K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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Sun May 28 2017 8:53PM - Well, the big streak lives, but the DX will have to wait till morning or afternoon. I tried a couple DX stations this evening with no luck. There was very little in the way of DX or even domestic activity. There was one big DX pileup around 7025 which probably had more stations in it than were on the rest of 40, 30, and 20. Hopefully I can get a DX QSO before our Memorial Day Parade at 10AM local time as after that I'm going to a cookout. So it may be touch and go. Time will tell.

Almost time now to get my weather info. We had a really heavy shower about an hour ago. It will be interesting to see how much rain it put down. -30-

Sat May 27 2017 9:06PM - I never did get on the bands today to check conditions. Hope I didn't miss anything good in the contest. I worked V31PS this evening for my DX streak QSO. Then instead of continuing in the contest, I went to 30 and had a rag chew with K5FA. I'm just having trouble getting interested in contesting anymore for whatever reason. I guess maybe old age. HI. I still look forward to our NAQCC sprints and the ARRL and CQWW big DX tests in February and November.

I'm stuffed right now. I just finished off a pizza with my neighbor. That makes three pizzas in 4 days now. I think I'll pretty much fast all day tomorrow if I can. I did at least only eat a little bit besides the pizza today and I walked.... let's see....11.31 miles so far. So I'm working on keeping the weight in check despite all the pizzas.

OK, enough rambling for now. -30-

Fri May 26 2017 8:07PM - Of course, the WPX contest provided me a quick DX contact. It was WP3C on 15 meters. The first 15M QSO I've had in a while now. It's "amazing" how big contests can bring "dead" bands to life, isn't it?

I'm not really in a contesting mood right now, but I may check the bands during the day tomorrow to see if I can find any interesting DX to work. I have worked some new overall countries or new band countries in the past in this contest. As far as going for score, I doubt I'll do that.

The solar numbers look good right now. The SF is 80 which is a bit high for this stage in the sunspot cycle so it may be a good weekend for contesting. So I really should check things out at least for a while. -30-

Thu May 25 2017 8:35PM - A quick DX QSO with 8P5A on 20M. He's probably tuning up for the WPX contest this weekend. I work him in many contests. After that a nice chat with one of our NAQCC members down in FL on 30M - Al N4OW, who coincidentally I work in contests also. Actually in our NAQCC sprints to be exact.

We're setting up for something very unusual, maybe unique in a way. We may wind up with our May here being colder than April unless the last few days in May turn out to be somewhat warmer than the first 24 or 25 have been. Actually again to be exact here, the May daily maximum average may be colder than April, not the daily minimum nor the daily mean. Let me just give the figures for April's 30 days vs. May's 25 so far.

Month - Min - Max - Mean
April - 45.2 - 70.4 - 57.8
May - 49.0 - 69.7 - 59.3

Those are my AcuRite remote readings. The "official" thermometer in my shelter will be slightly different one way or the other. It will be interesting to see what happens when May is over.

I've got a few minutes here now. I'm going to check to see if that situation has happened before in my records going back to 1959.

Actually it did happen once before. Never with the Minimum or Mean, but in 1967 May's Maximum was 64.8 and that of April 65.1. A 0.3 degree difference. As Spock would say 'fascinating'. -30-

Wed May 24 2017 9:45PM - Mike dropped by for our regular 4th Wednesday evening get together and pizza party. After we ate, it was off to the shack. Just before he came I got HD2RRC again for another day in the DX streak. This time on 20 meters, whereas last night it was 30 meters.

Mike worked UR5WA on 40, HD2RRC on 30, and XE2B on 20. Other than that, not really much to talk about today.

I did plant out my pepper plants this afternoon, and now only have the stunted Siberian tomato plants left to go outside. I'll still give them about another week to see if they are going to grow, and then put them out one way or other anyway. -30-

Tue May 23 2017 6:37PM - OK, here are the promised pictures from our Sunday parkpedition. I think my Jackite pole and mount are camera shy. I have yet to get a really good picture of them out in the field. About the best are in the .pdf article linked into last night's diary entry. I took a couple on Sunday, but when I got home they weren't in my camera for some reason.

Anyway first here is one of the newest members of our little NAQCC WPA Chapter, Jody K3JZD at his setup.
Jody K3JZD
Next is Mike KC2EGL, followed by me.
John K3WWP
To close out, another not too good picture of my Jackite pole, mount and antenna. I inserted some red dots to make it easier to trace out the pole and inverted vee antenna. The Jackite is the black pole, not the lighter park light pole in the background.
Jackite pole mount antenna


Mon May 22 2017 5:23PM - A simple entry today. Just a link to my Jackite pole mount article. It's a plain vanilla .pdf file with no navigation menus on it. Then tomorrow I'll have the promised pictures from our Sunday parkpedition.

Click here for the article. -30-

Sun May 21 2017 8:40PM - I say this every time it happens because it's true every time. When Mike visits, it's a great day. It was touch and go with our planned parkpedition and we didn't really decide on going until about a half hour before the fact. So we didn't get a chance to get out any advance publicity, just a quick note on our NAQCC email list just before we left for the park.

Also because of the late decision, Jody K3JZD didn't get our email to him about our change of locations in the park, so we and he wound up setting up in different sections of the park. After a while we did get together and he joined in our fun for the last hour or so. The three of us made a total of 19 QSOs in maybe a dozen states or so from a couple hours of operating before the rains finally came.

I was very pleased with my homebrew Jackite mount. The other day Tom helped me set it up. Today I wanted to do it completely by myself and did so with no problems at all. That included taking it down at the end of the session.

I'll have some more comments and pictures in tomorrow's diary entry.

After we tore down and came home, it was off to Wendy's for some burgers and fries. Unfortunately Jody had to leave for his home after we left the park, so he couldn't join us. Back home again and Mike and I put my station back together and chased some DX without any luck. We heard some, but it wasn't very strong and they didn't hear us call at all.

Mike likes my mount and wants to build one as one of our projects. He's off for a week or so around the 4th of July so we will probably do it then. We checked through my wood and parts piles to see what he would have to get. Actually I have most of the parts and he only needs to get a couple minor things.

After that we did a little email testing. His phone was giving him problems with email notifications. We never did really solve that. I suggested he give up on that for now and relax with some hidden object computer games which he did before heading for home. He left just about 0000Z, so I headed for the shack and was surprised to hear Europe pretty strong yet on 20 meters. They were very popular and I couldn't get my call in edgewise, so I went to 30 and worked NP4AW for my DX streak QSO. -30-

Sat May 20 2017 8:10PM - I've been agonizing over the weather forecast for tomorrow just about all day today. I think we'll err on the side of caution and postpone our planned parkpedition. As I said though, Mike will be visiting, and perhaps we will put N3AQC on the air from my shack for a while. It will be a last minute decision in the morning. We will post any activity on the NAQCC email list, so if you're a NAQCC member, watch for that. If you're not a member, why not. It's totally free.

I worked some more on my Jackite pole mount article and am just about ready to publish it via a link here in the diary and/or in the June NAQCC (or later) newsletter. I also sum up the jumper inverted V dipole in the article.

