Saturday, May 23, 2015 8:32 PM - I finally completed the NAQCC European Chapter May challenge this evening when I worked EI4II for the last Is and EA2NN for the last Ns. Before that it was RA6MQ for the DX streak. RA6MQ and EI4II were just barely audible here, but nonetheless the QSOs were fairly easy. EA2NN was a solid 589 and we had the chance to chat a bit.
After a cold start at 34 degrees, it turned out to be one of those perfect May days with plenty of sunshine and a high in the low to mid 70s. So I was outside a lot walking, helping the landlady next door cut and clean up the grass, cleaning up the grass in my brick walks, all after uncovering my and Ange's garden plants this morning.
I'm thinking about maybe getting my telescope out when it gets dark, but I probably won't. I wish it wasn't so much work setting it up. I'm thinking about perhaps setting up a permanent pedestal in the back yard. Then I can just take the scope out, mount it on the pedestal and start observing with no setting up and aligning the tripod, etc. I don't know if that will even come to pass or not, but it would be nice. -30-
Friday, May 22, 2015 8:33 PM - It looked more like a May day today with a lot of sunshine. Actually enough to set my sundial to solar time. 12:00N solar time happened at just about 1:15PM EDT today when the sun was exactly due south.
About the only thing keeping it from being a great day was the wind. It was howling just about all day. I was thinking of going fishing, but I didn't feel like watching my poles getting blown around and trying to filter out the fish bites from the wind vibrations. Oh, it's not all that hard to do, but it does get tiring after a while. So I just skipped the fishing.
It looks like there is a good chance for frost tonight, so I covered all my pea, tomato, and pepper plants a little while ago.
I led off my DX this evening with another AO150 station - AO150G. I've got to go through and make a list of all those stations I've worked now. It's hard to keep track in my mind when I'm sitting there at the rig. That was on 20, then I went up to 17 and found R120AP. He wasn't very strong, yet I got him with a single call. That gave me a P for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge leaving me needing 2 Es and 2 Ns to finish up now. -30-
Thursday, May 21, 2015 7:25 PM - This has to be one of the gloomiest May days in recent memory with low dark overcast clouds vs. the typical abundant sunshine here usually in May. Looks (and feels) more like mid-November instead of mid-May. A few lite showers didn't help, and the high was only 57 degrees and felt even colder with a breeze and the dampness.
So it was a good day for indoor activities. About all I did outdoors was to mount out my sundial. Hopefully the new surface will get to feel some sun in a day or so. It certainly didn't today, although perhaps I blinked and did miss some sunshine. There wasn't much of it, if any.
I spent quite a bit of time getting the NAQCC sprint logs from last night ready for final cross-checking Sunday evening. We're just one or two short of the magic 100 logs mark right now. Let's see. Well, actually with 93 processed and 9 more waiting, that's over the century mark at 102. Way to go, NAQCC members!
About a half hour to kill now before hitting the bands for that DX QSO to extend the streak another day. Last night it was easy before the sprint with UF5F and AO150N. That UF5 is a new prefix and only the third UF prefix in my log.
I also did some cleaning out of 'junk' in my basement. I figure since I become a septuagenarian this month, that it's time to start getting rid of some things that I haven't used for years and won't be likely to use them again. Maybe I can sell some of it at the upcoming hamfests we'll be attending this year. It's a shame to just throw some things out, which is why I've hung on to them for so long now. HI.
I completed the chronological list of memorable QSOs now, and I want to go back and pick up a few others that came to mind while I was posting those so far. First I want to mention someone who gave me many memorable QSOs back in the 1960s starting March 14, 1964 and continuing until the last one on March 6, 1966 - a total of 28 QSOs. With whom? Sue W9KSE from Cedarburg, Wisconsin. We talked about many different topics, but mainly it was about county hunting. She gets all the credit for introducing me to county hunting which was my main activity in ham radio for several years in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. She told me about the USA-CA award and the booklet they put out for keeping track of the counties. I especially liked (and adopted) her idea of coloring in the counties in the maps in the booklet as they were worked and/or verified. Also she introduced me to POD 26, the Post Office publication that listed every post office in the country and the county in which it was located. I could really make this a much longer entry with all the memories my QSOs with Sue bring back. Just a few more thoughts though. She was also interested in American Morse and we would use that on the air some times. I wasn't all that good at it myself, but we used to be joined in the QSOs by Bob W1AFM (later W1HV) who was very good at it along with Sue. Now let's jump ahead to 1966. Because of my interest in county hunting fostered by Sue, Dave WA8EOH and I started the CW County Hunters Net in May 1966 (the story of which is here on the web site in my County Hunting section). During one of the sessions in which I was the NCS, Bob W1HV checked into the net and gave me some very sad news. Sue had passed away. She was only 31 years old. I could hardly continue my NCS duties after hearing that, and just thinking about it now close to 50 years later almost brings tears to my eyes. -30-
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 7:42:05 PM - Let's get back to memorable QSOs again after a couple days. K1N - 2/9/2015. Navassa Island was the only DX entity in the North American continent I hadn't yet worked, so working K1N was high on my list of priorities especially since this would be the last time this little island would be activated for several years since it is a wildlife refuge protected by the US government. I must confess finally that I actually heard them shortly after the activation started going begging for QSOs, but as you know, I never study operations in advance, but only explore the bands for anything I work. So it didn't dawn on me for a couple days that this was indeed Navassa. After chastising myself, I set out with full deliberation to work them and complete "All North America". It was NOT easy, and failure followed failure until.... One time I heard them work a super strong S9+40 WA8 (or was it WB8 maybe?) station. I could easily see and hear the WA8 in my split phones and panadapter, and I called on the exact same frequency and bingo, I got K3WWP 599 to complete all entities in the North American continent.
Tonight is our NAQCC sprint. I'm not really in a contesting mood, but I will get on long enough to get my quota of 20 QSOs. I've been going with that quota for the past several months now. I started mainly because of my strong local noise that really beat on my ears if I went the full 2 hours. However now the noise is down, but I still like the quota rather than going for a big score, and 20 is just about right for the number of QSOs. I can usually make that in around an hour of operating, and as a side challenge, I like to try to see just how fast I can make it to that figure.
I've just about got my sundial ready to go back outside now. Here's how it looked this morning before the final two coats of polyurethane were applied.
At first I wasn't going to add the radial lines, but I decided to do that this morning, and I'm glad I did now.
Well, just about time to get my DX QSO, then get ready for the sprint. -30-
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 6:16 PM - Congrats to Bill K4WLW (ex-N4VHR) for coming up with the answer to my latest trivia question. I'm not going to give away the answer just yet to let other folks work on it.
A busy day today doing a variety of things. I worked on my sundial for a while. Did some weeding in the back yard and pulled some weeds from between the bricks in my walk. I did some shopping, paid some bills, and some other such things that I can't even remember now. HI. Anyway the day passed quickly and I enjoyed all the time outside in the upper 70s sunny weather. These days are the kind that I wish could be bottled and played back over and over again.
As you see from the time stamp, I'm writing this a bit early and still will have to get my DX QSO in a couple hours or so. I don't know what the bands are like other than that the SF has been steadily dropping the past few days. It's still high enough to keep the high bands in good shape though, so I should be able to get some DX. -30-
Monday, May 18, 2015 9:04 PM - Still no comments, guesses, answers to my trivia question, so I'll repeat it again and give one vague clue. What do the numbers 1352, 16821, and 13 have in common? It has something to do with music.
