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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 9:00 PM - I may have gotten the two new W1AW states (ND MS) within the first four minutes this evening. I have to qualify it with 'may' because I'm not positive of the MS QSO. He was working simplex and of course folks don't use common sense enough to know when to call and not to call. Anyway at 0004Z on 20 meters MS came back with 3W?, then K3WW* 599 MS. I couldn't copy the *, but I sent K3WWP K3WWP TU 599 PA and MS returned with a perfectly timed TU and moved on. I'll count it for now, but will work MS again just to be sure.

Now ND I'm positive. He was simplex on 30 meters when I called at 0001Z and got WWP?, I sent K3WWP again and he came back with K3WWP 599 ND. Oh, and in my band jumping to find them, I wound up with my 20M dipole on 30 meters when I worked ND. As I've repeatedly said, ham antennas are not rocket science.

Other than that, the trip with Roscoe to the groomers went well. He now is all ready for the warmer weather with his fur coat pretty much gone. Then back again on July 9 to get him cut back for the two warmest months of July and August. Maybe I'll get a before/after picture to show the big difference. I know Bruce took some before pictures yesterday.

Speaking of pictures, I did post a scan of my ARRL DX certificate on my Contesting page if you're at all interested. -30-

Monday, April 14, 2014 9:22 PM - As is sung in the Chad and Jeremy song "Summer Song" and mentioned countless times elsewhere, "All good things must end some day". I though sure my DX streak was going to end today. I got busy with a few projects and didn't have time to get on the air. When I did, I found the bands in pitiful condition. However I kept tuning around on 20 through 10 and finally found a strong SV2CQB on 15. A couple calls later, my streak kept going.

This evening it was pretty much the same story, except it ended tonight when I worked Jorge EA8TL on 20 meters for day # 411. Double whew!!

That was really a great weekend with Mike as are all of our get togethers, whether a full weekend or a couple hours. I think I got almost a big a thrill out of him getting his first CW JA QSOs as he did. We have to say CW because before he was converted and saved, he was a (shhhh!) phone operator and did work JAs then with that mode and QRO power. With QRP/CW though, those three stations JR4OLM JS3CTQ and JH4UYB were the first three. I also heard them earlier (6AM) on 40 meters, but couldn't get as much as a ? out of them on that band so although Mike got his JAs, I still need AS on 40 for WAC on that band.

Tomorrow it's up early to help take Roscoe to the groomers for his warm weather haircut. Then some helping Bruce with his computer. After we then pick up Roscoe, I hope to get in some activity in FISTS Tuesday. I've had to miss the last two of them.

I haven't mentioned my tomatoes and peppers lately. They are all coming along, but are far behind the past several years when I started them early and some years already had tomatoes starting at this time of year. My tulips in the back yard are coming nicely with several of them having buds on them. Also there is some growth starting on my rose bushes. So I guess despite a cold 36 or so hours coming up, spring is really here.

It looks to be cloudy tonight for the total lunar eclipse, but I'll check every so often anyway. It seems every short term astronomical happening is plagued by bad weather in this part of the country.

I got another nice certificate today for the 2013 ARRL DX contest. I'll probably scan it and post it on my contesting page when I get a chance. -30-

Sunday, April 13, 2014 8:42 PM - This was a very busy and rewarding day. It started out with my first three QSO's from Japan via CW. If the rest of the weekend was uneventful the morning operating would have made up for it. John worked all three of the JA stations as well. We had a productive day operating in the Georgia QSO Party. John logged 73 and I logged 71 from Ga. We mixed in some other DX and W1AW anniversary staions just for the fun of it. Unfortunatley the conditions were not good enough for a productive run in the Yuri Gagarian anniversary event. I think we only logged 2 or 3 for the great Yuri Gagarin. And of course we had our usual meal run's. Breakfast at Ponderosa and dinner from Vocelli's. We had Vocelli's subs for dinner. They were quite tasty. And to top it all off we got in a brisk 2.8 mile walk. Now it is almost time for me to head North. These operating weeknds seem to fly by. Seems like I just arrived and I have been here since Friday afternoon. Like the saying goes. Time flies when you are having fun.

Until next time de Mike KC2EGL -30-

Saturday, April 12, 2014 11:53 PM - Good eveing everyone. Yes it is Johns favorite fill in guest writer. It was a very relaxing start to the day. The morning consisted of a few games on the computer followed by breakfast at Pondersoa. Upon our return to Johns QTH we set up our operating position for the weekends operating activities. Our plan was to operate the Japan DX contest, Georgia QSO Party, New Mexico QSO Party, and the Yuri Gagarain anniversary contest. So far the Japan DX is a bust. We heard a few working stations from Japan but did not hear any from Japan. The New Mexico QSO Party so far is a bust. We have one station in the log for the Yuri Gagarain contest. Last year I logged 12 stations for the same contest. The Georgia QSO Party picked up late in the evening. So the days operating has not been a total bust.

In between operating stints we took a dinner break. We had a Vocellis southwest steak pizza. It was very tasty. We also got in a brisk paced 1.6 mile walk around town today. All in all it was a very good day. I can not recall ever having a bad day hanging out with John. Until next time de Mike KC2EGL -30-

Friday, April 11, 2014 11:29 PM - What a busy day. It all started when I arrived at Johns QTH for a weekend visit around 18:00Z. First order of business was lunch. Being that it is Friday during lent we did the fish thing for lunch (and dinner) at Wendy's. We followed that up with a couple of games on Johns computer. He has a decent selection of games from bowling to mini golf, billiards (which was very frustrating) to some mystery games where you have to find hidden objects that go along with the plot of a story. We pretty much did nothing but play games during the afternoon.

Around 22:30Z we headed out to the Kittanning TWP Firehall for their fish dinner. We were quite impressed. They had a great selection buffet style for $11.00 all you can eat. Both of us over did it. I may not have to eat for another day or so. Hi-Hi!!!!

When we returned to John's place we hit the airwaves to hunt some DX. Both of us logged a station from Mexico. There were a few other DX stations out there but they had some very large and very wide pileup's. I also worked W1AW/4 (VA) and W1AW/1 (MA). The Virginia station was very easy to work. The Massachusetts station took a while to log. He had one of those rude pileups where someone would be calling during his exchange with another station and a station that was calling on his calling frequency when he should have been up 2. We worked on updating the NAQCC prize page and worked on the NAQCC quarterly sprint drawing.

John was in the middle of a bowling game when his neighbor Nancy called to see how he was doing. When John finished his game we went next door for a visit. Nancys dog Roscoe still doesn't like me. He just barks and runs like a mad dog when ever I go visit. After our visit with Nancy and Roscoe it was my turn for a bowling game. Video bowling games are much easier on the arm but are much harder than real bowling. Go figure. I also submitted applications for my NAQCC WAS and DXCC. Just to let you know that applying for those awards proves beyond a reasonable doubt that QRP is D E A D, DEAD!!!! Hi-Hi!!!!!! I love to 'shove' it in the face of the doubters when they say 'QRP does not work. You need to crank up the power in order to log plenty of DX.'. If they would only give it a try. They would prove themselves wrong.

On that note I am going QRT for the night. Until next time DE Mike KC2EGL. -30-

Thursday, April 10, 2014 9:06 PM - Almost a perfect day today. 72 degrees, sunny, but a bit too breezy. Close enough though for 3 good walks for just under 10 miles for the day. Ain't it nice not to have to hibernate any longer. Those last 4 months have been tough this year. Much too long a winter. In addition to walking I also did some work on my back yard fence with the help of Denny.

Kind of a strange QSO for my DX this evening. I say strange simply because not a lot of my streak QSOs have been with Brazil. I think SA is harder to work here sometimes than EU AF and AS for whatever reason. Maybe the radiation pattern of my random wire and dipoles. The random wire has so many twists and turns it (I counted 21 once), there's no way you can predict its radiation pattern. The flat top inverted V 20M dipole would also be hard to predict as with the 10M sloping dipole. The 15M vertical dipole should be omni-directional, but its mounted right on the side of my house and who knows what my house wiring, other antennas, etc. do to the pattern. The QSO was with PY5UB on 20 to stretch the DX streak to 407 days now. Then I went to 40 and worked K4QZB and old friend Ken WA8REI.

Other than that, I spent some time on log cross-checking from our NAQCC sprint.

