WSN Newsletter
  October 2011
Updated Roster

September Idaho and Oregon Trip
by Don Calbick  W7GB

We made our yearly trip to La Pine, Oregon on Labor Day weekend for the Dixieland music festival. This year, we went to La Pine by way of Boise to visit XYL Cynthia’'s 96 year-old Aunt Maryon. Maryon is doing fine, living in an assisted living facility, is sharp as a tack and getting around okay with her walker. Those walkers are a lot better than the one my Dad had. A lot of them have seats so if you get tired of walking you don’t have to look around for a place to sit down. Cynthia has cousins in Boise and we got to have dinner with Gary and Maryon at her residence. The house that Maryon used to live in is just across the street. She still owns it and is renting it to a grandson.

While we were in Boise, after going to the Idaho Botanical Garden and Morrison Knudsen Nature Center, we went over to have a visit with my old friend Bill, W7GHT. He'’s in assisted living and doing quite well. He’s got a large apartment with kitchenette and has his station all set up on the same op desk from home. I didn’t get a look at his antenna but it’s end fed and runs up to the 2nd floor and out far enough to load up on 80 meters. He does miss his 4-element beam and Ten Tec Centurion amp He also misses his weekly TCC sked on Monday morning with Bill, W2MTA. We had gotten to Bills QTH about mid/late afternoon and he invited us to dinner at 4:30 so we had a fine meal and nice “eyeballing” with Bill. He’s got two plaques on the wall above his desk: the Idaho Amateur Radio Hall of Fame Award and the George Hart Distinguished Service Award that he received last year. Not many people have been so honored and these awards are quite rare. You can hear Bill on the Idaho-Montana Net most nights at 0300Z on 3572 with a great signal. He turns 89 in October so stop by and wish him a Happy Birthday. I usually can catch him earlier than that for a short ragchew.

After Boise, we headed up I-84 to Ontario across Oregon on the Central Oregon Highway (route 20) to Bend, then south to La Pine for 3 days of Dixieland Jazz being performed by a mix of 28 professional musicians. Most are from the Willamette Valley but some came up from the SF Bay area and one couple came up from San Diego. It’s quite an affair and we’ve been going to the event for about 10 years. One of Cynthia’s HS classmates (Elaine Brown) lives at Crooked River Ranch, south of Madras, and they get to visit a lot. Elaine’s husband, Harry, coordinates the Dixieland Jazz event. While in the Bend area we also do tourist things, like hiking the Obsidian Trail at the Newberry Mountain Caldera. This year we went to a Native American event in Sisters, walked downtown Bend for the first time and found/toured the Peterson Rock Park near Redmond. We do keep busy!

Since the solar flux is way up from last year, I’m in hopes that condx on WSN will be much better this winter. I’ve been through several solar cycles and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that history will repeat itself. Just in case you haven’t noticed, 10 meters has been opening up very nicely. Rotuma Island DXpedition 3D2R had a 25 db over S-9 signal on 28025 and he was a very easy catch. I made many contacts on 10 during the recent Salmon Run. so spin that bandswitch –or push the buttons as I do on this K3!

I hope all is well with you all and look forward to hearing you on WSN.

73,  Don  W7GB


News from Yelm
by Leroy, N7EIE

2011 Salmon Run, Part 1
Yes, usually I will cover all of a contest at once, even a short instance for a ‘small’ contest, but this twentieth running of the Washington State QSO Party was neither short nor simple to me.

For one thing, now that I am COMPLETELY on my own and with not a care for anything or anyone in the whole wide world, except for my stomach and my long-term health, I was able to devote as much time and effort as I wanted to one of my favorite contests of the year.

Salmon Run runs (sic) from 0900 to 2400 PDT Saturday, and from 0900 to 1659 PDT Sunday of the third complete weekend of September every year.  For a number of reasons, I decided to operate at home Saturday and with the WWDXC folks on Sunday.  I’ will cover the WWDXC in detail in Part 2, but this segment is meant to just cover what happened on 17SEP11, the Saturday of this Salmon Run.