There wasn't a lot of DX again in the 0000Z hour this evening, but I still managed a quick DX QSO from WP4EHK on 15 meters to add another day (# 810) to the DX streak.
I guess my 'apart from the usual' thing today was working on renewing the surface of my sundial. It took a pretty good beating this winter and the paint was in sad shape. So I sanded it down as much as I could after I marked where the hour lines go by drilling a small hole at the end of them so I'll know exactly where to draw the new ones without figuring all the correct angles again. First I've got to give it a couple coats of white paint, then draw the hour lines again with a sharpie marker, and add a couple coats of clear polyurethane to top it off. No hurry to get it done so I'll just do a little each day.
I also replanted some bean seeds as the ones I planted a couple weeks ago haven't done a thing yet. Hopefully these new ones will as I'm looking forward to having the delicious speckled butter beans this summer. My peas are growing nicely, and I've got some tomato flowers on the Siberian tomato plants. All but one of the pepper plants I put out a few days ago are doing good. I saw some rose buds on one of my rose bushes today. The daylillies have developed a nice full foliage preparing for flowering sometime in June. About the only real outside work now other than maintaining the plants is pruning back the bush in my front yard. I'll probably do that later this week as it is supposed to be cool and good for that kind of work. -30-
Sunday, May 17, 2015 9:03 PM - As I've said before any day spent with Mike KC2EGL is a good one. Today was no exception. Of course as I said in yesterday's entry, he was arriving last night. He showed up aound 9:30 or so and we spent most of the time until bedtime on the bands chasing DX. Conditions were really great on 20 and 17 mainly which is where we spent most of the time. Mike worked several stations in the EA contest plus a couple other non-contest stations. I passed on the contest stations and only went for the unusual prefixes or band countries. Mike made around a dozen or so QSOs in mostly all different countries. I worked OZ150ITU/15, SV2CUI, ZL100ANZAC. The ZL was on 17 and was a new band-country in addition to being a new prefix. the bands stayed open until after 0400Z, and we could have worked more, but we had to get up early so we shut down not long after 0400Z.
This morning we got up earlier than planned, especially for me. I usually get up around 9AM, but today it was 8AM. Since it was earlier than planned, we again combed the bands for DX. Again Mike worked a few stations that I passed on, including one Japanese on 17M. The JA sounded almost like he was a local with strong steady flutter-free signals, only one of not very many JAs I've heard over the years that have sounded that good. I worked OV2V for a possible new prefix and RK3ER for a couple Es for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge.
Then it was time for our main purpose of the visit - to head over to Chicora to get together with Tom WB3FAE to plan our NAQCC Field Day setup for the end of June. After we got lost briefly - a not unusual occurrence for us - we arrived and started our planning. It wasn't the best of days and we had to work through some rain showers. We took a lot of measurements and figured out where we would raise our antennas, set up our tent, and so forth. We actually did set up my antenna after all the planning was done with the intention of giving out some N3AQC QSOs to our club members. Unfortunately after only about 10 minutes or so of operating and four QSOs, the skies opened up again and we had to shut down. Since the weather was so iffy, we didn't bother actually setting up our tent and the KX3, computer, etc. were out in the open, and we didn't want them to be getting wet. So that was kind of disappointing not only to us, but probably to our NAQCC members who were waiting to work us.
After we visited for a while, Mike and I headed back to Kittanning and stopped at one of our latest favorite eating places, Clark's Landing. For the first time in I don't know how long, I couldn't finish the huge meal they provided and had to quit at around 90-95 percent. I hate leaving food at a restaurant, but.... It was an Italian Sampler with angel hair pasta, meatballs, lasagna, chicken, bread, and a large salad that was almost a meal in itself. Mike had a chicken fettucini meal, I believe. His wasn't quite as big as mine, and he was able to finish his.
Then we came home and just sat out the rest of the visit - too full to move around much. We played a couple hidden object computer games and then watched some Benny Hill shows on the computer before Mike had to head home to get to bed since tomorrow is a working day for him.
That was shortly after 0000Z, so I headed to the shack to try to get my DX streak QSO. The bands were pretty good, but not as active as last night, so it took a while for me to find and work someone - RA6AN. That QSO gave me a couple Ns for the challenge leaving me with needing 8 letters to finish it now.
And lest I forget as I did the past two entries, here's my memorable QSO. W1AW/1 - 8/27/2014 - Yes, you probably guessed this is the QSO that completed the 2014 Centennial Anniversary WAS from W1AW operating portable from each of the fifty states. This particular QSO was from Maine, the last state to be activated. Although W1AW visited each state at least 2 times, I got all 50 on their first visit. -30-
Saturday, May 16, 2015 9:07 PM - I'm sitting here awaiting Mike's arrival. He'll spend the night, then in the morning we'll head over to Chicora and Tom's (WB3FAE) place to do some planning for our NAQCC Field Day setup from Chicora which is a new location this year. We hope to iron out anything that needs ironing out, and then put N3AQC on the air for a couple hours and get some signal reports.
I mentioned the DL4ISX QSO that wasn't in my computer log. Today I looked back through my paper logs and it was there. I just hadn't transferred it to computer. I thought I'd better check some more of my paper logs and I found three more MIA QSOs which I added to the computer log. Now I plan to eventually check all my paper logs for any more such omissions. I've done October 2014 through April 2015 so far. In addition to missing QSOs, I found a couple wrong dates and times which I've corrected. From now on, I will try to check each page as I complete filling it out. Just another sign of growing old, I guess.
Tonight's DX QSO came quickly at 0001Z from AO150U in the EA contest. Then I added LZ102SIB a few minutes later. Neither helped with the European Chapter challenge.
I finished fine trimming my pine tree today. The major cutback left it a bit shaggy looking but the shape is good and it will fill out again as it has in the past. -30-
Friday, May 15, 2015 8:53 PM - No comments, guesses, answers, etc. to last night's trivia question of what do 1352 and 16821 have in common. There is also a third number that could be included in the group - 13.
A busy interesting day today. My grass had grown like it was on steroids the past 3 or 4 days, so I cut it this morning after Denny was done cutting his. He shares his mower with me when I need it, and I help him out with things when he needs it. That's the way neighbors ought to behave.
After I cut the grass, Denny helped me trim off about 3-4 feet from the top of my pine tree in the back yard. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I've topped it off so many times, almost every year, to keep it from getting out of hand, that the leader of the tree has branched off into many smaller leaders rather than one big one. So it was easy just lopping them off instead of having to saw one big one off.
Then later in the day I applied some fine tuning or trimming to the tree to get it back in traditional pine tree shape albeit with more of a flat top that a pointy one now. It felt good getting in a lot of good physical exercise today. That sure makes one feel much better than sitting around in the shack or at the computer all day. In fact with the nice weather and the outdoor activities I may have a tough time completing the NAQCC European Chapter challenge this month. I did get a couple more letters tonight though when I worked AO150T for my DX streak QSO. That makes an interesting ham radio number for the days in the streak now - 807. Wonder if I'll make it to 1625. HI.
I got a buro mailing today with 24 cards although one of them is for as far as I can tell, a non-existant QSO. It's not in my computer log. I'll have to go through my paper logs to see if I just missed transferring one. Or perhaps the station in question worked someone else with a call close to mine and logged it as my call.
Anyway, I got one new band-country from the batch - Albania on 20 meters. I was surprised I only had Albania veried on 30 and 15 until today. There were also a bunch of new prefixes like OM90SZE, S506SLG, S546EB, LZ37MP, LZ1000TS, DR20CFT, HP500OP, HF2014VB, and AM03NO.
