Radio, Radio, wherefore art though ..

Looking at my last posts – it’s been about a month since I’ve last posted.  Mostly because I haven’t been that active on the HF side of things.  I seem to be too busy on other issues of the day to spend enough time on the radio.

It’s been an eventful month, some good, some not so.  A local fellow ham has become a SK.  Doug ve4dds, passed away a couple of weeks ago.  He was involved in some technical interests that we both had a long-time involvement with, and he was just taking his advanced course when he passed.  Doug was a smart guy – he will be missed.

On the other side of the fence, I spend a fair bit of time assisting RAC with their membership administration, assisting HQ  and system administration functions — it’s evolving that’s for sure.  During one of these email assistance, a new RAC member, Paul, asked if I knew Irv’6BP in Calgary.  Now that’s an interesting statement – since he lived just down the road from me in Calgary at the time and whom I bought my FT-101E from … weird how that works out eh.  Anyways, had a good email chat and will be looking for him on the nets.

A few weeks ago, there was a 10m contest (the 10-10 club I believe) and I put in quite a few contacts on that one.  It was interesting and I managed to work a few of the 10-10 members.  Funny though – I was just checking and the requirements of the contest was to have your results posted by last week 🙁 oh well — so much for my memory.  I did a quick check on their website and there are a couple of CDN hams on their admin group – I wonder what the stats are for how many CDN hams are active with the group…

Enough for now — hope to catch you on the air …

73, de Dan ve4drk

Another fun contest

Well, the North American QSO Party (NAQP) SSB is over and I had a little bit of fun with my ol’ trusty FT-101E.


Note that I did say “fun”, not “competition”.  Not that I can compete with a manual system such as this one, but I did make contacts and handed out a few ve4’s.

I need to look at configuring some logging software – that would make it much easier to deal with the aftermath of the contest to enter details.  (Note the pad next to the tuner!).  But, I don’t know which ones would be best, so if you know some good ones and how to configure them, let me know 🙂

Dan, ve4drk

WARC meeting — etc

Was an interesting time at the local WARC meeting today.  My son, Robert – ve4rlk, and I had been assisting a local ham, Rolf – ve4vz, get his laptop he uses in the shack working with his new wireless router.  My son was on the right track with a defective windows driver and Rolf was able to finish the deal by trying a newer one that he had.  It was good to hear he has it working and can now use his laptop in a ‘mobile’ fashion.


My son also didn’t waste any time with getting into supporting radio.  Soon after getting his licence late last year, he is now teaching part of the course material to the new courses!  Great going!  And kudos to Dave – ve4dar, for keeping things going.  Now, Robert is also starting his Advanced Amateur Radio Course — which I am sure will keep him busy for a period of time 🙂

Well, it took me 20 years to hand-in my station list for this award.  I actually completed the contacts in the early to mid 90’s, but neglected to hand it in, so with all the new ham activity on 2m, it was a good time to complete them.  I actually had quite a few HF contacts within Winnipeg as well, so I added them to the list.  I was presented with my WAWA (Worked All Winnipeg Award) at the meeting tonight by the custodian, Dick-ve4hk, – a copy with information about the certificate is attached to this posting.


Worked All Winnipeg Award
Worked All Winnipeg Award
Worked All Winnipeg Award Information
Worked All Winnipeg Award Information

Anyone can get this very nice certificate by working a number of stations as defined by the requirements at this site:

I also gave our QSL Manager, Adam-ve4sn, some $$’s to take care of any incoming QSL cards that may come my way.  I have received 1 direct so far 🙂  Hoping for more …

Adam also gave some interesting DX information about contents and special stations operating in the next while — I will have to get more details on those!  Sounds interesting.

Also of note, I met a local ham, Kevin-ve4ahn, who sold me his unused G5RV antenna. This one is made by MFJ.  It’s the full-size G5RV, so I may have to play a bit to have it fit within what space I have to use in my standard city sized property.  With limited trees in these newer areas, I will be somewhat limited, but I will work out something I’m sure.  It will be great to have more wire in the air!

The presentation for the night was Jim – ve4sig, who gave the group a well received presentation on Google+ and what it does how it works and how hams can make use of it etc… even I learned something new.

All in all, was good to meet up with some guys and talk radio — especially since I didn’t make it to the usual Saturday morning coffee meeting at the arches.  From what I hear, there weren’t too many that did make it after that blizzard we had.

73, Dan ve4drk


Antennas, antennas, antennas

One of the things I enjoy again is meeting up with other local hams at the Saturday morning coffee “meeting” at the McD in St. James.  There’s quite a breadth of knowledge and experience there to gab with.  I was also able to hand-in my worked-all-winnipeg (WAW) aware to Dick at the coffee meeting.  Pretty good, I had my 25 contacts on 2m, 70cm, 80m and 20m.  I don’t normally hear locals on the 40m nor 15m bands – at least from what I’ve been seeing.