Also today, I did some more garden planting, putting in some bush bean and pea seeds. I now have those plus 6 Early Girl tomato plants and some Speckled Butter Bean seeds planted. I'm still waiting to see if my indoor started Siberian Tomatos and Peppers are going to get bigger before putting them out.

DX came quickly again this evening from Oscar LU1XS on 20 meters. It took only two calls to get him. -30-

Fri May 19 2017 8:18PM - Is there anything better in ham radio than owning and using an Elecraft KX3 with the companion PX3? In my opinion, no. It's the rig that renews itself every so often. By that I mean the periodic firmware updates that either correct a tiny bug (very seldom, because the rig has always been pretty much bug free from day 1) or adds some new features (quite often). I am really excited about one particular feature in the latest update. There are now two independent ATU Data sets. One can be used at home and the other for portable operation. That way when you come home from that portable operation, you no longer have to reset all the ATU Data. You just use the menu to switch from Data Set 2 (portable) back to Data Set 1 (home). That is just so great, I think.

I sometimes forget to check the firmware updates for a while, since I don't have a computer connected in the shack all the time. This latest one was from April 27, so that wasn't too bad - only about 23 days.

I was planning to finish off my Jackite mount story today, but my camera batteries were dead, as were their replacements. So I'm putting that off a couple more days.

The weather is looking worse and worse for Sunday and I think our parkpedition is in danger of having to be postponed. Mike is still coming down, so maybe we can do a bit of a homepedition instead. HI That is putting N3AQC on the air from my home shack here. If not that, I'm sure we'll get into something or other as we always do when he visits.

A quick DX QSO this evening from TI5/N3KS which allowed me time to get the firmware update done this evening.

It was a different story earlier today trying to get the May 19 DX. I checked not long after I got up a little past 1200Z and found absolutely nothing on 30, 20, or 17, really tho only viable bands for DX at that time. After that I checked every half hour or so and still found almost nothing. I did hear DJ3AS on 20 about S5-6, but he wasn't hearing me at all. Finally just past 1500Z as I was heating some Ramen noodles in the microwave, it dawned on me that I hadn't checked for a while, so up to the shack I flew. There were more signals on the PX3 now, and one turned out to be OF5Z at S7 on 20M. I called once with no response, so I repeated my call. I heard him sending something in the background as I was calling. I thought he was working someone else, so I waited, and he came back with K3WWP 599. So we were doubling and I actually got him with a single call. I think these little strange things make the streak more interesting. -30-

Thu May 18 2017 9:13PM - I think maybe the jinx I talked about a couple entries ago may be setting in. I just couldn't work any DX this evening and will probably have to wait till morning or afternoon now, if I work any at all. Even stations I usually work easily weren't hearing me this evening.

At least the main streak worked out. I had QSOs with KC4KNN and N1JI on 40 meters. Both good rag chews.

In glancing back through my log, I see it has been since April 17, just over a month since I haven't gotten my streak QSOs in the 00 or 01 hours. In fact I don't have any QSOs during that period outside those hours except working PV8ADI during our Jackite mount test yesterday afternoon. So I guess I'll get a chance to see what the bands are like in the morning tomorrow.

Not much else to say about today. The weather was good with a high of 88, moderate humidity, and some breezes. -30-

Wed May 17 2017 8:04PM - Yes, a quick DX QSO this evening at 0001Z. But I won't go into that as I want to tell about the day Tom WB3FAE and I had.

As I said the past couple days, we were going to the park to check out my Jackite pole mount. It passed all the checks with flying colors. It was very easy to set up, and it performed well even in some moderate winds. So now that I'm happy with it, I'm going to publish more info about it here in the diary. My camera balked on me today, but Tom took several pictures and will be sending them to me.

The weather was surprisingly nice considering it was 90 degrees and a bit on the humid side. A breeze up on the hill at the park made it comfortable. Tom had his antenna analyzer with him and before we went to the park, we checked out my home antennas. Not surprisingly, except for 20 meters the SWR was not all that good on any of the bands. However we figured that with some 90+ thousand QSOs to their credit, there wasn't much use making any changes to them. You know the saying, if it ain't broke, etc.

After we set up in the park we also checked my portable antenna. It was pretty much right on for 20 and 30 meters, but the SWR on 40 was a bit high in the 2-3 to 1 range. It resonated at 1:1 a little lower in frequency so it needs a couple inches taken off the end of the 40 meters section. I might do that before the Sunday parkpedition.

I just want to reiterate how pleased I am with my mount. Although Tom did help with setting it up, it can be done very easily by just one person. We did only make one QSO - with Brazil - PV8ADI on 20 meters. Although signals were strong, there was a lot of QSB, and the other DX we tried calling all seemed to be very popular with a lot of answers, and we didn't have all that much time to really persist to get them.

So everything went very well. Almost that is. When we were closing up shop and tearing down the installation, we noticed that the gate to the section of the park we had driven into had been closed, and yes you guessed it, locked. Tom went to see if there was any other way out, but there wasn't. A softball coach and a couple players were practicing, and they gave Tom a non-emergency police number to call to see if someone would come and unlock the gate. One policeman did come, but he didn't have the right key, so we had to wait till someone else came with the right key. To make the story shorter, we did get out after 20 minutes or so. -30-

Tue May 16 2017 8:23PM - It's becoming more and more interesting keeping my DX streak going as we slip down towards the upcoming solar minimum. There have been quite a few evenings lately when the bands provided a European QSO, including tonight when I worked IG9/S59A on 20 meters. I called once and he worked someone else. When they finished, I called once more and got him easily. I do work into Italy fairly easily most times. Now even with the solar flux in the upper 60s and low 70s, it's not that hard. He was only about 55 or 569 here, yet my QRP made it through. Of course S59A is a very good op, so that helps too. Each day though, I get a little more confident that I might just make it through the minimum with the DX streak. That is, if saying that now doen't jinx it. HI.

Tomorrow's the day for my Jackite pole mount test in the Community Park. It's going to be a hot day with a high around 90. It was 82 today, and I sort of got myself prepared for tomorrow by taking a couple pretty long walks in the heat and somewhat high humidity this afternoon. As I get older the heat gets to me a bit more. Used to be it couldn't get too hot for me. Then as time went by, I'd find the first hot day of summer would bother me, but after that I was again adapted to it for the rest of the season. Now, it takes a few hot days to adapt, and I suppose that will get worse as I get older.

As I mentioned, it won't be a true parkpedition tomorrow, but time permitting and if we get our testing done, we will try to make some QSOs. No definite times, but if you want to try to work us, check 7041, 10117, and 14061 sometime after 1900Z or so. We might just use our own calls, K3WWP and WB3FAE or perhaps N3AQC. Everything's kind of up in the air right now. We will be more definite about the Sunday true parkpedition if we don't get rained out. I'll list the sked here in the diary and also on our NAQCC email list.