Tomorrow morning I plan to visit a friend in a nursing home, then a little later Mike arrives for a weekend stay. Looking forward to that. -30-

Wednesday, April 09, 2014 9:18 PM - Some spring cleaning, NAQCC sprint log processing, a couple medium length walks helped pass the early part of the day. Then this evening it was our monthly computer club meeting which went quite well setting up our new HP Windows 8.1 Laptop. Back home from the meeting - got my weather readings, and headed to the shack.

A couple of surprises on the air from two very quick QSOs. Only took a couple minutes to get my streak QSOs. First it was W1AW/4 on 30 meters. Big surprise when I got greeted by name from W1AW. Haven't heard that happen much in all my W1AW QSOs and listening to others working them. However this time it was my friend Riley K4ORD at the key with a personal greeting. After that off to 20 looking for DX. Heard an unID DX station just finishing with a QSO. Had an idea from the strength and slight flutter it might be an Asiatic Russian. It was - Gena UA9MA whom I just worked a couple nights ago also on 20. Had I known beforehand, I wouldn't have called him as I don't like to work DX stations so close in time and on the same band. But anyway my streaks are alive and I don't have to worry about them for anoter 22+ hours again. -30-

Tuesday, April 08, 2014 11:14 PM - A hectic evening as described in my NAQCC Sprint Soapbox which I'll copy here as my diary entry for tonight.

SOAPBOX: Wow, a hectic evening. First chasing W1AW in their two new states. I got MA at 0008Z, then chased VA fruitlessly until the time of the sprint. Got started a little late in the sprint and couldn't do anything on 20 for about 10 minutes, so I switched to 40 and after a slow start there, it picked up pretty good to the tune of 23 QSOs in the first hour. Then back to 20 for a couple QSOs and new SPCs in MO and FL. To 80 after that, but I was pretty much alone there so back to 40 till 0216Z. Now 80 has come alive with 11 QSOs in the last 14 minutes. After the sprint back to W1AW. Got them easily in VA on 80. OK, let's continue the frantic pace and get my DX streak QSO. Took a while, but finally got UA1CE on 20M for day #405 in a row with a DX QSO. Whew! Thanks to all for the QSOs. My noise was very bad, but I think I only missed one of you.

That makes 32/32 states from W1AW, so now I can maybe try to work W1AW/KP4 sometime during the coming week. Maybe Mike and I can get it this weekend. He's spending the weekend as I think I mentioned in an earlier diary entry. -30-

Monday, April 07, 2014 8:40 PM - My noise level was down again tonight. Seems it gets quiet when it rains. Wonder if it is a bad power ground somewhere that improves when the ground gets wet. Anyway I hope it stays this way for our NAQCC sprint tomorrow night, and also to perhaps get the two new W1AW states before the sprint. Let's see which ones are up next now. Two close-in states this time - MA and VA. I guess it will be 30 or 40 meters for those two with a chance at 20 meters if short skip there.

Having become a dog-fancier since getting acquainted with Joe and now Roscoe, I love this story sent to me by Brion VE3FUJ. Thanks Brion.

"Police in Warwickshire, England, opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. The dog had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished, and had quite clearly been abused.

In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a female greyhound, to the Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, which is run by a man named Geoff Grewcock, and known as a haven for animals abandoned, orphaned, or otherwise in need.

Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved. They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home.

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Jasmine, however, had other ideas. No one quite remembers how it came about, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary.. It would not matter if it were a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or any other lost or hurting animal. Jasmine would just peer into the box or cage and, when and where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.

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Geoff relates one of the early incidents. "We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the center, and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them."

"But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits. She takes all the stress out of them, and it helps them to not only feel close to her, but to settle into their new surroundings. She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs, and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose."

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Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary's resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, fifteen chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and fifteen rabbits - and one roe deer fawn. Tiny Bramble, eleven weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster-mum role. Jasmine, the greyhound, showers Bramble, the roe deer, with affection and makes sure nothing is matted.

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"They are inseparable," says Geoff. "Bramble walks between her legs, and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary. It's a real treat to see them."
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Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life. When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse.
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Pictured from the left are: "Toby," a stray Lakeland dog; "Bramble," orphaned roe deer; "Buster, " a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; "Sky," an injured barn owl; and "Jasmine," with a mother's heart doing best what a caring mother would do...and such is the order of God's Creation...."

Great story, eh? -30-

Sunday, April 06, 2014 9:27 PM - One of the things that makes DX so fascinating is its relative unpredictability. The bands were pretty poor this evening plus my noise was back at its high level again. I kept searching and searching for some DX to work, but found only weak stations which were so buried in my noise I didn't even try calling them for fear I wouldn't know if they came back to me or not.

I kind of gave up on getting my DX QSO this evening, figuring I'd have to wait till morning or afternoon to keep the streak going. So I concentrated on keeping the big overall streak going by calling CQ on 40. I got an answer from Jim W3CKU and we had a very nice 30 minute rag chew punctuated in the middle by having to QSY to avoid QRM from stations working W1AW/3. Jim is 89 years old with a great bug fist and a delight to converse with. So I enjoyed that QSO very much.

When we finished, I thought I'd try once more for DX, and found a fluttery station on 20M who was pretty strong. I thought at first it was HA9MA, but when he signed with the station he was working, I heard him correctly as UA9MA. When he sent dit dit, I called and got him with that first call. Once again the PA to Asiatic Russia 20M path paid off as it seems to do so often especially in the 0000Z hour this time of year through spring and summer mostly, but other times of year as well now and then. -30-

Saturday, April 05, 2014 7:33 PM - I never did get in the SP Contest today, but I did get my "1" to finish the NAQCC European Chapter April challenge. I didn't think I was going to make it. I tried the only station I found with a 1 in the call, PA1CC, and tried him several times with no indication he was hearing me at all. So I looked around for someone else and finding no one, went back to PA1CC and tried again. This time we made contact and now I have 25 more days in April with no challenge to work on. Maybe I should try to do them a second time through?

Other than that, I did some research on some music from the 60s today. I love music from that era (and the mid 70s as well). It certainly is a lot better than the so-called music of today, in my opinion. Specifically I was looking up some info on one of my favorite girl groups from that era, the Rag Dolls. They only had 2 medium sized hits, Dusty and Society Girl. However the lead singer Jean Thomas, as I found out today, was involved with her brother Don in a ton of music from that era, as songwriter, backup singer, and more. She also had several good singles which I heard for the first time today. I was thinking as I was listening how great it would have been to have had the Internet as a research tool back then. I could have found out a multitude of info about my favorite artists beyond the little tidbits learned from listening to DJs or occasionally reading a fan magazine - but they were expensive for a poor teenager so I never did gain that much knowledge about music back then. Also I had too many other interests at the time to devote it all to music. Now I am finding out a lot of info from that era as well as hearing a lot of music (good music) that was relegated to the B side of 45s or to albums. Like the fan magazines, those things were not in my budget, and the only way I really could listen to music was on the radio.

Just now thinking back, I remember how I envied those kids who could name just about any song that was ever recorded and tell many things about the artists. They had the money and the access to the music and the info which I didn't have until later in life.

Ah well, it's good to be able to reminisce now about those days and continue to find more and more good info and music as well.

Time now to go get my streak QSO. Should be easy to grab a Polish station for a quick DX QSO as 20 should still be good to that part of Europe.

Oh, BTW I forgot to mention that one of the DX stations I worked yesterday was RS80KEDR remembering the 80th birthday of Yuri Gagarin. As a long-time space buff, that was a very meaningful QSO. -30-

Friday, April 04, 2014 7:39 PM - Some days there's too little to talk about in the diary. Some days there's too much. Today is a too much day, so I'll try to condense it somewhat.

