Monday, August 17, 2015

KO7X Visit to N6ZFO Aug 2013 with Vicki, Emily & Sarah

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

N6ZFO visits KA3DRR/6 -- by Train no Less

With strains of Arlo Guthrie's "City of St. Louis" echoing in his mind, N6ZFO boarded the sleek Amtrak Surfliner and headed north Saturday afternoon for a 5 hour journey from San Juan Capistrano to Pismo Beach, site of the soon-to-be CC&R superstation of Scot, KA3DRR. After a superb dinner of hearty, tasty ribs and good ham radio fellowship at the local hot spot, Alex's, Scot and Bill began to plot the Sunday antenna building strategy.

The end result: a twin-lead fed inverted L antenna which can disappear in a moments notice -- 4o-feet per leg and 33 feet at the apex. Well, it's a stretch to call this an inverted "L" but we'll do so anyway. The good news . . it loads smoothly on all bands 15-80. WWV on 15 mHz gained 4 S units over the random wire, which was quickly and unceremoniously relegated to recycling. Scot, I hope that was the right decision.

Stay tuned till Thursday for the August 9 NS. Will Scot break his record "off the random wire" score of 16 points in the Impromptu July 5 NS Ladder?? We shall see.

Here's a photo of the motley crew assembled at Scot's very first-rate digs . . .Scot's YL, perhaps wisely, cleared out for the weekend, although her presence would certainly have raised the general quality of the photo. Well, radio-dawg looks good, and radio-bird, off camera to the left, even better.

For now, 73 Bill n6zfo

Monday, August 6, 2007

NS Ladder IV, the Wrap Up

After a long blog silence, a few word of wisdom or nonsense are about to be born.

A big thank you to our NS Ladder team!!

At the conclusion of this marathon 18-week NS Ladder IV let's thank our team. The NS Ladder Board, consisting of Paul, K3STX, John K4BAI and Jim, N3BB had smooth sailing through a year with minimal conflict and problems to distract from the main purpose of NS Ladder -- Summer Fun.

Perhaps the biggest contribution of all, however, was Howie N4AF's effort, with encouragement from KZ5D, to expedite the First official NS Ladder logging software, N1MM Logger. See the July post for details. On that note. . . TV-Bob, N6TV snuck in a surprise announcement that the French logging program Win-Test by F5MZN has NCCC Sprint logging support. [see and follow the details for version 3.]

Mike, W9RE, joined the organizational team with his SNS, or Slow NS, a short warm-up practice session held 30 minutes before the NS Ladder on 20 and 4o meters. Importantly and in the true competitive spirit of NS, Mike waited until after the last NS Ladder event to break his arm playing tennis, showing him to be a true sportsman.

Summer fun reminds me to thank our informal group of NS Ladder advisors from the NCCC . . Ken, N6RO, who is now fully involved with the regular NS season of practices and more practices; Ed, W0YK our talented and steady Web advisor who translates my weekly spreadsheet into a snazzy web presentation of NS Ladder results at,\; Kurt, K7NV, our official summer fun promoter; and finally to the always creative and spirited Locust, K6VVA, one of the actual founding members of the N triple See. Be sure to read the entertaining account of NCCC's formative years at in the history section. And watch this spot for details about the formation and logic behind the NS Ladder. There is a logic behind the chaos.

Special mention goes to the valuable resource provided by Bruce, WA7BNM who provides our weekly score entry form and calendar entries at . Bruce's co-conspirator Dink, N7WA, provides the valuable NS-Ladder summary to CQ - Contest; it's the starting point for the score compilation and I'm especially grateful to Dink.

And you-all probably thought this all happened by magic. Not the case!

NS-Ladder IV Results -- The Winners

And the winners are:

East of Ms. River Div -- W9RE 24569
West of Ms. River Div -- K7SS 19696
NCCC in CA/NV -- N6RO 19756
Newcomers Div -- K5NZ 8630 (6 of 9 weeks)
2nd place honorable mention -- K9BGL 8179

Club winner in this official non-competition:
NCCC 72,246
SMC 67,298

For the full scoop in all these competition areas . . see
where a couple of tight competitions among non-winners are emphasized in red ink, so to speak.

Please check your scores and send corrections to

Certs and prizes are forthcoming.

. . .and the Non-Winners, who are also winners.

Here it is . . the answer the big question . . . WHOOZ in LAST.

Well, it isn't whooz, its none other than our semi-famous blog author and NS Ladder "off the random wire" competitor Scot, KA3DRR/6. Now this was a tough choice, much harder than whooz in first . . . as there was a last minute ringer on the NS Ladder scene, none other than K5NA, who maybe thought he could claim the coveted last place with a 1-event appearance on 160 meters. But you can't displace a seasoned last-place competitor like Scot with just a single appearance. In fact Scot actually showed up for all 18 NS ladder events, joining the Locust, K6VVA and Steve K0XP in that esteemed circle of super-dedicated NSr's. Read the continuing saga of Scot's progress toward the CC&R superstation at

For spirit and dedication beyond what is reasonable we've awarded a special NS Ladder prize to Scot, a 50-foot roll of ladder line to help get that signal where it belongs. Watch for the enhanced KA3DRR signal in future NS events.