I had a very busy day again today. It's primary election day in PA, so I went and voted. After that Bruce ran me up to Walmart to pick up some needed things. Back home again to get a couple NAQCC prizes ready to mail. Then off to the Post Office. Some pulling of grass from the brick sidewalk was fun. I always have enjoyed doing that since I was a kid. It's nice to see the transformation from a grass filled walk to a nice cleaned off one. About it for the day, but then I thought I'd get my second half of the month bills taken care of also, so I did. Of course the day also included the Roscoe walks, three so far and one yet to come. I really enjoy that also. So the busy day was also an enjoyable one. -30-

Mon May 15 2017 8:50PM - My regular streak QSO this evening came from my friend Bob K2YGM on 40 meters. We had a nice almost 30 minute rag chew about gardens, my Jackite mount, and some other things. He asked me why I use the 0000Z hour for my DX QSOs if I can. Other diary readers may wonder the same thing so I'll repeat my answer to Bob here.

First of all, that way if I do get the DX in that hour, more or less the pressure is off for another 24 hours to keep the streak going. If I don't make it then, I have the morning hours 13-16Z or so during which time 20 is generally good to Europe. Basically that's it except to add I do like to do a lot of other things in those morning hours like walking Roscoe just to mention one so if I can get the DX in the evening, the morning will be free for those activities.

I'm looking forward to checking out my Jackite mount in the park with WB3FAE on Wednesday afternoon. The the parkpedition on Sunday. After that I have an article written about the mount which I hope to publish here in the diary. Bob said he'd be interested in seeing it. Maybe others will also.

To close now before the weather readings, I'll just say this was a 0000Z DX hour tonite. A couple minutes after signing with Bob, I worked OE3DIA on 40 easily after he went through 3 or 4 other stations before me. -30-

Sun May 14 2017 8:04PM - DX QSO KP2M at 0001Z on 20M. Quick and to the point which was good because now I can get to closing out the cross-checking of our NAQCC sprint logs - all 124 of them. That's down from last month's 217, but still respectable and fortunately a lot more than some 2 hour weekday sprints get. Thanks to a great bunch of members.

A lot to look forward in the coming week. If you can look forward to laundry, that is, for tomorrow. On Tuesday, it's primary election day. Wednesday Tom WB3FAE will be visiting and we'll put the final tweaks to my new Jackite pole, homebrew mount, and rewired jumper dipole. Also one day this week a trip to get some tomato plants and a couple other things at Walmart. Then next Sunday our parkpedition to give a real test to the antenna, pole, and mount.

OK, just got the word that Corey closed out our sprint page, so I'm going to work now. -30-

Sat May 13 2017 8:55PM - It was very nice to hear a bunch of Asiatic Russians in the CQM contest in the 00Z hour. None were very strong and the best I got from one was 3?, but it was still nice to hear them even with the SF as low as it is now. Maybe I'll be able to work some when the Sun gets still higher in latitude in the next month or so.

I did work an Italian in the contest - I2VXJ on 40 for my streak QSO. Then I had a nice 2X QRP QSO on 30 with W4MA with whom I exchanged FISTS numbers. We both had numbers in the 2,000s so we joined rather close sometime in the mid 1990s.

The May weather is finally starting to feel like May and it will gradually get better through Wednesday when the high is predicted to be near 90. That will sure feel good. Speaking of weather, it's time to get my daily 9PM readings now, so 73. -30-

Fri May 12 2017 8:19PM - It's a very long stretch in a couple meanings of the phrase, but I'm just wondering if the one or two dozen fairly regular DX stations I seem to hear all the time will help to keep the DX streak going into and perhaps through the sunspot minimum. I'm talking about stations like ON4UN, CO8LY, V44KAI, XE1XR, XE1RK, S57V, OM3SEM, oh and I could go on, but these and other stations have good setups and good skill to copy my minimal QRP signals. I do hate to work the same stations over and over again as it diminishes the streak somewhat, I think. However, having gone this far now (1,535 days) I would hate to have it come to an end, and then suddenly find that conditions are improving once again. So I probably will do whatever it takes to continue the streak.

I spent a lot of time today working on the preliminary steps of cross-checking our sprint logs from Wednesday evening. It was another good turnout with around 120 logs so far. Way short of last month's 217 when we celebrated our 150th NAQCC sprint and gave away a nice prize in a random drawing of all who participated and sent in their log. As is true of just about each and every one of our sprints, reading the soapbox comments and looking at results indicate that conditions seem to vary widely around the country. I've been blessed here with very good conditions the past couple months allowing me to make 64 and 51 QSOs respectively. Others who usually have big scores have been a bit down the same two months.

Another annual rite has been going on the past couple days as Ange "resurrects" his fig trees that have been buried in the ground during the winter. I helped him a bit today get the last couple up, but as I get older I cut back on the strenuous part of the work involved.

As for my garden, it looks like a dismal year. My tomatoes and peppers are still just not growing. The look pretty healthy, but are just not getting bigger. They seem to have been stalled for the past month or so now. The beans I planted outside a week or two ago, on the other hand seem to be doing pretty well. About half have sprouted so far and are growing. I think I'll have to buy a couple extra tomato plants this year. I usually get a couple Rutgers or Early Girl ones to supplement my Siberian ones I start myself indoors, but looks like this year I'll have to rely on store bought ones for the most part. -30-

Thu May 11 2017 8:08PM - A quick DX QSO from S57V on 30M, hence the early time stamp on this diary entry.

Mike was here a good part of the day which means right there it was a good day. We discussed plans for our summer NAQCC WPA Chapter activities which took a while. I showed him what is virtually the final version of my Jackite antenna pole mount. It won't be long till we will be using it in the park on Sunday May 21. Then I'll know if any final tweaks or adjustments need to be made.

Next we went to the Post Office to mail a couple things and stopped on the way home to get a pizza from Vocelli. It really hit the spot. It had mushrooms, tomatoes, and green peppers as toppings.

After we polished that off at home we went over to the Ol' Station Marketplace since it was their open day of the week - Thursday. We looked around quite a while, but the only thing I got was a mini-hacksaw. I'm gathering a pretty good tool collection from there at very cheap prices. Some of the tools need a little adjusting and cleaning, but I like doing that especially when so much money is saved. Mike didn't find anything.

Next it was a DX session in my shack. Or a lack of DX session to be accurate. There was nothing at all on 30 or 20 which would be the only likely bands at the time of day and point in the sunspot cycle. So it was to the computer and some hidden object games for quite a while.

After that, back to the shack where there was some DX now. However, we weren't being heard by the DX. Mike tried an SP and an I station with no luck, but did work CO2SG to make it at least one DX station for the day for Mike. Shortly after that he had to head home since tomorrow is a work day. -30-

Wed May 10 2017 8:03PM - Seems I'm always in a rush about something now that the nicer weather is here again. Tonight it's not weather related though. It's the monthly NAQCC sprint coming up in a few minutes. I'm not really in a sprinting mood so I might do well tonight. It seems when I really get fired up for a contest I don't do as well as when I approach it casually or am not in a contesting mood.

At least I don't have to worry about my DX contact. I worked WP3C on 30 meters at 0002Z for day # 1,533 in the streak.

Now I want to get in a walk with Roscoe and get my weather readings before I get involved in the sprint so I'll close here with 73. -30-

Tue May 09 2017 5:20PM - Just a couple adjustments and updates of my last two diary entries while I'm waiting to watch Penn State's Weather World program which airs on the Internet at 5:30PM daily.

