Monday, October 21, 2013

ARS KL8DX AR SK

The USS Constitution at Sunset
The photo to the left is one that I took shortly after arriving to Boston from Denali. The photo represents my final blog post with KL8DX as my callsign. The ship represents my current new life and the sunset represents the wonderful adventures I left behind, all west of here. I made so many great friends in my nearly 10 years of operating in Alaska. What a thrill it was both from casual operating to contesting. Anyone who has followed my blog for awhile knows I very much enjoy contesting. I've had many great accomplishments but then again, fewer contesters allow for great opportunities for wallpaper. 

Upon arriving to Boston, knowing my ham license would expire at the 10 year mark (November), I continued to think about changing my callsign. I did not want to get on the air during a contest and have other contesters think I was still in Alaska. I also saw that having to send /W1 after my call would also be confusing to some. Since I had to pay for round two of my Vanity Callsign issuance, I decided to just go ahead and change my call. Living in 1land, I probably should have chased a 1 callsign but I opted for (knowing pretty much from that start what I wanted) for AK2MA. It meant obviously Alaska to Massachusetts. I had a bit over 5,000 road miles to brainstorm on what a new call could be. Also, in doing a bit of research, it's a callsign that I don't believe has been issued before. I have yet to send it on the air but it seemed like a pretty good CW callsign. I'm looking forward to trying it out both on the keyer and with the straight key not to mention on the digital modes.

So, with a new callsign, I decided to start a new blog. I can't thank all those that have taken the time to read my ramblings over the last several years. I'm afraid my ham radio life will not be nearly as interesting as it has been. I hope to do more portable operating here in the lower 48. Something tells me that propagation will be a bit more user friendly here than it was at 63 degrees. Either way, I'm hopeful that my ramblings will continue to be of some interest and worth reading. 

My new blog can be found at  http://ak2ma.blogspot.com/

I'm sure I will be returning to this blog to travel down memory lane and how knows, maybe, just maybe, I will be operating from Alaska again someday. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Retired the DX

One of the toughest decisions I've had to make was what to do with my callsign when I relocated. I knew that when I ventured back into contesting, my current callsign would just not work down here. So, with my 10 year license issuance of KL8DX soon to expire, I knew my Vanity Callsign fee would come due when I renewed it. I decided that it was probably better to pay the fee once, so I needed to decide what my new callsign would be.

My original Novice callsign (KB8DVT) was issued by the FCC as the next in line. My Ohio Advanced callsign was the same, issued by the FCC as next in line. I liked KE8RO as it kinda reminded me of W6RO, or the Queen Mary. It flowed well on the key and it was easy to recognize on CW. When I upgraded to Extra class, I decided to hang onto my Advanced callsign.

When I moved to Alaska, being an avid DX'er with over 300 countries (entities) confirmed and approved, and being from 8land, it was simple in my callsign selection. KL8DX just seemed to work so I applied and received it. The 8 caught many off guard when I first got on and up until my last day of operating in Alaska, it continued to be a topic of coversation. It was sure nice to have in WPX contests being one of the most active KL8 stations.

A Vanity callsign is personal and normally has some sort of meaning. People like their initials in their callsign or it represents something to them. I've worked many "neat" callsigns over the years, some almost as long as my arm.

Anyhow, after giving it some thought and running it past my ham spouse and my close friends KL1SF and N1TX, I decided to apply for my new callsign. Ii submitted my application on September 18th, 2013. With the government shutdown, things were delayed a bit but as of today, I found my callsign of KL8DX had been cancelled. I searched my new callsign and there it was, brand spanking new! 

So, now the real work begins. Changing my callsign with all the clubs and organizations I belong to. Heck, I just changed my address in the last month, too. But, it's all part of the transition. Now my new life in ham radio begins with a new callsign to memorize and get used to sending on the key. In the end, I'm sure all will understand why I chose the callsign that I did. It's representative of the next level in the winding road of my ham radio career. With that, I will say my last 73 with the callsign of KL8DX and I hope to catch you on the bands with my new callsign.

73!
Phil
AK2MA
 





Sunday, September 8, 2013

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon From Our Deck

BBQ Back Deck Portable
With the retrieval of my portable antenna and other equipment, I was bound and determined to hear a bit of CW this weekend. Saturday, I assembled my portable station on the rear deck of our house. I was also playing grill master as I had promised my wife burgers on the grill. I assembled my Buddipole antenna and then pulled my Icom and Yaesu out of mothballs. I opted to use the Yaesu so I could have a bit more power. I tuned 20 meters and heard a few CW signals along with a few familiar callsigns working the SKCC Weekend Sprintathon. My addiction for getting on the air with my key is stronger than my addiction for dark chocolate. And, I LOVE chocolate. Hearing the CQ's, I could not resist and I threw my callsign out. It was not long before I managed four QSO's with the longest distance being with Bert, F6HKA. I've worked Bert many a time from my QTH in Alaska, so it was a pleasure to work Bert from my new QTH.


Dialing In
One of the things I wanted to do was to pin point my latitude and longitude. I also wanted to double check my grid square. I fired up my Garmin GPS III and once it settled out, I had the information I was looking for. I went from being the most active station in my grid square in Alaska to a very active grid square here in MA. 

After working my four stations, I shut down for the evening. As we are still unpacking and getting organized, my ham radio adventures will be spotty at best for a bit. I don't expect to have any type of good antenna up anytime soon. I left the Buddipole assembled in the backyard for Sunday. When I finally got the chance to set up my back deck portable station on Sunday, I found very little favorable propagation. I heard a few weak stations and that was it. No future contacts logged but there will be another day. At least I was able to hear the sweet sound of CW once again and log a few QSO's. 

As you can see, I changed the name of my blog. I will continue to write about my operation, which will continue to be more portable and low profile for awhile. I would love to get my Hex Beam in the air before the snow arrives but we shall see. I would also like to get my vertical back in operation. We are starting to see the leaves beginning to change here, so I'm looking forward to fall. It will be nice having a fall that's longer than a few weeks. This winter will be very different for us. I miss many things about Alaska but the aurora overheard will be one I miss greatly this winter. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Follow-up

I have received several comments regarding my blog. Thanks very much for the kind comments. Obviously, my Alaska activities will no longer be a topic until I return. I do expect a few more blogs here as I'm hopeful on receiving a bit more wallpaper from my Alaska operating. It was suggested to just rename this current blog and I may just do that. I did not realize I had such a few dedicated followers, all of who I appreciate that take time to read my ramblings. Anyhow, thanks for the emails, twitter and facebook suggestions. I will keep ya posted on  our winding road. 

