My First Award

Received my first ever Ham Radio award last week for scoring 1,135 point by working 136 stations in 2014 during the ARRL Centennial QSO Party. I now feel that I should have taken the extra effort to get the W1AW WAS award but my station was not working at its full potential.

[table caption=”My ARRL Centennial QSO Party Score” tf=”last”]Points,QSOs,Call Signs,Code,Title
400,4,4,PSM,Past Section Manager
175,1,1,SM,Section Manager
125,25,25,VE,Volunteer Examiner
70,2,2,ASM,Assistant Section Manager
62,62,61,MEM,ARRL Member
60,3,3,CM,Contest Managers/Log Checkers
40,1,1,AC,CAC/DXAC/ECAC Advisory Committee Member
36,3,3,EC,Emergency Coordinator
34,17,17,LM,ARRL Life Member
30,1,1,DEC,District Emergency Coordinator
15,3,3,CC,ARRL DXCC Card Checker
12,1,1,PIO,Public Information Officer
12,1,1,OO,Official Observer
10,2,1,MI,W1AW/8 operation from Michigan
10,2,1,ID,W1AW/7 operation from Idaho
6,3,3,AFF,ARRL Affiliated Club Call Sign
5,1,1,VT,W1AW/1 operation from Vermont
5,1,1,TN,W1AW/4 operation from Tennessee
5,1,1,OR,W1AW/7 operation from Oregon
5,1,1,NM,W1AW/5 operation from New Mexico
5,1,1,FL,W1AW/4 operation from Florida
5,1,1,CA,W1AW/6 operation from California
5,1,1,AZ,W1AW/7 operation from Arizona
3,1,1,QSL,Incoming QSL Bureau Sorters

CQ World Wide WPX Contest – SSB

This past weekend (March 28 & 29th) was the CQ WW WPX SSB contest and I finished off with a claimed score of 14,504 points with 92 contacts. Nothing stellar but I logged in a few new DX stations and I got to experiment with using a cluster in N1MM+ logger and the built-in voice keyer in my IC-7000 to send CQ.

As always, I started late on Saturday around 2PM EDT and made 60 contacts operating for about 5 hours. The 10M band was wide open and I made my first Oceania contact with VK4KW in Australia and later followed by VK6NC located near Perth. So that’s a straight line distance of 18,000 km (11,150 miles) from my QTH and making it my farthest contact so far.

On Sunday, the 10M band was awful with lot of noise and not a single soul being heard for most of the day. But as the evening came on and as the grey-line propagation kicked in, I started to hear the South Americans coming through albeit very faintly. Playing around with the DSP settings on the rig, I was able to finish off with a final tally of 92 contacts – 8 short of my goal of 100.

But in the end I was happy that I scored new DX contacts, got to use the DSP settings in the radio, setup the DX cluster function in N1MM+ and used the built-in voice keyer to call CQ which by the way made the XYL very happy as I was no longer shouting.

New DX countries:

  • Argentina (LP7D)
  • Australia (VK4KW)
  • Cayman Islands (ZF2DX)
  • Chile (CE2MVF)
  • Curaçao (PJ4Z)
  • Dominican Republic (HI3TEJ)
  • Morocco (5E5E)
  • New Zealand (ZF2DX)
  • Serbia (YT8A)
  • Uruguay (CW5W)


Contest Details:


Icom IC-7000

For quite some time I have been on the lookout to get a 100W rig and sell my Yaesu FT-817ND QRP  rig. Although I did love the Yaesu, lack of space to setup a permanent antenna discouraged me from getting on the air. And every time I got on the air using a buddipole antenna no one could hear me with just 5 watts of power.

I finally got an Icom IC-7000 on eBay for a very good price along with an LDG IT-100 autouner and an Icom SM-20 desk mike. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the IC-7000 was almost brand new with no signs of use. I have had some experience using N3RDX’s IC-706 back when I was at GW and I simply loved the radio. Now to see something very similar made me very happy. In fact, I was contemplating to get a Kenwood but my dear friend and fellow ham, AB3OE, insisted that I get an Icom radio and boy was he right.

Currently, I just have my VHF antenna connected to the radio and researching into what would be the best option for a permanent HF antenna that fits in my balcony.