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Tue Dec 12 2017 7:47PM - It sure doesn't look like a very good night here for our sprint. I just checked the bands and 40 is virtually dead and 80 has very few signals. Plus there is a high noise level on both bands. I may just get a few QSOs (if I can) and then shut down. Perhaps it's my turn this month to be in the black hole. Last month I was one of only a very few who had good conditions. What goes around, comes around.

It also going to be a rough day for the DX streak. I doubt I'll get anything this evening and I'm getting some plumbing work done starting early in the morning. Stay tuned to see what happens. -30-

Mon Dec 11 2017 6:12PM - Unlike the exciting bottom of the ninth finish yesterday in getting my DX streak QSO, today was much easier. Still nowhere near as easy as when the sunspots were more plentiful, but compared to the past several days, it was easy. I also got a new prefix in the deal - 9A57AX. There was more DX around on a Monday than yesterday. I even heard a G station on 17M. So it was nice to have my self-imposed pressure of working DX relaxed early today. Of course it starts again in about 45 minutes now. Maybe I'll get lucky and get someone this evening.

I continued assembling some stats about the first DX QSO each day. Some interesting things are showing up. One standout is the difference in percentage of European QSOs in summber vs. winter. That's easily explained. Because most of the time I get the DX in the evening, the higher bands are open to Europe later in the summer months, hence Europe is the continent with the most QSOs during those months. Another obvious thing is the percentage of European QSOs getting lower as the sunspots decline. Those are just a couple of the things that stand out. There are others also, but I'm not going to dwell on them now until I complete analyzing the stats. -30-

Sun Dec 10 2017 6:36PM - Either read the first three paragraphs or jump ahead to the one that starts 'SKIP TO HERE' which will explain all.

I knew it was inevitable. The only thing that needed deciding was when. Now that has been decided - December 10, 2017. Those of you who follow my doings know exactly where I am heading with this. You're right. The last day similar to today was February 28, 2013. That's a long time. OK, let's say it. I didn't work any DX today for the first day since then. It's disappointing, but I went down fighting. I spent a good amount of time in the shack watching for peaks on the PX3 and most of the time seeing only small ones around S3 or S4 if they were DX. Conditions started out bad this morning and went downhill from there. At least there were no close calls. I never even got so much as a question mark from any DX that I called. Just a couple things worth mentioning. CO8LY was pretty strong on 17, and I usually can work him easily anywhere any time, but not today. He was also on 30 later. I called him once there, and never heard him again. Next to him, probably the strongest DX I heard was a JR5 station on 30 a little past sunset. I forget his suffix now. Like everyone else today, he didn't hear me at all. Those were the closest calls, and they weren't even that close.

So with the DX streak over, where do I go from here? I think I've already made that plain. I plan to try and keep the percentage of days on which I work DX since March 1, 2013 above 99%. I've already implemented that in my streak table on the main page of the web site.

OK, still a few minutes left in today. I'm going to take one final shot hoping I have to revise the above two paragraphs.

SKIP TO HERE. Well, it worked. A few months ago, I wrote another obituary for the streak prematurely, then worked some DX before the day was over. Darned if it didn't work again. I found nothing on 20, 30, or 40, BUT then I checked 80 and there at 2352Z on 3503 kHz was HB9CVQ just above my S5 to S6 noise. I've worked Andy several times, but never on 80. He's a great op. I called once and excitement reigned. He came back with WWP or ?WWP. A couple more times sending my call and it was ?3WWP, then a couple more times and CFM K3WWP 559 which stretches the streak another day. Whew. And you know what. That's a new country worked on 80 meters for me also - number 60. Wow!

Now it's tomorrow (Dec 11 UTC) so to speak so back to the shack to at least stretch the regular streak. -30-

Sat Dec 09 2017 8:10PM - Although I only checked twice today, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, I didn't hear a single station on 10 meters. So the contest activity didn't open up the band, at least as far as I was concerned.

There wasn't much on the other bands either for that matter. I did mange a QSO with John ON4UN on 20 meters for day # 1,745 in the DX streak.

No DX this evening, but I did have a nice long 36 minute rag chew with Bob K0RKH out in Iowa. That's the longest QSO I've had in quite a while now as far as I can recall. That was on 80 meters where overall conditions didn't seem all that good, yet our 36 minute QSO was 100% solid copy both ways.

I did a little bit of analysis on my DX streak as it pertains to this year so far. It certainly has changed from the first 4 years or so, especially the first two. I'll have some comparison figures for all of the almost 5 years some time here in the diary. Or actually I already have some if not all the figures on my DX Streak story page here. Those figures cover all the streak up through July 23 of this year. They also cover all the DX QSOs in that time frame. What I did today was only figure the stats for the first DX QSO of each day. Here is that update of 2017 up through December 9.

QSOs by band:
10M - 0
12M - 0
15M - 9
17M - 19
20M - 107
30M - 80
40M - 67
80M - 2

By continent:
AF - 6
AN - 0
AS - 0
EU - 67
NA - 145
OC - 2
SA - 60
A big difference indeed as the sunspots decline. I'll have to adjust the early years to take into account using only the first DX of the day, then a more realistic comparison can be made that will really show the change. -30-

Fri Dec 08 2017 7:52PM - I wonder if the ARRL 10M Contest this weekend will bring the band to life. If past results mean anything, I will not hear anything here, yet the big stations with their KW power and high beams will rack up respectable scores at this point in the sunspot cycle. I could be wrong though, and perhaps I will hear and maybe even work a few stations. Certainly nothing like at the sunspot cycle peaks though when I could easily make over 400 QSOs without batting the proverbial eye. We'll see.

DX was decent on 20M today. At least decent enough to work Zen IK5ZWU fairly easily at 1515Z. He wasn't peaking much above S6, and he gave me a 439 RST. Although I know better, I'm still somewhat surprised that my minimal station can still work DX that is not all that strong despite the great decline in the sunspot cycle so far. Actually the solar flux is in the upper 60s now and as far as that number goes, it's not going to get much lower than that. I thought it was 64 for a record all time low. Just to check my memory, I did a Bing search on the Internet and found this interesting article which states the lowest value was set on July 16, 2008 when it was 64.2. Before that the record was 64.4 on July 2, 1954. There's a lot of other interesting reading in the article if you're interested in such things as I am. Since that record is now almost 10 years old, I'm wondering if has been broken since then. The article is from 2008. So let's look a little further. Well, there's just too much material to look through right now. I'll let the 64.2 stand for now as the lowest all-time solar flux. So back to my original point after all that rambling, the current solar flux of 68 is only a little less than 4 points from being as low as it can get. Barring other circumstances, perhaps based solely on that, the DX streak could go on for a ways yet, maybe even make it through the minimum. That will require the big DX stations to maintain their regular activity during the minimum. -30-

Thu Dec 07 2017 7:33PM - December 7th is always a special day for remembering. Of course for the bombing of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii in 1941, but also for something closer to home.

