5 More Weeks . . .

In 5 weeks we will start a new year. I will wait until New Years Eve to give an end of the year report – because adding Top Band counters will come down to the wire. I’m hoping to add 5 more by then, but that seems like a bit of a pipe dream, but it is possible, so I say shoot for the stars.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving – it was exactly as Thanksgiving should be – a family get together with probably the best Thanksgiving meal I have ever had with close family gathered at the table and with fun conversation all around.

I work right next to Union Square – so I will take in some of the holiday festivities since its literally out our back door.

Politically it was the worst year of my life, but I have learned how to shut that out – or at least convert the Idiocracy that we live in to a series of comedic vignettes. The political landscape can only get better – unless it completely implodes, which would be better than where we are now. We had a preview at Halloween of bigger things to come, so it will be interesting to see how our democracy holds up.

As always, I’m eternally hopeful that we will always weather the storm and that 2018 will be better than the very surreal and somewhat depressing 2017.

Until then, all eyes at Chez KY6R are on Top Band DXCC / 9BDXCC and 3Y0Z – two really big things to look forward to. I also have some really great things lined up for work and a week trip planned up to our beloved Bend, OR.

Volunteer Plants

I worked very hard this past Spring revamping the front yard landscaping, and I took care of it all summer – mostly just watering by hand (I’ve been burned by automatic sprinkler systems and don’t use them any more).

Anyway, we have a few gorgeous “volunteer” plants like this Chinese Pistachio tree that has amazing fall colors.

It’s 70 degrees today and cloudy. A perfect Fall day.

20M Yagi Ready for 3Y0Z


It’s only a couple months until the biggest DXpedition perhaps ever takes to the airwaves. My home brewed 20M yagi is up at about 30′, and when 3Y0Z fires up, I’ll have this Spiderbeam push up mast up to just over 40′.

The best combination of gain and front to back seems to be at about 40′. This is great because my mast goes to 41′ and its 6′ off the ground. I am being careful not to extend the top section all the way up, so all in all, I will end up pushing the yagi up to between 40 and 45′

Its really a great antenna. Once I work 3Y0Z with it, I will look into turning it into a 30M Moxon, but using aluminum all the way around.

The wingspan is the same as the 20M yagi – but I would need a longer boom.

About 1 dB less gain than the 20M yagi . . .

… but the Front to Back blows the 20M yagi away . . .

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m a day early, but had such a great day at work yesterday that I’m feeling thankful.

I thought yesterday and today would be very quiet and not much would get done with many people out of the office, but it turned out to be one of my most productive days and a day where my team solved two big problems.

While our politicians show us how not to be, I can count on family, friends and co-workers to show the positive side of humanity.

And I’m thankful for the comedians who make fun of the politicians, so it’s easy to stay focused on the good in life and laugh at the bad.

