To commemorate the 2-year anniversary of the group (Internet mailing list)
devoted to the Yaesu
FT-817 portable HF/VHF/UHF transceiver on
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"
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 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:
40m: 3 (all with XE2BSS in Baja California, Mexico)
10m: 3 (all on PSK31 - South Carolina, Massachusetts, Argentina)
Cross-mode: 2 (for both, I sent CW and VE7TL talked on SSB to me)
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
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
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.