6K and counting…

It’s been about two months since I got on the air here on Guam. I recently broke the 6,000 QSO barrier. About 2,400 QSOs as NH2T in contests, and 3,900 as KH2/N2NL outside of contests.

In comparison, I made just over 36,000 QSOs total during my last tour on island in 1998-2000. At my current rate, I will eclipse this number in one year.

I have been focusing mostly on the WARC bands outside of contests. I sense there is still a demand for Guam there. As autumn approaches, and now that I have completed my two Beverage receive antennas, I have been spending more time on 80 and 160m. These are my two favorite bands and I will likely spend much of my free time there over the winter months.  My good friend Ed, KH2L, and I compare notes almost daily.  I expect him to continue putting Guam on the air in a big way as well!

Here is my band breakdown for KH2/N2NL:
160: 98
80: 203
40: 160
30: 823
20: 367
17: 1161
15: 610
12: 246
10: 105
6: 6

These are unique QSOs only - not dupes. Of these, only 9 are on SSB and 48 RTTY. I really prefer CW!

Some have asked - why not use NH2T all the time? I suppose I could, but it is a good way to separate my contest efforts from my daily contacts. Additionally, I want people to call me during contests. Some might not rework me as KH2/N2NL during a contest if they already have me confirmed. Additionally, it is kind of nice to keep my identity. I will someday be N2NL again - whereas I will drop NH2T once I move off island.

With all these QSOs come lots of QSL card requests. Dave, W2YC, is not a QSL manager at heart but volunteered to help me out a decade ago, and choose to continue his commitment this time around also. He does such an awesome job, and is currently turning around a dozen or two direct requests daily. I hate to see what the first buro batch looks like. Please say thanks to him - either with a small note with your card, or a QSO during the next contest.

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This post was written by admin on August 31, 2010

Big hardware

I brought my camera along on my bike ride to get a couple pictures along my route.

Looking westward with the Philippine Sea on the horizon

Looking westward with the Philippine Sea on the horizon

This is where golf balls are born

This is where golf balls are born

Decommissioned Wullenweber AN/FRD-10 HF DF array

Decommissioned Wullenweber AN/FRD-10 HF DF array

Self shot to give you an idea of scale

Self shot to give you an idea of scale

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This post was written by admin on August 29, 2010

EU/JA Beverage installed!

Today was beautiful outside - no rain, sunny, and dry so I got the second Beverage RX antenna installed.

My North American Beverage is about 900ft long, and is pointed at 45 degrees. The new European/Japan Beverage is 1000ft long and pointed at 330 degrees.

Not much to look at, but this is the termination of the EU Beverage.  8ft ground rod (not fun to carry through the jungle) and a 500 ohm termination.

Not much to look at, but this is the termination of the EU Beverage. 8ft ground rod (not fun to carry through the jungle) and a 500 ohm termination.

This is the home made end insulator, made from schedule 40 PVC.

This is the home made end insulator, made from schedule 40 PVC.

I can not get electric fence insulators on island, but these home made ones work great.  The wire I use is #18 copper clad steel.

I can not get electric fence insulators on island, but these home made ones work great. The wire I use is #18 copper clad steel.

I switch between these two antennas remotely, by sending 12v DC on the feed line. AD5X explains how to do this very well here: http://www.ad5x.com/images/Articles/AntSwitchRevB.pdf

This is the remote coax switch, made from AD5X's design.  It is covered with a plastic storage tote and big rock to keep it out of the weather.

This is the remote coax switch, made from AD5X's design. It is covered with a plastic storage tote and big rock to keep it out of the weather.

Lots of deer prints out in the jungle - these are from Philippine Deer (the species) brought here by the Spanish.  They are not native to the island but do very well in the wild.  The Beverage is up about 7-8ft to keep the wire well clear of their antlers.

Lots of deer prints out in the jungle - these are from Philippine Deer (the species) brought here by the Spanish. They are not native to the island but do very well in the wild. The Beverage is up about 7-8ft to keep the wire well clear of their antlers.

Pig wallow - another non-native species.  Pigs I worry about while in the jungle, and I don't want to corner a mom with a youngster.  I do make sure to make plenty of noise and carry a machete *just in case*

Pig wallow - another non-native species. Pigs I worry about while in the jungle, and I don't want to corner a mom with a youngster. I do make sure to make plenty of noise and carry a machete *just in case*

This image shows the layout of my low band antennas.

This image shows the layout of my low band antennas.

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This post was written by admin on August 26, 2010

Beverage transformer

This is the beverage transformer I built for the future EU/JA Beverage receive antenna.

Beverage transformer

Beverage transformer

The design is directly from W8JI’s web site. Two turn primary and 5 turn secondary on a Fair Rite 73 mix core (part number 2873000202). Both sides get connected to separate ground rods to minimize common mode noise.

I have learned that it is much easier to trap water in an enclosure than to keep it out - so I don’t try to weatherproof the enclosure. In fact, I drill a small home in the bottom of the enclosure to make sure any moisture can drain out.

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This post was written by admin on August 23, 2010

12m QRM

Whenever 2m is open toward Europe, KH2L and I always hear this ticking noise. It really is annoying and makes weak signal copying difficult. The K3 does a so-so job of cleaning it up.