73, 
Phil KL8DX

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Conclusion - The End? No, Just The Beginning of Something New

Thawing out in MA
As I continue to unpack ham radio items from our move, it was great to see the tower laying in the sun here in MA. I'm still far from being fully settled but hopefully, I will be able to hear the sweet sound of CW once again in the coming months. I will have a very small station so nothing competitive. My competitive days are over for a long while unless I hook up with a group of contesters who need a hand on a weekend or two. We have been so busy in getting settled (still are) that we have not had much of a chance to think of anything but unpacking boxes and wondering where we accumulated all of our stuff.

I started this blog just to document my adventures from Alaska, as many people I would talk to on the radio were always curious as to what it was like to operate in the 49th. Since my adventures have now taken me across the country and I will be settled here for awhile, I've decided to conclude my Alaska blog with this final post. I've enjoyed writing and sharing my photos, challenges and adventures over the last several years. Are my blogging days over? I would guess not, but it will have a different theme. I will someday operate from Alaska again but for now, any and all of my operating will be from MA or nearby. 

To all those who have followed or read my blog over the years, thanks! I will revisit my blog site here from time to time as a wonderful reminder of what ham radio was like for an average ham living in an awesome location. I've always enjoyed each and every comment and thankfully, this blog has led me to other fellow bloggers. There is so much great information out there if you take the time to look. 

What's in my future? A new callsign? Maybe. A new rig? Maybe. This move has been overwhelming in so many ways. But, we are much closer to family and friends so we will be interacting with them on a regular basis. I've not had much time to think radio but I do miss heading to the shack and turning on the rig looking for stations abroad. It was always a rush to give someone their first Alaska QSO. This hobby has led me to friendships that I would not have had otherwise. So many fond memories and I'm looking forward to many more. So, as one chapter of my life closes, another opens. But one things for sure, I will never be far from a radio. 73! AR SK

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Eagle Has Landed

Boston has a visitor this weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle. I recently was able to participate in a short tour of this beautiful ship. It was also informative speaking with many of the cadets on board and learning the history of the ship and her equipment. As much as the city is overwhelming to me, it's also very neat to experience the ships that are docked right out in front of our offices. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity and it helps ease the transition to a much faster paced
lifestyle. As most hams would, it made me think about the communications room and how neat it would be to operate radio from such a historic vessel out in the middle of the ocean. One of my coworkers accompanied me on the tour of this ship and he himself is a history buff. I learned lots about this ship from him as well. And not only about this ship, but many aspects of navigation on the water, too. If you research the flags that fly on these ships, it would hit close to home for any CW operator
as it's yet another way that ships communicate. Living temporarily here in the city has given us many an opportunity to experience so much of the deep history that's here with a surprise or two. 

A weekend or so ago, we had another visitor, however it was not as historic. The HMCS Athabaskan was in dock for a few days. I thought it ironic having personally arrived from Alaska, to see the "Athabaskan" in port. The Athabaskan culture was a large part of encountered Alaskan culture in our several years living in the 49th. Just made me miss home a bit more.

Living in the Interior of Alaska for all those years, we enjoyed our trips to the ocean during the summer months. Living right here on the ocean is exciting but I miss the "back country" lifestyle. Thankfully, we recently acquired a home in the country (or, as close as you can get to country here) and we are excited about our new 2 acre home. No power lines to tangle with this time and it's a nice balance of open yard surrounded by trees, which are much taller than we had in
Alaska. So, as we transition from the city to the country in a few weeks, I will have nearly the perfect situation here in Massachusetts. Working in the city next to the ocean and living in the country. I'm hopeful that a minimal station will be in my future and the goal is having it on the air before the snow arrives. I've already had a conversation with a local ham and have been informed of a local group of contesters of which I'm looking forward to meeting and maybe lending a hand at any multi contesting efforts. I'm also excited about being able to attend a hamfest or two. Our new location is served by UPS and Fed Ex! Many laugh at me when I mention it will be neat to see the UPS or Fed Ex delivery person walking up to the front door with my next ham radio related purchase. And getting once again, free ground shipping! Oh the thought...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Great Italian Eyeball QSO and Finally, LOBSTER!

Alaska Exit
Dealing with the local heat and humidity here in Boston sure has me missing the less humid temperatures and most of the time, cooler temperatures of the Denali area. It's hard to believe that just over a month ago, we started our trek across the country.

We are getting used to life in the city but the hunt still continues for the next QTH outside of Boston. Dealing with sensory overload with all that is going on in the city, my first introduction to QTH hunting is extreme sticker shock. Houses in or very near to Boston, are extremely expensive! Place it next to or near the ocean and add even more. For my wife and I, it's been a tough hunt trying to find a place to call home. The dog wants a yard and I would have to agree, although the yard request is for two very different reasons. I was hoping to avoid being an apartment dweller. But living where we are, I feel like I'm on a DXpedition and my equipment has yet to arrive. Our hotel is very nice but I gotta hand it to those who travel frequently, it gets old quick!


Trattoria Di Monica
And speaking of those who travel frequently, I had the privilege of meeting a great ham / contester this week! I was excited to get a message on Twitter from Glenn, K3PP. Glenn was going to be in Boston and he wanted to meet up for dinner. Glenn picked out a nice quaint Italian restaurant not far from the hotel we call home. Glenn found this restaurant online and I have to say, he can sure pick em!  My wife and I met with Glenn and had a wonderful dinner and of course, part of the table conversation was radio related. I've worked Glenn many a time from our old QTH in Alaska, and he always had a great signal into Denali. It was nice to finally put another face with a callsign. I believe Glenn finds his way back to this area on a regular basis, so I'm looking forward to seeing him many more times! Glenn, thanks so much for dinner and hanging out with KL8SU and myself! I'm hopeful we can operate a contest together someday!

I recently spoke with my CW Elmer, Ed K8QWY, on the phone. Ed had his rig on during our phone conversation and I could hear his HF rig and the sweet sound of CW in the background. Made me realize more than ever that I'm still going through withdrawal not having my HF rig and key nearby. Well, that's not totally true, it's nearby but my portable antenna is back in Ohio, with the travel trailer. Not a shining moment in my portable world of ham radio forgetting my portable antenna system.