First of all, I want to post the reply from Bill WA4FAT that I talked about. Here's a scan of the QSL I sent to him nearly 50 years ago followed by his email comments.

pix_diary_20140404_001 (67K)

"Hi John
You have no idea how excited I was to bump into you last night on 40 CW, almost exactly 50 years to the day after our initial contact back in 1964. And for you to still have my QSL card from half a century ago was mind boggling to say the least. Who in the world can find something they tucked away so long ago?!
And as I drifted off to sleep last night, replaying our QSO in my mind and imagining what my life was like back in 1964 as an Innocent fresh-faced young boy soon to enter 10th grade, a thought struck me like a punch. I remembered also saving QSL cards from that time period, meticulously alphabetizing them and storing them in a clunky metal cabinet. Could that old card folder have survived all these years? Could it have moved with me as I left for college, and then the Navy, and through not one but two marriages? Was there any chance I might still have those early cards somewhere in the labyrinth of my basement? As if by divine guidance, my sleuthing this morning led me straight to a dim, remote corner of our basement, and there on its side, nestled between a stack of retired dog bowls and assorted kitchenware, I spotted my old QSL case. With nervous anticipation I placed this archive of the past on my office floor, slide open the drawer, and flipped to the Ws, as the cards had been sorted by the suffix of each callsign. One by one I gently liberated each card, likely exposing them to the light of day for the first time in many decades. K5 WTA was near the end of the pile, Jake in Melbourne, Arkansas, followed by WA6WTD, Dennis in Costa Mesa, CA running a Globe Chief 90A and an HQ-110 receiver. Breathlessly I continued to look. Up next was WN4WUN, Paul in Louisville, KY whose card showed his rig as a DX-20, HQ-110 and dipole, and then K7WUR, Carol in Lander, Wyoming. She had a really fancy rig for the times, a 700W Swan 500C. I was losing myself in these amazing 5 by 7 time capsules ... there's W8WUT, Avis in Three Rivers, Michigan with a DX-60 and SX-1oo receiver ... and WA6WVK, Rob in Palm Springs, WA4WVW in Bristol, TN ... K4WVX who was mobile and confirming half a dozen different Florida counties ... and then K3WWP!
Holding your card in my hand was hypnotic and magical to say the least. In a split second I was transported to a chair at my old Salvation Army desk in a bedroom lit only by the glow of the twin dials of a National NC-183 receiver. And I was a 15 year-old kid again, still unaware of the travails life had to offer, or of the progeny I would father, or the meandering path that would bring me to this moment.
And here I sit at the very same desk that saw countless hours of DXing, contesting and rag chewing. The same desk that held the arms of a young boy as he rattled away on his Vibroplex Speedkey and listened across time and space to the lure of the unknown. And suddenly time doesn't seem nearly as important as the flood of memories that inundate me now ... and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Your QSL is on its way!
73/Bill - WA4FAT"

I've also mailed my QSO to Bill. We're already making plans to have a 50th anniversary QSO on the actual date of May 30 this year. Possibly even the exact minute or so since 0011Z (or GMT as it was known then) would be a good time for a 40M PA-AL QSO. More on that as time draws near.

Otherwise another good day on the ham bands. I was determined to finish up both NAQCC challenges, but missed it by an eyelash (or by a "1"). First of all it was a finish to the Paul Revere challenge when I worked OZ0JX to get the final 2 Os. Just before that, F5NBX gave me a B for both challenges. So then all that was left was a 1 for the European Chapter challenge which I still haven't gotten. I wasn't happy with the Paul Revere challenge. Just about all the letters were from DX stations and I wanted to make it ALL the letters. I juggled things around a bit and wound up needing two Ws to replace the ones I got from W1AW/7. So a couple hours later I got back on the air and worked UR5WCQ to "re-complete" the Paul Revere challenge. Now it's just about 0000Z so I'm going to pause in my typing and go get my daily streak QSO(s) hopefully including a call from Europe with a 1 in it. Be back a little later to finish this off.

I'm back still needing that 1. LZ1-- was booming in, but I always have trouble working him and it was so again tonight. He either is old and hard of hearing, has a high noise level, poor receiving equipment, or something else. I've called him many times over the years, and have worked him a few times, but the majority of the times he just plain doesn't hear me, or mutters (can you mutter on CW?) something like 'too weak'. Other that a couple other 1 stations from Europe who were working other DX, I just didn't find anyone to complete the challenge. It has really become a challenge now, and I'll probably work at it tomorrow until I get it or run from the shack screaming.

At least I did get my DX QSO to keep the streak going. I worked XE2I on 20 meters to take care of that.

This weekend is the Polish DX contest. If you look at my contesting page you'll see a picture of the certificate I got from last April's SP DX Contest for 1st place in NORTH AMERICA Category: SO AB MIXED QRP. MIXED because there was no CW category, in case you're wondering. No I didn't use that other mode. HI. I don't know how much of an effort I'll put in this year. Last year Mike was here and we 'tag teamed' the contest. I don't know if he sent in his log or not. If he did, he should have gotten 2nd place, I think. -30-

Thursday, April 03, 2014 8:42 PM - The numbers for today are 30/30, 400, and 52. No, I won't make you figure them out.

30/30 - I worked W1AW/3 on 7040 at 1956 today. Must have caught him just getting started on a stint. He was still simplex and I got him with either 1 or 2 calls - I forget which now. That makes 30 states worked of the 30 states activated by W1AW so far this year. Oh and for good measure I worked W1AW/7 again, this time on 20 meters since he was simplex and not getting any answers when I heard him.

400 - The number of days in my DX streak when I worked F6EAZ on 14026 at 0011Z this evening. Although DX was not all that good this evening, it was good again this afternoon although I didn't have as much time to get on the air as I did yesterday. I did work enough to come still closer to finishing our NAQCC April challenges. I need 6 letters for the Paul Revere challenge and 1,8,N,O for the European Inventors challenge. Maybe tomorrow which is supposed to be a rainy day, I'll have more time to get on the air.

52 - When I got on the air at 0000Z this evening I began my 52nd year as a ham radio operator, having completed 51 years yesterday. My the changes that have occurred in that time, not only in ham radio, but many other aspects of life. Who except the most acute visionary could have foretold back in 1963 that I would be sitting here typing something into a device called a computer and distributing what I typed to a potential world-wide audience within seconds of finishing it. Or that I would be using a ham radio rig that I could hold easily in the palm of my hand which performs dozens times better that what I was using back then. Or negatively that it would cost 33 cents to send a QSL card which could be sent then for 4 cents. The list of changes is endless, but I'll leave it at that for now. -30-

Wednesday, April 02, 2014 9:25 PM - I spent more time on the air today than I have in a long time (except for contesting - I mean regular operating). I had some goals in mind - work both W1AW states, collect as many letters as possible for our NAQCC April Paul Revere challenge, and collect as many letters/numbers for the NAQCC European Chapter Inventors challenge.

That made 4 goals in all and I accomplished 3 of them. Let's talk about W1AW first. It took a lot of work to get Oregon. But with 90% KX3 and 10% savvy from me, I broke their huge pileup finally on 15 meters. The pileups seem to grow with each set of new states as perhaps more people are learning about or becoming interested in the event. I wonder if my own state of PA is going to be my nemesis. Even with the KX3 and a good deal of savvy in how to break pileups, I've been unsuccessful so far. Of course I don't have as many bands available as with most other states because of the distance to those running W1AW here in PA. That is one strike against me right there. Two of the W1AW PA ops are among the best contesters in the world and can turn QSOs over very rapidly which should thin out those needing them after a couple days or so and give a minimal QRPer like me a better chance. It will probably have to be 80/40 or perhaps 30 meters for the QSO with an outside chance at 20 meters. The ops? Oh yes, Chas K3WW and Bud AA3B among perhaps others as well.

Otherwise I did collect a bunch of letters and numbers from LZ60KSP, LZ2HR, TK4LS, UY6IM, OE3XMA, CT7AEQ, HI3/N3SY, CO6RD, W1AW/7, US0GA, CE2/CX1EK, SV1CQN, Z35T, and VP2EC, my DX QSO for April 3rd. My totals for the Paul Revere challenge are now 75 of 83 letters, and the European challenge 38/48 so not many more to go. Perhaps another good day tomorrow will allow me to finish one or maybe even both if I have a lot of time to be on the air as I did today despite doing several other things.

What things? Oh, helping Bruce with his new computer which is his first one ever so he's got a lot to learn, but is getting it quickly with a bit of help from this 35 year computing veteran. I'm still learning things helping him too, especially with Windows 8.1 with which this is my first experience although I've used 8 for about 4 months now. Then this evening I helped Nancy do some yard cleaning gathering up and disposing of the leaves that gathered late last fall and winter.

Speaking of winter, in putting my March weather records in the computer, I found that Jan, Feb, and Mar were all between 4 and 5 degrees below normal, and with December around 2 below normal, that makes for our coldest winter in quite a few years now. The worst part was that except for a mild week in mid-Jan, it was consistently cold all winter which kept the dreaded s#$w around much too long. There are still a couple patches here and there that remain because of being packed down and freezing several times over.

