Tuesday, July 28, 2015 10:18 PM - I just received some pictures from Bob WC3O of the presentation at Skyview last night, so it's a good time to flesh out this entry as I promised.
Mike (KC2EGL) had to work yesterday, so he had to wait to come here till he was done. We still got to Skyview in plenty of time. In fact we were the 3rd and 4th persons to arrive. We were sorry that Tom WB3FAE couldn't attend because he got a bug and a fever and had to stay home.
The first order of business was to set up for the presentation. I figured I would just use my web site as a source for all the info since I really couldn't add anything else to what is here. They have a projector and a big whiteboard so I could project my laptop images for all to see. I had a bit of trouble with hooking to the projector since I hadn't done so for several years since we used such a setup at our computer club meetings. One of the members knew exactly what to do, so that hurdle was overcome. While members were arriving and chatting, I set up the pages I wanted to use in different folders in IE so they would be ready to use.
After a nice introduction from Bob, and applause from the members, he turned it over to me for the presentation. I planned the presentions in five stages - Showing my location, station, and antennas - Showing what can be done with such a setup - Showing how anyone can do the same with a similar setup - Comments from Mike and Tom (but he couldn't make it as I mentioned) - Finally a 'hands-on' demo of the KX3/PX3 hooked to the club's big antenna farm. Here's a picture of me getting started with the presentation.
I started off with Bing maps showing my location here, and then went on to pictures of my station with the KX3/PX3, antenna switch, etc. In fact it was the first picture on my Pictures page in the Home section of the web site. After that, it was on to the antenna pictures from my OneDrive site. I sensed a feeling of surprise from the members that the antenna system was so minimal. I used the line, "It's not really an antenna farm, but more of an antenna victory garden". The victory garden analogy came from my friend Alan KB7MBI. I think they got a kick out of the random wire especially seeing all the bends in it. I said at one time, I counted 21 bends. One member asked if I knew just how long it was. I said about 110 feet but squeezed into about 70 feet of space. Here's how the picture of my 6 meter dipole looked on the whiteboard.
After the 'show and tell' with the pictures, I went on to show some of the pages that give tips on succeeding with QRP/CW. I didn't take the time to read or show all the info there as I did want to get to the KX3/PX3 demo as I sensed several of the members were interested in seeing that. There was great interest in the presentation as I think is amply shown by this picture.
Although the actual section of comments from Mike kind of got lost in the shuffle, Mike did contribute a lot of helpful comments along the way, which I appreciated very much. One that comes to mind was the story of how I 'converted' him to QRP/CW not long after we met when he (as a postman) delivered a QSL card to my house. He also added some other anecdotes of interest. Thanks Mike.
Now it was off to the radio room, where I hooked up the KX3/PX3 with help from Bob and others. I mentioned it would be nice if I could add to my DX streak from there, but it would have to be with a 'simple wire antenna', not one of their huge beams on big towers. So we hooked up to their 80/40 dipole antenna, but loaded it with the KX3 internal tuner to 20 meters and got the usual KX3 match of 1:1 with virtually anything it is fed into. The PX3 showed a strong peak to which I tuned to find it was Josh 6Y5JW whom I worked several times. I figured he would be an easy catch, and he was. We exchaged brief greetings and my streak QSO was in the log. As I mentioned, there was great interest in the KX3/PX3 and we got several questions about it. One member asked if we found any shortcomings in the setup. Mike and I both said no, except possibly for the audio quality from the speaker which didn't really matter and wasn't all that bad anyway. Another asked about the price of the rig. Mike looked that up on his phone and gave out the info. There were other questions also about the rig that I can't recall right now. Here's a picture of the setup with the old man (me) looking at the PX3 for someone to work. While Mike behind me is explaining something to a member.
Some more tuning around revealed very little in the way of DX outside of some SA stations which we couldn't seem to raise, possibly because of the orientation of the dipole. Probably had we hooked to one of the beams, they would have been easy QSOs, but we didn't try that as time was moving on. We almost worked 9A/S55Z, but couldn't quite make it past K3WW?. Ironically when I got home and set my station back up, I worked him easily from there.
All in all it was a very enjoyable event. I usually don't enjoy being the center of attention in such an event as the presentation, but I have nothing but good 'vibes' from this one because of the great behaviour and attention shown by all the Skyview members. Thanks very much. Thanks especially to Bob WC3O for the opportunity to do the presentation. I think it may have peaked some interest among the members who told me they were going to study my web site some more and one said he was definitely going to try to get back to CW again. Another said he was going to join the NAQCC.
If any further comments come to mind that I missed here, I'll add them in tomorrow's entry.
FROM MY QUICK ENTRY LAST NIGHT AFTER THE MEETING:
I had a real great time giving my QRP/CW demo at the Skyview Radio Society this evening. I'd like to thank all the members for a very warm reception.
I'll have more to say about it when I amend this entry later tonight or more likely in the morning. Right now I'm tired and I have some other things that need doing before bed time. -30-
Monday, July 27, 2015 8:21 PM - A quick solid DX QSO this evening. EA2CNU was booming in, and I answered his CQ, but lost out to a W4 station. As soon as they finished, I called again and got an answer on that first call with no repeats - somewhat of a rarity the past several days. So that's 880 days down and 120 to go for my goal of 1,000 straight DX days. It's going to be rough, but I'm going to try to make it. Tomorrow will be especially rough as I will be doing a presentation on QRP/CW at an area radio club in the evening and won't be able to be on at my usual 0000Z hour unless I get on from the radio club station as part of the presentation. Otherwise I'll have to get my DX during the day on Wednesday. I did listen this afternoon a bit and DX was pretty good in late afternoon. I didn't try to work any, just listened. -30-
Sunday, July 26, 2015 8:34 PM - A good day in the park today. Story and pictures to follow at 11...... No, I mean shortly.
First, the DX streak goes on. Last night it was HT7C at 0004Z on 30 meters. I was thinking of going for the NAQCC 30/30 award this month - 30 QSOs on 30 meters, but I might come up a bit short. I need 11 more in the final 5 days of the month, and not a lot of time to be on the air with a busy week coming up. Then tonight it was RI1PT at 0022Z on 20 meters. Again a Russian who stuck with me through several repeats. Thanks.
