Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking back on 2011

The year, Amateur Radio-wise, was a pretty good one.  Some goals that I had previously set, I was able to keep - others I fudged on (read - didn't get done!).  For example, I didn't get new radials down for the HF9V that I had wanted to.  But, on the other hand, my vertical was a solid performer for me all year long so I am not complaining.

Highlights:

I got the PFR3A up and running after some problem solving that I have chronicled here.  It's a great little rig and I'm glad that I held onto it. I almost sold it at one point after finishing it. One of my best QSOs of the year was accomplished with the PFR3A, when I QSO'ed with John ON4UN while we were vacationing up at Lake George this summer.

I was also successful in replacing the G5RV last Spring.  On a warm weekend in March I took down the G5RV (which had been up for 13 years!) and replaced it with an 88' EDZ (Extended Double Zepp) antenna.  The good side is that the EDZ performs much better on 30 Meters than the G5RV ever did. I have had quite a few nice QSOs on 30 Meters as a result, with a goodly deal of DX thrown in, to boot.  The not so good side, is that, with care I was able to get the G5RV to load 0n 160 Meters.  The EDZ won't go anywhere near there.

Flight of the Bumblebees.  I took over as Contest Manager this year from Chris Kantarjiev, who had done an outstanding job running it the last several years.  I had a blast running this event, which I also LOVE participating in!  It is definitely one of my most favorite events of the year.  It was great fun handing out Bee numbers and compiling the results.  No one from the Adventure Radio Society complained about my efforts, so hopefully they will allow me to head up the FOBB again in 2012.

In connection with FOBB -  End Fed antennas !!!!!  I have played around with a lot of antenna schemes for portable operations.  This year my portable ops were dominated by the use of End Fed wires. They are superbly easy and fast to deploy and the results speak for themselves.  I am very happy with them and the Buddistick in cases where trees are not available.

K6JSS/X - I also had a lot of fun participating in the QRP-ARCI Golden Anniversary event.  I came within 4 or 5 states of a clean sweep, and strangely enough - Alaska and Hawaii were NOT two of the missing states! And I was able to head up the New Jersey K6JSS/2 effort along with Chris KQ2RP.  Chris was a life saver; and I don't know what would have become of New Jersey without him!  I hope between the two of us, that you were easily able to get your NJ K6JSS/2 QSO in your log.

KX3 - what can I say?  Even though I don't have the radio yet, I pined for it the minute I saw it on the Web, live from Dayton.  I immediately knew I just HAD to have one.  Thankfully, I was successful in selling some items and as I told you all before - I placed my order this week.  This is an adventure that will span two years, as 2012 will entail building and operating.  What my wife loves most about this is that no "house money" was used in the acquisition - I raised all the funds by myself.

Ham Radio Deluxe - I am fussy when it comes to my log book. You should see some of my early paper ones!  I'll have to scan some pages and post them for you - talk about a meticulous "Type A" personality!  After using Log-EQF for so many years, I wanted to find something more up to date with more "bells and whistles" and panache.  I used AC Log for a bit; but finally settled on Ham Radio Deluxe.  It is a superb program; and it took me a little bit to get used to it, but I am very happy with the result.  Now, I have my fingers crossed, hoping that things don't change too much now that Simon HB9DRV sold the rights and is no longer in direct control of the software.

Emcomms - Thank the Lord that South Plainfield didn't have a lot of disasters to deal with this year.  But in late August, we did have to deal with Hurricane Irene.  Our effort wasn't to the point of manning shelters but we did help with evacuations. Our CERT team and our little band of RACES/ARES operators gave a good effort and showed the town that we were willing, able, and most importantly - ready to help at a moment's notice.  I am extremely proud to be associated with my fellow South Plainfield Hams, they are a superb bunch - every single one of them. And yes, while we are technically "Amateurs", IMHO, we handled ourselves as professionally as the "paid guys".

This blog.  This blog has become a huge part of my Amateur Radio life.  Sometimes it's a little tough to come up with ideas on stuff to write about, but the negatives are far outweighed by the positives.  It's a lot of fun and I have gotten to meet and correspond with so many good people because of it.  I hope that the "idea well" and inspiration will not run dry and that I can be as prolific a writer, if not more so in 2012.

Tomorrow, I will discuss the "low lights" for the year as well as my "Radio Resolutions" for 2012.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

1 comment:

Jspiker said...

I like the end fed wires too. Keeping it simple and effective. They're very hard to beat for portable ops.