My QSO total as of today is 92,623 of which 3,638 are away from my home base. Those figures could be off a little bit since some that were away from home were logging in my home database. I'm thinking right now particularly of the time I operated a contest from my late cousin Virginia's house. Actually the portable database is only when I used K3WWP/3, WA3IXO, N3AQC, N3A, NY3EC and perhaps a couple more. With the relaxed rules of logging, I haven't had to use K3WWP/3 when operating portable for some time now. Anyway with the figures above, it's 96.1% of my QSOs are from my home base here.

As far as number of days with a verified DX QSO in my streak, I've worked it out by years as follows:

Year - # of Days - # verified - percent
2013 305 229 75.1%
2014 365 251 68.8%
2015 365 221 60.5%
2016 366 202 55.2%
2017 120  61 50.8%
Tot 1521 964 63.4%
That's as of the end of April this year. -30-

Mon May 08 2017 7:37PM - I kind of got away from the 54 years of ham radio serial I started last month. The past couple days I got to thinking about how things have changed in those 54 years. They've changed a lot for ham radio in general, but being very conservative in everything I do and believe, things haven't really changed all that much for me personally. Let me just do some rough comparisons.

1. Of course my QTH hasn't changed at all. I still live in the same house I lived in when I was born. I never went looking for a better QTH from which to pursue my ham radio hobby. I have operated portable from a few different locations, but my base station is right here. I'd estimate about 98% of my 90,000+ QSOs have been made from right here.

2. My antennas have stayed virtually the same over the 54 year span. That is simple wire antennas of which they've been mostly indoors, on my porch roof, on the side of the house, and so forth. The highest they've ever been were the ones in the third floor (attic) of my house at perhaps 25 feet maximum.

3. My equipment has stayed pretty much the same. I'd say there were only two major changes. The first when I went from separate xmtr (all hmbw) and rcvr in 1999 to my first transceiver. Next when I added the Elecraft PX3 panadapter. Both changes made primarily to save time when I was on the bands. It took time to change bands when I used my hmbw xmtrs as it involved changing and tuning many controls. It also took time to tune across the bands looking for signals. Now with the xcvr and panadapter, much less time is wasted doing those things.

4. Some things have stayed exactly the same for 54 years. I never took up watching packet or Internet spots to find my DX, and never will. I don't use those reverse beacons or whatever they are called. I don't even know how they work and don't really care to. I've never used keyboards to send my CW, nor ever copied CW with anything but my brain. It's been strictly straight key, bug, or keyers for sending. Of course I've never used nor wanted to use anything but Morse Code.

5. Another thing that changed is the method of finding the QTH of stations I work who don't give an exact QTH on the air as in contests or other such events. Back then, it was the paper Callbook which took some time. Nowadays the Internet call sign searchers like HamCall, QRZ, WM7D make it a snap to find a QTH in a few seconds.

6. I guess this is a change also. I've become more confident that I can work DX now. It kind of intimidated me way back when, and I often got discouraged when trying to work someone. Now I'm confident that if I can hear someone, I can contact them most of the time. Also I know when I'm not likely to contact them because they are so weak or have such a huge pileup.

I just kind of ad libbed the above and didn't really sit down and plot it out. Right now it's streak time, so I'll cut it off here. If any more things come to mind, I'll note them and continue this later. -30-

Sun May 07 2017 7:24PM - What a difference a day makes. In turn what a mood swing in a day. Yesterday depressing - today exhilirating. Bright sunshine most of the day. Temperatures a bit cool, but not that bad - almost 60 for the high. I took a couple long walks around town and even Roscoe liked being out a little longer than usual.

I did some work on our NAQCC WPA Chapter activities list today. I think other than added impromptu events, we have the schedule finalized for our main activities. We had been waiting on dates for the Skeeter Hunt and the Unionville hamfest, and I found those today. Our first activity will be a parkpedition on Sunday May 21. In addition to mentioning the final times and bands here in the diary, there will be a promo go out on our NAQCC email list. You are a member of the NAQCC aren't you? And of FISTS also? You shoud be if you're not. NAQCC membership is free, and FISTS membership boils down to a couple cents per day.

I've been curious to know on how many days of my DX streak, at least one of the QSO's has been verified via card, LoTW, and/or eQSL. Of course with my Microsoft Access log and a little help from Microsoft Excel, it only took a few minutes to find out. Most of that taken up by my thinking exactly how to do it. The answer is 964 days out of 1,526 or 63.2%. Not bad. If you consider that because of the delay in QSLing, many of the recent QSOs are still awaiting verification, it's even better. For example I only have 11 of 30 days 'verified' in April so far. Maybe I'll break that down by year, but not right now.

Well, about 5 minutes till I head to the shack, so I'll wrap this up for now with a correction from yesterday's entry.

I said that Ken WA8REI had recovered fully from his first stroke, but that is not true as he emailed me today. In our QSOs following that stroke he seemed to be more upbeat each time we worked that I made an erroneous assumption without checking the facts. He still has problems from that stroke which I won't go into here to respect his privacy. -30-

Sat May 06 2017 8:35PM - A very depressing day today. Cold, overcast, and light rain off and on all day, mostly on. More like early March than early May. I think I'm getting a recurrence of cabin fever. At least I did get in a walk early this evening during a letup in the rain. I almost need a winter coat again. Our high today was 51 on my remote units, but that was at midnight. I don't think we got out of the 40s during the day.

A quick DX QSO this evening from IR2C in the ARI contest. Then I called CQ on 30 and Ken N3CU answered me. However unlike last night on 40 when he was 599, tonight he was just 339 and gave me a 449 vs. 579 on 40 last night. -30-

Fri May 05 2017 8:34PM - I just had a high, low, and high on the bands. Let me cover the low first. I got a call from Ken WA8REI. His sending didn't sound like it usually does. I thought maybe he had another stroke. Unfortunately my feeling was correct. He told me he had a second stroke in February. I can only hope and pray that he recovers as well from this one as he did from the first one a few years ago. I know many of you know Ken so I thought I would pass on this news in case you didn't already know like me. Regular diary readers will know that Ken and I celebrated the 50th anniversary of our first QSO this past August when we worked exactly to the minute 50 years later on August 25, 2016. We had also a similar 40 year anniversary QSO in 2006.

Before that shock, I had a more pleasant one. I was looking for my DX QSO and found DM1517L on 7.014 with a couple other stations working him. When he called CQ again, he answered my very first call solidly with no repeats even though I heard others calling him. He wasn't really all that strong and it honestly was a surprise getting him so easily. So the streak lives and I have a nice new prefix to add to my collection as well.

The second high was being tailended by Ken N3CU, a member of our NAQCC WPA Chapter even though he has moved back to Eastern PA now. We had a special eyeball QSO not all that long ago when he was living part time here in WPA. We found we had a lot of things in common. It was also nice having him along on a few of our chapter activities.