The FOBB had its moments, good and bad, in the Community Park today. Initial set up went well. We arrived about 30 minutes before the start and except for a couple of balky golf balls and a couple stubborn trees that slowed down our antenna launchings a bit, we still made it in plenty of time. However after a couple QSOs, we lost our pavilion. The pavilions are first come, first served, and generally that works well so we don't have to pay to reserve one. Today though just minutes into the FOBB, a couple and their kids arrived with a reservation in hand for a birthday celebration. So we had to move to another pavilion and set up all over again. that also went well although we had a couple strange orientations for our antennas due to the arrangements of trees at that pavilion. However with the center of Mike's dipole only 5 feet or so high, it worked well as did my dipole at maybe 10 feet at most. Mike took 40 meters, and I did 20. There wasn't a lot of activity or if there was, we weren't hearing it. I made 15 QSOs and Mike made 14. We both worked almost all the stations we heard on both bands. We both decided we pretty much ran out of stations and called it quits a little over an hour before the end of the contest.
Some pictures now. In order below - 1. Mike operating, 2. Me operating. 3. Mike's antenna. 4. My antenna.
Saturday, July 25, 2015 6:48 PM - One of the warmest days of the year so far. The temperature only peaked at 90, but with some very clear, only slightly hazy skies, it felt hotter in the sun. Before it got too hot, I took care of watering Ange's garden as he is away for the weekend. Next I deadheaded my daylillies. I picked off around 130 dead flowers, and that was only from overnight last night. It's amazing how prolific daylillies are. Too bad vegetables don't produce that quickly. I sometimes think beans come close as after I watered Ange's garden, I picked what must have been close to 200 beans and he only picked them a couple days ago. I hope my beans produce like that when they get going. I don't know why they are so late this year. So far I only have flowers on them - well, and a couple tiny yet to develop beans.
Otherwise, I am getting a good supply of Siberian tomatoes and peppers for my daily salad. My bigger tomatoes are coming along nicely also and I should be getting some ripe ones in a week or two.
I dug up some parts from my extensive junk box today for the crystal radio project I mentioned. I also charged up my gel cell for tomorrows FOBB parkpedition. I hung my W1AW WAS plaque on the wall, and was going to take a picture of it, but my camera batteries died just as I was snapping it. So I'm charging them now. Both the ones from the camera and a spare set which was also pretty much depleted. So that should be ready for the FOBB tomorrow. There is a slight chance of rain, but that shouldn't deter us, as the park pavillions are covered.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Except for FD, this will be the first time out in the field for me this year. I hope we can get in a few more parkpeditions before the weather changes in November or so.
Right now, I'm just passing time till 0000Z comes along and I go for my streak QSO(s). I imagine with the IOTA contest going on, it should be easy to get my DX fix. Hope saying that doesn't jinx things. The IOTA contest has been good to me over the years for getting new countries, new band-countries, and some generally very nice QSOs. One I remember particularly was working VK6DXI back in 2009 (see QSL on my DX page) on 40 meters before the sun had set here. Another was my first ever Asiatic Russian QSO with RW0A back in the 1995 test followed shortly thereafter by my second one from RU0B. I was thinking my only United Kingdom Base on Cyprus QSO with ZC4BS came in the IOTA contest also, but I see the date is June 15 so it couldn't have been. Another new country came from J45RW in the 2002 contest (Dodecanese Is.). I'm sure there were a couple others also that I can't recall off the top of my head right now. So maybe I'll get something interesting tonight. Wonder if the current Cocos Island station will be in the test. I only have one QSO with that country. I guess it is one of the rarest NA countries along with Desecheo, Navassa, and Aves Is. I only have one QSO with those three also. -30-
Friday, July 24, 2015 9:10 PM - Conditions seemed a little better this evening. I heard several European and Middle East stations on 20 and 30. I worked F6BII, II5YOTA, and XM2I. The latter because I thought I might need the XM2 prefix. Let's see. Nope I've got it both worked and verified. I worked a lot of those special Canadian prefixes several years ago.
Not much else happening today to write about. Just the usual stuff. I did get my little portable kit loaded up for our Bumblebee parkpedition on Sunday. I just have to put a final charge on my battery. I better close here now and get to that, or I will forget it. HI. -30-
Thursday, July 23, 2015 9:45 AM - I've got some things lined up for today like fishing, shopping, garden work, etc. So I thought I'd write the diary entry early this morning.
Mike did visit last night to cap off a good day. He had to get up early today though, so he couldn't stay long. We did have our pizza to top off the priorities of the visit. After that we made plans for our Bumblebee outing on Sunday, a visit to a Skyview meeting Tuesday evening, and the Skeeter Hunt in August.
While cleaning out some things in my attic, I came across an old Britannica article about building a crystal radio set. I thought that would be an interesting project for one of Mike's visits. I asked him if he ever build such a set when he was young, and he said no. I did build one many years ago and had fun with it. So that's on one of our future agendas. We also hope to get in some good sky viewing during a week in August when Mike will be on vacation. Perhaps observe the Perseids, although Mike said last night he had the wrong week figured for his vacation so instead of Perseid week of Aug 9, it will be the following week of the 16th which will be past the peak of the Perseids on 12/13 Aug.
Before Mike came, I managed another quick DX QSO when, with some repeats, I worked RG0A on 20 meters. Those Russian ops are great in sticking with someone till the QSO is made, and I appreciate them for that as well as the many ops from other countries who do the same. -30-
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 4:51 PM - A couple of neat things today so far and another coming up later this evening.
For the first time since June 13, the weather, river level and clarity were good enough to go fishing. I went out and checked the river while doing a couple chores downtown. On the way home I bought a dozen nightcrawlers, and when I got home, set up for a walk to the river with my fishing gear. When I got there, and got my line in the water, it looked like it was going to be a shutout trip, but that didn't really matter - it was nice enough to just be sitting there at the river. I did get two isolated hits - one hit wonders, I guess you could call them. Just when I was thinking about giving up and going home though, I finally got a good solid hit and caught an 11 inch sucker. Nothing award winning by any means, but better than a shutout. Also it reinstilled that desire to do more fishing, especially if the weather stays good as it is predicted to do.
After I got home, and did some computer work including getting my fishing (non-fishing?) log up to date, I got up and saw a rather large box on the front porch. I guess I never did hear the mailman. I thought maybe it was my ARRL W1AW WAS plaque, but the box was so light, and there was a return address from Utah on the box. Hmmmm.... very strange. The plaque was the only thing I ordered in recent memory. Maybe it was a gift from someone? Well, no - it was the plaque. Smaller and lighter than I thought it would be, but nevertheless a really desireable thing to have. It made all that time chasing W1AW/# worthwhile. Actually it was worthwhile and a lot of fun even without the plaque. It a 1/4 inch thick piece of plastic in the shape of the continental USA with the pertinent info printed on it. I took a picture of it to post here. It was rather shiny and hard to get a good picture, but here it is. It looks pretty much like the plaque although the real plaque is somewhat clearer and a little less dark.