I’m currently looking for different antenna solutions to put into effect once the weather is a bit milder.  I was discussing the G5RV option and another mentioned ON4UN’s Low-Band DXing book at the library.  Well, I’ve already taken out the ARRL antenna handbook and have reviewed it last month or so, so now I have this other book to review for new insights.  I really enjoy the theory behind the antenna design as it gives great ideas as to how else one can adjust the antenna for the area/usage.

And I now temporarily have an upconverter to confirm working properly with the SDR packages.  This little guy brings the ham bands up 100MHz so the USB SDR dongle has a chance of seeing the frequencies … will be interesting to see how well it works.  It’s currently not working for my son, so if it won’t work for me, back it goes .. but we will see.

And back we go .. another Sunday under the belt …

73, Dan ve4drk

RAC Winter Contest, etc

Well, I did participate in the RAC Winter Contest – put my callsign out there to get contacts and for others to contact me.  For thew few hours I was there, it was pretty fun, I have to admit – but it is rather cumbersome with my older radio – my FT-101E – I had to continually manually tune the rig .. and then re-tune the vertical antenna with my manual antenna tuner — but I did get great experience doing it 🙂

I managed to log about 75 or so entries, and almost logged all the provinces/territories.  I was not so lucky with the RAC stations though – only having worked 10 in total on the bands I was on.  So, the next time, we’ll be looking to use better performing antennas (when it warms up a bit more – as we’re at -23c as I write this).  My 40m/80m operations is not as good though – as the antenna is not performing to expectations in those bands – I suspect a repair is coming soon when it’s warm.

I like to hunt around the 10m band for contacts now and then – it’s much quieter and I was able to work a fellow from the Grant Cayman Islands – but, he did report I was a bit “light” … read: antenna needs work!  I’m still waiting for my friend to give me a shout on 10m – now that he has his rig operational and is working on his vertical – should prove interesting to hear regular traffic from AZ land.

So, it’s now new years eve – hope everyone has a great forthcoming new year and have fun on the air!

73, Dan ve4drk

Keep on listening …

I’ve had a little bit of luck on 10m in the last few days.  I’ve heard a number of stations and was able to work a few.  While they come across as weaker reception for me, most are able to work me.  Best I had was a new contact in Mexico with an S7 reported back – for me on my vertical that’s pretty good.

I started looking around at other options, and reviewed some information in the Antenna books I have.  Pre-builts are not that expensive it seems – such as the G5RV and it’s variants, and even some other verticals like S9 etc.  Some people even sell the telescoping poles which may be of interest at some point – will see which way I lean.

On another front, the local radio group held a meet-up on 652 for those interested in getting their Worked All Winnipeg (WAW) award.  Work 25 local stations direct and get confirmation — so, while I already logged my entries back in the early 90’s, I never did submit them – so I will have to make sure I submit my new entries now.  For those interested, here’s the link:

I’m very interested in the Canada Winter Contest starting up this Friday – link here:   Will be great to test out changes to the antenna.

Hope everyone has a great Christmas and enjoys the season –

73, Dan, ve4drk

Hello world!

Well, it had to happen one day.  I guess.  While I’ve been working with computers since the days of punched cards and reel-to-reel tapes, I’ve never established a personal publishing site.  This being the end-of-days, it seemed quite relevant to start one up just in time. HI HI

I’ve been licenced for over 20 years as a ham radio operator.  I’ve just recently been getting into HF mode, having put up my ground mounted vertical antenna in the backyard, buying more coax, and taking the ol’ trusty FT-101E out of storage and adding the usual bits and pieces to make it all work.

I must say, I am having a fun time with making contacts and talking with other hams.  With my (currently) limited antenna setup, I hear primarily North American stations, western Europe and the odd station from the far east, but I think better antennas are on the way – one day.

I do participate in contests that show up – not for the sake of contesting to make a high score per se, but for the sake of making lots of contacts and seeing how well this old radio/antenna combination of mine will take me.  It seems there are not alot of ve4’s active in the contest arena, so I’ll put my callsign out there for those who would like a contact from this section.

For the last 10m contest I participated in, while I didn’t put in much time, the band conditions were pretty bad (at least for me!).  I worked one station in NWT – and that was only after I rigged up a home-brew 10m dipole – that tells me I really do need to make some upgrades to my current vertical antenna.

Let’s see how well I can keep this blog-type site going… it’s hosted on my own servers – administered by myself and my son (who by the way is also a recent ham graduate!)

Hope to chat with you on the air one day …

73, de Dan ve4drk