Finally got to install the ICOM IC-7000 in my Subaru Impreza. The base unit is underneath the passenger seat and the head unit is mounted below the centre console using GoPro mount hardware and an MB-105 bracket. The IC-7000 has a video out and hence I was able to route the video to the car’s display LCD.
Back in March 2015, I participated in the CQ World-Wide WPX SSB contest and I have written about it here. The results of the contest have now been published and I am pretty happy with my performance in the “Single Operator – Assisted – Low Power – 10 Meters” category.
#1 in the US 8th call area (MI, OH, WV)
#6 in North America
#87 in the World
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)
I have been dabbling into Shortwave (SW) radio on and off from the time I bought a Grundig radio while studying at GW. When I bought the ICOM IC-7000, I sold the Grundig as the ICOM could do SW frequencies but then got into HF on the amateur bands and forgot about SW. This interest in SW was recently kindled when I attended a build session organized by the University of Michigan ham radio club, W8UM, where we built a regenerative radio for the 40 meter band (7 MHz). It was great to turn on the radio and hear SW stations coming through. But my ultimate goal of hearing All India Radio (AIR) still remained elusive.
This afternoon I set out to try the regenerative radio again and was looking at the Shortwave schedules at http://shortwaveschedule.com and saw that AIR was transmitting on quite a few frequencies but I was not sure how accurate the times and frequencies were. So I turned to the webpage of fellow ham and friend Jose Jacob, VU2JOS, who has been an avid SWL since the 1970s and maintains a database of AIR transmitting stations, schedules and links to AIR pages. Looking through I found a page with schedules and saw that AIR was transmitting on 11670 KHz from Bangalore with a power of 500KW aimed to service UK and Western Europe region.
I ditched the regen radio, turned on my IC-7000 and tuned to 11670 KHz (25 meter band) secretly hoping for the propagation to be in my favor and that I should hear something. Lo and behold I was greeted by some classical Indian music followed by the customary “This is All India Radio”. I was elated!!!
I was hearing an Indian station all the way in Michigan being transmitted from Bangalore. That’s a distance of 13,600 km (8450 miles). For me to hear this transmission and considering short-path the signal should be coming over from the north. Plugging in some numbers into VOACAP we can in fact see that between 1700 and 2100 UTC the signal reception on 20 meter band ranges between 10% and 40%.
Initially, when I started hearing I was getting S4 – S5 on the signal meter and as time passed by the conditions improved to S9.
After the Indian classical music couple of songs from the movie Taal were played followed by the News in English and a program on International Mother Language Day.
A reception report is on the way to AIR Spectrum Manager and hopefully I will soon see a QSL card.
Here is a short video:
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.