Still yet to come? A visit from Mike after he finishes with a meeting here in town. We'll have a pizza and then do who knows what? -30-
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 9:13 PM - I got curious about something this evening as I was getting my DX QSO - which came quickly - HI3TEJ on 30M at 0002Z. I was wondering how many different stations were logged as the first QSO on each of the 874 days. That led to some other stats which I'll present here.
Cuba - 46
Mexico - 34
Italy - 32
Germany - 28
Bulgaria - 27
Spain - 27
Nicaragua - 24
European Russia - 23
France - 23
Hungary - 23
Slovenia - 23
Brazil - 22
Canary Islands - 20
Croatia - 17
Puerto Rico - 17
Asiatic Russia - 16
Virgin Islands - 16
Czech Republic - 15
Dominican Republic - 15
Curacao - 14
Colombia - 13
Poland - 13
Finland - 12
Serbia - 12
Bosnia - 11
England - 11
Ecuador - 10
Macedonia - 10
There were also some 'rare' countries or at least countries I've only ever worked a few times or less:
I guess that's about it for tonight. I might divide them by continent and present that data later. -30-
Monday, July 20, 2015 9:04 PM - Kind of a ho-hum day today appropriate for what is generally the hottest time of year. We hit 90 again today, but it wasn't too humid. The hills across the river and out back were pretty much crystal clear without that haze that accommpanies high humidity. My remote unit shows the outdoor humidity ranged from 36 to 90 percent. The 90 being the normal high humidity around sunrise. Right now it's 67 percent and I just got back from a walk with no sweat.
I watered my garden today with some added Miracle Gro. It's been hard to feed the plants with the constant rain. I hate to add any water to the already soaking roots. I am getting enough peppers and tomatoes to keep me going day to day with a lot of extra tomatoes.
Another quick DX QSO this evening. I worked Alex HC2AO at 0004Z on 17 meters. Alex is a transplanted Russian and a really great operator. Then I added what I think is a new prefix when I worked LY100DGA on 20 meters. Let's see. Yes, it is new. Wonder what the call is for. The 100th anniversary of the S.Darius and S.Girenas Airfield. I love those European special event calls. They sure beat ours here in the USA. -30-
Sunday, July 19, 2015 10:28 PM - Just finished a couple hours of sprint log cross-checking and I'm a bit punchy right now so this will be short and I'll update my streak table and propagation page a little later.
A quick DX QSO tonight with ZF2EZ whom I think was also QRP, but I'm not sure. Thought I heard him sign /QRP a couple minutes before I worked him. Anyway the DX streak goes on, and I have tomorrow free now. -30-
Saturday, July 18, 2015 8:57 PM - Another quick DX QSO tonight with a story. I think one of the things that makes ham radio such a fascinating hobby is its unpredictableness. I'm sure I would get bored with a big station with which I could work anything I wanted to at any time I wanted to. I suspect that is why folks with the big stations like that generally use them only for contesting or DXing. Using it otherwise might just be too predictable. I personally find it more interesting never knowing what I am going to work with my QRP and simple wire antennas when I get on the air. I like that uncertainty which is why I never use spotting of any kind nor study DX bulletins, etc. to see what is on the air. Just fire up the rig, use the tuning knob is my modus operandi. Of course now I am aided and abetted by the panadapter, but that is only to speed up tuning the bands and nothing else.
How does that tie in with the story of my DX QSO? Just the unpredictableness part actually. A couple nights ago I called DL65DARC at least a dozen times on 17 meters with no indication he was hearing me at all. There wasn't even any competition for him. Tonight I checked the blip I saw on 17 meters, and it turned out to be DL65DARC at virtually the same strength he was a couple nights ago. At first I thought, why bother. But then I decided I would try once and if no luck, just move on. Well, that once was all it took - not even a repeat - to get my QSO at 0001Z. Not only for the streak, but the call provided 6 letters for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge as icing on the cake. Now I need only 11 letters to complete that challenge.
The moral of the story. Don't doubt your QRP, and always try to work that station you hear no matter if you couldn't work him before or if he may be almost down in your s3-s5 noise. Give him at least a few tries before you give up if you don't get him. That's especially true in contests. Often I will call someone several times with no response, tune away for a while, then come back and work them easily with but a single call and no repeats needed. Yes, propagation is strange. -30-
Friday, July 17, 2015 8:42 PM - Despite the poor propagation numbers (97/5) I got one of my quickest DX QSOs in a while this evening. Turned on the KX3 which was set to 30M, saw a blip on the PX3, tuned it in, found it was AC4... and almost tuned out, but for some reason I stuck there and it turned out to be AC4BT/6Y5 whom I worked after a couple repeats, finishing as the clock turned to 0001Z. That's 870 days now for the DX streak. The big streak is closing in on 21 years and will become an adult on August 4th if it continues till then.
After that, I had a good experience. I called CQ on 30, and Gary N2ESE answered me. That's the first time we've hooked up outside a NAQCC sprint in quite some time now. Let's see how long and also let's see if that was our first ever 30 meters QSO. We both think it might have been. Just take a moment to find out via my MS Access log. OK, that was our 175th QSO. Except for a couple 60 meters AND 160 meters QSOs, all of those were on 40 or 80, so this was indeed our first 30 meters QSO. Our first non-sprint QSO since November 10, 2013. It was really great to touch base again. I had been wondering if Gary's 2 QSO per day (QRO) streak was still alive, and he said it is now around 8 years old and going strong. He did have a struggle when Sandy wiped out power in NJ a couple years ago, but he kept going with QRP power and a car battery for the 11 days they had no power.
Another nice weather day here today. I helped Ange with some weeding in his garden early today. I did some walking/shopping although it was a bit warm and humid. Actually that felt kind of good. I also picked some peppers from my garden along with some more tomatoes. That made a nice salad, and then I had some beans from Ange's garden that we picked when we were doing the weeding. I also took Roscoe for a walk to cover for Nancy as she and Bruce were away for a while today. Roscoe and I then sat on the swing for a while till Nancy/Bruce got home and he had to run out to greet them. Now it's time to get my temperature readings. The remote unit says 57 - 84 for the low and high today. That's usually pretty close to the min/max thermometer in the shelter. -30-
Thursday, July 16, 2015 8:33 PM - DX difficult again. I only heard two stations this evening - a French station on 20, and a KP4 on 40. I managed to work the KP4 although it wasn't easy. At least the streak goes yet another day.
