CQ CQ CQ – #HamRadio Saturday – DX SUCCESS!

Happy news.

On Thursday a local ham and expert on antennas (who also attends the TLM) came to my BOQ to consult about antennas and a potential location in the complex for a station.  We worked on my rig and made some progress. We also worked on it for a bit on Friday.  I learned some stuff, especially about old fashioned – dare I say, traditional? – operator’s etiquette.

Inter alia, he explained that the type of CW key I have (sent by a reader): a US Army Signal Corps J-38.

Once we got the antenna tuned up we heard a fellow in the Canary Islands who was provoking a pile up (that’s when all sorts of hams try to make a contact with him because his location is a bit exotic or the event is special). We also heard a guy in Barcelona provoking the same. Using my station, the Elmer made a QSO with him, thus proving that, with my rig, IT CAN BE DONE.

Now we have to make it be done better!

I have a couple shots of stuff he brought to work on the rig.  I am sure that this is familiar to you experts, but it was new to me.



When he went home, I made my first 20m QSO with him and then I listened around for a while – still on 20m.

I managed to make my first long distance contact by working a station in W. Palm Beach.

He putting out 400W and I could hear him well. I was on 100W and he could barely hear me, but after taking a dozen runs at my callsign – the band was going in and out – he got me!

So, I made my first long distance QSO on Thursday evening, using the small vertical antenna a contributor here sent me. Thanks to him!

“-… ..- – ..-. .- – …. . .-. ..–.. -… ..- – ..-. .- – …. . .-. ..–..”, some of you are sending as fast as humanly possible, “What is the antenna? Don’t keep us in suspense unless you hate Vatican II!”

Glad you asked. What I have set up now is a … yes… it’s cheesy sounding, a Super Antenna. It sets up and breaks down in a couple minutes and goes into a small nylon bag.  And it works!

I am also going to be setting up on the balcony a dipole with wire in an inverted V to see what I can get and send.  There are also some attractive trees nearby.

At this point my objective is to learn to use well the basic equipment I have received before getting into anything more complicated or powerful. If I can use this rig and some simple antenna solutions well, then I’ll be in better shape later to expand my horizons.

I still have my eye on portability, however. I’d like to put together a good radio Go Bag.


After posting this I saw that our own WB0YLE was going to be listening on 14.265.  I dashed (not dotted) to my rig and heard him calling CQ.  I responded a couple times and he heard me. We had a successful contact. Very cool.  The band was in and out, making it a little hard.

Then I tuned around and heard a big pile up of people trying to work a station in Hawaii.  These pile ups!  It’s a JUNGLE out there!  You’ve got to fight for your life, it seems!

I may be exaggerating a little.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ah…a Bird meter. Funny, I just got a couple extra elements (I have to be able to detect from 160M to 900 MHz band, since I have equipment in all of them) and a nifty leather case to carry the meter and elements in.

    (I also have a 25KW element for 50-150 MHz that was excess at the first flamethrower FM station I worked at as a journeyman chief engineer back in the day…but, don’t have anything right now that’s powerful enough to tickle it.)

    Congrats on Your First Official DX QSO ™, Father. Glad to see the Superantenna is working! I’m sitting here listening around 14.265…band seems to be quiet tonight…just a couple Mexican stations and some precip static out there tonight.

  2. moconnor says:

    Yeah, West Palm. Almost like you are here again ;-)

  3. Kathleen10 says:

    Congratulations Fr. Z! I know you did something good because I recognize some of the English words, lol.

  4. MWindsor says:

    Congrats, Father. Glad to hear you’re on the air.

    We also have a ham radio group on Awestruck:


    We can use this for scheduling contacts and the like. We can use it for anything, really.


  5. MWindsor says: ham radio group on Awestruck

    I’ll check it out!

  6. MWindsor says:

    As to the pileups – Try busting a pileup while running QRP. It’s a trifle frustrating at times, but great fun when you get through.

  7. What’s really fun about pileups is being on the bottom. Seriously. Both times I activated N3S to commemorate 150th anniversary of the War Between the States events…well, it’s nice to be wanted, that’s what I’ll say. Longest one lasted close to an hour. Mentally challenging, but I guess they wanted the special QSL card.

