Thursday, May 28, 2020

SD Community HAM FORUM - Why CW Presentation

Presenting CW to the San Diego Community Ham Forum on Monday, May 1st, at 8PM,
We will quickly answer the following questions;
1) Why we started CW. 2) How we got started. 3) Our top three tips.

It’s on-air and will be held on the following local San Diego County linked repeaters. 
     Woodson - Rx: 145.180, Tx: 144.58,  PL:107.2
     El Cajon -  Rx: 449.580, Tx: 444.580, PL:107.2
     Alpine -      Rx: 447.580, Tx: 442.580, PL:107.2
     Laguna -    Rx:446.420,  Tx: 441.420, PL:107.2
     Laguna -    Rx:145.120,  Tx: 144.520, PL:107.2

The panel will include Dan (KI6KU), Ted (WD6TED), Adam (K6ARK), and myself (N1CLC)

Monday, May 25, 2020

N1CLC AZ SOTAFest 2020

20 summits in 9 days, yeee haaaa!  I’m just finishing a 10 day vacation (+2 on the road) at my summer home in northern Arizona.  During this time, 9 days  were spent hiking and playing with a radio on a summit.  I wanted to see if I could average 2 activations per day and work in one day off to do some maintenance on the house.  Well, I exceeded that goal and managed 20 activations over 9 days of hiking.  Many of the summits, especially the triple summit days, the peaks are clustered together and if I’m going to drive to one, I might as well do all three.  This is the perfect time of year to hike this area if you want to maximize your hiking experience too.  The monsoons don’t arrive for another month so you can hike all day and the weather is perfect.  Once the monsoons arrive, hiking with an antenna in the air is normally not recommended when the thunderstorms move in, which is around noon.  So if you want to double-summit,  you need to be up at the crack of dawn, run and gun. 
(click on pictures for larger)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

SOTA Logging Headache Is Gone!

Updated: I've been using Hamlog on my iPhone since I started doing SOTA.  At the time I was looking, options were limited.  I've had to force hamlog to work for my needs, one of them being that I like importing my logs into N3FJP's Amateur Contact Log (ACL) on my PC at home.  ACL is the mothership for my logging.  It provides one button upload to LOTW for confirmation, and it's one-button download quickly shows me all of the confirmations the other direction.  I also do a quick export and then upload it to QRZ because a lot of people were asking me to confirm contacts there.  Although Hamlog supported ADIF exports, I had to use a text editor to add some fields, and fix the Notes field so it imported correctly (I was putting the Summit reference in the hamlog notes field).  ACL on the PC has user customizable fields, so I used one of them for my summit reference and another for the other operator's summit for summit-to-summit contacts.  Fixing the notes field and adding a summit reference was a bulk one-time edit.  Getting summit-to-summit (S2S) references in ACL was a manual process and it was a huge pain.  I like having that info when  talking to someone on the phone or radio, allowing me to quickly look up the last QSO with them and yak about it. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

2020-05-16 Escudilla & South Mtn.

Well it's my first day up at my cabin in Alpine AZ and I decided to tackle one of the more difficult peaks, Escudilla Mountain.  It has a little more than 1,500 feet of gain but really not that hard except it starts at over 9,000 feet and goes up to almost 11,000.  What makes this one difficult is all of the fallen trees on the trail.  It gets worse at the top and I decided to go to the designated high point just to the north which was a massive pain in the ass.  From the time I got out of the car it was almost 7 hours of play.  I decided that 7+ miles of difficult hiking wasn't good enough so I drove up to South mountain for some more.  I'll stop here, and let you enjoy the video I put together.... with some screw-ups that I made during post-production.

The logbooks and loadout are below

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Sycuan Peak and Another Snake

Today’s adventure was a short 2.2 mile hike up and back to Sycuan Peak (W6/SC-203).  It’s mother’s day so I didn’t get on the trail till about 12.  The marine layer burned off and it was clear.  It wasn’t too hot, maybe 80 tops. 

I’ve done this peak before and had forgotten how eroded it was.  I had told someone that it would be good for mountain biking but no way would you want to do this one.  After being surprised by last week’s rattlesnake, I was on the lookout.  I’m not sure that would do me any good as the species we have in this area are the Red Diamond rattlers and they really blend in.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

My Tips for Learning Morse Code

I thought that while I learn morse code, I’d document along the way what I’m doing, issues that I’ve had, observations, and any tips to others feeling the pain of the CW learning dance.  By the way, morse code and “CW” are used interchangeably by hams.  CW stands for “continuous wave”.  I won’t get into what exactly that means here, just be aware.  Also, I'll be updating this article with any new tips that I learn and add to the links to resources at the bottom as I come across them.

Note: The wine cork paddles pictured to the right were my first.  I used them to make my first ever CW contact from a mountain top to N0OI.  The paddles were a gift from K6ARK, my SOTA sensei, aka SOTA Yoda. (click pictures for larger)

If you are here for the tips, just scroll down to the "Tips" section and skip my poetic blather.

Monday, May 4, 2020

2020-05-03 Jamul Mountain

I couldn’t wait to hit the mountains today.  I headed over to Jamul Mountain with the radios and antennas to get some amateur radio contacts.  The mountain is local to the area and it’s another K6MXA special.  John turned me on to this and mentioned that it’s a pretty hike.  I got up early today to avoid the heat (last week was still in the back of my mind).  Today was forecast to be a lot cooler than last weekend, 76 at the house.  I was at the trailhead by 7AM and it was cool and moist.  The marine layer was backed up against the mountains and hung in the valleys, making for a picturesque launch.  As I hiked, the marine layer slowly burned off but it never got real uncomfortable.