Not much else happenning today. It was a nice day, and I thought about going fishing, but that's as far as it got. I did a couple good walks in-between processing logs from last night's NAQCC sprint. We hit 100 logs around 2:30 this afternoon. That's about as quick as I can recall us reaching the 100 mark except maybe for those special anniversary sprints. A couple more just coming in now, so I'll just close here, finish updating the web site and check the logs. -30-
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 8:10 PM - Well, tonight is our monthly NAQCC sprint that starts in about 20 minutes as I type. I wanted to get my DX streak QSO out of the way before that if I could. There was not much to choose from. I heard HZ1DG whom I would dearly liked to have worked, but he was just barely above my noise level at S4 or so. I called a couple times with no expectation of success, and I was right. So I looked elsewhere and found another station not much stronger than that. I didn't get his call at first, but he sounded like DX, so I called him anyway and after several repeats I had F/G0PZA in my log thanks to his patience and skill.
Weatherwise, this was about the nicest day we've had in a good while. Moderate temperatures around 80, low humidity, a light breeze, no rain, and only a few clouds. So I took advantage of it to do quite a bit of walking and some shopping.
Inside I did the monthly updates on three computers - my main one, my laptop, and the computer club laptop. There was also another new build of Windows 10 released today, but I had a bit of trouble with that one, and had to put it off till another day since I wanted to have the laptop free for the sprint. -30-
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 8:57 PM - One of my easier DX streak QSOs this evening. After chasing KP2/VE3OP on 17 for a few minutes with no sign he was hearing me, I gave up and went to 20, found IZ4ZZB and after he worked one other station, I got him easily. Still there is very little DX being heard here in the evenings.
I posted my new poll today. I hope you'll check it out and cast your vote. The turnout was very disappointing last month, and once again I'm wondering if it is worthwhile to post a new poll every month (actually on the 15th of each month) or not.
It was a quiet day here with some showers around, but I got in a couple good walks in the dry periods. Actually we had our rain shields up. A large area of heavy rain was heading right for us but just as it crossed into Armstrong county, the line split and the rain lessened to where we got only a little over 1/10 of an inch.
The latest build (10166) of Windows 10 which I got a couple days ago seems much faster than previous builds. It's still a bit slow inside the Oracle Virtual Box in which I am running it. However today I really explored down into the innards of 10 and found a lot of things that I had thought were missing from 10 vs. 7&8. That really pleased me, because I like to dig into computers a lot deeper than the average user, and I feel it can be done with Windows 10, and done well. Actually I could install 10 as my primary system on the laptop and not use Virtual Box, but I'm going to wait till it is officially released to the public on July 29. Then I'm sure I'll notice an improvement in speed. Then it will be able to access all the RAM in the laptop instead of having to share it with Virtual Box. -30-
Monday, July 13, 2015 9:27 PM - Another productive day here. It started off with the laundry as usual on a Monday morning. After that, some brunch, then off to the PO to mail off a NAQCC prize to our latest drawing winner. I also picked up some ink for my printer and a photo album to hold some more of my QSL cards. When I got home, I printed some pictures for Nancy. While all the above was going on, the latest Windows 10 preview build was being installed on my laptop. That takes about 3 hours or so usually, and today was no exception. I've really enjoyed following along with the building of Microsoft's new operating system. I'm glad I signed up last October. Denny was mowing his grass, so after he finished, I cut mine. He always lets me use his mower for which I am grateful. I gave him some tomatoes from my garden today.
A little later I transferred a DX card from each country confirmed to the new album. Unfortunately, the album holds 208 cards and I have 211 countries confirmed, so I guess I'll buy another one and start a second album. Then I checked the bands, and as usual they had virtually nothing to offer in the way of DX or an "H" for the NAQCC challenge.
I'm afraid my DX streak may be on its last legs. I am hearing very few DX stations now, except for the regulars like EA6UN, YN7SU, CO8LY, etc. whom I have worked so many times I'm ashamed to just keep working them. Also some other stations that I have an easy time working usually are not hearing me at all. Tonight it was F5NBX, normally a one-call catch. After solidifying my big main streak by working K4AOA, I went back to hunting DX, and found a quite weak F6BII on 30 meters. Figuring he would never hear me, I called anyway and got a K3?, then a K3P?, a few more repeats and he got K3WWP and I had my DX QSO for still another day. -30-
Sunday, July 12, 2015 8:54 PM - Keeping the DX streak going seems to be more and more of a chore, but it still lives. I listened this afternoon just to check the bands in a different portion of the day and didn't hear much at all on any of the bands although a CQ on 40 got a quick answer from KB3AAY. Then this evening pretty much the same, although there was one strong DX station on 20 - Jurek EA6UN. I debated about working him since I work him quite a bit, but finally I called him and worked him easily since I couldn't find anyone else. Then I went searching for the elusive 'H' to finish the NAQCC challenge, but no luck in that quest. EA6UN did give me a couple letters for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge along with keeping the DX streak going.
Not much else going on today. I did some more work on our computer club computer, went for a couple walks, listened to some music, etc. -30-
Saturday, July 11, 2015 8:39 PM - Of course, with the IARU contest in full swing this evening, the DX QSO came easily at 0001Z when I worked S50HQ. I wasn't in a contesting mood, so that was the only QSO I made in the contest. Then I went to 30 to try to find the last letter to complete the NAQCC challenge. No luck, but I had a nice chat with Ron KA4EET.
It was yet another nice day for walking and outside work, so I did both, and just came in from sitting on the porch for a while. Looks like another nice day tomorrow, then back to rain again starting tomorrow night.
I also did some work on an old mantle clock. A few years ago, the works gave out after many years and a couple repairs that kept it going for a while. So I took the works from a little alarm clock that had the right parts to fit the original hands from the mantle clock except for the second hand, and mounted that inside the mantle clock case. That worked, but it became somewhat noisy and annoying at times. I did some experimenting and noticed when I turned the clock or tilted it, the noise went away. So I took it apart and rotated the works in relation to the dial, put it back together, and that seems to have done the trick. I have to really listen closely now to hear any noise from the motor. Here's a picture of the clock which has been right on that mantle for as long as I can remember, probably all my life. I seem to recall seeing a date in the 1920s inside it somewhere at some point in time. Looks like I snapped the picture at the exact time the hour and minute hand were aligned. Probably couldn't do that again if I tried. HI
Friday, July 10, 2015 9:15 PM - I got my QSLs in the mail to the ARRL bureau today. About 10-11 dollars worth of fees and postage. That's a lot, but still better than sending cards individually, I guess. I also emailed our N3AQC Field Day report to ARRL today. The price on that was much better - FREE.