    (Wondering how big the FrZ TEOTWAWKI Special Event pileup will be…;))

  8. Bryan D. Boyle says: FrZ TEOTWAWKI Special Event

    That’s a lot of Morse! Not as much as the FrZSHTF event.

  9. MWindsor says:

    I also built a Yahoo group that might be easier to use. I can get to the Yahoo group from work, I can’t get to Awestruck.


  10. Alanmac says:

    The longer you are on the air, the more interesting people you’ll meet.

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  12. rdschreiner says:

    It’s time Father Z goes to visit my father-in-law, Rev. Paul Bittner just outside of Eau Claire and works a contest from his multi-station ham radio farm.


  13. I listened for a while on 40m. I found a net of sorts. 20m is quiet. I think the band isn’t cooperating. Not much going on.

    I’ll check once in awhile on 14.265 and CQ. It’s 0320 UTC

  14. Elizabeth D says:

    Aren’t those of you posting your ham radio callsigns so blithely all over the internet afraid of the spambots gleaning this and somehow (spammers always find a way) sending you ham spam?

    [We have special can openers for that.]

  15. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    LOL. Thank you, Elizabeth D. It’s now 0447 UTC. Good listening, everyone.

  16. JonPatrick says:

    My license came through a week go but haven’t made any contacts yet. I just have the Baofeng HT and the 2m and 440 band seem fairly quiet around here, Thinking I may accelerate my acquiring an HF rig.

    73 from Jon KC1EFW


    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  17. JonPatrick says:

    Elizabeth D, anyone can go to the FCC ULS database and look up any ham’s call sign. so I don’t think posting it here is an issue. For Ham spam they would have to be licensed too. If they used a fake call sign that would be easy to verify and report them, if it was real then it would be easy to find out who they are.

  18. ElizabethD: Call signs aren’t, in a manner of speaking, owned by the holder, but the citizens of the US (I’m speaking in terms of USA hams), in whose name (ostensibly) the FCC administers who has the privilege of operating on the ‘public airwaves’ as defined in the various communications acts. At one time, even broadcast station licences (which used to be licenses to print money) even spelled it out that fine point that it was the people who granted the license; the FCC merely administered the grant in their name.

    As such, call signs are public property, and, while yes, they can be abused, just like car license plates, they are public information. Now, what the various organs of government do with that information, how it’s cross-linked with identifying information and what steps they take (In the case of OPM, apparently not much…) in what they do with it (some known by civilians, much more is not) is another matter.

    Suffice it to say, just like the FAA, which did away with using the SSAN as a certificate number 20 years ago (I have to hope that all those student pilots I trained and signed their logbook with my old cert number aren’t mad at me…;)), the FCC has moved from using the SSAN to generating an “FRN” or FCC registration number, to use when doing business with them.

    So, whilst the possibility exists in posting call signs here that some n’er-do-well will glom on and do something with it…in the general scheme of things, so too does blasting out your callsign at 1.5KW into the blind aether blanketing the world and points beyond looking to hook a contact (QSO).

    Point conceded, but, I’m ok with it when weighed in the balance of all the other ways information that is more critical is subverted on a second-by-second basis.

  19. JonPatrick said:
    “My license came through a week go but haven’t made any contacts yet. I just have the Baofeng HT and the 2m and 440 band seem fairly quiet around here, Thinking I may accelerate my acquiring an HF rig.”

    No time like the present. 2/70cm is great in the car. Home? You will get more use out of the HF rig, once you set it up and get all the kinks unkinked. Besides, Real Hams ™ have made a QSO on 2o or 40M…:) *ducking*

  20. SanSan says:

    Very funny and entertaining Father Z

  21. MWindsor says:

    “Besides, Real Hams ™ have made a QSO on 2o or 40M…:) *ducking*”

    And Really Real Hams™ do so QRP. >Ducking behind Bryan D. Boyle<

  22. MWindsor says:

    Elizabeth D – In the past 5 years I’ve had my personal credit card numbers stolen 6 times. In fact, in the past three weeks, evil-doers managed to take three of the five current card numbers in my house (all debit cards, for my wife and I and one daughter).

    So far as I know, I’ve never gotten a piece of ham spam.

    I guess it’s all a matter of degree.