Each December 7, I pause to remember Joe who passed away 6 years ago today. Regular diary readers know who Joe was. For those who don't, he was my neighbor's dog with whom I became very good friends and helped quite a bit in taking care of him. Here's what he looked like:

I didn't think I could ever get close to another dog after that, but 8 months to the day later another dog came to live next door. He was named Roscoe. It didn't take long to win me over. Now we are very good friends also. He's different from Joe, but nonetheless, just as loving. I don't really have as good a picture of Roscoe as that of Joe. I do have these two, one not long after he came to live next door and one just before going to the groomer last year. He looks a bit apprehensive about getting groomed.

Those two dogs have certainly been a great source of enjoyment for me over the past several years. It's also a great feeling to have someone who relies on you so much as they did and do.

As I mentioned a few days ago, December 7 (and/or 8) is also the day of the earliest sunset each year. So from now on until June 27, the sun sets later each day. At first almost imperceptibly, but then it speeds up a little each day until around March 21. That is for locations around 40 degrees north latitude. Times vary at different latitudes. Instead of me trying to describe it, it is easier to look at a table of daily sunrise/sunset times such as the one here which should show the times for here in Kittanning. If you want to construct one for your location go here and fill in the form.

Same old stuff as usual on the bands. No DX this evening, but I got PJ2ND earlier in the day for the DX streak. -30-

Wed Dec 06 2017 8:46PM - It's always nice to have a rag chew type QSO with folks I usually work only in contests or sprints. I had such a QSO this evening with NAQCC member NN0SS whom I've worked before, but only in our NAQCC sprints. It wasn't a long rag chew, but we did exchange a lot more info than in the sprint QSOs. Some of the info I didn't like - Steve said it was 18 degrees with s#$w up in Grand Marais, MN. Brrrr. The worst of it is - it's heading this way and next week is going to be the coldest spell of weather so far this season with the exception of that day in November when it was 15 degrees.

As usual, no DX this evening. I did hear YV5DRN strong on 40M, but for whatever reason, I can never get him to hear me. The same tonight.

At least my DX during the day today was easier than yesterday. After one fruitless trip to the shack, the next time I right away found John ON4UN whom I can always work easily if he's not too busy. It was easy today, and another day was added to the streak. Hope it's that easy during the day tomorrow. -30-

Tue Dec 05 2017 7:44PM - No DX this evening at all. So it will probably be morning or afternoon for the DX again.

Today was another candidate for the hardest day to get my DX QSO. There was just no strong DX at all in the morning hours. I guess the strongest was IK4VFD on 20 at S4 at best. Then this afternoon had a strong V5/DK.... (forget the call now) on 30 meters with an unbreakable pileup. A little later both CO8LY on 30 and PV8ADI on 20 were strong. CO8LY continued his not hearing me lately. PV8ADI wasn't much better, but after about 30 times trying him as the only possible workable station at the time, he finally did send several partial versions of my call. Then it took about 10 more tries for him to get my call right. That was at 2004Z, the longest it's taken to get the DX QSO in quite a while now. I hope I don't have to go through the same thing tomorrow but more than likely I will as we are getting to that point in the sunspot cycle where DX is getting harder and harder to find and work. -30-

Mon Dec 04 2017 11:47AM - It looked for a while like I was going to be hit with a double whammy today. When I was getting dressed this morning, I got a muscle spasm in my back. That's the first I've have in... oh, must be a couple years now. I immediately applied some BenGay and walked a couple miles here inside the house. It hasn't been bad so far. Knock on wood.

Then while checking the bands, the first three checks showed absolutely no DX above my S4 or so noise level. The next check was pretty much the same, but I did hear EI44WAW at S6 or so. Knowing I work Ireland fairly well, I figured I had a chance at him. I was right and I got him easily after he worked a couple other stations. It was just in time, because as I was logging him and marking the NAQCC challenge letters from his call, he said QSY now to SSB. (I think that has something to do with voice communications??? - HI). So that's day #1740 in the DX streak and still at 100% of the days since March 1, 2013.

EI44WAW is part of the Wild Atlantic Way Irish event whereby they activate stations along the WAW which is a famous tourism route on the west coast of Ireland. There are nine special calls EI11WAW through EI99WAW - one from each of the nine counties the route passes through. EI44WAW is from County Mayo. There's an award for working all 9 stations in 2017, but I won't make it as I only have EI44WAW, EI11WAW, and EI55WAW worked. I don't really care about that though, as long as one of them helps me keep the streak going. -30-

Sun Dec 03 2017 7:45PM - One fairly strong DX signal heard this evening on 40 - HH2AA. However a ton of folks wanted to work him and I was not able to break the pileup in about 10 minutes of trying. I'll see if he is still around later tonight with fewer folks chasing him.

My neighbor and I are going shopping in a few minutes to get some dog food for Roscoe and a few other items, so that's all I have time to write for tonight. -30-

Sat Dec 02 2017 7:39PM - I did something this evening I should do more often, especially since it's now winter and the sunspots are dwindling away. What's that? Check 80 meters for DX. This is the season and the point in the sunspot cycle when 80 should be good for DX. It was this evening, and I found quickly and easily worked CT9/DL5AXX with a single call and one correction of my call. While I was filling out the letters from his call for the NAQCC December challenge, I kept listening to him. Strangely others were calling him, but he wasn't hearing them as well as he heard me. I glanced at the S-meter graph on the PX3 screen and he was peaking at S9 plus 10. Not a bad signal for 80 meters DX. I don't think Madeira is a new country on 80, but I'm going to take a quick check anyway. No, I have a few there.

Otherwise today, I finished my Christmas decorating, putting the ormanents on the tree. Ormanents? Those who listened to Party Line on KDKA those many years ago will remember that was Ed King's name for Christmas ornaments to distinguish them from ordinary ornaments. That brings back a lot of memories. I loved listening to Party Line from 10 to Midnight or so. I still think it was the only good radio talk show there ever was (or will be). I'll talk more about it some time here in the diary. Meanwhile here is a picture of the tree and the manger scene under the tree.



Fri Dec 01 2017 7:41PM - Yes, December 1 - the start of the worst of the four seasons. Now I start looking forward to those little landmarks along the way that mark another step closer to spring. Actually the first of them comes in just six days now. That's the earliest sunset here around 40 degrees north latitude. But isn't the shortest "day" around December 21 or so? No, actually shortest day is a misnomer. All days are the same length at just under 24 hours - the exact length depending of whether you are using sidereal or solar time. But that's another story. Actually the shortest period of daylight is what folks really mean when they erroneously say the shortest day. That is around December 21. Ok, then why the discrepancy between the earliest sunset and the shortest period of daylight? Aha, good question. Because of the complex geometry of the Earth's orbit around the Sun which I won't go into here, the earliest sunset is around December 7th, but the latest sunrise doesn't come until around January 4th or so. Do the math and you'll see that the sunrise and sunset times average out between Dec 7 and Jan 4 so that the midway day of December 21st winds up with the shortest period of daylight. OK, got that? There will be a pop quiz tomorrow. HI

You know, there are so many fascinating things in this world such as what I described above. It's a shame that so many people are totally oblivious to a lot of them. Personally things like that fascinate me and have always done so. I guess I have an above average amount of curiosity about just how everything works.

Maybe that's one reason why DX fascinates me so much. I'm always curious to see just at what time and on what band, among other factors determine just where in the world I can hear someone and get them to hear me.

