K1RA @ K8GP SVHFS Fall 2m Sprint 2013

Check out my article covering the 4 hour sprint event I participated in recently. I had the pleasure of activating the K8GP contest station in grid FM19bb on 144 MHz during a spectacular tropospheric opening that occurred in conjunction with the radio competition. I captured some weather maps to explain the conditions that lead up to the nights great propagation. Below is a snapshot of the live 2m APRS tropo map that gives a slight idea of who was hearing who. Also visit my article to see some statistics on my best DX contacts, view my log and even listen to some of what I heard. Click here to read more!

2m APRS Live Tropo feed animation loop for Fall 2m Sprint 2013 (2300-0300z)

K1RA @ W1RT Rover ARRL September VHF 2012

K1RA @ W1RT Rover Sept. VHF 2012

Please check out my article capturing the adventures of K1RA @ W1RT Rover in the ARRL Sept 2012 VHF contest by clicking here.

K1RA mobile on APRS

I’m now active on APRS via APRSDroid. Find me when I’m mobile. I am usually active on HF on CW or SSB. I run an Icom 706mkIIg at 100 watts with a AH-4 tuner and a 2.75m steel whip. Hope to see you on the bands!

he_track = “K1RA-4”; // track this callsign
he_width = 680;
he_height = 500;

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K1RA 144 MHz ESkip

I was fortunate enough to catch a 2m ESkip opening on the evening commute home Tues. July 24 from about 630p to 8p local. Many locals in the Va/D.C./Md area were on from fixed locations working the opening. Locals K1HTV, K4RTS, W4CLJ, KE2N, N3ALN, N4MM, K3ZO and K4HJF among others, were all heard working the DX from 0 land and 5 land, much of I which I couldn’t hear. I was only using an Icom 706 MKIIG @ ~ 50w and a dual-band magmount vertical on the roof of the SUV, but I was able to work 4 stations in the mid-west. Click any of the following calls and then the |> Play button to hear what I heard.  I logged N0IGZ (KS – EM27 @ 932 mi.), K0WYN (MO – EM48 @ 759 mi.), W0BLD (MO – EM37 @ 844 mi.) and K5SW (OK – EM25 @ 985 mi.). I copied 8 other unique calls during this time to include AF5CC (OK – EM04 @ 1174 mi.) who heard me but never completed, WA0CNS (MO – EM48 @ 645 mi.), K0DOK (MO – EM48 @ 714 mi.), KC0SNN (MO – EM27 @ 918 mi.), WB5AFY (TX – EM04 @ 1233 mi.), W7QJQ (OK – EM25 @ 959 mi.), KB5MR (OK – EM25 @ 1016 mi.) and N5UWY (OK – EM15 @ 1100 mi.). Click on any of the calls above to hear what I recorded from the mobile on my Android phone using an MP3 recorder acoustically coupled to the rig’s speaker.

Here’s what the APRS 144 MHz real-time propagation map looked like for that time frame. You can see that many portions of the U.S. were experiencing wide area ESkip over 600 miles.

APRS 144 MHz real-time propagation map 07-24-2012

Another useful VHF propagation tool to watch on a daily basis for these types of openings is the DXMaps VHF MUF Map of North America, which offers a real-time view of the maximum usable frequency (MUF) across the country.

K1RA as KW4VA /M in VaQP 2012

VaQP is over! You can read about my weekend experience by clicking the following K1RA as KW4VA /M in Virginia QSO Party 2012. In the article you can read and learn more about my operation as well as see pictures and videos from the weekend event.

I activated KW4VA from the mobile this past Mar 17-18 for the 2012 Virginia QSO Party. I ran 10 bands: 160-6m (SSB/CW) and 2m, 1.25m, and 70cm (FM). As the contest was broken into two segments 10A-10P Sat. and 8A-8P Sun., I’ve decided to run 2 separate routes.

Day 1 on Sat. I was to run west of Warrenton and down Skyline Dr. That consisted of 10 stops covering 12 counties: FAU, LDN, CLA, FRE, WAR, RAP, PAG, MAD, RHM, GRN, ALB and AUG. I didn’t quite make all the counties I planned.

Day 2 on Sun. I was to run an eastern route towards D.C. and south down I-95. That was to consist of 17 stops covering 17 counties and cities: FAU, PRW, LDN, MAX, MPX, FFX, FXX, FCX. ARL, ALX, STA, FBX, KGE, CLN, SPO, ORG and CUL. Again I didn’t quite cover all the ground.

You can see my planned route on the map below. It not exactly what I managed to cover. Read to follow on article mentioned above to find out the actual details.

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Above you can click on the icons to read more info about the locations. You can also view a larger more interactive map by click the link under the map.

For more info on the Virginia QSO Party please visit the SPARC VaQP 2012 web page and the VaQP statistics and tips page.

K1RA @ K8GP Rover Jan 2012 VHF Sweepstakes

Terry W8ZN and I attempt to rove in the past ARRL Jan. VHF SS. If you care to check out the article I put together that covers our preparations leading up to the contest as well as our adventure on contest weekend please click here or the picture below.

W8ZN @ K8GP Rover Jan 2012 VHF SS

K1RA @ W1RT Rover Sept 2011 VHF Contest

Check out the untold story of the adventures of John W1RT and Andy K1RA in the ARRL September 2011 VHF contest. Click the picture below to read more and see the pictures and videos of that weekend’s event.

CW QRP Foxhunts

I’ve been participating in this winter season’s 80m CW QRP Foxhunt as both a fox and a hound. The event occurs every Tues. night from 0200-0330 GMT between 3550-3570 kHz. Two stations (foxes) are designated to transmit and the rest (hounds) are poised to attempt and contact the two foxes within the 90 minute time window. More info can be found at the QRPFoxhunt web site or their QFOX Yahoo Group. I’ve been collecting fox contact logs for both the 80m and 40m events and plotting various statistics on Google maps. Check out my 80m analysis and my 40m analysis pages for some interesting graphics.

Field Day with W4VA

I had the opportunity to operate in the ARRL Field Day this June with my local Fauquier Amateur Radio Assoc. I was captain of the VHF station and organized the construction and operation of that station. We had a tremendous 50 MHz band opening all day Saturday into Sunday morning, contacting over 400 stations all over the USA from New England, through the mid, north and south west and even out to the west coast and down into South America! Click the thumbnail below to see pictures of the VHF station as well as the other HF stations that were set up across the field in C.M. Crockett Park.

W4VA Field Day 2011

Direct album link

Below is a video of a 6 meter E-skip opening to New England with Rich K1HTV at the mic.

The video below is of Tom KG3V operating cw on the 15 meter band.

The next video is of Steve KW4H operating cw on the 40 meter band.

Finally here is a panoramic video of the Field Day site where we operated 3A VA, plus a VHF and GOTA station.


Virginia QSO Party 2011

This February, with some help from John KX4O, I created and presented a PowerPoint slide show for my local Fauquier Amateur Radio Assoc. The presentation centered on the upcoming 2011 Virginia QSO Party. It covered general information including dates and times, rules and categories and contest exchanges and scoring. Also covered was past performance of the FARA club and its members for the various competition categories that were entered. Finally, some contest ‘hints & kinks’ were presented to give members an idea what to do pre-contest, contest weekend and post-contest to ensure they were prepared for the upcoming radio event.

If you missed the meeting or would like to download and review the PowerPoint presentation (6MB) please visit my W4VA page here and see the presentation links at the bottom of the page.