Well, it's a bit past time to get my daily weather readings, so I better close here and get to that. -30-
Thursday, May 14, 2015 7:25 PM - Not a lot to talk about today. I'll sum it up briefly then get to a trivia question and the memorable QSO.
I planted out most of my pepper plants today. I think there were 16 altogether with about 8 more left inside in case any of those don't make it. My peas are coming nicely, as are the tomatoes and my rose bushes.
Other than that I played a lot with Windows 10. It is working great in the different virtual machine - Oracle's VirtualBox. Now I have a much better idea of just how good a system it is going to be when all the preview version bugs are taken care of.
Trivia: What do the two numbers 1,352 and 16,821 have in common? No fair looking them up on Bing although if you do, it may be hard to find anyway.
Memorable QSO: WA4FAT 5/30/2014 - This story is virtually a carbon copy of the WA8REI one a few days ago. So I'll refer you to that. All you need to do is substitute 50 years for 40 years and WA4FAT for WA8REI, and that will do it. Yes, WA4FAT and I had our first QSO back on May 30, 1964 - 50 years before. "Only the call, year, and date have been changed to protect the innoc....." Oh, and the time of day remained the same for both the 1964 and 2014 QSO also - 0011Z. The band as well - 40 meters. I didn't log actual frequencies back in 1964 so I'm not sure if the frequency was the same or not. -30-
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 9:28 PM - This was computer club evening so I didn't get on the air until around 0110Z or so. Still it didn't take long to get my DX QSO as I worked yet another AO150 station, A0150U at 0113Z.
As far as memorable QSOs go, tonight it's WL7E 11/26/2011 - QSOs that complete some goal are always memorable. This QSO with WL7E completed mW WAS for me after trying for some time. This was the CQWW DX contest and one of my goals was to work Alaska with mW power. I tried several times to work another Alaskan (I believe it was KL7RA) with no success, then found WL7E and it was an easy QSO. Now I had my mW WAS completed. -30-
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 9:22 PM - The DX QSOs seem to be coming a little harder as time goes on. There just don't seem to be many DX stations around in the 0000Z hour of late. Those that are around are ones I've either recently worked on the same band or stations that I've worked so many times it's almost embarrassing to work them again and to maybe deprive someone who really needs them of a QSO. Tonight I was relegated to working OM3SEM on 30 meters whom I have worked several times although not recently. It's not a matter of QRP/CW failing to work by any means because when I hear them, I can work them pretty much no matter what propagation conditions are like.
Our 90 degree days streak ended abruptly and solidly today. I'm not sure what the high during the day was because the maximum-minimum thermometers recorded the high at midnight when it was still quite warm. I would guess the high during the day was only in the mid 70s at best. Right now it's 59 and probably going into the 40s overnight. Then tomorrow night there is a slight chance of frost, so I think I'll wait till Friday or so to plant out my pepper plants. No signs of any bean sprouts, but about 3/4 of my pea seeds have sprouted and are almost an inch high now. The tomatoes are doing good. A couple wilted a bit after planting them out, but they have come back now.
Another QSO I remember quite well is tonight's memorable one. VK6DXI 7/26/2009 - While sitting in my shack with the sun beating in the window, I was fooling around in the IOTA contest when I heard VK6DXI calling CQ on 40 meters. Not expecting to even be heard, I called anyway, and after a couple repeats, we exchanged info and I had a half way around the world QSO on 40 meters while the sun had yet to set. Just to be sure, I looked up his email address in QRZ and shot off an email. It was indeed a good QSO, and we exchanged a couple more emails about it. He kind of thought it was probably a long-path QSO which would make it more than halfway around the world if so. The subsequent QSL card is displayed elsewhere on my site. Actually in the DX section. Click DX in the above menu to see it. -30-
Monday, May 11, 2015 9:27 PM - Our fourth 90+ degree day in a row. If this keeps up, I'll have to be checking records for the most consecutive 90 degree days in a row in May.
I had to work AO150O on 30 meters for my DX QSO this evening. I already have the station on 30, but I might wind up being busy tomorrow, so I grabbed what I could tonight. There wasn't much DX heard at all except for the AO150 stations here and there.
My third shutout fishing trip in a row today. Denny and I went to a different place and neither of us got a single bite in about an hour and 40 minutes. We're supposed to get some rain tonight and maybe early tomorrow so maybe I'll check the storm sewer outlets for carp after it stops.
Another very memorable QSO tonight: KH6MB 2/22/2009 - After being stuck at 4 continents on 80 meters (NA,SA,EU,AF) for almost 46 years (not counting the K4HSB/KH6 QSO at 75 watts input mentioned earlier in this series), finally my time came to work KH6 and thus Oceania with 5 watts. As I've mentioned from time to time, I have a pipeline to KH6 on the higher bands, and can work it there quite easily just about anytime I hear it. Well this early morning, I had a pipeline to KH6 on 80 as well. The QSO was very easy, and was followed a few minutes later by a QSO with KH6LC. After the fact I wished I had used QRPp since at that time I still needed Oceania (and Asia) for QRPp WAC. Oh, and I also just missed a third KH6 QSO a few minutes later. Then a few minutes more later, I lowered my power to 930mW and called either MB or LC again just to see if they could hear me. They did, but didn't get my whole call, and I didn't repeat since it would have been a dupe. A couple years later I did work KH7X with QRPp for mW Oceania. Not on 80, but on 15. -30-
Sunday, May 10, 2015 9:02 PM - Our third nice warm day in a row. The remote thermometer says the high was 92. I am just about to go outside and get the 'official' reading. It felt really good today. The humidity was low - in fact right now it's 45% outside and it was down to 29% sometime today. Better get the weather readings now, then I'll finish the entry.
"Officially" it goes down as a high of 91 today. If I could interpolate the analog thermometer, it would probably be 91.4, but I only use whole degrees for my records here.
AO150E on 20 and 8P9EE on 30 were my DX QSOs this evening. I did listen a bit late this afternoon, but there was not much to be heard at all then.
Memorable QSO: WA8REI 8/25/2006 - My first QSO with Ken was on 8/25/1966. Do the math and you'll see the two dates are just exactly 40 years apart. Ken and I had talked about our first QSO earlier in 2006, and came to the mutual conclusion that it would be nice to have a "40th Anniversary" QSO. It indeed was, and exchanging special QSLs added to the 'specialness'. -30-
Saturday, May 09, 2015 9:21 PM - A second 90 degree day in a row today. 91 on both the regular and remote thermometers. Sure is nice to have some decent weather here in Kittanning again after that long winter and early spring.
My day started helping Ange get his garden ready for planting, and actually planting some bean seeds as well. My tomato plants are doing well with the warm weather. Some tiny buds on them, but no way will I have ripe tomatoes in May as I have in past years. I just started them too late this year. I'm guessing probably the middle of June for tomatoes which still is not bad for this area without any greenhouse to help. I might put out some pepper plants next week. They are around 4-5 inches tall now. My bean seeds haven't sprouted yet, but I hope they will soon or I may have to re-sow. Nothing from the pea seeds yet either, but it's only been a few days for them.