  23. The Masked Chicken says:

    It is perfectly legal for anyone, licensed or not, to listen in on the Amateur bands. That’s just like being a lurker on the Internet. I have a Grundig G8 am/fm/shortwave radio that receives 11 m to 90 m bands. I don’t know what the range is, but it has fair sensitivity. On Sundays, I often hear the basement shortwave Protestant evangelists – that is to say, people (usually women) broadcasting from, I like to think, their basements, some sort of evangelical message.

    The Chicken

  24. Mojoron says:

    I”m like you, I don’t want a massive antenna and tower to worry about. I use a 160m Windom, but you need 260 feet to use it. A smaller Windom wire can be had to only work up to 40m and take up less space. I’m going to purchase a Hex Beam: Tex Hex from Texas Towers and a pole/tower from Penninger Radio which can be ordered as a temporary set up for field day. The cost is reasonable compared to the permanent tower/antenna set ups that can run north of $5000. One thing about Ham radio, you can get into it as cheap as you want or spend as much as Trump does on a helicopter.

  25. I am glad that these posts generate some discussion!

    (More than my posts on liturgical prayer, as it turns out! 0{];¬) )

  26. LarryW2LJ says:

    Very good, Father Z – especially considering that the bands have been so cra ……… um, less than stellar the past few days. When you feel you’re up to it, we need to get on the air and get that first CW QSO out of the way.

  27. LarryW2LJ says: get that first CW QSO out of the way

    Wow. I am still pretty intimidated by CW. Can’t do it yet. I am slowly working up to it.

    Perhaps with a sched… without any rag chew….

  28. The Cobbler says:

    Use of “super” in the name of an antenna may be cheesy, but it’s more etymologically fitting than most uses of the word, no?

    “It is perfectly legal for anyone, licensed or not, to listen in on the Amateur bands. That’s just like being a lurker on the Internet.”
    Dumb question, but are there bands that aren’t legal to listen in on without a license?

  29. CandS says:

    Another dad and I got our first licenses this weekend. I had time to study for the General and did both Tech and General at once. Now for the more daunting path of choosing radios and antennas!

  30. Fr. Bryan says:

    Fr. Z, outstanding that you are up and running on HF. We will have to schedule that 40 meter QSO soon. I try to listen on 40 about every night. I will have to scan through the 20 meter band as well, as you mentioned 14.265 MHz. I find 40 m more cooperative at night. Hopefully I catch you on the air soon, or we can set up a sked.

  31. Fr. Bryan says:

    40m and 20m … okay. 20m has been kinda terrible, but I’ll make a practice of checking 14.265 unless someone objects or suggests a different approach. Perhaps we need a suggestion for 40m (phone).

  32. Fr. Bryan says:

    how about 7.275 MHz (LSB) for 40 meters? I can put both the 20 meter and 40 meter frequency into my radios memory.

  33. Fr. Bryan says:

    7.275 MHz (Lower Side Band) and 14.265 (Upper Side Band)


    I’ll have to retune my antenna to switch, unless I set up another beforehand… always a possibility.

    I will tune in this evening sometime. I may have a better view of schedule later.

  34. Fr. Bryan says:

    I have an auto-tuner so I can easily load up either band. I will try to get to my radio between 9:30 – 10 PM EDT tonight. Have to get through Pastoral Council first. I will try 20 meters first, then switch to 40 at 10 pm if I don’t hear anything. Fr. Bryan KD8ZFF

  35. JonPatrick says:

    “Dumb question, but are there bands that aren’t legal to listen in on without a license?”

    I understand that it is illegal to listen in on cell phone calls which are in the 900 Mhz band I believe.

  36. Mojoron says:

    To JonPatrick. You can listen anytime you want, you cannot transmit unless you have a particular license, General License coves most of the HF bands the ones the two Fr.s are discussing, Extra gets the rest of what is left over. Technician gets some HF, but mostly on 10 meters and all of the FM HF/VHF frequencies where many folks talk using repeaters.

  37. MWindsor says:

    “Dumb question, but are there bands that aren’t legal to listen in on without a license?”


    There’s a ham band up in the 900+ MHz range. It runs from 902 to 928 MHz. It’s legal to listen there. Cellular telephone signals run from 700 MHz to about 2500 MHz. The bands are divided into areas that amateur radio can use and other areas that cell companies can use. They are not supposed to cross between those bands.

