22 September 2014

Ciucas X3 - a good EmComm exercise

Ciucas X3 is a once-a-year trail running event that takes place in Romania's beautiful Ciucas mountains - you might have read about them in my previous stories, as i've made two SOTA activations from the region: YO/EC-049 and YO/EC-057. There are 3 circuits (21, 42 and 105km long) across mountains, hills, forests, a village and the outskirts of a small town, some passing trough wild areas (there were even two brown bear spottings !). Over 600 runners take part in this event, plus almost another hundred staff members, volunteers, mountain rescue, gendarms - mountain division, etc.



04 September 2014

CQWPX 2014 - official results came in

As I was expecting after the claimed scores, I ranked #5 in 21Mhz single-op QRP category. This was my second time participating in CQ WPX SSB, the first one was in 2013 where I worked just for 4 hours to get the feeling for it.

This time I wanted to be on the air for the full contest, but I was really sloppy: for some reason I thought the contest starts in the afternoon and I planned to do some antenna work in the morning. When I wake up Saturday morning and turn the radio on I hear the band full of contesters so I decide there's no time to waste, I get on air and work the first 4 hours with the damaged antenna - a 42m long OCFD with a broken arm. I take a break, eat, get on top of the building, fix the OCFD and install a 7.5m fishpole vertical, take a shower and get back on the air. The break took about 3 hours but it was needed, for the rest of the contest I worked with the vertical wich proved slightly better.

I managed a total of 260 QSO's (but 252 validated), 3.1% error rate, 207 multipliers and a final score of 76797. The winner of 21MHz single-op QRP (YT1CS) had 403 QSO's and 338 multipliers for a total of 225108 points; he is less than 400Km away from me and just a few degrees to the South, so no big geographical advantage.

For next year I plan to really be on the air for the full contest and hopefully I will have a better antenna. Still aiming at single-op QRP monoband, but still not sure if I will go for 15m or another band.

24 August 2014

Yaesu FT-991 - replacement for the FT-897

Yaesu FT-991 is the next upcoming model from Yaesu, as the replacement for the recently discontinued FT-897. Highlights include 3.5" TFT touch display, a spectrum scope, 32-bit IF DSP, internal antenna tuner and C4FM.




21 August 2014

SOTA Tour YO 2014 - part III

<< Go to part II of the story

The morning at 2500+m altitude is not your regular morning: winds tend to be strong and the clouds were flying really low - even lower than us.


We had to wait until almost 11:00 local time for the sky to clear so we could depart towards our next target: YO/MC-008 Bucsoiu, 2493m - 10 points.


20 August 2014

SOTA Tour YO 2014 - part II

<< Go to Part I of the story

On the second day we woke up early as we had a long road ahead of us, so at 7 AM we were already on the way. The Transalpina road, crossing the mountains at 2000m altitude, looks beautiful in the morning sun.


18 August 2014

SOTA tour YO 2014 - part I

A team of romanian ham amateur radio operators travelling around the country on beautiful twisting roads, backpacking with their bags full of equipment and installing antennas on mountain peaks for their pure enjoyment; this is how i'd sum up this tour in just a few words. But a few words are not enough, not even alot of them wouldn't suffice; actually, you know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words ? Well, it would take about a thousand pictures to describe what an adventure like this really is, and still the feeling wouldn't be the same unless you experience it yourself.


08 August 2014

SOTA marathon in Romania (YO)

I will be joining Sorin YO2MSB in a SOTA marathon across the Carpathian mountains in Romania, looking to activate about 10 peaks in 5 days, most of them being 10 points. We don't have a strict schedule because this still depends on good weather, but this is what you should be expecting:

August 11th: YO/MC-078 (10pts), YO/MC-052 (10pts), YO/MC-50 (10pts)
August 12th: YO/MC-007 (10pts), YO/MC-049 (10pts)
August 13th: YO/MC-086 (8pts), YO/MC-009 (10pts)
August 14th: YO/MC-006 (10pts), YO/MC-008 (10pts)
August 15th: YO/EC-252 (6pts), YO/EC-331 (6pts), YO/EC-428 (4pts)

We will be joined at some points by other operators and we plan on working multiple bands and multiple modes in order to offer these peaks to as many chasers as possible. Also, we will try a night time activation on YO/MC-006 on 100W to give the chance to DX stations to work this peak.

Please keep an eye on Sotawatch for alerts and spots.