Speaking of April 3, today/tomorrow is the 51st anniversary of receiving my KN3WWP ticket from the FCC. Where does the time go.

I received an interesting email from WA4FAT (see last nights diary entry below) today, and I'm going to ask his permission to post it here in the diary as it makes for very interesting reading. -30-

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 9:02 PM - First a QSL card image.

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Note the date May 30, 1964, nearly 50 years ago. Tonight after unsuccessfully trying to work W1AW/3 and a DX station, I heard WA4FAT calling CQ on 40 meters and the call rang a bell. I answered his CQ and after the first round, I dug into my QSL collection and pulled out the card pictured above. I told Bill I was holding his card from nearly 50 years ago, and we chatted about it for a while, and agreed to swap cards again for tonight's QSO.

No W1AW QSOs tonight. I heard both PA and OR, but tremendous pileups on both and I didn't feel like waiting through them. I'll try again after the piles dwindle or I get lucky and find them just starting up somewhere. I also thought I wasn't going to get any DX tonight as I wasn't even hearing any. Then LU7YZ showed up pretty strong on 20M and I worked him. Then I worked ZF2DX on 30M as insurance, so to speak. The three QSOs mentioned gave me a bunch of letters for our NAQCC April challenge and I'm nearing the halfway mark already.

I spent time today getting my first of the month chores done - going to the bank, etc. Then I helped out my neighbors on both sides of my house with some things. Also I did some shopping and walking to bask in the 77 degree weather - no foolin'. It was that warm today and is still 67 past 9PM. Sure feels good. If this keeps up, I'll have to open up my windows and put the screens in my doors.

Unfortunately all the above plus other things kept me too busy today to get on the air for FISTS Tuesday. Never even got to listen. I hope it went well. -30-

Monday, March 31, 2014 11:40 PM - Another quick entry tonight. I got all my end of month financial stuff done, and after that it was pretty late. And after my nightly visit with Nancy and Roscoe, it was even later. Now it's closing in on midnight and I've got my midnight snack in the microwave.

So I'll just remind you that today/tomorrow is FISTS Tuesday in which the club is just trying to get more FISTS activity on the bands. I'm hoping to get on tomorrow sometime and find the .058 frequencies full of activity. We'll see if that pans out. I sure hope it does.

This evening I got a good start on the NAQCC April challenges with 4 DX stations from 3 continents providing quite a few letters and numbers.

Well, the microwave is calling, so I'm outta here. -30-

Sunday, March 30, 2014 8:58 PM - Just finished finalizing our March NAQCC Sprint results, and my brain needs a rest now. So I'll make this a quick entry, get my weather readings, check on March Madness, then relax for a while.

My QSO came pretty quick this evening when I worked GS0NWM on 20M at 0011Z which makes it 13 complete months in a row of working DX each day. -30-

Saturday, March 29, 2014 8:50 PM - A good evening on the bands. I set up at 0000Z, found TX6G almost begging for QSOs on 15 meters, and worked him easily for a new band-country. So since that was so quick and my streaks were secured for another day, I went exploring to see what else I could find. I found TX6G on 12 meters, much stronger than on 15 meters. So I thought I might as well try for another new band-country. But this time it was a little harder. He was working simplex, and the pile-up was continuous if not all that big. I patiently waited, sending my call each time he finished a QSO. Finally after 15+ minutes and I don't have any idea how many calls, he sent K3?, then K3W? after I repeated my call. I sent my call twice more and got the delightful K3WWP 599. I sent my exchange and added another band country.

Oddly and pleasantly enough, my local noise was again down as it has been a few times this past month now. Seems to be that way when it rains as it was doing this evening. Maybe a bad power pole ground somewhere?

Other than that, a rather quiet day. Before the rain started, I did a little shopping and some more cleaning up in the back yard. It was a nice day to be outside until the rain did start, and hasn't stopped. At least it's not s#@w, although we might get a little of that overnight, but it won't last now that the warmer spring weather is here. -30-

Friday, March 28, 2014 8:35 PM - A busy, but enjoyable day today. This morning I went with Bruce to pick up his computer at Best Buy where he had some work done on it.

Then with some free time this afternoon, I looked over my web site and updated some outdated material. It's amazing how time flies and things change especially since I've been so busy with NAQCC matters the past 9 plus years now. Hopefully I'll be able to keep things on the site more up to date now since my work load with the NAQCC is winding down as I near retirement as NAQCC VP.

I'd like your help in updating the site. If you find anything that seems to be out of date, let me know and I'll take care of it and give you credit for notifying me.

Then later this afternoon, I got on the bands and found them wide open to anywhere in the world. I first worked KH2L on 12M. He was absolutely booming in and continued strong for all of the over one hour I was on the bands. It only took a single call with one repeat to work him. Next a few minutes later, it was JA7BXS also on 12M. He was weaker, but copied me solidly. Hmmmm, that's OC and AS - wonder if I could work a WAC since those are the two hardest out of the way already. I got XE3WMA on 10M for NA a few minutes later. Halfway there. Oh, here's PA2M calling CQ on 10M. Kind of late in the day for EU on 10, but I worked him easily. However from then on I just couldn't find any workable stations from AF or SA to complete the WAC. I heard stations from there, but they were either too weak or they were working other DX themselves. So I added a couple more EU stations LZ73TRC and EI9KC then went QRT.

This evening it was a different story. The bands were much poorer than earlier in the day and I struggled for 28 minutes until finally I worked EC4DEX for DX streak day # 394.

Now time to check on March Madness. Looks like #2 Michigan and #7 Connecticut will advance. Perhaps the best game of all comes later when Kentucky plays Louisville in an hour or so. I might watch that one. -30-

Thursday, March 27, 2014 7:55 PM - I thought I'd start this entry a bit early, then go get my daily QSO and finish the entry after that. I did want to say that TX6G from Austral Islands was definitely a new overall country (entity) for me which makes 219 now and the first new one in a long time now. I believe since 5T0JL back on August 28 last year.

OK, off to get my QSO now. Be back shortly, I hope.

It's a half hour later now. I got my DX QSO quickly at 0004Z working Pance Z33Z on 20M. That was so quick I thought I'd try for a rag chew on 40 and worked Lou KC2KME for about 15 minutes or so.

Now I'm off to find out what is going on in March Madness. Dayton is 10 up on Stanford at the half while Wisconsin is having their way with Baylor so far - up by 13 at the half. The Dayton game is on CBS so I can watch it free on the Internet and may just do that. Then Florida/UCLA follows on CBS. I'd love to see UCLA upset Florida as I've always been a UCLA basketball fan. It may be tough though. Florida blew away Pitt who in turn had blown away Colorado. You never can tell in March Madness though. The only thing certain is that nothing is certain in a tournament like that. -30-

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:50 PM - Mike stopped by for a quick 'hit and run' visit this evening after the local ham club meeting here in town. Actually it was long enough to get a few things done, but not long enough for our usual repast of pizza or sub. He brought me good luck on the bands. Shortly after he arrived I worked TX6G for what may be a new overall country for me. I have yet to look into that. Unfortunately Mike couldn't follow suit and work him. Methinks I lucked out and fit myself timewise into a pause in the pile up.

We also played a computer bowling game for a little while and ordered a 'Lil Squall' tuna tin type transceiver to build on our next get together in mid April.

I mentioned a couple entries ago I was having trouble uploading to and viewing our NAQCC web site. Well tonight everything suddenly started working again either because of an email trouble report I sent to GoDaddy or coincidence. -30-

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 9:30 PM - Well I have nothing to do for a week now. HI I think I was the first to work W1AW/1 in VT at 0000Z (at least on 20M). Then I got W1AW/0 in IA 9 minutes later on 30M. Never did get W1AW/KH2 last week though. Glad it wasn't an overall new one that I missed, and I'm still on track at 28/28 toward my goal of a W1AW WAS.

There wasn't much DX to be heard here but I did work HI3/N3SY at 0015Z on 20M to keep the streak alive. Then since I got all the main objectives out of the way quickly, I decided to try a CQ on 40M and worked NG2D for a short rag chew till my phone rang and I had to QRT. -30-

Monday, March 24, 2014 8:23 PM - Should you be a NAQCC member reading this and looking for the Final Results from last week's sprint, I've been having trouble uploading them to the GoDaddy server. Hopefully the problem will be fixed shortly, whatever it is.