73, Bill, n6zfo

Saturday, July 7, 2007

July 5th 2007 Impromptu NS -- N1MM Test

  • N1MM Logger SPRINTLADD module test
  • OK . . finally we have a functional logging program for NS Ladder that gets the dupe rule correct, accounts for band-mults (except HI), and computes a score in perfect agreement with N4AF's Score Calculator (available on NS Home Page)
  • For jump-starting the N1MM project we thank Howie N4AF and Art KZ5D and the great team at N1MM, who implemented the request with incredible speed and efficiency.
  • Instructions for download of SPRINTLADD: See
  • A few die-hard NS Ladder fanatics gathered on Thursday night July 5th for a N1MM module workout during the official NS bye week that followed the July 4th holiday. The result is a hearty 'go for it' for the N1MM SPRINTLADD program.
  • Home page for N1MM Logger:
  • Here is a score summary:

Station Q's Mults Score N1MM?

N6RO 58 30 1760
K5NZ 52 27 1404 Yes
W4NZ 46 26 1196 Yes
K4BAI 46 21 1092 (John was having so much fun that, for 16 mins, he failed to notice that
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . he was QRP at 5 watts
KZ5D 42 24 1008 Yes
K1GU 35 27 945
K0XP 37 19 703 Yes
KG5U 35 20 700
N6ZFO 33 17 561 Yes
K6TD 12 9 108
KA3DRR 4 4 16 New Record for Scot -- see
N4AF - Disaster . . . see below.

Also on the air: N9RV, now from "Big Sky" Country! Congrats Pat, and tks for MT, another NS Ladder state; W6SJ, and , speaking of Mults, Dennis, W1UE/VE1 for the rare MAR mult, or if your prefer, the "NS" multiplier :-) (see K4BAI Comment below)


KA3DRR, Scot

A personal best this evening in the post-4th of July sprint. Maryland and Tennessee on 20 followed by Washington and Montana on forty. Eighty meters nil. I'm looking forward to next week, GO NS!

KZ5D, Art

Well, it was fun as usual, but activity seemed lighter than usual. Maybe that's why my score is down from last week. Then maybe not... Let's keep this thing going every Thursday night, so everyone will become accustomed to knowing it's on, even when it's not an "official' ladder contest.
MM worked flawlessly just as last week. Good program! I still run the cabrillo file through Howie's scoring report because I like the looks of his. But the score is the same on both! See you next week. 73, Art KZ5D

N6RO, Ken

Best score since May! I do better with less activity, many of our
regulars were off this week. Hope the N1MM NS ule worked for those
who use the program.

Three check-ins on 3610: K7SS, NG7Z, N6RO. CU next week when NS
Ladder Resumes.

K6TD, Kevin

Managed 12 x 9, or way below my usual low score. I heard N6RO and N6ZFO,
and called a lot of folks. This was my very 1st SO2R 'test. The brain
seemed to Do okay, till the 20m/Left radio setup decided to do Something funny.
The left radio config would arbitrary and suddenly decide To change the keyer
speed to 21 wpm, or lower. My keyer is A winkey inside a MK2R+, so I used
the tracing tool to see What was going on. I observed Writelog deciding to
change The speed. It actually sent commands to winkey to drop the Speed.
No amount of knob twisting, button pushing, etc would Get WL to leave the
speed alone. So, I concentrated on the 40m/R radio. In this case,
it just Meant' pressing the down arrow key and leaving the WL focus
On the right radio. Worked fine, and I was able to make the Bulk of
my contacts there. After the test, I went to debug it wouldn't
do it. WL stayed on speed. Honest, and that's the story I'm sticking To.
CU all in next weeks ladder, day job willing.

K4BAI, John

I am sure I would have had a great night except that I
ran the first 16 minutes running only 5 watts and wondering why some
stations didn't hear me. I worked N6RO on 40 with 5 watts before realizing
that I hadn't run the power up to 100 watts. 17 QSOs with 5 watts and 24 QSOs
with 100 watts. From 0100 to 0229 last night, I was a Fox in the 20M QRP Fox Hunt.
I had everything ready to change over to the NCCC Practice. Just forgot to
increase power! I heard and called KA3DRR for the first time last night in a
NCCC event with 5 watts and he didn't hear me. It would have been a kick to
work that determined new constester. K6TD had the best signal from the west
coast here on 20 and 40. All three bands seemed good, but I didn't work any
east coast stations on 20, no doubt due to my QRP power. Thanks for running
the event last night, which was, I am sure, fun for everyone. One interesting
station was W1UE/VE1. He was sending "NS," but the multiplier is actually
"MAR" at least for the real NA Sprints. I worked Dennis on 40 and 80.
He had a good signal here, but may have gotten a late start as his numbers
sent were fairly low. CU next week.
73, John, K4BAI.

