Thursday, January 24, 2008

PSKFest results

A few weekends ago I participated in the PSKFest and I did pretty good for my first serious effort in a contest. I had 44 QSO's and got a score of 1,320. I would have done better if my rig hadn't died, or so I thought. Towards the end of the contest, the power plug came loose on my Kenwood TS-440 and I thought it had died. By the time I discovered this, the contest was over.
You can see how I ranked with the others by clicking here

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Your camera doesn't matter

If you haven't heard of Ken Rockwell and you are interested in photography, you don't know what you're missing! Here's a link to "Your camera doesn't matter" that I feel anyone interested in great pictures (anything from a disposable point and shoot all the way to the owner of a 4X5 view camera) will enjoy. It's long, but a very good read.

Ken also has great reviews on cameras and lenses. Be sure to check out his entire site here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why contest?

A friend of mine asked me why do contests if the QSO's are Hello and Goodbye.

Here are a few good reasons to work contests:

1) It gives you a chance to see how well your rig & antenna work.
2) If you are going for an award, you can get those hard locations easier.
3) If you don't have much time to spare, your only committed to a short QSO.

But if you'd rather ragchew and don't care to get any awards, then contests aren't for you. But if you're curious to see if your able to talk to some DX station with your current setup, then you can always just listen to see what parts of the world you can hear.

Friday, January 18, 2008

North American QSO Party this weekend

January is a great time to contest since it's cold outside!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

If you want to catch more fish, try different parts of the lake!

This past weekend was the PSKFEST contest.  I decided to see how many states I could work that I haven't worked before.  So when all was said and done, I worked 23 new states! The way I did this was simple:  I called CQ on different parts of the waterfall.  If I stayed in one spot, I only seemed to get a few contacts, and then none at all.  But as soon as I switched to a different part of the waterfall, I'd get more contacts and a new state or two.  I only made 44 contacts total, but that's pretty good for me since I didn't spend more than 3 hours on the contest.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

FYBO 2008

If you like the cold and you like contests, this is the one for you!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Car radio fixed!

  Recently I noticed that the left channel on my car radio only worked intermittently.  I just assumed it was a problem inside the radio and was planning a visit to the dealer since it's still under warranty.  But then it occured to me that it might be a loose connection since I added an adapter 2 years ago when I added my XM radio.  Sure enough, when I took the radio out, one of the connectors was loose.  I pushed it back in until it locked in place, and now I get sound from the left channel.  The moral of this story is to trust your gut and check your connections!

Monday, January 7, 2008


This past weekend (1/5 - 1/6/08) was the ARRL RTTY Roundup.  I only made about a dozen contacts as I had so much going on during the weekend.  However, it proved to be useful for me as I improved at exchanging info during contests. 
Contesting can be a great way to see how well your rig and antenna work, even if you can only make a few QSO's like I did.  For a list of upcoming contests, visit

Saturday, January 5, 2008

How to solder video

This is a follow-up to my previous post. Here's a great video that you can download. It's very good and worth watching if your new to soldering or even if you'd like to refresh your memory.
Also, I want to stress the need for wearing safety glasses when soldering as I have been hit in the face with hot solder and I'm glad it wasn't in my eye!

Friday, January 4, 2008

How to solder

If one of your 2008 goals is to learn solder, here's a good tutorial on how to get started:

Thursday, January 3, 2008

2008 Ham Radio Goals

Happy New Year!

Here is what I plan to do in the hobby in 2008, in no particular order:

1) Improve my CW, both sending and receiving
2) Start making CW QSO's on a regular basis
3) Read at least 2 radio related books
4) Complete my WAS on PSK31
5) Install at least 2 more antennas at my QTH
6) Build a K2
7) Learn more about electronics
8) Keep my blog up to date

I'll give updates during the year and then a year from now I'll see how I did.