Sunday, December 31, 2023

DX'pedition Antenna

In 2024, I will be ramping up a business venture to make bespoke antennas for DX'peditions.

I already have a few orders for special "VDA" (Vertical Dipole Array) antennas and those will be in design and production in January.  Special VDA means a significant gain differential, compact, and easy to put up.  Designed for use near salt water.    The POTA/SOTA variants will be less gain, but still adequate for the operations inland.

The goal is to make custom (or nearly custom) antennas for use on DX'peditions.  These are not general purpose antennas.    For operations on islands, DX locations with special properties, and POTA/SOTA work these antennas will be ideal.

For all other types of fabrications, they will be on a case-by-case basis.

I'll make an announcement once the paperwork is done and the business is established.   

In the mean time, a little teaser --

Monday, December 4, 2023

2023 almost over

Its getting close to the end of the year and I'm taking stock of things that I need to do.

For many years I let my ARRL WAS (Worked All States) languish.  I hadn't tried to finish it.  I think I have it on one band, but not on 5 bands.  So I'm doubling down on getting more contacts on 80m, 15m and 10m so I can wrap up a 5BWAS soon.  I'm within 10 states or less on those bands.  In fact I'm down to just a handful of states on 80m (2 states), 15m (6 states) and 10m (about 15 states).  The rest are covered.

I might be able to even get 5BWAS on both PHONE and CW by the end of the year.  It'll be close, but there is no deadline.

I'm also narrowing the gap on the 5BDXCC.  I have a bit of work there.  I only need to work 80m, 40m and 10m for those bands to wrap up 5BDXCC.   

I'm also sitting on a stack of QSL cards that will push  my DXCC to about 210 or so total Mixed.

CQ Marathon for 2023 -- I hadn't really started paying attention until May and now I'm at about 166 Mixed across the bands.  And I just need one more Zone (Zone 34 I believe) to wrap that.

I don't think I can get CQ Marathon past 200 by the end of the year, but I will try.

Those are just the numbers.   On other fronts, things are looking good.

As far as my DX'pedition preparedness, I am making some strides there.  I can copy fairly well at 20wpm in contesting (or DX'p) mode.  I need to be able to raise that to 25 wpm in order to be really effective.  It would be great to get that speed even higher, but my disabilities are making that difficult (hearing disorder and memory disorder of some kind that I don't know how to explain.)

My homebrew projects have taken a back seat while I work on the CW practice, but I have the boxes of parts and schematics that I've been meaning to get to.  I'm going to try to finish my home-brew solid-state linear amplifier (100W) for Portable work.  It will go along with the KX3 that I am purchasing.

I also am actively working on designing some new DX'p antennas for a friend and when those designs are final, I'll be announcing some products to sell in that area.  I'm going to have a side business of making and selling "bespoke" antennas for DX'peditions -- VDA's -- vertical dipole arrays for 30m through 6m.   There'll be more on that in coming weeks.

The year has been busy.  I had a few goals, reached some -- missed some too -- but all together a great year.

Next year it looks very promising.  
  • I'll be attending Visalia again.
  • I have an article that might appear in an up-coming issue of QST or On The Air -- they won't say which. But it was accepted for print (or maybe it won't actually get printed -- I don't know).  The proceeds were already donated to NCDXF.
  • I'll be trying to activate some islands in the Puget Sound region -- San Juan Islands probably.
  • I'll be trying National Park / National Forest "On the Air" next year (when it warms up) -- likely in the Stehekin River Valley or some other place in Eastern Washington State.
  • I'm going to try to visit more friends in the next year that are special to me in the ham radio community.
  • I'm going to investigate some outings and recurring "coffee" meet-ups with my friends at Western Washington DX Club.
  • And, I'm going to make myself available for going on a DX'pedition by socking away a nest-egg.  A nest-egg that will sit there and be ready in case someone gives me a call to go!  
  • And, a whole lot more.
If you can think of something else that I ought to do, let me know.

The year is winding down and a new year will let me reset.   I'm looking forward to it.


ps. I'm also trying to get a "Blue Origin Amateur Radio Club" off the ground at work.  We have a fairly good set of people who are interested at work -- and perhaps that will become a thing next year too.

Things happening

It has been a busy few months since I hung up my software-spurs. On deck -- DX'pedition for Lord Howe Island Lord Howe Island (July 202...