W4H Sticky

W4H - 2nd Anniversary of the 470 Amateur Radio Group
Start Date: November 1, 2009
End Date: November 15, 2009
Frequencies:Voice - 24.450, 14.260, 7.260, 3.860
PSK31 - 14.070, 7.070.
QSL Info: Note the amateur's name and send QSL to the call that is working the W4H event. For example if you work me as W4H I will also give you my home call and tell you to QSL to me AJ4IJ.
More Info: The 470 Amateur Radio Group website

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Touring with the 470 ARG and A Tonga Contact

We were recently given the opportunity to tour one of our local television news stations, WATE. The 470 Amateur Radio Group (145.470, ARG meets Tuesdays at 7:00pm est) was kind enough to invite everyone to come to this tour, organized by Jim Yearwood, KE4HX. And a definite thanks to him for a WONDERFUL tour, and a special thanks to (I think his name was) Bob, the chief engineer. He gave us a wonderful explanation on the new change-over to digital in February 2009. He answered quite a few questions, and was very knowledgeable on the subject.

There were quite a few of us there. There was 6 of us in our little group that showed up, Tim (AJ4JD), Ashby (KJ4EGJ), Jodi (not yet a Ham), Mom (KF4SSI), Dad (KU4ME), and me. After arriving, we were introduced to the whole bunch and treated like royality. We were given an entire tour of the building (Greystone), which is now off limits to the public. Even the usual group tours aren't given access like we were. We were really lucky, and very grateful for their hospitality.

A little history on Greystone, WATE's headquarters: It was originally built in 1885 by a gentlemen known as Major Eldad Cicero Camp, a lawyer and public official. Most of the stone that was used to build the home was acquired from the Major's quarry in a nearby city (Lake City). Each of the rooms in the house had elaborate, hand-carved mantles -- and might I add that they were ABSOLUTELY beautiful and each individual and as original as the first. Each room is also paneled in a different type of wood, and no detail was ever overlooked. Matter of fact, even the doors were double-sided - split down the middle so that when the doors to the rooms were shut, the wood on the door would match the room. There were elaborate gas lantern chandeliers in almost every room. It wasn't until November 21, 1920 that the Major died from an illness in his own bedroom at the age of 81. Later, after many owners, Greystone fell into the hands of WATE, and they have worked very hard to restore it to it's originality.

The tour of all of the house was excellent and thorough. There wasn't a rock left unturned, and our guide even took the time to tell us about the Ghost Stories surrounding the place. It was very funny, due to the fact that these stories had some hoping for encounters and others hoping to get out as soon as possible. HAHA

I had a really good time. The best part, though, was meeting some of the people I talk to often on 2 meters. I really enjoyed finally getting to put faces (in person) with personalities. I got to meet Cathy (KI4YPO, one of my bestest 2 meter friends!) and her husband, Rick (N4JTQ), along with many others. We had a lot of good laughs, watched the news in progress, was on constant lookout for the ghost of Major Camp, and well, had more laughs. I had the best fun all week.

On a side note, after working our rears off today and missing the gray-line express (ALL ABOARD!!!), we went to dad's to play radio this evening. It was mildly upsetting that the bands were as dead as they were -- however, we had fun anyway. And I did make one contact -- and a very nice one at that. I spoke with A35RK, Paul in Tonga! How exciting is that??

***Doing the Tonga dance!!***

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My First Pileup & Ashby on HF

Well, I had my first experience with a pileup on Saturday. I had been dying to use the new phrase I coined, "CQ on the 20!" I decided to find me an open spot during last weekends QSO party, even though I wasn't contesting, and call CQ. The effects were immediate.

It was so funny. Tim (AJ4JD) was on one side of me, trying to log everything down as fast as he could -- Dad (KU4ME) was behind me with the laptop watching my QRZed lookup count go through the roof -- Ashby (KJ4EGJ) was just being quiet because she's finally gotten into the habit of not being loud when the mic is keyed up -- And Mom (KF4SSI) even came out to see. I was trying to keep up the best I could, and I think I did an okay job at it. I'm pretty sure I got everyone's call right -- although I may have called one OM Pete instead of Keith -- HAHA -- Sorry Keith.

I had a blast with that though. I really had every intention of helping out contesters -- but I ended up having more non-contesters. I didn't mind though. I just enjoyed making contacts and having the conversations that I did. I made 26 contacts in 30 minutes from 15 different states. I sure hope some send cards for the states I need! I'll wait a while, but if they don't send one, I might send one to them and wait for the mail-lady to bring my reciprocate cards. HAHA

Also, Ashby made her first contacts on HF as a General class. She made quite a few on 20m, and was more interested in the Lighthouses than anything. She didn't care too much for the contesters -- they were going way to fast for her.

