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Don't forget to cast your vote in the monthly poll here after reading the diary.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015 9:13 PM - Last night was another 'later in the evening' DX QSO when I worked V44KAI at 0101Z, actually just out of the 0000Z hour. Tonight the bands again seemed devoid of DX except for a LU station on 30 whom I couldn't work. So as per usual, I solidified the big streak with a CQ on 40 that yielded a response from Marino N1PVP. After that it was back to looking for DX. I found HI3TEJ on 30 and got him with a single call. So the DX streak lives at 951 days. The 1,000 day mark is steadily drawing closer. I've pretty much decided if I make it that far, I am going to stop there and only chase DX for the fun of chasing it, and for the NAQCC challenges. Of course, I could change my mind if conditions improve between now and then and the DX comes easier than it has a few days of late.

Although I don't have a counter on my web site any longer, I do keep track of the number of visitors. I find it interesting that as shown in this graph, the number has stayed pretty constant over the past 15 years or so despite the great increase in the number of various ham radio sites in that time. I appreciate you visiting my site and making the effort in maintaining it worthwhile. I'll continue to do it as long as I can and as long as the number of visitors remains high enough to continue making it worthwhile.
pix_diary_20151006_001 (236K)

Series 1 (green) is the long term daily average. Series 2 (blue) is a seven day running average. Series 3 (red) is a thirty day running average.

Another fine October day today, so I went fishing again, but the fish broke the date. I only got a couple nibbles in the hour and ten minutes I was there. But it didn't matter as it was nice to just sit there enjoying the mid-70s temperatures under partly cloudy skies. I also took a couple long walks and am near to another 10 mile day. I may walk in the house to make it over 10 miles.

Some cleaning up in the back yard also took place today. I picked some beans, tomatoes, and peppers. Then I pulled all my daylilly leaves to prepare them for their long winter's rest to get rejuvenated for next summer.

That pretty much sums up the day. Nothing really planned for tomorrow so it will probably be a repeat of today with walking, fishing, cleaning up outside and so forth. -30-

Monday, October 05, 2015 8:23 PM - Another DX shutout in the 0000Z hour, so I'll try again later tonight and if not then, it's tomorrow morning or afternoon. Last night I worked VP2MLJ in the 0200Z hour easily with a single call. So that's a few times lately that trying a little later in the evening has been more successful than the 0000Z hour.

Other than that, today was a very good day. First of all, it was sunny, and that hasn't happened for several days now. It's amazing how sunshine can brighten up the spirits. Of course with that kind of weather, it was off to the river for some fishing after the laundry and a couple other things were taken care of. I figured with the river being muddy and the docks taken out for the winter, I wouldn't get anything. It seems the carp like hanging out around and under the docks, but maybe my observation is wrong. Anyway it didn't take long till I got a solid hit on my peanut butter bread, but when I jerked, I only felt a slight tug, then nothing. I wondered if that would be my only chance and I blew it. Nope, a couple minutes later I got that typical carp bite of grabbing the bait and heading for the other side of the river. He took a good deal of line off my reel before I persuaded him to turn. Then the fight was on. It took me around 10-12 minutes to land him of which 8 or so were just getting him close enough to get a look at him. From the fight, I figured he must be one of the 26 inch bunch, but he looked a little bigger when I saw him. I thought maybe 28. Finally when I got him up on shore and measured him, I had to do it twice to be sure. He turned out to be 31.5 inches, but somewhat slim and not as bulky as the 30+ inch ones usually are. That's why he put up such a good fight. He was limber enough to use his size plus put on some moves of a little smaller carp. That was a lot of fun. After that though, it was only a few nibbles probably from some suckers.

Later in the afternoon, I thought I'd see what was on the bands and check out my newly charged gel cell to see if it was ready for our Columbus Day parkpedition with the NAQCC special event call N3A. It was ready and there was some activity on the bands, although not really a lot. I wound up on 15 meters and found a signal there about S4 or S5 at best. He dropped into the noise a bit and all I got was the end of his call "JJ". I knew he was DX though from his operating style and split frequency operation. I listened a bit more and finally got FW5JJ. Hmmm, Wallis and Futuna, but he's so weak I doubt he'll ever hear me. I called anyway and after just a couple calls he came back with a call and 599. I didn't catch the call, but then he repeated and you know what? It was me K3WWP 599. I sent TU 599, but he didn't get it and sent K3WWP 599 again. I responded again with TU 599 and got a K3WWP TU and a new band country - the fourth band on which I've worked FW now. So two good things to remember today. -30-

Sunday, October 04, 2015 9:24 PM - Mike and I had a fun, interesting, and useful time today cleaning the corrector lens on his 9.5 inch telescope. We should have taken some pictures along the way, but we didn't. The most time-consuming part of the project was preparing the various solutions needed to properly clean the lens. No, actually the most time-consuming was a couple weeks ago gathering all the ingredients and equipment we needed to prepare the solutions.

Anyway, taking the lens off the scope went fairly easily. Then the actual cleaning was easy as well, and the cleaning solution did an excellent job of making the lens look almost "factory fresh" when we were done. Re-installing the lens was a little tricky because of having to put 7 tiny spacers around the lens between it and the scope frame. At first they kept falling out until we figured out to seat the lens, then use tweezers to fit in the spacers. Unfortunately we didn't get to try it out because Mike had to leave fairly early for work tomorrow and it got partly cloudy anyway. Plus we didn't have the dew zapper which was still in Brookville and we didn't want to recreate the problem again by not using it.

After Mike took his scope and the collection of cleaning paraphenalia and headed north, I went to my shack in search of my streak QSO(s). I got the regular streak one from KC9TEK/M, but didn't find any workable DX at all except Alex HC2AO whom I have already worked a zillion times... well 14 times, 6 of which were on 30 where I heard him, and I hate to keep working the same DX station over and over again on the same band(s). So my pink reminder note is out to remind me to go for the DX later tonight or tomorrow morning/afternoon. -30-

Saturday, October 03, 2015 8:33 PM - A quick DX QSO this evening, thank goodness. Now I don't have to worry about it tomorrow when Mike KC2EGL visits again for some telescope work. Last night I tried to work VP2MAC many times with no luck. Tonight I got him after three or four other stations. Last night I worked Mike F5IN on 40 for my DX. Mike is very easy to work. I've worked him 46 times now, 39 of them in various contests going back to 1994.

I also had another "interesting" QSO last night before I worked Mike. It was TX3T on 40 meters. Of course that was very suspicious since well over half the path to Chesterfield Is. was in daylight at the time. However freaky things do happen, so I wanted to work him just in case it was one of the freaky things even though as a friend at work at WPIT used to say, "the chances are slim and none, and Slim just left town" that it really was the DXpedition. It wasn't as I was not in the on-line log along with the two 6 area stations he worked before me. I'm curious to know just where the pirate was located. The signals were quite weak with a lot of QSB here, yet he worked the 6 stations easily. Perhaps somewhere on the west coast? Anyone have any ideas?