W4NZ, Ted 
Bill, thanks for doing this and for the QSO's! A LOT of activity (and a lot of fun)
for an "off" week. Guess we now know who the real adicts are!! :))
'Til next week, 73, Ted W4NZ
N4AF, Howie

rgh. I was losing com port connections during slow speed ns so re-booted.
That did the trick - lost ALL connection to the rig. Two minutes after
the end of contest, after thousand re-boots, I finally reseated the card
supplying by com ports and the problem went away ;-) Sure sorry to not
be able to get on, but I just could not get things working.
73, Howie

K0XP, Steve

First few mins, heard NOBODY at all then there was W0BH, working 6s, then
KZ5D. But the 6s were in the mud. Went to 40, hoping the same had happened
to others and they were already there but no, nothing on 40. After a min,
went back to 20. After another few mins, 6s finally came up and picked up
several. Band was odd; 6s finally became audible but no new mults so went
to 40 but almost nobody there. Worked ZFO then BH then ZFO then BH then ZFO
then BH then finally NZ the needle into the next groove on the record ;o|

Started out great with highest ever Q numbers in the early minutes all the
way to 0239 but suddenly hit a wall after that. Then fatsche fingerzes
somehow kept hitting the wrong keys and messing up N1MM. It just got worse
to where every other Q, I was having to respond on the keyer; just couldn't
seem to get N1MM in sync with my RUN or S&P modes. Have never had so much
trouble keeping the logger in sync as tonight and it cost me, as well as
most other guys I was working and making wait for me, lots of time for me
to get off my duff and finish the QSO. My apologies but I just don't
understand what was happening tonight. This, after spending half an hour
two nights ago making up 60 Qs and typing them in with no problem.

What was worse was having a pileup of 3 or 4 while MM was STILL messed up
and having to do the Q on the keyer then fill in afterward; that happened
at least twice.

Twice, called some weak 7 who'd been CQing then just when he was giving his
call/info, someone would CQ just below him ;o((((( FINALLY did work NG7Z,
only to find he wasn't even a new multiplier: already had KN5H several
times ;o(((((((

Listened for KA3DRR several times but never heard a peep up around 045
where he said he hangs. I should probly try my own CQs up there. Caught
W6SJ up there at first, just like I first did 2 wks ago. ZFO was definitely
the weakest 6 I heard on either 20 or 40 tonight. [Ouch, zfo]

Not entirely convinced this 7.6.0 wasn't doing something I haven't
encountered before, to toss me outta sync so often; never had that happen
before. Just didn't seem to be able to keep it from switching back into RUN
mode even with a forced {S&P} on F6. I may switch back to an earlier
version next week. I'd rather be logging on paper if this keeps up. Several
times, I THOUGHT I'd corrected an incorrect entry in the section box only
to have it hiccup still again until I wiped everything from the sec box and
re-entered. This doesn't happen with other loggers where you are filling in
a line instead of a fixed-width box, because the number of characters on
the line can be 4 or 5, which makes it REAL easy to see when you've entered
spurious characters. With N1MM, while you can stretch the box out, you
cannot stretch the individual data winders. I need to be able to stretch
each winder. Otherwise, stretching the whole box makes it inordinately BIG
and still doesn't give you much more display of data. I'd say at a minimum,
I need to see at least 5 characters in that sec box.

KG5U, Dale

The alarm clock I bought last week went off in the radio room at 0155Z. It
scared the heck out of me. I had forgotten about it and what it meant.
Once that memory chain kicked in, I ran out to the garage and hooked up
antennas and remote coax switch. I went into the radio room and fired up
the radios and computer.

By 0215, I was all set. I even had time to set the radio and computer
clocks. Then it started. Noisy on 20, 40 and 80. Only the biggest signals
seemed to be getting through.

I just couldn't seem to get any rhythm going (because of the fewer number of
participants? My natural white-boy lack of rhythm?). 90% of my CQ's were
unanswered. I'd throw out a few, give up and try to nail a station on
another band. I've got to get out of the mode of letting my CQ end
naturally and just interrupt the darn thing to make the other-band-QSO.

S&P'ing wasn't too successful either. I seemed to be getting beat out a lot
more than I ever recall.

So, when's the next one? [Next Thursday, Dale, . set that alarm again]

73, Dale, kg5u

N6ZFO, Bill

Finally, a logging program for NS Ladder! Can't believe I waited so long to try
this great logging program. Total time to download, implement and (slightly) learn
N1MM Logger was an underwhelming 2 hours. Admittedly, though, SNS was an
important part of the learning curve. The instantly functional connection to
the FT-1000MP(V) was gratifying, as was the successful computer-keying
of the FT -- something my previous logging s/w never did get right after the switch
to -XP last year. Just one "glitch" for me was that the program occasionally sent # 1
instead of the correct number displayed in the box. Randy, W6SJ, mentioned that
he's had the same problem -- there must be a trick here that I didn't learn.

Importantly, the "1 intervening Q on the same band, 0 intervening Q when switching
bands" is correctly implemented in SPRINTLADD. Only minor glitch I can see is
the missing "HI" multiplier -- maybe we'll fix it when a KH6 actually shows up in NS Ladder.

A big thank-you to those who took time on Thursday for an in-the-trenches test.

73 Bill n6zfo