I had just decided to operate at home, at all, late on the Wednesday before SR, so I only had 2 days to hoist up Jupiter 2 in preparation.  I did it, up to 33 feet on Thursday and finally to 44 feet Friday afternoon.  I actually took my time, breaking the heavy lifting into 4 separate sessions of 75 pound horizontal double-armed pulls that helps build up my upper body strength before a contest.

All my antennas were up and operational Friday night, and I prepped my copy of the N1MM logging program so it was ready as well.  I started right at 0900 Saturday morning, and was able to maintain a ‘reasonable’ presence on the 3 lower bands (20, 40, and 80) until about 2000 when I wanted to call it quits for Saturday’s operations in order to rest up for my expedition to Port Angeles the next day.  I only got a couple of Florida contacts on 15 meters, and ten was completely dead all day.  That was VERY disappointing, considering the fact that we had sunspots predicted over 150 and flux at 141 for the weekend.  For more on sunspots and the upper bands, see Part 2.

I operated for almost 6 hours butt-in-the-chair, and amassed 131 contacts all over the country, with a respectable QSO rate (for me) of almost 24 contacts per hour.  Most during the day were with stations back east, but as the sun went down 40 and 80 became more and more active with WA Stations and their associated county multipliers.  Think I ended up with 55 total multipliers, 19 of which were WA counties.  I never kept track before but that sounds a little high for just the first day.

Overall I was very satisfied with this one day effort, and sent out 45 Salmon Run QSL cards all over the country.  Quite a few were in WA, so hopefully I’ll get a few new WA counties out of the deal!

Sunday’s operations:
2011 Salmon Run, Part 2

I joined the Western Washington DX (and Contesting) Club in July of this year at the DX Convention up in Everett.  I knew they had a few serious contesters in that club because they had been holding the Salmon Run for 20 years.  I also knew that during that contest the rules were set up to give 500 bonus points to every station (in WA and all over the country) that contacts the WWDXC Club station call W7DX during Salmon Run.

Well then…

So as soon as I joined the WWDXC I was technically eligible to operate W7DX during SR.  I found out that the W7BV group in Port Angeles (a three hour drive one-way from Yelm) had secured operational rights to W7DX for Salmon Run, and introduced myself to W7BV and offered my services as a CW operator for the contest, citing my 150 CW contests the past 8 years as experience.

Didn'’t hear anything for a while, but a few days before SR he let me know he could fit me in on Sunday, so I jumped at the chance to work me some pile-ups as a guest operator of W7DX.

Left home at 0500(!) 18SEP11 and drove north and west until 0830, getting there half an hour before the contest re-started at 0900.  I met everybody and was slated to be first up at the 15 meter CW operating position.  Ball went up, I got to work.

Didn'’t get the actual first and second day band and contact totals, but we ended up at 1584 for the both days.  That’'s impressive.

I do know that 10 meters was wide open to all over the country almost all day.  At one point Matt, the phone operator, had a rate of 333 contacts per hour on 10 meters!  Sunspots are back.

We didn’t keep track of specific modes and operating times, but I estimate that out of the 8 contesting hours I was communicating on a radio for 6 hours for the day.  I was on CW about 3 of those hours, and the rest of my operating time was about evenly split between phone (single-sideband) and RTTY (teletype).

Of course I always operate CW so that wasn’t a stretch, and really anybody that can speak can work single-sideband.  One of the ops quickly briefed me and taught me on RTTY, and I really enjoyed that new digital mode.  The block diagram would go me – the computer, the radio, the antenna, the other station’s antenna, radio, computer, then I was ultimately talking to the control operator of the other 2 stations through all the digital data link contacts.  I think.

I am in the process of getting my station up on the digital modes so I can operate RTTY from here using my SDR.  That will be awesome!

What a great contest.  These guys are hard-core contesters that never want to take a break.  The senior operator did have us take breaks every hour or so anyway, that cuts down on mistakes.

I must not have screwed up too bad there, they invited me back for the next big contest.  I’ll see, but I sure did have fun.

011 California QSO Party:
I just finished my eighth entry in this most popular QSO party, and this was my best score ever.

