Eastern Iowa DX Association

An ARRL affiliated club - Established 1975
In this issue
January 2023
President's Message

Club News

Member Spotlight

DX News

Featured Articles
Member News

Club Officers:
Gayle Lawson, KØFLY

Vice President:
Joe Leto, WØIW

George Cooley, NG7A

Mike Nowack NA9Q

Repeater Committee:  
Jason Joens NRØX

Membership Committee:
Jim Spencer WØSR
Nelson Moyer KUØA

Repeater: NØDX/R
144.59 / 145.19 (tone 192.8)


Web Master:
Craig Fastenow KØCF

Newsletter Editor:


President's Propagation, Pontifications and Prognostics

I hope that all of the EIDXA members had a very Merry Christmas and will have a happy New Year.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the new sunspot cycle. It is nice to see DX-peditions on the air again.  I have worked 3 ATNOs this year as well as filling in some band counties on 10 and 12 meters. Another 5 or 6 on 12 meters and I will have 9 Band DXCC. There was a 10-minute opening to ZL on six Meters, several EIDXA members made QSOs. Of course, I was eating dinner when the opening occurred.

I have requested the Mercy Hall Perrine meeting room for Friday January 20. The program is video of the FT5Z DX-pedition to Amsterdam Island. Mike NA9Q has made our annual donation to Mercy Medical Center.

Crozet FT5/W, number 3 on the most wanted list will be on the air by the time you read this column.  The original thought was that Thiery F6CUK would be able to operate for his whole three month stay.  DX World has stated that he will be allowed to operate for three weeks ending January 26. I hope that everyone who needs Crozet gets Thiery worked. VOA cap indicates the best propagation time is between 2300Z to 0100Z on 20 and 30 meters (85% chance). Europe has a 16 hour window (95% chance) on multiple bands. Bouvet 3Y0J will be on the air in January.

Thanks to Craig KØCF for his great work on the web site as well as the EIDXA DX bulletin and of course Bob WØGXA for the newsletter.

WB8ZRL’s antennas and towers have been removed, the 80 and 40 meter four squares are for sale as well as the two towers, the Ameritron amp, and the Ten Tech Titan RF deck. Contact WØAWL or WØSR if you're interested. 

Thanks to the crew who removed the antennas and towers.

73, Gayle KØFLY
Musings from the lunatic fringe
Thank you!

Imagine my surprise when I opened the letter and gift card from the club.  I like doing the newsletter, so it doesn't seem like work.

Thank you

I hope you've been on the higher bands enjoying those days with higher sunspot numbers.  ARRL's 10m contest was fun for sure.

A final note: Next year World Radio Conference - 23 will be held in Dubai.  This conference is held every four years to review proposals to change the ITU radio regulations.  Don't think for a minute that our bands we've always had will remain.  Mobile wireless network operators have an insatiable appetite for spectrum.  If you've not done so, consider donating to the ARRL spectrum defense fund.  Monies support their advocacy efforts on our behalf.

Thanks for all the good content.  Remember: The newsletter is only as good as you make it!

Happy new year!

Club News and Administrative Items
Friday, January 20, 2023

Social Hour 6:30 PM
Meeting & Program 7:30 PM
Meeting and location information here
Program: Video of the FT5Z DX-pedition to Amsterdam Island
Card Checkers

We have club members who can check your QSL cards
  • Glenn, WØGJ
  • Mike, NA9Q

Contact info can be found here: 
Member Spotlight
Nothing to report this month.  If you haven't been featured in the newsletter, let me know.  We'd love to do a story.
DX News
In case you have been asleep, there are a couple good activations underway or planned in January.
Feature Articles

160m Antenna

The last time I had my own 160m antenna was 2017.  With my weekly business travel in 2018/2019, I didn't bother to put it up in the fall.  In 2020 I lost the elm tree I had used for support.  I replace my 80/40 with a year-round vertical from DXEngineering.  This year I decided to tackle 160m again.
I still have a 60' pin oak near the house that I thought I could shoot a line over.  Here's a rough idea of the layout.
The antenna is direct feed with a coax/ugly balun.  The four posts hold the elevated radials.  Each pair is tuned for 160m.