One thing for sure tonight, no combination of factors helped me work some DX. And I only heard one weak CT9 and one weak PY signal. So I guess it will be later tonight or tomorrow morning/afternoon for the DX streak QSO. -30-

Thu Nov 30 2017 7:50PM - Other than my usual end of the month chores, nothing much else going on today. Outside of a couple Brazilians heard weakly on 40 and 30, no other DX heard this evening. Earlier in the day, old reliable Mike F5IN gave me my DX streak QSO to close out another month of DX. The bands were pretty good for DX when I listened in the 1300Z hour. That will probably become more and more my goto time of day for DX during the winter months. Of course meteorological winter begins tonight at midnight local time. I've already started my countdown to spring as you see above. At least the first 5 or 6 days of winter look pretty good with mild temperatures and little if any precipitation until a colder regime comes along next Wednesday. OK, off to more EOM work now. -30-

Wed Nov 29 2017 8:16PM - I've got my guestbook fixed up now. All those entries that were archived by my guestbook provider are now easily available again via the normal guestbook links. Now I just have to remember to keep it up to date as the 120 day mark passes and more are archived. That shouldn't be hard to do.

Not a single DX station heard this evening (yet). I heard other stations working DX, but couldn't hear a dit from the DX station. So guess what I'll be doing tomorrow morning. Unless I happen to work some DX later tonight.

For my regular streak QSO, I ran into my old friend Ken WA8REI. I don't think we worked since our 50th anniversary QSO last year. Let me check my Access log. OK, we did work once since then - on May 6 this year. Speaking of 50th anniversary, I had the idea a little while ago to start sort of a club of those hams with whom I've had 50th anniversary QSOs or at least with whom I've had QSOs 50 or more years apart. Of course three come to mind - WA8REI, WA4FAT, and WA9TUT. I'm sure there are more and I'm going to look into it as time permits. Oh, and K4BAI is another one. Another one just popped into mind - K1ZZ who was originally K1ZND when we first worked. That's something that will make things hard - change of call, either via a vanity call or upgrading from Novice when all Novice calls had an N in the call. OK, they are still coming. I'll stop after this one. W8LQ who was originally W2WOE. That's it for now.

I did some Christmas decorating today. Here are a couple pictures of what I've done so far. The garland across the archway between rooms, and the window stencils of the manger scene with the "Merry Christmas", star, and angel.

garland  window

One little tip. If you use a can of spray snow, be sure to shake the can well especially if it's been sitting almost a full year. I didn't shake it well enough and my first attempt at the star came out looking like the star was undergoing a supernova explosion. -30-

Tue Nov 28 2017 7:52PM - Seems I always get myself involved in a project to replace one I just finished. I was looking at my guestbook the other day and was surprised to see only 30 some entries there. Then I remembered, my guestbook provider archives entries after 120 days. To make a long story short, I've downloaded their archive file and am now in the process of making those archived entries visible again here on my web site without making my visitors dig into the guestbook provider archive file which isn't all that straightforward. Got that? So in a week or so, the guestbook will be as I want it to be again.

The DX came quickly again this evening as it did last night. Then it was VE3RZ/VP9 on 30 at 0006Z. Tonight it was 6Y0D on 40 at 0007Z. Both "leftovers" from the CQWW DX Contest, so to speak. HI. Hopefully the upcoming 160 and 10 meters contests will also provide some good DX before and after those contests as well.

OK, back to work on the guestbook now. -30-

Mon Nov 27 2017 10:45AM - Just added a story of the CQWW DX contest here. That will serve as my diary entry for today. -30-

Sun Nov 26 2017 7:42PM - Eating, contesting, walking Roscoe, coughing. If I wasn't doing one of those things, then I was doing one of the other three today.

My garden friend Ange, as well as my next door neighbors provided me with enough food for two BIG meals today. I still haven't finished it all. I was invited over to the neighbors, but I declined so as not to spread my cold germs. So they sent the food over here.

Band conditions were much better today, although still not all that good. But they were good enough to hold my interest much more than yesterday. I'll have a report on the contest tomorrow in the diary.

Right now I've got to get caught up on some things as well as close out the results from our NAQCC sprint. So I better get going. -30-

Sat Nov 25 2017 7:44PM - That's not for me. Only being able to work 1 in 15 of the stations I'm hearing in the CQWW, if that many. Conditions are pretty bad. In listening around, I'm hearing a lot of stations asking for repeats, or sending repeats, so it's not just here. With conditions like that, I only would check a few minutes every few hours today hoping for a quick change of things, but so far it hasn't happened. The real telling thing is that the PJ2, PJ4, P4, etc. stations whom I normally work easily are not hearing me at all. I don't even have a South America contact so far although I do have NA EU AF and OC in my log. Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be better. If not I'll find some other way to pass the time. Also fighting a cold is not helping things at all. Hopefully at least that will improve by tomorrow. -30-

Fri Nov 24 2017 7:39PM - From Mike: As usual we had a lot of fun on the Requin. It was one of the better visits with all the traffic passing through the sub being it was kind of a holiday day after Thanksgiving. It was probably the heaviest visited operations we've had at the sub. We enjoyed talking with all the visitors as they passed by the radio room or dropped in for longer chats. Actually if we summarized all our very interesting chats with the visitory, this would become just the first of a series of chapters needed to include all the stories. We won't do that though.

Overall it was a fantastic post-Thanksgiving visit.

I'll add my AMEN to that. As far as activity on the bands, it was pretty much a par for the course. A lot of answers to our CQs the first 90 minutes or so, then things quieted down, so we abandoned our CQs and went off chasing DX. I should mention we had a broadband noise of some kind that was about 30-40 kHz wide centered on our 20 meters frequency. It was a real struggle to make 5 QSOs on 20 where the noise was. In total we made 31 QSOs. States worked included NJ NY MA ME NC FL TX ID TN MD PA. In Canada BC QC. Countries besides W/VE were: FJ V2 TK KH6 CT3 6Y YN V4 PJ4 KP2. Most, if not all the DX were stations setting up for the CQWW DX Contest.

As far as the DX Contest itself, as often happens, there is so much activity the first hour or so, it is very hard to squeeze in my minimal QRP signals, so after working KH6J on 15 to get my DX QSO, I decided to take a break till either later tonight or tomorrow morning. If conditions are as good during the day as they were today, it may turn out quite interesting and exciting.

Let's close now with pictures from the subpedition.


Thu Nov 23 2017 8:17PM - It's always a bit worrisome getting the DX QSO the evening before a parkpedition, subpedition, Skyview trip, etc. If I don't get the DX streak QSO then, that puts a bit more pressure on me to get it probably in late afternoon or evening after the event. Of course tomorrow we'll be going to the USS Requin as I've been mentioning, but no worry about the DX QSO as I easily worked 6Y3M on 40 meters. I imagine he's getting ready for the CQWW DX Contest. The contest should make DX a snap on Saturday and Sunday. If I can't get DX those two days, I deserve to have the streak end. HI

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I had a great meal with my neighbor and his brother at his brother's home. We were debating on whether to take Roscoe along or not. We decided against it since Roscoe does not like new things or places and he never had been at the brother's place before. In fact, he is pretty much a 'homebody'. I guess other than originally coming here from the state of Inidana when he was only a couple months old, and then trips to the vet are about the extent of his travels. Even when I walk him, he has his limits beyond which he just won't go. Anyway we brought him home a true doggy bag, and he really enjoyed part 1 of that. There's still some more for a snack tonight or maybe tomorrow morning.