Sometimes my quest for a DX QSO takes a little curious twist that I don't really understand. Tonight I called a few strong European stations with nary any indication they heard me at all even though there was no competition. One of them was an S9 SP8GWI. I figured no DX this evening so I went hunting for letters for our NAQCC challenge. I wound up now needing a single 'H' to complete the challenge.
Anyway after that, I went DX hunting again. SP8GWI was still there now with a small pileup. I tried anyway, and wouldn't you know it now with the competition I got him easily. I didn't notice much change in his signal strength here, but again I have to think about one-way propagation. My way to him improved during the time I was making those other QSOs?
It was another nice rain-free day today so I did some walking and dug some grass out of the sidewalk bricks. We had a beautiful sunset. I took a couple pictures but I haven't looked at them yet. I'll do that now, and if they look good, I'll post one here.
Thursday, July 09, 2015 9:43 PM - This was one of those days I accomplished a lot. I mean A LOT. I probably can't even remember it all. HI.
Last night after the computer club meeting, I brought our club computer home to get caught up on all the Windows updates which we missed for a couple months due to our party in June and some other things. Getting the updates done went smoothly although it did take a bit of time. Then I did some clean up of the hard drive using Glary Utilities and Ccleaner. Next up a Malware scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. That found 11 questionable items which I quarantined. After that a THOROUGH virus scan with the wonderful Windows Defender. That ran overnight for about 11-12 hours and found not a thing wrong.
After I made out my DX QSL cards yesterday, I found I had exactly 1/2 pound of them, so it was time to send them off to the bureau. I like to get my money's worth from the somewhat exorbitant fees charged by the ARRL and only send cards when I have exactly 1/2 or 1 pound. This morning I was just starting to sort them when Mike arrived. We chatted a bit then headed to Chicora to pick up Mike's tent which Tom WB3FAE had kindly taken down, dried and packed. On the way back here, we stopped at Wendy's for lunch, then WalMart for some shopping. We both picked up some of our favorite lunch meat - Spam. I got several cans of Turkey Spam, and Mike got a collection of cans of varied kinds.
Back here again and we double checked our Field Day report and I will be sending that off in a couple days. We did a few other things, then Mike played a hidden object computer game till it was time to head north. We had another very rainy day today, but we dodged the raindrops very well along the way, and it even looked like it was dry on Mike's drive home.
I finished off some computer work, then went after my streak QSO. The bands seemed a bit better this evening, but weren't still all that great. I did manage, with several repeats, to work 5B/RW9QA on 20 meters, then had a nice rag chew on 40 with Art VE3MWA, who was running 4 watts on a camping trip near Lake Huron.
To finish out the day before typing this, I finished getting my QSLs packed up and ready to be mailed in the morning. -30-
Wednesday, July 08, 2015 2:52 PM - One of the best things to find in a mailbox is a bureau mailing. I got one today with 23 DX cards. Of the 23, 5 were in response to a card I sent earlier, 18 were from stations desiring a QSL card from me.
There were 3 new band countries confirmed - Z81X 15M, CY0P 30M, J88DR 15M.
Twelve new prefixes confirmed - EF7R, LZ20TRC, AN2A, LZ386SKI, EF6 (special King Felipe VI call with NO suffix), DR60INN, DM20KIDS, DM50PCK, TM29UFT, TM50JEM, AM04ZK, Z81X.
One new band-zone - Z81X (34) 15M.
OK, everything is logged in the appropriate places now. Time to write cards for those 18 hams who want my card, but I think I'll put that off for a while.
When that is done, I have to file all the cards away in my card file cabinet.
It's a lot of work processing a bureau mailing, but a lot of fun and excitement also.
Oh, and I'm getting close to the time to make an outgoing bureau mailing. To save even more money when using the ARRL bureau, I save up my cards till I get exactly a half pound or a pound before I mail them.
Getting the bureau mailing gave me something to make an early diary entry today. Now I don't have to wait till after our computer club meeting this evening. -30-
Tuesday, July 07, 2015 7:42 PM - I took time to explore the bands during the day today for the first time in a while now. In the 2100Z hour, they were very unstable. European sigs would peak at s7, but then drop suddenly to S2 or so. Most of the time it was at the s2 level. I tried a few stations, but the closest I came to a QSO was K3WW? from a PF7 station. We both faded out before he could get the last letter. I see some rough times ahead for my DX streak unless I find a more reliable time of day for DX. I'll try to check some other times over the next couple weeks.
It was kind of a gloomy day today. No rain, but just cloudy and dark most of the time. I weeded my garden this morning and finally got a chance to feed the plants with some Miracle Gro. The ground has been saturated forever it seems until it did dry out a bit today. I did have my first garden tomato salad yesterday, and I have other Siberian tomatoes coming along now. I should be set for a while. My peas are about ready to pick also. The roses are not doing so well this year, but my daylillies are starting to blossom now. -30-
Monday, July 06, 2015 9:12 PM - I got a nice certificate in the mail today from last year's CQWW DX contest. It's on the main page of my Contesting section if you're at all interested in seeing it. I came in 9th in the USA and 12th in NA in the QRP SO AB category. In looking at the 8 who had higher scores, I know (or know of) most of them, and they have better setups and locations than I do, so I'm pleased with my 9th place. I might have gotten a bit higher had I worked the W/VE stations for multipliers, but I always treat the CQWW DX as strictly a DX contest and don't really go for score, just the fun of working DX stations.
It was rough for DX again this evening after last night. There weren't many heard and the one I did work took a bit of an effort on both our parts to complete the QSO. It was OM5XX. I got an honest 339 report from him. He was 569 here. Then I worked a couple more USA stations and gathered some more letters for the NAQCC challenges. I have 70 and need 16 now to complete the USA "Fireworks" challenge.