The feed point was placed behind this tree to obscure the view from the family room patio door (part of my environmental impact statement filed with my XYL).
Feed point

Since I need to borrow my neighbor's hay field, this is a winter-only antenna.

Antenna was well behaved during tuning.  The rig likes it and has sufficient bandwidth over the CW portion.  I paired it with a 750' beverage to the northeast.  So far, I worked a couple of new DX (TK and FM) and finished up WAS-160 (NE).  Since I have only 51 countries, I'll be using it a lot in the coming years.

CQWW - Dingos, Xylophones, and Year-on-Year Improvements 

Adam Evanschwartz, AEØDX

In the April 2022 newsletter I introduced myself and reviewed my first year in amateur radio. As we left off in that article, I had slogged through a roughly full time effort in CQWW SSB 2021, completed my first-ever CW QSOs in CQWW CW, and achieved mixed-mode DXCC. Importantly - I had taken three full pages of handwritten notes during CQWW that would lead to numerous station and operating enhancements ahead of CQWW 2022. 

Over the course of the year I worked through each item on the list. The punch list was ~80% complete in time for the 2022 SSB contest, with the last steps - new low band wires and an NW Beverage - wrapping-up on the days surrounding Thanksgiving. The Top 10 changes, summarized in the table below, yielded a satisfying improvement in performance and enjoyment at AEØDX:
The results - learning, progress and fun
Top Ten Enhancements - in no particular order
  2021 2022
Callsign “Lima Romeo” in AEØLR was a challenge on SSB
Lots of time spent attempting to clarify “LR” - many busts
AEØDX - no persistent issues with copy on any mode
Top  CW busts ‘AE9DX’ and ‘EAØDX’ were easily corrected
Rig IC-7300 - solid entry-level rig, single antenna connection, no RX input IC-7610 - dual independent receivers, two antenna connections + independent RX ant. input, improved RX dynamic range, interface, etc.
Audio Icom SM50 desk mic w/integral PTT, rig speaker - fine business for casual ops Heil Pro 7ic headset, Heil Foot Switch - night-and-day difference for contesting and DX
CW Key None Vibroplex Iambic Paddle
Software Newcomer to N1MM+, used in contests only, estimated 50% of capabilities employed N1MM+ has been my daily logger for a year, estimated 95% of Single Op capabilities employed
Antennas - upper bands Diamond W8010 ‘trap’ dipole used for 40-10M K4KIO Hex Beam for 20-6M
Yaesu G-800DXA rotator
Antennas - lower bands (pictured)
Thanks WØGXA for the consultation!
80M inverted vee @ ~35-ft - warmed the sky nicely between Iowa and North Texas - induced rainfall over Kansas on occasion Finished just-in-time for CQWW CW…

Feedpoint 1: 160 Inv-L, 40M vertical
Feedpoint 2: 80M vertical
Antennas - receiving None. Used TX antennas. 200’ NE Beverage
300’ NW Beverage
DXE RX Mag Loop
RFI/EMI management No mitigation of sources or victims Mix 31 ferrite everywhere - sources and victims
Operating technique Compliant with DX Code of Conduct, NATO phonetics, informed by Air Traffic Control experience as a comm’l pilot.
Otherwise random.
S&P - mostly worked in order of azimuth for efficient rotator use
Major focus on accuracy - “slow down to go fast” and correct all miscopies on the other end - goal = 0% errors
SSB - main focus was on points and mults
CW - main focus was on finishing DXCC on CW and 15M and adding ‘new ones’ - at the expense of points
Highlight - low-band antennas just-in-time for CQWW CW
Thanks to a consultation with WØGXA, a prior 130’ EFHW Inverted-L was converted to the present direct-feed 160M + 40M setup. It was most convenient to add a separate 80M vertical ground plane on the other side of the back yard.
Although on the very short-end of Beverage performance, the new RX antennas resulted in a step-change in received SNR in time for the CW contest. Anyone who says “Beverages are easy” has never installed one in the steeply-sloping and overgrown wooded ravine behind my house. We have gracious neighbors all around this midtown lot. Next year I plan to ask the folks to my South for permission to extend the NW Beverage all the way across their woods - adding another 300-400-ft.
A day in the life of a Little Pistol in CQWW SSB

