Monday, December 9, 2013

Club'n It & The Key

I decided that since I was back in society and there is no better way to hook up with other hams who share my passion for DX and contesting than to make my way to a few local club meetings. This from a guy who really does not do social events but ham radio events are exceptions to that rule. 

I received a complimentary newsletter from the Nashua Area Radio Club in Nashua, NH. After reading it, I decided to attend their next club meeting on December 3rd. In looking into the club, I discovered that the president was Ed, K2TE. In researching my KL8DX logbook, I found I had worked Ed several times in contests (approximately 17). I also found that I had worked Bill, NJ1H (treasurer) several times as well (approximately 10) so a few callsigns I was familiar with. 

After attending the meeting, I decided to join the club and of course, the highlight was chatting with Ed about contesting. Ed let me know that the Yankee Clipper Contest Club (YCCC) was going to have their next meeting soon as well. The bug was put in my ear regarding YCCC prior to leaving Alaska. I was excited for the possibility to attend that meeting as well. Here was a highly respected club with many respected "contesting heavy hitters" that I could hopefully spend time with and learn from. 

WW2DX talking about remote operating
When I read that WW2DX & W2RE were putting on a presentation regarding remote operating at the YCCC meeting, it peaked my interest even more. I've read several articles about remote operating, a few controversial. I'm not opposed to those who take advantage of such a service. I mean really, a chance to sit in your condo or HOA located QTH and use a station that has stacked antenna's in a prime location with all the bells and whistles you could ask for, all  controllable from your home computer. It was a very interesting presentation to say the least and not only did I learn plenty about remote operating, I also got to see up close and personal a Elecraft K3. It was their stripped down web version but it was neat to actually see it in true life rather than in a magazine photograph. All in all, I was very impressed with the amount of time and effort WW2DX and W2RE have invested in their business.

Live Demonstration
Both club meetings were fun to attend as it has been many years since I've attended one. Having a handful of clubs in the area is exciting. I have one more club meeting with another local club I would like to attend. I use local loosely as to me, Maine is local! We are still adjusting to being able to drive to a store in less than 10 minutes from our doorstep. After 6 months, I think we are finally getting used to shopping for a week or two rather than a month. I remember trips to Fairbanks, Alaska and returning with the backseat of our F-350 packed solid not to mention the cold bags in the bed of the truck! 

I did not have much free time this weekend but I wanted to participate in the SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (WES). I found the bands somewhat horrible for my indoor antenna on Saturday. I did manage a few QSO's on 40 meters. I'm still amazed at how far I've been able to work stations on 40 meters with my Buddipole. The only issue with operating 40 meters with an indoor antenna is that I'm very limited to my power output. It seems that when I send CW on 40 meters with much over 80 watts, the hardwired smoke detectors chirp with each and every tap of my key. Not a sound that is sweet to the ears of the other occupants, including the indoor animals. 

I only managed a couple of contacts on Saturday but I left my antenna up so I could hit the bands on Sunday morning. Once the family was up and out of harms way of any RF, I was on the air on 40 meters once again. I managed a few more QSO's before I had to take a break from the bands. It was obvious that 40 meter propagation was getting poor so I decided when I made it back to the rig, I would re-tune my Buddipole for 20 meters. 

Once I was able to return to the air a few hours later, 20 meters was where I started. I only made one contact there before it was time to head to the YCCC meeting. I left everything up as I had hoped to make it home to work the last few hours on the WES. It just so happened, that was how the plan worked. I was able to catch a few more QSO's on 20 meters upon returning home and then it was back to 40 meters. By the time the dust cleared and the WES was over, I managed a whopping 12 QSO's! But 12 QSO's are better than NO QSO's! All contacts were Search & Pounce (S&P) but it was great to snag several new SKCC QSO's including a few calls I have worked for years.

I very much enjoy CW and straight key sending is very relaxing. And speaking of SKCC, I met up and chatted with another member at the YCCC club meeting. I had a nice conversation with Barry, NF1O and his wife Mary, NE1F. Barry has been very active in SKCC and I've worked him from my station in Alaska. 

So, it was a ham radio filled week and weekend and I'm now a proud member of two clubs. I'm very excited to be affiliated with YCCC and of course NARC as well. With Work Radiosport Team Competition (WRTC) taking place in our backyard in 2014, this next year looks to be full of ham radio fun and the best part is, I'm right in the middle of it all!  

1 comment:

  1. Phil, I didn't know you had moved back to the lower 48! sned me your new email address. Dan W8CAR