Here's some pictures of her working HF:

Ashby talking on HF

Ashby learning the 756Pro

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My QSL Card

Here's a look at my QSL card. I'm notorious for changing it around, though. For the moment, and probably for a little while, this will be my card. Until I'm so tired of looking at it that it needs a re-design.
Click on the Card to make it BIGGER!

QSL information for me can be found on QRZ. For now, I really only accept QSL cards direct. I am working on LoTW -- and will let ya'll know if and when I get that set up. For direct QSL, I do not require a S.A.S.E., since I am a firm believer that not just ONE Ham should have to cover the "to & from" postage cost. If you're interested in receiving a card from me... look for me on 20 meters -- my favorite place to call "CQ on the 20!" You may also find me calling "CQ on the 40!" and "CQ on the 10!"

Saturday, August 16, 2008

She Done It!

Yup -- Ashby passed her General class license exam today! Woo Hoo! Go Ashby!!

Here's a picture of her with her CSCE. I can't write long... She's wanting to go "Ride the Gray Line" HAHAHA

My General Class Baby!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ladies Only!!

Ooh Ooh Ooh -- Guess what Tim found me??!! A YL's club! I'm sure that there are many out there, but I really liked this one. It's called Chick Factor International (W9YL) and is specifically designed for ladies, by ladies, and for the solid reason of empowering ladies on the radio.

I sent off my membership form, along with Ashby's, and sent the link to my Lady Friends on 2m. I know of at least one that will be sending off her form, too: My Late-Night Friend, Cathy (KI4YPO). The only requirement for membership is that you send a S.A.S.E. -- there are no dues.

So while I wait on my membership number to arrive, I'll just try to promote them via my blog! You may ask -- what's Chick Factor International all about??

Well -- From their site they describe themselves as the following:
"We have entered the world and hobby of men and have stood beside them, operated with them, and contested against and with the best of them. We have proven ourselves worthy of being called Hams.

We will spread the word of Amateur Radio to other women. We will light the flame of curiosity in other women’s hearts, hoping that the simple flame will grow into a full fire and in turn will lead them into Amateur Radio."

And what exactly is a Chick Factor???

According to their site... A Chick Factor is:

A female ham who understands her power in Amateur Radio, and is not afraid to get on the air and call CQ.

A female who is licensed in Amateur Radio.

A female, no matter what age, who is young at heart and not afraid to have fun with Amateur Radio

Now isn't that sweet!!

They also have a Chick Factorette category. It stands for:

A non-licensed female who is curious about the world of Amateur Radio.

A non-licensed female who has been on the air or is interested in doing so.

This is so great, and I'm so excited! That's exactly what I had in mind when I was searching for the right organization! I think Tim just happened upon them. He spotted their Mother Hen station on the DX watch, and promptly notified me. Now, I can't wait until my membership number arrives, and the club gets started on contests. They are a new club, but they're well off to a good start it seems.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back to the General Test

I never thought I would have to re-study the General test. I knew that if my daughter, Ashby (KE4EGJ) was going to test up, it probably wouldn't be any time soon. I'd been bugging her about it, put her on 10m to call CQ, and even let her talk third-party to the recent Nautilus special event on 20m, but I still never thought she would test up so soon. This is not to say that I didn't want her to, because I did. But I'm just as surprised as others that she knows from 2m that she's going to try to test up so young.

But I have all the faith in the world that she will pass. She's shooting for this Saturday, and we've been studying every night. She catches on quick, remembers most of it without a problem, we're already halfway through the question pool. We started studying on Monday!

When she comes home from school today, we'll be jumping right into it... provided the teachers haven't piled on the homework. It's just the first week of school and she already has journal assignments and an oral essay project due. I really think she's shooting for this Saturday because she meant to study over the summer, and she just got so caught up in summer time activities that she never did do it. Now, she's wanting to get it out of the way before the homework starts rolling in.

But -- I just wanted to mention that she has had a hard time with the General class book. The terminology and verbiage is just not made for someone of her age. So I found this - The No-Nonsense, General Class License Study Guide. Oh, this has helped her a lot!! I highly recommend it, and send out my thanks to KB6NU, Dan Romanchik, for putting it all together! My soon-to-be 12-year-old thanks you much!

My soon-to-be General Class Baby!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My WAS Progress

I decided to make a map that I could post here from time to time to show my progress for the WAS award. I'll update it as confirmations roll in. I've made contact with many states so far, but not having very much luck getting confirmation back. But... that's just the way it works sometimes.

You can click on it to make it bigger.

