Category Archives: vanity call sign

You Need Your Own QSL CARD

WT8WV QSL

I know, I know… we have QRZ and eQSL and LOTW (Logbook of the World) and Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) and Netlogger and N1MM and… blah, blah, blah.  An old fashioned paper QSL card is still sweet to hold in your hand and to enjoy the real memory of a fun contact. Especially if it’s a DX station from a far away land toward DXCC or the last state you needed for WAS.

They aren’t as expensive as you think.  For simple black and white cards you can buy 100 cards for about $12… my color card above cost about $30 for 100 of them.   I got mine from Cheap QSL’s on the internet and they sent the proofs the same day and shipped them out the same day!  Most folks are migrating toward electronic QSL’s these days.  I predominately use Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) Logbook for my main logging software but also upload my logbook to eQSL, QRZ and LOTW every couple days of logging, however if someone requests a paper card I will oblige.  Sooooooooo… if I do that once in a while I’ll have about 65 cents in the effort by the time I add postage.  Below is a Special Events Station I worked and got this electronic QSL a few days later…

WT8WV-Tesla4-N2T

 

Famous Ham Radio Operators and their Callsigns

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I love learning who shared our favorite hobby… and the list is very long!  It was so interesting to see not only WHO they were but also WHAT they did to be famous.  Literally from every corner of the globe (try and find a corner on a globe).

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I found this on the DX-QSL website and somehow the Bedworth Lions Club apparently had something to do with the creation of the list.  I am quite fond of the good work The Lions do and I belong to a couple fraternal organizations (Masonic Lodge and Woodmen of the World) myself, so I am sure there is a story about The Lions being connected to this list.  The list is long, so grab a refreshment and enjoy!  Be prepared to be surprised!

Click the link below…

World Famous Ham Radio Operators  

Prøysen-Kurer

2015 ARRL Field Day

Tom and Bill work on configuring Ham Radio Deluxe DM780.

Tom (KD8DQK) and Bill (WR8S) work on configuring Ham Radio Deluxe DM780 for our ARRL Field Day stations high atop the mountain.

Well… the 2015 ARRL Field Day adventure is in the books… the logbooks, that is. Having experienced decades of Field Day excursions, this one takes the cake!  What started out as a hot, sunny, humid Friday afternoon setting up our station high atop Chestnut Ridge, ended on Sunday afternoon having operated under conditions of torrential rains, a downward shift of 40 degrees in temperature, one antenna failure, one operator unable to man a station due to illness, a generator choked-out by all the moisture in the air and eventually walking around in a literal cloud!  We had three layers of clothes on and could see our breath on Sunday morning!  To say the least, it was a unique set of challenges to overcome.

Plan A was to slingshot and hang 3 doublet antennas, run 2 KX3’s for CW and PSK31, and run an Icom 7200 with a new Heil Pro 7 headset on voice.  We had a 5500 watt generator and 25 gallons of fuel to keep us purring along.  With 4 operators we had a good chance to keep all rigs racking up points for the duration.  Laptops were ready to log and the plan sounded solid.  The goal was to beat our score from Field Day 2014 and thought a good mix of voice and data would do the trick.

Our usual set-up has us mooching off of WR8S’s generosity when he goes to the trouble of of hauling his camper to the top of the mountain.  We extend the awning and set up a table or two to operate from.  Field Day 2014 was done via battery power and QRP mode.

WR8S and WD8DQK bundled up... oh wait...WR8S only brought shorts!  Wins endurance award!

WR8S and KD8DQK bundled up… oh wait…WR8S only brought shorts! Wins endurance award!

Sunday morning in a cloud!

Sunday morning in a cloud!

3 layers of clothes with hands so cold it was difficult to run DigiPan for PSK31 contacts.

WT8WV with 3 layers of clothes and hands so cold it was difficult to run DigiPan for PSK31 contacts.

The video below is a typical contest exchange using CW (Morse Code) and in the ARRL Field Day Contest an exchange of information would be the call sign of the other station, your operating mode (how many radios are you running and what sort of power and station are you running), followed by your section of the country.  Then you return your own exchange to the other station and move on the to next contact by calling “CQ FD CQ FD de WT8WV WT8WV” and hope for a return of your call sign for a confirmed contact to log.  CQ means “calling anyone”… FD means your are calling for the “Field Day” contest… de is French and means “from”… and WT8WV is our station’s “identifying call sign”.  (You will see Bill (WR8S) make a contact and then write down the exchange from the other station on the log paper… then he begins calling CQ FD CQ FD de WT8WV using a memory keyer that he can program with the CQ message, our contact information and a thank you good bye message.  He just needs to use the keyer paddles to send the other stations call sign during a contest.)  Our return message to the other station to enter into their own log was, “WT8WV 2A WV”.