My local noise seems back in full force again the past couple days. Still I did manage a couple DX QSOs today although I could just hear the stations in the noise. I worked MJ/K8PT this afternoon and OM5XX on 20 this evening for day # 390 in the DX streak. -30-

Sunday, March 23, 2014 8:23 PM - I want to get to the cross-checking of our NAQCC sprint logs and also get caught up on March Madness, so this will be a very brief entry.

First I counted and I planted 18 tulip bulbs after splitting them last fall. Of those, 17 have sprouted. Hopefully the remaining one will come along also.

Not much time on the air today, but I did get my DX streak QSO easily this evening from EA3GHW on 20 meters. So if I make it for 11 more days that will be 400 DX days in a row.

OK, off to work on the logs now. I'd like to get them done this evening. -30-

Saturday, March 22, 2014 9:25 PM - Sometime around October 21 last fall, I separated my tulip bulbs and found somewhere between 14 and 18 of them. I said 14 in my diary entry, but I think there were more. I say that because I looked out today and there are around 16 or so little tulip plants just breaking the surface. I'm going to count more closely tomorrow and take a picture as well. I can't wait to see now how that part of my yard looks when they all grow and bloom.

Not a lot to talk about today. I followed March Madness although most of the games weren't until very late afternoon or this evening. Our closest school Pitt lost to Florida after blowing away Colorado on Thursday. I haven't checked the scores this evening for an hour or so. Let me look now. I see #11 seed Dayton continues to knock off some storied programs. First it was Ohio State, now Syracuse today. They'll have a chance at another as they'll now face the winner of Kansas-Stanford, two more well-known BB programs. No other upsets in the games that are finished so far today.

Other than the above, I got on the bands a couple times mainly looking for TX6G and W1AW/KH2. I didn't hear the first at all, and only weak signals from Guam. I heard N1TX/KL7 almost begging for answers on 12 meters so I worked him with a single call to let him know at least he was getting out. Heard him again this evening and he is very popular now. For my DX streak QSO, I worked I8GMG on 20M. It wasn't too easy a QSO, but he did get all my info in good order. I heard a WAC easily this evening with ZL2IO, an EA8, several JAs, a couple of PYs, many NA stations, and the I8 I worked plus a few others from EU.

Oh, I also worked on our sprint logs a bit today polishing them for the final cross-checking tomorrow evening or Monday morning. 122 logs provided some 2,100+ QSOs for me to work with so far. We're hoping for more to come in before tomorrow evening's deadline. -30-

Friday, March 21, 2014 9:11 PM - For the second day in a row, I added a rag chew QSO with a Japanese ham to my log. This evening it was Shin JA1NUT again on 10M which has been really hot the past few days. The JA signals have NO flutter to them as they seem to have most of the time. Just a clear signal with some little QSB. Shin told me he visits and likes my web site and asked me what setup I was using tonight. He also told me that my way of doing CW was real ham radio. It's still a thrill to actually chat with someone from a faraway country like Japan. The TU 599 QSOs are nice too, but actually chatting adds to the excitement.

Before I worked Shin, my daily DX QSO was with Jose EA1NE on 20 meters. Then W1AW/5 was going begging for answers on 10 meters so I worked him even though I had already logged him on 40 meters earlier.

Also earlier in the day I worked Art WB4MNK from the NAQCC FL Chapter parkpedition on 20 meters. Oh and also throughout the day I unsuccessfully chased TX6G. The problem was I couldn't hear the stations he was working so I didn't know exactly how far up to place my call. He was definitely strong enough to work had I been able to get set up right. Seemed like all those he was working were in my skip zone or just too weak to hear here.

Other activities today included watching some March Madness games and otherwise following the scores. A lot of upsets and overtime games this round so far. I guess the real shocker would have to be Mercer beating Duke. Also although they didn't win or come too close, the 16 seeds bothered the 1 seeds somewhat this year. Right now after my ham radio session, I'm going to get caught up on the tournament. -30-

Thursday, March 20, 2014 9:36 PM - Good conditions on the bands again today. I got on a few times looking for and trying to work W1AW/KH2 with no success. Too much competition. However I did have a couple good QSOs. I worked WL7E on 10 meters. I think he had the strongest signal I ever heard from Alaska. A true 599+. Then a couple minutes later, also on 10, I had a several minute rag chew with Suke JM7OLW. Although I've had well over 100 JA QSOs, only a very few went past a brief exchange of info. Today's JA QSO, along with one other a couple years ago with a call I forget now were probably my longest ones ever. That was around 2100Z, and when I got on later at 0000Z to get my streak(s) QSO, JA was still good on 10 meters. I didn't work any because they were mainly chasing other DX stations themselves. So I went to 20 meters and worked RA6AN to extend the DX streak to 386 days now. I'd still like to get W1AW/KH2 though, and maybe I will when the pileups dwindle down.

Otherwise today, I helped Bruce take Roscoe to the vet for his yearly checkup which he passed with flying colors except for being a couple pounds overweight. I also did a lot of preliminary work with the logs from last night's NAQCC sprint preparing for the cross-check when they are all in. We're at 98 logs already less than 24 hours after the sprint ended. So we should zoom past the 100 log mark once again. -30-

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 7:15 PM - I thought I'd check for W1AW/5 just before I went to bed last night around 12:30AM, and I'm glad I did. I found them (even without the panadapter hooked up) on 40 meters, gave a call, got a WWP?, sent K3WWP, got a K3WWP 599 NM, and now have 26 of 26 states logged. I heard W1AW/KH2 strong this afternoon on 15, but the pileup was so huge, I didn't even try calling. If they stay as strong during the coming week, I should be able to get them when the pileups shrink.

Tonight is our monthly NAQCC Sprint which is why I'm writing this a little earlier than usual. I'm not really in a contesting mood, but when I was listening for W1AW/KH2 this afternoon I noticed my noise level was down quite a bit. If it is still quiet tonight, my contesting mood may pick up. We'll see.

Another nice day before the rain started late this afternoon, so I did some more clean-up work in the yard. As I said yesterday, it sure is nice to get out and work again after our dreadful winter.

I got the following email from Bob KA2Q and asked for his permission to post it here. He said yes and hopes it will motivate another ham.

"Had to send you an email and thank you for all you do for NAQCC and for ham radio.
Been a ham for a lot of years but now enjoying it more than ever. I don't receive as well as other people and am always on the look out to improve my shack and antenna. I have a few improvements to make this spring if it ever warms up. I have a KX3 and an EFHW antenna to use for portable opps. Got the KX3 late last year and had a ball until it got to cold for these old bones.
I remembered reading about your antenna and your QRP QSO's. Found your web page and photos last week. You have motivated me for years, recalling your accomplishments when things weren't going well for me in Ham Radio.
I will make a presentation at our club meeting to share you with new people that need to see how simple this hobby could be. One of the things on my bucket list is to shake your hand, look you in the eye and say Thank You. For now this is going to have to do. I would like to suggest, if I may, keep sharing the simple things we could do to make better QSO's in the newsletter. You have a wealth of knowledge that needs to get out there, so generations of Hams to be, will benefit from your experience.
I had a great Ham Radio morning today, QSO'd with 9A2AJ on 28.057 that would never have happened without you. I'll be back tonight and tomorrow. Agn Thank You, Bob KA2Q"

That's what this web site is all about, and why I put so much time and effort into it, as well as into the NAQCC. -30-

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 8:38 PM - It is so great to have good weather here again. My spirits are lifted considerably now that the s#$w and cold are pretty much out of the way. I did my first outside work of the season this afternoon. I fixed my downspout from my gutter where it enters the disperser. The frost had heaved it around quite a bit. Then I removed the leaves from my tulip bed so the soil could be heated by the sun which is now quite high in the sky and has considerable heating power. Next up I cleaned the leaves from around my sump pump in the cellar stairway. I also repaired a brace and screen around it that had rotted away during the winter. It sure felt good to be working outside again even though it wasn't all that warm - about 50 or so. Even warmer times are on the way - thank goodness.