So, as we settle in and continue our quest of finding our next QTH (north or west of Boston) I will keep my fingers crossed that it will be a place that will be QRN free. I'm looking forward to hearing some propagation from this end of the country and even more excited to hearing activity on 6 meters. Being next to the ocean, I'm sure enjoying fresh seafood and was recently excited when I walked into a local grocery here and found a live lobster tank at the seafood and meat counter. They even steamed it for free! Needless to say, I had my lobster fix, times three. Gotta love Lobstah!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Final Approach & Landing

Boston APRS Activity for KL8DX
The final leg of our journey happened today. I have to say, it will take me a while to get used to the city life but I'm happy that it's here in Boston. This area is saturated with history and my wife and I are extremely excited to begin learning what this beautiful city has to offer.  Eleven days and over 5,500 miles brought us to our new home from Denali. The vacation is over and it's now time to get acquainted with our new surroundings, new jobs and make new friends. As a ham, passing two awesome contest stations, W0SD in South Dakota and K3LR in Pennsylvania, put a smile on my face. My wife even commented when seeing both stations. Running APRS, I got to see those around me who also use it. I was impressed with some of the weather warning messages that we received via APRS while driving though and near some strong storms. 

Over the next several weeks, we hope to go from temporary housing to permanent, which hopefully will offer the opportunity to put a small station on the air. I miss the sound of CW and working the digital modes. But as I have written before, that's the beauty of this hobby. It will be there when you get the chance to turn on the rig once again. As I program some local repeaters into the VHF rig, I will enjoy listening to some local traffic. I've had fun operating in several great locations and I'm looking forward to adding yet another to my list. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wrapping Things Up de KL8DX/M, KL8DX/VY1, KL8DX/VE7, KL8DX/VE6...

Wrapping Up
To keep a ham happy, you pamper their tower, right? Well, our moving company did just that. Handled my shack like it was their own equipment and even wrapped my tower sections in thick wrapping paper. Overkill? Maybe but I was a happy ham! It was tough tearing down everything once again and boxing it all up. But like many a ham, I have all original boxes to my equipment and I made sure I had everything boxed up from the shack and ready for the moving company upon their arrival. We had nearly four days set aside for our packing up but this company accomplished it in two days! It was not long before our
Truck Scene
house was empty and there was an echo where there was once none. But, all is safely boxed and wrapped and making it's way to Boston. We had work obligations and things to finish on our house so we stuck around for an additional week. It was time for us to leave on vacation prior to our new assignment back east. We finished packing the remaining items in our travel trailer and truck that we needed to take along and hit the road ourselves. It was a sad day to lock the house for the very last time as we departed what I truly called home. Alaska is all that I had hoped and more. I'm looking forward to returning once again. 


NaviCat
Our travels have taken us through many a remote places along the Alaskan Highway (ALCAN). Anyone who has traveled this road knows that it takes planning and preparation. I do the driving and my girls take care of the navigation. Here you see the family feline, Luna, enjoying the map of Canada and helping us figure out the correct path as we made our way to the lower 48. I have to admit, the girls (cat & dog) have traveled extremely well and I guess at their age, the excitement of what goes by the window is less important than sleep.  I was expecting there to be many more interruptions but so far, so good!

A made mention to some friends that I feel somewhat like a fish out of water. Being back in the lower 48, I see, hear and smell things I had all but forgotten about. As we made our way through the Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta Canada, I realized that there are many beautiful places just like Alaska. I was (am) running APRS as we make our way across many miles of pavement and unpaved roads. I was surprised at some of the coverage in some of the remote places of the Yukon, BC and Alberta! We entered back into the lower 48 through Montana and I felt like I was home again in Alaska. I would not have enough memory cards to capture all of the beautiful landscapes we have encountered on our vacation. Simply breathtaking and so much so, I nearly forgot about playing radio!


Mount Rushmore
We are running on a very tight schedule so there were many places we passed by that we wanted to stop but couldn't. We decided that of all our sister parks we were going to be near, Mount Rushmore was the one we wanted to stop and see. It was well worth the stop and we only wished we had a bit more time to explore more of the area. I, like I'm sure many, was just astonished at the workmanship and likeness to the real photos of our late Presidents. The weather was beautiful and we have no complaints as our travels have gone on smooth and without incident (for the most part). Makes on become very thankful of our freedoms and to those who have made it possible!

Okay, back on track. The things I've forgotten about was fields of cows! Something I did not see in my neck of the woods in Alaska. Also, realizing how polluted our roadsides are with advertising. Thankfully, you don't see that in Alaska as you can actually enjoy the landscape advertising free (almost). Traffic, lots of people and traffic and actually stopping at truck stops. Paying less than $4.00 a gallon for diesel fuel. I did however pay $1.88 per liter for diesel fuel in one location in Canada which cost me $234.02! So that was the most I've ever paid for a tank of fuel! 

Our Ford truck has had the ability to receive Sirius satellite radio but it never worked in Alaska except in a few rare locations. When we hit Montana, I decided to sign up and I might add, listening to the same station across three states is pretty nice! Modern technology is a wonder. 

I write this on the road from our campsite here in Salem, South Dakota. Seeing a big contest station just before our exit had me missing the hobby and realizing how much I will miss contesting from my home QTH. I was pretty lucky to have a nice path to the lower 48 and Europe. But now, it will be a different location and different propagation. I'm not ready for the city life but I will adjust, hopefully. In the mean time, I'm remembering how life was when we used to live down here. We have been treated to the aroma of an excited skunk now twice. And, it's strange to have it dark when it's warm outside. Right now, we would be experiencing the midnight sun in Alaska, 24 hours of daylight. It's strange to experience this again.

As we continue our road travels, I will ponder about my next station location and watch for ham antennas and other hams that I may pass on the road. I've only heard a bit of radio traffic on 146.520 and that was shortly after we arrived in Montana from Canada. But, APRS has been fun and I think our coworkers are enjoying our progress more than we are. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 25th, 2013. Unplugged...

WPX CW 2013
This past weekend was extremely beautiful here in Alaska! The weather was outstanding for a holiday weekend here in the US. We saw temps in the 60's and 70's, which caused extreme melting of the snow and ice resulting in lots of flooding. Rivers are still running crazy as the snow melt continues. We were in the upper 70's yesterday so if ever there was a doubt that summer has arrived, well no more! 