I had an interesting QSO this evening after securing the DX streak with 6Y3M. A nice long chat with Bob W9RAS who worked at the Heath Company and did some of the design work on the HW-9. Over the years till they shut down, I built a lot of Heath equipment. I never built any of the ham rigs although I always had my eye on their SB line of gear, but could never afford them. I always liked using homebrew gear from scratch until 1999 anyway. I guess my biggest Heath Kit was a color television which I built and used at my Pittsburgh apartment. I've also built a lot of their test gear and stereo equipment. Perhaps someday I'll try to make up a list of all their kits I built. -30-

Wed Nov 22 2017 8:24PM - Another pretty busy day today, mostly with commonplace things though, not like yesterday. It certainly was more like November weather today than yesterday when it seemed like oh... I guess the middle of October. When I got up this morning it was 36 and didn't vary more than a couple degrees from that all day. I see the AcuRite unit shows a high of 43, but I think that must have been during the night. Yes, my other remote unit, the Computemp shows a high of 44 at 3:14AM. It looked rather gloomy all day too with cloud cover from the cold air blowing across the still warm Great Lakes. At least there was no precipitation.

Another day, same station, a different band for my DX streak QSO. Tonight it was TO2SP on 40 meters working a decent sized pile, but I broke it within a couple minutes with the aid of the KX3/PX3 excellent split operation features.

I still haven't decided what I'm going to do in the CQWW DX contest this weekend. I know with the poor conditions, I won't be putting in a full effort. I'll probably just set a moderate goal like 150 or maybe 200 QSOs and go for that. It will finally depend on the state of conditions Friday evening or early Saturday.

I'm looking forward to heading off to the Requin on Friday. I said I'd post our tentative schedule here in the diary, so...

Mike and I will arrive at 1445Z or so and hope to be setup with his KX3/PX3/Begali paddle to go by 1500Z. As you most likely know by now, the Requin has only one antenna so we can only operate one band at a time. For the first 90 minutes it will go like this:
1500-1530Z 7039 +/-
1530-1600Z 10117 +/-
1600-1630Z 14059 +/-

We'll be using the sub call of NY3EC. QSL via that call in QRZ.com.

After the first 90 minutes we'll stick with whichever of the bands seem the most active. We'll stay as long as activity warrants or the sub closes, whichever comes first. Hope to work you. -30-

Tue Nov 21 2017 7:36PM - I got a lot accomplished today. I closed up shop as the NAQCC prizes mailer and shipped off the remaining prizes to our new mailer Steve WB4OMM down in FL. At least he won't have to walk to the PO in the lousy winter weather like I would have to do this winter and have done in the past 3 or so winters. Although it wasn't a time-consuming job, it will free up a little more time for my other many varied activities.

I also did some more work on the little extra step I built for my neighbor to help him get up on and over the somewhat high front door step with his bad knee.

Since it was one of those great late November sunny warm days with a high of 56, I also did some more outside work. I put my Christmas lights up around my front door and also cleaned off the front porch. I won't turn the lights on until early December, but at least they are up and I won't have to stand out in the cold to put them up later. I also cleaned out the corner for the Christmas tree and brought the trimmings down from the attic. Then also in early December I'll bring down the tree and decorate it.

I also went for a couple walks with Roscoe as usual and a couple by myself just to enjoy the good weather.

I also solved a problem with my computer. I use the CPUID HWMonitor to check on various aspects of the computer. I noticed this morning it was running warm (22C vs. 14C) and also there was a lot of disk activity. I checked the process monitor and found something called HP Touch Point Analytics Client was causing a lot of CPU activity. I noticed it was installed yesterday somehow without my knowledge despite my firewall, antivirus, and malware shields. If you want to know more about it you can find out via a Bing search. Anyway I manually uninstalled it after closing the background process involved with it. I deleted the directory structure I found that it uses via the Bing search. That seemed to take care of it as the computer temperature is back down to 14C with only the normal disk activity. I never did research just what it does. I just didn't want it making my computer run too warm. After all, it's getting old now and probably can't take an extra load like that for too long.

DX? For the 7th day in a row now, the DX streak QSO has been logged in the evening thanks to the DX stations getting set up for the CQWW DX contest. Tonight it was P40L on 40 at 0006Z for day # 1,728.

Oh, I almost forgot. I did hear back from Mike about an hour after writing the diary entry and he said Friday would be good to go down to the Requin in Pittsburgh. I've sent an email to our NAQCC email list with our schedule and I'll post it here in the diary in tomorrow's entry as well. -30-

Mon Nov 20 2017 7:27PM - Our planned subpedition to the USS Requin in Pittsburgh on Wednesday hit a snag a little while ago. I talked to Art from the sub, and he can't be at the sub on Wednesday. He suggested Friday instead. Now I'm waiting to hear from Mike KC2EGL if he can make it that day. I can't remember if he has Friday off work or not.

No big disasters, but it seems like a lot of things are not going right this week. At least with stations setting up for the CQWW DX Contest this weekend, getting a DX QSO has been pretty easy (so far). Tonight I worked another member of the HR team - HR9/K1XM on 30 meters. A good many of the DX QSOs of late have had the / in their calls. Those that haven't are also setting up for the contest, but using a regular type call from that country like TO2SP and VP2MDL. At least the streak is still going despite the slide toward the upcoming sunspot minimu.

Check the diary tomorrow evening for the update on the Requin subpedition. It definitely won't be Wednesday. -30-

Sun Nov 19 2017 8:05PM - Just sitting here waiting for the final NAQCC sprint page to be posted by Corey so I can complete the cross-checking of logs and update Corey's page with the adjusted scores.

It wasn't a very good showing with only 93 logs containing 1,145 QSOs. Looks like the poor conditions everywhere but here in Kittanning and a couple other places took their toll. At least the cross-checking went quickly with fewer logs and QSOs, but I'd have sooner seen us get our normal 100+ logs.

One unusual feature of the cross-checking was the very low number of not-in-log QSOs. Let's see, there were only 11. That's the lowest I can remember in the 150+ logs I've cross checked over the years.

Hmmmm, that's strange Corey hasn't closed out the page yet. It's been 1 hour and 10 minutes since the log submission deadline. Hope he's OK.

After struggling for a half hour to just get my regular streak QSO, I found VP9/DK7LX booming in on 40 and it wen't like this. I somehow bumped my paddle as I called and wound up sending something like K2 dit dit. Wouldn't you know it. He came back with K2EEE 599 so I figured it was my botched sending he copied, since no K2EEE ever came back to him. OK, so I figured it was easy to get him, so I waited till he tried to work a G3 station who was being QRMed by an SV1 station. He never did get the G3 QSO finished and went back to searching for other QSOs. I called once and got him right away and hey, I sent my call right that time. HI. -30-

Sat Nov 18 2017 5:29PM - I'm going to do something different in the diary today. I'm going to write a software review that's really long overdue since the software has been around for many years now.