Not much else happening today. It was a pretty nice day, and I did get in a couple walks and helped Ange do some work in his garden. So I did get out to enjoy the weather for a little while anyway. -30-
Sunday, July 05, 2015 9:06 PM - I had my easiest European QSO in a while tonight. A single call to Feri HA3FTA on 17 led to a solid copy QSO, no repeats needed. I made QSOs on 4 bands in the 0000Z hour - K2J on 20, HA3FTA on 17, NG9D on 30, N8RVE on 40, and KB6NU on 30. Nice to have the bands in better shape again. That helped me with a lot of letters for the NAQCC challenges.
Other than that, not much else to talk about today. I did help Ange with some computer work this evening before getting on the air. Earlier in the day it was mostly walking and computer work/games. -30-
Saturday, July 04, 2015 9:09 PM - I hope you all had a great Fourth and honored our country in some way. As usual I flew my flag here - the one that draped my dad's coffin 51 years ago. I also got that last minute invite to a cookout at my neighbor's - the Bowsers. That was an enjoyable 2 hours, especially chatting with Eric KB3BFQ as well as the others there.
Conditions seemed pretty good this evening, although there wasn't as much activity in the YV contest as I expected. I thought I'd get my DX QSO quickly in that. It didn't work out that way though. First I worked a couple of the colonies stations in GA and SC. In between I was trying to break the pileup working FS/W6IZT for my DX QSO. I couldn't do it then though, but I did go back later and after waiting through a few stations I got my QSO to continue the streak another day.
Right now I'm sitting here in what seems like a battlefield with all the fireworks going off. Kittanning doesn't have an official show, but there sure are enough bootleg fireworks going off. -30-
Friday, July 03, 2015 8:53 PM - Conditions were better this evening for working Europe. I worked UA1CE and SM3KMB, and also EA8BLV from Africa. The QSOs were not too easy to make, but after some repeats, they are in the log and I have a lot more letters for the July NAQCC challenges.
I finished cleaning up around my bush today and also helped Nancy do some clean up in her yard. Still no rain this month, but we are supposed to get some later tonight.
Nothing special planned for the Fourth tomorrow. At least not that I know of yet. HI Maybe one of the neighbors has something in mind and I'll be invited in the morning. But whether or not, that's fine with me. -30-
Thursday, July 02, 2015 8:37 PM - The second rain-free day in a row today so I got in some good walking. Too bad the river is too high for fishing, as this would have been a good day for it. The big project though was trimming the big bush in my front yard. When I got home from one walk, I thought I'd get a start on it by trimming just the one side next to the railing on my steps. Well, one thing led to another and I wound up trimming the whole thing. I still need to clean up the weeds underneath it, and I hope to do that tomorrow which might be our third rain-free day in a row.
The bands, as usual of late, weren't all that good this evening, although I was hearing some DX, mostly weak. I did try calling F5NZY, but he wasn't hearing me at all. I thought I'd forget DX for the time being and get my regular streak QSO. That turned out to be a nice chat with Jim VE3KQN, fellow NAQCC member. After that it was back to DX, and almost immediately I noticed a big peak on 30 on the panadapter, tuned it in, found it was PJ5A, and logged him on one call and one repeat. I'm still confused somewhat about the PJ entity situation since the change on 10-10-10, and I'll have to see if that is a new band-entity. Anyway it extends the DX streak to 855 days which is more important to me right now as I shoot for the 1,000 day mark. -30-
Wednesday, July 01, 2015 9:23 PM - I never did get in the RAC contest today. After all the fun I had in FD, doing a contest alone just didn't seem exciting enough to get me involved.
My DX streak QSO this evening was a nice short rag chew with Milan OK1KW. He's also a FISTS member and we exchanged FISTS numbers, both regular and CC numbers. That also got me started on the July NAQCC challenges.
Earlier in the day, I did my banking and some shopping. It was a pretty nice day. Well, any day without rain around here anymore is a nice day. We had rain on 19 of the 30 days in June totalling about 8 1/2 inches, not far from the record for June around here. Strangely enough, we set a record for the highest average low temperature for the month. All those cloudy nights didn't allow the temperature to drop all that much during the night which explains that.
I picked my first ripe tomato today:
A couple days ago, my first daylilly flower appeared:
Remember the sun spot chart back in mid-winter? Well, here's where that spot fell on the first day of astronomical summer on the 21st:
That's quite a difference caused by the 46 or so degree sun altitude difference between Dec and Jun 21st. -30-
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 8:39 PM - A busy day today that resulted in getting almost all of my end of the month / first of the month chores done. I think all I have left to do are to get my June weather data in the computer and make a trip to the bank in the morning.
While I was doing some of the things today, I was also installing the latest build (10158) of Windows 10 on my laptop. Once again, as with each new build, it operates more smoothly with some great new features suggested by me and others who have been participating in the Insider Program the past several months. Only one month now till the final version will be released FREE to everyone. Then I'll install it as my main laptop operating system instead of running it under Windows 8.1 in a virtual machine (Oracle Virtual Box). That should allow it to run even faster than it does now in Virtual Box.
With everything virtually done, maybe I can play in the Canada Day contest tomorrow. I used it to get my DX streak QSO this evening when I worked G3ORY on 20 meters. -30-
Monday, June 29, 2015 8:47 PM - I wrote up a story about our FD operation, but I'm going to save it for our NAQCC newsletter which comes out in a few days rather than publishing it here. When the newsletter is posted, I'll provide a link to the story here in the diary.
I (and Mike as well) want to thank Tom WB3FAE for being a great host of, and participant in the operation. He certainly made things easy and pleasant for us.
My DX streak continued through the operation, and this evening it reached 852 days when I worked EU6AF pretty easily on 20, although I had to send my call several times before he got it right. After I worked him, it dawned on me that it was a 6 in his call which I needed to finish the NAQCC European chapter challenge. I didn't think I was going to master it this month, but now I have. I've already sent my report across the pond in an email just before working on the diary.
Other than that, it was kind of a wind-down day from the great weekend. Looking back on it now, I'll always remember it as a very enjoyable event. I kind of wish I was back in that tent still pounding out the QSOs. I thought by volunteering for 80, 15 and 10 meters, I could take it easy during the day and then have a couple busy hours during the evening. It didn't turn out that way though, as 15 was great both days, and 10 opened nicely on Sunday. All in all, I wound up with 127 QSOs on 15, 46 on 10, 79 on 80, and 1 on 160 for a total of 253. I missed 10 states - AK DE ID ME MT OR SC VT WV WY. I worked 59 of the 83 ARRL sections. Oh, that reminds me, I have to send my report in for the NAQCC FD challenge, so I'll close now and do that after I get my weather readings. -30-
Sunday, June 28, 2015 5:54 PM - Just back home from a FD weekend in Chicora, PA. Hence no diary entry for the 27th. However, either later tonight or in tomorrow's entry, I'll have a report on our FD activities with pictures. We made 562 QSOs in all states but KL7 and DE. -30-
Friday, June 26, 2015 4:15 PM - I thought I'd write this a bit early today. My DX streak lives another day although it was a struggle. I called a good many weak DX stations with no sign they were hearing me at all except for one K3? and that didn't go any further. However finally on 17 meters, I heard JA7BXS around s4 to s5, and after calling him many times he came back with K3WWP and gave me a 449. Thanks Takar.
