General class “Ham Cram” July 27 & 28

My elmer, Jim W5LA will be teaching a General Class Ham Cram on July 27,28. If you or anyone you know is interested in being in the class, go to w5la.net/general/ for more information and to register for the class.

Registration is required so I can know how many are coming.

I realize the time is short so I need you to register and pay as soon as possible so I can order the General Class study guides.

Thanks and 73,
Jim W5LA

New Life for old EZ Way Tilt-over Crank-Up Tower

Several years ago I acquired an unidentified tilt-over crank-up tower.  Manual winches, it appeared to be about 60 feet tall.  The deal was take it down and it is yours.  So it has sat behind my shop for about 10 years.

Recently, I saw a picture on the internet of an identical tower, and it was identified as an EZ Way, not that it mattered much to me at the time.  However, the motorized trailered tilt-over crank-up tower that our club has used for Field Day for many years isn’t available this year.  Ah-hah!  Now I have a reason to be interested in the EZ Way.  Of course, it was designed to be ground mounted.  But I have a heavy trailer, and began considering the possibility of mounting the tower, temporarily and safely, on the trailer.

Short story is I reinforced the under frame at the four anchor bolt points for the tower base, and  also fabricated a support for the long end of the tower to rest on when in transit. 

All attachments to the trailer are bolted, so the installation is easily reversible to return the trailer to normal utility use.  The project turned out quite nice!

For FD, I don’t expect to need to crank up to more than 45 feet.  Exercising the KISS principle, I’ll install a flat top plate with a 3 ft pipe stubbed up.  Then, I can slide the larger diameter mast over it, and rotate it by a pull rope attached to one end of the boom.  The antenna will be a KT-34.

Many thanks to Jim W5LA, Mark K5MSB and Shawn WA5VQP for the helping hands on the labor to make this all possible. 

N1MM+ Local Area and Distributed Wide Area Networking

Networking N1MM+ on a local area network is both easy to do and functionally desirable for a multi-operator station.

Did you know that it is also possible and relatively straight-forward to do the same thing over a Distributed Wide Area Network?  Why, you may ask?  I can think of several reasons:  1) some contests allow distributed operating, such as IARU HQ stations  2) Special events – here in Louisiana we recently hosted the W5L Louisiana Purchase Special Event, and just a few years back the W1AW/5 ARRL Centennial Event.  3) For a contest where one or more participants is operating the rig remotely

N1MM Logger+ networking is automatic within a single subnet, which is usually the case in local area networks. However, if you want to network across a Wide Area Network, or in rare instances where your network involves more than one subnet, auto-configuration will not work. In that case you will need to fill in computer addresses in the “Edit Computer Addresses” table exactly as assigned by the network(s). For WAN networking you must enter the external IP addresses of each LAN and also port numbers for all the computers you wish to connect to, in the format XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:port number}. The port number is needed to permit operators to set up forwarding through their router firewalls to the right computer. If going subnet-to-subnet, you do not need to enter port numbers and the IP addresses would be the internal IP address.

The details are found on the official N1MM+ documentation site near the bottom of the page.  The diagram by N9KT is very helpful.  I suggest using it as a pattern to create your own cheat sheet, specific to your network.

http://n1mm.hamdocs.com/tiki-index.php?page=Network+Status+Window

Your router must be capable of configuring the proper port forwarding, and your “world-facing” IP address really should be a static IP address.  As long as every station’s internet router is capable of port forwarding AND can specify the translation between internal and external ports per host, it is pretty easy to set up.  Every computer that will be included must have the same version of N1MM+, and must be set up for the same contest with the same configuration for the contest.

73, W5WZ

Special Event Commemorating the Louisiana Purchase – April 21 to 28, 2018

A special event commemorating the Louisiana Purchase will take place from April 21 to April 28, 2018.  Sponsored by the NorthEast Louisiana Amateur Radio Club, the event will use the call sign W5L.

A commemorative full-color QSL card has been created for the event.

Operators will be from locations across Louisiana, activating the HF bands in CW, Phone and RTTY modes.

A schedule of the on-air times and more details are available at https://W5WZ.com/W5L 

 

DXer’s tool: ClubLog

DXing is enjoyed by many hams.  There are countless tools available to assist.  One very popular online tool is ClubLog.  There is nothing to install on your computer.  Just browse to https://clublog.org/

Club Log is an online database with a suite of powerful tools supporting active DXers.  Club Log was designed to enable, in fact to encourage club activity and friendly competition between club members through its league tables and charts.