    Anything else, and it’s pretty much legal to listen if you can get the signal.

  38. Someone is using 14.265MHz as I tune in.

  39. Fr. Bryan says:

    No-one on 7.235 LSB

  40. We might try 20m but I’ll need a moment to tune

  41. MWindsor says:

    Are you on 7.240? I’ve got a lot of QRN, but I think I could hear something out in the mud.

  42. Fr. Bryan says:

    I am sorry, I can’t hear you well . I am running 100 watts. I hear a very faint voice undiscernible.

  43. Fr. Bryan says:

    ZFF is hearing a very faint voice but can’t understand what said voice is saying. My radio RF-gain is wide open.

  44. MWindsor says:

    I heard you at about 2×2 but with big static crashes


  45. Fr. Bryan says:

    Hmm. Band is not really cooperating to well then it seems. I wonder if 20 meters is any better…my bet is not.

  46. I heard you say you thiught you could hear me. Perhaps we can switch to 20m? I’ll wait for your choice of frequency.

  47. MWindsor says:

    Trying zjn

  48. Fr. Bryan says:

    Roger that. going to 20 m

  49. MWindsor says:

    Wanna try 20?

  50. Fr. Bryan says:

    14.255 USB

  51. MWindsor says:

    Qrm on 265

  52. MWindsor says:

    On 255

  53. Fr. Bryan says:

    OK, I’m loaded up on 14.255 calling for KC9ZJN.

  54. MWindsor says:

    I have a weird mechanical chirp on 255.

  55. Fr. Bryan says:

    I hear nothing here except the unusal background white noise.

  56. Fr. Bryan says:

    Sure. 14.230 seems clear

  57. MWindsor says:

    14.315 seems clear. But I may be toomfar tonight havent heard anyone further away than west virginia. On 315 now

  58. Fr. Bryan says:

    This is where I wish I had an 80 meter antenna. I can’t go lower than 40 from here, but I can from my dad’s farm in Indiana.

  59. I heard something blip – test? on 315

  60. Fr. Bryan says:

    One more shot on 40 meters?

  61. MWindsor says:

    Yeah, nothing but static on both freqs from here. Another time.

    kt5wx, CL

  62. Fr. Bryan says:

    Is someone on 317?

  63. Fr. Bryan says:

    I hear him? W5

  64. Fr. Bryan says:

    I’m going to try him. He is in Oklahoma and I need OK for WAS.

  65. Fr. Bryan says:

    We could try PSK31 on 14.070

  66. Fr. Bryan says:

    OK 230….then try PSK31?

  67. met up with W2QA and we are moving to 260

  68. Fr. Bryan says:

    OK. I hear very faint voice on 260. Not understandable. I guess the propagation is bad for us tonight.

  69. I think we have competition on 260

  70. Fr. Bryan says:

    Yep. A FL station calling CQ

  71. MWindsor says:

    Fr. Bryan – I had you at about 2×2 briefly, but with enough QSB as to take your signal down into the mud a time or two. But even then, I had actually managed to tune my antenna perfectly (for once!), and I didn’t get it quite so well tuned when we switched frequencies.

    Still, I’m actually happy that you heard me at all given the conditions. I was running only 5w, so any signal is better than no signal at all.

  72. Fr. Bryan says:

    AH, yes. with all the QSB, 5 watts is tough….100 watts is tough. Willing try 40 meters again.

  73. Fr. Bryan says:

    No luck for me tonight, the bands just aren’t cooperating. I can try again tomorrow, and earlier in the evening too. Tnx de KD8ZFF Fr. Bryan

  74. Fr. Bryan says: I can try again tomorrow

    By all means do!

    I, however, hit the road tomorrow morning for a few days.

    I can start another post for those who want to schedule something and then use the combox to coordinate.

    Everyone: Be mindful of your logging in! Screw up three times and you get locked out.

  75. Fr. Bryan says:

    That would be great Fr. Z. Thank you !

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  77. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Dumb question, but are there bands that aren’t legal to listen in on without a license?”

    Yes. Those would be the “contrabands.” :)

    The Chicken

  78. The Cobbler says:

    Ha! Good one, Chicken.

    Wanted to check in and say thanks to everyone who answered my question… so, thanks!

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