Amateur Radio in America's Paradise


LIDs and bullies

Posted by R P Davis on August 20, 2013 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This post from Rick/K6VVA should be required reading for every DXer.  I have a list of Calls I Will Never Work because of crappy behavior.  

I'm not the most experienced DX pileup operator in the world.  I'm not particularly rare DX.  But sometimes my pileups get unruly.  When that happens, I give very clear instructions.  If you fail to listen to my instructions, I WILL NOT WORK YOU.  I sure as hell won't work you if you call and call and call.  That's a sure-fire way to get on my Calls I Will Never Work List.  

You might also end up on Lids On The Air, to your eternal embarrassment.  So check yourself.

Field Day 2013...

Posted by R P Davis on June 24, 2013 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

...happened on St Croix.  More to come when I have brain.

Back on the air!

Posted by R P Davis on May 11, 2013 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm baaaaaaack!  :D

On the air, that is.

Luckily hams are hoarders.  I put the word out locally I needed a power supply, and a local ham came through with a loaner.  Still need to buy a replacement, but that's a matter of calling around to dealers to see who'll ship USPS.

Fired up the ol' girl last night on 12 meters.  No spots, didn't hear anything, no CQs, but I figured what the heck?  According to the 'Cluster, VK9NT was working West Coast USA on 10 CW, so... on to 12 CW I went.  Called CQ DX twice and got a pile of mixed EU and USA which lasted a solid hour.

The highlight was working through a trickle of weak EU stations when this LOUD call came in.  It surprised me, so all I got was "4DX".  I thought it was a USA 4-lander, he was so loud.  Turns out it was 4Z4DX calling.  Man, he was loud, like he was on St Thomas or something.  

Good times.

PSK and DXing

Posted by R P Davis on April 13, 2013 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (2)

USVI isn't all that active on the HF digimodes. I work PSK sometimes and, more rarely, RTTY. I often get swamped with signals. That's okay, especially on RTTY, because RTTY ops are usually sane. It's the PSK people who drive me nuts.

I call them "macro-jockies".


Here's how it usually goes astray:


I call "CQ DX PSE NO MACROS". A call comes up on my waterfall. I click the call, send "[CALL] DE WP2XX - UR 599 BTU". That's short and sweet, right? It's a fairly bog-standard DX response - I'm not looking for more than a signal report and maybe your name in return. In fact, I've specifically asked you not to give me 103kb of macro information. But it never fails - someone will dump their macro:

"Hello ROBERT (they pull the info from QRZ.com or something)!

Thank you for returning my call.

Your signal report is 599 599.

My name is Irving Irving.

My QTH is Snodgrass, AX Snodgrass, AX

My LOC is HY73af HY73af

Rig is Yaewood FS-7288 running 25w to a 2-element beam up 46 feet.

Software is ...blah blah blah blither blerg."


By this time I'm sitting there muttering at the radio, "Are you blind? Or are you naturally stupid? Maybe you have to practice? For the love of all that's right and true, just stop sending!"


Then, if I haven't spun off frequency and gone to find someone who wants to actually work DX instead of crushing me with boredom, I send "TNX OM 73 ES GUD DX - [CALL] DE WP2XX 73 QRZ?"


And always - ALWAYS - the guy will return with:


"Thanks ROBERT for PSK-31 QSO number 1,512 on 15 meters.

God bless you and your family.

I wish you all the best in all of your endeavors this year and always.

Hope to work you again soon...blah blah blah blither blerg."


By the time I get to that point I'm beyond incandescence, making incoherent spluttering noises and fantasizing about whether or not RG-58 is strong enough to make a hangin' noose.


Why? Because this idiot has failed to listen to my instructions and is hogging the frequency, preventing anyone else from making a QSO. Because he didn't listen.

What's worse is that many of the callsigns I see doing this crap are the same calls my log software tells me I've worked on CW or SSB; I remember them because then they gave me a "599 tu 73" and got out of the way. But on PSK? Nope! Give me your whole life story, because on PSK working DX is somehow different. (If it is different and I'm way off-base here, someone forgot to send me the memo.)


If I send you your call and "UR 599 TNX QSO" and you dump your brag file on me, assume you are not in my log. That's my rule now.


That's PSK-31, mind. On faster PSK modes, I don't mind so much, because it doesn't take so long to suffer through someone's brag file.


Another caveat: If I answer someone else's CQ, they control the QSO. Which is as it should be. If I call a general CQ, I don't mind having a ragchew. I enjoy having a ragchew, especially on PSK. But most of the time I just want to make a pile o' Qs, to give that band/mode combo to as many amateurs as I can in my limited time. Why, if I call CQ in a specific way, with specific instructions, why do PSK-31 ops never listen?


I once had it explained to me that ops don't bother to change their macros or set up new ones. To which I reply, "Bullcrap! Just do it already! You've got 12 freakin' F-keys. Make up a macro with '599 TU 73' and label it 'DX EXCH' or something. Stop ruining other people's fun!"

TL;DR: Make a short PSK macro especially for DXing and do the same things DXing on PSK as you'd do DXing on CW or phone.  If you don't listen to my instructions, you won't be in my log.




Antenna Farm

Posted by R P Davis on March 12, 2013 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

So I added a new antenna over the weekend!

My friend Fred, K9VV/NP2X had a spare Hustler 4BTV in his aluminum pile, so he loaned it to me.  

It's installed about 15 feet up, on the stainless-steel railing of our second-floor balcony.  Tuned radials are coming off it and trailing down to trees along the western property line.

The other aerial is here:

It's a wire ground plane cut for 30 meters with one relatively vertical wire and two "radials".  Fed with 450-ohm ladder-line through my SGC coupler under the pool deck, it tunes 80 through 10 meters, though it performs better on some bands than others.  I highlighted the wires with red lines for clarity.

Being right next to the salt water does wonders for my signals.  I'll be comparing the sigs between the GP and the 4BTV over the coming weeks to see how each plays.


Posted by R P Davis on March 5, 2013 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I love 30 meters.  It allows little pistols like me to be competitive.  Looking at recent DXpedition logs, I've gotten none of them on any other band.  If I can hear them on 30, I can work them.  If they're on any other band, I can't bust the pile.  I need to work on my pileup techniques.

Anyway, just worked TX2K for an ATNO (all-time new one).  Now to make an insurance QSO in a couple of days ...  ;)