Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Loose ends

Once again I've gotten a bit behind in posting, but I do have a few minutes and wanted to mention a few things.

I received three envelopes from the W2 QSL bureau recently. A lot of the cards were for "routine" QSOs, but there were a handful of "goodies", including a bunch of new countries confirmed on 75/80m. That brings my total for 80m to 82 confirmed, and I've got nearly another 40 above that worked, so I'll soon have enough confirmations for the 5-Band DXCC award. I'll actually have enough for 5BDXCC plus a couple of other endorsements for single bands, since I'll then have 100 or more contacts confirmed on all bands from 10m through 80m, except for 30m (and 60m, which I don't use and which doesn't count for DXCC purposes.) In looking up my stats, I realized that I've also got far more than 100 just on CW mode, and I only need 6 more confirmations on RTTY/Digital for single mode there. It's nice to make progress, even with the bands so bad lately, though since I haven't done a a DXCC submission in a while it's probably going to be pretty darn expensive when I finally do.

Along with the bureau cards for my regular K2DBK call, I also got a handful of cards for my ZF2DK operation about 18 months ago. I had to print up some more cards (on postcard stock on my inkjet printer) since I'd only printed a fairly limited number of them originally and had run out. It wasn't too hard to do, but I did wind up trying to remember/figure out how to feed the card stock through the printer so that the picture and the text were printed "rightside-up" relative to each other. Well, I tried to do that, and still managed to print two sheets of cards with the printing on the back "upside down". Oh well, the card will still count just the same. And I got to use my nifty "QSO confirmed by K2DBK" stamp that I picked up from W9XR a while back.

In other news, I've got a couple of possible trips coming up this summer. One will be "hamcation", which is to say that I plan to go and operate a significant amount. I'm working out the details, but one possibility would be to go down to the US Virgin Islands, particularly St. Croix, and operate from there. (Ok, I might take a break to check out the beaches and do a little snorkeling now and then.) I may be able to bring along my son Justin, KC2MCS with me. (He's agreed to upgrade to at least a General class license, and possibly Extra, so that he can join me.)

The other trip is more of a vacation with some ham radio thrown in, similar to my try to Grand Cayman. The current thinking is that we might go to Costa Rica (TI) and I'd operate in my spare time there. More on both of these trips when the plans firm up.

On a final note, related to the two possible upcoming trips, I'd like to remind my readers about my DX Publicity Contacts Page where I've collected various sources that are good to notify if you're going to be operating as DX. Please let me know if you've got any updates or additions to that page.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I stand corrected

Jerry, WA2TTI, read my previous posting and solved the mystery of why I can't find any information about Windwood: It no longer exists.

Jerry wrote:
Windwood is no more, it has been sold and no ham radios. The station I was at was Radio Reef, a better contest station. I was there in April and then again in Dec 3-10. This is a great place as you can see by the pictures. Jerry
Radio Reef looks awesome from what I can see on their web site: http://www.radioreef.com/ Maybe I'll have to take a trip down there myself.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wish I was there

Last week I worked Jerry, WA2TTI while he was on vacation in St. Croix. He was operating from Windwood, the station better known as WP2Z. WP2Z is a very well-known contesting station, but between contests, I believe that it's available for rental. (The link that I had to the information about renting it seems to be broken; anyone have a valid link?) Since he was operating from there, he was entitled to use the KP2 prefix to indicate that he was there. (Since St. Croix is part of the US Virgin Islands, a US callsign is valid there, and you are not required to use the KP2 identifier, but since there are far fewer stations on the air from KP2 than from the regular US "2" area of New York and New Jersey, it's doubtful that anyone operating from there wouldn't use KP2.)

I've worked stations on St. Croix many times (including working WP2Z 52 times so far; I'm sure I'll work them again) on every HF band that I use (including 160 meters, where I only have a total of 32 contacts out of the around 13,500 total that I have logged) on CW and Phone, and even in a few places using RTTY or PSK. I certainly didn't "need" to work Jerry, but after listening to him chat for a bit I figured I'd say hello.

It turns out that Jerry's wife had a small video camera and took some video during the contact, which he's uploaded to his Picasaweb site. In case you're wondering what the heck he starts talking about, he'd mentioned to someone earlier than he'd been given the speed of a car in "furlongs per fortnight", a valid though not particularly useful unit of measurement. My comment to him (just before the video starts) was that I'd used Google to compute what a speed of 60 mph would be in furlongs per fortnight, and the video picks up from there.

By the way, if you've never used Google to do conversions, it's really easy: Just use a search term like "45 hours to days" or "74 usd to gbp" or "60 mph to furlongs per fortnight" and Google does the rest.

Anyway, it was fun getting to hear myself on the "other end" of the conversation, and the other pictures in Jerry's web album are nice to look at as well.