Quadcopter View of WB4IT QTH

Lacey and I moved into a new home in the Alabaster / Saginaw area in June of 2014.  Plans are already underway for a 70ft tower and a tri-band beam for 10/15/20 meters.  The videos below are aerial footage from a 350QX / GoPro flight above our property.  Thanks to KJ4GH for piloting the quad.


W1AW ARRL Centennial QSO Party

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon

SKCC is a great group.  I recently participated in my first WES contest.  I worked 21 stations in a few hours on a Saturday night.  All of the SKCC ops are top notch.  The organization is very friendly, and I had a lot of fun working stations at speeds slower than your average CW contest where stations send at 30-40 wpm with computers.  Joey Ciza, WN4AT, walked me through the setup for ZRSprinter, and it worked very well for the contest.  Afterward, I was able to export my contacts into Log4OM via ADIF for QSL and record keeping purposes.

Although I was not trying to be competitive in my first WES, this will be the first of many SKCC events in which I will participate.  SKCC is a very friendly group of ops who keep things interesting.  Check them out at http://skccgroup.com



I like eQSL a lot.  Although the website is a bit rough, I think it is a great companion to Logbook of the World.  The cards are nice for stations where paper QSL is not needed or desired by either party.  The card images display nicely on a digital picture frame, and the awards are fun to track.  It gives me something else to do besides just ARRL awards.



MFJ 1750 5/8 wave ground plane

2014-01-04 14.02.03

I replaced the J-Pole with an MFJ 1750 5/8 wave ground plane.  It’s between 20-25 feet high and fed with LMR 400.  This is a great antenna for $35.

First QSO of 2014

Australia (VK2DX) on 12m CW.  I only logged two Australians in 2013, and still do not have Australia confirmed, but this station is LoTW.

DXCC Mixed

The 100th DXCC confirmation arrived on Dec. 4 from Saba Island.  Chasing LoTW awards is fun, but not cheap.  $10 app fee, $12 payment credit fee, $16.50 certificate fee – $38.50 total.  I could not have made it to DXCC so quickly without learning CW.  I worked my first country in March 2013, and I had to work 143 countries over the next 9 months to get 100 confirmed.  Contests also helped out a lot.  It took 6 months to work 100 countries casually, and I ended up working 91 countries in a single weekend in the CQ WW CW contest on Nov 23-24.

All 100 of my QSLs were digital through LoTW, no cards.  I submitted 69 QSLs via Phone and 31 CW.  Prior to application, I was pretty balanced at 78 countries confirmed on CW and 75 confirmed on Phone.


2m J-Pole

I recently moved the J-Pole from the attic to the roof by recycling an old Dish Network mount that was left behind.  The J-pole is fed with Beldin 9913 and is isolated from the mast.  The mast and coax shield are grounded to the utility ground, which is not too far from the antenna location.  I’m using a Polyphaser IS-50UX-C0 on the 9913 feedline.


DXCC Mixed – so close

Upload your logs already.  =)  I need one more!


QRZ.com Logbook Automation

I upload all of my logs to QRZ.com.  I’m a subscriber, and I like the site, but I do it mostly for fun.  QRZ.com offers no method for logging programs to interact with it for logbook uploads, so I set out to hack something up that works, because I hate doing things manually.  Here’s what I came up with.

I wrote a shell script in Linux that runs every minute and looks for an ADIF file by a certain name.  When it finds a file named qrz.adi, it uploads automatically via command line using CURL to the qrz.com website.  Here’s the script:



DATE=`date +%Y%m%d-%H%M%S`

if [ -f $ADIF ]; then
curl -s -b $COOKIE -F “op=upfile” -F “book=$BOOK” -F upload_file=”@$ADIF” http://qrz.com/logbook -o $OUTPUT
grep “successfully” $OUTPUT
mv $ADIF $ARCHIVE/qrz_$DATE.adi
echo “Nothing to do”

In order to make this work, you must first login to qrz.com using curl and get a session cookie.  Here’s the code to make that work:


curl -c cookies.txt –data ‘username=your_qrz_login&password=your_qrz_pass’ http://qrz.com/logbook

This will place a file called cookies.txt in the present worked directory containing session information to authenticate your account.  The cookies.txt file is then referenced by curl in the upload script; the same as any other web browser.  To schedule the uploads, add the script to cron.  If no file is found to upload, the script simply exits.

cbbyers@wormhole:~/ham/logs$ crontab -l | grep upload_qrz
* * * * * /home/cbbyers/ham/logs/upload_qrz.sh > /home/cbbyers/ham/logs/cron.log 2>&1

Since my logging program is on Windows, and I do my scripting on Linux, I am using Samba to copy the ADIF file into the watched directory.  I still must manually export an ADIF file from Log4OM and place it in the Samba share, but I am also looking for a way to automate that piece.  Here’s what the output of the uploader looks like:

cbbyers@wormhole:~/ham/logs$ ./upload_qrz.sh
Your logfile, qrz.adi was uploaded successfully. We received 4659 bytes.

The text in green is HTML output from QRZ.com – the same text you see if you upload manually via Chrome or Firefox.  This is a very basic script that needs some error checking and additional work.  I spent hours in Wireshark analyzing an HTTP upload performed in Chrome so that I could translate it to curl properly.  I hope you find this useful.