Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Again - DXCC and Waving the Propagational White Flag of SKS Failure

Current Confirmed LOTW DXCC Totals
I recently logged in and took a peek at my Log Book of the World (LOTW) standings, more specifically my DXCC award. I currently have 43 entities (see left) applied toward this award so I have a ways go to. To date, I've made a total of 471 QSO's with my new call, with the majority of those QSO's being stateside contacts. Since we are still in the heart of contest season, my goal is to enter more CW contests taking advantage of the busy contest weekends to search out new DXCC entities. I want to continue my quest for QRP DXCC as well and I'm off to a fair start. My LOTW Worked All States (WAS) total is not quite as good as I only have 38 states confirmed to date. I think it's common knowledge that digital operators tend to use LOTW more, so once I get on the digital modes again, I hope to start adding digital confirmations to both awards rather quickly. I have no desire to do much SSB and probably the bulk of my SSB contacts will be on 6 or 2 meters during future band openings. As I age, I enjoy my microphone as much as I'm beginning to enjoy winter. 

Moved a few feet - weekend photo
I decided it was time for my temporary shack to find a place other than the kitchen table. So, I grabbed some TV trays and placed my shack in the kitchen near the table. Here is my current set-up. For casual operating this will work but I will have to do a bit of rearranging if I want to work a contest. I also have my daughters old computer desk that used to be home to the APRS computer which was located in my garage when we lived in Alaska. I think once spring gets here and I can dig it out of storage, I will set it up with my equipment. It's small and has wheels so it can easily be relocated if necessary. The FT857D will eventually be installed in our trailer and my home station will then consist of my Icom IC-703+ and my Icom IC-706MIIG. I will drag my 703+ out with me on portable operations.

SKCC's Straight Key Sprint was last night and I opted to stick to 40 meters as it appeared to be the only band I could hear much on. I began with QRP and that just did not work. I was forced to change rigs and fire up the 857D and increased the power up to 40-45 watts. I CQ'd for several minutes on a few frequencies with no luck. I struggled with the QSO's that I did make. After a whopping 3 QSO's, I ended my painful pursuit of SKCC QSO's. Running an indoor antenna, especially on 40 meters, can be trying at times. 40 meters was noisy and although I could hear a few stations very well, it appeared as if the just could not hear me.  

This coming weekend is the ARRL DX International SSB Contest. Me, I have no desire to operate this mode especially with my current set up. I will probably stick close to the QRP frequencies searching out a few contacts. As the weather begins to warm up in a few weeks I will have the itch to get the Harley out of storage. Radio will then compete with my two wheeled adventures but my hopes are to combine the two this summer on a few of our riding off the beaten path adventures.    

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