Score?  Since when have I EVER paid attention to the score of any contest?  Well, now that I have the time to actually stay on the radio, things are evolving…

Yesterday morning, Saturday, I downloaded the rules of this contest as I am wont to do, and didn’t see anything different than how it always is.  This is one of my favorite contests because all of California is an ideal distance from me here in Washington.  Unless all the bands shut down from a solar storm, which has actually happened in the past, at least one band will be open to some part of California from here, usually 2 or three.

But while I was on the CAQP website I also downloaded the results from the 2009 and 2010 CAQPs.  Turns out I got seventh of eighteen in my category (single operator low power in Washington) in 2009.  Almost the top third, I’ll certainly take it.  But then the next year, 2010, I discovered I actually placed THIRD of seventeen.  Yowsuh!  Third?  Holy crap, batman, a few more hours butt-in-the-chair I coulda won that sucker!

Hence I now pay attention to the score.

So Thursday and Friday I hoisted up Jupiter 2 to 38 feet, achieving a substantial amount of upper body strength pulling exercise reps, and swung it around straight south.

Unfortunately for my ability to just rack up hours and hours and hours and HOURS in front of my computer and SDR this year, I had the ‘final’ exam and the passing out of graduation certificates in my Community Emergency Response Team training at the Yelm Fire department yesterday morning.  So that meant by the time I got all done with all that fol-de-rol and ate my lunch I couldn’t even get on the air until 1300!  Oh well, we all have to work within our limitations.

So yesterday afternoon I hit it with great vigor and, for once, the sunspots cooperated with a solar flux level not seen in eight years.  THAT’s what I’m talking about!

But even with all that solar activity ten and fifteen were not all that active straight south.  To the east coast, yes.  To South America, yes.  California?  Not so much.

Twenty, on the other hand was just extraordinary yesterday.  >From about 1400 until 1800 I had S9 to thirty over S9 signals from California chock-a-block all the way from 14020 to 14080 KHZ.  I have never seen twenty that open to CA for that long with signals that strong.  It was like shootin’ fish in a barrel:  I’d slide down with my -100 hertz SDR key, call the station ONCE, get them on first call, even in (sometimes substantial) pile-ups, exchange numbers, and move on to the next fish, usually within twenty seconds.  I love contesting!  Jupiter 2 done good!

But a side effect of my participating in a fairly physically and mentally strenuous mass-casualty exercise yesterday morning was the fact that by about 2000 last night I was falling asleep on my laptop right in the middle of the contest, never good for logging accuracy!  So I wrapped it up at that time with 120 contacts, which was VERY respectable for half a day, I assure you.  My best ever was 129 for the whole contest.

Speaking of logging:  Up until a couple months ago I used to use the logging program WriteLog for all my contests.  But turns out their business model is just RENTING me the program until the next revision when I had to pay rent on it again, just a couple years after I bought it the first time.  Homey don’ play dat.

So I did a lot of research and found that a lot of the SDR users use the N1MM logging program and like it.  It also interfaces directly with my SDR software.  Cool, so I downloaded it, and this was the fifth contest in which I have been using N1MM.  And it was FREE, what a deal!

You get what you pay for…

Unfortunately, so far FOUR times, it CRASHED right in the middle of a contest, bringing Windows to its knees!  GAWD, that’s frustrating, because I have to completely reboot Windows 7 from scratch, which, of course causes unilateral reinitialization of my SDR!  This happened at 1400 and 1650 yesterday and, yes, I admit it, I was screaming at my computer both times.  Very frustrating.  Took ten minutes each time, and definitely interrupted great runs.  Probably didn'’t do my blood pressure much good either.

But at least it didn’t crash today.  Twenty never opened as well as yesterday, but I did manage another 47 contacts for today.  So I got 167 contacts in 45 California counties, for a score of 22,545 for eight hours butt-in-the-chair.  21 contacts an hour, I’ll take it.  And the score was the best ever (for me) by about 5,000 points or so.  Doubt I win it, though, the band was open just as much for everybody else in Washington.  I’ll take third, or whatever.

See you on the net!