This was a morning view of our QTH on Saturday morning, May 25th, 2013. I had hoped to make a few hundred contacts in the CQ World Wide WPX Contest but the solar conditions decided otherwise. Another weekend of turning on the radio and hearing none, or very few stations. I managed a handful before I officially pulled the plug Saturday morning.


Split Ends
With the bad band conditions, it was not hard to unplug from the rest of the world. It was time to begin the dismantling of our station. Fourteen QSO's was not my goal for the weekend but it was what it was. My first HF QSO when moving here was with Ed, K8QWY on November 28th, 2003. I had a 2 meter SSB QSO, which was officially my very first QSO, with long time friend Sean, KL1SF on November 27th, 2003. And here it was, May 25th, 2013 and 52,937 + QSO's later, my Mosley once again finds itself being packed up, awaiting another installation at another location. Closer inspection of the beam found it still in wonderful shape. Penetrox continued to keep the elements looking new. I only found a small amount of moisture in one location, and oddly enough, it was in one half of the boom. Penetrox had the water beading like wax but still, there was no sign of oxidation. Good stuff for sure. The beam and tower have taken an arctic beating here and have withstood all that was thrown at it. I'm sold on Mosley for that very reason. 


Laying Down the Tower
Once the beam was off the tower, I removed the mast and rotor from the Hazer and then lowered the Hazer to just above the crank. It was time to lower the Rohn 25 for disassembly. The tower made it safely horizontal (thanks to Polaris) and the scene around the house took on a more non-ham profile. It felt extremely...well, ham naked! Once the Hazer was off the tower, we worked at removing the top section. That was the toughest section of all and understandably so. The top section was where the Hazer and beam were mostly parked and it took the worst beating when the weather turned bad especially if I had not lowered the antenna to a weather safe height. Once the top section was removed, the remaining sections nearly pulled apart with ease.


Once Section Left (Non Multiplier)
I'm letting the sun warm the ground around the last section of our second tower before digging it up. The smaller tower was the home to my 6 meter beam and 2m/440 vertical for several years. I had dropped the 6 meter beam and had intentions of putting my Hex Beam up on that tower, but it never made it from assembly to elevation. It is now disassembled with my other antenna's and looking forward to being used at our next location. My vertical (Hustler 5BTV) was unburied from the snow bank and it too was disassembled and packed up ready to operate another day. All the antenna's and tower are now in one organized pile awaiting the day the moving van arrives.

As camping season is upon us, I'm looking forward to operating KL8DX/P, as I've done in previous years. The camper is nearly ready and my portable equipment is once again out of mothballs and ready for use. But for now, the Mosley has once again entered into hibernation at 1930z, on the 25th of May, and getting a well deserved break. I have many of what I call, "Mosley Memories" to keep me smiling for many months to come. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Like a Sponge

Absorption of DX signals according to HAARP
I enjoy reading several radio related blogs and one in that batch is by John, N8ZYA. John's blog details his chasing DX using QRP (low power). John's at the 122 days of DX worked now and I applaud his determination. John's use of QRP and indoor antenna's is something I may be doing myself, depending on where we choose to live in 1'land. If we are apartment dwellers, that will surely be the case but if we are lucky enough to land a house with a bit of property, hopefully I can throw something minimal up on the rental property. Maybe, just maybe, I can catch John on 40 meters or one of the other bands once we get settled. Sadly, I have not worked John from my Alaskan QTH, but he did hear me on one occasion and tried to unsuccessfully work me. I was hoping to work John from here someday but it appears I will be 4,600 miles closer when I finally snag a QSO with him.

I'm envious of John today as from the HAARP Riometer graph above, I simply hear absolutely nothing on the bands this morning. Not one signal! The radiation storm has rendered the ham bands useless here. Even if I could send 1,495 more watts than John through my coax and out my 4 element beam at 43 feet, I'm not working anyone. You simply can't work what you don't hear. Well, excluding some of the weak signal digital stuff now-a-days. :0)

Propagation here in Alaska (like many northern latitudes) can be extremely challenging. I had high hopes for some low power contest QSO's this weekend in the WPX contest. If this spaceweather continues, there will be few, if any. But on a positive note, our local weather has taken a turn for the better! The weather at our house is currently 40 degrees! The holiday weekend local forecast appears promising. Needless to say, it will be another busy weekend here and thankfully, the outdoor activities will not be hampered by rain or gusting winds.

I can't predict what the bands will be like tomorrow afternoon for the start of the WPX contest but at least I can safely predict our grill will be used a few times this weekend. This weekend will be the culmination of my ham radio activities from BP53lu. My remaining QSO's with my Mosley HF beam are now on the horizon. As the DXing sun sets for me this weekend, it will rise once again many miles east of here in the coming weeks/months. This is the weekend that I normally close the shack for the summer. This weekend is no different. It's camping season and we are now being bathed in sunlight nearly 24 hours a day. Lack of propagation, depressing? Yes!  All I have to do is step outdoors and it's all forgotten. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

In The Zone - New 1

KL8DX 2012 CQ World Wide DX CW Contest Result
A large white envelope was located in our mailbox today and the content of that envelope was my certificate from the 2012 CQ World Wide DX CW Contest. I obviously busted a few callsigns as my submitted score was reduced over my final score. Anytime you can have a contest weekend blessed with good propagation, it's a great experience. Having a golden log would make that great experience an awesome experience. I will always continue to do my best with each and every contest and this score reflects that best that I could of done. Each time I operate I try to "out do" my previous years score. Of course, often times propagation here in Alaska is my biggest hurdle. I might have big plans for any given contest weekend but in the end, space weather and propagation will determine my effort or score. 

My 3830 post regarding this contest is listed below. As summer approaches, it won't be long before the shack falls silent and any operating will be from a portable perspective.  We recently received an additional 4-5 inches of fresh snow so winter keeps haunting us. Once again, temperatures are supposed to be on the rise and hopefully we have seen the last snow flakes of this spring. It won't be long now before we take up residence in our travel trailer following the road map eastward. I've updated my NUVI with the latest maps and like the DX Cluster, it will help me find what I'm looking for. 

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW

Call: KL8DX
Operator(s): KL8DX
Station: KL8DX

Class: SOAB LP
QTH: Alaska
Operating Time (hrs): 30h52m

Summary:
Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
------------------------------
  160:    0    0        0
  80:  11    5        5
  40:  30    8        8
  20:  728    19      58
  15:  911    20      38
  10:  199    18      20
------------------------------
Total: 1879    70      129  Total Score = 831,820

Club: North Coast Contesters

Comments:

Another crazy contest weekend! I was sure disappointed in
10 meters this year. I'm okay with that as long as we have
good propagation in a few weeks for that band specific
contest! 

