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ORCA DX & Contest Club

This month sees the launch of the Orca DX and Contest Club.With a focus on BC and northwestern Washington, the club is open to all licensed amateurs who share a passion for DXing and contesting.

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The Orca DX and Contest Club (Orca DXCC) was established in Fall 2010 to serve as a community open to all amateur radio operators in BC or the BC-Washington border region with an interest in DXing and contesting.

We share unique opportunities and challenges in “working the world” from the top-left corner of North America. The Orca DXCC brings together active radio operators to share their experiences, and provide encouragement and mentoring to all who strive to one day “work ‘em all” from here.

Please visit the club site at orcadxcc.org to get all the latest news and membership information.

Spring Clean

Well I somehow managed to wangle a few days off work this week so I decided to tidy up the shack and antenna installation.

Paid a trip to a store here in east Vancouver that sells everything made from bamboo. They have a huge selection of bamboo poles in various widths and lengths from 6ft to 10ft and for the measly sum of $5.86 grabbed a half dozen 1/2″ x 6′ poles. The plan was to replace the ugly PVC poles I use for my balcony loop with something ‘prettier’ and a bit more stealthy.

I also dropped by Burnaby Radio and picked up some nice flex-weave antenna wire and a few other odds and ends. The chunky ugly speaker wire that usually forms my loop was about to go SK.

Within an hour or so, I had setup the poles and a new loop configuration. This configuration with the vertical sections folded back on themselves presented a slightly higher (though still tunable) SWR than normal but not by much. However not to worry as the new flex-weave wire is so much easier to handle that I decided to just try another new configuration. The goal of these new configurations is to present as much wire as possible to the open front of the balcony. Previous versions had the loop folding around inside the balcony but the more wire out and away from the building the better.

Though not scientifically conclusive by any means I ‘felt’ my latest configuration, with the loop criss-crossing at the front of the balcony, provides a better S/N ratio and more ‘get-out-ability’. I followed up the installation with a few PSK31 Qs on 20m with reports from two Asiatic Russian stations reporting a 559 and a 557. Not too shabby considering conditions on the band have been generally quite poor for the past few days.