I accomplished 2/3 of my goals this evening. Actually I thought I had the third one in hand. I found W1AW/5 (NM) just starting with a QRL? on 17 meters and he was strong. However I lost out to two other stations who were also there, and then he was spotted and the vultures descended. So NM will be put off until tomorrow or later. TN was another story. I found him on 30 meters, called once and I am now half way to my W1AW WAS with 25 of 26 states activated worked so far. No sign of W1AW/KH2 anywhere. Next up it was searching for my DX streak QSO. I found J8/LY2IJ on 12 meters and worked him after 2 or 3 other stations. So it was a good evening and a good day here. Hope yours was the same. -30-

Monday, March 17, 2014 8:44 PM - The bands sounded rather poor this evening, so I grabbed a quick QSO with W1AW/7 on 30 meters (new band) to get my main streak QSO out of the way. Then I spent a fruitless half-hour searching for some DX. I heard a couple of fairly strong signals, but they were in long rag chews, and then were gone when I came back later to see if they were still there. All of the few other DX signals were weak and down in my strong noise so I probably wouldn't have been able to hear them if they came back to me, so I didn't try. That means it's the morning or afternoon if my DX streak is going to continue. That will be only the third or fourth time this month I didn't get a DX QSO in the 0000Z hour.

It was another nice although chilly day today. I went on a couple shopping trips and another general walk. It's so nice to be able to get out again without having to plod through s#$w to get anywhere. Only a few left over junkpiles now where it was plowed pretty deep. This might be the first year in some time now when we can still see s#$w somewhere in April. -30-

Sunday, March 16, 2014 8:46 PM - A busy day today again. Web site work for my site and the NAQCC site took up most of the morning. I did get my new poll posted today. It's a simple yes/no poll this month.

Then this afternoon I cut my hair. I've mentioned this before, but not recently. I haven't been in a barber shop since late 1972. I've cut my own hair ever since then and saved a bunch of money and a lot of time along the way in those 41 plus years.

Of course this is 'Selection Sunday' so I had to get ready for my favorite sporting event of them all - March Madness. I've got my brackets all set up in Microsoft Excel. All that needs doing now is to plug in the scores from the games. No more typing other than the scores as I have it set up to automatically advance the winning team to the next round.

Finally this evening, of course it was QSO time when 0000Z rolled around. Tonight it took but 4 minutes to get my DX QSO when I worked FG/F6ARC with a single call on 30 meters. Then I hung around for a while and got another 'Block Party' QSO for our NAQCC March challenge.

Now here I am typing and after I finish it will be out to get my temperature for the day. It was a bit colder today with a high only of 32 on my remote thermometer here. None of that ugly white stuff though. Actually I went downtown for a bit of shopping amidst the other things described above. It was nice to walk on bare pavement and grass even if it was a bit cold. -30-

Saturday, March 15, 2014 8:45 PM - It took a bit longer to get my DX QSO this evening as I was fooling around with the N1MM Logger trying to get it set up for the Russian DX contest. For some reason which I still have to figure out, it kept logging the RST as 59 instead of 599 even though I was pretty sure I had it set for CW. I guess since I am new to it, I still have things to learn even though it worked perfectly in the ARRL DX contest last month. Oh well, things like that are what keep life from being boring.

Anyway I finally did work SK3W at 0017Z on 40 in the contest to add another day to the DX streak. Right now it's almost time to get my temperature, then I'm going to work on N1MM again and see if I can figure out what I'm doing wrong. -30-

Friday, March 14, 2014 9:30 PM - A busy and eventful day today. My next door neighbor Bruce entered the computer world today. We went down to Best Buy this morning and he bought a computer, printer, mouse, and other accessories. Then I helped him get it set up this afternoon. I enjoyed doing all of that.

It was a nice day again with a high of 61, completing two peaks and one valley of our temperature ride of the past 3 days - from 70 to 6 to 61. A lot better than 21 years ago at this time when the superstorm blizzard struck the east coast. We had about 2 feet of s#$w here, but it was March and it was all melted in just a few days since there was no ice, but just all fresh s#$w.

Because of the busy day, I haven't had a chance to update my poll. I'll do that tomorrow in between some more computer learning work with Bruce.

I kept up the pattern this evening. My DX QSO came at 0003Z making it 0000 0001 0002 0003 the past 4 days now. Tonight it was EI3KG on 17 meters with a single call. Then I added 9L1A on 30 meters a little later. Seems I can only work Sierra Leone on 30 for whatever reason. That must be 4 or 5 QSOs all on 30 and none on any other band. Anyway for anyone counting along, that's 380 consecutive days of DX now.

Oh, my tribute to Nancy WZ8C is now posted in the latest NAQCC newsletter should you want to take a look at it. Go to here, then click Newsletter, then Current. It's a .pdf file. -30-

Thursday, March 13, 2014 8:20 PM - Welcome to the Kittanning weather roller coaster. From 70 degrees on Tuesday afternoon to about 8 degrees this morning then back up to 56 predicted for tomorrow. Hopefully the 8 degrees was winter's swan song as far as cold temperatures go. Generally the first half of March is the last time of the season we drop into the single digits.

I never did go to the computer club meeting last evening. It looked just too slippery with the rain that fell all day freezing on the sidewalks then being covered with a light dusting of s#$w. So I got my DX QSO at 0001Z when I worked Gena UA9MA on 20 meters last night. Tonight took a bit longer. At 0002Z I worked another of the Bulgarian saints stations LZ1246SIT on 20 meters. So the last 5 days my DX QSO has come at 0000, 1514, 0000, 0001, and 0002Z. That 1514 was an abberation caused by poor evening conditions and high local noise. I also worked AL4Q again on his tour of different South American prefixes. Tonight it was HK2/AL4Q. I wasn't sure if I needed HK2 or not, so I worked him anyway and will check now to see if it was new. AS Yes indeed, HK2 is a new prefix which leaves HK8 and HK9 to complete the block of ten HK prefixes for me.

As I've mentioned, this winter has been a very depressing one with the overabundance of s#$w and that has kind of sapped my desire to do things. February was particularly bad. I think I only got out for 3 or 4 medium length walks all month and that was it. A real case of cabin fever along with the depression. As a result I was very late in getting my tomatoes and peppers started. Even later in talking about it here in the diary. I did plant them I think maybe the day after President's Day last month. On top of everything else they were slow in sprouting so no tomatoes in May this year barring a miracle. One problem was I couldn't find any Siberian tomato seeds from either 2012 or 2013 and had to go back to ones from 2011. So far only one has sprouted and it is just starting to get its first real leaves. Another one did sprout, but it seems to be seedbound. The peppers on the other hand sprouted much better. They are on the right hand side of the picture here, while the Siberians are on the left.

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I hope that the weather is going to turn for the better now and I'll have more desire to do various things. I'm already looking forward to the college basketball March Madness which gets underway this Sunday with the seeding of the teams. -30-

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 5:37 PM - I thought I'd write this early today because there is a computer club meeting this evening which I may attend. I say may because we had rain most of the day with falling temperatures which just now hit 30 degrees, and if the coating of rain freezes it may be pretty slippery and I don't feel like falling. We didn't get any true freezing rain as it went directly from rain to s@#w as the temperature neared 32 degrees a while ago.

Anyway I logged both the W1AW states today - AZ first, then OH. AZ took a bit of doing on 15 meters as I had to wait through perhaps 15-20 stations before I got a WP?, then completed the QSO with a solid K3WWP 599 AZ from W1AW. Had I gotten there a minute or so earlier, I might have gotten him on the first try because when I found him, he was still working simplex, then the crowd increased and he went split, listening up 3. I thought maybe I'd be the first one to catch his announcement and switch as I've done in the past with a few stations, but some strong Europeans got set up as quickly as I did, and I had to wait through them. On the other hand, a single call to W1AW/8 on 40 meters netted the QSO. That's 24 down and 26 to go now. So far all the ones I worked through February have been confirmed via the LotW. Hopefully when I upload my March QSOs to LotW, all those will be confirmed also. I see no reason why not as all have been solid QSOs so far in March.

Also today I worked some interesting stations and prefixes. First nothing new in RK3ER but I worked Alex because he was so strong on 10 meters. I had worked him 3 times before. Next I found LY10NATO whom I assume had something to do with NATO. I'll take a look right now on QRZ and see. Yes honoring Lithuania's 10 years of membership in NATO. Then a few minutes later I found and worked YL2014S. Let's see what that call was for. Well it says, "The Latvian capital Riga officially is unveiled as the European Capital of Culture Year. Special callsign YL2014S will be on the air from March 1st to November 30th, 2014."