My numbers on the low bands are low but I have very poor
antennas for those bands. Kudos to those that logged me on
both 40 & 80! Your station did 99% of the work and for that,
I'm grateful! My noise is horrible on both of those bands.

The CME created some nice viewing Aurora here for the weekend
but it sure made things a bit tough for the contest. We are
still losing daylight fast and it won't be long now before
we only have 4-5 hours of daylight. Blessing is, that by 
next month at this time, we will start gaining daylight as
the sun slowly begins to move northward.

Thanks for the contest QSO's! I have a detailed review on my
blog site along with photos from this weekend. You can sure
tell when ya get spotted as so many call at once! I continue
to hone my pile-up management skills so thanks for your
patience! Looking forward to the 10 meter contest and hope
to see ya then! If only I had an antenna for 160 meters...

73!
Phil KL8DX
Denali National Park, AK
Rig: Icom 756PRO @ 100 watts
Antenna: Mosley TA-34-XL @ 43 feet
Low bands: Inverted V's for 40 & 80
Logging: Win-test

Monday, May 13, 2013

Painting to Propagation - A Colorful Weekend

Woke up to fresh snow this morning! 
I knew my weekend time for radio would be very limited. I'm still busy doing some projects at home and the paint brush and roller kept me focused on the big picture. I did however play a bit or radio. Bands still seem a bit rough these days. I had a bit of insomnia on Saturday morning and enjoyed a few European RTTY QSO's on 15 meters shortly after 1130z! My 100 watts was making it over the pond. I had spotted a European station on 15 meters and I received a twitter request from Marc, DO4DXA to try a RTTY QSO. Marc needed Alaska on 15 meters. Once I set up and was on frequency, I printed Marc with no problem! Marc and I made our contact and after Marc spotted me, a few others fell in behind him. 15 QSO's later, I headed back to bed for a few more hours of rest.

This past weekend was SKCC's Weekend Sprintathon (WES) I fired up the rig and straight key for a handful of contacts, balancing calling CQ and doing a bit of search & pounce. I found Sunday propagation to be extremely challenging so needless to say, I put much more paint on the walls of our living room than I put QSO's in my logbook. The highlight for me during the WES was being called by TF3DX who was mobile in Iceland! Villi had a great mobile signal into Alaska on 15 meters. I've operated from Iceland before and I love that country! I'm looking forward to a return trip someday. Seems I have this attraction to arctic environments. 

We woke up this morning to a fresh coating of snow. The weather has been pretty nice with some temperatures pushing 50 degrees this past weekend. Seeing snow this morning was a bit depressing as I'm hoping most of the winters accumulation melts from our yard in the next two weeks. We have lots of mud and water laying atop the ground at the moment so hopefully things will dry up soon. It's nice having nearly 24 hours of daylight right now. 

One of my recent Twitter posts

Monday, May 6, 2013

DX'ing to Drywall - It's About Where You Hang

Snow Bound @ KL8DX
I have had zero time to play on the radio lately but I have left my rig on the high bands monitoring JT65A. I'm finding that 15 & 17 meters have been producing some DX but my time has been spent doing some last minute drywall work. Finding good DX is like good drywalling, it's all about where you hang. 

Our planned move has taken a large amount of our time as has working to complete some interior projects. We have seen plenty of snow over the last month but by Sunday, the snow clouds gave way to sunshine and warmer temperatures. We begin this week in the lower 40's and the forecast looks a lot like spring, peaking near 50 by next weekend! I have plenty of snow on the north side of our home to contend with. This normally does not melt off until late June, so I will probably have to make use of the snow shovel to get to the tower and vertical. My HF vertical is buried under four feet of snow as is the base of the tower. This is created by the strong southerly winds we receive during the winter months. 

We have lots of sun these days and life is slowly returning to the Denali area. It's nice to see preparation of local businesses to once again open for the tourists with preseason beginning on May 15th. It won't be long before we will be in the full swing of summer and our only traffic light in Glitter Gulch will once again be functional. I'm excited to head out camping once we complete our current projects and do a bit of portable operating. I'm sure ready for summer as I'm sure most Alaskan's are. It won't be long now before the first skeeter and out of state RV arrive. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hello May!

 I woke up early and had a few extra minutes so I decided to turn on the radio to listen for any DX. It's May 1st, and I thought it would be nice to log a contact or two early, breaking in the month right. When I turned on my Icom 765PRO, all I heard was powerline noise on 20 meters, and lots of it. We recently received another 3-4 inches of fresh snow so obviously a transformer or an electrical connection somewhere is being effected by the latest accumulation. And not only that, but I found the bands to be totally silent. This led me to HAARP's website and in looking at the Magnetometer and the Riometer, it was obvious we have some solar activity that has effected propagation.

Like summer, I hope the propagation returns to Alaska. Like spaceweather and local weather, it seems to be one storm after another. But, I'm remaining optimistic that if May begins like this that maybe, just maybe, we will have excellent conditions for the CQ World Wide CW WPX Contest at the end of the month. That will be my last contest from this QTH so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can have the window open to the shack and work lots of stations on 10 meters! Wishful thinking? Maybe. But that's pretty good from a "Glass is half empty" kinda guy. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

DENA to BOST and Winter Continues

Cat Map - Luna
This past week has been busier than normal with a few unexpected turns. A medical procedure has set me behind schedule roughly 10 days and I'll be excited to return to full steam  ahead in about a week. Sadly, it will take much longer for my checkbook to recover. But, plans of our cross country trip continue to unfold as dates become more solid. Work is getting busy as well with many of our seasonal staff soon to arrive or already on board. Winter weather keeps pushing us backwards, Spring Road Opening (SRO) is underway but our temperatures are still below average and snow continues to fall. I have yet to remove the plow from my ATV as once I do, it's almost a guarantee of more snow. This is the main reason my antennas will be the last things to be disassembled (shucks).

