following the DX code of conduct. I’ve jotted a bunch of these calls down and looked them up on QRZ to find out that a majority of them are elder hams (By the age of their call and station setup).
For a Hobby that is so-called “Dying”, I wouldn’t spend much time complaining about those who are actually trying to stay interested in Ham radio. Not only should you welcome these “No-Coders”, you should thank them for showing interest. Because with that negative attitude you will drive away the young Hams that are genuinely interested and you will see a truly dead hobby. After a couple of years on HF and thousands of contacts, It’s rare that I run into someone around my age (28). I basically think that those who bitch and moan about it are just jealous or feel that they are “A class of their own” because they had to pass a 20wpm (or 5wpm) CW proficiency test. The funny thing is that since I’ve upgraded, I wanted to learn CW more than ever so I can make even more contacts farther away.
This is just my personal opinion, I could be wrong.
Thanks to the Solar activity. 10m is a BOOMIN’ and I Just had to take part. However my G5RV Dipole does not really work well with my FT-950 and its Internal Antenna “Tuning” Unit. I can go and buy a better external tuner but why bother. With some 16ft of copper wire you can have a Dipole for 10M. I made just that.
Here is a picture of my Dipole (In its in-completed state). It’s simple as it gets. Two wires cut at around 8ft each insulted by some sawcut plexiglass and a chassis mount SO-239 Connector.
Since I didn’t want to run it outside hoping that I get my Butternut installed, I placed the 10M dipole up in the attic connected to already ran RG58 with a Coax Choke at the end. Thinking I wouldn’t get anywhere with this antenna I was very surprised when I turned on the rig to hear stations in South America coming in . Considering my house is wrapped in Aluminum siding, I am really surprised. So if there are any tech licenses out here. It doesn’t take much to make DX contacts on the tech portion of 10M.
Here are some of the contacts I made in the Past couple of days
CO6CAC – Cuba
ZB2B – Gibraltar
IZ5HPQ – Italy
OE6CEG – Austria
EI8GS – Ireland
MM0BQN – Scottland
PI4DX – Netherlands
S53EO – Slovenia
PY4ZUN – Brazil
LU1ALF – Argentina
All these countries and more from a Dipole in my attic surrounded by aluminum siding! So please get on the Air!
Another great accomplishment is that I Finally got to work a station in Japan! That was a goal I’ve been wanted to do in the past two years. With the conditions and propagation that we’ve been seeing, It was possible. Got to work JI1RXQ in Koga, Ibaraki, Japan. It was during the JARTS contest so it was a quick contact but I’m still grateful.
Also please stay tuned as I’m updating a lot of the Articles and adding a new completed homebrew project!
This year I participated in Field Day with the Hampden County Radio Association. Instead of dropping by a site and using their equipment, I decided to offer up my equipment for use as the “HF DIGITAL” station. Other than a couple of software issues, the Digital station was a success with over 170 contacts.
Here are the pictures I’ve taken from Field Day
Check out Hampden County Radio Association’s Website for information about Field Day.
After getting Ham Radio Deluxe, DM780 and the Pain in my back side logbook to play nice with each other and myself. I’ve been doing some digital. I got some new places I’ve never talked to and had a blast.
New places I got to talk to were
MJ0SIT – Steve – Jersey (No, not New Jersey!)
I actually had to google Jersey for its info
EW6FW - Sergej – Belarus
According to PSK Reporter, My signal got around as well
I’ve also notice a hetrodyne that gets louder as I go up in frequency. I hope to see if it still exists when I bring the setup to Field Day
You can see sort of what I am talking about in the screen shot above.
At the beginning of the month I participated in the New England QSO Party. This is the first contest that I’ve taken a part of to where I submitted logs. I’ve participated in contests by accident. Meaning that I just happened to be on the air when the contest was going on and thought it would be fun to make some contacts for the log book. The reason I wanted to take part fully in the NEQP is that I’m based out of New England and thought it would be fun to see how well I can do in New England considering I rarely hear New England stations. On Saturday night (May 5th), I’ve spent 5 hours planted on one frequency on 40 meters and started calling CQ. I’ve tuned the 950 so I can filter out most of the QRM and I have to say that I had a really fun time. I thought I would be horrible since I am not running with what I consider the big guns (expensive setups, beams, towers). With my 100w rig and a G5RV dipole I thought I did very well to the point where I was getting pileups. I would have never thought there would be a pileup to contact me. May 6th was not as exciting as the bands were dead (well, for me). However I kept on 40 meters and made an additional 50 contacts with brought the total to 256 X a multiplier of 31 = 7,936 points.
