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June 2002 WV Expedition September 2002 WV Expedition June 2003 WV Expedition Log September 2003 WV Expedition September 2004 BWCA & Quetico Park Expedition

Friday, 07/16/10:

Wow. Over 4 years without an update. Lessee here... one kid getting married next year, one graduating college in 2 years, one starting third grade this year, and a little one that just refuses to be potty trained. A lot can happen in 4 years.

No antennas in the trees any more. No antennas anywhere except the basement storage area. I did get a radio installed on the motorcycle. No two-way contacts on it yet, but it's good for listening while riding.

I've explored ways of replacing this page with a blog on the net. Mostly I've learned that it's just has cumbersome to maintain as this old Web 1.0 method. Sure, I don't have to type in all the HTML tags, but I still have to do all the clicks for formatting and fixing fonts. It seems easier to use raw HTML.

Wednesday, 03/02/06:

There are a lot of things going on... but nothing real exciting. I've almost started typing in the journal for the September 2005 BWCA trip. This wasn't quite an "expedition" since no electronics, including Amateur Radio, went along. Preliminary estimates show that I will not be taking the trip to BWCA in 2006.

I'm beginning to think that Mozilla, as a web page editor, is better than FrontPage. Yea, FrontPage does a zillion things that I don't need just like Dreamweaver, but Mozilla can be used to edit and publish an HTML web page. It's a novel concept that FP and DW forgot somewhere along the way.

Friday, 02/03/06:

I cleaned up the links to the local pages. Somehow, during a conversion to Dreamweaver, all the links to pages on my site turned to file:// URL pointers. I'm not yet convinced that Dreamweaver beats out MS FrontPage. I do hope it's just a matter of understanding how Dreamweaver works. The neat thing about FrontPage is that I already understood how it worked. But I also remember some learning pangs with it as well. For now, I'm sticking with Mozilla.

Wednesday, 01/11/06:

Mozilla? Yes, Mozilla! It's more than just a browser. The HMTL editor is just fine. No need for Dreamweaver any more... It expired anyway.

There hasn't been much motion on the 'PSK via Mac Mini' front. I was able to acquire an iMic and some PSK software (DarwinPSK and MultiModeOSX). Some antenna issues have been keeping me from getting active.

Tuesday, 12/13/05:

I think I've got a solution to not being able to update the web pages. Dreamweaver seems to be working.Well, it will only work for another 25 days, then back to who-knows-what.

Monday, 08/08/05:

A lot has happened in the almost a year that I've failed to update my page. One child completed her first year of college, another her first year of high school, and the third child completed his third year of life. We moved to a new house on nearly 5 acres of land. Plenty of room for those big antennas I dream about. And I have switched from a Windows PC to a Mac Mini running OS X.

Since this page is about the techie things, I'll skip to the techie stuff. The Mac with OS X is great. I wish I had changed years ago. There are only three issues that I find troublesome... First, the Mac Mini doesn't have an audio input built in, so PSK requires an external audio interface like the Griffin iMic. Second, there doesn't appear to be a good WYSIWYG HTML editor at a reasonable price for OS X. And third, scrolling in a gmail.google.com message can sometimes blur the right side of the screen with the 'next message sender' box. But that's it. Everything else about this little computer is great. It's fast, has wireless everything (network, keyboard, and mouse), top-notch CD and DVD writer, built-in modem (which comes in handy since there is no broadband Internet here in the woods), perfect compatibility with my iPod (of course), and OS X has been infinitely stable. I haven't worked with this little wonder enough to know if it is right for the average radio amateur, but it's definitely good for the Internet amateur.

Some 'experts' say you should spend ten times the amount of money on the antenna as you do on the radio. Well, I just spent a whopping amount on the antenna location, does anyone think the XYL will allow me to spend one-tenth of that amount on a new radio? That would be a sweet radio, for sure. But alas, it's off to my storage unit to pick up the old IC-751a, IC-736, and Collins gear. I've kept the IC-706mkII close at hand since it stores nicely with all its associated periphery in a 14 gallon Roughneck container.

It's Boundary Waters time again. Well, it's getting close anyway. I leave the first week of September to hike, canoe, and fish in northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area, BWCA. Some of you will notice that radio is left off that list of things to do. I may take some VHF gear since I've had several requests for information about VHF in the BWCA and Quetico Provincial Park areas. I've never taken VHF or UHF gear (other than FRS/GMRS), I think that this might be a good opportunity to do so. I have no plans to travel with any HF radio gear. My intention this year is to travel very light and compact. I don't expect to have much time to install and remove antennas during this trip. So an FM VHF transceiver with a roll-up J-Pole antenna is probably all I'll have in the Park. Of course, I'll take the FRS/GMRS radio as well. After all, it's a Garmin Rino; I use the GPS to navigate while on those solo canoeing days and the radio to chat with my expedition non-HAM crew members.