So it was an interesting time on the air tonight. It was an interesting weather day also. We wound up in a dry slot in the rain area here in the Eastern USA. That allowed the sun to come out and heat things up which in turn generated a line of heavy thunderstorms that trained almost over Kittanning and we really got dumped on with a lot of rain. I'll find out just how much in a few minutes. No damage from flooding, winds, or lightning fortunately. I didn't even get more than a few drops in my basement. Again fortunately I had my gutters cleaned yesterday which let all the rain on the roof course easily out the downspout into my back yard. -30-

Thu May 04 2017 10:20PM - A little late with the diary entry this evening. It's raining and I wanted to get Roscoe out in between the raindrops, then Bruce and I watched a Little Rascals short.

So I'm going to just have a short entry. I got my DX early and quicly when I worked OK4RQ on 40 meters at 0009Z. With the sunspots declining, Europe has been pretty good on 40 in the 0000Z hour. Naturally, that is midnight or later in most of Europe so activity from there is down somewhat, but if the stations are there, they can be worked pretty easily.

After that I thought I'd try to get the last three QSOs to finish the May NAQCC challenge and I did. So after I finish the web site updates here, I'm going to submit my challenge report. -30-

Wed May 03 2017 8:45PM - Nothing out of the ordinary to talk about today. It was a busy day with the usual everyday things to do. Plus I cut my grass early this afternoon. I'm trying to keep up with it this year. I usually get a little behind and then it's a bit more work. I don't need that this year as I get older.

I put what may be the finishing touch on my Jackite antenna pole mount. I made a little wooden insert to keep the pole from moving around in the mount. I think it's definitely ready for some field testing now. However looks like rainy cold weather here at least till next Wednesday, so that will have to wait. Seems like everything is going on hold this year.

A quick DX QSO this evening from Bill XE1ZW at 0001Z, so I hung around and worked on our May NAQCC challenge which is making 15 QSOs using homebrew equipment. You must work at least 2 DX countries which I've done and at least 6 states which I finished tonight. I have 11 of the 15 QSOs so far and should finish without any great effort this weekend. -30-

Tue May 02 2017 5:57PM - Let me get caught up on a couple things. First I was quite wrong about my estimate of the April temperatures. Actually instead of my out of the blue estimate of a couple degrees above normal, it turned out to be 7-8 degrees above normal in all three of the major temperature stats. Average daily low, average daily mean, average daily high all turned out not only 7-8 degrees above normal, but all three were all-time records for my readings dating back to 1959. Not only that, but several reporting stations around Pennsylvania, some dating further back than that had an all-time warm April. Now if May continues for the whole month as it has the first couple days and is predicted to do for the next week or so, we could see the extremely rare almost never heard of having April being warmer than May. I doubt very much that will happen though as it has never happened before and even if the first half is cold, I think a warmer second half of May will balance out the scale. We'll see.

We've had a couple nice looking rainbows the past couple days, and since I haven't posted any pictures in the diary lately, here goes with a couple.

rainbow 1
That's from April 27, and you can see it wasn't all that late in the day since the arc is so low in the sky. In fact the time stamp on the picture is 4:37PM.
rainbow 2
From yesterday when there was only a small portion of an arc visible. It's just about identical to one I saw a few years ago, but that one was much brighter than this one. I don't remember now if I got a picture of that one or not. That's my thermometer shelter and rain gauge in the lower left of the picture. Note the big difference in the angle of the bow. This one just about exactly two hours later in the day than the first one on the 27th.
I'm almost embarrassed to show the tomatoes picture. I could lie and say it was taken back in early February, but no, it was taken May 1. I just don't know why neither the tomatoes in the 3 containers on the left nor the peppers on the right are growing this year. In other years, I'd have pretty well developed green tomatoes by this time of year. Certainly I won't have any garden tomatoes or peppers until mid-late July this year, if even by then. -30-

Mon May 01 2017 8:39PM - Did you ever have one of those days when nothing seemed to turn out right? I had one today, but I'm not going to dwell on it except for one thing I'll get to in a bit.

Actually maybe that blanket statement isn't totally true. We had a line of storms go through Western PA this afternoon, and we had our shields up partially and really fared pretty well compared to other areas along the line. About an inch of rain here but no really high winds nor any hail, etc.

Then this evening, I worked my friend Don W2JEK for my regular streak QSO. I didn't think I'd get any DX though. However even though he wasn't all that strong I did later work DL1NKS on 40 meters whom I've worked before. So the DX streak lives.

One thing that didn't work out is our Requin subpedition. Art WA3BKD called this evening and said although the sub is ready, this Sunday was the Pittsburgh Marathon and also a Pirate game. Because of that, the sub wouldn't be open till around Noon. Art and I agreed that would not be a good situation. So we went down the Sundays on the calendar. May 14 is Mother's Day and some of our group wouldn't be able to make it that day. May 21 Art will be out of town. May 28 is Memorial Day weekend. June 4 is the Butler hamfest. So it looks like as of now, we won't be going to the Requin tentatively until June 11. Bummer, but can't be helped. -30-

Sun Apr 30 2017 8:37PM - A busy end of the month day today. I started around 4PM and just now winding down. I've got just about everything done though. I still have to make my bank run tomorrow morning, and post the April weather to my Excel spreadsheet, but that's about it.

I think April will wind up a little above normal, but not too much. Maybe a couple degrees or so. I could be wrong in my thinking though because my gas reading for April that I took today was one of the lowest in the past dozen years or so. It will be interesting to find out when I get all the figures in later. Actually today could skew the average a bit since it was almost 90 - I think it peaked at 88 actually. I'll find out in about 20 minutes for sure.

I got all my 120 April QSOs uploaded to LoTW and eQSL a little while ago. I also updated my streak totals on the main page of the web site.

I flipped all my Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Ireland, and dog calendars to May. I found one in a room I seldom use that I never did change from March to April. HI.

It was easy starting a new month of DX. Only took 6 minutes to find and work V4/W1CDC on 30 meters. I had been waiting to work HA3NU on 40 who was a solid S7 to S8, but he was very popular so I gave up on him. Then I found the V4. -30-

Sat Apr 29 2017 8:17PM - Another full month is in the books for the DX streak. I figured I could work someone in the Helvetia Contest this evening on 40 meters. For a while it didn't look like that was going to happen. I didn't even hear any stations in the contest. Since it's a world works the world contest, I figured there would be some easy to work country other than HB9 that I could easily work. I didn't think the activity would be that low. Maybe everyone was in the Florida QSO Party? HI. Anyway to shorten the story, at 0012Z I heard and worked HB9CA after a few repeats. So that'S 1,522 DX days now, 50 full months, or 4 1/6 years.

I was wondering while listening how many streak QSOs in April came in the 0000-0200Z hour. I don't recall too many days I had to wait till morning or afternoon to get some DX. Let's see.... There were only 4 days I didn't get the streak QSO in the evening, the last being the 17th. So despite the declining sunspots, DX is still available most days in the evening. I hope that continues as with the nice weather here now, there are a lot of outdoor things to do during the daylight hours.

I was out quite a bit today when it wasn't raining. Roscoe and I spent a lot of time walking, and sitting on the porch swing. Other than that, indoors I worked some more on my digital music collection. I've now shaved off almost 10 GB simply by converting the music from wma or wav to mp3. That slimming down was needed because my weekly backups of all my computer data have failed to go to completion a couple times lately.

