CQ CQ CQ #HamRadio Saturday – Of shops, a video, a Latinist digression, QSL card, prayers

I will set up and turn on my rig sometime during the day and in the evening.  Perhaps some of you might use the combox to set up some scheds.

I didn’t post last Saturday because I was travelling.  But I was travelling in a place where I did one hamish radioish thing in between museums.

In the last couple weeks I have visited two ham radio shops… physically, not virtually via the interwebs.  First, I drove over to Milwaukee (where the great Sheriff David Clarke gives sensible advice to the citizenry) to find one of the last ham radio shops in the region.  I am told that there isn’t even one in the Chicago metro anymore.  Imagine.  I didn’t get much, and, frankly, there wasn’t much on display to look at.  I obtained an antenna/cable switch and an extra length of cable.  Anyway, now I know where it is.  While I was in Milwaukee I also made a pastoral visit to my old friend and Latin mentor Fr. Reginald Foster.  We caught up on his Latin book project (HERE) and argued amicably for a while.  He had galleys of his new book on the table along with his vast array of colored pens for which he is rightly famous.   He dropped me a note a while back in response to an article on Latin I sent him from (I think the New Yorker).  It was a scream.

Anyway… back to radio

I was in L.A. recently, and I visited the Burbank store of Ham Radio Outlet.  There was quite a bit on display there and some really nice people in the store.  I am finding that most hams are really nice people.  One of you readers has given me some credit at HRO! I’ll have to figure out what to use it one.  It seems that people can give you credit that you can use at any store, but you have to call in your order.  You can do so at any of their branches.  The credit is assigned to your callsign.

In the last couple weeks I made a few long distance contacts.  However, each time I had to take several runs at communicating my callsign to the station on the other end.  Twice I was told – with the same description – that I was “way down in the mud”.  So, I need to make some changes.  I was operating at full power (100W).  Yes, the bands were grumpy and not cooperating, but other stations were coming in 5×9.  I am pretty sure it is my antenna placement that is limiting me.

BTW… I received from one of you readers a morse code key that was, I believe, on my Amazon wishlist.  Alas, it arrived broken, with an adjustment screw bent sideways.  I must contact amazon to figure out what to do, but the problem is that I don’t know who it came from.  There was no packing slip included with the name of the giver.  That happens sometimes.  Anyway, if you – the giver – see this, drop me a note.

I still haven’t moved forward with QSO/QSL cards.  I am wavering about a vanity call, for one thing.  Also, I sent a note to a fellow who makes cards and helps with design, but I haven’t heard back from him.  I guess there is no rush.  My design…

I was told by a local ham who has been a great Elmer that this card is not quite right.  The call sign should be far more visible so that it “screams” across the room at you.  More visible?  I don’t think neon tubes go through the mail easily.

I draw the readerships attention to a video posted by USNERDOC (whose videos and AMP-3 gear is pretty cool).  He has practical videos about getting your comms up and running.  His latest shows him setting up his homebrew wire antenna to tune in with a CountyComm GP-5/SSB to the AmRRON 40m Voice Net.  HERE USNERDOC does some great father/son things such as road trips and geocaching.  He and his wife design and make emergency medical kits and portable radio gear.  I was partly inspired to get into ham radio by his videos, especially where he shows homebrew gear he crafted.  Check him out.  Anyway, I mentioned this because last week I was working 40m and heard the AmRONN Voice Net.  People were checking in.  Frankly, I didn’t know what to do.  I was tempted to check in, but I don’t know if you have to be formally a member.  Maybe I should actually take time to look at their site and figure it out?

I continue my study for the Extra ticket.  I was frustrated the other day because I heard some fun stuff going on just out of reach.  So… gotta get it.

Finally, I ask your prayers for one of our fellow commentators here who is a ham.  I won’t give his callsign here, but he can chime in if he wants.  He wrote:

Have been scheduled to go under the knife on 9/15 to reconstruct (not cosmetic) my nose, sinus configuration, biopsy of some masses they found in a cat scan, and such.  Never been under; taking care of confession etc beforehand..but would appreciate prayers if you think of it that the Lord guide the surgeon’s hand, that the biopsy is negative, but in any and all cases, regardless of the outcome, His Will be done.

Amen.  So… DX some prayers for him, would you please?

And don’t forget Echolink!  WB0YLE-R

That it for now.

de KC9ZJN 73

I am building a list of hams who frequent this blog.  I hope I haven’t missed any of you.  Check in!

