Radio doin’s in 2013 were a lot like previous years and consisted mostly of chasing DX by slamming dots and dashes against the ionosphere.
Between pile-ups, I tinkered a bit with a FunCube Dongle Pro+ and built a helical antenna for receiving NOAA weather satellite images. Now I mostly use it for SWLing and continue to like it a lot. And I bought my first-ever HT – a Baofeng UV-5R that now lives in my car and serves mostly as a cheap weather radio…I’ve yet to work up any desire to have a QSO with it.
Back to DXing and CW:
- A switchable antenna conversion now finally allows me on 160 meters after many years of procrastination. As a result, I immediately went from 36 to 47 DXCC entities on that band. 53 more to 9B-DXCC.
- 12 all-time New Ones were worked in 2013. This takes me to a total of 311 worked…of which 305 are attributed to the dipole. Some day I’m going to coil up that antenna and frame it.
- I just submitted my DX Marathon scoresheet – 211 entities and 40 zones for the year for a score of 251. Most difficult zone – Zone 2, of course. As always.
- I have two kits waiting to be built. I’ll start (and finish) the Ultimate III from Hans G0UPL next week. The other kit is the 80/160m Multi-Band Direct Conversion (parlez vous francais?!) from Steve KD1JV. Not sure when I’ll get to that one…depends on work/travel schedule.
- Will US hams get a VLF (600m) band in 2014? I keep hearing rumors. If we do, that will no doubt spawn some new kits, antenna articles and experimentation including here at this QTH.
- For a while now, I’ve been trying to congeal everything I’ve learned about CW DXing into a concise write-up. It’s the result of many questions asked by beginner/intermediate DXers over the years in various forums and mailing lists. I often have answers that differ from those given by other DXers but my suggestions and techniques are all based on my own experiences and how I approach the endeavor – much of which I’ve not seen written elsewhere…so I wrote it. I’ll be posting it somewhere on this blog, hopefully by April.
- As you might expect, chasing DX with a Yagi and a kilowatt is fine for adding to the DXCC count but I’m down to waiting on DXpeditions to very rare entities in order to have anything new to work. I’m also realizing that the more fulfilling countries worked were done so with the dipole and 100 watts. With that in mind I have a voice in the back of my mind that says “leave the amp off (except for ATNO’s and 160m DX), hook up a QRP rig to the Yagi and start all over with a clean slate”.
So…a KX3 (oh, how I wish that new Argonaut had 12 meters) in 2014? Maybe…