Each of the National Parks are known internally by their four letter acronym. In talking about other Alaskan Parks, we refer to Denali National Park as DENA, Glacier Bay as GLBA, Sitka as SITK and Wrangle-St.Elias as WRST to name a few. Our next duty station will be BOST, so that is the reason for the title of this blog post. Our W1'land assignment is an exciting one to us but also very stressful. Not only do we have a 13 day trek across country (includes some VY1, VE7, VE6 and maybe some VE5 call area travels), we will need to find a place to live, get settled and become familiar with our new jobs and surroundings. This move effects everyone in our household. As you can see from the photo above, even the family cat fell asleep with the map of Boston! We have an exhausting schedule between now and our first day of work on the other side of the country so there will be no rest for many weeks. To put it into simple terms, it's kinda like going to a local Ford Dealership, picking out that loaded Ford Mustang and after signing your life away, driving it off the lot. It's all fun and you're enjoying that new car smell and life is good. Then reality sets in when the first payment comes due. Then it really sets in when you see how many payments you have left! Well, our reality set in with the "official" paperwork which arrived recently. We signed on the dotted line and it's crunch time!

With that said, I've had little to no time for radio. Often times, I will leave my rig on and monitor JT65, PSK31 or WSPR. This gives me a quick reference check on propagation should I have a few minutes to check the radio. I have plenty more contacts I want to make but obviously radio falls well below many other priorities. But I plan on making time for a few contests / QSO Parties in May. As June rolls around, things will become just to crazy to even think radio. A few weekends in May along with an evening here or there will be my extent of operating. I normally close down the shack by June anyhow as summer arrives and we begin our outdoor adventures. This year will be no different other than the fact that our shack won't reopen in Alaska for the upcoming 2013-2014 winter contest season. Unless of course another ham decides to occupy our dwelling. But for now, we focus on getting ready for our DENA to BOST journey in the coming months. Oh, and now I really have to learn how to spell Massachusetts.   


Monday, April 22, 2013

The Meltdown

Our Cartoon Shack
Could it finally be? A sound I've not heard for many months! Nope, not DX but the sound of running water! We do have indoor plumbing but the water I'm referring to is outdoors. The sound of water dripping into our gutters as the snow melts off the roof. We saw a high temperature on the 19th of 37.9° followed by  a high of 46.2° on the 20th! And if that was not enough, we saw a high of 44.7° on the 21st! I think (as I knock on wood) that spring has sprung! The meltdown is here! Our driveway is already beginning to look like a lake during the day and an ice rink during the night. We are in that thaw and freeze cycle now. Our weather station is showing some dramatic temperature changes though out the day. And believe me, I'm a happy camper!

More Sunshine than DX this past weekend!
And speaking of a happy camper, with such balmy temperatures, I moved our travel trailer batteries from our garage back to the trailer. It's plugged in and the batteries are once again fully charged ready to go. As the bands continue to be a bit of a struggle up here, it's easy for me to be distracted and head outdoors to catch some arctic rays, especially now that we have over 17 hours of daylight! The photo shows the view from our front deck and sunglasses are once again a requirement with all this sunshine and reflective snow giving us a double dose of solar emission. 

Our cluttered shack KL8DX / KL8SU
This was a busy weekend for radio. Several QSO Parties and a few HF contests. I managed a few CQMM European QSO's and even fewer Michigan QSO Party QSO's. I also wanted to make an appearance in the Feld Hell Sprint and the poor conditions only yielded a few Hell QSO's as well. I think the highlight for me was working Dan, W8CAR and Jim, K8MR who were mobile in the Michigan QSO Party. Dan lives only a stones throw from where I used to live in Ohio. I won't be able to make Dayton this year but you can sure bet it will be on my agenda for next year! Since we officially received our EOD date (Enter On Duty) to our next assignment in 1'land, I'm now focusing my efforts on getting ready for our move. We have LOTS to accomplish between now and then but I still have some time to enjoy radio. I need several inches of snow to melt yet before I even think about dropping my antennas and towers. That will probably be one of the final projects but in the mean time, I have plenty indoors to keep me busy. 

My logbook is fast approaching 53,000 QSO's since moving to Alaska in 2003. I used a vertical antenna for the first few years and I can still remember how the world opened up when I got my Mosley TA-34-XL in the air!  It has operated from two QTH's (locations) and has served me well, proving itself in this very harsh arctic environment. So until we make our way back to Alaska, it will once again be packaged up and taking a long rest. I don't expect to have much of a station back east as we are looking to rent. I'm also looking to hook up with a local contest club or stations to operate with. I've very much enjoyed the experiences I've had at KL2R with the multi crowd and I'd like to continue that fun. But we need to find a place to get settled and survive this move first before I begin thinking of operating. Once the station is deconstructed here, it will be portable operating for me only but I love that, too! My favorite portable operating is when we are boondocking many miles away from any available internet or cell service! Introduced to me by our bestest of friends, Sean KL1SF & Mindy KL1MF, out on the Denali Highway. I've been bitten by the bug ever since. 
Susitna River Bridge by KL8DX


One of my favorite places on the Denali Highway is out along the Susitna River. Lots of fond memories for sure. The photo to the right is one that I took from a previous excursion on the Denali Highway. Some of the bridges up here make you hold your breath when you're crossing them. This one however is my favorite. I love walking out onto the bridge. Like in may other places, not a sign is safe in the Alaskan backcountry. Trying to find one without a bullet hole can be a challenge in this neck of the woods. Me, I've personally never felt threatened by a sign so I never felt the need to shoot one. Those who shoot signs rank as low as the few I've heard who hang out on 14.313. Or at least, I'm sure they are related somehow. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chasing The Germans, Chasing the Lower 48 And The Beginning Our Next Life Chapter

QSO Party & SKCC's WES @ Radio KL8DX
It seems we encountered yet another weekend in which the sun flexed its solar muscle and put a damper on some of the weekend operating. It started out okay and by Saturday, I was thinking we may be safe. As luck would have it, by 0600z on the 14th, the ionosphere got its bell rung by the sun. The impact was reported by spaceweather dot com showing the hit around 2255z on the 13th. But at that time, I was still hearing stations strong and the bands were favorable. I was slightly optimistic that the predicted BIG lower 48 auroral event would not happen. My backup plan was to photograph the aurora (assuming it was going to happen) but even that comes with a challenge these days. I'm a morning person and now that spring is returning to Alaska, we have daylight up through 2200 local. To experience complete darkness, we need to stay up pretty late. I charged the camera battery anyhow, just in case I had insomnia.

