Lucky 13?

I only need 13 more to get to DXCC on 160M. If there were enough DX stations on Top Band, that would be do-able between now and next summer, but alas, it almost seems like each year there are fewer opportunities from the West Coast to achieve this. I am not hopeful though – but I’d love this Winter to be my last push to 9BDXCC – this is where I truly need luck. ADXO does not give me confidence, but since there are many smaller activation on 160M – I am sure they aren’t always published online much. ADXO looks as sparse as I have ever seen it – there almost seems to be a drop in DX-peditions since VK0EK as I had expected it. I’m wondering if this is temporary or long term. I’m guessing I will make DXCC on Top Band late 2018 or early 2019 based on past experience.

I have what is considered a “small” antenna for 160M, and its 70′ wide and 41′ tall. On a small suburban lot, that takes up most of my antenna space. Its the best I can do, and I really love this antenna – it takes me back to the days when I started DX-ing in 2001 – simple, yet effective.

I don’t have any hope for Glorioso being activated any time soon. Bouvet will have to be it for quite a while, so DX-ing just isn’t exciting any more – I am turning the radio on less and less these days. I have days where I ask myself if maybe its time to just let it go – and declare victory as is – I’m finding that I ask myself “Whats the big deal anyway?”. Its not burn out – its more like – “If you can do something 342 times, isn’t that proof enough that you can do that particular thing?”

Regarding the URAT, I’ve actually decided not to install it on the Palstar BT1500A because there is so little DX that I need that I won’t bother with that. I’ve got the antenna set to 160M with the BT-1500A, and when Bouvet is activated – possibly this year, and for sure next year – I will just go out back and switch bands manually using my Rig Experts AA-30 and this procedure:

I’ve thought about trying to come up with a different tuner than what I have – maybe just two Palstar variable capacitors at the base of the Mod Bob – but with the inductor being the shunt across the caps, but then I realize – the BT-1500A is absolutely perfect, so why waste time and money. I very much love the Palstar BT1500A – its such a perfect design for what I need to do these days. The one thing I don’t like about the URAT is how long it takes to roll the roller inductor. The demo rig is really cool though – so I don’t regret having built that. Its just not worth bothering adding it to my antenna – because of where I am in the chase.

One thing I’ve been doing is reading this book – almost daily:

I also have been playing with the Signal Generator and Oscilloscope. I think my next project will be just creating little Arduino or Raspberry Pi based circuits that follow an online course on how to use this test equipment – so I can master them. Again – my DX-ing needs are so little and new one’s are so far apart that I just don’t need to bother doing anything station or antenna wise.

So, while DX-ing and DXCC are mind crushingly boring, the Maker Desk here has been very busy, and when the rainy season hits again – it will no doubt offer continued fun.

Pacificon is coming up, and I notice they have just (barely) started to update their web site with this years program:

I’ve been told that it should be set by this coming weekend, so that will be cool to see.


4 Comments on “Lucky 13?

  1. Maybe too late, given the overall thrust of your article, but did you consider switching a tapped inductor instead of rolling it? That would be much faster. And maybe add a trimmer roller inductor for fine-tuning.


      • I totally get it. Whenever KH9 gets spotted I drag myself to the radio, secretly hoping there’s nothing there so I don’t have to deal with another pileup. So far, there has never been anything.

        Maybe that makes us Fair Weather DXers? The bottom of the cycle in the 90s was fun because I needed everything. VP5 was hot DX! Not sure I’ll be that active for the bottom of this one.


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