Member NEWS

Don W7WS
Thank You to Don W7WST for taking the Thursday NCS Position. Don is doing a very good job calling the Net and is not having any problems. We need to get two more people to help with the Alternate NCS jobs and also we need people to take the RN7 QNB positions. Any takers please contact W7QM or W7ZIW.

It’s really good to hear guy N7YRT taking NCS and RN7 QNB again. Guy is the Owner Operator of his Cabinet Furniture Shop and it keeps him very busy. His Shop makes Beautiful Cabinet Furniture and also he has to deliver and install it so it takes a lot of his time away from his Amateur Radio. Many thanks to you Guy for taking the time when you can to help us out on WSN.

Gil W7LG
Gil is the oldest person working on WSN and he does a fabulous job. Gil is 92 years old and will be 93 next month. Gil has also been a Amateur Radio Operator for more years than I can count and he is always there to cover his positions when needed.   Many thanks Gil for all you do for WSN and Amateur Radio.

Chris KD7REM
When Chris came home from his trip to Mount Rainer he found that his antennas had been removed by the owner of the building where he lived. So Chris is not able to handle RN7 QNB for WSN or any other radio work. Chris is hoping that he can get up a Tower and get back on the air again.

K7BFL and N7YRT at the Spokane Hamfest  (September 24, 2011)

Simulated Emergency Test
by Don K7BFL

Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) has an annual test of equipment, procedures, and operator skills called a Simulated Emergency Test (SET).     Eastern Washington had their SET on Saturday, October 1.    Ten different counties in EWA participated with 12 different stations.    There were 1-6 operators at each station.   Several of the stations were set up as "portable" in a local Fire Station, etc.   HF and VHF bands were used.    It is difficult to find folks who are interested and proficienet in both CW and ARES, so CW was not used during the SET.   Voice (SSB, FM), pactor, packet, and WINMOR were used.

I developed the "scenario" used for the EWA SET.   It consisted of about 12 different "Tasks" for each station to complete.   The tasks included:  setting up and getting organized, defining their station limitations and capabilities, coordinating with a Net Control Station, sending and receiving ARRL Radiograms via voice, sending and receiving ARRL radiograms via pactor, packet, or WINMOR, using the Winlink 2000 digital messaging system, sending and receiving photos via radio, creating and sending via radio an image of a page from a radio operating manual, sending and receiving a message using the ICS-213 format.  

The HF Net Control  Station was at my home, as was the "Digital Command" station.   NCS Operators were N7RWN (Logger...left), WA7RF (Voice NCS...middle) and K7BFL (Digital Command...right).

I handled about 265 digital messages during the approximately 5 hours of the SET.    Stations entered the SET "cold".   Instructions for each task were sent to each station via Winlink.     Each SET station sent and received their "Winlink" message via radio to a automatic Winlink gateway station, such as N7YRT has in his Shack.

The "most frequent problem" during the SET was "high noise levels".    Fire Stations and County Court Houses are NOT good locations for a quiet HF enviroment, especially on 80 meters.    My noise level was acceptable except when my neighbor did some arc welding in his machine shop.   It usually is of short duration, so we worked around it.  [On NTS, you may have heard me send "QTC welder" some times when I am trying to receive a radiogram.]

80 meters got most of the action during the SET.    We did make some tests on 60 meters.   It would have been the "preferred" band, however not many of the SET stations had 60 meter capability.     [Too bad we cannot use CW on 60 meters].


Bev and I have had to give up taking long trips  and  Driving by Car as we are just to old to be taking a chance at falling asleep at the wheel or someone running in to us especially on the Freeways as they are so crowded now days. So we have given up our long trips to Reno and Las Vegas or going over to Republic and other places in eastern Washington.

We can still make it up to Whidbey Island which is one of our favorite Places. Whidbey is a very nice place to visit and we enjoy staying at the Navy Lodge and  going out and taking in all the sights.



Allen W7QM

Activity Report



NOV 14 KV4K          NOV 21 W7LG

DEC 4 VE7DWG      DEC 10 VE7ANG        DEC 21 WA7WBY     DEC 16 W7ZIW      DEC 23 KA7EKL,


Hope I didn't miss anyone. So Happy Birthday you all and we wish you many more!

Pati  W7ZIW WSN Assistant Manager