As evident in the 10X year-on-year score improvement during a 6% shorter operating period,  SSB capabilities here improved in a major way in the 12 months between contests. That being said, in the super bowl of contesting, pileups were still intense and at times frustrating - making me all the more excited for the CW version of the contest. 

As the second day of SSB drew to a close and after more than 29 hours of operating, I couldn’t help but reflect on the differences in SSB and CW as I waded and pried through pileups. One particular pileup was for VL2A on 10M on Sunday around 23:00 UTC. With an aviation background, it’s taken me quite a while to grow accustomed to the non-NATO phonetics that many ops use in amateur radio. I’ve come to understand their utility and on occasion I resort to “America Ecuador” for my prefix when needed. So there I was in VL2A’s pileup with my 100 Watts, going head-to-head with a very loud presumably legal limit station who was -yelling- his callsign in what struck me as wildly random phonetics. 

We’ll withhold his actual call to protect the guilty. I ran into him as I was running during a subsequent contest and he really was a fine op in that situation. For illustration, let’s just use the fictitious callsign suffix of “HDB” to make the point:

VL2A: CQ Contest    Victor Lima Two Alpha     Victor Lima Two America
Me: Alpha Echo Zero Delta X-Ray
VL2A: again please?
Me: Alpha Echo Zero Delta X-Ray
Other guy with booming bass and the echo of an amplified signal: HOT DOG BUN, HOT DOG BUN (truncated call with no prefix)
VL2A: is that a Delta Bravo? Something Delta Bravo?
Other guy: “HOT DOG BUN, just like the bread product HOT DOG BUN” (yes, rather than resorting back to NATO phonetics, he chose a pop culture reference for his themed fake phonetics)

I was laughing hysterically out loud, not sure whether I was more entertained, fatigued, or frustrated. Eventually they completed the QSO. It was late, I was weary and all the more eager for the upcoming CW test. Against my better judgment I decided to try his technique on the next round, afterall it had worked for him!

VL2A: CQ Contest   Victor Lima Two Alpha      Victor Lima Two America
VL2A: the Alpha Echo Station?
Me: ALPHA ECHO ZERO DINGO XYLOPHONE  (‘maybe referring to an Aussie animal would help?’)
VL2A: Alpha Echo Zero?
Me: [struggling to stop laughing out loud] Alpha Echo Zero Delta Xray
VL2A: AEØDX 59 3-0

The lesson: stick with proven techniques, take your cues from the first-class operators who you truly wish to emulate. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Above all, have fun. Oh and - CW Forever.

73, Adam AEØDX
Member News
Proud Dad Moment

Rich W3ACO

Following a trip to PJ2T for CQWW SSB, Geoff penned the following note:

We particularly enjoyed hosting Rich (W3ACO) and his daughter Melissa (W7MAH).  Rich has operated here previously and is well-remembered by all of those team members as an accomplished chef.