A quite chilly day today which was good for walking. I had my first solid one hour fast paced walk in a while now earlier this evening. I have just over 9 miles total today. I walked by the river and it has dropped quite a bit after the heavy rain a few days ago, but it's still a bit muddy. I think by Monday it will be good for fishing again and it is supposed to be mostly sunny all week, so guess what I'll be doing a lot of this coming week. -30-

Friday, October 02, 2015 10:02 AM - An early diary entry today as I have some things to take care of during the day today plus Bruce and Nancy are taking me to Ponderosa for dinner.

First here's a picture of a big pileup on 20 meters that I broke - NOT. I didn't even try nor do I know who they were chasing. I did hear the chasee very weakly, but didn't hear any ID from them.
pix_diary_20151002_001 (41K)

I did however get my DX QSO for day 946 from John ON4UN with a single call. That gave me some more letters/numbers for the NAQCC challenges. If I get time, I'll try to check the bands later to see if Europe is coming through like it was the past couple days. Right now, John is the only strong DX signal on any band. I did hear a few other very weak ones. Not surprising if you know John's setup that he would be the only strong signal.

It's interesting at the halfway point of my current poll to see the definite confirmation that hams are balanced. All but one of the 29 non-ham interests are getting votes. The missing one? Participating in sports. I guess with the ageing ham population, that is not surprising. Walking is getting votes though, so at least you (we) are getting that needed exercise even though our football, baseball, etc. days may be past us now.

If you haven't voted in the poll yet, I hope you will add your vote to make the poll more meaningful. Just click the link above or here. Thanks. -30-

Thursday, October 01, 2015 9:15 PM - Once again no DX in the 00Z hour. That's three in a row now. However the past two nights, I've gotten my DX a little later in the evening. Maybe that will happen again tonight. If not, conditions have been good in the afternoons the past couple days. Today I got HB0/DL5YM easily through a pile-up, followed by LZ130SAK. Those two calls got me off to a good start on the October NAQCC challenges.

It was kind of a gloomy day today although we did get some peeks of sunshine that we hadn't gotten the past few days now. And NO rain today. Things have dried out pretty well now as we prepare for a possible encounter with Joaquin, although the projected track has been pushed a little further east out to sea in each of the latest updates after an original projection of a track right through PA. So we'll wait and see. -30-

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 9:12 PM - We wound up with 4.59 inches of rain the past two days. That brought the river up and made it very muddy. So probably no fishing for a week or so. I also got the most water in my basement in several years, maybe going back to 2006 when we had that almost 6 inches of rain I mentioned in the last diary entry. Still not all that much - about a half inch in a couple low spots, if that much. Back in 2006 it was more like a foot.

No DX tonight, so the little pink slip reminder is out. If the bands tomorrow are like they were today, a DX QSO should be a cinch. In the 1700-1800Z hours today, Europe was very good on 20, 17, and even 15 meters. I mostly just listened, but I did work SM3NXS with a single call on 17 meters. Hopefully it will be the same tomorrow so I can get off to a good start on the NAQCC October challenges along with getting the DX streak QSO. Or maybe I'll get it later tonight as I did last night when I worked T48G at 0148Z.

I got most of my end of the month, first of the month things done today. I'll have to make my banking run tomorrow morning. Also I have to get my September weather readings into the computer plus flip a couple calendar pages to October. Then I'll be all ready for the new month. I think I'll get to the weather now after I finish my web site updating. -30-

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 8:55 PM - No DX this evening, but I did work KI4VH to keep the big streak going. I have my little "QSO" note (picture several diary entries back) out to remind me to try for that DX in the morning or afternoon if not later tonight.

A strange happening today labeled as quite a coincidence. The batteries in both my main computer mouse and my laptop mouse both died within a couple hours of each other. I've never seen anything close to that before.

Another unusual thing today was the amount of rain. I haven't checked officially yet which I will do in a couple minutes, but a quick glance at the rain gauge when I was fixing my sump pump hose earlier this evening looked like around 4 inches which would be the third highest daily total in my 55 years of keeping weather records. Think I'll go check now and see how close my glance was...... It was in the neighborhood but a couple of streets away as the saying goes. 3.74 inches will go in the books for today (I keep my readings on a 9PM to 9PM local day - a carryover from my younger go to bed early days - HI). I still think that is third highest behind a couple of almost 6 inch days from Hurrican Ivan on September 17, 2004 (5.69 inches) and a training thunderstorm on June 25, 2006 (5.57 inches). Yes, those are the only two days with a greater total rainfall than today. -30-

Monday, September 28, 2015 7:21 PM - First a couple comments, then the power pole story. A big disappointment with the eclipse last night. After some tantalizing views of the first third or so of the partial stage of the eclipse, a solid cloud cover with some light rain moved in and ended the show. All the more disappointing because the next comparable eclipse in this area won't be until Jan 20/21, 2019, over 3 years to wait.

As I wished, I did get my DX QSO quickly last night, working CE2MVF on 30 meters just after the clock turned to 0000Z, so all was set for watching the eclipse, but....

Mike arrived yesterday just after 9 AM for our power pole project. For those of you who are not familiar with power poles, briefly they are a very clever way of distributing power to various pieces of equipment. They do not have male and female connectors as such, but simply plug into each other using two pairs of connectors - red for positive and black for negative.
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I think this construction article will make it a little clearer. If not, there is a lot of info on the Internet that can be found via a Bing search.

After some chatting, Mike and I got started on the project. The first thing was preparing some short pieces of #14 solid wire. I had some old house wiring that contained 2 conductors of just that size wire as shown here.
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We stripped off the outer and inner insulation and cut off four 12 inch lengths of wire. After cleaning off the very old wires, we then cut them into 2 inch lengths which gave us 24 pieces, a few more than what we needed for the project. Here's the pile of them:
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The next step was to solder the wires to the little connectors that slip into the power pole casings. This can also be done using crimp connections, but we chose solder rather than buying a somewhat expensive specialty crimping tool. If soldering, it is necessary to be careful the solder does not flow onto the contacts or the outside of the little barrel that holds the wire. The easiest way to do that is to stand the wire up, pop on the connector and heat it, feeding the solder in from the bottom and letting it wick up into the barrel. We did that using a couple holes in a board as you see here:
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After a while whe had a collection of wires with the attached connectors as shown in this picture:
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Now the connectors were pushed into the housings until they snapped over a little retaining clip. This proved to be a little difficult at times and it took a bit of effort to get some of them to seat correctly - not so much with the stiff #14 wire but later when we put the mating connectors on the end of the various power cables for the KX3, PX3, etc. Those wires were softer and would bend as we pushed. Finally we had to resort to using a small tool to bypass the wire and press directly on the connector to seat it. Anyway we wound up with six red and six black connected together with 12 connectors and wires installed:
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Next the unit was mounted on a printed circuit board. First the board was divided into two sides, one positive, one negative, by using a Dremel tool to remove a narrow strip of copper from the middle of the board. Then a tricky moment inserting the twelve wires into twelve holes drilled in the board. It actually went pretty well and quickly, and we had this strange looking unit below. Left before soldering and right after soldering the wires to the board.
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We "neated up" the solder connections and trimmed off the excess wire after the picture was taken, and we next mounted the unit inside a Radio Shack project box using spacers after soldering the input wires to the board. The spacers were sized to let the connectors project through the lid of the box. Those steps are shown in these final pictures:
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That description above was for Mike' distribution unit. After that, as mentioned above, we put the mating connectors on the end of each of his cables from his gear, and that finished the description of Mike's part of the project.