I spent a good part of the day playing with virtual machines and Windows 10 on my laptop. The VMWare Player crashed a couple days ago. Nothing to do with any fault of Windows 10. I tried and tried to get it running again to no avail. I uninstalled it, and then tried to re-install, but it kept insisting there was still an old version on my computer and it couldn't install till that old version was uninstalled (which it seemed to be). I searched all through the file structure and the registry to try to find why it thought there was still an old version around. That led nowhere, so finally I gave up on the VMWare Player and thought I'd see if I could get VirtualBox from Oracle running as my VM. I had tried it originally but it wouldn't work because the laptop processor didn't have virtualization activated. At that time, I didn't feel like digging into the BIOS to activate it and went with the VM Player instead which worked well for quite a while actually. Today though, I bit the bullet and dug into the laptop BIOS and enabled virtualization, installed VirtualBox, and set up Windows 10. The latest preview build 10074 looks very nice in the not too much time I had left to play with it. I'll do more playing in the coming days now that I have it set up in VirtualBox which by the way seems to be a better VM than the VMWare Player.
A quick DX QSO again this evening from AO150A on 17 meters. No help with the NAQCC European Chapter challenge though. I'm going to have to make some time to get on the bands at various times to see when the best openings to Europe are and try to get those remaining letters to master the challenge.
Let's see what's up in the string of memorable QSOs now. D4B 2/21/2004 - Similar to the W4HG story of a few days ago, this QSO (several QSOs) was memorable for multi-band working. In the ARRL DX Contest, I worked D4B on 5 contest bands - 80,40,20,15, and 10 meters. All the QSOs were easy ones, and I was especially pleased with the one on 80 meters since my antenna situation on that band is not the greatest for any DX, let alone a fairly distant and somewhat rare country like Cape Verde. Even counting non-DX stations, I don't have all that many 5-band contest QSOs in my log. Maybe some day I'll take time to figure out just how many (few?) there are. -30-
Friday, May 08, 2015 9:17 PM - Our first 90+ degree day of the year today as the mercury hit 92. Yes, the maximum/minimum thermometer still does use mercury. The electrons in the remote unit got excited one degree higher at 93 degrees.
I didn't do a lot today, but I did get the rest of my Siberian tomato plants set out and did a little bit of trimming on the tree in my back yard. Oh, and my tulips gave up the ghost, so I picked the remaining petals and deadheaded them. It's a shame the that tulip flowers don't last longer. There's hardly enough time to appreciate them properly, it seems.
A bit of a strange DX QSO this evening to make the DX streak 800 days. I called RG0A and was treated with silence, but about 10 seconds later just as I was about to tune away, he came back with K3WWP 599. I'm guessing a digital recorder was involved and he had to replay my call a couple times before he got it. What do you think? Anyway another milestone was reached in the streak completing 80% of my goal of a 1,000 day DX streak.
Memorable QSO time now. SU9NC 11/30/2003 - I've mentioned this QSO in the diary recently when I worked my second Egypt station. This one was made from my late cousin's location a few miles from here and was the only new country I had worked away from home. However now with my latest Egypt QSO, I have all my countries now worked from right here at home also. -30-
Thursday, May 07, 2015 8:33 PM - Another beautiful day and another fishing trip and another shutout. Not even a bite again. Soon though, they should start biting. I saw a lot of minnies playing around today and a few bigger fish jumping, so they were there, just not hungry.
I managed to eke out another DX QSO to keep the streak going. There certainly hasn't been a lot to choose from lately and again 17 meters was the saviour this evening. I worked CE2AWW easily there, but he was the only signal I heard on that band.
Memorable QSO time now. I've decided when I get through with the memorable QSOs, I'm going to talk about some memorable hams I've worked, many a lot of times, for which I don't have a specific QSO in mind, yet I feel I should mention them.
TA3D 12/29/2000 - Similar to the VK6HQ situation, I was calling CQ on 30 meters when out of the blue, so to speak, came this answer from TA3D in Turkey. That was only the third time I had worked that country, and the first time ever on 30 meters. Also it was in late afternoon at 4:39PM ET which was somewhat unusual. No long distance phone call this time though. HI. Turkey is still not all that easy for me to work as I only have a total of 11 QSOs with TA stations. I was thinking TA3D became a SK, but I was wrong. It was another Turk I worked, TA3DD who is the SK. While checking that on QRZ, I found this neat world map of call sign prefixes. I'll present it here and then find a permanent place for it, perhaps in my DX section or maybe on the WPX Award page. I wonder how many entities are represented there. Anyone feel like counting? HI Although there is not much space, I think whoever did the design work did a good job. I do see some missing entities where there are a lot of small ones crowded together - ex-Yugoslavia for one example. I'm thinking maybe I can get a larger outline map of each continent, and color in the entities I have worked. that would be neat. Just looking at Africa, I see that I have most of the entities in the northwest part of that continent. Of course North America would be all colored in since I have all NA entities worked. Hmmm, I like the idea more and more as I think about it.
Wednesday, May 06, 2015 9:39 PM - A nice day today, so I made time from some other chores to get in some fishing - my first time this year. As with most first times, I didn't catch anything or even have any damage inflicted on my nightcrawler. Actually of 24 'first' fishing trips since I started fishing again in 1992, I caught something on only 9 of them. Still, catch or no, it was nice to sit out in the partly cloudy skies by the river again. Now my fishing appetite is whetted.
Conditions on the bands were deplorable today, to put it kindly. A check this afternoon showed virtually nothing at all on the bands. This evening wasn't a lot better, but I did manage to hook up with HK4CZE to keep the DX streak going at 798 days. It will be nice to reach another hundred marker in a couple days, and have "only" 200 days to go for a thousand. Wonder if I'll make it.
Almost forgot my next installment of my memorable QSOs. Let's see who it is tonight.
One of my more distant ones. VK0MM 4/28/2000 - Some of my ham friends had worked this DXpedition station, and I figured I would never get him. However I woke up in the 6AM ET hour the morning of the 28th, and found him coming through strong. I gave a call on the (wide) split frequency, and it took only a couple calls in all to get him. I guessed where he was listening. I didn't have the panadapter or split phones to help me then. One of my friends, Dave VA3RJ, who had been encouraging me in my attempts to work him and happened to be listening and heard him work me, emailed his congatulations. -30-
Tuesday, May 05, 2015 8:27 PM - Kind of strange conditions this evening. Europe was weak with much QSB on 20 meters, and I couldn't get an answer from anyone across the pond. Then I went to 17 and found S55DX at S9+ and worked him easily for my DX streak QSO and 3 letters for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. Earlier in the afternoon I worked LY8O on 20 for a couple more letters.
Memorable QSO time now. VQ9IO 11/28/1999 - What made this one memorable other than it being a new country from a part of the world I hadn't ever worked before was the effort the operator put in to be sure he had my call and contest info correct. I know it took more than a couple minutes to complete the QSO, and probably irritated others waiting to work him. However I commend and thank him for sticking with me.
It looks like our plans to have a FD test run with NAQCC call N3AQC has been narrowed down to either Sunday May 17th or 24th. More info here in the diary and on our NAQCC mail list when the details are finalized.
Also I heard from Bob WC3O from the Skyview Radio Society asking if we wanted to repeat our QRP demonstration at their Skyview Swap and Shop like we did last year. I immediately said yes, and as soon as I notified KC2EGL and K3RLL, they said the same thing. So that's something else to look forward to. That will be on August 30. Hopefully Tom WB3FAE will be there this year also. I'm pretty sure he will, but I haven't heard back from him just yet. -30-
Monday, May 04, 2015 8:58 PM - No fishing today. I got involved in some back yard/garden work along with a little work on my cellar door. It was the warmest day of the year so far with a high of 84, warm enough to work up a little sweat on one walk I took. Right now it's still 73 degrees, but some rain just starting.
