First & Second Africa/South Africa Contact

As I’ve been mostly getting European and South American DX contacts, I’ve been hoping to get some Asian, African or Australian contacts. Today I finally made contact with ZS2DK (Mitch, Port Elizabeth SA) on 20M PSK31. I was excited and he had a very legible copy. I decided to look it up on PSK Reporter and I saw that there was another SA station using JT65 on 40m so I figured to give it a try. Sure enough I made contact with ZS1LS (Allen, Cape Town SA) on 14.076 using JT65.
Not Too bad.

Change Of Address… Grr.

My New Address Follows

Jeffrey Bail – N1BMX
P.O. Box 484
W. Springfield MA, 01090-0484

When I first purchased a P.O. box using USPS online in January 2010. I went to my local post office and they assigned me Box 722. They gave me a key and made sure that the box worked. I changed my address with the FCC and a lot of other places to my new box so I can avoid stuff being sent to my home. I got some mail every once in awhile and I thought it was ok. Last weekend I went to check my mail and notice that someone else’s mail was in the box address to 722. I took the mail to the counter and the lady told me that my box was really 484 and that the box has been overflowing with mail. I was never aware or made aware of that my box has been re-assigned and I never knew that my mail was going to this new mystery box. I guess that this took place in February because I purchased a size 2 box and they assigned me a size 1 box.

In that mail I received some QSL cards from KD8FIP (Frank) JT65, KD8FKD (Len) CW contact, KD0JHW (Bill) PSK31 and KG4AZN (Chris) Feld Hell. Thank you guys for the cards and when I get my printed you’ll be the first reply.

73’s
– Bail, N1BMX

FELD HELL – I Love It!

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

FELD HELL CONTACT
FELD HELL CONTACT

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

9/6/2010 Contacts

Started off the morning on 20m JT65 (14.076.00Mhz). I noticed there were people talking so I jumped in. Managed to get only two contacts with F8RZ (Jean, France) and N9GUE (Fred, US).

Later on in the evening I tried WSPR. Never heard about it until this morning while exploring PSK Reporter. What’s funny is that I confused it with a local spanish speaking AM radio station WSPR. After doing some reading about it and installing the Software. I let it sit for an hour on 30M and then TX my call a couple of time. I was amazed at who heard my signal.

WSPR MAP 9/6/2010
WSPR MAP 9/6/2010

I like this. It shows far your signal can reach. Granted the mode is designed for Long distance. I am going to try it again with only 5 watts.

While messing around with WSPR I kept hearing a digital mode that I never heard before. The person sent out an RSID using Ham Radio Deluxe stating it was a Olivia  signal.
I made contact with VE7NBQ (Peter, VANCOUVER, BC) and Rag chew for a tiny bit.

After that I wanted to exercise my lungs and do some voice contacts. I heard KH7Y (Fred, HI) with a pileup of people trying to get him. After about 10min of throwing my call I finally got him.  I hope he confirms through e-qsl and/or lotw because I don’t often hear Hawaii and by the pileup of people I don’t think they do either. A new state for the hunt of WAS.
I also heard HI8ROD (Rodrigo, Dominican Republic) and made contact with him quite easily.

9/4-5/2010 Contacts

I had to take down the G5RV dipole as I was hosting a party at my house. It would have been in the way and I didn’t want the kids to be messing around with it.
When I first put up the dipole I could not get my ladder high enough up so my Dipole was at an angle. Since I was tinkering around with the antenna I manage to get it much higher.  I am pleased with the results.

Now that my antenna is back up and had some spare time , I went on and made a lot of contacts. I also took part in the IARU Region I Field Day with only 16 contacts.
On PSK I manage to get my first contact with Saudi Arabia. His call was HZ1EA (emad) and he was running QRP @ 5 Watts.  Also worked Serbia for my first time with YU7AU.
I also tried PSK on 30m (10.140.ooMhz) for the first time. I got work UU7JC,  CO8LY and WB8TDG. WB8TDG was using RTTYM 8/500  which I never used untill tonight.

Overall very good night. Now I have to learn to submit contest  logs.

SAT COM: New Project

Ever since I got licensed I always wanted to try Satellite Communications. So after looking through one of my favorite websites (HackADay.Com) I saw an article on how to build a Yagi antenna using some screws pvc pipe and aluminum arrows. This peaked my interest in Satellite communications. I’ve been aware of the commerical antennas built for this purpose and I am also aware of some of the DIY antennas. All I have for a radio is  a handheld Kenwood TH-78A that I will be using and I plan on mounting the antenna on a old tripod.

Hopefully I can have this built before my daughter arrives. But either way it’s going to be a fun simple project.

My FT-950

FT-950

Ain’t it a thing of beauty? heh…

Before I upgraded to general I purchased an FT-857D. I was planning on putting it in my truck but I ended up using it in the house since it was my only HF rig. I wanted a bigger system so I could put the 857D mobile and I ended up getting a Kenwood TS-430s. After making  the impulse purchase I realized that the TS-430S is not suited for digital. I kept using the FT-857D as a home unit and then I decided to sell everything for a new HF base that could handle digital. I was debating between the Kenwood TS-2000 or the Yaesu FT-950. For reasons which are unknown I ended up getting the FT-950. I am loosing VHF and UHF by getting the FT-950 But I think I made a wise purchase. So far I am loving this rig, it’s taking some getting used to but it’s amazing how a couple of adjustments makes a someone who I can barely hear sound like S9.

First CW Contact.

While my parts for my CW keyer are out for paint all I had to play with is the plexiglass base of the keyer.

CW Touch Key
Half ass assembly

I managed to get it working and I went on 7.040.50Mhz (40m) and started sending CQ TEST. All of a sudden I hear “-. .—- -… — -..- -.. . -.- -… —.. ..-. . (N1BMX DE KB8FE)”  I was happy because instead of using software to decode morse I did it by pen and paper. He was sending slow enough for me to understand even though I was sending much faster and messing up a lot. His call is KB8FE (Keith, OH). He asked me about my station and then told me to keep practicing CW. So I am please to make a contact and it makes me want to master CW now.

I’ve been noticing that I have been practicing CW more than I have been doing any other mode.

CW Project: Moving along

I just had to update.

Got around to doing some more fabricating. I laser cut the base, insert and plexiglass. The 1/8″ insert combined with the 1/4″ Plexiglass will make the glass sit flush on the 3/8″ steel base. I need to make the paddle contacts and the cover to complete fabrication. Can’t wait to test it out and powder coat it.