Once you have registered on Club Log and uploaded your log, you will be able to:

Generate personal reports, showing which DXCC countries you have worked and/or confirmed, when you first worked them, which ones you still need, and which are the most likely to QSL (Club Log’s reports are both comprehensive and flexible);

See how you stand relative to your peers in various league tables and challenges (again, the reports are very flexible – for example with a few clicks you can generate a specific league table listing how many DXCC countries or CQ zones have been worked by various African hams on 20m CW in the past year almost as easily as a global league table covering all bands, all modes and all years since 1945);

Analyze your log for possible/likely errors in the DXCC allocations (Club Log’s painstakingly-researched DXCC database is a tremendously useful resource supporting the DX community);

Predict the bands and times on which you are most likely to work almost any DX station, based on actual QSOs in the logs uploaded to Club Log, and draw great circle maps;

Set up a personal DX Cluster feed that filters out the DXCCs you have already worked, leaving just the ones you still need …

… and much more.  This is just a taste of things to come!

73, W5WZ

2018 NAQP, SSB, January M/2

North American QSO Party, SSB – January

Call: W5WZ
Operator(s): W5WZ WM5H
Station: W5WZ

Class: M/2 LP
QTH: LA
Operating Time (hrs): 12

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
160: 46 28
80: 461 46
40: 612 56
20: 602 50
15: 39 11
10: 0 0
——————-
Total: 1760 191 Total Score = 336,160

Club: Louisiana Contest Club

2018 ARRL DX SSB M/2 HP

ARRL DX Contest, SSB

Call: W5WZ
Operator(s): WM5H K5ER W5WZ
Station: W5WZ

Class: M/2 HP
QTH: LA
Operating Time (hrs): 37:20

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
160: 11 10
80: 100 51
40: 237 72
20: 732 98
15: 252 70
10: 69 20
——————-
Total: 1401 321 Total Score = 1,302,939

Analyzing Contest Logs by W5WZ

So you have your shiny whiz-bang contest logging software installed and configured to interface properly between your computer and your radio.  That’s a great step toward an integrated ham station, as far as logging the time, date, mode, frequency, callsign worked, and the contest exchange are concerned.  Much faster than pen and paper!  But, is that the end of the usefulness of software in the ham shack?  No way!  There are countless software tools available that fill various niche needs. I’ll introduce one of my favorite pieces of ancillary software in this article.

It’s no secret; I really enjoy HF contesting.  To me, there isn’t anything else quite like running stations at rates greater than 125 QSOs/hour.  In many contests, whether single-op or multi-op, the log will have hundreds, if not thousands of QSOs.  A deep-dive analysis of the log can provide insight into propagation patterns, timing of band changes, and even antenna azmituth to the maximum amount of QSOs.  The intent of the analysis is always to improve future contest scores.  Many software tools are available that provide detailed analysis of contest logs, but most only output page upon page of data in text tables, which are useful, but get downright boring to comb through to extract and interpret the real meat.

A few years ago, I learned about a software tool that is the cat’s meow. The tool is called “SH5 Contest Log Analyzer.” SH5 is fast and easy to use contest log analyzer which creates a variety of statistics in HTML format (WEB pages) from the Cabrillo format log generated by any contest loggers (N1MM Logger+, Win-Test, Writelog, TR4W and others). Reports may be viewed with any Internet browser, such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Internet Explorer. The program also allows you to upload this data to your WEB site for public access and to create an archive of your contest results.

You’ll find the SH5 website at:  https://sites.google.com/site/sh5analyzer/

I invite you to check out the reports I’ve generated using SH5 by visiting my contest log and performance archives online at http://w5wz.com/sh5/w5wz/  Go find my log and reports for a contest that you’ve participated in.  See if we changed bands at about the same times.  Did I leave the band too soon?  Too late?  These are the kinds of questions to ask, and a tool such as SH5 can help answer.

See you in the pileups!
73, Scott W5WZ

Contest Operating Tips from the experience of W5WZ

TIP #1:  Sometimes you may wish to operate in a contest, but find there isn’t much activity on the air for that specific contest, yet the bands are full of participants in other contests.  No problem!  Learn what they need for their exchange and give it to them, and get them to give you what you need for your contest exchange.  You log what you need and submit your log for the contest that you want to enter.  As a courtesy, also submit your log to the other contest(s) as a check-log.

TIP #2:  Remember when Mama told you “sit up straight”?  Well, she was right!  You’ll be able to focus better and have more energy when operating.  In fact, studies suggest that sitting or standing up straight and tall can give you an added boost of confidence.  If that equates to 5 more QSOs per hour in the log, then it’s worth it!

TIP # 3:  Logging software:  Regardless of which software you prefer, make it your goal to become an expert at using it!  Learn to squeeze every bit of performance out of it.  Learn to leverage all the specific operating aids to the biggest advantage.  When you become expert, then the layer of software doesn’t intimidate you, or isolate you from the radio; rather it melds with you to the radio.

TIP # 4:  Last, when mentioning software logging programs, think about the way you type.  Are you a “hunt and peck” typist?  Do you have to watch your fingers as you type?  If you answer yes to either of those questions, you’ve got room to improve your contest score!  Learn to touch type.  It will free your eyes and your mind to do other score-building tasks during the contest.

73, W5WZ