I think it may be a bit hard mastering the European Chapter challenge this month. After a very fast start, the brakes kicked in the past couple days. I haven't heard a lot of European stations and the few I am hearing don't have the letters that I need. For example this evening for the streak, I worked IZ4ZZB, but there weren't any Zs in the challenge, and I already have all the Is and Bs. I also worked RP70MC, but he is in Asia, not Europe. That's the way it has been going the past couple days.
So let's move on to another memorable QSO now.
KO1C 9/1/1999 - This QSO was memorable not because of any location or band, but because it was the first QSO I ever made with a commercial transceiver - a Kenwood TS570D that I had just purchased the day before via mail order, and it arrived immediately the next day. Up until that point, all my QSOs had been made with various homebrew transmitters and various receivers - SW-500, R100, SPR4, IC71-A, and perhaps a couple more I am forgetting. What a tremendous difference in operating that made. With the homebrew setup, it took perhaps changing a dozen or so controls to change bands and zero beat a station. With the transceiver, it was only one or two controls, and I was ready to work someone. Pre-transceiver I made 42,916 QSOs in 33 years. In the 15 1/2 years since my transceiver age started, I have 42,531 QSOs. Of course other factors enter into those totals, but still it is much easier to make QSOs with a transceiver, and extremely easy now with the Elecraft KX3. I might be over 100,000 QSOs if I'd had a KX3 my whole ham 'career.' HI -30-
Sunday, May 03, 2015 7:02 PM - I forgot to mention a couple things in yesterday's entries. W4HG was (and still is) located in Salisbury, NC. Also I checked Nova Sagitarri yesterday morning and couldn't find it so it apparently has faded down below binocular through slightly hazy skies through a window visibility. Let's see. Yes on May 2 the AAVSO chart shows it at about magnitude 6.25 or slightly dimmer which would make it a stretch for my observing setup here.
I bought some nightcrawlers today in anticipation of going fishing with my neighbor Denny after he got home from work, but he had something else to do. So I think I might head to the river myself tomorrow. I talked to a couple fishermen today and they said the suckers were biting and I noticed they were using nightcrawlers. Maybe I'll get my first fish of the year tomorrow.
Let's close the entry now with another in the series of memorable QSOs in my 52 years of being a ham.
JA3ZOH 11/24/1996 - At one time for quite a long while, and possibly still now, Japan held (holds) the position of having the most ham radio operators in the world, with the United States a distant second. Some sources say that the positions are now reversed with a major decline in the number of hams in Japan. That's beside the point of this story, but it tends to emphasize the fact that despite the large number of Japanese hams, it took me a long time to get my first Japanese QSO. It was late in the afternoon in the CQWW DX contest, when I tuned across 20 meters looking for folks I hadn't worked before. Conditions weren't all that great so I only had 70 QSOs at that point, and I was hearing the same stations over and over again. Then I came across JA3ZOH who was probably around S6 or S7 at the time with just a little flutter on his signals as best as I can recall now. I thought that this may be the best chance I will get to add Japan to my list of worked countries. The sunspot cycle was near a minimum and conditions were just not that good in general, let alone the day of the contest. So I decided to try calling him to see what would happen. I don't remember getting him on the first call, but it seems to me now, almost 20 years later, that it didn't take long to work him. 20 minutes later, I got my second Japan QSO with JH0ZHQ. Despite the difficulty of getting the first Japan after 33 years or so, I now have 237 QSOs with Japan. -30-
Saturday, May 02, 2015 7:30 PM - A short recap of the day, then another memorable QSO story.
I got up very early (for me) today just before 7AM to help Bruce and Nancy take Roscoe to the groomer for his 8AM appointment. After we dropped him off, Bruce took me and his mom Nancy to a new place for breakfast. This was a place that Bruce passes every day on his school bus run, but had never tried eating there. Well, it turned out to have great food and super service. The prices were quite reasonable too. Then while still waiting for a call from the groomer that Roscoe was ready, Bruce took us on his school bus route to show just what he went through with the bus. There are some really challenging roads on that route, to be sure. Then a stop at Family Dollar for some shopping. Just when we finished, the groomer called and we went to get Roscoe. After we got home, the whole morning was pretty much gone.
It was a beautiful May day, so I went for a long walk and did some outdoors work.
I just spent about an hour preparing some upcoming memorable QSO stories. Let's get now to tonight's entry. W4HG 6/12/1996 - 1996 was a good year for memorable QSOs. In the mid-90s I had just begun to use 17 and 12 meters by modifying my Lafayette VFO as I had done previously to get it to work on 30 and 160. Sometime when I would work a station on 10 or 15 meters and conditons were good, I'd ask the station if he could QSY to 12 meters for a new state toward my WAS. It seemed to me and still does that folks who get on 12 are only interested in working DX, and not USA to USA QSOs. That still seems true and I still only have about half the states worked on 12. Anyway to cut to the QSO story now (or QSOs story), I worked Wayne W4HG on 10 meters at 0111Z, and after chatting a bit, I asked if he would try 12 meters with me. So we went to 12 and made an easy contact. After chatting for 5 minutes there, I suggested just for fun, we try 15 meters now. We did successfully, and now the seed was planted to see how many different bands would work for us then. So it was off to 17 meters and another easy QSO there. Then we cut our QSOs to just contacting, exchanging signal reports, and setting a frequency for the next lower band. That worked fine all the way down through 40 meters, but 80 was rough as it was almost the beginning of summer with its associated high noise level on the lower bands. We did make it on 80 though, but decided not to even try 160 meters. I wish we had now although I'm pretty sure it would have failed since 80 was so rough. I think it is interesting to list the RST I got from each band:
10 - 569
12 - 559
15 - 589
17 - 559
20 - 579
30 - 559
40 - 469
80 - 349
My reports to Wayne were about 1 S unit higher each time as he was running higher power. Eight QSOs on eight bands with the same station in 33 minutes from 0111 to 0144Z is something that has probably not been done all that often, especially when one of the stations was running QRP and simple wire antennas. Even more so since it was not something planned in advance, but done more or less on the spur of the moment. I'll always remember it. -30-
Friday, May 01, 2015 8:23 PM - A quick DX QSO this evening thanks to another Bulgarian saints station LZ102SIB. That gave me 4 more letters toward the NAQCC European Chapter challenge as well, making it 25 of 57 gathered now. Conditions and/or activity were nowhere near as good as last evening and that was my only QSO in 20 minutes or so of trying.
Let's turn now to another memorable QSO. VK6HQ 5/10/1996 - If I were ranking QSOs by their 'memorability', this one would be near the top. I was calling a regular CQ (I never call CQ DX or any kind of directional CQ) on 30 meters, and got an answer from a station with a call starting with V. When I heard the V, I immediately thought Canada, but then came the K. VK.....hmmm, must be an Aussie operating portable from somewhere. VK6HQ... with no portable designation. OK, maybe someone fooling around, but no it was John from near Perth, Australia. That's about as far as you can get from Kittanning and still remain on Earth. Oh, there are a couple islands and a couple places in SW Australia that are a bit further, but that's beside the point which is I worked halfway around the world with my QRP and a simple attic random wire. And HE answered MY CQ. Now a la the late Paul Harvey, the rest of the story. We chatted about my QRP setup a bit in a 5 minute or so QSO. After we signed off, my phone rang and I ran downstairs to answer it. Turned out it was John calling LOOONNNGGG distance from Australia. He wanted to know more about my QRP setup. I was kind of shocked and did my best to answer his questions briefly. I am sure that was a very expensive call and I didn't want to make it any longer for him. Now the rest of the rest of the story. On June 19, 1999, I was calling CQ on 30 meters, and.... well you probably know what is coming. Yes, I was again answered by VK6HQ. This time we had a 12 minute rag chew. I can't remember positively now, but it may have been after this QSO and not the first one, that I got the phone call. I have notes on it somewhere, and will have to check. Now on to the rest of..... Well, on June 2, 2006 I was calling CQ on 30 meters and got an answer from VK6AU who it turned out was a new call for John and we had a ten minute rag chew. Yes, as I often say, QRP/CW/simple wire antennas can get the job done just about any time on any band to any part of the world. We'll find out more about that little 'any band' hint in the next installment of my most memorable QSOs. Oh, incidentally in case you wonder, all three QSOs with John took place in the 00Z hour so I'm sure that grey line propagation played a part.
