New toys: Icom IC-7700

Since last weekend I’m the proud owner of an Icom IC-7700. This rig is a trade-in of the first owner who bought an Icom IC-7850. Hamshop.nl offered me the chance to test the rig a few days – in particular the filtering – to see how it handles the PowerLine noise caused by my neighbors.

The results are superb! Half of the noise is cancelled with the Digital PreSelector. The other half with the noise blanker. Weak stations which I could not hear before are workable now. Compared to the Icom IC-9100 all-in-one this is soooo much better.

The Icom IC-9100 will be dedicated for VHF and UHF now.

icom_ic-7700

New DXCC: Iraq

After you’ve part the first 100 DXCC it’s get more complicated to work new one. With tools like JT-Alert in combination JT65-HF and the DX-cluster in combination with Ham Radio Deluxe v6 (which shows new and unconfirmed DXCC in the cluster) you have nice help. Yesterday I’ve worked Iraq and today it’s been confirmed via LoTW and eQSL.

YI1RZ

Mixed WAE certificate

Worked All Europe

Worked All Europe

Mixed DXCC certificate

Mixed_DXCC_PD1AKL

Worked All Continents

I’ve already worked all continents but never requested the WAC certificate before. The main reason for this is that you can’t apply with LoTW credits. You need to have paper QSL. Via the DARC Contest Logbook however, had the possibility to import both eSQL (AG) and LoTW credits and you can apply for the certificate over there. For free, as it will be delivered as PDF. How nice!

WAC_PD1AKL

GlobalQSL

GlobalQSL_logoI’m using GlobalQSL to send out batches of QSL cards if needed, tough my normal policy is only to reply cards since I’m not a collector. GlobalQSL works quite easy. Just upload your (ADIF) logfile, select QSO’s to be confirmed and they’ll print and send them in batches direct to your local bureau once every three months. For pricing that’s quite equal with regular suppliers of QSL-cards. With two main differences:

  1. You can track QSL online in your inbox, to see what’s upcoming
  2. Cards are send direct to your local QSL bureau so it saves some months time
GlobalQSL_inbox

Your online QSL inbox to see what’s upcoming.

If you don’t have an account yet, I’d suggest to create one at globalqsl.com to see if any cards are waiting for you. The only thing missing is some pre-paid system where you can send money to GlobalQSL and they’ll send the QSL direct once every other month or so, so you still have to rely on your (slow) local QSL bureau. A good example of this is the incoming QSL bureau of ARRL where you just send SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Enveloppe) and they’ll send your cards direct to you with a certain interval.

Nice QSL card

I’m not a collector of QSL cards and prefer LoTW. But sometimes you need them for let’s say IOTA and WAC certificates. Some QSL’s are clear and simple, some very shine. I like the card received today from Australia: VK3BM.

QSL_VK3BM

Toys for boys: Yaesu FT-2000d

Bought a new (well, second hand) rig: the Yaesu FT-2000d. Complete with DMU-2000 unit, MD200 microphone and SP-2000 speaker. The first impression: Where do I leave all this, since the set is about 1,5 meters / 5 ft. width. And that’s it for now. Didn’t found time to play and test, yet.

FT2000d

Worked All Europe

darc_logoDARC, the German Ham Radio Association, offers several certificates. Among others, one of them is the Worked All Europe award. You can apply for it on a special website called DARC Contest Logbook. Good to see you can verify via your LoTW account (tough Im learned *never* to give away your password to someone else).

 

Another cool feature is that DARC is one of the few who are accepting eQSL.cc QSL-cards as verification tool. From the eQSL-website, you can push data to the DARC website.

Nice tool: JT-alert

Today I’ve installed a nice new tool for all JT-65 users: JT-alert, created by VK3AMA. This tool is an plug-in for the JT65-HF package and will alert you when new DXCC or unconfirmed DXCC are received. It can load the data from Ham Radio Deluxe (including the new Beta of version 6) and will play alert sounds. Now that’s a nice way to pump  your DXCC score!

You can filter by band and QSL method (post, eQSL (AG) and LoTW). Download it here.

JT-Alert

Omnirig and the Icom IC-9100

Many software uses Omnirig as gateway to ket their software communicate to the transceiver via regular CAT-commands. Among others, CW-Skimmer is one of them. Unfortunately the Icom IC-9100 isn’t supported yet and OmniRig had no possibility to enter the serial details via a GUI. Instead, for each transceiver a configuration file is needed.

I use CW-Skimmer as cluster spotter during contests. Normally via an SDR radio like the Flex-1500 but since the Icom IC-9100 is my main transceiver I wanted to use this rig to. Contacting the owner of CW-Skimmer (paid software) didn’t really help. But Googling I found a threat on a forum where someone has already created a configuration file. Thanks VK3BQ.

100 confirmed DXCC via LoTW

Yes! Today I’ve got my 100th DXCC confirmed via Logbook of The World (LoTW). It was a QSO in CW on 20 meters with T6LG in Afghanistan. Let me quickly apply for my first DXCC certificate.

T6LG_LoTW

Worked All States progress

Somewhere during the summer of last year I started to chase US states for the WAS (Worked All States) certificate. Currently I have 44 out of 50 stated worked, where 40 are confirmed via Logbook of the World. Main mode is JT65 since I can remote operate this via TeamViewer from the office. Secondary mode is CW during contests and sometimes regular Phone. Especially when there are good conditions on the 10-meter band.

Missing states are the far ones: Hawaii and Alaska. The whole West coast is worked in JT65. Some central states are missing to like Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, South Dakota and Oklahoma in mid-west and Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee in mid-east. Hope to have all states worked in 2013.

Edit 13-Jan: Tennessee (10M CW), Kansas (10M DATA) and Colorado (10M DATA) are in LoTW.

Will there be 100 DXCC in 2012?

Since LoTW processing is about 10 days behind, will I make it till 100 confirmed DXCC entities this year?

Screen Shot 2012-12-23 at 16.26.48

Update: No 100 DXCC confirmed via LoTW in 2012. But I did get the eQSL.cc PFX300 certificate for working 300+ prefixes in mixed-mode.

eQSL_PFX300

Testing a new antenna

I’ve bought a Comet H422 rotary dipole to do some tests. This is a trapped V-dipole for 10, 15, 20 and 40 meters. The assembly went fast. It took me half an hour to do so. Now have to find a way to get this thing somewhat more in the sky since it picks up to much noise on only 1 feet height.

Comet H422 - Temporarily set-up on the roof only 1ft height

Comet H422 – Temporarily set-up on the roof only 1ft height