Similar to the first five pictures above, along with Mike, I made a unit with four red and four black connectors. We also hooked up the connectors to my power supply, KX3, PX3, and K2. One for each of the four connectors. I wound up mounting mine differently though as I thought the project box was a bit big for my setup. So I'll use the box for something else someday. Mike had to leave early to run an errand. After he left, I put in a lot of thought as to just how I would mount mine and came up with the following. Instead of the circuit board, I simply connected all 4 positive and 4 negative connectors together by bending and soldering the two inch wires. Then I used some pieces of wood from my wood junk box to attach the unit firmly to the underside of the shelf on which my gear resides. The connector housings have a hole through them for pins that lock them together. I simply passed a wire straight through all 4 holes and through two pieces of wood at the side of the unit, fastened those pieces to a small wood board which I then mounted to the shelf. Here's a picture with two connecters hooked up and two empty slots with the mating connectors dangling loose to maybe show better just how things go together.
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All in all a very enjoyable project day. Of course with a break in the middle for a visit to Ponderosa for our lunch - can't forget that.

Now speaking of food, I need a mid-evening snack, then off to the shack for my daily streak QSO(s) -30-

Sunday, September 27, 2015 7:42 PM - Skies permitting, I'll be watching the lunar eclipse before long, so a quick diary entry will have to suffice despite there being a lot to talk about.

Mike visited today, and we spent most of the day setting up a power pole terminal for our shacks. More about that plus pictures in tomorrow's entry.

As I knew it would, my 10 mile plus walking days ended today after seven straight days. I did get in one moderate walk after Mike left early this evening, but I'm still at only 6.30 miles and I know it's too late now to reach 10. I don't mind though, as the great day with Mike more than made up for that.

OK, just about time now to head to the shack to try to get my DX QSO. I hope it is another quick one as the moon will be rising shortly and will either be in the very early stage of the eclipse or it will be starting very soon. Right now though there are a lot of clouds. Time will tell what I will be able to see here. -30-

Saturday, September 26, 2015 7:45 PM - I thought I'd write the first part of the diary before 0000Z, then finish it afterwards with (hopefully) my success in getting a DX QSO.

I did have success fishing today. Just about as soon as I threw in, I caught a sucker. Then a couple more within another 12 minutes. I added another one later for a total of four. However the main fun was a 30.5 inch carp. He was a pretty good fighter for his size and it took about the same amount of time to land him as the 26 inch one a couple days ago. The difference being he did not have the moves of the 26 inch one. It was mainly just him pulling on the line using his bulk. It was more me trying to keep him from breaking the line or bending the hook rather than dealing with some fancy moves. The way I got him was strange. I didn't see any bites, so I picked up the pole to reel in and check the bait. When I felt some resistance, I thought I had a snag, but a second later he started moving and I knew I had a carp on the line. Either he hit the bait just as I picked up the pole or he hooked himself and was just sitting there. Carpsuckers do that a lot. They hook themselves, then patiently(?) wait to be reeled in and released. Carp on the other hand almost never do that. I can't specifically remember another one I caught that way, but there probably were a couple. Generally they just pick up the bait and get a head of steam on and head toward the other side of the river.

So that gets me up to 21 fish this year, and barring disaster, I should pass three other years to make this only my fourth worse year.

Time now to check the bands.

Well, it took about as long to get my DX QSO as it did the first sucker today. At 0000Z, WP4L Alberto was in my log. That's good because now I don't have to worry about getting my DX tomorrow while Mike is visiting. We can concentrate on our projects. I'll tell you about those tomorrow night. -30-

Friday, September 25, 2015 9:15 PM - Wouldn't you know it. With the lunar eclipse coming up Sunday night, the forecast is for cloudy skies - one of the very few cloudy nights we've been having of late. Things could change by then, so all we can do is hope for the best.

Hoping for the best helped with fishing today. I caught 3 suckers. I think that's the first trip this year that I've caught 3 fish. Let's see..... Yes, the best previously in this poor fishing year was two. I'm up to 16 for the year now - seven short of my 2014 total, so maybe this won't be my worst year.

Hoping also helped with a quick DX QSO from Carlos KP4CPC at 0001Z. 60 days to go for 1,000 now. I'm debating whether or not to possibly jinx myself by putting a countdown to day 1,000 at the top of the diary. I'll decide in a couple days.

One streak I'm pretty sure will end Sunday if not tomorrow, is my streak of walking over 10 miles per day. Today was the 6th day in a row over 10. I'm sure of Sunday because Mike will be visiting and we'll be busy with some projects probably most of the day. That will be more fun than walking 10 miles anyway. -30-

Thursday, September 24, 2015 8:44 PM - Yet another quick DX QSO at 0002Z with T48G this time. If my math is correct, two months from today will be 1,000 days for the DX streak IF I make it that far. As I get closer and closer, I'll be trying harder and harder if necessary as I think it would be neat to have 1,000 days of DX with CW/QRP/simple wire antennas. More importantly, it shows those who are in similar situations to mine that they too can enjoy working DX if that is their wont.

I'm expecting a call from my friend Tom WY3H down in GA in a few minutes. We haven't touched base for a while now, and it will be good to talk again. So I've got to finish this entry, update a couple other pages, and get my weather readings so I'll be ready for the call.

Another nice weather day, and I headed to the river with my rod and reel and some peanut butter bread. For most of the time, something was just taking the bait with some hardly noticeable bites. I'm not sure what, but it was frustrating. Finally the frustration ended and turned to joy when I got a familiar carp bite and the battle was on. This wound up being a 26 inch one, and as I've said before, that seems to be the optimum size for a good fighting carp. He lived up to that billing and provided me with an enjoyable maybe 7 or 8 minute battle before I got him up on shore and measured him. I didn't really need the measurement though as he did prove to be 26 inches. I'll hopefully be going back tomorrow to see what happens then. Well, that's it for now. -30-

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 8:37 PM - The bands seemed pretty good this evening. At least better than they have been for a while at this time of evening. I actually worked Europe for the first time in a while - since ON4UN back on September 18. Who? Karel OK1CF on 30 meters. Karel is a top notch operator and one of those who will stick with you till he gets things right. I needed that because I must have had to send my call around 15 times before he could get it right.

