Tuesday, April 11, 2017

VMware Amateur Radio Club on the air!

I'm excited to be able to say that, after a few years of planning and, and many fits and starts, the VMware Amateur Radio Club has W6VMW on the air! We have a VHF/UHF station and an HF station.

You can find an article I wrote about it for the NCCC Newsletter March 2017 here. See page 18, "Launching W6VMW". To set the stage, the tower was mounted a long time ago when a different company occupied the building, and some old antennas needed to be removed from it. These videos show the installation of our new antennas on the existing tower. But here are a few stills of the prep work removing the old antennas. We'd originally thought we could get the old antennas down and the new ones up in the scheduled time, but that didn't work out. So we brought the crew back over the 2016 holiday break to finish things.

Here are some stills not included in the Jug article, and and some videos of the antenna installation.

Work Session 1 - Sure, we can do it all in a day!



Bob, K6XX, removes the existing 20+ year-old yagi

Reed, N1WC assembles the JK Navassa 5

 K6XX gets the 40m dipole on the mast - with the sun low on the horizon

With the bulk of the work not finished, we called it a day and scheduled the JV team to come out again during the week between Christmas and New Years. Bob lashed the dipole to the mast so it wouldn't spin out of control if we had weather in the meantime.

Work Session 2
Picking up from where we left off (with good weather, thankfully!):
 


JV and Bob raise the mast, with the VHF/UHF antenna and 40m dipole mounted, in preparation for mounting the Yaesu rotator




The Navassa 5 lifts off from the roof and is winched up a few feet
 


Bob shows why he was just off the podium in the 1992 Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling competition



Clamping



 Positioning

For more details about the station and how we got here, be sure to read the Jug article. A big KB thanks to JV, K6HJU, Reed, N1WC, and Bob, K6XX, for getting our aluminum up in the air!








Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

Yes, I should be working...

...but it's more fun running JAs on 15 meters from some random conference room at work using the W6VMW club station remotely!


EDIT:

Yes, you can also make QSOs from a Starbucks:


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Goal: 500 QSOs and a sweep in SS CW

I'll set a goal of 500 QSOs and a clean sweep in this weekend's CW Sweepstakes. I am totally unprepared, other than having gotten N1MM all set up last night. I'll aim to throw up the wire dipole Saturday morning. Right now there are no sunspots, the A Index is 18, and the K Index is 4. Getting the sweep may be hard!

-- Update --

Well, not quite. I did make the sweep, but only 451 QSOs. Motivation was a bit lacking. But for those of you in my log, thanks for the Qs!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Goal: 500 QSOs in CaQP

The California QSO Party is this weekend, and I'm aiming for at least 500 QSOs. There, I said it.

(edit)

And I made it:
 Band   Mode  QSOs     Pts  Mul  Pt/Q
   3.5  CW      55     165    0   3.0
   3.5  LSB      6      12    0   2.0
     7  CW     104     312    3   3.0
     7  LSB     16      32    0   2.0
    14  CW     164     492   14   3.0
    14  USB     17      32    0   1.9
    21  CW     131     393   32   3.0
    21  USB     24      48    1   2.0
 Total  Both   517    1486   50   2.9
Score: 74,300
1 Mult = 10.3 Q's


Friday, April 15, 2016

My First Sprint

Last night I did my first-ever sprint (NS CW Sprint). I haven't felt this clueless since my first Novice Roundup in 1970-something!

NCCC Sprint - Apr 15

Call: KM6I
Operator(s): KM6I
Station: KM6I

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: Mountain View, CA
Operating Time (hrs): .5

Summary:
Band  QSOs  Mults
-------------------
  160:          
  80:  6      4
  40:  5      5
  20:  3      2
  15:          
  10:          
-------------------
Total:  14    11  Total Score = 154

Club: Northern California Contest Club

Comments:

My first sprint experience. Felt like I stepped into
the fast lane of the 101 at rush hour. Ouch.