This was Melissa’s first trip to PJ2T, and she showed us all week that she just might be an even better cook than Rich as were treated to fabulous meals day after day. (Can PJ2T apply for a Michelin star?)
Melissa at Field Day
Melissa had just earned her General ticket and had never before contested. She learned some introductory technique and added some contest QSOs to our log, as a woman’s voice always attracts the deserving. CQWW SSB pileups are a tough initial indoctrination to a first-time contester, but she handled it

In addition Melissa volunteered to help me climb to the “ridge” to perform seasonal maintenance on the 1000 ft Europe Beverage. This is not for the faint of heart in our very high temperatures and humidity, and the day we did that trek the wind had dropped to nothing. She turned out to be in absolutely fantastic cardio condition and strong, flexible, and agile, and was a tremendous help. After we finished, and I was in the usual near-death condition, she smilingly and chipperly asked when we were going to go climbing again, not winded and barely breaking a sweat. Geesh.

Melissa is a heavily credentialed PhD+ medical data scientist, but this weekend she was a bushwacker of the highest order.

Operators: Rich NN3W (L), Conner W4IPC (R)
Looks like all that stuff NØYY installed in 2015 is still in use
Geoff, PJ2DX

Haendel YL Radio Operator Fund

Rich W3ACO

My daughter thinks there should be more female ham operators on the air.  To that objective, my daughter Melissa W7MAH and I have started a fund to support female youth operators who go on DX operations. The fund is called "Haendel YL Radio Operator Fund".

I have been in contact with "Dave Kalter Memorial DX Adventures (DKMDXA). That group funds youths to go to DX locations and pays for operation expenses and travel from the
port of embarkation and return. The last DX adventure was Curacao,  PJ2Y and the point of embarkation was Miami.  DKMDXA does not provide funds for US travel.

My fund will support travel expenses for the female youth and her parent from their home to the point of embarkation and return. The female youth will be selected by DKMDXA.  DKMDXA will contact me with the name of the YL and I will send additional funds to her parent to  support initial travel.

If any one in EIDXA likes this idea and wants to support it, have them contact me.

73 Rich W3ACO

6 Meter Portable Preparation

I have been working a lot more on 6 meters the last few summers. My initial interest is in picking up new DXCC entities for the DXCC Challenge. Once you get 80 through 10 pretty much worked out that only leaves 160m and 6m to make any real progress towards the substantial goal of 3000 band DXCC entities. This last year I swapped out my 5 element yagi for a higher gain 6 element yagi. There is now an ACOM 2100 on the desk to help on that quest. Now it’s on to DXCC on 6m!
Once I started working more on 6m I added WAS to my goals! That goal has gone well as I only need Alaska to complete that one. And I am optimistic with the rising Solar Flux, that this next summer could bring AK to the WAS fold. 

The next 6m interest that has been piqued is the FFMA or Fred Fish Memorial Award. That award is given to those who work all 488 grid squares in the continental US. There are some pretty tough ones that are mostly along the US coastline. For example, EL58 far SE of Louisiana. There’s land out there? Or maybe CM79 where there is just a small chunk of coast in the corner of that grid square. There are closer grids that are tough also. Some are too far out for normal tropospheric propagation and too short for Meteor Scatter (MSK144.)  Rod, KØDAS has that issue with Minnesota, EN25/26. I have the same problem with EN18/28 as well as EN47 on the north shore of Lake Superior.

With the new grid chasing, I began thinking that it might be fun to work up a portable station to go up to some of the “not rare, but still needed by some” grids in northern MN. Since I now have a spare 5 element yagi and I have a Yaesu FT-991A, it seems possible to make a portable operation work. The question that came up is how do I get that yagi in the air?

