Over winter break I have been putting in a lot of time behind the radio. Here’s the wrap up:
First – more DX. In general, this is a good time of year to catch hams behind their rigs. Some contacts that I am particularly proud of:
4U1WB, The World Bank in Washington D.C.
ZD7DL, St Helena Island
C5YK, The Gambia
MI5AFK, Northern Ireland
FG5GP, the island of Guadeloupe
ZS6TVB, South Africa
EA8DAZ, Canary Islands
Second – working a lot of DX. There is the 90th anniversary of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) special event activations. Plenty of good DX participating in this and working multiple bands.
Third – working Santa (aka AA4EE) on Christmas Eve. The girls really enjoyed telling Santa what they wanted. Thank you Santa!
Four – joining the OMISS and the 3905 Century Club nets. I am not sure if I fully understand these nets. I get the convenience in pursuing Worked All States awards. That makes sense. However each club also has an additional bevy of other types of awards. The actual contacts during the nets seem a bit unfulfilling. But I may not yet fully understand these nets. I need to thoroughly read all the literature.
Five – Log of the World: I have uploaded the vast majority of my logs. I mentioned before about uploading my YI9MI logs. I also went back and uploaded my log from KD7PJQ back in Virginia. The logs from Korea (HL2/AD7MI and HL9MI) are now uploaded. All my logs using AD7MI have been uploaded.
Since I logged my first HF QSO back in 2005 I have been using one type or another of software logging. I have also enjoyed exchanging QSL cards but never developed a good system at keeping them organized. Jumping from one logging program to the next, managing the “sent” and “received” QSL card fields have been hit or miss. A good portion of my contacts were uploaded to eQSL. Some were pushed out to LoTW. But I am not at all certain that either accurately reflects all my logged contacts. Compounding the problem has been multiple moves and military facilitated DXpeditions to Iraq and Korea. So what I am left with is a filing cabinet drawer full of QSL cards and a hard drive full of various log files.
It would be nice to get this mess sorted out.
I taking a three-step approach to establish order out of chaos.
(1) Gather all my software based log files. Use a file format compatible with fldigi and convert all the log files accordingly… with the end result of one consolidated log.
(2) Organize all QSL cards by date. I have a few boxes that QSL cards fit in nicely as well as tabbed dividers. This will allow me to fairly easily crosscheck the cards I have against the digital log.
(3) Stick with fldigi as my logging program. Update the QSL card “sent” and “receive” fields as I mail out cards or receive them. File received cards by date of contact.
(BONUS) I am pretty sure I achieved DXCC back in 2007, but have never been able to sit down and pull out the 100 cards I need. With a consolidated log and QSL cards organized by date, I will be able to easily find my 100 cards.
Progress has been slow in getting my shack setup at the new QTH in Lansing, KS. I had success running three differnt feedlines from the shack, through a narrow path between the basement ceiling and the main floor to an access box on the houses exterior wall exiting to the side yard. I purchased 50′ coax cables for each run, thinking that 50′ feet might have been too long. However, 50′ ended up being right on the nose, offering me just the right amount of slack in the hamshack and easily reaching the access panel on the exterior wall.
I have unpacked the majority of my equipment that came from Korea and from the old house in Leavenworth. The weather station and VHF/UHF antenna is temporarily mounted on our deck. The plan is to mount it on the chimney, but I am going to need some help getting it up there.
I have a Buddipole up in the side yard and connected it up to one of the feedlines. I fired up the K3 and the radio seems to be working well. Next I tried connecting the Microham USB III digital interface, but have run into some trouble in getting it to cooperate with fldigi. This time, once I get everything working, I am going to copy down all the settings as well as the connections to make sure next time I move it, I don’t have such a steep curve to re-figure out what I had already figured out some time ago.
Some minor problems I am encountering (besides the fldigi/Microham USB III): the weather station gets buggy when I am transmitting on VHF and the weather station software freezes up when I transmit on 40M. The later problem is nothing new and I had limited success trouble shooting the problem by adding chokes to the weather station data display power supply and putting the computer that runs the weather station software on an UPS. The VHF transmission problem is new. I have a 2″ PVC pipe that both the VHF antenna and the weather station are mounted on. I have not previously had a problem with any interference from the VHF antenna, but I will try and move the weather station down the PVC pipe a bit and see if that eliminates the interference issue.
Tasks that still await me: cleaning up the workbench, clearing out the excess boxes that are lying around, organize the QSL cards. I need to establish (and stick with) a system for managing QSL cards. I am pretty sure I have enough cards to get my DXCC, but I have to put the cards in order. I also have a stack of cards to send to the outgoing bureau for the YI9MI operation and a handfull for HL2/AD7MI and HL9MI.
Yes, they do! At least over here in South Korea.
Before arriving to Korea last year, I began researching the licensing procedures. I have known fellow soldiers who have served over here in Korea and were able to get an HL callsign and get on the air. By reviewing an old Army regulation that was specific to Korea, I saw that there was a process where a soldier could submit a memorandum requesting to be issued an HL9 prefixed callsign. The soldier is required to already possess an FCC amateur license. However, a problem emerged. No one knew who to submit the request to. There are a number of American hams over here, most who work in some aspect for the US military. These individuals generally do not qualify for an HL9 callsign and therefore the general knowledge of how to go about applying for these HL9 licenses was lost. The process to apply for a standard South Korean amateur radio license is straight forward and is what I did. I was subsequently issued the callsign HL2/AD7MI, with the “2” in HL2 signifying the geographical area where I am stationed. The callsign got me on the air, but I soon learned the difficulties in using such an unwieldy callsign (“Hotel Lima Two Stroke Alpha Delta Seven Mike India” is a mouthful).
The good news – an Air Force ham, who is stationed down at the US military headquarters in Seoul, kept plugging away at the HL9 issue and was successful in not only getting issued an HL9 callsign but also was able to define the process for the rest of us. Finally having an organization identified to submit my request to, I was issued my new callsign: HL9MI. I am looking forward to getting on the air and breaking it in.
As far as I know, Korea is the only place where the US military issues callsigns. Back after WWII, it was a common practice but it was discontinued in Japan and Germany once their amateur radio programs stood back up with their civilian governments. Amateur radio licenses for US military in Germany is issued through the US military (at least that is how it worked in 2002), but that program is run by the German government. Even in Iraq, licenses were initially issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority before the responsibility was transferred to the Iraqi civilian government. The Afghan government is responsible for the issuing of callsigns for NATO military serving in Afghanistan. It is interesting that here in Korea, 60 years after the civilian government of South Korea stood up, there is still an active provision for the US military to issue amateur radio callsigns.