WAS Triple Play, FT8 FTW

W8EDU Triple Play certificateAs of April 9th W8EDU now has Triple Play WAS Award #2037.  Going into this school year we had completed Worked All States (WAS) for CW (Morse Code) and Phone (Voice).  CW was completed in 2009, Voice completed on Logbook of the World (LoTW) in 2014 with a 2012 contact to Hawaii.  We began the school year with 22 digital states confirmed and an idea that we could do this.  The short version is that we got the other 28 states we needed.

That isn’t the end of it though, in December we experimented with FT8 and made a few contacts.  Five different states of the course of one day (12-15-17 UTC).  In March, well the best way I can put it is I got bored… Starting March 5th UTC I started playing with FT8 again.  I was making a bunch of contacts, I started marking off states we needed for WAS digital.  As the list of needed states got shorter I noticed something else as well.  The list of states we hadn’t worked on FT8 was pretty short as well.

I added a new goal for myself pick up all the states not just on digital, but on FT8 as well.  I worked my way down the list, then I looked back at the dates we made contacts.  I had duplicated all five of the states we contacted in December and covered every state on FT8 between 3-5-18 UTC and 4-5-18 UTC.  Between 00:39 UTC March 5th and 23:56 UTC April 5th I worked all 50 states.  In that time I also worked Puerto Rico and various of DX entities along the way.

Vermont was the final state we needed for the Triple Play, Kentucky was the final state to confirm on LoTW for FT8.  Arkansas confirmed on FT8 at 00:39 on March 5th, starting my run, I contacted Vermont at 00:45 UTC April 4th, at which point WAS digital (and Triple Play) was complete.  For FT8 I still needed Missouri, West Virginia and Kentucky.  Missouri and West Virginia I worked and got confirmed on the 4th as well, 02:44 and 02:53 UTC respectively.  I had worked a Kentucky station, but they weren’t on LoTW.  I got a confirmation for a Kentucky contact made on FT8 at 23:56 UTC April 5th to complete FT8 digital WAS.

de Nathaniel KB1QHX

ps I would not recommend what I did, I should have been sleeping better hours than I was.

Amateur Radio in Cleveland History

A few months ago, Bill Barrow of the Cleveland Memory Project visited our station to look at a collection of QSL cards we rescued after the closing of Amateur Electronic Supply. One of them caught his eye: a card from W8WBN, showing the Terminal Tower. He asked us for a copy to use in his exhibit on the history of the Terminal Tower as a symbol of Cleveland, and we were happy to oblige.terminaltowerqsl

We were able to visit the exhibit just before it closed today, and were treated to a fantastic collection of Terminal Tower memorabilia across the years.

The balloons have nothing to do with Dumbo. They’re a reminder of Balloonfest 1986, a record-setting but ill-considered release of 1.5 million balloons in front of the Terminal Tower.

We were acknowledged!

To any archivists out there: those AES cards still need to be scanned and cataloged. Comment on this post if you’re interested in taking this project on.

W8EDU Do a Bit of Ballooning

We had a grand time this evening with some balloon antennas. During another successful deployment of the go box at CWRU Live, we took some of the balloons used as decoration for the event and used them to loft a 20 meter monopole. Even from inside the gym, we could hear a station in the Azores. We couldn’t make contact, though, and remarked that the go box was an elephant station, which prompted AC8XY to christen the new antenna Dumbo.

(An elephant station is a station that can receive signals easily but cannot be easily heard — big ears, small mouth. The opposite is an alligator station, which can transmit a loud signal but can’t necessarily hear other stations reply.)

Portrait of girl with antennas.

Between recruiting new students and undertaking further radio experimentation, AC8XY takes a well-earned nap in the communications laboratory.

Later, during our regular operating hours, Frank K1QCD and Nathaniel KB1QHX constructed a 40 meter monopole and lofted it with the rest of the balloons. With this antenna, they were able to make a contact with a station in Michigan.


Dumbo’s successor, a 40 meter monopole named Bumble, was used to contact a station in Michigan. The Terminal Tower, site of a less auspicious balloon experiment, is visible in the background.

Operating hours were a grand time, with visits from several prospective students. Many thanks to Cami KD8ILG, a visiting ham from Lake Erie College, for bringing doughnuts!

The balloon antennas were pronounced a good experiment by all. We certainly know what we’ll be doing the next time we happen across a bunch of helium balloons.