Noise from Flares

I had heard a bit of pulsing noise on all the FT8 bands the other night.

On the Morning Grind Net, Rick, WB3CSY, mentioned this as well and that he suspects it came from a solar flare that was hitting us.

solar  noise  hf 

Backyard Alternate Antenna

I cleaned up the backyard a bit, and ran a new 12.5m (41ft) random wire up the hill behind the house.

My first tests the next day on 30m at 1W got me some contacts. By 4:40pm EDT, the bands were all in “poor” condition, so it got tough to test.

The next morning, I watched the 40m band close. It was ablaze at 8am, but getting pretty quiet by 10:30am EDT.

I compared the old antenna out the front with the new antenna out the back using FT8 and PSKReporter.

The back antenna saw fewer decodes on 15m on average. It mostly lacked any stations from Europe. Looking at the antenna’s physical attributes, it starts on first floor (lower than the old antenna) in backyard, but it slopes up more vertically. The middle of the antenna, on average, is blocked by the hill to the East.

The old antenna out the front saw more decodes overall, including Europe. It starts at second floor window and only slightly angles up. The whole antenna is higher and clears the hill, even though Europe may still be mostly all the end of the antenna. It performs better.

I had fun physically launching the new antenna, but I’ll need to do some more work to get more of it higher in the air to be useful.

hf  antenna  ft8 

Spin 30m

I spun the dial below the 30m ham band at the end of the night, and I caught all kinds of interesting broadcast (31m) and HF air traffic.

30m  swl  hf 


The 40m band was hot at 5:30am EDT. I got:

  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Dominican Republic
  • mostly eastern US otherwise

Switched up to 15m to get Finland, and I grabbed 1 local contact on 6m. I’ve accumulated 1800 contacts on QRZ, 1489 are confirmed, across 79 countries.

ft8  dx  hf 

Chasing DX

On the good old 12.5m EFRW, I’m trying 10m FT8 this morning. It’s going nowhere. 15m is much better.

Chasing Hawaii

I have ham-alert for anyone in PA, NJ, or MD spotting the Hawaii DXCC. I’ve been chasing Hawaii around over to 17m and other bands as they pop up, but I didn’t seem them much. It’s the last state I need of the 50.

10m is busy here in mid-afternoon, and I’m reaching south america on 5w. I got Suriname and Cayman Islands on 5w. then 10m maybe died again.

Pitcairn Island DXpedition

I just got the VP6G DXpedetion on 5w on FT8 on 28.0785MHz. That’s my first “OC”! I don’t know why they were shifted, but I saw it on the waterfall on my X6100, so checked it out.

Eclipse 2024

Matt and I ran to Erie, PA to watch the eclipse, and activated US-1402, Presque Isle State Park before eclipse. 10m was a bit slow, but I got there on FT8. I ran my 71-foot (21.65m) EFRW sloped up into a nearby tree from our station on a picnic table.

I got some audible screaming on the speaker in addition to the normal clicking when I hit the tuner. I usually have a choke near the radio, and that was missing.

It was cloudy and even some rain in the morning, but it cleared and we saw some blue sky before the eclipse started around 2pm.

Totality was at 3:16pm EDT. I have a video in 360 degrees.

RTTY Round-Up

I participated in the RTTY Round-Up.

Trouble with fldigi/R1CBU

I screwed around lots trying to get fldigi talking to the radio. R1CBU software works great with wsjt-x, but fldigi and flrig completely failed to connect. It wouldn’t key the radio. Switching back to stock software on the radio worked fine with flrig, but where’s the fun in that.

For flrig, I could tell it that it was an older version of the radio (X5105?), and it would key and set frequency, but flrig wouldn’t read back the frequency when updated at the radio.

I ultimately got fldigi talking to R1CBU by using flcat with an xml file for G106.

Then I could “tune” power output following instructions in fldigi manual.


I started making some contacts on 10M and 15M. It’s much more like voice contacts: yelling back and forth on the same channel. I’m using macros and sticking to those for the contest. They’re on the 3rd page of macros in fldigi.

I’ve made at least a few contacts, so I’ll submit them to the contest

rtty  hf  arrl  contest  r1cbu  flrig  fldigi 


Tuned to 8416khz, I received a Navtex weather report. I tuned the X6100, CW, FIL2 set to be really narrow, and I let fldigi decode the transmission as Navtex.

[Read More]
navtex  hf  x6100 

First HF Radio

(After passing the test, I immediately ordered a Quansheng UV-K5 HT. I also ordered this weird $120 HF radio based off the open source usdx project. The HF radio was garbage: the screen was tiny, the audio/CAT control was confusing or non-existent, and it liked to lock up and stop updating its screen. I returned it to Amazon.)

I had been in a hurry, since I was heading to Florida for the week. While I was down there, I discovered the Ham Radio Outlet in Orlando, so I ran there to look around and purchased the Xiegu X6100 QRP rig.

I also picked up a couple accessories shortly afterward to go with it:

  • connectors between bnc and sma
  • 5W adjustable power supply that didn’t quite cut it all the time (24Vx5W)
  • 10w adjustable power supply (12Vx10W)
  • speaker wire
  • banana clip connectors
  • Ham Radio Today: X6100 book on kindle
hf  x6100  xiegu