I also did some nearly final tweaking to my Jackite pole mount. It's pretty much ready for testing now. Tom WB3FAE and I will be doing that sometime in early May. I plan to write a construction article with pictures either for here in the diary or for the May NAQCC newsletter. Whichever it is, I'll link to it from the other in case anyone is interested. -30-

Fri Apr 28 2017 8:41PM - Sometimes you can just throw skill out the window and let luck take over. That happened this evening. I found HP3SS on 40 working a small pileup. He was strong so I figured I could break the pileup. I tried all the standard tricks. He was listening up, so I watched the PX3 panadapter to figure out just where to call. When the pileup got a little bigger, I switched to split headphoes to better figure out who he was working and zero in on that station to call. I tried delaying sending my call a bit so maybe my WP would end up in the somewhat clear after all the other calls were sent. Well, none of those things worked not did other little tricks. So much for skill. I looked for someone else to work. RW1AI/MM was strong but didn't want to work him again. Same with V4/W1CDC. Then I heard CO7FR whom I hadn't worked before or if I have, it was long ago. Well, he didn't hear me at all. Just about the time I was going to give up and wait till morning or afternoon, I ran across HP3SS again, punched SPLIT, gave a call at wherever VFO B was set earlier. Enter lady luck. HP3SS got my first call out of the pileup and I had my DX QSO. Ham radio can be strange at times.

Otherwise it was a nice day. Pretty much typical for late April. I did some outside cleaning up, went for a walk/shopping trip, spent some time with Roscoe, and just enjoyed the nice weather. Only a few peeks of sun, but a high of 73 with no wind made it feel very nice.

I also spent some time compacting my digital music collection. I had a lot of wma files which I batch converted to mp3 files with a program called Pazera Free WMA to MP3 Converter. It has a very neat interface and is very fast. I figure in a couple more days I'll have most of the 3,500 or so files converted. Well actually probably only 1,000 or 1,500 need converting. The rest are already MP3 files. Anyway so far I've trimmed off some 3-4 gigabytes.

This evening I called Art WA3BKD of the USS Requin. He said work on the sub was to be completed today. He'll check on Monday and if all is clear, we are going to do a subpedition on May 7th. I'll have more info when he calls back on Monday or Tuesday. I'm looking forward to some portable work. It's been a few months now since the day before Thanksgiving when we operated from the Requin. -30-

Thu Apr 27 2017 8:35PM - A somewhat busy day today. This morning, I went to get my driver's license renewed for another four years. Then Bruce and I stopped at the Ol' Station Marketplace where he got some good bargains on some lawn care equipment. I went back later and picked up a few things myself. The rest of the day was taken up with the usual things like walking Roscoe and the like.

The bands weren't so hot again tonight. Actually they were pretty good last night, and then slipped back again tonight. I did manage to work RW1AI/MM again on 30 meters. Mike and I decided as long as he is in international waters, it would be DX. The problem is, I don't know just where he is other than as I mentioned, someone said he is headed home.

It did become a moot point again as it did 5 nights ago as after trying unsuccessfully to work V4/W1CDC on 30, I did get him on 40 several minutes later for DX day 1,520.

While sitting there listening, I got to wondering on how many of those 1,520 days I have a verified DX QSO, be it via card, LoTW, or eQSL. Since I track those things, I would just have to filter my Access log to show only DX QSOs since March 1, 2013, only the ones I have verified, and then list unique days to filter out 2nd, 3rd, 4th....... veries on the same day. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow or sometime. -30-

Wed Apr 26 2017 11:25PM - As the time stamp says, it's late. Mike and I had a great time with some pizza and a birthday cake. It's his birthday. We worked some DX, checked out my Jackite pole mount for which he gave me a couple good ideas, played some hidden object games, and all of a sudden here it is after 11PM. I worked J6/K1ZZI, this time on 30 meters for the streak. Mike worked him also plus a couple other stations. Time now to get ready for bed. -30-

Tue Apr 25 2017 9:25AM - Yes, AM not PM. Nothing much planned for today so I thought I'd write the diary entry now.

I received an email from KH2SR this morning telling me about his QRP rigs that he manufactures and sells. Remember the limbo line, "How low can you go?" Well, in this case it's, "How small can you go?" Jim's rigs are billed as the World's smallest QRP transmitters. See the What's New section on my main page for more info.

Let's see where we are in my ham radio history. Looks like a listing of my rigs I used over the past 54 years is where I left off. How about a listing of my antennas over the years. I don't really have them documented as well as I did the rigs. Honestly even the rig documentation wasn't all that good or accurate, but was the best I could do and was pretty complete with a couple exceptions that just occured to me as I'm typing here. Let me mention that, then get on to the antennas.

When I operated as K3WWP/3 and then WA3IXO at my apartment in Pittsburgh, I used a small (tiny?) transistor rig using (I believe) a 3053 transmitter with my SW-500 receiver. It put out (actually had an input of) 1.5 watts. In looking at my WA3IXO Microsoft Access log, I see other power listings from 8 up to 75 watts in the 181 QSOs listed from 2/20/1967 through 3/7/1968. I can't remember what rig(s) those might have been. The 75 watts was probably my Kittanning rig I took to Pittsburgh. There are only a few QSOs listed with that power. I've got my old WA3IXO paper logs somewhere. Maybe there is some more info in them.

I got kind of sidetracked there, and think I'll postpone the antenna history till tomorrow or later. Time now to walk Roscoe. -30-

Mon Apr 24 2017 8:34PM - Another pretty quick DX QSO this evening, also on 30 like last evening. This time it was XR4S at 0006Z or 3 minutes after I got to the shack which not only helps the DX streak, but is a new prefix worked as well. After the QSO I listened around a bit and there were a few DX stations from V4 YV XE and a couple others I forget now.

It was a very nice day again today although the temperature peaked around noon in the low 70s, then dropped to the low 60s by the time evening came. I did get a chance to work outdoors. I deadheaded my tulips, or the ones that have lost their petals, about 3/4 of them. They don't last long unfortunately, but they sure look nice for the 10-12 days they do last. I also pulled some weeds and cleared some leaves from around the base of my backyard fence.

Inside I worked on my Jackite mount. I found a "U" fence or sign pole in my back yard that wasn't really holding up a section of my fence and pulled it out. I cleaned off quite a bit of rust and found it to still be good and strong. Now about all that's left is to drill a couple holes to mount it the rest of the mount. Amazingly in my junk box, I actually found matching bolts, nuts, and wing nuts. I talked about how unusual that is in a diary entry a few weeks ago. So tomorrow it should be complete and ready for some "beta" testing. Tom WB3FAE said he would help with that since he's developed several pole mounts before. Also he has an antenna analyzer with which we can perhaps trim my antennas while he's here. That will be in May sometime.

Another visitor will be Mike who is stopping by for our regular fourth Wednesday evening visit this week. Always nice to get together with good folks like Mike and Tom. -30-

Sun Apr 23 2017 9:03PM - Things worked out very well this evening. I hoped to get a quick DX QSO so I could close out everything for our NAQCC April sprint - as I put it, etch all results in stone with no further questioning of scoring changes from the cross-checking process. Close out took only about 90 minutes even with the all-time record number of logs and QSOs this month.

