2013 Firecracker Sprint Results

40m Firecracker Sprint map

40m Firecracker Sprint map

Last night and this morning I participated in PODXS’s 40m Firecracker Sprint contest.  Unofficial results are posted on KJ4IZW’s contest scorer site.

This was my first time on HF (other than a little time spent operating PSK31 at field day a couple weeks ago) in over a year.  I was trying to improve on my score from 2011 but fell short by a few multipliers despite operating the full 6 hours.

This year I made 54 contacts with 28 multipliers for a total score of 1512.   In 2011 I had 53 contacts and 33 multipliers with a total score of 1749.   I think I would have done better had I been more aggressive on calling CQ instead of wasting time looking for people to call in the first hour or two.  The band was very crowded at the beginning of the contest and a lot of stations couldn’t hear me due to QRM.  I should have picked a spot and called CQ, which is what I ended up doing later in the contest and it worked out very well.

This was also my first time using my new G5RV.  In 2011 I would have been using the coax trap dipole in the attic, and I expected the G5RV at 30′ to outperform those results.


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RTTY Weekend

I recently broke my toe while sparring at Taekwondo, followed promptly by surgery, so playing radio turned out to be a very nice distraction this weekend since I had to have my foot elevated and on ice.  I worked two contests, getting on the air again (other than checking in to the local VHF net occasionally) for the first time since July.

TARA Mêlée
I worked my first JA during this contest, JA7IC, on 15m! I also worked 12 states and Canada, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.

QSOs: 34
Multipliers: 20
Total Score: 620

10 meter RTTY Contest
I worked my first two Alaskan stations during this event, KL7AC and AL1G. I also worked 12 other states plus Mexico, Canada, Aruba, Argentina and Chile. It was a good day for 10 meters.

QSOs: 66
Multipliers: 20
Claimed Score: 1320

I also plan to be on the air this weekend for the ARRL 10 Meter contest, possibly operating multi-op single transmitter with my wife.

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Pontiac G6 FT-7800R Installation

We bought my wife Stephanie (KC0RBS) a new car a few weeks ago.  Her old car was a 2000 Ford Contour, and it had a decent spot on the dash to mount her FT-7800’s remote display.  Unfortunately, it initially looked like the new-to-us 2005 Pontiac G6 GT has no such spot.  After some discussion, we agreed to mount it on top of the G6 badge above the power port and traction control button.  This blog entry will document the installation in case someone else might find it useful.
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I received a new toy today; a Buddipole! My first impression is that it is very well made and a lot of thought went into designing it. I want to take it camping, mostly, and use it for field day this year (also camping). It’s too cold to take outside and play with yet, but I set it up in my living room and was impressed with how easy it was to tune. I easily achieved 2:1 SWR or better on 17M, 20M, and 40M. So much for those occasional bad reviews complaining that it’s hard to tune! If it works in my living room surrounded by electronics and metal I can’t wait to see what it does out in the open.

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FT-450 Returns Home

We had to send our FT-450AT to Yaesu in California a couple weeks ago to fix the serial port.  It had been working fine for the month we had the radio when it suddenly died.  Ironically, it died the day after I finished building the 10/15/20/30/40 meter coax trap dipole and a few days after I got my new callsign.  The timing was definitely unfortunate.

Yaesu said the estimated turn around time was 2 weeks, but it appeared on our porch yesterday, just 7 business days after they received it.   There was no explanation included, but it looks like they replaced a RS-232 transceiver (ADM202EARU).  Thanks to Vertex Standard for the quick turnaround!  I ordered a opto-isolator for the serial port last week just in case it was something in the shack that caused this problem…better safe than sorry, right?

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