Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hamfest Day

Today was the spring version of the BARA hamfest.BARA (Bergen Amateur Radio Association) runs these twice a year (once in the spring, usually around Memorial Day weekend), and once in the fall (around the first weekend in October). I try to go whenever I can since it's by far the closest hamfest to my home, about 7 miles driving distance. In addition to the usual socializing, I usually buy a couple of things, which I did this time as well. I picked up a couple of spare power cables that I use with my radios, some snap-on ferrites (to see if I can keep my 6m transmissions out of my son's speakers), and I splurged with some of my birthday money to pick up a Heil "Traveler" headset and adapter for my 706, which I'll use in Cayman and elsewhere.

I picked up the headset from Gene, K2KJI, of KJI Electronics. I've bought the vast majority of my ham gear from Gene for a few reasons. First of all, I'm lucky that he's fairly local to me, so I can drive out to his store if I need something. (Ordering online is great, and I do that too, but there's nothing like having a local store that you can run into when you need something on a Saturday afternoon.) Second, Gene's prices are extremely competitive with all the major competitors (HRO, AES, Texas Towers, etc.) Finally, I like buying things from Gene because, aside from just being a nice guy in general, I've always felt that Gene's a "straight shooter". There were a few times, especially when I was just starting out, that I had gone into Gene's to pick up something, and Gene talked me out of it and into buy something less expensive. I'm reasonably sure that Gene didn't do this because perhaps his markup on the cheaper item was higher (meaning he'd make more, even though I'd pay less), but rather because he wanted to guide me to a better choice. Bravo. So that's why I try to give Gene as much business as I can. I guess I also feel that by supporting Gene, it'll keep him around in the area, and that's a really good thing.

I should mention that I have nothing at all against John, who runs Advanced Specialties, which is also in the area. (In fact, I've bought a few things from him too), I guess I just got "started" with Gene, so I tend to go back to him.

I briefly mentioned socializing at the hamfest. It seems that every time I go I not only get to meet folks who I've "eyeballed" before, but I usually run into someone that I've worked on the radio buy have never met. The honor this time goes to Dave, K2SIX, who I've spoken to many times on six meter but had never met in person. Honorable mention goes to Paul, W2PWE, not so much for him, but for getting to meet his wife, son, and daughter. (Unfortunately, I can't remember any of their names. Sorry.)

In other news (if you can call it that), the announcement that I'd sent out for my trip to Cayman has started to show up in some of the DX bulletins, which is kind of fun. The first place that I happened to see it is in the Ohio/Penn DX Bulletin, and I've also seen it on the NJDXA DX Tips page but I've heard from some other folks that they've seen it elsewhere, so I'll keep looking. It's kind of fun to see your own call in one of those.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Just a quick update for today. The official copy of my ZF2DK license and the import certificate arrived today from the ICTA. It's much nicer actually having the paperwork in hand than just an email message.

Yesterday, I sent out announcement to various DX-related lists and I've gotten quick notes from most of the editors thanking me for the information. I'll put in an update on the IOTA website as well, but that site seems to be down for the moment. (I did see a note a couple of days ago about the site moving.)

I also updated my website, adding a page with some basic information and I even did some propagation predictions using Hamcap. Thanks to Alex, VE3NEA, for making this available as freeware. I got to give back a little by modifying the script that he originally used to support Firefox, Safari, and other browsers as it initially only supported Internet Explorer.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

More info about the upcoming trip

Since it's starting to get a little closer to the date of the trip, I figured that I'd put up a little information about when we'll be there, and some other information about the operation.

We'll be in Cayman from July 22 through July 29. As I noted earlier, this is a "vacation style" operation, so I'll be on when I'm not doing something else. The Buddistick covers all bands down to 40m, but I expect that I'll likely spend a lot of time on 20m, conditions permitting. However, I'll probably see what bands are open when I'm there, and operate accordingly. I do plan to try a little 6m if the band is open. I will primarily be operating SSB (I'd love to try CW but my skills are really not up to it) and I may operate a little PSK as well. Most likely, I'll be hanging out around the IOTA frequencies (
7.060 [listening up for NA], 14.260, 18.128, 21.260, 24.950, 28.460) QSL will be to my home call, and I plan to upload the logs to LoTW (possibly even during the operation; I believe that the place where we're staying has Internet access).

If there are any particular bands that you need, please let me know and I'll try to accomodate.

Monday, May 14, 2007


At last, the email that I've been waiting for came from the ICTA this morning informing me that my paperwork has been processed and I've been issued ZF2DK as my Caymanian callsign. I got a nice email from Nikki Forbes of ICTA telling me that the callsign had been issued, and asking if I'd like to have the original paperwork mailed to me or if I'd be picking it up when I arrived. Since we'll be getting there over a weekend, I asked to have it mailed to me (which should also mean that I'll have the import certificate, which will make bringing my gear into the country a lot easier.

I've already set up a page for ZF2DK on and I'll be updating that as well as my regular ham website with a few details about the upcoming trip.