Anyway as soon as I turned on the rig which was set to 30 meters from last evening, I saw a good sized blip on the PX3, tuned to it and found it was PR7AR. Although Brazil is not among my easiest to work countries, I had worked PR7AR before, so I called. It took a few repeats for him to hear me well enough to get my call right, but at 0001Z I had my DX streak QSO. I QRT and finished the sprint close-out right after that.

It was a nice day today after a chilly start at 34 degrees. The temperature climbed throughout the morning and afternoon to reach 72 under sunny skies. A nice day for walking. Even Roscoe thought so. We took a couple long walks this afternoon and evening. Longer than usual for him.

I also did some work on my portable antenna. I made a new smaller lighter center connector for the inverted vee. I also got a metal post for the mount from my neighbor. It's slightly bent, but if I can straighten it out, it may be ideal. Stay tuned for more. -30-

Sat Apr 22 2017 9:07PM - A strange evening on the bands. For a while it looked like I wasn't even going to get my regular streak QSO, let alone a DX one. There just weren't any strong signals, at least none who were available for a QSO. They were chasing DX, in a rag chew or otherwise unavailable. Finally I found a CQ on 20 meters. It was KF6GC who was a good S7 but with QSB down to my noise level of S4 or so. I doubted I'd get an answer, but I called anyway and was surprised when he came right back, and he was a true 6 in California. I can't remember the last time I had a non-contest QSO with CA. Let me see if I can find out. OK, I have 2,488 QSOs with CA. Let me sort my Access log by date for those. My last overall QSO with CA was W1AW/6 in October 2016. That was some sort of special event so I'll look back further. Some more W1AW/6 QSOs in 2014 for the Centennial. OK, the last rag chew type QSO was February 5, 2014 with N1HEL in Half Moon Bay, CA. I thought it was longer ago. That was on 17 meters and going back further I see two more on 17 meters in 2013. The last one on 20 was NK6A on November 1, 2012. So of late, CA rag chews are rare here.

OK, next strange thing brought up an interesting issue. I worked RW1AI/MM on 30. Now what are the criteria for MM QSOs in my DX streak. Is it distance, nearest country, or something else that determines if a MM is DX or not. I don't know as it has never come up before. I just log them as /MM and don't really worry if it is DX or not. However for the streak, that's different.

Fortunately I don't really have to care about that now, as 8 minutes later I worked HK0/OZ1AA on 30 for a sure DX QSO. Now I just have to see what the country is. Probably San Andres Island, but could be Malpelo or I think there is a third possiblilty also. Or could just be Colombia, I guess. Let me look and see. Well, it's Providencia Is., which is San Andres as far as country goes.

So an interesting evening indeed. BTW, I also heard N4BP and ON4UN and both those powerhouse stations were not very strong this evening which speaks volumes about conditions. -30-

Fri Apr 21 2017 7:19PM - Let's look at the history of the various receivers I've used in my 54 years of ham radio. This is taken pretty much verbatim from my diary entry of April 19, 2013 with a couple corrections and additions.

Let's look back at my receivers through the 54 years as best as I can remember them. I started out with a Hallicrafters SW-500 which I believe was a Christmas present from my parents when I was an SWL before getting my ham license. It was basically a starter SWL receiver designed for listening to SW BC stations. It had different stations (i.e. China, USSR, Paris, etc.) actually marked on the dial along with other segments such as Police, Government, Aviation, etc. Although it did have the ham bands marked on it, I think they were added as an afterthought. The BFO for CW operation was simply a regenerative circuit that you could peak for either increased selectivity as a filter or to the point where it oscillated as a BFO. The selectivity was as broad as the proverbial 'barn door'. Not much fun operating CW with it although I did make some QSOs with it before I moved on up a bit. Another thing I remember about it was that my mom used to like to tune in the SW BC stations with it when I wasn't using it for ham radio.

The next receiver was a used Knight Kit R100 which my parents purchased for me from Amateur Electronic Supply in Cleveland. Although I do still have the SW-500, I don't have the R100. I can't remember too much about it, even how I got rid of it. I believe it had two dials on it - one to set the band edge, then the second dial spread out the band. It was definitely better than the SW-500 with a true BFO and better selectivity.

I can't remember if the third receiver was a Hammarlund HQ-100 or a HQ-110 but it was one of those. I wanted a 170, but it wasn't in the budget, so I settled for what I got from AES second-hand again. It was somewhat similar to the R100, but with much better performance.

Next on the list was a Drake SPR-4, a second choice to the classic Drake 2B, again because of price. It came along during the period from 1974 through 1992 when I wasn't all that active in ham radio. I did a lot of SWL with it chasing BC, Maritime, and other SW stations.

Sometime probably in the 80s, I bought an Icom R-71A which was what I used when I became active again in the early 90s. It was by far better than any of the previous receivers, and I used it to work a ton of stations in the 90s including a lot of DX. I still have it and the SPR-4 here up in my attic.

After using separate xmtrs and rcvrs all my ham career, I moved up to a xcvr on September 1, 1999 when my Kenwood TS-570D arrived in the mail. That changed everything and made ham radio much more convenient for me. No more changing a lot of switches and tuning a lot of knobs just to change bands or to go from xmit to rcv, although I did have a very good hmbw QSK system with the R-71A.

From the 570, I went to a Kenwood TS-480SAT on loan from Mike KC2EGL. After using that for a couple years I purchased my K2 and a KX1 from Mike KC2EGL on Janaury 17, 2012. I believe that is when he got his KX3. I was so taken by the KX3 I then followed suit and bought and built my own KX3 in October 2012. I added the companion PX3 panadapter a year or so later.

I pretty much ran the gamut of most ham equipment manufacturers over the years, skipping only Yaesu and a couple other big names along the way. Each one was a big improvement over the previous one with the KX3 at a point where it will be hard to improve on its greatness. -30-

Thu Apr 20 2017 9:03PM - A summer-like day today with a high of 80, high humidity, and some thunderstorms that dumped .93 inches of rain in a couple heavy downpours.

It did turn out to be a nice day for walking in between the storms though. I see just under 9 miles on my pedometer so far today.

This was Thursday so that means The Ol' Station Marketplace less than a block from here was open. I always love to browse through the "junk" and always manage to find something to purchase. Today I got a little triangular file that I can use to sharpen my saws. Also a box of 8-32 nuts so that now whenever I look for a matching pair, I'll be able to find one. It seems I must have a hundred such nuts, but seemingly no two were ever alike. Now that will no longer be a problem. I also bought a couple nice pillowcases as the ones I have are starting to show their age. How much did all that cost? Just $2.50 + $0.15 state sales tax for a total of $2.65. Not bad, huh?

It wasn't easy finding any workable DX for a while tonight. I called a few stations but the best I did was a question mark or a K? whether for me or someone else, I don't know. However when I did find someone workable, it took just a single call to NP2J to extend the DX streak to 1,513 days now. -30-

Wed Apr 19 2017 12:48PM - Let's get back to my ham history. I did touch on this in response to an email from Gus ON6KE a few entries ago, but let's revisit it in more detail. I'm speaking of my DX exploits in the 1960s and 1970s.