Late September 2005 holds a possibility of camping and HF radio at Dolly Sods again. As currently scheduled, we will be there for the CQ World Wide RTTY contest. More on that after I return from BWCA.

Something else happened since I last updated my web page. Someone decided that they should name certain types of web pages. Then, to show their ability to make up a repulsive name, called one type a "blog." Now some of you know me, but most people do not know that I've been using the Internet long before there was a World Wide Web. Heck, I remember my friend and co-worker Kevin showing me the first dozen 'web pages' with a browser he had downloaded and installed on a company computer. We both knew that this was the start of something big. But we never imagined that anyone more stupid than a college 'flame-bait' freshman would start giving ridiculous names to types of web pages based solely on the format of the content. But alas, just as Al Gore thinks he invented the Internet, the name is here to stay. To the DARPA engineers vision that once was the Net, en pace requiscat.

Tuesday, 08/31/04:

It's been a rough summer. We sent one daughter off to college, another started high school, and the little boy is, well, just a normal little two year old. Why can't two year olds sleep in their own bed?

Anyway, I hope to get some sleep in Canada starting this week. Don and I are headed to Quetico Provincial Park for camping, fishing, and, of course, a little ham radio action. Again, the mode will be primarily PSK31. For a little more (very little) information, check out the September 2004 BWCA & Quetico Park Expedition page.

Thursday, 04/22/04:

Wow, four months into the year and I finally update. I guess some things take time...

The Amateur Radios are going to be shelved for a while. In the process of preparing to sell the house I have to clean up the shack and make it look presentable. So you might hear me mobile or portable for the next few months, but most likely not from the home station.

I've been working on getting QSL cards out. I may not be cut out for this aspect of the hobby. These things take time, something I don't have a lot of. The good side to this is I'm not making many more contacts so once I'm done with this set that should be it. I can't wait to get to the new house with the new antenna and very few restrictions. Then I'll have to automate the QSL card process, I hope.

No camping trips are scheduled until September 2004 when N3MK and I head to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. We plan to run PSK31 and CW during the canoe outing. Look for me on PSK31 as my CW skills are horrible.

Well, the links on this page have been tested and all that remain work fine. I cannot, however, speak for the links on other pages. So please surf safely and enjoy!

Monday, 12/22/03:

Getting ready for the Holidays is keeping everyone real busy. Certainly not much time for radio activities. However, there is some good reading about. Get the Radio Works catalog (RadioWorksCatalog.PDF) and read it, cover to cover. It's free and very educational.

Friday, 10/31/03:

Happy Halloween!! The links have moved again! AAARRRGGG!! The good news is that I added a couple of new links. One for the Mid-Atlantic DX and Repeater Association where I used to be a member, and Antietam Radio Association where I hope to be a member in the future (wife permitting).

Wednesday, 10/8/03:

I finally updated the September 2003 WV Expedition page. Sorry, no pictures this year. But a little better description than previous years. I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, 9/24/03:

I finally had some time to finish the page for the September 2003 WV Expedition. We didn't get all the things done that we wanted to do before this trip, but we will have a good time anyway. I would have liked to have the Radio Footlocker completed; however, time ran out and I'll continue to use the Rubbermaid Roughneck for the radio gear. We are going to use distance between antennas to reduce the receiver overload problems we've had in the past. Maybe we will get the W3LPL-type filters built one of these days. Look for us in the waterfall...

Wednesday, 9/10/03:

It's been a long time since I've updated, so what has happened? In June I operated during Field Day from the top of Dolly Sods, WV. Somehow I didn't get any pictures, but I netted 32 Field Day contacts on PSK31 and grossed 34 contacts for the trip. It was a lot of fun, but I didn't use any type of battery recharging and operated only from four 26Ah batteries. The IC-706mkII is not kind to batteries, even on receive; but I managed to have enough power to last the whole time I was operating.

Not much activity in July, but I did cram together enough PSK31 contacts to make 50 to become a member of the PODXS 070 Club.

August was APE month. Don, N3MK, and I operated from Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada as N3MK/VE3 and W3GCW/VE3. I netted 22 contacts and we grossed 46 contacts total. Don's detailed write-up of our trip is a must read.