One of the best discoveries I ever made in ham radio (besides the KX3/PX3 combo, that is) is the marvelous contest logging program General Logger or GenLog as it is affectionately known. Although it is not for the sophisticated multi-op, multi-stn networked (professional) contest stations, it is ideal for a single op station like mine. I especially love it for our NAQCC sprints, but I can use it in any other contest I choose to enter like my favorites, the big DX contests like the ARRL and CQWW ones just to name a couple. It supports virtually every ham radio contest that exists on the planet, all using similar templates for each one. Once you learn how to use it in one contest, all the others are second nature. The learning curve is a very easy one. I know a lot of contests have their own logging programs, but then you have to learn how to use each one individually. I think that is way too much bother when you have GenLog that you already know how to use.

If you keep the program and the data file updated, another great thing is that in most cases, GenLog checks the data file for the contest you are in, and automatically fills in the correct info and saves you typing. However you must be sure that what GenLog inputs and what the station sends match. For example someone may live in OH and operate from there most of the time. However he may decide to operate portable in PA for one contest. He will send PA, but GenLog will input OH.

Besides what I said above, another great feature of GenLog is W3KM. Well, he's not a feature, but the author of GenLog. Unlike some folks who write a program once, and never update it after that, Dave constantly updates his software. The updates never change the main features of the program so you don't have to re-learn how to use it. They change the way the software operates in the background to speed it up, or make it work even better than it already does, or to take advantage of new features in the Windows operating system. He also regularly updates the data files that the program uses for the various contests.

If you ever run into a problem with GenLog, Dave will work with you to get it fixed whether it is something peculiar to your computer setup or something that takes a change in the GenLog software itself.

It is unfortunate for some who use other operating systems that it only works under Windows (all versions from XP through 10). However I have no problem with that since I'm a 100% Microsoft Windows user. I also have no problem with Dave keeping it as strictly a Windows program. That way he doesn't have to worry about any peculiarities in other operating systems that would require a separate version of GenLog and can keep up with any changes in Windows that may affect GenLog.

Since the program is constantly updated, you should always be sure you are using the latest version of the program itself as well as the updated data file that accompanies the program.

No, I don't have any affiliation with Dave and GenLog. I'm just an extremely delighted user of the program. I've tried some others, but they all had shortcomings. While I have had a couple minor glitches with GenLog, an email to Dave quickly took care of them.

If you're into basic contesting, no multi-multi stuff, I'd recommend giving GenLog a try if you're not already a satisfied user. Just do a Bing search for "general logger" to get to W3KM's web site. He also has some other software there. Oh, I forgot to mention that GenLog is total freeware, no charge at all, no ads, no limitations in the software. What you get for free is a complete working version of the program. In fact there is no commercial version. -30-

Fri Nov 17 2017 8:24PM - We're going to struggle to make it to 100 logs for this month's NAQCC sprint. I'd hate to see us not make it to that monthly goal. Especially since this is the next to last month that I'll be associated with cross-checking of our logs. This is the 156th sprint for which I've cross-checked logs now. It's our 157th regular sprint (not counting our 160M and mW special sprints which weren't cross-checked), and we didn't cross-check logs for the very first sprint back in October 2004. Wow, that's a long time - over 13 years. It's been both a frustrating and exhilirating experience doing the log checking. Frustrating because some folks seemed to always submit logs that needed some tweaking before my cross-checking software would accept them. However now that I'm about to retire from the job, I must say that the percentage of logs that can simply be copied and pasted into the software is probably the highest it's ever been. That's rewarding because we've been trying to teach correct logging procedures as a main part of the purpose of holding our sprints.

It's been exhilirating as a learning experience for me as I have continued to tweak my software for better and more efficient results ever since day one. Right now on my next to last sprint I have it just about as slick as it can get and I don't know how much quicker the process has become over the years, but it has cut down the time required by a great deal. Actually the software relys mainly on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet which does most of the actual checking automatically through the formulas I've programmed into it. Of course such a complicated procedure still requires some human input to solve some questions. I could write a lot about such situations, but I'm not going to.

I hope whoever takes over the cross-checking job will be as meticulous about it as I have been. I especially hope that he/she adds that human input into whatever software will be used to strive for 100% accuracy as a goal as I have done. I'm probably not 100%, but I bet it's been darn close. At least I've never had anyone argue with me about any changes the cross-checking made. There have been questions about the changes, but my explanation of the changes has always been accepted with no disagreement.

And that wraps up a totally ad-libbed diary entry. HI. I had no idea that's where I was going with the entry after I wanted to mention about the possibility of coming up short of 100 logs this month. I imagine the shortage may be due to very poor conditions in other parts of the country that evening. Although they were great here, in glancing through the soapbox comments, virtually all mention poor conditions in one way or other. I don't understand how they could be so good here and yet so poor in most other places. Especially since as you know, I don't even come close to having the best antennas or location here. Just a freaky thing, I guess. One other PA station had almost as many QSOs as I did. He is in south central PA, yet other stations closer to me all reported poor conditions. Even stranger.

I also wanted to say that if you entered the sprint and haven't done so, please submit your log even if you only made one or two QSOs. A log like that counts just as much as one with 50 QSOs. And you won't be alone. A couple folks submitted logs saying they were on the air trying, but just couldn't complete a single QSO.

Now I've ad-libbed my way almost up to the time to get my weather readings, so I'll close here. -30-

Thu Nov 16 2017 7:45PM - OK, dilemma resolved quickly. Let me explain. In looking for my DX this evening, I found both VP2MDL and TO2SP very strong on 30M. I've worked both on 30 in the past several days. Actually TO2SP just late last night at 0506Z. About a week or so ago for VP2MDL. Still I didn't want to work either one again so soon. I couldn't find anyone else strong enough to work, so I went for VP2MDL and got a K3WWP QSO B4 from him. That's fine, but it presents a question. Did I work him or not? Was that considered a QSO? We did exchange info albeit only a QSO B4 from him and a R TU from me. I was on the horns of a dilemma as the saying goes. It was uncomfortable sitting on those horns so this happened. I heard PJ2/K2PLF working other DX stations via S&P on his part. I had a feeling he might call CQ himself after he worked the other available stations, so I kept a close eye whenever a peak at his strength showed up on the PX3 screen somewhere and after a few minutes I did find him calling CQ and got him after sending my call twice. There was no doubt about that being a QSO. So it's now a moot point whether or not the VP2MDL exchange was a QSO or not. Any thoughts on that? I can see both sides of the situation. We did exchange info so it's a QSO, but I'm probably not going into his log, so it wasn't a QSO. Just some more interesting things I'm running into while maintaining my DX streak.