12m-tic-tic-tic

It’s probably some sort of OTH radar out of China, but I’m not certain. It is definitely DX however. Just another example of the garbage on the bands out this way.

Update:

Apparently this is a CODAR ocean wave radar for measuring sea state and currents.  They are deployed all around the coast of China, Taiwan, South Korean, and Japan.  They are capable of operating on 24Mhz.

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This post was written by admin on August 23, 2010

Multi single?

I had a guest operator stop by for a visit tonight.

After checking out my K3, he headed across my desk to the other radio

After checking out my K3, he headed across my desk to the other radio

gecko2

Apparently he prefers Yaesu products.  And a SSB op?

Apparently he prefers Yaesu products. And a SSB op?

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This post was written by admin on August 20, 2010

Elecraft K3 problem *SOLVED*

Since I arrived on Guam, I have been plagued with an intermittent error on my Elecraft K3. Seemingly at random, the radio would display a “12V ERR” error, and I would be limited to 12W output, bypassing the KPA3 100W module. Since I was busy with other things, I put the problem aside and used my FT1000MP instead.

Today, I emailed Elecraft with the details of my problem, and within 30 minutes had a detailed reply of things to check. And, better yet, they correctly determined the problem! It turns out that early K3’s used tin plated connectors for the KPAIO3 and KPA3 boards. I have an early K3 (S/N 678). Elecraft switched to gold plated connectors when some owners in high humidity climates suffered similar problems as mine.  Well, I bought the radio when I was living in Key West and now here on Guam, two locations with very tropical climates.  It turns out that the tin plated contacts would overheat and tarnish, causing a voltage drop and the resulting 12V ERR problem. My K3 has this problem.

The KPAIO3 board plugs into these connectors on the main board.  See how the left most 6 pins are discolored?

This closeup shows the discoloration.  The plastic even shows evidence of overheating

This closeup shows the discoloration. The plastic even shows evidence of overheating

Elecraft will send me a new set of connectors, and I should be back in business, just in time for the low band DX season to start heating up for those of us in the northern hemisphere.

Kudos to Elecraft customer service!

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This post was written by admin on August 19, 2010

WAE DX Contest, CW

WAE DX Contest, CW

Call: NH2T
Operator(s): N2NL
Station: NH2T

Class: Single Op HP
QTH: Guam
Operating Time (hrs): 3

Summary:
Band QSOs QTCs Mults
————————-
80:
40:
20: 6 4
15: 263 32
10: 3 2
————————-
Total: 272 140 76 Total Score = 30,780

Club: Florida Contest Group

Comments:

My wife and kids returned from a three week trip to the Philippines during the
weekend, so I wasn’t even planning on making any QSOs at all. However, since
15m has been pretty good into Europe, I broke away from family for the couple
peak hours each late afternoon to hand out the multiplier.

I did my best to accommodate those who asked me for a QSY, but 20m wasn’t all
that good when I was QRV. 10 was open both days to far Eastern Europe, but
there was no one home. I also tried to help with QTC requests - however I
wanted to work as many as possible so I said no primarily on Saturday when the
pileup was big but well behaved. On Sunday, some of the callers were
obnoxious, such as a UX2 calling when I was clearly asking for a SP6. During
these times I gave out QTC’s whenever asked. Unfortunately I got spotted with
the comment “has QTCs” and I got an immediate pileup of QTC requesters.

Dez G0DEZ wrote the following in his M6W 3830 post
(http://lists.contesting.com/archives//html/3830/2010-08/msg00704.html):

“Funniest moment; I was logged onto the cluster as G0DEZ and spotted NH2T.
NH2T
obviously saw my spot flash up and so called for G0DEZ (despite the fact I
wasn’t calling). Had to give him 599 001 of course.”

Yes - guilty as charged! The UK is the most difficult EU path from here, and
those poor G’s have to be heard through much louder Eastern European stations,
so I always take special effort to listen for them in a pileup. I didn’t know
that G0DEZ was M6W (whom I had already worked), so when I saw the spot I made
an effort to call for him thinking he may have been calling.

Another funny thing was getting called by a loud DL2 Sunday on 10m, who gave me
#1. For some reason I was not able to get any other DL’s, or any EU for that
matter, to call in. I’m pretty sure the DL2 was operating from HZ… so I
suppose I was being heard in zone 21.

Sorry I couldn’t have been on more, but family took precedence this weekend.

See you on the bands,
73 Dave NH2T aka KH2/N2NL

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This post was written by admin on August 15, 2010

80m antenna comparison

Here is another sound file. This is K1PT in Florida, CQing on 80m.

Mid way through his CQ, I switch from the Beverage to the vertical, and back to the Beverage.

I would say the Beverage works!

k1pt-80

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This post was written by admin on August 14, 2010

15m open to Europe

Good conditions this evening into Europe on 15m. The pileup was lots of fun - guys spread out over a KC or so which made it easier to pull out the callers. I always try to work the weaker stations calling in the clear, but sometimes it’s impossible with a big gun calling over everyone else.

Here is what 15M to EU sounds like when conditions are pretty good:

Tuning across my 15m pileup of European callers

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This post was written by admin on August 13, 2010