Wednesday, December 23, 2020

WEB SDR CAMO FAKE OPERATORS

 Hello DXers....

Today I was HIGHLY disappointed in finding out a ham acquaintance has ben using a web based SDR (Software defined Radio) to RECEIVE with to hear stations HE could not hear from his home QTH.... 

Ethically, I have an issue with this and "HEAR" is why....

This morning I was using PSKReporter to check where Asian stations were being heard...and I said, "LOOK!... here is a station in VA who can hear 9V1YC, UA0LL, VR2WKL, YB... etc) and no one else can (not even me <smiling>)... And since he had PSKReporter TURNED ON... it was easy to see how well HIS station was "supposedly" hearing.. 

Well, when you report you are hearing those station above +3 to +11... you AIN'T using YOUR antennas. Not MY opinion... FACT... I have been low band DXing for over 40 years.... 

When I called him out on it.. he claimed he has not worked any new zones or countries using WEB SDR to receive with.....

Hmmmmm well.... How does the CQ or ARRL award desk know this? THEY DON'T!! SO, a logical person would have to assume all the zones and countries they have on the low band are suspect, and thus, ETHICALLY don't count.

I have saved the communications between us and I will forward them to the appropriate people who need to know.....

Yes! You can use Remote QTH and web based SDRs.....of course... AND YES!...you can submit for awards,.... just be FREAKING DAMN sure you ETHICALLY do the RIGHT THING and claim them as such and don't try to make it LOOK like your not so super station did the work...Why?

Because it did not!... 

Unethical operating is terrible and damages our Radio Sport. I despise those who do things without knowing the unintended OR INTENDED results...

From the now SDR ham shack..... in God's Country of Indiana.......

73, be safe, and Merry Christmas!

Jose

N4BAA

Monday, December 21, 2020

DXCC vs WAZ which is harder?

 I had a conversation with a club ham who was raving how he had just completed 5BDXCC and said that was the hardest damn award to earn! Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Really?

I politely engaged with him and finally got him to understand that the average ham can work 5BDXCC in about 3 months, so why did it take him 20 years? 

I let him know that you can work and confirm 100 countries just by working NA, EU, SA and JUST A FEW in AF... Jesus... that's easy...

What is harder is working ALL 40 CQ zones on at 5 bands!! Now you are talking about a challenge!

This award is so hard that you don't even have to get all 40 on 160 meters or 6 meters!

6 meters only requires 25 zones...but that is hard as hell!!!! (I just did it this past year!!!!)...

and on 

160 meters you only need 30 zones!... ( I have all of them on 160 as well!!!!).... 

BUT..it takes dedication, good antennas, skill, and lots of patience....

Now, yes, DXCC is THE award people 'count' to see whose "is bigger"...but it really is not an equal measurement. Heck, if you stay alive long enough ...anyone can work every country... but try working every country on every band AND All basic modes (CW, SSB, RTTY, and Digital)... THAT is called the Don Quixote award! THAT is where I align my focus...SO, it keeps you busy.... 

And for those who want to use REMOTE stations to accomplish these awards.... 

Have at it.. Most hams can't afford all the 'tools' needed to get these awards....

BUT when they earn them in a REMOTE manner.... 

IT IS NOT THE SAME OR IN THE SAME CATEGORY as others who did it without the assistance of REMOTE... NO HELL NO!!!!

NO WAY JOSE!!!! <smiling>

So, next time you hear some hams going at it about DXCC vs WAZ... put them in their place!!!

73, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

The DX Sensei,

Jose - N4BAA



Monday, November 30, 2020

QRL

 Just finished the CQWWCW 2020 contest!

Just awesome!

What' not awesome are some "A HOLES" who think that they are doing the right thing to ask...

QRL and go RIGHT into their CQ test... well... a few jack-asses got the message LOUD and clear this weekend.... 

I took time out of my CQ freq to 'edu-macate' these pig farming wanna be contesters...  

News flash! The above scenario is NOT acceptable under any circumstances.. so here is your morning class on QRL.

Short and sweet!.....

Ask SEVERAL TIMES if the frequency is in use...QRL?...why several times? A LOT of operators are SO2R...(oh...you don't know what that is?) that is problem one.. LOOK IT UP... so 

If an person on another radio or frequency needs 7 more seconds to respond... then give them that courtesy...otherwise you run into world class (ethically speaking) contesters like me who WILL school you ON THE SPOT... SO.. do everyone a favor... ask QRL? like 3 times and if no response...then you can have it...but if you think you are going to show up on a frequency and take it just because your macro says you can.... you better bring more than tribander and 1000 watts.... You gonna need waaay more than that...

