QRT for tonight, but scouting for another country!

I’m solo parenting most of this week, which is why I’ve been off the air.  I’m going to spend at least a few hours tomorrow to work 15m and 20m as much as I’m able.  I did get a nice grounding bus in the mail the other day, which I might have the time to install and get rid of my ‘grounding solution’ at present.  I’m headed to Uganda on Saturday morning on the motorcycle, and I’ll be back Sunday evening, so I doubt I’ll be on the air at all this weekend.

BUT! this trip has a dual purpose, it gives me the chance to scout out some locations for a future ‘true’ dxpedition.  Uganda is only two hours away, Burundi is only one hour. setting up a DXpedition to either country ‘should’ be easy.  And not to worry, a DXpedition like this will be more intense, and not holiday style like I have here.

Alan, 9X0TA / KE4TA

QRT until Thursday night

I’m solo parenting this week, with my wife working late nights. I might be able to swing a few minutes here and there, but I wouldn’t count on it.

I’ll also be QRT from Friday night until Sunday.  We’re taking a trip to Uganda.

Sooo I guess what I’m saying is, Thursday night is the only night I’m on for the remainder of the week.

Alan 9X0TA / KE4TA

Damn fine night on 15m tonight

First off, thank you to all the operators on 15m who laid off the mic when I was working another station.  It really makes a difference on this end of the pileup.  And frankly, when I’m less frustrated by the pileup, I do tend to stick around longer.  For everyone I missed, I’ll be back tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that.

The noise levels on 15m are much lower than the noise on 20m by a factor of 3-5db, which makes a huge difference.  There were several stations that I contacted on 20m and again on 15m, and the quality in their signals was quite pronounced.  At this rate, 15 may be my go to band.

One thing I’ve noticed, and I’ve been told by more than a few experienced hams, is that propagation has a strange way of working out when theres a station already working the band…. ergo, no one is calling CQ.  And I agree. I’ve already surprised a few stations by answering their calls, and I think it would speak highly of the DX community if we all got out there and called CQ once in awhile.  So, with that being said…

Tomorrow, I’m QRO on 10m.  The sunspots maybe low, but I’m QRO and calling CQ between 28.400 and 28.450 tomorrow.  Probably around 1600 – 2000Z.  I’ll be looking for the frequency with the lowest noise.  If you hear me, please, don’t spot me.  Let this be a reward for the stations who actually scan the bands, and take the time to do the work the hard way.

I’ll probably move to 15m later on in the evening.

Alan, 9X0TA, KE4TA


In other non Amateur Radio related news.

Many people don’t realize that Rwanda is smaller than the state of Maryland.  It takes about roughly an hour to get from Kigali (in the center) to the Southern border with Burundi.  So today two of my friends and I took our motorcycles South to to the border crossing at Burundi.   My motorcycle is in the middle.  Yes, it has barely enough room in the box to fit my radio and an antenna.  But I’ll have to work something out for a power supply.  I’m thinking that powering it off the motorcycle battery would be a bad idea.

There is a stark contrast between Kigali, the North of the country, and this part, its actually quite flat by Rwanda standards.

On a related note, if anyone you know has been able to configure an SDR Play with a Nexus 10 tablet, please put them in touch with me, I’d like to do a few tests to check out the noise levels in various areas to eventually plan an away trip to operate elsewhere in the country.

Today is Umuganda

Today is Umuganda, which is more or less a mandatory half day of public service for all able bodied Rwandans.  For the expats however, its a day to ride bikes and not have to worry about cars.

So we took my daughter out for a bike ride.

But in terms of amateur radio, I decided to do a little test.  I figured that since most of the Rwandans would be working to fill potholes and do other things, perhaps their lights would be off and the noise levels on 20m would be lower.  I was wrong, the noise was as bad as it ever was.  It could be because they were using electricity for their projects, or perhaps they just left the lights on when they left.


So I’m now set up with Club log, and my QSOs will upload instantly as I log your QSO.  For anyone who wants the technical details, I’m using N1MM+’s logging program, with N1MM-ClubLoggateway.exe v.208, Rick Ellison N2AMG to get that information over to ClubLog.  I’m sending my logs to QRZ at the end of the night.  I’m still waiting for my postcard from the ARRL so I can set up LoTW, but once I do, all my logs will get put up there.  I’m keeping a backup of my logs on dropbox in case my computer dies.

UPDATE: LoTW is now working, it will get updated at the end of every night.

Alan 9X0TA / KE4TA

Americans and geography.

Yes, I get it, Austria is in Western Europe.  My mistake.  I’ve watched too many movies…

The only way Americans learn geography is if theres a movie about it involving Leonardo di Caprio, or we went to war there.  Its Gods way of teaching us geography.

I’m doing my best here.  Just trying to break the pileup into manageable groups.  90% of the time I’m trying to distinguish one syllable from another, piled up on top of a number.


I’ll be in the General portion tonight

W2MJP actually pointed out to me that I’ve been working exclusively in the Extra portions of 20m.  To be quite honest, one of the biggest reasons I upgraded from General to Extra was because I was tired of trying to remember where the General portion ended and the Extra portion began.  (Hey, whatever motivates you right?)  Thanks for pointing that out Mike.

So with that said, I’ll be on the upper portion of the band tonight, wherever I can find the lowest noise level, but somewhere around 14.310-14.350 Mhz.  Of course, the weather here looks good at present, but if it gets stormy like it did over the weekend, all bets are off.

Alan 9X0TA / KE4TA