Archives For ARRL

Every year the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) sponsors a contest called “Field Day.”

According to the ARRL flier,

ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June of each year, more th an 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.

In other words, Hams all over the nation drag their radio junk outside and set up temporary stations in attempt to contact as many other stations as possible.  You could say it’s the intersection between a contest and emergency preparedness.

I’m not certain when Field Day began (and I’m too lazy to look it up) but this is the second Field Day since I’ve been a licensed Ham.  Last year I didn’t participate since I had a few-week old new born.  This year I originally wanted to head out with my friend, WK4U, and operate from the field.  Preferably while camping.  Due to differences in our schedules, we only had Saturday to work with so we decided to drive around and visit various Field Day sites.

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I apologize for redirecting you Shack Sloths over here but I had more to say than would fit in the SOTAWatch Alert comment field…

This Saturday June 14th (and/or possibly Sunday June 15th?) I will be on Sweat Mountain W4G/CE-002 participating in the ARRL VHF/UHF contest. Depending on how things work out, I will attempt to activate the mountain via VHF in hopes of avoiding stringing up an HF antenna.

What things would prevent me from activating?

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Setting Up My Ham Shack

March 11, 2014 — 2 Comments

I really wanted to be chasing a couple of new states for the ARRL Centennial QSO Party, but I feel like I need to pump a few blogs out — so those contacts will just have to wait until later.  This post is mainly to serve as some background for future topics; certainly not to establish any baseline for how you should outfit your shack OR possibly cover everything on the topic.

I haven’t been a ham radio operator very long (less than 2 years), so I don’t exactly have an established ham shack (what ham radio operators call the room or area where they operate from).  Seasoned ham radio operators put a lot of thought and consideration into their shack setup for a multitude of reasons, mainly to avoid unwanted RFI (radio frequency interference).

While my RFI problems are mainly limited to not being able to tune to certain frequencies (noisy interference) or being able to turn some of the lights in my home on/off using my ham radio, I mostly considered how I was going to fit ham radio gear on my already-established “home office” desk. Between two laptops, a display, large printer and all the other accessories that clutter one’s desk, space was certainly limited!

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March AARL DX Contest

March 4, 2014 — 2 Comments

This past weekend the ARRL sponsored a DX Contest which I participated in as time allowed.  I racked up 78 QSOs for 62 new DXCCs.  I was hoping that would be enough to push me over the top for 100 DXCCs, but I fell short by 6 contacts.  I’m sure I’ll fill in the blanks before the next big HF contest…

All contacts were made QRP via my KX3 on 5 watts or less.  I backed down the power on several stations to qualify for more than a dozen 1,000 miles-per-watt awards.  (I would have displayed the actual MPWs and country names in the table below but I couldn’t figure out how to get my logging program to export all those details.)  Anyway, here are the QSOs I made this past weekend:

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