That's about it in the radio world. The baby is getting bigger and trying to talk a little. He's also learned to throw tantrums, but they are still small and harmless. Plans are in the works for the new house. It's in an old development with no antenna restrictions (Yea!) and lot's of wooded acres for many wire experiments. I can hardly wait!

Keep an ear opened on 20m and 40m the weekend of 9/26/03 to 9/28/03 for our PSK31 signals from Dolly Sods again. Don and I hope to have campsites far enough apart to have two transmitters operating at the same time. We'll see how that goes...

Thursday, 06/12/03:

Busy, busy. The baby is walking, the wife wants to move, the older kids have to go everywhere... Wow, it's busy!

Tuesday, 04/29/03:

Egads! All the links have moved. Well, not all. But I did some re-ordering to keep links of a general type in a general area. Starting at the left column: personal home pages, general help pages, organizations and governing bodies, my personal sub-pages, and miscellaneous stuff.

Tuesday, 03/04/03:

Added a few more links to places I visit often. I added links for KB7NO and WM2U web pages. Jack, KB7NO, is the author of the monthly column The Digital Port in 73 Amateur Radio Today magazine. Ernie, WM2U, has a great site with many links to digital radio modes and software sites.

The next WV Expedition is scheduled for Field Day, June 28-29, 2003. The link will be updated as plans evolve.

Radio Footlocker? I saw an article recently about a single box to hold all the radio equipment necessary for the normal portable or emergency operations. I'd like to build one before the June 2003 trip. Maybe a page is necessary to assemble a wish list of features.

Wednesday, 02/19/03:

Well, the callsign lookup is back. The page is gone, but I didn't need that anyway.

Do you read 73 Amateur Radio Today? Do you read The Digital Port? If so, I added a link to The Chart.

Tuesday, 02/11/03:

What the heck happened here? I lost the last couple of updates, including my callsign lookup box. Bummer! Time to start over.

Wednesday, 11/27/02:

Well the November 2002 WV Expedition was cancelled. An illness came over one of the team members, so we decided not to go into an already challenging situation without enough people to keep the goal alive. We did, however, have time to work the ARRL SSB contest from the comforts of home.

New to the WWW page today are some pictures of my Jeep Wrangler's antenna and radio mounts. Click on the Jeep Stuff link in the chart above.

Wednesday, 11/13/02:

Another expedition to the mountain top is in the works. It should be a cold one! If all goes well, we'll be on the air by 17:00R (2200Z) on Friday, 11/15/02. Again, PSK-31 and SSB will be the preferred modes, with CW as backup if the computers or conditions take a dive.

New this trip is a planned appearance on 160M. Hopefully the lid's will be too busy with the contests to complain about PSK-31 on Top Band.

Having no specific reason for the trip, other than to say that we did it, should give us ample opportunity to shatter all previous records for number of contacts. Antenna spacing and interference shouldn't be an issue, either. Look for pictures when we get back.

Monday, 10/28/02:

It's been a long time, folks. But I'm still here. The new baby is keeping me frightfully busy as of late.

I did get some time to turn on the radio this past weekend for the CQ World Wide SSB contest. Unfortunately, I couldn't make a single contact with my poor quality indoor dipole. After spending a day with the kids, I was able to get over to the local home improvement store to pick up some new wire for an outdoor antenna. And whom should I see outside the store, but the Bicycle Nomad, N3ICN. His bicycle setup is more impressive than most peoples car rigs. He has traveled quite a ways (coast to coast) on this human powered caravan. If you see him around, don't hesitate to say 'Hi!'

After stocking up on some pipe, pipe fittings, 18ga stranded bare copper, and a good nights sleep, I was finally able to make an antenna. Attaching my new MFJ-1910 pole against a tree, I slipped an 8 inch section of pipe with a 'T' over the top. I ran the 77 foot antenna wire through the 'T' and pushed the pole up to a cruising altitude of about 30 feet. A couple of half inch pipe sleeves were used as insulators for the lower corners of the Delta Loop, and were attached with nylon rope to the deck and shed. A section of ladder line was connected to a W9INN Remote Balun (MFJ-912), then coax into the house for the final run to the Icom IC-736. This antenna works great! Too bad it was the last 2 hours of the contest when I got on the air. I still made 25 search-and-pounce contacts in about an hour and a half. That's real good for me!!

Wednesday, 9/25/02:

As requested, I have created a page dedicated to 'the Snake.'  I do hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 9/22/02:

The September 2002 WV Expedition was a success. Be sure to check out the pictures and read about the setup.