Z-Blog HAMS (by your username here and your call)

  • acardnal KE4WKV
  • Joan W4JMJ
  • BMKoenig K3BMK
  • chris1 KJ4MPE
  • crule N4TII
  • Bryan Boyle WB0YLE
  • Andy Lucy KG4ZMF
  • Navy Jeff KC9TCZ
  • pledbet424 WB0MZT
  • Kenneth Jones KB3JA/BY
  • asperges G4NJH
  • Dan Soderlund KBØEO
  • Hesiodos AD7QQ
  • MWindsor – KT5WX
  • dahveed – KD8ZIB
  • FloridaJoan – W4JMJ
  • Jilly – WA4CZD
  • jpaluh – KB3LUE
  • Humilitas – KC4RAC
  • Jeffc – AC5XL
  • pledbet424 – WB0MZT
  • Patrick L – AG4JQ
  • Dr Guinness – VK3SJB
  • MacBride – KC2MEO
  • Evan C – N5EDC
  • boxerpaws1952 – N3XFQ
  • chris_R – N3GBJ
  • Jack – W1JEM
  • Julia12 – KC9ALW
  • moon123 – KB9VSE
  • Pearl – KC8JSL
  • OK_doc – KF5THY
  • Baritone – KD5AYJ
  • ByzCath08 – W8GMN
  • Mojoron – K0CCP
  • Deacon Bob – W8CRO
  • Incensum – N9WIV
  • SimonsDad – KB1WOL
  • O. Possum – KC1BGU
  • Curt – AF7KQ
  • Arthur – KD9BRV
  • jeff_logullo – N0MII
  • ckamas – AD6CL
  • Allan S. – VA3BVM
  • JonPatrick – KC1EFW
  • Fr. Jackson – KB0PGJ and ZL2JAC
  • USMC_0369 –  N5RFN

PRIESTLY HAMS (out there somewhere)

  • Fr. David McGuire AE4LH
  • frdanbecker WA1ZHQ
  • Rev. Canon Glenn Gardner K9ALT
  • plaf26 – KC0GA
  • Fr. Bryan – KD8ZFF
  • starprst- AB4TS
  • Fr. J. Stefanski – SQ3SWS / N2FCH
  • Fr. Paul A. – Cannariato KB2TJY
  • Fr. Robert Jackson – KB0PGJ and ZL2JAC

There must be more of you!


Thank to a text tip from an Elmer I made a contact with a fellow in Morocco a few minutes ago.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Ham Radio, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Fr. Bryan says:

    I am willing to try on 40 meters tonight (9/5) starting at or near 8 pm on 7.235 MHz I will check in here to see what else may be happening, and to update the frequency if need be. KD8ZFF

  2. OK_doc says:

    8 PM which time zone?

  3. MWindsor says:

    Here’s a heads-up: Solar and terrestrial weather permitting, I may try a SOTA run on either Tuesday or Wednesday. My daughter and I are going to Winding Stair Mountain in Oklahoma for a camping trip. If conditions are right, I may take the radio along. But with the “solar maximum” flatlined for two weeks and HF conditions pretty grim, I may not take it along. With a 3 mile hike and 600 vertical feet up, it becomes dead weight if there’s no hope of a contact or four. Perhaps you priests could bless the sun or something, in the hopes of getting a signal more than 500 miles.

    But we really should try to coordinate some kind of Zed-Net before the economy tanks in the next couple of weeks. I’m just sayin’…

    73 KT5WX

  4. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    Perhaps you should commission Daniel Mitsui to design a card. It doesn’t get much clearer than black and white with red letters. Say the red, do the black — oops. :-)

    [What an interesting idea! Thanks for that!]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  5. Nan says:

    When you return to your homeland, you should visit radio city in Mounds View. They have a sidewalk sale next weekend, have specials on certain equipment and go to ham fests.

    No, I’m not a ham.

  6. Fr. Bryan says:

    Sorry, 8 PM EDT Saturday 9/5, same as 00:00 UTC, Sunday 9/6. I have thunderstorms in the area right now, so hopefully they clear out, or I won’t be able to connect the antenna. We will see…

  7. Fr. Bryan says:

    KT5WX says: “But we really should try to coordinate some kind of Zed-Net before the economy tanks in the next couple of weeks. I’m just sayin’…”

    Agreed, though I hope we have a bit longer before that happens, though I wouldn’t be surprised. Any thoughts on perhaps a weekly sched, day, time, frequency, backup frequencies, band, etc.?

