Book Review-Receiving Antennas for the Radio Amateur
By Eric P. Nichols-KL7AJ.

I have been interested in improving my low band receive capabilities on my city lot so I decided to order a copy of Eric’s new book.

This book contains 24 chapters, covering everything from a thorough explanation of why receiving antennas are different than transmission antennas, all the way to covering the various types of receive antennas, the advantages and disadvantages of each type and some instructions on how to build your own.

The pages aren’t numbered but I would guess it is about 250 pages, an easy read over a weekend or a few nights in the shack.

Eric has a good depth of knowledge and I found his explanations and background quite useful in my own quest to improve my receive capabilities.

Of particular interest to me was his explanation on methods of diversity reception. I thoroughly enjoyed Eric’s book and for me the timing could not be better. I found no real errors are issues to nit with this fine publication.

If you are interested in improving your low band reception capabilities, then this book is for you. Here is a link with more information about this new book:

What do you think?


Paul N6PSE



My shack has both an Elecraft K3 and a Flex 6500. I am very adept at using the K3 and I have been taking my time learning all of the features of the Flex. Today, I tried to make my first RTTY contact with the Flex in AFSK. I have long preferred using the K3 in FSK but that is not possible on the Flex.

I was decoding 3C0W at 14.083 just fine. I set up my split to transmit up about 2.2.

As I was calling the 3C0W, I could see that I was quickly being told UP UP and that I was a LID. At first it was not apparent to me what the issue was. Soon, I noticed that even though I had my split set up to transmit on Slice B at 14.085.2 for some strange reason, when I would send a macro it would transmit on my receive frequency. I toggled the split and tried again. Then I moved off frequency and did some testing. I am talking to my Flex Elmer Ria-N2RJ about what I experienced. She had me disable the Auto Switch TX Slice setting in the PTT Port dialog box. Got that?  I am happy to report that after further testing, the new setting does not switch from split and transmit on my receive frequency any longer.

To those of you who were in that pileup I am terribly sorry for making unintended transmissions on top of 3C0W.


Paul N6PSE

Game over for TN5R!

Posted: March 21, 2018 in Uncategorized


The venerable Tifariti Gang has just concluded their TN5R operation from the Republic of Congo.

Despite poor propagation, this was a really fun operation to work. They came onto the bands with five active stations and a rapid fire approach to making contacts. They followed the propagation and worked their pileups down in a logical and even-handed style.

I’m looking at the incredible graphics on their statistics page. I see that their daily QSO totals were nearly 8,000 contacts a day for the duration of their operation. That is an amazing rate and a difficult feat to accomplish.

Looking at their QSOs by DXCC statistic and it appears that US amateurs were significantly well represented in their logs. Their graphs also show that 15, 17 and 20 meters were their most productive bands.

Full Disclosure: I served as one of their Pilot Stations and answered a few questions. The team was greatly focused on doing a good job and exploiting any openings.

The Tifariti Gang, like the Italian Dxpedition Team always does a great job on the bands and I look forward to their next activities as they are among my favorite groups to follow.

What do you think?

Paul N6PSE

Fun with 3D2EU and XR0YD…

Posted: March 17, 2018 in Uncategorized


The 3D2EU Team on Rotuma Island.

I really had fun with the 3D2EU and XR0YD DXpeditions that have just concluded. I was a member of the 2011 3D2R Rotuma Island team so I actually needed 3D2EU Rotuma contacts in my logs. The 3D2EU team did a great job despite poor propagation at times. Their primary goal was to work EU stations and I hope they feel that they achieved their goal. The operators were superb and for such a small team they really covered the bands well. Rotuma Island is the closest place to paradise that I can imagine and the local villagers are very nice and hospitable. I have such fond memories of that adventure.


The XR0YD Team on Easter Island

Easter Island was activated by a German team as XR0YD. Even with poor propagation, I was able to work them 10-160 meters. As with 3D2EU, the XR0YD team are very skilled operators and managed their pileups very well. They also made good use of propagation. Both of these DXpeditions also operated on FT8 which added to the fun!

So here we are in the bottom of the sunspot cycle and we are able to enjoy well run DXpeditions to rare and remote places. My thanks to these teams for some great fun on the bands!

What do you think?


Paul N6PSE

An abundance of DX!

Posted: March 6, 2018 in Uncategorized


As I write this, the 9M0W team is making their way to Lang Lang Island from Kota Kimbalu Malaysia. They plan to be QRV from March 6-13th. This one counts as Spratly!

The TN5R team is also on their way to the Republic of the Congo where they will be QRV from March 9th to March 19th. They have dedicated their DXpedition in memory of David-K3LP.


As these two operations get started, we can continue to enjoy making contacts with 4B4B and XR0YD.

Lastly, I am thrilled that the 3Y0Z Bouvet team has announced that they will make another attempt to activate Bouvet.

What a great time to be a DXer!

What do you think?


Paul N6PSE

FT8 is really fun!

Posted: February 28, 2018 in Uncategorized


WSJT-X running FT8 with the waterfall on top and the contact area below.

FT8 is the latest digital mode taking amateur radio by storm. The WSJT-X free software enables amateurs to work JT4, JT9, JT65, QRS64, ISCAT, MSK144 and WSPR in addition to FT8.
FT8 is by far the most popular and fun to use mode of the WSJT-X Software set. FT8 is a low power, extremely efficient mode. Instead of using “brute force” to make a contact such as the case with RTTY, FT8 is a mode where understanding and finesse achieve the best results. FT8 is relatively new and is constantly being improved with new releases coming almost monthly.


The main benefit to FT8 is that with a small low power station, you can work stations all around the globe with little difficulty. In fact, in a period of just two days, I was able to work over 100 entities just on FT8.

I find FT8 fun and relaxing to use. Once you understand the layout of the software, you can merely click on a station calling CQ. Your software will continue to call that station until a connection is made. Then there is an automatic exchange of signal reports, an acknowledgement and 73.

Its kind of fun to answer a CQ and then go fill the coffee cup only to return minutes later and see that you made a contact with the station. Some internet naysayers feel that FT8 is going to harm the hobby and possibly reduce the use of CW. I think FT8 is just one more tool or feature to use and have fun with amateur radio.

You can learn more about FT8 and download the free WSJT-X software here:


This is your confirmation pop-up when a contact is made. 

Enjoy FT8, its here to stay!


What do you think?


Paul N6PSE

More Humanitarian Hams…

Posted: February 24, 2018 in Uncategorized


I’ve written in the past about Humanitarian Hams such as Zorro-JH1AJT and Tony-EA5RM. I have been following the recent travels and activities of Ken Opskar-LA7GIA. Ken has been incorporating a humanitarian aspect into each of his recent DXpeditions, including his most recent operation from Puntland, Somalia as 6O6O. He and Adrian-KO8SCA made nearly 17,000 contacts during a period of very poor propagation.

What is most impressive is that they have raised nearly $11,000 and will be donating it to Doctors without Borders working in Somalia. This is a very noble cause and I am really impressed with what they are doing.

What do you think?


Paul N6PSE