160M – My Progress So Far

DXCC Entity 160M
ALASKA KL7J
AMERICAN SAMOA W8A
AMSTERDAM & SAINT PAUL ISLANDS FT5ZM
ANGUILLA VP2EGR
ARGENTINA LU5OM
ARUBA P49X
ASIATIC RUSSIA RA0FF
AUSTRAL ISLANDS TX5RV
AUSTRALIA VK3ZL
AZORES CU2KG
BAHAMAS C6AGU
BARBADOS 8P5A
BELIZE V31YN
BERMUDA VP9/WW3S
BONAIRE PJ4/K4BAI
BRAZIL PY2RO
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS VP2V/SP6CIK
CANADA VE7ZBK
CAYMAN ISLANDS ZF2AH
CENTRAL KIRIBATI T31A
CHATHAM ISLAND ZL7G
CHINA BY5CD
CLIPPERTON ISLAND TX5K
COCOS ISLAND TI9/3Z9DX
COLOMBIA HK1T
CONWAY REEF 3D2C
COSTA RICA TI5XP
CUBA T48RRC
CURACAO PJ2/W8WTS
EASTER ISLAND XR0YG
EASTERN KIRIBATI T32C
ECUADOR HD2A
EL SALVADOR YS1/HR2DMR
FIJI ISLANDS 3D2RA/P
FRENCH POLYNESIA FO8RZ
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS HC2RMT/8
GRENADA J38XX
GUADELOUPE FG/UT6UD
GUAM KH2/N2NL
GUINEA 3XY1T
HAWAII N6KB/KH6
HEARD ISLAND VK0EK
HONDURAS HR9/WQ7R
JAMAICA 6Y3M
JAPAN JE1SPY
KERMADEC ISLAND ZL8X
LORD HOWE ISLAND VK9HR
MARQUESAS ISLANDS TX7M
MARSHALL ISLANDS V73RRC
MARTINIQUE FM5CD
MEXICO XE2S
MICRONESIA V6WW
MONTSERRAT VP2MSW
NAMIBIA V5/DL3DXX
NEW ZEALAND ZL3IX
NIUE E6GG
NORTH COOK ISLANDS E51MQT
OGASAWARA JD1BMH
PALMYRA & JARVIS ISLANDS K5P
PARAGUAY ZP5/NX4N
PHILIPPINES DU7ET
PITCAIRN ISLAND VP6J
PUERTO RICO NP4A
REPUBLIC OF KOREA HL5IVL
REVILLAGIGEDO XF4DL
ROTUMA 3D2GC/P
SABA & SAINT EUSTATIUS PJ5/N5WR
SAINT MARTIN FS/UA4CC
SAINT PIERRE & MIQUELON FP/G3ZAY
SAINT VINCENT J88HL
SAMOA 5W8A
SAN ANDRES ISLAND 5J0P
SOUTH COOK ISLANDS E51NOU
SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS RI1ANF
SPRATLY ISLANDS 9M4SLL
SURINAME PZ5K
SWAINS ISLAND NH8S
TAIWAN BU2AQ
TEMOTU PROVINCE H40GC
THAILAND HS0ZIA
TOKELAU ISLANDS ZK3T
TONGA A35T
TUVALU T2GC
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AA7CQ
URUGUAY CX6VM
US VIRGIN ISLANDS KV4FZ
VENEZUELA YV1DIG
WAKE ISLAND K9W
WALLIS & FUTUNA ISLANDS FW5RE

These are 91 worked – and 89 confirmed. I have Antigua and St. Barts that I just worked, but need the confirmation, which will happen soon.

Looking back, that’s pretty good considering I have only been seriously chasing Top Band DXCC for the last 3 or 4 years, but before that used an 80M antenna with a tuner just because a DXpedition would be loud on 160M and on a whim I worked them. At the time I was participating in DXCC Challenge but I gave that up because it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

There are no EU, but I do have AF, NA, SA, AS, OC – which is pretty darn good for a small lot down in a bowl. The “big prizes” are VK0EK and FT5ZM.

 

Top Band Gold Mine? CQ WW CW This Weekend!

This weekend is the CQ WW CW Contest, and its lining up to be a potentially great weekend for me and my 160M DXCC pursuit. Here are the entities that I need that will be on the air and that are (usually) easy (when conditions allow):

  • Nicaragua
  • Turks and Caicos
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • Antigua and Barbuda (I have this but my call was busted in the ARRL DX SSB Contest – and while its probably a good counter, I will go for a non busted QSO
  • St. Lucia
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Here are the one’s a little bit trickier, but I have worked others in this part of the world on 160M:

  • J5T – Guinea Bissau
  • Canary Island
  • Cape Verde
  • Azores
  • Madeira
  • Senegal

So – there are quite a few more than the 9 that I need to get to 100, and the best part is that they will be active before and maybe after the contest.

It would be great to “sail into” 9BDXCC!

Top Band: The Race to 100!

I’m not sure what it is – when I was 9 away from Honor Roll, I was kind of “annoyed”. I guess making over 300 ATNO’s made me feel I already was a “serious DXer”. Its kind of like that last semester at college – where you already have a job lined up and know where you are going and what you will be doing – it looms so much larger than being at school – finishing the last semester is a pain in the ass.

Top Band is not a band you can rush through. You can “sprint” to Honor Roll in 11 years easily – I did it with a very modest station and not so great QTH. Top Band has a way of forcing you to have patience – its almost impossible to know when you will have favorable conditions, and there are no prediction engines that even let you guess. I have had days where its is dirt simple to work a new one followed by months with nothing.

I’m surprised at how excited I am to only have 9 more to go before I get to 9BDXCC and DXCC on Top Band. I am actually enjoying this more than I did working the last 9 toward Honor Roll. I’m guessing because its a real achievement – and also that I have the patience to savor it instead of being in a rush.

I am not at all regretful that I rushed to get to Honor Roll. I’m very glad I don’t need BS7, P5, EZ and at least a handful of others – those could turn out to be once in a lifetime achievements.