As I was pondering what to use for a mast, I saw that W0ELT posted a For Sale that included a Rohn 9H50 steel telescoping mast! A few weeks later we made the cash-for-mast swap. That in hand, the next hurdle came up as to how to make this a quick install in a portable environment. For that, I saw that Bob, WØGXA used a DX Engineering tilting fixture for his new 80/40m vertical. While the hole pattern for a Rohn R9H50 mast did not match the 80m vertical hole pattern, I decided that I could drill it for the Rohn 2.25” U-bolt center spacing. (Ref: DXE-OMNITILT-2P)

The DXE tilt fixture itself requires a 2” OD mast that for a normal vertical mounting situation would be cemented into the ground. The fixture attaches to the pipe. This being a portable install I had to figure out how to use some left over 2” OD mast to host the fixture. As I scrounged around in the garage, I found a 2” receiver hitch extender. Viola! Suffice to say, a bit of drilling and some help from our local welding shop and problem solved.
The 2” receiver extender with two pieces of 2” mast welded on the top and bottom. The DXE Omnitilt now mounted solidly to the extender with 2” clamps. The empty clamps are the 2.25” galvanized U-Bolts for the Rohn mast.
Picture showing both the Rohn R9H50 mast and the mount for the mast.
There is still much to do to get the entire portable station set up. I have a new USB GPS hockey puck and software to keep accurate position (aka maidenhead grids) as well as synchronized time for FT8. Some of the Minnesota northwoods grids may be internet denied. I also have to pursue how to log and load LOTW when operating from right on multiple grid lines/corners. But, it’s Minnesota in winter right now and there is plenty of time to figure those bits out. Look for NYØV/p in some northern MN grids next June.

Submitted by Tom, NYØV
Winter vs. Tuner
Moderating DXing with the hostile WX here.  Must go outside to set the antenna tuner any time the frequency changes by much!

John,  WØGN

Looks like a good reason to winter in a warmer climate HIHI - Ed.
I don't have a lot of new stuff to brag about but I will report that I’ve 97 countries worked on 60 meters.  Confirmed is a little hard since ARRL doesn’t count for awards on that band.  All were on FT8 with XT, 4X, ZL7, TA, TY, 3D2, T88 and LY to name a few.

 73 Glen KØJGH
Highlights from the past three months of operating -

SSB: (10 Mtrs) TX7G, FO4BM, CN22CWQ, (15 Mtrs) JW7QIA , JD1BQP, A75FIFA; (17 Mtrs)  Z36T; (20 Mtrs) VP8KCA, TYØRU, XF1S, TL8AA

CW: (10 Mtrs) SW1SA, ZD7BG; (12 Mtrs) TL8WW, P29RO; (15 Mtrs) EP2ABS, FO/F6BCW, BA5AD, P29RO; (17 Mtrs) 3B9/M0CFW; (20 Mtrs) TY0RU, EL2DT; (30 Mtrs) TO9W, CT3MD; 

RTTY: (15 Mtrs) P29RO, TO9W

73, Sam, KØAFN
CQ Test
Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) reorganization effective January 1, 2023

The Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) have announced a realignment of their Field Organization resulting in the addition of a new section and name changes to several others effective January 1, 2023. This will result in the changes to ARRL contests that use ARRL/RAC sections as multipliers, including Field Day, ARRL November Sweepstakes, and 160-Meter contests.

The RAC Field Organization will be reorganized into the following sections effective January 1, 2023:

Newfoundland and Labrador (NL)
Nova Scotia (NS)
Prince Edward Island (PE)
New Brunswick (NB) - the Maritime Section (MAR) will be abolished.
Quebec (QC)
Ontario East (ONE)
Golden Horseshoe (GH) - currently called Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Ontario South (ONS)
Ontario North (ONN)
Manitoba (MB)
Saskatchewan (SK)
Alberta (AB)
British Columbia (BC)
Territories (TER) - Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut will be combined into one section.

Note that this change is forthcoming and will not impact the 2022 ARRL November Sweepstakes (CW/SSB) or 160-Meter Contests.

Please direct any questions to Dave Goodwin, VE3KG, Regulatory Affairs Officer, RAC, by email at regulatory@rac.ca.
Work DX and enjoy the nice fragrance. 
I'll leave you with this nice shot of Saipan from the USNS Watson, courtesy WØODS as he reminds us that winter doesn't suck everywhere! 
73, Bob
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