I really enjoy chasing prefixes. Getting new entities has become hard after 218, but the new prefixes are still easy to work and seem to be increasing all the time on the bands. I now have 2,627 of them worked and counting. -30-

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 8:54 PM - With the bands in good shape and not being so selective in whom I work after completing the NAQCC European Chapter challenge, I just got on for a while today and had fun working whomever I pleased. European Russia was good on 10 meters so I worked RZ3FW and RW7M. I added Belarus on 12 meters from EU7A. Earlier on 12 it was HA8QZ. So it was easy extending the DX streak another day after not getting anyone last evening.

Speaking of the streak, I finally finished the story of the first year (365 days) of the streak and it is now posted in the QRP section on the DX Streaks page.

This evening for the third time in the past few days, I got my DX QSO just at the stroke of a new UTC day at 0000Z. This time it was R7CA on 20 meters as European Russia was still good this evening, but down on 20 meters now. After that it was a fruitless chase of W1AW/8 and W1AW/7. I found them on several different bands as they seem to have a full bore multi-op setup going. However there was seemingly an endless stream of big 100-1000 watt stations also chasing them and pretty much wiping out my minimal QRP signals. Still almost a full week to get them though - so I'm pretty certain I will. They were strong enough for me to easily work them this evening if the competition wasn't so plentiful and strong.

Time now to get my weather readings. This may have been our first 70 degree day of the year. The high shows as 69 on my remote unit, but it may have hit 70 on my official outdoor thermometer. I'll know in a few minutes.

Just a brief weather note before I go. Back in 1986 on March 8 the low was -3. Then just about 55 hours later on March 10 it was 75 degrees - a swing of 78 degrees in just over two days. Now we may come close to the reverse of that. If it was 70 today and the prediction of a low near 5 above Thursday morning comes true, that would be 65 degrees in a couple days. We'll see. -30-

Monday, March 10, 2014 9:05 PM - Conditions were not all that good this evening. I missed getting a DX QSO in the 0000Z hour for the first time in a while now. So I'll have to do that in the morning or afternoon. I did work two NAQCC members though (AA4MC, K4JPN) for our March NAQCC 'Block Party' challenge.

Conditions were on the other hand, good this morning and afternoon. Good enough for me to work R7NW for the last two Ns and YL2SM for the last Y in the NAQCC March European Chapter challenge. After almost failing to complete the challenge last month I was more serious this month finishing it in about 9 1/2 days.

This was the warmest day so far this year with a high of 59 degrees and it did a major job of s#$w melting. Even where the stuff was piled up, melted and froze shrank a good deal today. It was fabulous. I went for two pretty good walks, the second one without even needing a jacket. -30-

Sunday, March 09, 2014 8:19 PM - It's been just over a year now since I started using my panadapter. Each day I come to appreciate it more and more. It just makes tuning the band so much quicker and easier. It's nothing like spotting or even the Skimmer. It merely shows me by a peak on the computer screen just where a signal is. If I'm tuned to say 14007 and I see a peak in the display further up the band, I simply spin the dial to that spot and see who it is making the peak. I don't have to tune up the band listening to each frequency as it passes by on the dial to see if anyone is there. Even then I could tune right over a station while he is in a pause between words. That's the fault of aural tuning versus tuning with a visual aid like the panadapter. It's impossible to do so, but I wish I could compute the time I've saved in the past year because of the panadapter. Even when calling CQ, a simple glance at the computer screen shows if anyone is answering me outside the aural passband of the KX3. No more laboriously tuning up and down with the RIT after each and every CQ. Now I only use the RIT if I do see someone calling off-frequency on the panadapter. That control must feel really neglected since I started using the panadapter. That with the KX3 makes just about the ideal QRP/CW station.

My noise that was missing yesterday came back today, but still at a somewhat reduced level from normal. So I had a lot of fun exploring the bands. I came close to finishing the NAQCC European Chapter challenge needing now just two Ns and one Y to complete it. I heard YN5SU but obviously he's not it Europe, so I'll have to find a Belgian (ONxxxx) and a Lithuanian (LYxxxx) station, among other possibilities to finish it off. Maybe tomorrow although I may be busy helping Bruce buy and set up a computer for himself. Even so, there are still 22 days left this month, and if I can't finish in that time, I don't deserve it.

Along the way, I also picked up some new prefixes in SF2014ECC, LZ136LO, and GP0STH. I was also noting that on the 9th, I made QSOs on 7 different bands - 80, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters. I thought of trying to make it 9 bands, but didn't get around to it.

This evening once again my streak and DX streak QSO came in the 0000Z minute as I easily snatched VP2MXI on 17 meters. After that I looked around for some European stations but didn't hear any. Oddly 9K2MU was quite strong on 20 meters with a decent sized pileup. I tried to get him a couple times, but didn't pursue it any further since he obviously is not in Europe anyway. I also heard EA8/DL1VOA very strong on 30, and could have worked him easily, but didn't try since he is in Africa.

I did some work on the web site today. Now all 99 of my FISTS Keynote QRP columns are available here on the web site for anyone to read. I hope to be writing #100 as soon as FISTS gets reorganized following the passing of Nancy WZ8C. I wrote a tribute to her for the upcoming NAQCC newsletter, and a few days after that gets posted, I may present it here in the diary or have a link to it rather than writing a separate tribute for here. It was very hard writing one, and I don't think I'm up to writing a second one since I treasured my friendship with Nancy so much and miss our all too infrequent contacts. I wish we could have had more communications over the years. I especially regret not having ever met her in person.

A pretty good day today after a dusting of s#$w last night that is now just a bad memory. It wasn't all that warm but it was sunny and that took care of not only the dusting but some stuff that's been hanging around way too long as well. I see a high of just 41 today. However tomorrow it's supposedly into the mid 50s and the next day near 60. That should help clean things up even more. -30-

Saturday, March 08, 2014 8:00 PM - Miracle of miracles. I turned on the radio today and found an absence of any local noise. It sounded like I was at the Community Park. The S Meter wasn't even moving save for when I tuned in a signal. It sure was nice, but I'm sure it won't continue. I sure would like to know what was turned off today and where.

I got on to search for some letters and numbers for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. I worked ER1LW on 12 to get two 1s, but that was about it. There was a lot of DX around on all bands through 10, but none with anything that would help with the challenge. I did work IC8TEM on 10 because I thought I might need the IC8 prefix.

Then continued miracle of miracles. When I got on at 0000Z this evening, my noise was still virtually absent. It was kicking the S Meter slightly, but nowhere near the usual S7 to S9 level. My furnace is still a noisemaker though, and is more noticeable now with the other noise (whatever) at a minimum. Still I can live with that if the other noise stays away. Just turn the furnace down when I operate so it doesn't come on. With spring now here, that can more easily be done with little chance of it getting too cold. Anyway my DX QSO came easily when I worked YN5SU on 30 meters.

Tonight comes another affirmation that spring is really here when we go to the misnamed Daylight Savings Time. It really should be called Daylight Shifting Time since there really is no savings involved. It is merely a shifting by one hour of the time frame when it is daylight. I always like the old Indian saying describing DST as being similar to making a blanket longer by cutting a foot off one end and sewing it on the other end. Psychologically though it is wonderful to have more daylight hours in the time frame we label as evening. -30-

Friday, March 07, 2014 7:36 PM - A beautiful spring day today. Sunny with temperatures in the mid 50s. Boy, did the s#$w take a well-deserved beating today. I went for a walk with my coat on and wound up sweating a bit. Sure felt good. Made up for a lot of miserable days the past few months. Then later in the afternoon Bruce and Nancy took me for supper at Ponderosa - a seafood buffet. I was wise that time and didn't wear the coat.

It was kind of hard finding a QSO this evening as my noise was soaring at new heights. Finally I found Zoli HA4FF on 20 meters and worked him easily. No letters for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge, but good for my main streak day 7,156 and DX streak day 373. -30-

Thursday, March 06, 2014 8:23 PM - An 8 minute QSO with Jose EA3JJ served as my streak QSO, my DX QSO, and as a source of a couple letter Es for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. After that, I worked Ray KC8KBD who was only my 3rd USA QSO this month excluding the W1AW/# stations. I almost forgot how to do a regular domestic QSO. HI.