  8. Fr. Bryan says:

    KC9ZJN, I think one of the reasons your audio is “in the mud” while you hear others 59 is that you are using a vertical antenna, versus a dipole antenna. I recall I could barely hear you while you gave me an RST of 59 a couple weeks ago. I think my antenna was sending RF to you via a different path than your antenna to me. I am using a 40 meter dipole at 25 ft off the ground which acts somewhat as a Near Vertical Incidence Skywave Antenna (NVIS), which has an RF takeoff angle nearly straight up, and bounces signals down for regional (say 400-600 mile) coverage, though I can also get much farther. A vertical sends RF out differently, and you may be going over our heads (you make be skipping over me who is 370 miles or so distant from you). You may want to think about a NVIS dipole at some point for those QSO’s that are more regional to you. Other HAMs may have a other ideas. Just my $.02.

  9. At 23:37 UTC I made a contact with a guy in Morocco on 20m at 14.267 – 5E2E

    There was a guy on the island of Gozo in big pile up on 20m at 14.237

  10. CandS says:

    I’m looking forward to participating soon. Piece by piece things are coming in. I got my first license two weeks ago passing the Technician and General exams. My call sign came just this past Tuesday (and then I noticed the next day the license database at FCC was down from then through after Labor Day). Got the info just in time. My radio, power supply, and antenna tuner also came on Tuesday. Now, I’m waiting for the antenna. I got the power supply wired and hooked up today and turned some dials. Can’t receive anything yet either. Kind of frustrating! Antenna should be here on Wednesday, but it’s a shame not to be able to play with it over the long weekend.

    Fr. Z, I’ve also watched a bunch of those USNERDOC videos. Lots of good information. I also like Dave Casler’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davecasler
    Lots of information there.

    Excited to get started.

  11. Fr. Bryan says:

    I caught the Morroco station too. On 20 meters now. Anyone on?

  12. MWindsor says:

    “Agreed, though I hope we have a bit longer before that happens, though I wouldn’t be surprised. ”

    Weeks. Not months. Just my read of what’s going on.

  13. Fr. Bryan says:

    OK, I am on 20 meters. 14.280 USB … anyone on the radio tonight?

  14. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    I am on 20m now – 14280

  15. MWindsor says:

    Just finished vespers. You still on, padre? If so, I can be on in 15 minutes.

  16. Fr. Bryan says:

    OK, KD8ZFF calling on 14.280 CQ CQ CQ

  17. Fr. Bryan says:

    Frequency is in use. Where to move?

  18. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    I did not hear anything on 14280.

  19. Fr. Bryan says:

    14.285 gents. doesn’t seem to be anyone there.

  20. Father Zuhlsdorf says:


  21. MWindsor says:

    I can hear something, but its deep in the mud.

  22. Fr. Bryan says:

    Calling CQ…

  23. Fr. Bryan says:

    Hmm, I am hearing nothing. Wondering if a switch to 40 meters would be better…thoughts?

  24. MWindsor says:

    40 is ok seems to have less noise

  25. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    I’ll change my antenna aroun to 40m

  26. Fr. Bryan says:

    OK, on to 40 meters….frequency?

  27. MWindsor says:

    7.240 seems open, but the band is crowded.

  28. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    someone is on 7240

  29. MWindsor says:

    Well, it wasnt crowded until a second ago.

  30. Fr. Bryan says:

    OK, will try there…. I hear someone…

  31. Fr. Bryan says:


  32. MWindsor says:

    Since I am QRP, you guys pick a freq and I will follow you.

  33. Fr. Bryan says:

    7.256 seems clear on this end

  34. MWindsor says:

    I got you 5×5 fr bryan, but you cant hear me .

  35. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    i hear K58ZFF

  36. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    chatty guy from KY

  37. MWindsor says:

    Trying KC9ZJN

  38. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    I hear you calling Windsor

  39. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    lots of noise… I hear KD8ZFF

  40. MWindsor says:

    4×4 with severe qsy. I am on a mag loop, fyi.

  41. Fr. Bryan says:

    Just talked to you both but am hearing nothing here. will keep trying for awhile.

  42. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    I’m heading back to 20m… better luck there i think

  43. Fr. Bryan says:

    OK, will follow. Have a freq in mind?

  44. Fr. Bryan says:

    Oh, yeah, less noise. I am on 14.285 again.

  45. MWindsor says:

    Well, I heard KD8ZFF clear, and I see that KC9ZJN could hear me but I cant hear him . Odd band tonihgt. Now I have QRM from way over at 258.

  46. Father Zuhlsdorf says:


  47. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    I heard a whisper from ZFF now someone tuning up

  48. MWindsor says:

    Nothing on 14.285

  49. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    I’m changing cables

  50. Fr. Bryan says:

    On echolink through my smartphone on the WDTPRS node as well.

  51. MWindsor says:

    I need to call it a night. Parental duties.


  52. Fr. Bryan says:

    OK Mark. 73. One of these days the bands will cooperate. Glad to know you heard me at least…At least I’m getting out.