Then although I didn't need it, I felt like breaking a pileup for a change. Haven't done that for a while either. That was J3/DH5FS on 30 meters. I had to wait through only about 6 other stations before I got him. Another thing I haven't done for a while was get some answers to my CQs. I had been getting my DX quickly, then calling CQ on 40 or 30 with most of them going unanswered. Tonight after a few CQs, N3XN in AR answered me on 40 meters.

Yet another nice September day, and for the 4th day in a row, I topped the 10 mile mark in walking. I also got in about an hour of fishing, but I guess the fish didn't like the nice weather as they weren't hungry. I saw a few carp swimming around in front of me, but they had no interest in my peanut butter bread. Probably wanted something different. I'll have to bring a menu and selection of bait the next time I go. -30-

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 8:43 PM - Yet another quick DX QSO thanks mainly to the panadapter. Without the panadapter, I probably would not have checked 17 meters or if I did, I might have tuned right across XE1XR as he was pausing in his CQs. As it is, with the panadapter, I immediately noticed the signal peak near 18.080, checked it out and found David calling CQ and worked him easily for DX day # 937.

Just like yesterday, not much to report so I think I'll do some statistics. Yesterday I got an email from Tom WB3FAE saying he had worked a European Russian on 30 meters. That set me thinking that although I can work Europe easily on 30, the deeper into Europe the stations are, the harder they are to work. I just gave some rough quick totals to Tom about that, and now I'm going to check a bit further. First of all, I have 350 total European QSOs on 30 meters (of course all with CW/QRP/simple wire antenna).

Now I'm looking at my globe that I modified by placing the axis on Kittanning so I can easily tell at a glance the great circle distance to anywhere on Earth. What I see is a bit different from what I expected. Not only is it distance that makes the countries harder to work, but the further north the signal path is, the harder they are to work. At least going by the number of QSOs from each country. The analysis may be a little more complex than I thought at first.

First of all, filtering my Access database log to Europe and 30 meters shows as I said 350 QSOs. Next I sort by country abbreviation and now have my log in the form I need to work with.

Next looking at the globe the majority area of these countries are roughly more than 4,500 miles distant and have the indicated number of QSOs:

Albania          -   1
Belarus          -   3
Bulgaria         -  12
Crete            -   1
Dodecanese Is.   -   1
European Russia  -   3
Greece           -   7
Moldova          -   1
Romania          -   6
Turkey           -   1
Ukraine          -  14
It's a very old globe that doesn't show all the current countries such as those formed by the split up of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia so I'm omitting those for now lacking time to delve further into newer maps and mentally converting them to my globe.

As a contrast here are a few of the closer countries:

Belgium          -   5
Denmark          -   7
England          -  10
Finland          -   2
France           -  30
Germany          -  13
Hungary          -  19
Ireland          -   3
Italy            -  25
Luxembourg       -   3
Netherlands      -   4
Norway           -   1
Poland           -   7
Portugal         -   5
Spain            -  15
Sweden           -   3
Switzerland      -  13
I also omitted some countries there.

And after doing all that, I'm not sure if I proved my theorem or not because there are other factors like ham population and the directionality of my random wire on 30 that enter in. But very roughly I think it does show that the more distant and / or most northerly countries are the harder to work for me on 30 meters.

At least it was fun doing it and shows how easy it is to manipulate a log in the Access database format. -30-

Monday, September 21, 2015 9:07 PM - I thought I better resort to working HT7C again for my DX QSO this evening since I have some things planned for tomorrow and don't know if I would have time to search for DX during the day.

There was not much happening today except some usual chores and the like. I did go fishing but didn't catch anything, just enjoyed the perfect September weather. I also passed the 10 mile mark in walking today. -30-

Sunday, September 20, 2015 8:05 PM - For the third evening in a row now, a quick DX QSO (0000Z T47GDXC) and I believe that's a new prefix - yes, I checked and it is. I'm glad, because now I should be able to finish the sprint log cross-checking easily this evening. I'm going to get to that right now, in fact. -30-

Saturday, September 19, 2015 8:45 PM - From one extreme to the other. A couple days ago, it took until the 1600Z hour to get my DX streak QSO. The past two evenings it's been 0003Z (PX8Z 30m) and 0001Z (XE719SEP 30m). And to boot, both are new prefixes for me. That leaves 66 more days now for the DX streak to reach 1,000 days. Wonder if I'll make it? Time will tell, as they say.

Not a lot more to talk about today. We had some needed rain this evening after a nice late summer day. Note how I go by astronomical dates for the end of summer vs. meteorological dates for the end of winter. I hate to see summer end, but love to see winter end.

The power pole connectors that Mike and I ordered arrived at his place and we'll be getting together on the 27th to assemble our pp units. That will be fun as I'm kind of into a building stage right now. -30-

Friday, September 18, 2015 7:26 PM - I was full of energy today and got a lot accomplished around the house, but I'm not going to dwell on that here. Instead I want to talk about the parallel between chasing DX and fishing.

Of course as I mentioned in last night's entry, I would have to get my DX QSO this morning or afternoon if the streak was to continue. Well, not long after I got up, I checked the bands and didn't find anything in the way of DX that was remotely workable. I checked again in another hour and they were a little better, but nothing was easy to work. I did try a few stations with no results. They were only S2-3 at best so I really wasn't surprised they weren't hearing me. John ON4UN was a bit stronger but he also didn't hear me. That was a little surprising with the great receiving setup he has. Another hour later and pretty much the same thing. Weak stations who weren't hearing me. Now it was getting to the point where I had to decide between keeping on trying or take some time off to go fishing. Catching the carp yesterday piqued my fishing interest.

A few more minutes on the band and the DX issue was settled. I again tried ON4UN and this time he did copy me and copy me well for a brief chat. So with the DX streak secure, I was 'free' to go fishing. I made up a new batch of peanut butter bread and headed to the river. As I did yesterday, I again saw a couple carp swimming around and got a bit excited. However when I threw in, after one quick aborted solid bite, all I was getting were just little nibbles. As carp often do play around a lot before taking off with the bait, I patiently waited, but nothing happened. I reeled in and my bait was gone. That happened over and over again for quite a while, just like waiting for some strong DX to show up. Finally I figured maybe it wasn't the carp who were biting, but something else. I decided to give a try on the nibbles, just like with the weak DX stations. As soon as I felt a slight tick on the line, I jerked and bingo, I had something hooked. I knew it wasn't a carp. I thought maybe a sucker or a carpsucker. After a minute or so I could see what was on my line. It was either a very small carp or a carpsucker. Then I saw the slime on the line and knew for certain it was a carpsucker. As if that wasn't enough, when I landed him, he started flopping around like they do. I measured him at 17.5 inches and gave him his freedom. I equate catching him to 'landing' ON4UN. Very different but also alike in many ways. I continued to fish a bit more, and the next tick I got on the line yielded a 13 inch sucker. I guess I should have given up on the carp idea sooner and maybe I could have caught a few more suckers or carpsuckers. However after the sucker, the biting stopped so I packed up and headed home. That's only a dozen fish this year so far, but if this keeps up I may pass my total of 23 from last year to keep this from being my worst year. -30-

Thursday, September 17, 2015 9:22 PM - A few things to talk about this evening. One of them is not what DX I worked. It looks like the DX will have to wait till the morning or afternoon. Nothing strong enough to work was heard this evening. I did work N8DUS to keep the big streak going yet another day. Hopefully the DX streak will continue during the day. The bands were good this afternoon with several DX stations heard, although I didn't try to work any of them, so tomorrow afternoon may be the time for some DX.

