26 Feb 2009

ZL QSO in Nelson

Worked ZL3SCO in Nelson on 70cms on Feb 23rd. Turns our Brian comes from the UK. He is a keen model railway man and they have a busy club in Nelson, NZ.

I continue to spot HF ham antennas in ZL-land. The last was a 3-el HF beam in Kaikoura on the east coast of South Island. If only I could work some with QRP when back home in the UK!

20 Feb 2009

First QSOs in ZL land

This evening, Friday Feb 20th, I managed to work ZL1UHR via the Wellington repeater linked into their national linked repeater network. He was in Hamilton NZ. The QSO was with my little VX2 handheld running 1W to the helical from my hotel room in Wellington, NZ. Later I worked ZL1SAT up in Auckland.

Today the weather has been dreadful: really heavy rain all the way from Taupo down to Wellington (355kms) by car. Tomorrow things look a little better and when we cross to South Island the sun is expected to shine again. New Zealand is a wonderful place with friendly people, great scenery and no crowds. The picture is of two delightful Maori girls we met on Wednesday when we went to a Maori evening with dancing, singing and Maori food.

17 Feb 2009

Lake Taupo repeaters (NZ)

This was a picture my XYL took a few days ago in the Bay of Islands. Isn't it just idyllic and a perfect spot for operating with the FT817, although I didn't bring it with me.....

Today we arrived at Lake Taupo in central North Island, New Zealand. The last few days I've been too busy enjoying the natural world to do any ham radio but I hope to check out the local VHF/UHF repeaters tonight or tomorrow. I have printed out a list and a map of these.

On our travels I've spotted a couple of HF antennas so there are at least two ZL stations on HF in North Island!

My holiday blog is at http://roglap.blogspot.com if you want to follow progress.

12 Feb 2009

New Zealand repeaters

Just arrived in ZL-land and tried listening to the UHF repeaters in Auckland, North Island. Although hearing stations on the linked national network of repeaters on 439.875MHz in Auckland, I have been unable to access it. This may be because my VX2 signal is just too weak or I may need a CTCSS code or DCS code I don't know.

Anyway, the scenery here up on the Bay of Islands at Russell is just breathtaking so who needs ham radio right now....

9 Feb 2009

Dinner with W6PI

Last night I met up with an old colleague and his XYL, Jon (now W6PI) in San Francisco for a meal. I used to work with Jon in Philips Paging back in the late 1990s. Jon has been living in Fremont, CA since then. This was my second ham eyeball ham QSO that day.

8 Feb 2009

Eyeball QSO

By chance, waiting for a tour bus in San Francisco today, I got talking with someone who turned out to be a fellow ham - AC7FP from Lake Oswego in Oregon. George is a keen HF man who likes working 75m and 20m DX on the key.

Also, heard my first stateside ham activity on 146.625 - the repeater run by KN6EF (if I copied the call right) with the words "the east side repeater".


Currently in San Francisco where the weather is pleasantly sunny. May take a listen on 2m FM later.
This picture is of the Canadian Rockies taken at 11kms from the window of the 747-400.

5 Feb 2009

Sunspots - slow start to 2009

The expected upturn in solar flux and sunspots have been very slow to materialise yet this winter, as yet. I haven't seen a very recent prediction from people like the solar physicist Hathaway who was, a few years ago, predicting a very large cycle 24 peak. The bets must now be on a much more modest peak?

My own experience on bands like 15 and 10m is we are still very much in the doldrums. Even the brief sunspot minimum openings I used to hear to South America (when I could work LU and PY stations even with 10W SSB) seem to be absent.

3 Feb 2009

G3XIZ's 15mW successes - updated

Chris G3XIZ has just sent me an updated list of his beacon reports and 2-way QSOs with his 15mW FETer transceiver. His best 2-way DX is now over 450kms and he has worked 3 countries already. Remember this is ordinary speed CW, not QRSS and sub-hertz digital signal processing stuff. Chris has "good ears" and is a very good operator. A lot of his success is down to his skills.

He told me, "The little TX is doing far better than I had ever imagined and as a result I must now re-appraise my perception of QRP operations - Hi !"

2 Feb 2009

Stealth antennas

Some very sensible advice on stealth (hidden/disguised) antennas is at G4ILO's website, from where I found the useful propagation table code on the RHS of this blog. http://www.g4ilo.com/stealth.html


Today we had more snow at this QTH than I can remember in a very long time, certainly for at least 18 years. Here is a picture of the G3XBM back garden today. The 15m end-fed long-wire antenna slopes from the house guttering down to a post in front of the tree in the back left of the picture. You can just make out the antenna wire.

1 Feb 2009

FETer airing today

Hearing all about the great success Chris G3XIZ has had with his FETer transceiver, I fired mine up this afternoon and put a few CQs out on 3560. No takers yet, but have heard a couple of 2W QRP stations over 100kms away (G4ARI and G4FQZ) on the 1 FET receiver.

Earlier, G3XIZ worked GM3OXX for his furtherest 2-way QSO with his 15mW transceiver. This is a remarkable distance for such QRPP and such a simple receiver.