Friday, August 8, 2008

To the Arctic Circle and Back

Well, I have to take a moment to brag. It just wouldn't be the same if I didn't. Last night I contacted W1AW/KL7 from East TN on a dipole that's about 40 feet in the air utilizing approximately 400W. That's right folks! I talked to Neil in the Arctic Circle. *insert crazy arctic circle dance here* (on a side note: it was also the first time I ever operated a split)

He was a dropping out a lot on me, and I wasn't certain I'd be able to hear him with all the QSB. He would fade in and stay strong for a good 3-4 minutes, and then he'd drop out and I would barely be able to hear him. So, the minute he came in strong again, I took a gamble. He came right back to me. Gave me a 5-9 with QSB, told me his name and a little about the Special Event. I went back to him and told my name, QTH, and gave him a generous 5-4 -- seeing how I had to hold the headphones down on my ear using my shoulder just to hear past the noise.

After that, Tim (AJ4JD) and Dad (KU4ME) were both brave enough (hi hi) to try them, and they got them, too.

I have to thank Dad though, for the new toy that helped our signal get there. He purchased a used Ameritron AL-811 day before yesterday, and he let us come play with it last night.

I made two other contacts, KC2FTN (NY) and N5AQR (TX) by calling CQ, and would have made more, but the band was falling out on me and I was having a hard time hearing anyone.

Maybe the bands will be good this weekend. I hear there is a Lighthouse Special Event coming up in a couple of weeks (Aug 16-17) and I think I'd like to work them. Gotta read more on it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

"10M Rocks!!"

Tonight was a very special night. It was my daughter's (KJ4EGJ) first time using HF. She's just a technician, but 10 meters was open this evening, and we convinced her to give it a try. She's hooked to say the least. She made 15 contacts from 7 different states, and also made Third Party contact with N9N (the Nautilus North Pole 50th Anniversary Special Event) on 20 meters. I want to send out a special thanks to them for letting her come in third party, especially with the pile-up they had.

In any case, we put Ashby out there during the 10-10 contest this weekend, and she made her first 10 meter contact to W5TMC. Special thanks to him for aiding her in her first contact. She kind of froze up on him there, but Mike from Oklahoma was very patient with her, and I love it when Ham's operate that way.

After that, we helped her call CQ on 28.480 for a little while, where she made most of her contacts. She was so excited that she had to take breaks in between, and I made a few contacts while she had vacated the "commander's chair." Matter of fact, I made my first 10 meters contact as well. Thank's to N5WC, Windell in Texas, for being my 1st contact -- even though I think I forgot to tell him that he was. HAHA.

After about an hour and a half, we reclaimed the radio -- there was a few special events we were wanting to get -- and funny enough, she was upset that we had (in her words) "kicked her off the radio". That's when she went to the white board, and marked "10M Rocks!!!" over and over and over. She'd write it, then erase it, and then write it again. I couldn't help but be a proud, proud mother with a beaming grin that wouldn't quit. I think we have successfully implanted the HF bug in her, and she'll work hard to upgrade now. HAHA

As for Tim (AJ4JD) and I, we made quite a few contacts ourselves. Tim made 7 contacts today, and I made 9. Right before we came home I heard a gentleman calling CQ on 14.289, KC2TNY. I answered his call for contact, and was really impressed as to how well he operated, even though he told me that he'd just got his General class last weekend. Congrats to you, Dan!! Thanks for the QSO and hope to see you in the Extra portion of the band soon!!

Contacts for today:
N9N - Special event station - Nautilus North Pole 50th Anniversary
K3MJW/250 - Pittsburgh, PA - 250th Anniversary Special Event
MW0ZZK/portable - Steve in North Wales
N5WC - Wendell, Texas - 10-10=21623
K2DOF - Dan, New York
N5NOU - Mike, Oklahoma
W8AL - 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame Special Event
VK2GBG - George, Australia
KC2TNY - Dan, New Jersey

Friday, August 1, 2008

Feeling like a kid again...

I don't know what it is about Ham Radio, but everytime I learn something new, I feel like a kid again. A kid in a candy store with too many choices, to be exact. Today, though, I feel like a kid in a candy store filled with million dollar treats, and each and every one of them out of my reach.

I learned today that DX'pedition rentals exist. And not only do they exist, but they come with fully equipped shacks and mouthwatering antenna farms... oh and kitchens and bedrooms, too.

The thing is, now that I know they exist... it's just another thing I'll have to save up money for! HAHA I mean, I've always wanted to go to Alaska -- but imagine arriving at your place to stay after a long drive (that's right, drive -- I won't fly) to a fully integrated, equipped, calibrated, and stocked Ham Shack of your dreams. It didn't take but two words to really hook me on this one... Alaska and Kilowatts.

Imagine waking up in the afternoon with 70 degree weather, a nice hot cup of coffee, and a view like this:

Ahhhh... So refreshing!

Oh well... I suppose the QSL card that arrived today will have to suffice as the closest thing I'll get to Alaska today. Thanks goes out to WL7SJ for sending confirmation of our QSO and a little piece of his heaven.

Scavenger Hunt Sticky

Thanks to all for helping me with the Scavenger Hunt!