A couple other things worth mentioning today. I planted out three of my Siberian tomato plants since it looks like a very warm week coming up, and hopefully that will help them to get used to being outside and encouraging them to increase their growth rate.
I also fixed a loose railing on my fronch porch steps with the help of my neighbor Denny. So a lot got accomplished on this first day of May.
Oh, and I almost forgot, I received my 100 free QSL cards today. They look even nicer than the scan of the proof I had in my diary a few days ago. -30-
Thursday, April 30, 2015 9:51 PM - As I do on the first of every month (UTC date/time), I jump out of the starting blocks for our NAQCC monthly challenges. This evening was no exception, and I got perhaps my best start ever. Or at least the best finish ever. Our American challenge was simply to make 10 QSOs using a piece of homebrew gear. It took one hour and 40 minutes to finish it using all DX stations. Nine from Europe and one from Asia. The nine European stations also gave me a good start to the European Chapter Challenge with about a quarter of the letters already gathered of the 57 needed altogether.
Of course, this being the last day of the month (local date/time), I had my usual lineup of end of the month chores to get done, and I also got off to a good start with them, and have most finished now except for entering my April weather data into the computer, and going to the post office and bank in the morning to finish out the financial aspect of the chores.
Let's see what my memorable QSO is for tonight. It's K3KLC in Maryland on February 15, 1995. Why is a Maryland QSO memorable. Because it was my first ever QSO on 160 meters. I modified my old Lafayette VFO so it would oscillate in the 160 meters band as I had done with it in the early 80s to get it to work on the then new 30 meters band. It was a special feeling making a QSO on 160 meters since in a way that part of the spectrum is where ham radio got its start so many years ago. It's still somewhat of a thrill to use that band after 3,392 QSOs there. Wow, when I just checked now, I didn't realize I had that many. Let me re-check and see if that is correct. Actually it is, and I see that 3,131 of them have come in the ARRL and CQ 160 meters contests plus some other contests. But I'll always remember the very first one with K3KLC just over 20 years ago now. -30-
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 7:54 PM - Another memorable QSO that I remember very well as if it happened not too long ago rather that some 20 years back.
4Z4DX 7/5/1994 - Although there were other memorable QSOs between 1963 and 1994, I will jump ahead now, and add some of those "in-between" QSOs later as they come to mind. 4Z4DX was memorable because it completed WAC for me. I had never worked Asia in the first 31 plus years of being a ham, contrasted to 562 Asian QSOs during the past 20 plus years. So at the time working Asia was a dream come true and a very exciting moment for me. It was on 30 meters at 0208Z and I got a 579 report which usually means an honest report since it wasn't the standard 599 DX report. I gave him a 599 though, as he was quite strong and it was a pretty easy QSO as best as I can recall.
An easy DX QSO this morning for day #790 when I worked CO2CCA at 1322Z not long after getting up. So I didn't have to worry about it the rest of the day. Then this evening I took care of day #791 in three minutes at 0003Z, working 9A2EU on 17 meters.
The weather is slowly getting better and better. Today we had a lot of sunshine with a high in the mid-70s. I walked around town taking some pictures of the spring flowers and blossoms. I think my dad was right when he said he liked the spring colors better than the fall ones. Mainly because spring heralds summer while fall warns that winter is coming. -30-
Tuesday, April 28, 2015 9:04 PM - A little more detailed "memorable QSO" story this entry.
As I state in the opening of the story, this one I still remember like it was yesterday instead of 50 years ago. Here goes.
K4HSB/KH6 - Late night on December 14, 1963 (Hmmm, reminds me of the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song although not with the connotation of the song. HI). I remember this QSO like it was yesterday. It was on 80 meters of all places and was my first ever Hawaii and first ever Oceania QSO. It took place at 12:22AM EST, and I was so excited I ran up from my shack in my second floor bedroom to my parent's room on the third floor and wakened them to tell them I just contacted Hawaii. Although they both supported my ham radio hobby to the fullest, I don't think their excitement approached anywhere near mine, especially since my dad had to get up to drive his mail truck in just a few hours. I didn't work Hawaii on 80 meters again until February 22, 2009, over 45 years later when I worked KH6LC and then KH6MB in the ARRL DX contest. Two more memorable QSOs I'll talk about in a later story.
I had been having some issues with my Internet connection the past few days, and finally contacted Windstream today. I have nothing but good things to say about Windstream support. They are absolutely great and head and shoulders above the support from a lot of other organizations. After 3 calls of which the first was aborted by noise from my modem which was the root cause of the problem, the second to Internet support and then a transfer to phone line support, I had a home visit from Windstream and was supplied with a brand new combination modem/router at no charge. The router is a "N" router, much better than my old "G" router, and the performance is much better now. I'm glad I had the trouble now since it led to improved service. Maybe the old modem was just trying to tell me it was time for an upgrade.
No DX this evening (so far). I only heard a couple very weak DX signals from stations who weren't hearing me at all. I did get a question mark from a Spanish station, but he never got even a single letter of my call, if indeed it was me he was hearing. So, I solidified the big main streak with a QSO with KF5HA down in NC, and will probably have to wait till morning or afternoon for the DX streak. -30-
Monday, April 27, 2015 9:23 PM - Just a brief entry in my series of memorable QSOs because I don't really remember a lot about the QSO beyond remembering making it. As I said in my notes when compiling my list of QSOs, VP7ACF - Chet in the Bahamas with their old British style prefix on July 18, 1963. My first ever DX QSO. Perhaps, as with some others of my "memorable" QSOs, I don't have all that clear a recollection of the QSO as much as I remember it for its significance as my first ever DX QSO. There's more of a story behind the next QSO in tomorrow's entry.
A couple of interesting ham radio related incidents today. I received a QSL request with a SASE enclosed which is not all that unusual or interesting normally. However this one was from ES1TU in Estonia. Perhaps the first time I've received a request with an SASE outside W/VE. The envelope has a 'Global Forever' USA stamp on it. First time I've seen one of those.
I don't remember if I mentioned it in the diary or not, but since I am no longer an officer of the NAQCC, I am eligible for club prizes, and I won 100 free QSLs for signing up the most new members the first quarter of 2015. I received the proof of the QSL today via email and it looks like this:
I'm looking forward to receiving and using the 100 cards. I like the idea of having my call in Morse Code and also having the logos of the only two clubs I care at all about (NAQCC and FISTS) on the card. Once I receive and use them, I'll decide if I want to order more or continue to go with my own design.
