W9K on 15-27 August 2002

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Updated 13 July 2004

To commemorate the 2-year anniversary of the group (Internet mailing list) devoted to the Yaesu FT-817 portable HF/VHF/UHF transceiver on Yahoo! Groups, I obtained authorization to use the special callsign W9K between the 15th and 27th of August.  I operated on 17-18 August 2002 from Flagstaff in northern Arizona, and on 20-26 August 2002 from my home. 
Authorization for W9K
In the USA, licensed amateurs may request temporary authority to use a short 1x1 callsign for up to 15 days at a time.  There is a web site dedicated to the "One-by-One" calls where there is more information on how to obtain one of these 750 special callsigns and when these callsigns have been assigned (or reserved for use in the near future).  There is no cost for a special 1x1 call, and there are several organizations amateurs can use to make their formal request for these callsigns.  For my request, I used the online form at the ARRL web site and then inquired on the "One-by-One" database to confirm I had the callsign for that time. 

I have made a PDF copy of the page showing my W9K authorization (it will open in another browser window), which is also available through a search on the "One-by-One" web site. 

Why W9K?
Since there is no requirement to use a callsign which has a digit to represent the area of the country it will be used from, and I had no other bright ideas for a combination that starts with one of 3 letters (K, N, or W), a digit between 0 and 9, and any letter except for X at the end - I essentially compressed my normal callsign WD9EWK.  Drop the D, E, and second W, and there it is. 
W9K on the air...
W9K was on the air on Saturday, 17 August 2002, from Flagstaff in northern Arizona.  I was a few miles/km south of downtown Flagstaff and the old Route 66 in grid DM45dd (Coconino County), where I made contacts in CW and SSB on the 17-meter band, and finished the day with a few CW contacts on the 20-meter band.  I had a dipole strung between two trees, fed with 450-ohm ladder-line into my Z11 tuner, except for my first QSO from Flagstaff.  For that, in the interest of saving setup time, I used my Outbacker Joey for one QSO, and then I erected that dipole which was used for the rest of the day.  The radio was my Yaesu FT-817, at only 5 watts output.  Propagation was not good, but I was able to work stations across the USA with my small station. 

Between 20 and 26 August, W9K was operated from my home (Glendale, Arizona - grid DM33vm in Maricopa County) using my two antennas - an A-99 vertical for 17 meters, and a Hustler 4BTV for 10/20/40 meters.  For the radio, I used my Icom IC-756Pro2 at varied output levels (10W on 40m due to antenna problems, 40W for all PSK31 QSOs not on the 40m band, and 100W for all CW and SSB contacts on 17m and 20m) except for during the day on 24 August (the "HFpack FT-817 Day", when I used my FT-817 on those outdoor antennas at 5 watts output).  Conditions were good - not great, but good enough from home to work all over the USA, western Canada, and 9 other DXCC countries on 5 continents (nothing from Africa or Antarctica). 

W9K statistics...
W9K had 103 QSOs, 12 from Flagstaff and the other 91 from home.  I made 40 QSOs on the HFpack frequencies of 14.3425 and 18.1575 MHz, mostly SSB but some in CW and two cross-mode (I sent CW, and received SSB).  For the entire period, here are some QSO breakdowns by band and mode: 

By band: 

By mode:  I did not realize I made more CW QSOs than RTTY QSOs until I combined my logs into a spreadsheet file and generated these numbers.  Thanks to all who were patient with my CW sending, especially Paul VE7TL who talked to me on 17m and 20m SSB as I sent him CW for those cross-mode contacts.  Also, Kirby VE6IV in Calgary, who let me do a QSO and then he came back to me 25 to 30 minutes later for a QSO.  Note to self: more CW practice, much more.... 

One of my intentions for W9K was to be active on the HFpack frequencies of 14.3425 and 18.1575 MHz, to put the call into as many logs as possible among that group.  That was the reason I did not use the FT-817 from home on 25 August, figuring that a 100-watt radio with a better receiver might help make a few more contacts than the little FT-817.  I did not intend on monopolizing the frequency, and tried to make QSOs and then be quiet for others to make contacts.  Apologies to those who may have felt I was "hogging" those frequencies.  I worked lots of portable operators, from Flagstaff and at home, who were also using FT-817s and all sorts of portable antennas.  It was nice on the 17th from Flagstaff to catch Terry K4FXD at the Huntsville (Alabama) hamfest with his FT-817 and portable Buddipole antenna at that hamfest.  Terry had good signals, and I look forward to using my new Buddipole on other radio excursions away from home. 

In addition to the HFpack and FT-817 users, I wanted to make some activity with this callsign on PSK31.  It does not surprise me to see that as the mode with the most QSOs.  I only used the 40-meter band for 3 contacts with my friend Alex XE2BSS in northern Baja California, Mexico - only 200 miles/320km southwest of me.  Alex and I did not attempt SSB contacts, as my 10 watts was enough for PSK31 and CW but maybe not SSB with the noisy band conditions in Baja California. 

Surprisingly, I made a few contacts with other stations near my house in the Phoenix area (K5JS in Peoria on 17m CW, WA7YLH in Phoenix on 17m SSB, N7RUO in Phoenix and N8HVD in Scottsdale on 20m PSK31, W0ZZ in Rio Verde - east of Scottsdale - on 20m CW).  I made contacts with Spain, Argentina, Hawaii, and Tahiti on 20m PSK31, and the Russian Far East on 20m CW.  For not being on the air many hours each day, and not operating contest-style or DXpedition-style, I am not complaining about the outcome. 

QSL information for W9K
I mailed QSL cards to all stations who worked W9K between 7-10 September 2002.  I also printed cards for the non-USA stations, which will go through the QSL bureau if I don't receive a response from those stations that received my direct card.  I have my W9K log online if you wish to search the log for your contact(s).  If you want to send your QSL card for W9K to me anyway, please send cards direct or through the QSL bureau via WD9EWK

W9K was used at one other time in the last few years since this special-event callsign system began - in May 2000.  I am NOT the QSL manager for activity with W9K at that time.  Unless I request this callsign in the future, I am the QSL manager for contacts with W9K ONLY between 15 August and 27 August 2002. 

Please contact me if you have any questions or comments regarding this activity.  Hope to hear you on the air, and 73! 
WD9EWK/VA7EWK - Ham Radio - WD9EWK (in USA) - QSL VIA WD9EWK 1