Last night's NAQCC sprint was a surprise or perhaps even a shock. With horrible conditions on 40 and even 80 the two previous evenings, I had little hopre for good conditions for the sprint. At least for me, if not for many others, conditions took a sharp 180 and were very good, almost great for the sprint. I wound up with 50 QSOs in 25 states in extremely crowded conditions. Since I first broke 50 QSOs with 54 in May 2009, I've only had 15 other NAQCC sprints with 50 or more QSOs or 16 of 157 sprints of 50+. So it's not all that common for me, about 1 in 10. I think that shows how good conditions turned out to be. I've only gotten 25 or more states (all were states last night) or SPCs 4 times, even more rare at about 2.5 percent. Unfortunately for many of the other entrants, they did not get the good conditions that I was blessed with. So far of 82 logs, the closest to my 50 is 46 QSOs from another PA station. So I guess PA was in a 'white hole', propagation wise. It will be interesting to see if anyone else tops that and what area they are from. -30-

Wed Nov 15 2017 7:38PM - A different kind of frustration this evening. R1ANO and TO2SP booming in on 30M, but the pileups are so huge I haven't been able to break them yet even using a lot of the tricks in the book. I didn't think the South Shetland Islands and St. Barthelemy were that rare. I've worked both a few times each. Oh well. DX has been good in the mornings, so if not later tonight, perhaps I'll get my DX then.

We're not far from our NAQCC sprint. I hope the conditions on 30 are an indicator of good conditions on 40 and 80. If not, I may not spend the full two hours there. -30-

Tue Nov 14 2017 7:27PM - Man, that was bizarre tonight. My first attempt at a QSO went like this. I answered a station's CQ and he acknowledged and sent his info, but he gradually faded and by the time he supposedly finished his initial round he was totally gone into my noise. So I put a line through that entry in my log. That was on 30M. Next I went to 80 and called CQ and got an answer fairly quickly. I sent my info and turned it over to him and he was gone. Another lined out QSO. Some more CQs and another answer, but this time I couldn't even copy his call after a few tries. I don't think I've ever had three non-QSOs in a row like that as far as I can recall. Finally I did get an answer from Dan KB6NU and we did have a successful but brief QSO to keep the main streak going. As usual in the evenings of late though, no DX to be heard.

I did get an easy DX QSO early this morning though. Another one of those I could barely copy him, but nevertheless all it took was a single call to HR9/W1UE to get the QSO for day # 1,720 of DX.

I'm wondering now just how conditions are going to be for our NAQCC sprint tomorrow evening. I may have to go back to a couple years ago when I had my local noise problem, and just enter long enough to get 20 QSOs (if I can do that) and then hang it up. Just looking back at my sprint records and I see that those conditions lasted longer than I thought they did. From July 2014 through September 2015, I made 20 QSOs 8 times, 21 5 times, 22 1 time, and 23 1 time. I hope this is not going to be the start of another streak like that. The average in the rest of the NAQCC sprints I've entered has been about 34.5 QSOs. So we'll see which figure I come closest to tomorrow night. -30-

Mon Nov 13 2017 8:45PM - I worked K1SN in Virginia Beach this evening and in the QSO he described his conditions there as very poor the past two days with lots of QRN and generally weak signals. He asked how my conditions were here, and I had to answer exactly the same. So it looks like my poor conditions are nothing local and that's a relief. If it is widespread then it's something over which I have no control. I'll just have to wait it out until things improve, if they do.

My DX this morning was a quick bang-bang one. I found VP9/DK7LX strong on 20 working split. I set up the KX3 for split, gave a call and got a QSO with that one call. So he's been my DX QSO three times now on different bands - 30, 20, and 17. -30-

Sun Nov 12 2017 7:48PM - The bands continue to worsen. Even 80 meters this evening showed very few signals after to 0000Z traffic nets shut down. I did manage to eke out a QSO with W7FW in IL to keep the major streak going. No sign of any DX at all though. I can hear stations working DX from their much better locations and antenna farms perhaps with very QRO power, but I can't hear a peep from the DX station they are working. Maybe I need to move to a better location like the coast of New England or maybe Florida. New England being closer to Europe seems to help and Florida with a lower latitude path to Europe and Africa helps. No use dreaming though. I'm never going to move, and even if I did and things got easier in the way of working DX, I probably would miss the challenge of doing it from here. Anything worth having is worth working for, I believe.

Nothing much else worth writing about. I did get ready for our Wednesday evening NAQCC sprint. I set up the cross-checking program and uploaded and updated GenLog data file. Only one more month to do that now since I'm winding up my work with the NAQCC at the end of this year. I'll just be a regular member after that who continues to participate in the club events and works with our Western Pennsylvania Chapter, but that's it. -30-

Sat Nov 11 2017 7:23PM - Six days in a row of sub-70 SF readings has really taken a toll on the bands. DX is getting harder and harder to find, let alone work. Usually I can work OK/OM stations easily, especially in the OK/OM contest. Today I could only barely hear 3 or 4 OK stations - ones I usually work - and I couldn't even get heard by them. Fortunately I did run across and work with a single call, ZF9CW on 20M while looking for the OK/OM stations.

This evening about all I heard was VP2MDL on 30, and I just didn't want to work him once again. So I'll be looking again in the morning for my DX. I did get a quick QSO with VA7DX on 40 for the regular streak.

After continually lowering predictions for our overnight low last night, it turned out we didn't come close to most of the services predictions. I think a couple of them were basing the prediction on the current dew point temperature at the time of their prediction. It was around 10 degrees. We only hit 16 degrees here on both of my remote units so that will probably be my 'official' reading on the max/min mercury thermometer when I read it at 9:00PM. The 16 (+/- 1) will break the record of 20 for November 11. Now the cold eases a bit for the coming week with lows in the 20s/30s and highs in the 40s/low50s. That's much better. -30-

Fri Nov 10 2017 7:38PM - No DX this evening, but I did work W0N to keep the main streak going another day. That day number happens to be 8,500. It's nice to reach those 500 or 1,000 day marks as sort of a milestone. If you like numerology, when (if) I get my DX later today, that will be 1717 days for the DX streak.

I was thinking maybe tonight would be one of those weather records that go something like this: If we hit ** degrees tonight, that will be the earliest in the season we've been that cold. I don't think it is going to happen though. The low is predicted to be 14. However back in 1991 it was 10 degrees on November 5. So we'd have to get down to 9 tonight to set a record like that.

Just looking through my records, and here's a list of the earliest date we've hit a certain low temperature:

19, 18 - October 31, 1988
17 - November 4, 1991
16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 - November 5, 1991
9 - November 18, 1959
8 - November 23, 2000
7, 6, 5, 4, 3 - December 2, 1976
2, 1, 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5, -6 - December 3, 1976

Those records on December 2-3, 1976 were a harbinger of the winter to come. Although December didn't stay cold enough long enough to make it the coldest December, January 1977 was and still is the coldest here going back to 1959 with an average min, max, mean of 6.0, 24.0, 15.0.

The 9 degrees on November 18, 1959 was another of the things that fascinated me enough to start my lifelong interest in meteorology, especially the records aspect of the field. While other memories may fade away, I can still recall many record setting weather events. I just hope we don't set any cold temperature, big s#$wfall, or freezing rain records here this winter. It would be nice to set a lot of daily maximum temperature, low monthly and seasonal s$%wfall, and zero freezing rain records though. -30-

Thu Nov 09 2017 7:45PM - A couple of interesting situations in my streaks today. First, as he did last night, Stan N8HN found me on 80 and answered my CQ again. So that's the same station for the main streak 2 consecutive days without any prearrangememt. But wait, there's more.