Of course earlier in the day we were busy setting up for FD. I even called some DX from there with no luck. We got our tent set up along with the antennas and did some testing to see if we had any interference among the three of us. We didn't notice any. I was hearing Tom on 17 meters but that doesn't matter for FD. I made 3 1/2 QSOs, and Tom made one. I say 1/2 because I got an answer from a VE4 station, but we never completed the first round. So now all we have to worry about is the weather. A LOT of rain predicted for the weekend. I looks like (we hope) the heaviest of it will be over by the time FD starts tomorrow though. -30-
Thursday, June 25, 2015 9:17 PM - Once again I have to ask myself the question, "Is today the day the DX streak ends?" Very poor conditions again this evening. I tried calling a couple weak DX stations, but without any signs they were hearing me at all. The low SF of 102 and high A index of 33 is really wreaking havoc on the bands. Perhaps I'll luck out again later this evening as I did last night when I fairly easily worked Luc I1YRL on 20 meters at 0407Z. If not then, it is going to be rough since a good part of tomorrow will be devoted to setting up for FD. Of course, maybe I can work some DX from the FD setup. If need be, I certainly will try. I'm getting more and more determined to make it to 1,000 days sometime this November. However as I get more determined, propagation conditions get worse and worse.
I did keep the big streak going easily. That one is going to be harder to end. It will take something really major to end it. I worked Don W3RDF on 40 meters. We hadn't worked in many years. Let's see just how long it was. Assuming it was Don way back then, our first QSO was June 28, 1964 - just a couple days short of 51 years ago. Our last QSO before tonight was January 8, 2003. I was right when I said to Don I bet it was over 10 years ago. I don't have my computer log in the shack, so I can't tell right away during a QSO.
Along with propagation, the weather continues poor this summer so far. chilly an wet. Looks like the worst is coming just in time for FD too. The NWS is predicting as much as 3 1/4 inches of rain mainly on Saturday starting just about the same time FD starts. That's still a couple days off though, so things could get better, or (OH NO) worse. We'll see. -30-
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 9:19 PM - I just finished 'posting' my little QSO note by the computer here to remind me that I need to get a DX QSO tomorrow to keep the streak going. I just couldn't find any DX that was workable this evening except EA6UN on 20 whom I just worked last night and didn't want to work again so soon. Also a DJ4WY who was very strong, but he was S&P other DX stations and never called CQ himself. The bands do seem a tad better than last night though, so hopefully sometime before 0000Z tomorrow evening I'll be able to get a DX QSO for day 847. -30-
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 8:52 PM - Every time I go to my shack, I am confident of making a QSO, and over the past couple years now, of making a DX QSO. I think that positive thinking is very helpful. I know there are folks out there who can copy just about anything that is sent their way. It's my job of finding them if I want to keep the streak going. Generally that means finding someone whose signal is at least S8 if possible. Then if there is no competition I will most of the time work them. Now what I've just said applies all but a very few times. For those few times it can be a struggle finding a strong DX station, let alone working one. Tonight was one of those times.
I searched the bands from 30 through 15 for DX and didn't hear any. All the panadapter peaks turned out to be W/VE stations, and there weren't very many of them. I did see/hear CO3ET just barely peeking out of the noise on 30, and called him, but only got a ? if that was even for me. OK, looks like I'm not going to get any DX tonight, so I better solidify the big streak, and I tried many unanswered CQs on 40. Well, I better look for some W/VE station calling CQ. I found AD4YB sending several QRL?s, and wondered if he were going to ever call CQ. Finally he did, and I called and got an answer and a QSO from him. Not the best QSO as the band went away after a somewhat brief first round, but it was a QSO for the streak.
OK, now comes the part that intrigues and impresses me about QRP. I found Jurek EA6UN on 20 meters peeking out of the S4 noise there just like CO3ET on 30. Should I call him or not? Might was well. He worked a couple other stations before he answered me with K3?. Several repeats later and I got a K3WKP? and a 559 report from him. A few more repeats and he logged me correctly. Now how in the world can he copy me when I can barely copy him. Had I not known him and his call, I would probably have had to ask him for several repeats if the situation were reversed. I think it is impressive just how many great ops there are around the world, and how many of them will take the time to pull out the weak signals. I'm sure that living on the Balearic Islands must help Jurek in addition to him being a great op. I would imagine the noise level would be very low there and with a big antenna the S/N ratio would be ideal for copying anything. Actually it must be similar to operating from the Kittanning park on our parkpeditions. I can copy signals there that would be completely lost here at home. Solid copy from someone who doesn't even budge the S meter off it's resting mark.
OK, that was a pretty rambling entry from my just thinking out loud or typing out loud - whatever. There wasn't much else to talk about today anyway. Oh, Bruce next door made his famous chili and invited me for some. I guess that was about the highlight of the day. It did get nice out after being showery most of the day till mid-late afternoon. Then I got in a couple nice walks. Now it's (past) time to get my weather readings, so I'll stop the rambling. -30-
Monday, June 22, 2015 8:48 PM - A quick DX QSO at 0002Z from ZP9SC on 30 meters this evening. Looking at the propagation numbers just before I got on the air worried me. I didn't think I'd get any DX, but then you can't always correlate the numbers with what you hear.
Last night after I wrote the diary entry, I checked the bands again and found HA9PP booming in over S9 on 20 meters and thought I'd try to work him with 800 mW, and I did easily. Wish I'd have set the power lower now.
Not much else to talk about today. I'm still working on reposting a lot of my QSL pictures to OneDrive, and I'm getting down near the end now. I guess about 20 more I want to update. I think I may just work on that now after I get my weather readings. -30-
Sunday, June 21, 2015 9:10 PM - More six meter fun today. A check around 2100Z showed some peaks on the panadapter and I wound up working Ric WO4O in FL (EL98) and K4NO in AL (EM64) - new state (#18). Then later on Dan K1TO in FL (EL87). I now have somewhere around 25-30 grid squares, I think. I also heard some West Coast stations again, but they were in and out so fast, I didn't get a chance to try to work them. That was also true of several other stations here and there. It's tricky making QSOs on six with all the competition plus the rapid QSB, but that's what makes it fun. I wish I had the room to get up a better six meter antenna. What I have now (dipole in the attic) is only good for the stronger openings, and I miss a lot.