5W0M QSO's for KL8DX logged in ClubLog
My activity this weekend was going to be exclusively Search & Pounce (S&P). I was going to chase those in the New Mexico QSO Party, the Georgia QSO Party and finally the Montana QSO Party. I was also going to continue my quest of chasing 5W0M on Samoa. Anything in the Pacific is pretty easy for my little station as there is not much between me and most of the large mass of ocean. Well, one BIG mountain does make a few locations in the pacific tough for me, all 20,320 feet of it! But the Samoa group is sounding great here in the Interior and they are doing a fantastic job as far as DXpeditions go. I wanted to support my fellow SK'ers by getting on and chasing a few SKCC Weekend operators during their monthly WES (Weekend Sprintathon). My Navy Flameproof has felt neglected I'm sure. 

The bands were tough for most of Sunday but by Sunday afternoon, propagation started to return. I stuck pretty much to CW on 20 meters, the only real propagational band for me. The Georgia QSO Party appeared to have the most activity followed by the New Mexico QSO Party. I worked only one station that I found CQ'n in the Montana QSO Party. But, there was a large group of SKCC'ers on so I knew that my limited time on the radio should yield some contacts. I'm dividing my time between a few home projects and radio on the weekends. Auroral events make it much less stressful when trying to decide which to do, radio or work on home improvement projects. 

Secret Weapon at KL8DX. She sniffs out Mults & New Ones
By the time the weekend closed out and the bands feel silent on Sunday afternoon, I added only about 43 QSO's to my logbook. Again, all S&P and when I had a few minutes to park myself in the shack chair. I did have a visitor a few times. When "mom" is gone, she tends to keep me company. She does not mind the sound of CW and I think it actually puts here to sleep. She is 13½, so it does not take much to put here to sleep these days. At times, I will even get a visit from the family feline but that's normally during those very early morning hours when the rest of the household is still asleep. The cat and I are the only ones who normally catch the sunrise. 

©KL8DX Sunrise as seen from my shack window
So, with only a limited number of sunrises left here in Alaska, we begin planning the next chapter of our life. It won't be long now before we begin our journey that will take us over 4,600 road miles east, to our next assignment. That's the beauty of the National Park Service, lots of beautiful places my wife and I would like to experience during the 2nd half of our careers. But don't worry, we have plans of returning to Alaska but for now, our career path takes us across our great country. I have to admit, it will take some time to adjust to traffic, people, driving only a few minutes to the local grocery store and having something I order from HRO (Ham Radio Outlet) delivered to my doorstep. I'm still not tired of the 2 hour drive (one way) to get groceries, to see doctors and get our truck worked on. I have lived the dream and it's a dream I will live again. My activity level will take a short break in the coming weeks but then, my faint signal will once again be heard. The only difference is, there will be a /W1 after my callsign when I'm operating. More on that later but for now, our family beagle has awoke and has decided she wants to venture outdoors. Something tells me she was not dreaming of bass fishing, but I do! What say you, Martin? 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Log Checking Report (LCR) - KL8DX 2012 CQ WW CW Contest LCR

The KL8DX Classroom

I recently received an email from Randy, K5ZD outlining my Log Checking Report (LCR) for the 2012 CQ World Wide DX CW Conest. Logs are public and participants are alerted to their log becoming available. A few feel that revealing of the contest logs should not happen as it would possible give up strategic information, etc. Me on the other hand, it's my Report Card and grades how well I did in the contest. I welcome these reports with open arms and I sure use them to my benefit. I learn from them and then try to fix my problem areas.

My shack is my classroom when it comes to operating. I'm always learning. It could be about propagation, strategy, space weather, greyline or simply how my equipment plays under certain conditions. I also learn from others without leaving my chair. As mentioned in my previous blog, via email or simply just tuning and listening to other operators on the air. I learn what and what not to do this way. 

Anyhow, if I had to grade my operating from the CQ WW CW Contest, I would grade myself at a C+ level. This is simply because my 3.8% error reduction. Had I not lost a multiplier, I would of graded myself at a B-, I think. Let's take a look at the breakout -


************************** Summary ***************************

    1881 Claimed QSO before checking (does not include duplicates)
    1862 Final   QSO after  checking reductions

    4186 Claimed QSO points
    4046 Final   QSO points

     129 Claimed countries
     128 Final   countries

      69 Claimed zones
      69 Final   zones

     198 Claimed mults
     197 Final   mults

  828828 Claimed score
  797062 Final   score

    3.8% Score reduction

       8 (0.4%) calls copied incorrectly
       7 (0.4%) exchanges copied incorrectly
       0 (0.0%) band change violations
       4 (0.2%) not in log
      15 (0.8%) duplicates (Removed without penalty)
       3 (0.2%) calls unique to this log only (not removed)

********************** Results By Band ***********************

             Band   QSO  QPts  Zone Cty Mult

   Claimed   160M     0     0     0   0    0
   Final     160M     0     0     0   0    0

   Claimed    80M    11    23     5   5   10
   Final      80M    11    23     5   5   10

   Claimed    40M    30    76     8   8   16
   Final      40M    30    76     8   8   16

   Claimed    20M   728  1731    19  58   77
   Final      20M   720  1657    19  58   77

   Claimed    15M   913  1896    19  38   57
   Final      15M   905  1852    19  37   56

   Claimed    10M   199   460    18  20   38
   Final      10M   196   438    18  20   38

   Claimed    All  1881  4186    69 129  198  Score   828828
   Final      All  1862  4046    69 128  197  Score   797062


When I looked a bit closer as to the reason why, it was simply my copy. 
In looking at it from another angle, my lack of copying. Let's take a look -
********************* Incorrectly copied *********************

14053 CW 2012-11-24 0247 KL8DX    1 PS1T    11 correct     PS2T       
14027 CW 2012-11-24 0327 KL8DX    1 JF1NSD  25 correct     JF1NHD     
21046 CW 2012-11-24 0840 KL8DX    1 SF3A    14 correct     HF3A       
28065 CW 2012-11-24 1911 KL8DX    1 N7LXU    3 correct     N7XU       
28038 CW 2012-11-24 2340 KL8DX    1 JH1CTQ  25 correct     JS3CTQ     
14065 CW 2012-11-25 0015 KL8DX    1 K1BG     5 correct     K1DG
14040 CW 2012-11-25 2252 KL8DX    1 K7FL     3 correct     K8FL       
21082 CW 2012-11-25 2359 KL8DX    1 JF1NSD  25 correct     JF1NHD

I've always had a mental block with the letters "H" and "S" at higher speeds. 
In looking above, that is what stood out first in my error report. And it did not   stop there. I also incorrectly copied the following exchanges -
*************** Incorrect Exchange Information ***************
21067 CW 2012-11-24 0154 KL8DX     1 7K4XNN   24 correct   25
21058 CW 2012-11-24 1819 KL8DX     1 K7BG      3 correct    4
21048 CW 2012-11-24 1827 KL8DX     1 KH7X      5 correct   31
21098 CW 2012-11-24 1851 KL8DX     1 WX9U      5 correct    4
28063 CW 2012-11-24 2244 KL8DX     1 NG7Z      5 correct    3
21036 CW 2012-11-25 2215 KL8DX     1 W3HDH     5 correct    4
14040 CW 2012-11-25 2249 KL8DX     1 N0EF      4 correct    3

The biggest puzzle for me is how in the heck did I get KH7X wrong! Zone 5 for31? And I gotta wonder about 7K4 as Zone 24 and not 25? That's a bit easier to swallow than KH7X. I've worked Paul, NG7Z in so many contests and I know he  is in Zone 3.