So... there you have it sports fans... Read, Learn, and put it in to practice....

Oh yeah, ... and reprogram those macros!!!

73/God Bless

Jose

N4BAA

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

LoTW vs eQSL

 A fellow ham asked me today, "Why do you do LoTW, eQSL, ClubLog etc"? Why not just pick one?

Well, THAT is a great question, so let me "Splain" it to you Lucy...

If you are fishing for Brim (shell cracker or whatever you call a Brim)... and they like worms, bread, crickets and flies? Which do you use to catch them? ..... Uh... all of them work right? But... on some days they may like one over the other...

Guess what? LoTW or eQSL ... (let's stick to those)... are NOT like fish. There IS a difference...

Your mileage may vary; however, if you do NOT support both, then you are NOT supporting your fellow ham community. 

LoTW AND eQSL both count for awards, but both do not count for ALL awards! 

eQSL does NOT count for ARRL DXCC or WAS  but it DOES count for WAZ. 

So, no matter what you are chasing.... award wise, why would not support both so everyone can get what they need /want.


Consider signing up for both! BOTH are easy to get done!

If you need help, drop me a line and I'll help you get it done!


73

Jose

N4BAA



SSB - "Please Copy" may be acceptable after all... (Read on)...

 First of all, I consider myself an "ALL MODE" operator... I mean ALL of them..BUT... I do not 'like' them all. I despise SSB and always have! Not putting it down...but I just don't care for it. Why? I am not sure....but I get 'irked' by those who do not speak well or clearly and don't care to change it. If ham radio is a 'communication medium' it only makes sense to have 'clear communication' right? So for all concerned, speak clearly, speak with PROPER phonetics, and enjoy.

SO, for years I have been busting out pissed off when I hear SSB operators in a contest start with "PLEASE COPY"... Yikes! ..and I don't have a good reason... However, I have ALWAYS been grateful for the QSO/contact and just shook my head....

BUT wait...  Listen to this.... "I" may have been underinformed about the potential origin of this verbiage. ... 

Scott, KA9FOX, someone who I admire for his integrity and humbleness.... shared some "words of wisdom" from Hans, K0HB and NOW ....even "I" get it!... SO, no more bashing those who use "PLEASE COPY" on SSB... 

Here is the communication from Hans as 'relayed' by Scott.....

That practice comes from good historical stock, and I have a fondness for it.

The Sweepstakes contest has its roots in the traffic handlers of the American Radio Relay League (remember that club?).  Sweepstakes was designed for traffic handlers to test their skill at actually exchanging some information (not just running the “FiE NIGH FOE” tape loop).

As you might expect (given the traffic handler roots)  the contest exchange resembles the heading of a standard message being sent for relay. So phone message handlers preamble their traffic with:

 

Please copy my message #1, Precedence Alpha, from K0HB, Check 17 (groups), Origin Minnesota

 

So there you have “the rest of the story”.

 

Copy?

 SO, my friends...there you have it... I do COPY and I get it. 

Now, I will NOT NOT NOT use those words EVER (and if you do CALL ME OUT ON IT AND TELL THE WORLD)... but I understand the roots/genesis of the phrase and I can appreciate those who use it.


73, God Bless, and Stay Safe...

Jose

N4BAA

Sunday, July 19, 2020

NEW RTTY OPERATORS

Hello Ham Fans!!!

WOW! This weekend was the NAQP RTTY contest and I experienced something that I MUST share...

As much as I DESPISE and consider it a POOR OPERATING PRACTICE to say, "PLEASE COPY" before the contest exchange..... GOD this is terrible...

I actually ran across a GOON on RTTY mind you, including this is HIS EXCHANGE to me!!!
OMFG!!! Really...  YES! He was from Kentucky...  but I digress....

It went like this:

CQ NAQP N4BAA N4BAA TEST

N4BAA N4BAA DE XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX K

XXXXX 599 IN N4BAA

N4BAA N4BAA DE XXXXX XXXXX RRR RRR PLEASE COPY 599 KY 599 KY 599 KY N4BAA N4BAA DE XXXXX XXXXX KKK

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.... Really?

So...what did I do?  I did not log it! NO FREAKING WAY...

AND....

I looked this guy up on QRZ.com and sent him an email to "COACH" him appropriately on his very wrong doing... He obviously migrated from CB or doesn't CARE enough to use good practices to operate in a contest.