This morning I got busy with some things and getting my DX slipped to the back of my mind for a while. Finally I remembered and headed to the shack a little past 1600Z. I found the bands in pretty poor shape. The only strong station I was hearing for quite a while was Ralph XE1RK engaging in a string of long rag chews. That was actually it for 20, 17, and 15. Then I thought I'd try 30 to see if perhaps there was a Caribbean station coming thru. Sure enough there was, and like N8HN it was the same DX station I worked the day before - VP2MDL. A single call netted him. So the last couple days in my streak table kind of look like I updated them incorrectly. HI But wait, there's more.

Well, sort of. I like that line, "but wait, there's more" from the infomercials, and just wanted to use it again.

After I worked VP2MDL at midday on 30 today, I got to wondering just how much DX I've worked on 30 around that time of day. I'm going to look now. I have 4,179 DX QSOs on 30 meters according to my Microsoft Access database. I copied them into Microsoft Excel and sorted by hour of day. Now, let me use Excel to count per hour.

Ooops, I forgot to filter out the W/VE stations. Actually I have 1,462 DX stations on 30. I thought that 4,000 plus sounded too high.

OK, now here we go.

0000 - 924
0100 - 146
0200 - 54
0300 - 18
0400 - 46
0500 - 23
0700 - 1 - FW
1000 - 3 - KP2, CY9, CM
1100 - 2 - FJ, J7
1200 - 1 - FO0
1300 - 2 - HR, VP2E
1400 - 5 - KP4, CM, CM, CM, CM
1600 - 2 - FP, VP2M
1700 - 1 - HI
1800 - 4 - CM, PJ7, FS, C6
1900 - 9
2000 - 9
2100 - 76
2200 - 75
2300 - 61

Very interesting. The hours from 2100 through 0500 average 158 DX QSOs. From 0600 through 2000 average only less than 3 DX QSOs. Some of that has to do with my operating habits, but I think it shows that 30 is definitely a nighttime DX band for the most part. I've noted the countries for the daytime hours from 0700 through 1800. Interesting to see FW in the 0700Z hour and FO0 in the 1200Z hour. Now I've got to see if any of that can be applied toward helping to extend my DX streak.

One final thought or tip. Never assume because a DX station is weak you won't be able to work him. I almost did that tonight when I could barely copy VP9/DK7LX on 30. However I did set the split frequency and gave a call. I thought he answered me after he worked a couple other stations, but wasn't sure, so I waited and he sent my call again with the standard 599 report. Yes, you can work DX stations using CW/QRP that may not be all that strong. Of course not all the time, but often enough to give it a try. -30-

Wed Nov 08 2017 8:11PM - After the bands were pretty good last night and provided a quick DX QSO with VP2MDL on 30, tonight the DX was pretty much absent again. So my little pink reminder note here is out on my computer desk to remind me I still need that DX QSO to keep the streak going.

QSO note

That's my paper log to the right of the note. It's there to insert the two QSOs I did make this evening into my Microsoft Access log. As you see I worked N8HN and K8FN on 80 meters.

Not a lot else to write about. I spent most of the day working on my laptop. I just got the latest Windows 10 build and the insider updates, and am studying the new features that it has. Some of them I won't be using, but others will be very useful. Although I use Windows 7 on my main computer on which I'm working right now, I really love Windows 10 also, and since this computer is ten years old now, I figure it won't be long till I'll have a new Windows 10 computer here as my main working computer. Right now the Windows 10 laptop is really mostly a toy. I guess about the only real serious work I do on it is running GenLog for contesting in the shack or out on one of our portable operations. -30-

Tue Nov 07 2017 12:14PM - A busy morning. I took Roscoe out early and gave him his breakfast so he would be ready for the next step when Bruce got home. While waiting, I took the opportunity to fill the time by going and casting my vote. Then it was off to the vets for a toenail trim plus stocking up on heartworm and flea/tick medication. Brief checks in among the above showed nothing in the way of DX.

After we got Roscoe home and gave him the flea/tick tablet, it was over here and up to the shack. Now there was some DX around. I heard Bert F6HKA on 17, but he was engaged in some rag chewing. So I looked elsewhere intending to come back to Bert to see if I could catch him between rag chews. I didn't need to though as I found DL2DX strong on 20. I noted his frequency, then checked out another peak on the PX3. It was PA2EVR just ending a CQ, so I answered him. It took a few repeats of my call, but we made it to stretch the DX streak another day.

It continues to be more and more interesting getting the DX streak QSO in the log. I'm learning more and more about working DX when the solar flux gets down in the 60s as it is today. So far both 20 and 17 have been open for DX in the morning hours from say 1300-1700Z. At the other end of the spectrum so to speak, there has been very little DX heard in the 0000-0200Z evening hours on any band. I thought perhaps 80 and 40, and possibly 30 would be good in the evening, but so far that hasn't been the case. I don't know what will happen when we have a long run of SF readings in the low 60s and the ionosphere gets really inactive. I will find out though as I plan to continue working the DX streak as long as I can. If I miss a day or so, I intend to see if I can at least work DX on over 99 percent of the days since March 1, 2013. You note I've already modified my streak table on my home page to take that into consideration. -30-

Mon Nov 06 2017 7:55PM - Last night I worked ZF9CW on 40M through the SS QRM. Tonight he was strong again on 40. He was working a string of Europeans. I hope I don't regret not trying to work him again, but two nights in a row goes against the grain for me if I can at all avoid it. Also I'm sure those Europeans need ZF much more than I do, and I'd feel bad if my QSO deprived any of them of their QSO. So I'll cast my fate to the winds and see what later tonight or tomorrow morning/afternoon brings in the way of DX.

Otherwise the bands were really poor this evening. Even 80 meters didn't have any signals stronger than S9. Usually there are several stations peaking S9+20 up to S9+30. Other than the ZF and strangely VA7DX on 40, there was nothing there peaking much above S7 with a lot of deep fading. I did manage a 10 minute QSO with Paul KB4GYT for my regular streak QSO. Paul and I have had several QSOs thru the years. When I heard him calling CQ, I knew he is a great op, and figured I could work him, and I did.

I got my QSL for working KN0WCW in the Annual Nancy Kott Memorial FISTS event last month. A beautiful double card with a picture Nancy on the front. A huge number of us folks sure do miss her and the way she ran the Americas Chapter of FISTS. -30-

Sun Nov 05 2017 6:27PM - When I wrote my entry yesterday, I was forgetting about the SS Contest. That totally wiped out the Ukrainian Contest as well as any other DX, except for any on the WARC bands and there wasn't any DX there to begin with. So I went into worry mode since I knew I'd be away most of the day today at the Washington hamfest. I did my best to find a KP2, KP4, KL7, or KH6 in the SS last night to no avail. I'm thinking many of the stations in KP2 and KP4 may still be down because of the hurricane damage.

So with nothing to show last night, I tried early this morning before we left for the hamfest again to no avail. I tried one Italian on 17 meters, but he wasn't hearing me at all. So when Mike and I left for the hamfest around 1315Z I still had no DX for the day.