A quick DX QSO and my longest rag chew in a while this evening. The DX was UT5ZC. Considering its location (or perhaps it's because of it), I am a bit surprised how easily I can work Ukraine when I hear it. I remember my very first Ukraine QSO - oh but that's another story for another memorable QSO entry. The rag chew was 33 minutes with Chuck K2IWQ. I thought that was the first time we worked, but I see in my log we worked before nearly 50 years ago on August 18, 1966. Maybe we can have a 50th anniversary QSO next year as WA4FAT and I had last year. -30-
Sunday, April 26, 2015 8:35 PM - This is the first installment of a series on my most memorable QSOs in 52 years as a ham radio operator. Since it is hard to rank them in order of "memorability", I'll list them chronologically as a compromise.
May 9, 1963 - W9RQF. Other than a couple QSOs with KN3WWW and K3HGD here in Kittanning, I was having trouble making contacts starting out as a Novice. I also worked WN9GAR in WI and WN8DOC in MI. However, Frank W9RQF in Chicago was only my 6th QSO overall after one full month of operating. Frank devoted himself to helping out Novices and could regularly be found in the then Novice bands. I don't really remember just what was said in the QSO, but it seemed to be a turnng point in my ham career. Working a General (or whatever class he did have) from "far away" Chicago gave me a confidence boost, and from then on the QSOs came much more often. The second month of operating provided me with 54 QSOs and I rolled on from there. Thank you Frank.
I'll try to do one of these "memorable QSO" stories each day or at least every other day or so. While doing them, I'll probably think of more along the way. I'll add those to the end after I go through the 23 I have now. Doing this brings back a lot of memories from over a half century of ham radio.
My streak QSO again came quickly this evening when I caught Eric NP3A on 15 meters at 0004Z. So with that taken care of, I'm doing my laundry now so I'll have all of tomorrow free to explore the bands, walk, or whatever else comes along. I do have to make a trip to the Post Office to mail a NAQCC prize for one thing. -30-
Saturday, April 25, 2015 8:53 PM - Writing about the history of my DXing in the previous diary entry got me to thinking about something else that has crossed my mind from time to time. I often wonder what my 10 or so most memorable QSOs were, but never get beyond the wondering stage. Now I am going to sit here over the next day or so (figuratively) and without doing any reference work in my log or in my diary, just see which ones occur prominently in my thinking. After I come up with a list, and then research to get the exact dates, times, band, etc., I'll list one per day in the diary until the list is exhausted. Actually I have EditPad Lite open now and am jotting down QSOs as they come to mind and I have 17 already. So we'll see what comes of this project over the next couple weeks or so.
Tonight I got three DX QSOs. First HB9BXE in the Helvetia contest to solidify the DX streak. Then tuning around I heard UX1HW very strong and not getting many answers to his CQs, so I worked him. Then I heard YN/WJ2O on 17 meters and worked him for a couple reasons. I wasn't sure if I have the YN0 prefix yet. Also WJ2O provided one of my first DX QSOs when I returned to the air in 1993. Actually it was the 10th DX QSO then, and he was WJ2O/VP2E for probably my first Anguilla QSO also.
I took some pictures of my tulips today. They are in full blossom today and standing proud after opening up yesterday or the day before:
Friday, April 24, 2015 8:54 PM - I often think about how much difficulty I once had (back in the 60s and 70s) working DX compared to how easy it is now even though I am running less power now than back then. At that earlier time, power was defined as INPUT power to the final amplifier of a rig or following amplifier. So I don't really know what my output power was back in that era. My input power was a nominal 75 watts which was the Novice limit then and I continued that through my General and Extra days. Actually I should say I never ran more than that, but I did run lower power at times. My best guess would be that my rig operated at an efficiency of 60-70% with 70 being around the theoretical maximum efficiency of a basic class C amplifier which describes my rig. So with 75 watts as input, the RF output would be 45 to 52.5 watts. Nowadays the power of rigs is defined as OUTPUT power so I am assured that my output power is never more than 5 watts and goes as low at times as a few 10s of milliwatts.
With that prologue defining some things, let's look at some statistics after I pause in typing to go get my 9PM temperature readings.
OK, we had a low of 30 and a high of 55 today with no precipitation. It's now 45 degrees.
From 7/18/1963 when I worked my first DX (VP7ACF - The Bahamas with their old prefix) up until 12/4/1973 when I became inactive due to work for several years, I had only 149 DX QSOs, all but 1 with the input power of 75 watts. I worked VP9AAB with an input of 30 watts.
Total countries were by rough count - 54 (excluding USA/Canada)
I never did work Asia then, and only worked 16 CQ zones (excluding 3,4,5)
The most memorable QSO was definitely a 23 minute rag chew with Dave ZL1HY on 40 meters 6/2/1964.
Total QSOs in that time - 18,613 so DX was a miniscule 0.8%
My next period of activity came between 6/17/1981 and 9/23/1983 when I made 752 QSOs. During that time I ran a mix of powers ranging from 5 watts output to 75 watts input. Only 21 DX QSOs (2.8%) were added to my total, but the seed was planted and sprouted into the knowledge that I could work DX with low power and simple antennas. The plant started its main growth in September 1981 when with 30 watts input power and an even smaller and less efficient attic random wire than I use now, I worked and chatted briefly with 16 European stations on 40 meters.
Jumping ahead now to 2/27/1993 when I worked my first DX after returning to the air a little earlier that year through the present. My total DX QSOs in that period is 20,907, all but 2 of those coming with 5 watts or less output power. The two exceptions - experimental QSOs with ON5GK on 80 and OM3CDR on 40 at 50 watts trying out my new (then) Kenwood TS-570D. Total QSOs in this latest period are 66,062 which makes my DX percentage a robust 31.6%. Quite an improvement.
Of course you know most of the stats from this period - 223 countries, WAC many times over, 36 of 40 CQ zones, the current streak of working DX each day for 786 straight days now as of today (UTC) 4/25/2015, and so on. So I won't go into them here.
It definitely did take some time for me to develop into a DXer as you can tell from the above. A lot of it had to do with the fact I simply didn't really become all that interested in DX until the 1990s for a couple reasons. Mainly because I was just about completely interested only in county hunting. Not county working as is done nowadays by simply following mobile stations around, but really hunting out stations who resided in the counties. That's all I'll say about that. Also I honestly didn't believe for a long time that it WAS easy to work DX with low power and simple antennas. It took time to learn that.
BTW, my DX this evening came very easily when I worked LZ883PI at 0003Z. I then chased with no luck R175PIT for a while. -30-
Thursday, April 23, 2015 8:15 PM - Back on November 30, 2003 I worked SU9NC in the CQWW DX contest which I operated a couple miles from here at my late cousin's house. That remained my only Egypt QSO until a few minutes ago when I worked SU9VB on 21029 at 0008Z. It's a new band country, and I now have all my 223 countries worked from my own house here. I also worked EA9EU a couple minutes earlier for somewhat rare Ceuta and Melilla, although I do have 22 QSOs from that country.
So an interesting evening to continue the DX streak. I notified Mike KC2EGL and Tom WB3FAE in case they might need Egypt. Hope they get my email and can work them also. The Egypt QSO is from a Russian living or visiting in Egypt.
That was the highlight of an otherwise forgettable day. The cold windy weather continued today and it's just 37 right now. Except for a brief walk with Roscoe and a couple ventures onto the front porch, I stayed inside. My furnace is running right now trying to keep up with the cold. Looks like a couple more days of it as well. Better cold now than back in Jan-Mar though as we know this won't last. -30-
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 8:20 PM - Conditions tonight pretty much like I described in Monday's entry. But I did manage to work MD0CCE either through his pile or during a pause in his pile. I'm not sure which, but it doesn't really matter since I got him.
