Very surprised to see a manila envelope from the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) today in the mailbox. I figured it was my ARRL Triple Play Award I had finally achieved. When I opened it I was surprised to find I had taken first place in the 2011 ARRL International DX Phone Contest. That means I just might have to taken to March 3 off to participate in at least half the contest.

W6ONV to meet W6JZH

I will most likely update this post later today, but I have a meeting with John Galli, W6JZH today after I leave work. I will drive to his house in Pittsburg to see his shack and talk to him further.

Thanks in part to Rusty, W6OAT who called John last week and told him about me. I called him myself yesterday on the way home passing Bay Point on the outside chance he would be home I would drop by. As it happened I left a message and got a call back a few hours later while sitting in the shack.

John and I spoke for about 15 minutes, he told me my mobile phone message I left was very garbled and he had to consult a 1963 call book to look for my last name. That call book probably did not have W6ONV listed as my father’s call. But as things could have it, was updated, John get my phone number from phone book and called me.

We talked at length about my talk with Rusty and my desire to contest from a larger station, but wanting to “have fun” and gain experience. My desire to work DX is strong and put in a good effort during whatever contests I participate in. Winning and earning wallpaper is not my main motivator.

I look forward to the meeting today and seeing John’s station.

*** Update *** I spent about 45 minutes talking with John and what a great guy! We swapped stories and I told him where I was as an operator and my philosophy as I approached any contest. We talked towers, antennas, rigs and amps. He even offered to look at the Heathkit SB-220 I have sitting here in my shack.

While I am not sure what the next big contest I will participate in, my first call will be to John. I will be able to get on all bands except 160M. Not a big problem for me at all. At least I should have a much better signal than I do at my QTH. Then again, I guess it is all relative, as my father would say. I do the best I can with the hardware I have and as I have stated time and time again, it’s all about having fun.

High Band DX!

With the conclusion of the ARRL DX Contest (SSB) it seems the “itch” for radio is back. In fact it never really left, but with the home remodel that took some 10 months, amateur radio took a backseat. Just felt too guilty trying to commit to a contest on my days off from work, knowing there was work I could be doing.

Today has been a very good day on the high bands, 10M and 12M from CM98da. For the most part I have been tuning around and working spots. I did have a first today on 10M as I made 5 PSK31 contacts, the first being PJ7/W8EB down in St. Maarten! The other PSK contacts were all domestic including Bryan, Ac4BB who I have written about before.

Other DX today included 4A4A working 10M SSB and 12M RTTY. I also worked ZL1BYZ on 10M (again, got him in the ARRL DX), KH2L on 10M as well. Thanks Ed! And finally J68PJ (I hope) on 12 CW from St. Lucia.

In a quick update, I am but 2 confirmations away from my initial DXCC (97 confirmed)! With any luck some of the 8 new entities I worked over the weekend will LoTW and I will be submitting paperwork for my award. This has been great, hopefully we continue to see a steady increase in the propagation, as well as activity on the high bands.


With the delivery guaranteed by Monday, February 22, things are looking up for the next RTTY contest on the schedule, the NCJ sponsored NAQP! Since there is no high power entry, I will be reconnecting the Alpha 76PA and retuning it for an upcoming contest. I might have to put some time into the 5-band hex as well. For whatever reason, the 20M wire is sagging again. I am not sure why this continues to occur. I am hoping the fiberglass spreaders are not collapsing again. I checked and re tightened them just a few months ago. My guess is during the off season (this summer) I will be going over the hex with a fine toothed comb again and make sure everything is in place correctly.

While I hesitate to toss any prediction out right now I did take a look at my score from last year (cannot remember if it was February or July) to start getting some idea of where I could possibly score in 10 hours of operating. Since this is a domestic contest, I should fair very well, especially on 20M. We will have to wait and see how the propagation is for 10M/15M. I also noticed I had some 40M contacts and a single 80M contact. Not sure when I would have switched to 40M, but have been close to the end of the contest.

I am still on a high after last weekend and my success in the WPX RTTY Contest. The past three days have been great on nearly every band as the solar flux remains high and the solar cycle continues it upward trend. Just yesterday I was able to work Tasmania (15M SSB), New Zealand (10M CW) and French Polynesia (20M CW) with only 100w! The 10M contact was great, as I believe it was my first DX (outside of Canada) contact 10M. As for Tasmania (VK7) it was a solid 57 report from John, who was just waking up, while TX4T was no waiting.

As awards go I am now up to 72 (mixed) for my DXCC award, I continue to see new DX roll in from the WPX where I worked 57 countries! 20M continues to dominate, where I have 63 confirmed. The ARRL Triple Play Awards continues to frustrate me, where I now have 135 confirmed via LOTW. As for missing states, Delaware confirmation via LOTW still eludes me. Although I have worked a SSB and RTTY contact last year, yet the op does not use LOTW. The other odd state is Nevada, I just recently confirmed a CW contact, but our next door neighbor state has been hard to come by.