How did he take it? TERRIBLY... This guy typed me the riot act told me stay in my lane and leave him the hell alone...

SO....

I looked him up and called him on the phone.. OH YES I DID!!!!

I attempted to take the high road and explain to this "dolt" the reasons WHY you keep things short etc... in his EXCHAGE... he still was adamant about being right.. Tried to tell me he has been contesting for 5 years and no one has EVER had the balls to call him out on his practices....  As many contests as I get into, I have never heard this guy before ...and looking at the call history file....neither has anyone else... and I let him know this...  but he still disagreed.. .LMAO ...this guy is PROOF that there are "A-HOLES" who you cannot tell the "RIGHT THING" to and change their steel clad brain fart way of thinking.

Moral of this story?

Some operators do not care a damn bit and this is a shame! As much as I know the value of having a good MENTOR or ELMER, if someone is unwilling to take good advice, then I won't waste my time. After all, I KNOW what my time is worth.

Ham radio contesting operators are going to the crapper... and it all began when our licensing structure only required you "MEMORIZE" questions and "theory questions" all for the sake of growing the number of ham radio license holders...

Having an EXTRA class license means ZERO...freaking NADA, if ALL YOU DID is memorize questions.. DAMN Shame! So...."THEY" have succeeded in growing our numbers somewhat, but at the detriment of some negatively impacting operating practices on the air.

Too bad we can't TAKE licenses away from those who do not operate correctly, or are running 10KW...or or or..... AHHHHHHHH 

There is ZERO excuse for operators NOT taking it upon themselves to LEARN MORE about what we do.... How amplifiers work, how to put on a PL259 connector, wire your shack,  using logging software, how to not POLLUTE the airwaves with over driven signals, understand propagation etc....

Just hitting the PTT switch and spewing your signal doesn't make you a good operator.....it only means you can put out a signal.....

My Inter-galactially-stellar coaching is this:

Learn how to operate correctly and do not deviate! Teach others to do the same. To do nothing and say nothing is to condone it...and that is just as bad.....

Stay safe!

73 and God Bless,
Jose
N4BAA

Ham Radio Sensei

Sunday, June 21, 2020

6M DX OPENING

June 19, 2020 will be a date I will not soon forget! What an opening we had on 6M...
and here is the rest of the story!!!

On June 18th, 2020 6M was open early to EU from Indian and off to work I went. What happened later in the evening was amazing!

Japanese stations were decoding on FT8 about 2000z here (when I started listening).
Mind you, my station is still being put together and my 6M amp was in route from OM Power, but had not arrived yet (still has not )....I have a 9L6 Yagi on a 42 foot boom at 128 feet between my 5L20 and 2L40 Moxon and running about 80 watts through 170 feet of LDF5 7/8" hardline... 

When Japan starting peeking at +05 I thought I would have a chance! I had worked JAs on 6M on CW from VA and MA before, but being new to the midwest, this would be my first FT8 QSO with a JA station. MAN the started rolling in and the "Waterfall" was packed full of stations!

At 2217 I worked JF8QNF for my first FT8 contact with a RCVD signal report of -11! WOW! 80 watts and I get that? Come on amplifier! Hi Hi. Well, I managed to work 8 JAs in a row and was simply amazed. Not a new country, but oh what fun. Then I saw HL3GOB,  BA4SI, AND BV6CC decode! What? China and Taiwan on 6M? WHOA!!!

I called and called and called but to no avail....
THEN at 0057z I see my BA4SI responding and gave me a -21db while he was -17db. He had actually peaked earlier at -03db, but THERE it was... and soon after I got my RR73!!!! THAT was amazing... again on 80 watts!!!!

Then moments later I worked HL3GOB for yet another new one!!! I never did see BV6CC again after two decodes drom him.

Talking to those with multiple antennas locally, it would appear the arriving angles were very low, like below 5 degrees or so. Those with high antennas appeared to hear these stations better!

I am in the process of changing things around on top of this 55G tower and was considering taking down the 9L6 at 128 feet and replacing it with another 6L10 to have a four high stack of 10M yagis on this tower, but I think I am going to opt to keep one HIGH 6M asset on this tower. When done in the next few weeks, This 9L6 will reside at 147 feet or 11 feet above the 2L40M Moxon at 136 feet.

I am currently building two 10L6 yagis on 51 foot booms that will be in a 40/68 foot stack on the next tower and I also have 7L and 8L yagis on other towers.

6M is indeed a magical band..but you MUST be there when it happens!

I was very glad "I WAS THERE" on June 19th 2020!!! WOW!