Mike is dropping by after a meeting here in town with a pepperoni and anchovy pizza, so I wanted to get my QSO in before he came, although we'll probably check the bands after we finish the pizza anyway. But still, the streak is secure for another day.
Late winter is putting on an encore performance today and the next couple days with highs just in the 40s and temperatures in the frost/freeze range overnight. I believe 28 is predicted for either tomorrow morning and/or the following morning. I'm glad I didn't plant out one of my tomato plants to try to give it an early start. I think I'll wait till next week now for that, or maybe later depending.
I gave my washing machine a good workout today, and it is working fine again now. I think with the new coupler, it is even quieter with less vibration than before the coupler broke so maybe it was slowly going bad before it broke. -30-
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 9:05 PM - Kind of a busy day today. My washing machine broke down yesterday, so it was off to the bank this morning to get some money to pay the repairman who was scheduled to show up this afternoon. He did, and it was a quick fix. I surmised it was a broken belt, and I was close. The machine didn't use belts, but had a small coupler which did the same thing - transferring power from the motor to the drum and agitator.
Then after that was over, I helped Ange clean up his garden to get ready for planting next month. That took a couple hours.
So all of that plus the usual everyday chores pretty much brought me to the time for my streak QSO(s). There wasn't much DX at all to be heard, so I concentrated on the regular streak first. I called CQ on 40 and surprisingly, unlike last night, my first CQ tonight netted a QSO with Bob NR8M. After we finished up, I went back searching for DX and found, then easily worked, J79AUS on 30 meters for day #783 in the DX streak. -30-
Monday, April 20, 2015 9:37 PM - A rough night for getting a QSO. This must be International Work DX Night. Every time I heard a DX station, he was immediately piled on by several very strong stations and I couldn't get through at all. Also a lot of times when I heard a CQ DX, it was from a stateside station. So I gave up for a while and called CQ on 40M with no results for 10-15 minutes or so. It was now a little past 9PM (0100Z), so I took a break to get my temperature readings and do a couple other things before going back to the radio. Things were still pretty much the same, but finally I worked HI3/N3SY on 20 meters. He was pretty weak in QSB and I wasn't sure he got the last letter of my call right, and if he didn't, he never corrected it after I sent it a couple more times. So for insurance, I tuned around and found CO8LY on 17 meters for a second DX QSO to keep the streak going.
I knew I better get something this evening because I have a couple things to do tomorrow that may take some time.
Today was a rainy day, but finally cleared up early in the evening, and a little while ago the thin crescent moon and Venus made a nice pairing in the western sky. -30-
Sunday, April 19, 2015 7:38 PM - It's nice to have a day off from writing. Thanks Mike.
Kind of a non-descript day today except for a couple things. Roscoe and Nancy came over for a visit. Of course Roscoe had to examine everything in my house - at least the first floor. Then later in the day Bruce and Nancy took me out for dinner at Ponderosa. That was the third big meal in about 30 hours. I guess I'll have to fast for a few days now.
Mike was talking about the lamp we fixed yesterday. Just to clear up one thing. It is in the shape of a bowling trophy, but it has nothing to do with my bowling prowess - I don't have any. As far as I can recall, my aunt gave me the lamp many years ago, possibly provided by her boss at the time who did delve into making various trophies. You've probably seen it on the pictures of my shack in the station pictures section of the website, but here's a more close-up view of it after our repairs yesterday.
The Gorilla Glue of Mike's that we used seems to have really made it solid. Hopefully it won't fall again and will remain in good shape for a long time to come.
It's getting close to 0000Z and streak time now. As soon as I get my DX QSO (hopefully quickly), I'll do the finishing stages of cross-checking logs from our NAQCC sprint. Hopefully (again) I'll be able to get that finished tonight. I've got a lot of preliminary work done already, and about all that remains is the actual cross-checking and subsequent adjusting of scores. -30-
Saturday, April 18, 2015 11:18 PM - John is taking the night off from his diary and asked me to fill in again. Our day started when I arrived at John's QTH around 9AM EDT. First order of busisness was to perform 'surgery' on a figurine on Johns lamp in his shack. A while back Johns lamp (which is a bowling trophy) fell off the shelf. The bowling figure broke off at the left leg and right hand where it was attached to a ball. I brought along a container of 'Gorilla Glue' to see if we could mend the ailing bowler. At this moment we think the 'surgery' may have been a success.
We followed up by working some dx in the MM contest. We worked six stations each. After logging some dx we took off for lunch at Ponderosa preceeded by a visit to Radio Shack to purchase an adaptor so we could update the data base in my telescope later on.
After lunch we drove over to Tom WB3FAE's QTH to begin our Field Day Planning. Tom has a very nice location that will give us plenty of space to set up at least three antenna's. We then returned to John's QTH to begin the updating process of my telescopoe. A Clestron 9.25" Schmidt Cass Scope. After two plus hours of trying to get both John's and my laptop to work with the updating process we gave up. John found out that not all USB to Serial adaptors are compatible with all laptop's. We found out that this particular adaptor did not want to play with our HP computers. We took a little walk of roughly two and a half miles before we returned to Radio Shack.
By this time it was time for dinner so we headed over to Clarks Landing for dinner. We should have tried this place before. The food was excellent and the portions were HUGE!!! Then it was back to John's for a episode of 'Are You Being Served?'. One of the funniest British comedies of all time.
Since Mother Nature did not allow us to go stargazing we took it easy the rest of the evening. We did some computer stargazing via Starry Night and Voyager. Two excellet programs to explore the universe with out the need for clear skies.
That pretty much sums up the day. I am about to get ready to load the car and head North. Until next time. See you on the radio (as Charles Osgood used to say as he closed his Sunday morning TV show.).
de Mike KC2EGL, 73 es -30-
Friday, April 17, 2015 8:46 PM - I heard a couple R120 stations today at various times, but they weren't hearing me. I think I know the best time now to try though seems to be late afternoon on 20 meters. I also heard a fairly strong 4X station on 40 meters, but he also did not hear me. I may try again later on 40 for one of the 4X stations in the Holyland contest as that would give me Asia on 40 to complete WAC there.
I did work SP2GWH this afternoon to get a more solid DX QSO for day 778. Then I did extend the DX streak to 779 days this evening when I worked LZ883PI on 30 meters. So I won't have that in the back of my mind tomorrow to bug me while Mike and I are having fun.
We had varied weather today. Rather gloomy, damp, and a little chilly this morning, then the sun came out for late afternoon and it warmed up to 71 degrees. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70s and sunny all day. Possibly it will be clear tomorrow night and Mike and I can get in some star-gazing. Other than naked eye and binocular viewing, I don't think either of us has done anything more than that for at least several months. -30-
Thursday, April 16, 2015 8:49 PM - Another rough DX day today. I listened a couple times during the day to see if I could find that last R120 station I need to get the award, but not only did I not hear any of them, but I didn't hear much DX at all except for an HP and a P4 station. This evening was pretty much the same, but I did hear and work S57V on 30 meters. He was weak, a bit sloppy in sending, and I had trouble copying his name. I think it was Milan. With his sending, the QSB, and QRN, I'm not positive he got my call right, but he did get my name and confirmed the (generous) 579 I sent him. So it was me he was working for sure, but I think I'll still try to get a more solid DX QSO in the morning or afternoon.
Mike is going to spend the day on Saturday. We're going to do some astronomy projects, and check out a FD site among other things.
It was a rainy day today, so not much outside stuff except taking Roscoe for his walks. Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty much the same, then Saturday is to be nice and sunny with a high in the 70s. -30-