The pictures below tell the story of our challenges and our solutions.  I have to admit I thought we were DOA when the generator croaked at 4:30 am on Sunaday… but we quickly came up with Plan X and realized WR8S had a converter in his truck!  Back to battery power to finish of a good run of PSK31 and CW for 2 points each!

The original team plan was to use my new call sign WT8WV and be “3 Alpha West Virginia” but Jay got sick on Friday so we were now down 1 team member and 1 radio.  Then we had a balun issue with 1 doublet antenna.  So now we are WT8WV 2A WV with 2 Elecraft K3’s and 1 antenna.  We decided to salvage our potential scores by focusing on PSK31 and WR8S’s speedy left hand on CW… and forgo voice comms.

Friday night

Friday night with Jay and Bill

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Bill’s new eBay score! SWEEEEEET!

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Tom working on busted antenna while Bill tries to thaw out from a cold night.

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Bill loading software and setting features.

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Added a 24 X 12 tarp for 3 total sides to block prevailing weather and winds.

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Generator exiled away for less QRN.

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Tom runs PSK31 as Bill logs.

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Spence working PSK31 and Bill keeps him straight.

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Bill cranking out CW contacts as Spence logs.

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Used a nice Android App to log with a bluetooth keyboard.

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Tom and Bill hook-up inverter to salvage our weekend.

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Tom saves the day! Good Boy Scout… WAS prepared.

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Tom fixed us a wonderfully WARM Sunday breakfast and we continued to grab a last string of PSK31 on 20 meters.

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A nice last hour run of CW on Sunday morning by Bill.

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PSK31 logs of confirmed QSO’s

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Bill brought a 16 foot long string of BRIGHT LED’s to light up our lives! Best gizmo of the weekend!

Get a Ham Radio Vanity Call Sign!

uls_by_name

As soon as I got my Amateur Radio Extra Class License, I started my search for my very own vanity call sign!  There are a few easy steps to get your own vanity call sign.  You can pay someone else $40+ to apply for it… or you can do it yourself for $21 on the internet!

You will have to determine what combination of prefix, call area, and suffix you might want, or what will fit your specific letters into it.  I wanted to have “WV” somewhere in my call to represent the state of West Virginia (you can use your initials, etc.)… prefix or suffix.  I needed an “8” for my call area… but that is no longer mandatory.  As for a prefix, I wanted to be a little different than the standard K, N, A or W so that it would stand out during a contest and sound neat.  Something that sounded cool when announced phonetically and that wasn’t too difficult to send with Morse Code.  So I focused on a prefix combination starting with an A or W.

All the 1 X 2 call signs with a “WV” were already taken… N8WV, K8WV, W8WV, A8WV.

RadioQTHLinks

So I decided I would use a 2 X 2 call sign.  I wrote down some possibilities that I thought would be cool… WT8WV, AF8WV, etc.  I had about 8 different ones to check out on the RadioQTH webite… just type it in and hit enter!  Is it available?  If so, write it down in a list of call signs available to submit to the FCC!  (More on this in a minute.)  First, go to this website http://www.radioqth.net/lookup and search to see if the vanity call sign you would like to have is available.  You will simply type in the call sign and it will tell you if someone else already owns it, or not.

You can also use the QRZ website… http://www.qrz.com/

You can also use the FCC ULS look up…  http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchLicense.jsp

uls_by_name

Now… once you have a list of call signs you can live with… you will need to put them in the order of your preferences, so they can be added to the FCC Form you will use to apply.

You will need your FCC issued FRN number off of your current Amateur Radio license to apply.  If you don’t have your FRN handy, just search for your existing call sign and it will be displayed in the form.  Copy it to your clipboard or write it down.

Go to this FCC web page and READ the directions.  http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=cft&id=amateur&page=cft_get_call_sign

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It’s not hard and after reading the instructions you will go to this new web page to pay for and apply for the vanity call sign online.  You will need to register…  http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home

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Once you register you will arrange to pay the FCC their money, fill out their form, add your list of preferred vanity call signs, finish the form and submit it.  You can check back daily to see if it has been issued.  It will be in a PENDING status while the FCC does their own search.  In about 18 days (Yes, I looked this up on the internet to see how long it takes… mine took… wait for it… 18 days.), you will know which of your preferred call signs has been assigned to you.  If you did your call sign search well, you will probably get your first preference!  You just saved yourself at least $20 by doing it yourself.

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4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

HarsH ReaLiTy

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

BG5TLA's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

Tinkertoytech's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

KC4LMD

Chronicling my pursuit of amateur radio’s "Worked All Neighbors" award

Casey's Place

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." -- John Muir

Hackaday

Fresh hacks every day

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Tactical HF

I love the smell of ozone in the morning...smells like...radio.

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