The ones that really effect ones score are the multipliers that are "busted." 
I did just that -
********************** Lost Multipliers **********************
21046 CW 2012-11-24 0840 KL8DX    1 SF3A   14 correct HF3A  
So, I review my results for the next test. What can I do to improve and what
mistakes did I make in this last contest that I need to pay more attention to 
during the next contest? Yes, when one is tired, it's easy to make mistakes but
when contesting, that could be the difference between what I refer to 
myself as framing or blaming, or simply - wallpaper or none.
I've also made an attempt to correct people when they have busted my call. I hope that others will do the same should I bust their callsign. Yell back at me or send your call a few times so I get that "V-8 Moment" and correct it. Sadly,
many bust my callsign because of poor spotting. I often get spotted as KL7DX
and people will click, work, log and move on without verifying my call. 
I correct as many as possible and I make sure I send my call after each QSO if 
I'm running stations. If I'm S&P (Search & Pounce) and someone has
my call wrong, I send it not only once, but twice.  Something like, 
"K8QWY de KL8DX 5NN 01 de KL8DX. 
Here is a look at how many busted my callsign (I removed the call to protect 
those who did) -
************* Stations Copying KL8DX Incorrectly *************
21000 CW 2012-11-24 0148 JH****          25 KL7DX            1
21000 CW 2012-11-24 0158 JF****          25 KL7DX            1
14064 CW 2012-11-24 0517 VE***            3 KL7DX            1
14040 CW 2012-11-24 0745 R***            16 KL7DX            1
14009 CW 2012-11-24 0756 SP****          15 KL8NX            1
14000 CW 2012-11-24 0757 Y***            15 KL9DX            1
21062 CW 2012-11-24 0838 L****           15 KL7DX            1
14065 CW 2012-11-24 1524 S***            15 KL7DX            1
14008 CW 2012-11-24 1625 R***            17 KD8DX            3
14034 CW 2012-11-24 1634 L****           20 KA8DX            4
14059 CW 2012-11-24 1644 N***             5 KL7DX            1
21021 CW 2012-11-24 1823 K***             5 KL7DX            1
21025 CW 2012-11-24 1844 W*****           3 KL7DX            1
21000 CW 2012-11-24 1902 W*****           3 KL8DK            1
21000 CW 2012-11-24 1959 K****            4 KL7DX            1
21077 CW 2012-11-24 2018 K***             5 KL8X             1
21000 CW 2012-11-24 2036 K****            5 KL7DX            1
21077 CW 2012-11-24 2044 N***             3 KL7DX            1
21077 CW 2012-11-24 2047 K****            3 KL7DX            1
21077 CW 2012-11-24 2106 W****            4 KL7DX            1
21000 CW 2012-11-24 2208 N***             3 KL7DX            1
21077 CW 2012-11-24 2210 W***             5 KL7DX            1
21077 CW 2012-11-24 2224 K***             3 KL2DX            1
21000 CW 2012-11-24 2227 VE****           4 KL7DX            1
28000 CW 2012-11-24 2240 K***             4 KL7DX            1
14066 CW 2012-11-25 0004 K***             5 KL7DX            1
14066 CW 2012-11-25 0043 VA***            3 KL7DX            1
14000 CW 2012-11-25 0202 N***             4 KL7DX            1
14066 CW 2012-11-25 0211 K****            5 KL7DX            1
14027 CW 2012-11-25 0302 W***             3 KL7DX            1
14001 CW 2012-11-25 1210 U***            16 DL8DX           14
14015 CW 2012-11-25 1215 R***            16 KL7DX            1
14059 CW 2012-11-25 1225 9***            15 KL8TEX           1
14028 CW 2012-11-25 1227 9***            15 KL7DX            1
14000 CW 2012-11-25 1243 U****           16 DL8DX           14
14102 CW 2012-11-25 1252 U***            16 KD8DX            4
14054 CW 2012-11-25 1448 Y***            20 KL7DX            1
21040 CW 2012-11-25 1515 Y***            15 KL7DX            1
14033 CW 2012-11-25 1546 Y*****          20 KR8DX            4
21000 CW 2012-11-25 2045 C****            8 KL7DX            1
21028 CW 2012-11-25 2058 L***            13 KL7DX            1
21000 CW 2012-11-25 2101 K***             5 KL7DX            1
21000 CW 2012-11-25 2126 V****            5 KL7DX            1
21037 CW 2012-11-25 2135 K***             5 KL7DX            1
21000 CW 2012-11-25 2137 W***             4 KL7DX            1
21037 CW 2012-11-25 2202 N***             3 KL7DX            1
21036 CW 2012-11-25 2203 N***             4 KL7DX            1
21037 CW 2012-11-25 2203 N***             5 KL7DX            1
21037 CW 2012-11-25 2204 N***             3 KL7DX            1
21037 CW 2012-11-25 2205 W/******         3 KL7DX            1
21000 CW 2012-11-25 2212 K****            4 KL7DX            1
21037 CW 2012-11-25 2215 N***             4 KL7DX            1
21037 CW 2012-11-25 2218 K***             5 KL7DX            1
14040 CW 2012-11-25 2322 N***             4 KL7DX            1
21000 CW 2012-11-25 2347 JA****          25 AL8DX            1

Contesting is about speed AND accuracy, and scoring reflects just that. 
A call can be busted for many reasons, fatigue, QRM, QRN, QSB or simply,
just not copying it right. What is loud and clear is my final result and using
that, I will forge ahead and hopefully do better next year. 
But for now, class dismissed...