2013 in review, ahead to 2014

2014Radio 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.

For 2014:

  • 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…

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  9 comments for “2013 in review, ahead to 2014

  1. Lou Axeman
    January 3, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Hook up a QRP rig to a dipole and start over again.

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:08 am

      I’m realigning my old HW-9 as we speak…

      • Lou Axeman
        January 5, 2014 at 12:53 am

        Glad to learn that you are working with your HW-9. Love my HW-9, HW-8, Argonaut 515, Mantiz FX-2, NS 40, etc., etc. Nothing like making DX contacts with QRP power and simple wire antenna, in my not very humble opinion.

        All The Best With QRP And Everything Else,
        Lou, N8LA

        • January 5, 2014 at 6:12 am

          Thanks Lou. I put it on the air last night after it sat dormant for 21 years and worked Peru, Japan and W1AW/4.

          Best wishes in 2014.

          • Lou Axeman
            January 6, 2014 at 11:35 pm

            Congratulations!!! Just started trying to work again on K1 I have had since the end of April 2008. Finished 4 Band Filter Board and got half way through Front Panel Board when I stopped working on it a few years ago. I find I need to ask Elecraft support some stupid questions before I can continue. Will do that now. Again, congratulations and keep up the good QRP work. You will have QRP DXCC in no time!

            72/73, Lou N8LA/QRP (mostly)

          • January 7, 2014 at 7:25 am

            Good morning Lou. I am a QRPer from way back. After the Navy/HW-9, I discovered the QRP community and all the kits that were being offered in the mid-90′s and I jumped in head first. QRP DXCC was achieved long ago with rigs even simpler than the HW-9. My next step, if I can motivate myself, is to add the ‘band-pack’ to my HW-9. I have it here but never did build it into the rig so, for now, my ’9 is a 4-bander.

  2. January 4, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Here’s an excellent photo of a completed MBDC by G0BPU:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/g0bpu/11072482514/

  3. Steve
    January 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Well…Okay then. I really think it is great you use 5W or less in operation. The point is to use it mobile or portable. Take it with you. In other words …get off the mains and have fun! Go Mobile or Portable…battery/solar power. Anyone can turn their 100 W monster down on their 70 FT tower and yagi. I guarantee you will have more fun.

    72, Steve
    WB5CTS/M/Qrp

    • January 6, 2014 at 7:29 am

      You’re preaching to the choir, Steve! I have a long history of doing exactly what you suggest. Check the QRP menu item above and then QRP Excursions.

      Regarding your definition of “the point” don’t we each define that for ourselves? Too many people associate QRP with simple antennas & portability – nothing more. To hook a QRP rig to a good antenna and operate from the comfort of home is sacrilege to them…it is they who are missing the point by virtue of having such a narrow definition of such a broad topic ;-)

      72 – John AE5X

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