I haven't talked much about the weather of late, but except for that brief s#$w on the 2nd, it does really seem that spring did arrive on March 1st as it should have. It's still a little below normal temperature wise, but not that much. With at least some sunshine each day, the s#$w is receding quite a bit. Actually the melt is good. It melts during the day, then stops during the colder temps of night. That way, the threat of flooding is reduced considerably. It is nice to see more and more bare ground after that grueling winter we had. -30-

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 3:02 PM - At times I get asked for some secrets to working stations with QRP. I had a QSO today that illustrates one of the several important 'tricks' for lack of a better word. That is to LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN to the station you are trying to work. I got on this afternoon with the specific intent of finding and working W1AW/7 in ID. Since I didn't find them right away, I instead worked a few European stations on 10 meters - SG0U F6ARS DL6KR - to gather letters for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. But as I often do in my writing, I digress, so let me get back to the point. I eventually did find a rather weak W1AW/7 on 20 meters with a pretty good sized pileup. I listened for a while trying to find out exactly what his pattern was. I mean was he listening up (yes)? How far (I never was sure)? But then in my listening I heard him say QSY 14037. He currently was on 14030. So I quickly tuned the KX3 up to 14037 and waited for him to show up there. When he did he sent CQ DE W1AW/7 UP3. I quickly tuned VFO B up to 14040 and gave a call. He came back with K3J which from the timing I was sure was me so I sent K3WWP twice and got my QSO to make it 20/20 for W1AW states. Why was it so easy when he was not at all strong and I'm sure I wasn't either. Probably because many folks were too busy calling to catch his QSY message and then too slow to catch on to the UP3 after he did QSY. The result - I had him pretty much to myself.

Now from the joy of getting W1AW to the deep sadness of some more info about Nancy WZ8C's passing. Here's an email from her widower Tim about the latest situation and some more info.

"In Memory of Nancy Kott, WZ8C
From Tim Lange, Nancy's OM

My wife Nancy passed away Sunday March 2, 2014. She endured many years of medical challenges and is now resting peacefully. She is leaving a empty spot in my heart as I'm sure it is the same for all of you. Thank you for the outpouring of sympathy that I have already received. She has touched so many people around the world.

I am enclosing a link to her brief obit. There are no services planned at this time. She is being cremated at this time per her wishes.

I realize my contact list is not up to date today. Please forward this message to anyone that might like to know (and copy to me so I can update my list).

Tim Lange



(NOTE from K3WWP - The URL in the link above is very long. If it doesn't work for you here is the link directly to the Funeral home - http://www.hillfh.com) followed by a copy of the obituary there.

"In Memory of
Nancy Anne Kott
October 27, 1955 - March 2, 2014

KOTT, NANCY age 58 of Metamora, MI., died Sunday, March 2, 2014 at the University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor. Memorial Services will be announced at a later date. Nancy was born October 27, 1955 in Hamtramck, MI., to parents Kenneth and Irene (Keller) Kott. She was head of the North American Branch of the Preservation of Morse Code (FISTS). Nancy worked for the U.S. Census Bureau and the Center for Disease Control. Surviving are husband Tim Lange; parents Kenneth and Irene Kott; sister-in-law Diane Kott and many other relatives. She was preceded in death by her brother Paul Kott. Arrangements by the Hill Funeral Home, 11723 S. Saginaw St, Grand Blanc, MI.
Condolences may be left on-line at www.hillfh.com"

I am still not ready to write my tribute to you Nancy, but may you rest in peace, and thank you for all you have done for CW through FISTS, the greatest CW club of them all - K3WWP. -30-

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 7:46 PM - I know that many of you who read my diary are FISTS members, and you probably already know that Nancy WZ8C passed away earlier this week. I intend to write an entry about her here in the diary and also for the NAQCC newsletter since she and I and FISTS and NAQCC have always been very close. Right now though it's just too sad for me to write anything yet.

I got perhaps my quickest streak QSO ever this evening. OK1CF was calling CQ just before 0000Z then just exactly at 0000Z his CQ ended and I sent my call and bingo, I had my streak QSO, DX streak QSO, and as a bonus a few more letters/numbers for the NAQCC European challenge.

Then I went on a hunt for W1AW in the new states of KY and ID. I found KY easily on 40M, set the KX3 for split operation with the headphones on split channel listening and found the station W1AW was working. I sent my call, got a K3W?, repeated my call twice and now have 19 of the 20 activated states in my log. I didn't get ID though. I thought I heard them very weak on 30. Anyway there was a pile chasing something and I thought I heard 'ID' weakly from the station they were chasing. Still just one hour less than a full week to get them, so I should make it 20 for 20 before the week is out. -30-

Monday, March 03, 2014 7:56 PM - The DX streak goes on. 369 days and counting. I got on this afternoon to look for some European stations for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge, and as a side issue to work some DX for another day. I took care of the second part first when I worked 4Z5AD which of course is Asia. Then I did get UA3KW to get some letters (A W) from his call. I want to digress a moment here and say that I really envy some of those DX stations and the fabulous receiving setups they must have. Neither 4Z5AD nor UA3KW were all that strong here and actually not solid copy with my noise level. However they copied my QRP signals very easily. I guess their noise levels at their home locations must be like it is here at our Kittanning Community Park. The noise level there as I have mentioned is really an S0 and it's possible to copy signals there that don't even move the KX3 S meter. To have a situation like that all the time must really be great. It is getting to be less and less fun coping with my local noise level of S6 at best to S9+ at worst. I feel bad when I can't copy my fellow QRPers all that well. End of digression.

This evening my streak, DX streak, European Chapter station, and a rag chew all came at once from Svein LA5FHA who took the time to chat for a while. He was running a KW making for easy copy here and his high 5 element beam pulled in my QRP signals well there. It was a bit surprising to hear a S9 signal from Europe so late on 20M, but then with spring here now, that situation will get better and better. Chatting with Svein also made me feel better about our winter weather here. Our winter was nothing compared to that in Norway. There is still around a meter of s#$w on the ground there. Here a great deal of ours is gone. Even with our high in just the mid 20s, the bright sunshine continued the s#$w melt today.

With the bright sunshine making for such a nice day, Nancy and I went on a major grocery shopping trip to the mall stores today. I was afraid I bought so much frozen food, I might have to 'rent' out space in her big freezer. However I got out my shoehorn and packed it all into the freezer compartment of my refrigerator quite easily. I will have to use some up though before I can buy any more.

I also went for a walk late this afternoon as the s#$w is pretty much gone from our town hiking trail. -30-

Sunday, March 02, 2014 8:16 PM - Well, we were blessed, or lucked out - whatever you believe and only got about an inch of the dreaded white stuff today, and it was even warm enough that a little of it melted off soon after falling. Whew! Those dire predictions by various weather services were scary, but the storm moved just far enough south to give us the break here. I feel sorry for those in the main path of the storm.

The DX streak is now at 367 days, and I guess will be continuing. Nothing for the 3rd yet, but I will try to get some in the morning or afternoon. I never did hit the bands today in the morning or afternoon, so I don't know how conditions were. They weren't too bad this evening although I didn't hear much, if any DX - mostly just strong W/VE stations. -30-

Saturday, March 01, 2014 6:37 PM - The first day of spring acted like it. It was almost 50 degrees and that sure looked and felt good. Unfortunately we're going back into the depressing days of winter weather for the next few days now before spring weather settles in for good later this week. Too depressing to even think about, so let's move on.

The DX streak is going to continue - at least long enough to finish up the NAQCC European Chapter March challenge. Day 366 today featured a Polish and German station as the high bands up through 10 were good this early afternoon. I also got a second QSO with W1AW/7 on 15 meters just in case the first one on 20 a couple days ago wasn't any good. My noise acted up then and I wasn't 100 percent sure he had my call correct. No doubt today though. So I'm now a solid 18/18 in W1AW states for sure. The first 16 are even confirmed in the LotW.

Almost time now to head for the shack. Think I'll take a bit of a walk around the house first as I've been sitting most of the day getting caught up on a lot of computer work. One of the things was putting the February weather in the computer. Turns out it was a cold month averaging 4.9 degrees below normal. I'm glad I don't keep s@#wfall records. That could really be depressing. -30-