I went fishing today and actually caught something for a change. I watched at least 4 carp swimming around in front of me taunting me for about an hour. They would swim right over where my bait was and only at best give a couple quick jabs at without getting hooked. One did bite like he should and took off with the hook in his mouth, but the hook bent and he got away almost immediately. So I put on a stronger hook, and continued on. Finally another one grabbed the bait and ran with it. I hooked him and the battle began in earnest. He was a good fighter and I figured probably a 26 inch one. I've found among the over 400 carp I've caught, it is the 26 inch ones that give the best battle. 27 and 28 are not bad either. Bigger than that and they usually just use their bulk and don't move all that fast. Kind of like reeling in a log almost. Now, I have had some over 30 inches that were good fighters, but I'm just talking about averages. Under 26, and they are just not as strong in general, although some 25 and 24 ones are good fighters. Today's was a 24 and it took around 6-7 minutes to land him. I'd like to catch him again when he reaches 26 inches and see what he is like then.

I mentioned my homebrew project, a key junction box yesterday. I finished it today and have some comments and pictures to go with it. First of all, I'm noticing as I get older, it gets harder and harder to do homebrew work. The eyes are not as good as they used to be, and a magnifier is often needed to see things clearly. Then the fingers are not as nimble as they used to be, and it is harder to work with smaller parts. And it seems as if to mock both eyes and fingers, parts do get smaller and smaller as time goes by.

Anyway I did manage to gather up some 1/8 inch jacks and plugs from the junk box and from Radio Shack when Mike and I stopped there a few days ago. I had an old aluminum mini-box from a long time ago and fortunately it was from a similar project and had holes already drilled in it to hold the 6 jacks. What I planned was to have two rows of three jacks each, one row for each of the two key inputs on the KX3. The one row would be for paddles which required a tip and shell connection for the internal keyer. The other would be for my bug and straight key which require only a tip connection. One jack in each row would go out to the KX3 key 1 and key 2 inputs. The other two jacks in each row would accept a plug from the keys.

After mounting the jacks in the box and putting all the tips and shells in parallel in each row, it looked like this from the back on the left with a front view on the right.

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I should have done a before and after picture here because the wires still look a little jumbled, but you should have seen it before. HI

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Even though it was only a very minimal project, it felt good to build something. I haven't done a lot of building like that lately, except for the projects with Mike that have been documented here in the diary.

Now a little bit more work on the sprint results. We again hit 100 logs less than 24 hours after the sprint. Funny thing was the 100th log was from my friend and fellow WPA Chapter member Tom WB3FAE. -30-

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 9:43 PM - I did a little homebrewing today. I built myself a key junction box to aid in cleaning up a jumble of wires from my 4 keys on my desk that I alternate among. I just finished the NAQCC sprint and I have work to do with it so I'll tell more about the box with some pictures tomorrow (if I don't forget - HI).

The bands were great for the sprint, but not for DX. I made my 20 sprint QSOs in near record time of 50 minutes, but outside the sprint I couldn't get the DX stations to hear me. Finally just after I left the sprint, I easily worked C6ASL on 30 meters. It was Randy K5SL on vacation there. we chatted briefly and I told him I envy him. HI.

Well, off now to do some sprint processing. -30-

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 9:10 PM - Not a lot going on today. Just about normal September weather with temp around 80 for a high with clear skies. Nice walking weather. I was thinking about fishing, but someone was at my favorite spot so I passed on that. I helped Ange pick some beans and watered my garden. Other than that, I can't think of much else.

A quick DX QSO at 0005Z, just a couple minutes after I turned on the rig. XE1XR on 20 meters took but a single call to log. Then I had a nice rag chew with one of our NAQCC members WD4E on 40 meters. -30-

Monday, September 14, 2015 8:26 PM - We've been talking about the ham being balanced lately. I decided to see how that balance shows up with my new poll just posted. There is a list of 29 different non-ham activities for you to choose from. You can choose as many as you are actually interested in. It will be interesting to see how this poll turns out and whether hams are really balanced or not. When I tested the poll, I found 19 of the 29 cater to my interests. 29 is close to the limit of answers my poll provider allows. That's why the odd total.

As Mike said in my diary last night, I would have some additional thoughts on the Unionville hamfest and a picture (or two). First I really enjoyed meeting several of the BCARA members, especially Rick N3VKM who is the one who contacted me about doing a QRP/CW demo at the November BCARA meeting. We discussed that a bit, and I found out that we should be able to erect an antenna of sorts at the church where they hold their meetings. It was also nice to visit with members of our local Armstrong County club. Since I'm not a member, that's about the only time I get to see them. Then of course there was Bob WC3O from Skyview. We always mention him, but I don't think we've ever had him in one of our pictures. I mentioned that to Mike yesterday and we remedied that as you see here:

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From L to R it's me, Tom WB3FAE, Bob WC3O, Mike KC2EGL.

Another good friend from BCARA I'd like to mention is Bruce AA3LX. He mans a booth at the club and is sometimes busy, but we always find time to chat for a while. He usually winds up giving me some little (or not so little somtimes) gift from the table that I am interested in. This year it was the following comic book. We were trying to find a copyright date on it, but couldn't till I read it in bed last night. I noticed right on the front cover in fine print the year 1986.

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I had no idea what to expect on the bands tonight as I never checked them today nor looked at any propagation figures (I usually don't do that anyway). There was a lot of activity on 40 which was where the KX3 was tuned when I fired it up at 0000Z. I was more interested in finding my DX QSO so I didn't check 40 at all, but went instead to 30. One domestic station was all I heard there, and I figured it would be one of those rough nights again. I figured 20 would be dead also, and it almost was. I heard one W7 station, then noticed a peak on the PX3 right next to one of my local noise peaks. I checked it out and the signal was fluttery. I figured probably Asia and I was right - JT1AA/5 in Mongolia. Knowing AA is an excellent op, I figured I'd have a chance to get him. A couple calls went unanswered, then he worked someone else. Next another unanswered call, but he did send a question mark. I sent my call twice again and he came back with K3WWP 599 and I sent TU 599 73, and the DX streak goes on at 929 days now. -30-

Sunday, September 13, 2015 7:34 PM - Since it was a very busy day today John is taking the evening off. I shall be filling in as his ghost writer this evening.