Wednesday, 9/4/02:

Long time, no update. Well, a new expedition is on. N3MK and W3GCW are heading for the mountains of West Virginia again. Check out our September 2002 WV Expedition page. We plan to concentrate on PSK31, CW, and maybe make a few contacts for the ARRL September VHF QSO Party (see ARRL.org contest calendar).

The baby is doing great! He was born at the beginning of August and has been eating like crazy. He seems to enjoy my reciting the alphabet with Morse code sounds. ("di-dah aay, dah-di-di-dit bee," etc.) He also likes hearing the periodic table of elements, the Greek alphabet, and the alphabet backwards. Poetry by Shel Silverstien keeps him entertained during 'reading time.'

Tuesday, 7/16/02:

Web page updates are few and far between now; time is too limited. My wife is ready to pop out our latest creation at any time. We are getting the house ready for the new arrival, but progress has been slow. The next few days should show some big improvements, but we'll have to see. Babies tend to ruin even 'the best laid plans of mice and men.'

Having to move the radios out of the ham shack puts a damper on the operating activities. So very few contacts have been made since June.

Does anyone ever listen to 146.520MHz? Does everyone listen, but nobody calls? I've been listening lately and there doesn't seem to be a lot of simplex activity. And no, I don't call very often. So yes, I'm guilty. In the Frederick, MD area, the simplex freqs start at 146.415MHz and end at 146.595MHz. Stick with 146.42MHz to 146.59MHz in 10KHz steps to keep things simple and interference to a minimum. My favorite is 146.55MHz. For more info, check out T-Marc's Band Plan page. Be aware that there are some un-coordinated simplex repeaters in this range. So if funny things happen, like you hear your own echo after you un-key, you might try a different frequency. If you want to play, T-Marc reports that 146.58MHz has a simplex repeater in Frederick, MD and Arlington, VA. They probably are not linked in any way. Use at your own risk. Enjoy!

Monday, 7/8/02:

Added a link to G3VFP. He has a good list of circuits and software. He also produces the best radio to computer interface so far. It's not yet perfect since he still uses external power, but it's close.

Tuesday, 6/11/02:

Added more to the June 2002 WV Expedition page. Some story to go with the pictures. Enjoy!!

Monday, 6/10/02:

Finally updated the June 2002 WV Expedition page. We learned a lot and made a few contacts along the way. We'll do a few things different and a few things the same next time.

Thursday, 5/30/02:

A little bit of a time setback for N3MK and myself is pushing us up to the limit. We are still on track, though. The June 2002 WV Expedition page was updated with more correct equipment listing and some expected times and frequencies. Good luck to all who try to reach us.

Tuesday, 5/21/02:

Preparations for the June 2002 WV Expedition continue. Since the amount of equipment is limited only by the size of our vehicles and the expected power available at the site, things are moving along swimmingly. The expedition page now has a link to the topographic map for Dolly Sods and the Red Creek Campground area where we will be staying. The elevation is roughly 3900 feet above sea level. This is good for antennas.

Friday, 5/17/02:

Added a new page for an upcoming radio expedition. Check out the June 2002 WV Expedition.

Thursday, 5/16/02:

It's been a while since I've updated.  I found this really cool blend transition to use when someone comes to my page. I hope it works.

Jay is still out. The baby must be a little much for him to handle. Well, it gets easier eventually. Hang in there Jay!!

I've added some Baby related links to the top. A friend keeps sending me these links. I'm almost convinced that you can raise a baby for free if you just use all the things the manufacturers give away.

I also put a link to my old page. Some people like to get to sites from there because it's familiar. Hopefully I can get it torn down slowly over the next few months and moved to here.

Wednesday, 5/1/02:

My co-worker Jay is out today. His wife is having a baby!! Yea!!!

In the meantime, I moved the links to the top and added a few.

And the baby... it's a girl... 7lbs.

Tuesday, 4/30/02:

Well, I need some links.  Here are some of my most used links:



AB4OJ - Adam Farson has lots of links and a real nice Icom page.

Wednesday, 4/24/02:

Hi, and welcome to W3GCW.net. This page, once completed, will be mostly about my Jeep Wrangler and Amateur Radio.

Please pardon the ongoing maintenance. Someday, I might be close to being finished.

For those that are Internet savvy, yes there is irony within these pages. Linux rules, so please don't view that source... You looked, didn't you? And now you know, don't you? It's not my fault. Someone showed me how clean the source was and I was hooked. I didn't mean for it to happen, it just did. Now I can't seem to stop! Linux still rules!! If you're just starting out, shoot for Mandrake! And if you can find a better publisher, please let me know.