In days since, I received many QSL cards with SASE. Please be patient as I am trying to find a good printer, that is decently price for full color QSL cards. Once I receive them, SASE cards will be sent first followed by those who sent cards and finally, those who I promised a card to. I would also like to thank all the stations that contacted me. Also like to thank the NightWatch Net.
Now for a drink
This contest now brings me to my rant. I don’t like ranting because it causes nothing but trouble. This time I don’t care. During the contest I’ve heard a couple of people referring to me as “these contesters” like it’s a bad thing. I’ve also seen write-ups and videos of hams complaining about “Contesters”. I don’t understand what the big deal is. Oh no! you now have to move a couple khzs because someone is contesting on a frequency that you’ve used since 1909. For a hobby that is so-called “Dying”, I wouldn’t spend time complaining about other ham operators that are actually involved in this “Dying” hobby. Now if they just hopped on the frequency that you’re currently talking to your buddy on (or 1-3 khz near) and starting contesting without checking if it’s a clear frequency and/or calling QRZ, then I can understand. It’s happened to me and it’s just plain rude. But if they’re using proper ham etiquette then let the contesters play. I’m sorry, I can’t sit for hours listening to long-winded hams talk about their setup and the weather. It gets real old, real fast. That is just my 2 cents, I could be wrong!
Since my recent purchase I’ve been back into digital. In the past couple of say 20M in the afternoon has been really good to me
I made contact with the following
RK9AN – Anvar -Asiatic Russia
RN3AJK – Artem – Euro Russia
DK9WB – Jakob – Germany
CT2FPY – Leonel – Portugal
M0NPQ – Nerijus – England
DL5MGH – Armin – Germany
IW3SGT – Alessandro – Italy
IZ3LEF – Emiliano – Italy
IW6NBX – Antonio – Italy
SP5GRU – Wlodek – Poland
EA3BJW – Joan – Spain
US5CCO – Vlad – Ukraine
UA3ON – Antoly – Euro Russia
RD3WW – Vladimir – Euro Russia
IN3NHZ – Roberto – Italy
KE5AQD – Roger – USA
W3CRR – Craig – USA
9A4A – Zlatko – Croatia
I have been noticing lately that after sending CQ and acknowledging someone that people are still trying to contact me. I like pileups for me but it’s hard in the digital world. It gets annoying because I’m unable to make out the first half of the conversation because of QRM. I figured like on SSB, once someone acknowledges someone else that everyone else on the frequency remains QRT until the exchange ends??? – END RANT
I also got work K2TPZ on CW. I still have trouble receiving so I cheated and used the computer to receive his CW and used the touch pad to send. I hope by engaging in CW more and more that the dits and dahs will automatically turn into letters and words
While crusing around the 40M band I heard a digital signal on 7.071Mhz. The signal didn’t sound familar to me so I had to flip through a bunch of modes to find that I stumbled upon a Feld Hell Net. I decided to monitor and after 10 min or so I tossed my call into the mix. The NCS (Net Control Station) was Lou (W8LEW) from MI That acknowledged me.
I posted a screen shot below
As you can see in the Waterfall I confused it for a PSK Signal. But when I put the headphones on I knew it wasn’t. You can also see a snippit of the convo I had with W8LEW. The white part is me and the gray part is W8LEW. There were a couple of other people in the net and overall I had a great time. Props to the people at the FELD HELL CLUB. I suggest if your into Digital modes that you should try this if you haven’t
I didn’t feel like using the radio. The office on TBS has episodes that i’ve seen many times so I ended up turning on the rig. 20m seemed dead so I went to 40m where there was a lot of PSK activity.
Start calling CQ with BPSK63 and AB4RT (Bob) replyied. Call was familar and he just realized that he contacted me the night before. It was strange because HRD did not pick up on the logged call. After that VE3SWS (Jay, ON) contacted me and told me that I was his first digital contact. I like seeing people get into digital. More for me to make contacts with so we rag chewed a bit and moved to a different frequency where we tried different modes out. Found out that Oliva is REALLY SLOW with a wide bandwidth. Too me it would seem great for low power long distance communication. Not for making quick QSO’s. Had a great time.