The day started out around 12:15Z when I arrived at Johns QTH. Our plan for the day was to attend the BCARA annual hamfest at the Unionville VFD. This is the fourth year we have attended this quaint little hamfest. It is the only one where we get to roam around and enjoy the event without setting up a station. We met Tom WB3FAE shortly after we arrived. We visited with some friends we only get to see from time to time.

We departed the hamfest around 15:15Z and headed back towards Kittanning. We stopped at Radio Shack to pick up two project boxes for a homebrew power pole distribution box project. Then it was back to Johns QTH to reassemble my Orion power supply. The gel cell battery gave up the ghost so to speak around a month ago. We moved on to doing some research on power pole connectors. We found a video showing how to assemble our project followed by ordering a batch of 30A power pole connectors.

Then we needed a break for dinner at our new favorite eatery, Clarks Landing. Great food in mass quantity. After dinner we put together a list for a scavenger hunt. The corrector lens on my telescope is in need of a cleaning. During our last stargazing session I was not able to connect my dew zapper to keep the dew from accumulating on the corrector lens. The dew was so awful that night that it collected on the inside of the corrector lens (I have a Schmidt Cass 9.25" telescope). SO it needs a good cleaning. John found a cleaning process published by an astronomy club in Arkansas. They have a detailed process to clean the optics of your telescope. They also have a very particular list of items you will need to get the job done properly. You wold not believe how tough it is to find all eight items in one place. We are here to tell you that it is impossible. One item is available by mail order only since we did not feel like driving all over Pittsburgh looking for it. The rest of the items we found by searching a local Rite Aid drugstore and Walmart. Everything we need to clean my scope is here at Johns QTH except for my scope. This will be a project for a day with low humidity. The instructions say that a humidity level above 65% will cause streaking on the item being cleaned. We shall keep an eye out on the WX report to see when will be the best time for this task.

Then it was time for a bit of relaxing with a hidden object game. Shortly I will be heading North to my QTH because tomorrow is the beginning of my work week. Lucky John doesn't have to worry about such things anymore.

Until next time de Mike KC2EGL 73.

P.S. John will have a photo from the hamfest and some thoughts on it tomorrow. -30-

Saturday, September 12, 2015 8:11 PM - What a difference a couple days can make in the weather. Our high today was a mid-October-like 64 when just a couple days ago it was a mid-July-like 95.

Yesterday not only did I receive my Centennial Points Challenge Award from the ARRL, but I also learned that the Skeeter Hunt group effort by Mike KC2EGL, Tom WB3FAE, and me took first place overall for the NAQCC WPA Chapter's entry of N3AQC. You can see the results via a link here where you can also read the soapbox comments including some great pictures from many of the participants.

The bands were sure busy this evening but not with anything I was really interested in, so I figured it would be rough getting even my regular streak QSO, let alone the DX one. As usual, I was wrong. I figured the best bet would be 17 (nope, dead), 30 (nope, almost dead), the low end of 40 below all the test activity (yes, that worked). A fairly easy QSO with Niko S53A resulted at 0007Z. Niko is a great op. This is the 19th time we've worked going back to September 30, 1994 when he was probably one of the first Slovenian QSOs for me. Let's see. Yes, that QSO was only number 8 with Slovenia. I remember it took a while to get the first few in the log. I could hear them well, but not vice-versa. I finally did hook up with S50A on 40 meters on May 28, 1994 probably in the WPX contest for my first ever S5 QSO. That was back when I was just about a little over a year into my current period of activity which started in early 1993. That was even before the streak. Now in contrast, I have 802 Slovenian QSOs in the log. That's the 5th most worked DX (non-W/VE) country behind Germany, Italy, England, and Hungary.

Tomorrow should be a great day when Mike visits. We have a lot of things planned. I don't know how many we'll get to. We'll definitely attend the Unionville hamfest I mentioned in an earlier entry. I'll (or maybe Mike will) let you know how much we accomplish in tomorrow's diary entry. -30-

Friday, September 11, 2015 10:53 AM - Perhaps I shouldn't be so pessimistic about the DX streak continuing. With the Boulder K index at 6 this morning and propagation predicted as 'poor' on all the HF bands, I still very easily got my DX QSO with a single call to P40ER on 17 meters at 1437Z. Apparently I should believe myself when I say that DX can be worked with QRP/CW just about any time except some brief periods now and then. Mostly when DX activity is at a low ebb rather than because of poor conditions. Incidentally I was even hearing Europe weakly with the 'poor' conditions. I also heard Bob WC3O (I'm guessing) working DX (4X among others) from Skyview (K3MJW). He was about S8 to S9 here.

After a dozen or so straight 90+ degree days here, it's only in the 60s today with a high in the mid 70s predicted. So now that I've gotten my DX out of the way, I think I may get in some fishing after I have my brunch.

Our plans for the Unionville (near Butler, PA) hamfest are set now. Mike and I will be leaving here between 8 and 8:30 and will be meeting Tom there. Don can't make it due to other committments. If you're in the area drop by and look for three characters wearing NAQCC gear. We're not setting up anything, just roaming around looking for bargains and greeting folks. Info is at http://www.w3udx.org/swapfest.htm

I just noticed a typo above and thought since I wanted to correct it, I'd add this picture to the entry.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015 8:48 PM - Well, will this be the day. When the DX streak ends, I mean. Conditions are worse than any previous day I've said the same thing. I only heard WP4EHK and HC2AO, both rather weak, and neither hearing me at all. At least the big main streak continued quickly. After not hearing any workable DX, I went to 40 and called CQ to keep that streak going. I got a quick answer from Jim AD4XX. We had a brief chat, then he had to heed his wife's call for some help and QRT. But at least the big streak continues. Thanks Jim.

So now I've dug out my old worn little note as shown here to remind me I didn't get my DX QSO for the day yet.

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And while I'm doing pictures, here's one of the closing stage of a beautiful sunset this evening. I grabbed my camera as I went out for a walk since it looked like a great sunset coming up. Unfortunately the path on which I was walking didn't have all that great a view of the western horizon except in a couple spots, so I missed the better stages of the show.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2015 8:18 PM - It seems the bands are getting worse and worse, yet the DX streak goes on thanks to HT7C on 30 meters. 76 days to go now for 1,000, but I wouldn't bet a lot of money (or even a little) on me making it if conditions continue to decline. I'm sure if I could be active 24/7 it would be easy, but as you know from my past couple diary entries, I'm 'balanced' and not willing to ignore my other interests just to continue my DX streak. When (or before) it becomes too time consuming, I'll just let it go. I think I've made my point over and over again already - it is possible to work DX with QRP/CW/simple wire antennas most any day you want to.