  53. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    I’ll head to apt soon and echo link

  54. Fr. Bryan says:

    May be the only way…HF was poor today all around due to active geomagnetic field again. Monitoring the Echolink node. Not sure if I’m using it right, but I am connected.

  55. Fr. Bryan says:

    In the meantime, I will see what I can find on 20 meters coming in…KD8ZFF is QSY

  56. Fr. Bryan says:

    FYI, K0IZ in Colorado is on 14.272.50 MHz doing some contesting. would be a good catch.

  57. Fr. Bryan says:

    Nice QSO with KC9ZJN on Echolink. Tnx. Will hear you on the air again soon. de KD8ZFF, 73.

  58. Fr. Bryan… thanks for the contact via ECHOLINK. I think that may be the first time blog participants have made use of WB0YLE-R node. Thanks to him as well!

    I’ll get on the rig tomorrow, Sunday.

  59. Allan S. says:

    I’ve used the wb0yle EchoLink and spoken with Bryan before. Please add me Father:

    Allan S., Kingston, ON

    [Done. Spiffy call sign you’ve got there!]

  60. MWindsor says:

    UPDATE: Not going to take the radio to Oklahoma this week. Bad weather forecast.

  61. Fr. Bryan says:

    Fr.Z I saw that I am in your qrz logbook, and you are in mine. I’m not getting a confirmation, so could you share the details and I can edit my entry so we get a confirmed qso on qrz? Specifically time, frequecy, band. Thanks. KD8ZFF. Fr. Bryan

  62. Fr. Bryan says: Specifically time, frequecy, band

    There was no frequency. This was Echolink.

  63. Fr. Bryan says:

    Fr. Z, I understand. Was just wondering how you entered it into your log. Mine won’t let me keep some of these fields blank. It was a great QSO.

  64. Glad to hear that folks are using the echolink node…;) It’s there for the use, so feel free.

    Father: just a suggestion…HRO stocks most (if not all) of the ARRL books…maybe with whatever the fellow reader put on account for you…Suggest the 2016 Handbook, the ARRL Antenna Book, ARRL Operating Manual…and their paper logbook is what I’ve been using since 1969…yeah, we don’t have to keep a running log anymore…but, it’s fun to look back at some of the contacts over the years and discover treasures in there…Books, especially when you consider the breadth of this hobby, are always a good thing to have. The Handbook is so necessary, more than one commercial radio station I worked in back in the day when you had to have licensed engineers on duty, that there was always one on the shelf in the shop.

    I’m listening on 14.265 right now. I know you all were on last night, but will leave it on in the background if anyone wants to make a call (it’s currently 1700 GMT Sunday Afternoon).

    Hey guys…maybe we need to pitch in to get Father something to warm his coax a little more..;)

  65. Bryan D. Boyle says: ARRL Antenna Book, ARRL Operating Manual

    I have them.

    A paper logbook! Sounds old fashioned. I like it.

    Would the 2016 Handbook be significantly different from the 2015?

    I’ll be on 20m in a few.

  66. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    on 20m now

  67. Father Zuhlsdorf says:

    There is a big pile up on 14.303 right now

  68. 14.303 is close to the maritime assistance net here in the US.

    FWIW, I’ll have the echolink set up to connect to the Penn Wireless network at 0000 GMT tonight, Sunday (2000 ET), if anyone wants to check in. It’s a directed net, usually run by Howard N3FEL or Tom KE3QC. Join in if you’re interested. Still listening on 14.265…20 seems quiet this fine day.

  69. The 2016 edition is not that much different; matter of editing, some additions to the digital discussion…and freshened up the adverts, from what I can tell. If you’ve the ’15, it is probably good for another couple years (I just updated; my last was the 2010).

    I like paper logs. Yeah, you can update QRZ, LoTW, eqsl.cc, etc. Being old-school in a lot of ways, I keep the paper.

  70. Fr. Bryan says:

    I most likely will not be near my rig till 10 pm EDT tonight. The holiday should make for some good Ham radio time though.

  71. Fr. Bryan says:

    I like the idea of keeping a paper log, which I have not done. I’ve been using LoTw, and QRZ to log contacts. There is something about having paper in your hand though, I admit. That is one reason I never got a kindle.

  72. MWindsor says:

    I keep a paper log. In fact, I have two; one for U.S. contacts and one for DX. I use LOTW and QRZ as backups to that.

    Using a paper log means you never have to worry about electricity.

  73. St. Peter Canisius says:

    Father Z, I am a Ham, KI4AFZ,



    [I’ll add your call.]