73 and God Bless,
Jose N4BAA

HAM RADIO WIDOWS and HAVING A PLAN

Hello!

In the past few months I have been asked to help widows to remove their husbands' towers etc.
I have helped dozens of widows over decades and there has been one very glaring fact!....

They may have spoken about life insurance policies and "life after me"...HOWEVER.....
They did NOT have a plan on how to handle the HAM RADIO stuff.

Folks, this is a no brainer..>AND equally as important as the 'other" important issues that goes with the planning for death discussions. In fact, in all cases, the widows were under the impression their husband's efforts were excellent and their towers and "associated" equipment world class... Well, in every case they were NOT even close.

Installed correctly? NO! Installed safely? Most often NOT! In fact, these widows had zero clue as to what the REAL status of their husbands' station was. How or why would they? SO, after death, they need real help!

This what we can ALL do to help with life after we leave this earth. ---- HAVE A FREAKIN' PLAN !!!! and I mean a WRITTEN one! But before that ....it starts before that. It starts with when you install your tower, your equipment...anything that has to do with your station.

1. Install you towers per Rohn Specs!
    A. Proper spacing of guy anchors (Distance from tower AND type of guy AND tensions).
    B. Don't over tighten your leg bolts! THIS IS A PAIN IN THE ASS to get undone!
    C. LUBE your tower sections when installing putting them together...This is HUGE!!!!

Taking down a tower is EASY as long as it was installed correctly. When hams "CHEAP OUT" and try to cut corners, they are playing with fire. Yesterday, when we arrived on site to take down a tower.... 80+ feet of Rohn 45...Tilt over to boot, guys only out 37% of the tower height, rusted, guys all dilapidated, guy anchors WAAAY sub standard etc.... Had it not been for a fellow ham with me who said he would climb, I would have told the widow, NO HELL NO! And left..... but after a LOT of brute force etc.... we got enough sections down to cut the last 40 feet and let if fall. All sections good to use again...but his should have taken 1/2 the time.... So, efforts (or not knowing) how to put up a tower turned into an ALL DAY affair. Geez!

So...after you have done the right thing and installed things correctly... develop a WRITTEN plan on what EXACTLY your wife is to do after you pass.

1. WHO to contact about disconnecting your station.
2. WHO to contact about taking down your tower.
3. WHO to contact about selling your items and approximately what you paid for them.

If you ONLY have a plan for those items...YOU WILL BE AHEAD OF THE CURVE!!!

It is a terrible thing to see a widow crying because she feel so overwhelmed with about the HAM RADIO stuff that YOU left them with...

Does this sound good to you? God I hope not!

So, take some time and take some action....your wife will love you even more for it!

73 and God Bless,
Jose
N4BAA

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

FT8 and OTHER Digital Modes

Hello Ham Radio Sport Fans!!!

This morning, I decided to finally chime in on FT8 and other digital modes.

There are some hams who do not consider FT8 a "ham radio mode" or even being a valid "value added" ham radio definer. I say, "Who are they to judge"?

I have touched on this just a little bit in previous blog postings, but I think there is some value in just making sure we are all on the same page OR AT THE VERY LEAST.... agree to appreciate the "digital offering".

Case in point:

Just because I eat steak 3 times a week, should not be a platform for some tree hugging liberal "vegan" or "vegetarian" to start ripping my diet apart! Oh no! They can eat what THEY want to eat...and I of course will continue to eat what I want to eat. Isn't that they way it is supposed to be?

Now... IF they choose to "TRY" my steak and don't like it.... then by all means...don't eat it anymore. BUT...if they like it... then they may change their mind about steak all together and eat it more often.

My point is, there are different modes AND Freqs for different people! Isn't that OK? Shouldn't that be OK with everyone? Why not? You go to a smorgasbord and only eat want you want right? No one puts a little of EVERYTHING on their plates!! I think you get the picture!

Remember, ... the next time you hear a ham talking about how much they LOVE FT8 or ANY other digital mode... IT'S OK! Matter of fact, it is better than that....! It's awesome! The more people in our enjoyment of Amateur Radio the better!

So... be an advocate for ALL MODES and support others who may not enjoy the exact modes and freqs you do! Heck I LOVE contesting, DXing, BIG ASS ANTENNAS, but there are a BUNCH of people who shy away from all of those things... That's OK...

For me... Learn them ALL.. Embrace them all, support everyone in Ham Radio, be a good Elmer to someone... and for GOD's sake......

EAT STEAK!!!!

73
Jose
N4BAA