The DX streak rolled on tonight to 844 days when I worked 9A7R on 15 meters. I think without the assistance of the panadapter, I might still be listening to find some DX. It sure is great for a quick band scan. -30-
Saturday, June 20, 2015 8:51 PM - Starting yesterday, I'm into another project I've been wanting to do for some time now. I'm updating the QSL card pictures on my Microsoft One Drive storage space. When I first posted the pictures in other places, I never had the space to do a decent job with the cards. Many had beautiful pictures of the country on them, but I only posted the back side with the QSO info on it. Now I'm rescanning them a few at a time and posting both sides of those that are two-sided cards. I think they look much better that way. Take a look via the OneDrive link at the top of this page. Only about a fifth or so have been updated yet, but I hope to get them all done in the next couple weeks or so.
A fairly easy DX QSO this evening from EA8BLV on 17 meters even though he was only about s5-6 here. He copied me well after a couple repeats of my call. The bands were good, but most DX that I heard on 20 were in the AA contest, and of course, not being in Asia myself, I couldn't work them. I only heard one Asian which is a surprise. That was an A6 station who didn't hear me at all.
Six meters seems to be back to its dead ways again, at least to my little attic dipole. I haven't heard a thing there since the last opening I mentioned a few days ago. I will keep checking though. -30-
Friday, June 19, 2015 8:22 PM - An easy DX QSO this evening in contrast to a few of the recent evenings. It was Alex RW5MQ on 17 meters. He wasn't all that strong at S6-S7 with QSB, but he got me with just one repeat of my call. Those Russian ops are among the best in the world and most of them will stick with you until a solid QSO results.
Otherwise today I took care of a couple of things that I had been procrastinating on doing. First I renewed my domain name k3wwp.com for another year. I've been happy with using it along with the increased storage on the server of Cahaba Internet donated by my friend, the owner, Bill WA4FAT.
Then I finally applied for my W1AW Centennial WAS award. Actually I applied for the plaque instead of the certificate. It cost quite a bit more, but I figure it's a once in a lifetime thing so I don't mind spending the extra money. It was nice while filling in the award application (I don't use credit cards at all here, so I couldn't apply on line) to reflect back on the fun it was chasing the W1AW stations and then waiting to be sure I was in their log via the LoTW.
I also did some more grass pulling from the bricks today and now am pretty much finished with that. Then I cut the grass in the back yard.
To reward myself for a job well done, I treated myself to a foot long tuna sub from Subway. Was that good! -30-
Thursday, June 18, 2015 8:43 PM - Strange conditions this evening. Several strong European signals on 20 from S7 to S9+, but I couldn't get as much as a ? out of them when I called. That happens sometimes, not often, and it makes me wonder if there isn't such a thing as one way skip at times. Finally I settled on working YN7SU for the DX streak, but then I was determined to work at least one of the Europeans and at last I did get special event station AO10EURAO with a bit of difficulty. Then I tried 30 and S50O was strong there, but wasn't hearing me although I finally did work him although I'm not sure he got my call correct in the end.
Six was open again last night so I pretty much forsook our NAQCC mW sprint after only 4 QSOs to chase some stations on six. It wasn't as good as the evening before, but I did work three stations and a new state in MO which makes 17 on six now. I didn't hear a thing tonight on six.
I did some more cleaning of grass from the brick sidewalks today. I'm getting close to finishing up now. I also went shopping to a local flea market less than a block from here. I had bought some nice things there in the past, but the lady hadn't been opening up much last year. She has started again this year now every Thursday. Today Nancy went over with me. I bought a dremel clone. I always have wanted one, but didn't feel like paying 50 dollars or more. I got one today for 15 bucks. Also a container of wood screws and a pair of flush cutting pliers to replace an old pair that never worked too well. Everything came to $18. -30-
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 8:04 PM - Same station, same time, different band. Last night it was 17, tonight 30 for VP2MKV at 0000Z.
I checked six meters a few times today, but didn't find any openings. At least for my attic dipole. I suppose those folks with big six meter beams on high towers had openings today (and most days probably). I'll never have that, so I have to take what comes. As I said last night, I probably do miss a lot of openings from just not checking six often enough.
Tonight is our NAQCC mW sprint. I'm not really in a sprinting mood so I may just get in long enough to get a QSO or two so I can continue my record of never having missed a single NAQCC sprint. Or if conditions are really good which they didn't seem to be when I was hunting my DX QSO, I may stick around a while longer. -30-
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 9:26 PM - A lot happening today. It sure was looking like my DX streak was going to end today. Ever since I got up, I checked the bands every 90 minutes or so and each time found them devoid of any DX at all. However, at 1921Z, I finally found and worked 6Y5WJ on 17 meters and the DX streak still exists.
This evening it was extended another day almost immediately. I turned on the rig at 0000Z and the first peak I saw on the panadapter turned out to be VP2MKV on 17 meters. A call and a couple repeats got me another day in the DX streak before the day had a chance to really even get going. What a difference a day makes.
It make a big difference in the weather too. After some rain during the night and some clouds and a shower early today, the skies became only partly cloudy with a lot of sunshine, lower humidity, and NO rain. The extension arm from TS Bill that had been feeding Gulf moisture up here the past few days slipped to the south pretty much below PA.
After I got my DX QSO, the real fun began. I have been trying to remember to check six meters lately because June is the best month for openings on that band. Well, this evening I ran across one. I made 4 QSOs with 4 watts to my attic six meter rotatable dipole. I don't even remember which direction it is aimed right now. Anyway I worked AE5VB EM31, K5WE EM25, N2NL EL97, K7XC EM12. I also heard VP9/WA4PGM but he faded (or QRT) before I even had a chance to call. All four grid squares were new, I believe. I'll have to check later to be sure, but anyway I didn't have them colored in on my grid square map yet. Grid square EM31 looks like it spans LA and TX. If AE4VB is in LA, that would be a new 6 meter state. Let's see what QRZ says. Yes, Boyce, LA so that is 16 states on 6 now. Not all that good, but I'm sure it could be better if I'd check the band more often which I hope to do from now on. -30-