However the lack of DX was definitely made up for by the great fellowship we had with our ham friends at the hamfest. Here's an overall picture of the crowd in the hamfest building:
hamfest crowd

WPA Chapter members

And above L-R: Bob WC3O, John K3WWP, Tom WB3FAE, Mike KC2EGL, Drew W3FFZ.

We spent most of the time just chatting with folks. We did buy a few things among us. One was a power pole connector we're donating to the sub USS Requin to make it easier to connect various rigs to the sub's 12 volt power bus. Art from the sub was there and we talked with him about, among other things, going down to operate from the Requin on the day before Thanksgiving. He said to check with him a couple days before that to be sure work wasn't being done on the sub that day. I could go on and on about other interesting things we saw and talked about at the hamfest, but I won't other than to say it was a very enjoyable 3 or so hours.

Sometime after noon, we broke up and headed home. Mike and I headed to - wait, here it comes - - right, Applebee's in the Pittsburgh Mills where we had a couple of delicious chicken dinners. Filled up, we then headed back here where my first priority was getting that DX QSO. It didn't take long. 15 meters was still nicely open, and my years of experience told me that if it was open during the SS at that time of day, it was likely to present a path to Hawaii. So I checked each peak I saw on the PX3 and found KH7X, but he wasn't in Hawaii, but Arizona. Shortly after that it was KH7B. I listened and he definitely sent PAC as his section. So I called him and got K3? I sent my call again and we made the QSO with him questioning my number. The rest was solid copy both ways. I logged him, then let Mike take a shot at him. Mike only needed a single call with no repeats to complete the QSO. After I worked him, Mike told me I could breathe again. Indeed yes, it was a big relief to get this day into the DX streak log.

After that we fooled around with a little toy train I got at the hamfest. I told you they sell a lot of non-ham things there also. Tried unsuccessfully for some more DX, then closed out the day with a hidden object game and some reminiscing about the old AM broadcast stations like Radio Saipan, Langenfeld Germany on 1586 and the like. Then Mike headed home a little while ago to get ready to start another work week tomorrow. -30-

Sat Nov 04 2017 2:45PM - Does this make it clearer?


The Ukrainian DX Contest helped me get an easy DX QSO this morning just before 1300Z. I worked YL2KO with just a single call. Hopefully I can use the contest again at 0000Z for a QSO since tomorrow will be a busy day going to the hamfest with Mike. We'll be leaving at 1200Z and I don't know if the bands will be open then or not. Oh, but wait a minute - Daylight Shifting Time ends tonight so actually we'll be leaving at 1300Z so mabye I can get some DX before we leave if I strike out tonight.

OK, that gave you an extra paragraph to think about the picture. Yes, it's silly putty. I still have a lot of those type of toy gadgets (if that's an apt description) like that buried in a drawer somewhere. I'll probably run across more of them as I continue ridding out the house. I'll probably keep most of them though.

I looked up silly putty on Wikipedia and found out a lot of things about it that I didn't know before. I'm not going into that here, but if you're curious, check out this article

Thanks to the following four folks who took time to pass along a guess (or their knowledge). KD8RNF-right #1, N1JI-wrong #1, K6ACF-right #2, and W4DUK-right #3. Good work! N1JI guessed "Is the picture of the plastic egg in your diary one of those shakers - The ones that sound like a maraca?"

Maybe I'll do this again when I find some more of those old toys that have been hidden for so long. -30-

Fri Nov 03 2017 9:05PM - Still going through my house getting rid of a lot of things I haven't even seen for many years now. I have been, and still am quite the pack rat. Now the time has come to start throwing things out instead of bringing them in and saving them. Anyway in one drawer today I found the following:


Anyone know what it is besides the obvious plastic egg?

If you know and are the first one to email me via the email link above with the correct answer, you'll have the great honor of having your call in my diary. HI

After someone guesses or knows correctly, I'll talk more about it.

There are a lot of us old-time hams around on the bands. I worked another close contemporary tonight - K1PUG at age 74 and 57 years a ham. I can't recall the last time I worked a teenage ham, and if I counted them up, I wouldn't need more than my fingers for those hams under 40 I've worked recently. It's a shame the younger generations don't appreciate the wonderful mode of CW. I guess they like to let their computers do the thinking and don't want to strain their brains too much to learn CW. I find it great exercise for my brain, and that's only but one of the many good reasons to use it on the ham bands. OK, that's my soapbox for tonight. I will now step down.

It looks like it will be tomorrow morning till I get my DX streak QSO, if then. I didn't hear a single DX station on the bands this evening. -30-

Thu Nov 02 2017 9:25PM - Running a little late tonight. Almost time to take Roscoe out again. I promised someone I'd post an updated picture of Roscoe here in the diary. I haven't forgotten. Just never seem to fit it into my busy schedule, but I will do it. Maybe this weekend.

I got one of those super quick DX streak QSOs tonight at 0000Z. Just a couple calls to XE2I on 20 added another day to the streak. That gave me time for something I don't seem to have much time for most days. Have a good long rag chew. This evening it was with Barry WA7WKY whom I also worked a couple of evenings ago. Barry and I are pretty much contemporaries. He's 73 years old and licensed for 59 years.

Well, over to next door now to walk Roscoe and visit with Bruce for a while. -30-

Wed Nov 01 2017 9:22AM - If ever there was a typical dreary November day in this area, today is it. It' 36 degrees with a cold rain and looks like it will be that way most of the day with maybe a couple holes in the rain shield. I just took advantage of one and got Roscoe out for the first of his four or five walks for the day.

Now the rain filled in again so while waiting for the next hole to do my monthly first of the month banking, I thought I'd see if I could get some DX. I don't think I've mentioned this before but the short CWT sprints are a good source of DX that may help me to continue the DX streak as conditions decline. The CWT ops are all top notch and can dig out my QRP signals. Fortunately non-members are welcome in the sprints. I was a member at one time but didn't feel like paying the dues to continue my membership. Besides I had too much other work to do with the NAQCC and FISTS. I didn't want to get involved with another club. To this day FISTS and the NAQCC are the only clubs of which I'm an active member and it will always be that way. Those are the top two CW clubs in my opinion and I don't really need any others.

I keep jumping the track when I write these entries. I was going to say that I worked GW4J easily in the CWT sprint a little while ago. He wasn't all that strong, but the second time I tried calling him, I got WWP? I sent K3 K3WWP and we exchanged the sprint info with no further repeats. I also heard Bert F6HKA, but he was busy running stations and I didn't have all that much time to wait, so I found and worked GW4J instead, then QRT to write the diary entry.

Now as I continue to wait for another hole in the rain, I'm going to put my October weather readings into my Microsoft Excel weather spreadsheet and see how the October averages turned out. It was a strange up and down warm and cold, dry and wet month. I'm guessing with all the ups and downs, the averages will be pretty close to normal. I'll know soon unless the hole in the rain comes and I pause in the records for my banking trip.

I heard from Mike this morning and he confirmed our plans for the Washington PA hamfest this Sunday. We plan to leave around 8 AM which should get us there around 9:30 AM. If you're in the area, maybe we'll see you there. As I've said, it is a neat compact hamfest with a lot of vendors selling many different things. If you need something, you might just find it there. -30-