K3, dipole @ 60ft.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sweepstakes CW 2015

This year I operated from home and put in a nearly full-time effort. All the equipment was the same as last year. And I again strung up my 2-element triband wire yagi. For some reason, it worked very well on 20m, beating the G5RV by 1-2 S-units on most signals I was hearing, but on 15m signals were usually louder on the dipole. I'm not sure why that is. Perhaps there's some interaction between the two antennas, since they hang from the same tree.

In any case, here are the results:


 Band     QSOs     Pts  Sec
   3.5      71     142    3
     7     189     378   13
    14     413     826   22
    21      86     172   34
    28      20      40   11
 Total     779    1558   83
Score: 129,314

Rig: Elecraft K3, KPA-500 amplifier, KAT-500 antenna tuner
Antennas: G5RV inverted vee with apex@60ft, 2-el triband wire yagi@35ft

I opened on 10M, worked most of the stations on the band, then tried CQing with no joy. I dropped down to 15 and did the same, but the band didn't seem to be in very good shape. So this year, 20m was the money band for me. I even had a nice 75/hour run on 20, with some shorter runs with good rate. It's a good reminder that even with a modest station, calling CQ in SS is a good idea.

ARRL SS CW - 2015-11-07 2100Z to 2015-11-09 0300Z - 782 QSOs
KM6I Runs >10 QSOs:

2015-11-08 0008 - 0105Z,   14062 kHz, 74 Qs, 77.9/hr KM6I
2015-11-08 0551 - 0603Z,    7023 kHz, 12 Qs, 58.7/hr KM6I
2015-11-08 1706 - 1735Z,   14029 kHz, 24 Qs, 50.3/hr KM6I
2015-11-09 0014 - 0101Z,   14006 kHz, 36 Qs, 45.6/hr KM6I

I took midnight to 7am local time off, and also ran a few errands in the middle of the day on Sunday, so my total time on ended up being 22 hours.

Rate sheet:

Day        Hr   3.5  7    14   21   28   Tot  Accum 
2015-11-07 21   0    0    0    33   14   47   47    
2015-11-07 22   0    0    1    32   6    39   86    
2015-11-07 23   0    0    59   0    0    59   145   
2015-11-08 00   0    0    75   0    0    75   220   
2015-11-08 01   0    31   7    0    0    38   258   
2015-11-08 02   0    49   0    0    0    49   307   
2015-11-08 03   9    19   0    0    0    28   335   
2015-11-08 04   11   13   0    0    0    24   359   
2015-11-08 05   13   20   0    0    0    33   392   
2015-11-08 06   15   10   0    0    0    25   417   
2015-11-08 07   15   6    0    0    0    21   438   
2015-11-08 14   0    1    17   0    0    18   456   
2015-11-08 15   0    0    43   0    0    43   499   
2015-11-08 16   0    0    20   8    0    28   527   
2015-11-08 17   0    0    35   0    0    35   562   
2015-11-08 18   0    0    0    5    0    5    567   
2015-11-08 19   0    0    33   2    0    35   602   
2015-11-08 20   0    0    22   6    0    28   630   
2015-11-08 21   0    0    26   0    0    26   656   
2015-11-08 22   0    0    9    0    0    9    665   
2015-11-08 23   0    0    32   0    0    32   697   
2015-11-09 00   0    2    35   0    0    37   734   
2015-11-09 01   0    26   2    0    0    28   762   
2015-11-09 02   8    12   0    0    0    20   782   
Total 0    71   189  416  86   20   782  782   


I was worried about getting NT for the sweep, as every time I saw a spot they were S0. But on Saturday night I found them at the low end on 40m with a nice S5 signal and worked them on the first call. EWA, NNY, ME, and UT were also a bit hard to come by this year, but I finished Saturday night needing only PR, which I snagged early Sunday morning.

Sunday got pretty slow, and I ended up CQing while reading W1VR's book on antenna zoning. Next year I'll want to do something more personally challenging, depending on the NCCC's goals for SS. Possibilities include getting off my butt and installing some better antennas, adding SO2R, dropping use of the cluster, using low power, or finding a big station to guest-op at and go for a section/division win again.