I actually was not all that much into DX at that time, as it wasn't all that easy to work DX with my setup I had then. I think the real reason was my lack of confidence plus perhaps the state of the art in receivers and antennas in those days. Let's face it, receivers and antennas have both become much better and more efficient in the past 50 years. Not to mention the better receivers and antennas nowadays being much more widely available and affordable. That makes the bottom line it is much easier to work DX now with 5 watts then it was then with 50 or 60 watts and similar antennas in both time frames.

One more factor needs mentioning. The state of the sunspot cycle. Of course allegedly the best sunspot cycle of all was the one centered around 1958. It was 5 years after that when I got my novice license which means it was in the depths of a sunspot cycle then. Basically I missed most all of the peak sunspot years until 2000 and 2001. Either I was off the air for work or my time at the peaks was limited for one reason or other. We'll develop that further later on.

Let me quickly query my Microsoft Access log and call up my DX QSOs from say 1963 through 1973. First of all, let's look at the number of days on which I had at least one DX QSO in each of those years. The figure following the DX Days is the total number of QSOs (DX and non-DX) I had that year.
1963 -  6 - 1001
1964 - 18 - 3174
1965 - 10 - 2931
1966 - 11 - 5542
1967 - 13 - 3279
1968 - 23 - 2090
1969 -  1 -  540
1970 -  0 -    4
1971 -  0 -    0
1972 -  1 -   20
1973 -  0 -   32
The dropoff in 1969 was due to my starting work at WPIT which severely limited my operating time and eventually kept me off the air entirely from 1974 through 1980. The peak in DX days in 1968 was due to the increase in sunspot activity.

Now for an idea of what I was working, here is a list of the new countries worked per year. I did list these a few entries ago, but they are here now by year.

1963 - K VE VP7 KZ5 KP4 CM YV KH6
1964 - HK VP9 DL KL7 ZL PY F FP VP2V HI 6Y
1965 - KG4 HP YN KV4 OA VP5
1966 - XE PJ5 ZD8 VK GM HA VP6 G

Just to identify some of the prefixes back then that have now changed. VP7 now C6, KZ5 was the Canal Zone, KV4 now KP2, VP6 now 8P, CR now D2, PJ3 now PJ4, GC now GU. All the rest are still the same.

Just a couple notes. PY2SO in 1964 was my first DX YL. ZL1HY in 1964 was a great half-hour rag chew on 40 meters. There was a total of 56 countries in all continents with the exception of Asia. Nowadays I do better in a single weekend in the big DX contests.

More history upcoming. -30-

Tue Apr 18 2017 8:58PM - CO8LY to the rescue. It was rough tonight. Must be stormy in the Caribbean. Both WP4L and CO6RD whom I usually work easily both had trouble with my call and we didn't complete the QSO. Both complained of bad QRN as the reason. It wasn't hard working CO8LY on 30 though. I did have to repeat my call, but the QSO was good and the DX streak goes on yet another day.

I did about a bajillion (heard that number on some woodworking video) other things today from mailing a sprint prize (not the biggie, just the regular monthly one) to answering some questions about sprint scores to taking some nice walks in the beautiful sunny mild weather to doing some more work on my Jackite mount which I'll talk a bit more about to weedeating my backyard lawn, and so on and so on.

I put the Jackite mount on a diet today and reduced the weight around 15-20 percent by dumping the 2x4 support and going with 3/4 inch plywood instead. It will be mounted to the angle iron so that will be plenty strong. I've got some other ideas to reduce the weight some more that I'll work on over the next few days.

And that wraps up a pretty busy day up to this point anyway. Still three hours till bedtime. Plenty of time to get into more mischief. -30-

Mon Apr 17 2017 7:39PM - A very busy day today with the business interspersed with hunting for a DX QSO. It looked very unlikely the DX streak was going to continue. The day started with my usual Monday morning laundry. While that was going on, a check of the band showed nothing in the way of DX. After the laundry and walking Roscoe, another check was equally unpromising. Then I continued with the log cross-checking of our NAQCC Tuesday evening sprint. A record number of entries - 217 with a total number of QSOs - 3154 slowed things down somewhat. What really dragged it out though was the high number of not-in-log QSOs - 50 of them plus other errors that led to 61 of the 217 scores needing adjustment which all takes time. Less time though since I modified my Excel cross-check program.

Somewhere along in here, I had my brunch and also had to mail off some checks to pay the bills. Another check of the bands showed them to be still pretty dismal. There were some S4 to S5 DX stations but none were hearing me at all. I think the best indication of just how poor conditions were was just how weak John ON4UN was on 20. He was at least 3 S units below his normal strength plus he had a bit of flutter on his signals. Like the others, he wasn't hearing me at all which is very unusual. I was pretty sure it was hopeless, but after I did a few other things, I went back for another check. There was a V31 fairly strong on 17 but with a lot of QSB. I called several times hoping to catch him on an upswing in strength, but no luck. Again I gave up for a while.

The 4th (5th?, 6th?) time was the charm. There's VP5/K3NK on 17 meters pretty much all alone. He's a great op and VP5 is pretty easy to work for me. However he was in and out of my S4-5 noise level. I didn't know if I could tell if he answered me or not, but I gave it a try. He faded just when he was answering me or someone else. Fortunately 54 years of copying code came to my rescue and I peaked my brain filter and could barely hear him, but I did hear K3WWP being sent clearly. I returned his RST, breathed a sigh of relief and logged another day in the streak. Now it starts all over again in exactly 6 minutes as I look at the clock. -30-

Sun Apr 16 2017 7:18PM - Hope you all had a very nice Easter. Mine was quiet but nice. I had dinner with the Bowser clan next door around 1PM.

Other than that I worked on modifying my Excel cross-checking program to make it even more efficient and time-saving. Then I did some work on my Jackite pole mount as you'll see in a moment as I present some pictures.

From L-R here are my tulips which opened up fully yesterday just in time for Easter. Every year they seem to get more beautiful. They are very old, and have been transplanted and divided around 4 times as best as I can remember. Way back when there was only one of them, or perhaps a couple in my front yard. Then I think they were moved to my back yard where they were moved twice again. The last move I more than doubled the number of them. I notice a number of them look double again so I may divide them yet again. Next is the Jackite pole mount with the collapsed black pole inserted, in its open position, then folded upright for use. Of course the chair is just there for the picture. Actually there will be an angle iron connected to it to mount in the ground. I haven't gotten that yet.

tulips mount1 mount2
The concept for the mount is good, but it's pretty heavy. I have some ideas about cutting down the weight that I may implement. I can probably replace the 2X4 with a 1X4 since it will be attached to the angle iron which will give plenty of support. Also the enclosure for the pole can probably have material cut out of the sides to open it up and make it lighter. It should still be plenty strong. Time will tell what happens to it.

Hopefully in about 25 minutes now I can get a quick DX QSO and then proceed to close out the sprint log cross-checking. -30-