I'm looking forward to another visit from Mike (and hopefully Don and Tom also) on Sunday as we go to a hamfest near Butler, PA. This is a smaller one than the Breezeshooters Butler hamfest in June. However it is a very nice hamfest for getting together with friends and sometimes finding some good bargains as well.

After the hamfest, we have some projects planned as time permits. We will put a new battery in his power supply for sure. Also do some studying on how to clean the correction lens in his scope which seems to have developed some dirt of sorts on the inner surface. Also we are going to equip our shacks with some power pole connectors, and we'll do some planning on that to see just what we need. They have a nice power pole setup at Skyview and we have been impressed with the looks and ease of use of it. Of course we'll also work in a pizza or Ponderosa buffet or some kind of good food somewhere. -30-

Tuesday, September 08, 2015 8:21 PM - First of all, thanks to John VE2BHE for emailing me and reminding me of the source of "The Ham Radio Operator Is Balanced." It's from The Amateur's Code written by Paul M. Segal. It appeared in the first pages of The Radio Amateur's Handbook issued by the ARRL. In the 39th Edition (1962), it was on page 8. I think that gives a pretty good inkling of just how important it is that hams are more than just ham radio operators and have a diversity of interests they enjoy and love to talk about.

Speaking of that, I've been reminded that I haven't talked much about my gardening in the diary lately, so I'll take care of that right now. As I've mentioned, I have been taking care of Ange's garden while he was away in Italy. That went very well, but I'm glad he's back home now to reduce me to an assistant rather than pretty much chief gardener.

As far as my garden, it's been somewhat of an off year. It's my theory that the heavy rains very early in the growing season prevented the plants from developing a very good root system. Then later when somewhat of a drought came along, they weren't able to gather what little water there was in the soil. My Siberian tomatoes did pretty well and gave me a good many tomatoes. However recently in trying to gather some seeds for the future, I came across a couple of them that had no seeds at all in them. There are still some left though, and I hope they will provide some seeds so I can continue to have my very early in the season tomatoes as I have for a good many years now.

My other tomatoes (Celebrity?) produced very few tomatoes so far, but they were very delicious and just the right size for sandwiches. My speckled butter beans have been very slow to produce and the foliage is very scraggly, so I may not get many more beans from them. I have gathered seeds from them for next year though.

My peas produced nicely, and I've started a second crop of them which are just starting to sprout now. The real winners this year are the peppers. They are producing a lot more than I can handle and they are turning red very early and taste delicious. I picked one particularly big and red one today to get seeds from for next year.

My roses really did about the worst I can remember. In fact I lost one bush and think I may lose a second one. I'm not really sure what happened with them. My oldest bush did produce fairly well, along with my somewhat newer yellow bush, but still below par. I think next year I am going to have to work on my soil and perhaps transplant the roses to a new area of the yard.

Finally the daylillies were great as usual this year. In the peak of their season in July, I was deadheading around 130 per day for a good many days in a row.

You know, I realized today that in listing my other hobbies, I neglected astronomy. That's one of my oldest hobbies. I got interested in it way back before I was 10 years old.

As far as ham radio today, it was as quick as it can be for getting a DX QSO. Just a few seconds past 0000Z I worked P40ER on 17 meters with but a single call. That's 3 evenings in a row now for getting my DX on 17 meters. Europe is getting harder and harder to work as the sunspots decline. In glancing my latest paper log page in front of me, I see only IF9/IT9PPG and SV2/RW3AL representing Europe. The rest of the DX is from Mexico and South America. That goal of 1,000 days plus even finishing the European Chapter challenges the next few months is looking to be difficult, but I'll keep plugging away. Hey, at least I'm fortunate to have so many other hobbies to fall back on when band conditions get worse and worse. -30-

Monday, September 07, 2015 8:27 PM - I was thinking (oh-oh) today about ham radio and life in general. Somewhere, I don't remember just when or where, it has been said that the ham radio operator is balanced. That means that ham radio does not occupy his entire life 24/7. It means he indulges in other activities besides ham radio. I firmly believe that is true not only of ham radio, but of other activities as well. To me it would be very boring and unrewarding to devote my entire life to one hobby or activity. That is why I am interested in so many different facets of life and the activities, hobbies, etc. that are available. I only wish I had more time to get involved in even more of them than I do.

As diary readers know, some (to mention a few) of my main activities are walking, fishing, gardening, and computers. There are many others I dabble in also like model railroads, woodworking, watching instructional films on TV and the Internet, listening to music (mostly 50s-70s oldies), following most all sports, some more than others. I enjoy fixing (or trying to fix) just about anything that is broken or not working right. Let's not forget dogs which came into my life only a few years ago with the neighbor's dogs Joe, and now Roscoe. They are such a joy to be around, taking them for walks, and being a recipient of their loving ways. I could go on and on, but I won't. I think I've made my point.

Having so many activities means deeper and better friendships. I think it would get boring getting together with Mike KC2EGL, if ALL we did was ham radio even though we both enjoy it very much. Mike is much like I am in that he is interested in a variety of things. Things that we can share and enjoy together. I mention Mike as an example, but I have other friends who are similar. Just as a brief example, a couple days ago, I enjoyed chatting with Don K3RLL about the early days of computing up through the latest Windows 10 O/S.

It's great when I get into a QSO that goes beyond exhanging RST, QTH, Name, rig, and WX. Not to knock that type of QSO, but I'm just saying it's great to spend a half hour or so rag chewing about some other topic(s). That way you really get to know someone. That's the premise behind our NAQCC Friendship Club which is more than an exchanging membership numbers award. We encourage finding out more about those we work on the air.

Remember ham radio is only a small facet of our lives if we are a balanced person. One more example is my enjoying getting emails about some non-ham items mentioned here in the diary. There are a lot of those and I may not mention them all in the diary, but I do appreciate and try to answer each and every one of them.

Almost forgot to mention my DX streak QSO this evening. It took a bit of time to find and work Alex HC2AO. I've worked him a lot, but he was the only one I found that was easy to work. I tried some J6 station on 17M, but he wasn't hearing me at all for whatever reason. So 78 days to go now to reach my goal of 1,000 straight DX days.

One thing about having so many different interests, you tend to forget some things about some of them, but that's no reason to give up on them, and just concentrate on one or two interests. With that little preamble, I can say I had almost forgotten that September 8 is the anniversary of my web site. It's 19 years old as of tomorrow (local time), and starting it's twentieth year of promoting CW/QRP operation. Wow, where does the time go? I guess the next job is to update the banner at the top of this and other web site pages to reflect that the web site IS now in its 20th year. -30-

Sunday, September 06, 2015 8:23 PM - A warm humid day today, yet I got in a couple good long walks and don't feel any worse for the wear (or however that saying goes). That and some computer gaming along with a couple band checks seem to have used up the day since I'm here typing away at the diary entry already. I'm also doing my laundry so I won't have to do it in the morning.