  74. JonPatrick says:

    Father please add me also, KC1EFW. Just on 2m/440 for now, but working on getting this Echolink thingy running on my PC. [Done.]

  75. The Masked Chicken says:

    I was monitoring 7.325 and 7.40 MHz, last night and I heard some voices, but I couldn’t make out whose they were. I don’t have a license, but I do have a receiver that can scan short wave and long wave.

    The Chicken

    [That’s the 40m band. Can you also hear the 20m band?]

  76. Fr Jackson says:

    I’m KB0PGJ and ZL2JAC – lived in both places. Haven’t operated in a while – being a priest is busy!

    [Added to the list. Thanks.]

  77. Geomagnetic storm in progress on Monday 7 Sept, Labor Day, which might produce some Aurora Borealis. The K Index is 6.

  78. The Masked Chicken says:

    Well, the shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency, so the 20 meter band should be in the 14 – 15 MHz region, so, yes, I can scan there. I can scan from 150 KHz to 23 MHz. I heard a Protestant pastor in the 15 MHz region, last night, very clearly (is that, still 5 x 5 or is that, now 5 x 10?).

    The easy way to convert wavelength to frequency is to remember that they multiply together to give 3 x 10^8 (the Speed of Light in m/s), so 2.0 x 10^1 x 1.5 x 10^7 = 3 x 10^8.

    The Chicken

  79. Fr. Bryan says:

    Had some good contacts in the carribean on 20 meters today.

  80. Some sort of strange propagation this morning (residuals from the geostorm yesterday?). Normally, my 220 repeater (224.54/-1.6MHz/4A PL) has a radius of about 10 miles. Antenna is at 40′ AGL, so, it’s not a flamethrower by any stretch. Anyway…on the PA Turnpike at the Ambler/Ft. Washington exit, which about 3x the crow’s distance from my machine…radio in my car, tuned to my repeater, breaks squelch and I hear the normal commute rag chew going on almost full quieting. Jumped in, and managed to hold the machine till I passed the Northeast Extension (I know, lots of folks have NO idea where I’m talking about…so…it’s the northern Philly E-W interstate). Nice.

    RF goes where it pleases, and pleases where it goes. You never know where your signal will end up; I’ve had contacts long path with 5W…and not able to talk one town over with 600W.

  81. CandS says:

    My buddipole came today. I quickly set it up to try to talk to a buddy on 2m. I easily made a couple of repeaters. We managed to communicate barely. I could hear him, he couldn’t hear me.

    Tomorrow, I’ll try to find enough daylight to set up for 40m for the first time and see what happens.

    Is this group planning to be on Saturdays only?

  82. CandS says: Saturdays only?

    Not at all! If hams want to watch the combox on the most recent of my CQ posts, they can set up scheds and talk about ham stuff.

    Tonight, as a matter of fact, though the 20m band was up and down, I heard a guy in FL doing a special event in honor of MIA/KIA. I tried to get in, but the big dogs just pushed me out of the pile.

    Kudos for your new antenna.

  83. acardnal says:

    Aurora Borealis: Stunning photos from space on Sept. 8.


  84. CandS says:

    I had some time yesterday to play with the radio and the Buddipole. I set it up all the way, 19 feet with the tripod and the mast, staked down the guy wires and everything. It was very stable. I had it up most of the morning. I went through configurations for dipoles listed in the instructions for 20m, 15m, 12m, 10m, 40m, 6m, 2m, then back to 20m. I didn’t do any transmitting, just listening.

    I don’t know what the conditions were like in general and how morning and early afternoon hours differ from what you might get later in the day or at night, but there wasn’t a lot of traffic and what there was, I mostly couldn’t get well enough to hear, but I did get some conversations. I (in Massachusetts) heard someone talking from Ohio and someone else from Iowa. At one point, I was sitting on a frequency just trying to make out what I could barely hear when a very clear signal came on, just saying the call sign, nothing else. I looked it up and it was someone about 1.5 miles away from me. So, I was able to receive from over 1000 miles away with my setup as it was and I think there is a lot of tweaking I can learn how to do. For instance, the SWR was really high for a lot of the setups, so I’m going to have to go beyond what the instructions recommend. I heard lots of CW too, especially on 6m, but haven’t finished the CW course I’m working on yet.

    I’ll keep an eye out for activity among this group over the weekend.

  85. CandS says: there wasn’t a lot of traffic and what there was, I mostly couldn’t get well enough to hear

    The bands have been pretty awful lately. I think there was a geomagnetic storm causing some problems as the K-Index was pretty high. I, too, heard very little, and the little I heard was way down in the mud… except for one guy in Florida running 1200W for an MIA event.

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