Saturday, December 29, 2018

6m Sporadic E Opening - Dec 30 , 2018 01:00 GMT

Had a nice 6m opening this evening.   Around 01:30 6m was open between Southern Ontario and Texas.   The activity was super spotty ,   it would fade out then come back sometimes for 10s of minutes and sometimes for 10s of seconds.      When Texas faded out there was a short opening to the West ,  mid - West working a Colorado station ... the opening here was pretty short!   The opening ended with a rather spectacular hour and a bit opening towards Manitoba signals in the +20 db SNR values.    Worked two guys in Winnipeg.     As 6 was closing I asked the VE4s to QSY to 10 meters where I went on to work one of the Winnipeg stations again. 

Made it to the QRZ DX spotting network ...

Here are my 6m and 10m spots for the evening....

and the log....

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Telstar 18V Launch

  Its a radio blog but there is a story to be told.  Growing up in the 60's I was a huge fan of the Gemini and Apollo programs.    My Grandfather worked as a Tech at the Goddard Space Flight Center and provided me with a constant stream of NASA literature through this era.  In the early 70's he gave me my first " Ham Radio" a single 6146 Tube CW Transmitter.    I eventually teamed this up with a receiver and used it for the first year of hamming.   Radios and rockets were a natural mix.  Worked the MIR Space Station ,   loved RS10/11 even played with some of the X.25 birds.   I always loved looking at the night sky and loved identifying various LEOs over the years.

 Going to a launch was a bucket list item and when the invite came I jumped at the opportunity to attend the Telstar 18V Launch at the Kennedy Space Center. 

 Its all started with a welcome kit including  a " VIP " badge that we were required to wear at all times.   It was pretty cool walking through the exhibits as a tourist wearing this badge! 

Prior to the launch we got to spend some time with the rocket.  They had a photographer there and provided us with the pictures.

SpaceX gave us the 101 on the Falcon 9 Rocket and what to expect in the hours leading up to the launch.

We watched the launch from the top of a 5 story NASA building about 5 miles from the Launch Pad

The launch was perfect... it was far brighter then I expected but not as loud as I was expecting. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Royal Flush

I get a kick out of using all the HF Antennas sequentially.   10m and 15m was the fan dipole.   17m,  20m,  30m,  40m were all quarter wave verticals with 8 radials.   80m and 160m was the invterted L's with 8 radial.  Nice to know all the antenas are working!

Friday, October 19, 2018

When Hobbys Collide

The other hobby is Ultra Running ,  anywhere from 50 km to 100 Miles at time mainly on trails.   A local friend and Ultra Runner was doing the Moab 240 and I was going to Crew and Pace him.   Cell coverage in the Moab Dessert in Utah was spotty at best and most of the time there was none!   Local amateurs more or less ran the event.   They were using repeaters and simplex frequencys to provide communications to the dozen or so aid stations.  They were also tracking the runners who were wearing " Spot " trackers.   If you wanted too know where someone was on the course you could just ask on was very convenient to know when to expect my runner at the aid station.  I also ran with my radio,  it was entertaining and informative but most of all it gave me the ability to call in a runner in distress if I cam across anything like that fortunately I didn't.

The picture was taken at " Bridger Jack " aid station as I was getting ready for an overnight pacing assignment to the " Shay Mountain " aide station. 

This is Mountain I Ran up ,  30.5 km distance with an overall  +4,600 ft , -2,100 ft elevation change.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

More 160 fun

Being heard in the Falkland Islands ... 10,000 + km on 160m is a new one for me.

Some 160 Meter Magic

Been hanging out on 160m for a little over a year...mostly FT8.    I am working nights and have the ham shack on the desktop working the usual few hundred to couple of thousand Ks away stuff...just before break I got into the US Virgin Islands and was being heard in a couple of other Islands.   No I like to see how low I can go power wise and was mostly running 10 Watts tonight.   After my break I threw up another 10 Watt FT8 CQ and IK2DFZ answered reporting a 0 SNR ....huge for 10 Watts.  At first I though it wasn't a real QSO but when I looked at the guys QRZ page it look like it could be legit.   I have heard of 160 magic so I guess it just must have been one of those moments.   I cranked the power up to 100 Watts and completed the QSO...the antenna is an " Inverted L" 500' from the house on the top of a hill which works out to 120' above the house. 

Captured the QSO....

Friday, October 5, 2018

Rocket Launch

Recently attended a super cool rocket launch!  The company I work for ,  Telesat contraced SpaceX to launch our Telstar 19v Satellite.   My love of radio developed into a life long adventure in the Satellite Telecom industry.  Its a  pretty fine line between the job and the hobby...very lucky!