Yeah yeah — for those not familiar with the ham radio contest scene, it’s geek talk for North American QSO Party SSB.

(And for those not familiar with what a QSO is, click on the words for a reference).

Anyways — it’s a relatively short contest (noon to midnight).  Single operators have a maximum of 10hr operating time, and teams have the full 12 hours.  Since my antennas work best on the higher bands, I worked everything I could at first, 10, 15, 20 and then switched to 40,80 later in the day.  I spent the full 10hrs working the contest – unfortunately didn’t find anyone on 160 – could have used some more mults I think.  My QSO rate was not what I was hoping – even with running for a while, it wasn’t what I was expecting – I may have left it too late.

The cool thing about this contest is that we’re all on a level playing field, so to speak, at least in terms of power.  Everyone runs low power – which means 100 watts maximum — or there is the QRP route (5 watts maximum).  Naturally, what dictates the score is how good an antenna system one has, as well as location/height.  To separate the men from the boys, operating skills come into play.

I ran with two antennas — a G5RV and a ground-mounted vertical — switched back and forth to check which was best for different conditions/etc — found the majority of the contacts were better with the G5RV, but for the odd one, the vertical proved much better, go figure.   (I had to make a note which antenna was on which port, as I had switched them around just prior to the contest after making some small mods.

Heard the usual VE4 guys on – not as much as the Canada Winter Contest – but was good to hear local activity.

Was kinda nice, I had my dinner delivered to me in the basement where my rigs are, so I was able to continue operating while muching down some grub.  (Thanks Miss).

So, the posted scores are as such:

Call: VE4DRK
Operator(s): VE4DRK
Station: VE4DRK

Class: Single Op LP
Operating Time (hrs): 10hr
Location: Canada

Summary:   Compare Scores
Band QSOs Mults
80: 15 11
40: 38 22
20: 64 29
15: 99 30
10: 14 3
Total: 230 95 Total Score 21,850

Club: Radiosport Manitoba

As you can see, 15 was rockin’, but 20 came up a bit more.

Used the new N1MM logging software – works quite well on this new(ish) laptop.  Now that I have the SSD drive installed and the OS working the way I want it, time to transfer all the goodies over to this machine and setup the digital side of HF things …

Until the next set … time to get the setup changed 🙂

73, Dan, ve4drk

VA4WAN – back at it!

Woo hoo!  It was a cold wintery and very blustery day (for being up 40 some stories) in downtown’ish Winnipeg.  A group of us, comprised of Derek VE4HAY, William VE4VR, Colin VE4CST, Robert VE4RLK, and Dan VE4DRK headed up the site to reset the link radio to our ISP Provider  Now that Les is operational in his spanking new data centre (very impressive to say the least) he and Colin were able to setup one end of the RF connectivity to our repeater site.

It was brutally cold – anything not covered up was freezing in minutes, so we had to have ‘warm breaks’ to get warmed back up before going back outside to the tower again.

William enjoying his fingers getting frozen… removing the older RF unit … Derek pointing the way …

Derek pointing the way "Land (RF) Ho!"
Derek pointing the way “Land (RF) Ho!”


Installing the new(er) RF unit … different operating band … less interference.  William, Derek and Robert.

Keeping on with the install... trying to stay warm near the vents
Keeping on with the install… trying to stay warm near the vents


Colin in the background working hard running grounding lines and ensuring a great setup.  Robert in the foreground.
Colin in the background working hard running grounding lines and ensuring a great setup. Robert in the foreground.


It’s funny how my outside pictures that far up look like they’re in the stratosphere – the hazy blue look to it.  It really was that cold up there though!

We were greeted with a visit by our ISP provider Les VA4LES who graciously provides our connectivity.  A good site survey and more discussions on what options are available and we’re done.  Derek and William stay behind a bit longer to configure up some of the networking setup.  A little while later, Les re-routes the BGP routing for our local portion of the net 44.  .. and we’re online!  From my DSL connection, I’m getting under 20ms RTT to our RF link – simply awesome!  Great job by all and there is more to be done to enhance the service offering to all the local ham groups and operators.  Lots of RF and computer and networking to work on, but it’s all coming together now.

Lots to look forward to implement …

73, Dan ve4drk

Radiosport Meeting – Jan 2015

Well .. it’s a new year for our fledgling group and it’s our second year providing information, meetings assistance and contesting to all things DX.  Our latest meeting is held at our leader’s QTH in south St. Vital.  It was annual membership dues time and we all continue to support our local group.  A total of 9 in attendance – a full crowed – new member Harm VE4HAZ who also is taking over responsibility for the Manitoba QSL Bureau after being run by Adam VE4SN for quite some time.

Quite a bit of discussion on supporting and encouraging the local HF community – the local ham community has had quite a few classes over the last couple of years and there’s quite a number of new hams who have HF privileges.  Encouraging to see.  Everyone commented on the latest RAC Winter contest just after Christmas that there was quite a bit of VE4 participation – comments such as “Where did all you VE4’s come from?” was a common comment on the air.

We also will be setting up some additional spotting assistance technologies to support the group – to aid in the usual VHF and Skype connections.

Of also interest to note is that our local fellows – VE4EA, VE4EAR and VE4YU are in the top ten in Canada for the W1AW contest over the past year in 2014.

After the general meeting, we were treated to muchies and a slide presentation of Ed’s trip to 4W.

Thanks Ed and his XYL Jennifer for the hosting and munchies, not to mention the great coffee from the trip.

A tour of Ed VE4EAR/VE4VT contest station setup – quite impressive.  I will also find a pic of his antenna/tower – quite nice too.

Showcasing some RTTY setup
Showcasing some RTTY setup
4W anyone?
4W anyone?

73, Dan ve4drk