I got my DX QSO out of the way quickly this evening with a single call to YV4YC on 17 meters as he finished up a QSO with a W6 station. That was at 0004Z. That's when I decided to do the laundry since that was taken care of so quickly. -30-

Saturday, September 05, 2015 9:22 PM - I think the longer my DX streak goes, how do I put this... it seems less impressive to me. I guess that's sort of what I mean. No matter the conditions, there always seems to be some DX, somewhere to work. It takes some really really poor conditions to get to the point where there is no DX available. Now that may come to pass when we get down to the bottom of this current sunspot cycle in a few months or a couple of years, whichever it takes to get there. But right now with the very helpful assistance from my PX3 panadapter and what is perhaps the best QRP/CW rig in the world now - the KX3 - it is easy to scan the bands quickly and then to work whatever DX may be found.

Let's take this evening for example. When I scanned the bands at first, I only found a VP5 portable station who was not hearing my calls, nor hearing other stations very well either. So figuring if I wait a while, someone else would show up from some DX location somewhere in the world whom I could work. I went to 40 and called CQ and wound up with two great rag chews, one with a new acquaintance Terry K0IEO in Ohio and an old friend Tom KA2KGP in NY. That took the best part of an hour, and it was now past 0100Z, and I thought I'd make another scan for DX. None of the PX3 peaks on 20 or 17 turned out to be DX. One on 15 was a CE station I could barely hear under my rather quiet S3 noise. I didn't even try him. Off to 30 now and at first all the peaks were not DX stations, but then a small peak turned out to be some call starting with an S. After I listened a couple times, it turned out to be SV2/RW3AL around S5 at best. What the heck, I'll try him, I have nothing to lose. I forget exactly what he sent, but it was part of my call, then after a couple more repeats, he got K2WWP and gave me a 339 RST. I sent K3 K3 K3WWP and a 569, and he came back with my correct call and the DX streak is now 920 days. Those Russian ops are among the greatest in the world and they stick with you till they get things right. That segues into my next story.

Don K3RLL came for a visit today and at one point in our conversation we said the exact same thing about Russian ops. It was great to See Don again for the first time since late summer of 2014 at Skyview. Seems one thing or another kept postponing the visit this year. We didn't do anything special. Mostly we discussed computer matters. Both of us have been into computing since the days of the abacus and clay tablets. Well, maybe not quite that long, but at least 40 years. He worked with mainframe computers and moved on to home computers. I moved from programmable calculators into home computers. We also took time out to go to Subway where we both had tuna subs with a free cookie. Hopefully before he heads south again, we can get in a parkpedition sometime in September. Or we may get together at the Unionville (near Butler) hamfest next Sunday.

Now let's go back to last evening again. After I posted my diary and did some other things including getting my DX QSO from P40PX (whom I heard strong again this evening and could have worked, but it was on the same band so I didn't), needing just one QRPp QSO nagged me, and I went back to the shack around 0115Z or so to look for it. I found one strong station in WK0B and gave him a call with 900 mW, but no luck. After tuning some more and trying a few CQs, I again heard WK0B, and this time we connected for my QRPp QSO # 10 to complete the NAQCC September challenge.

Oh, and the SV2 QSO this evening gave me three more letters for the European Chapter challenge #2 word, MOVISTAR. So I'm just past the half way mark to completing that challenge now. All in all, a great day. -30-

Friday, September 04, 2015 7:02 PM - Quite a few things going on today. Ange got home yesterday and came over to check out the garden. I got a good grade on the care I gave it the past month while he was overseas. We picked a lot of figs, peppers, and beans. The rain the past couple days took care of the watering so it should be OK in that regard until Monday or Tuesday.

I did some shopping. I seem to do that just about every day. Seems there is always something to get especially since I don't drive and have to carry all I get by hand.

I got on the bands a few times working on the NAQCC challenges. I now need only one more QRPp QSO for that challenge and I got a second letter for the second word in the other challenge. The bands weren't all that good, but not all that bad either.

Last night after my first QSO, my long time friend Ken WA8REI called me, and we had a nice visit. One thing that came up was that it has been almost 10 years since our 40th anniversary QSO - where does the time go. Anyway on August 25, 2016 we hope to have a 50th anniversary QSO like WA4FAT and I had last year.

We had a pretty heavy thunderstorm about an hour ago. Almost constant rumbles of thunder for an hour or so although not all that much rain. Sounded like a war zone here. I didn't see all that much lightning with the storm, but then I'm not near a window in the back of the house when I'm at the computer or in my shack, and that was where the storm was situated so I could have missed a lot.

I heard from my friend Don K3RLL up in New Bethlehem. He's going to visit sometime this weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing him again. He's been busy up there this summer along with not feeling well after some surgery. Anyway it will be good to get together before he heads back south for the late fall, winter, and early spring. -30-

Thursday, September 03, 2015 7:11 PM - A little more challenge progress today going back to last evening when I worked F8DGY and HT7C with 900 mW to get me to 7 QRPp QSOs of the 10 I need for the challenge. The QSO with my friend Chris F8DGY was a short chat and he copied me solidly all the way with his 3 element beam. Then this afternoon a little while ago I had a nice 18 minute rag chew with Bob K9IL on 30 meters for QRPp QSO # 8. He was up to 15 over with his 100 watts and I was S8 down in TN on my 900 mW.

Also with F8DGY last evening and IK2CIO this afternoon I completed the first word of the European Chapter challenge - SKY. Then with EG7SDC on 30 meters I started the second word - MOVISTAR. Those not familiar with the sport, may wonder what those words represent. They are cycling teams (along with ASTANA - word 3) who finished 1-2-3 in the Tour de France this year. Not being a cycling fan myself, I wouldn't have known. I'm sure Mike who is very much into cycling would know though.

So now about 40 minutes to a new day and a new search for a streak QSO. By the way, F8DGY last evening gave me a 4 for 1 QSO - regular streak, DX streak, NAQCC "American" challenge, NAQCC European Chapter challenge. Talk about a real bargain. HI -30-

Wednesday, September 02, 2015 6:17 PM - I made some progress on the NAQCC challenges today. You know, these challenges are so much fun and so.... well, challenging, I just don't understand why more folks don't participate in them. If you've never tried one, why not give it a try. You just may become hooked and find a new way to encourage yourself to get on the air with CW more often.

I got the first letter S for the European Chapter challenge by working Paul SP2GWH easily on 20 meters at 2141Z. Now to get the K and Y so I can move on to the next word. As for the "American" challenge of making 10 QRPp QSOs during the month, I'm halfway there after working K5P, ON4UN, V44KAI, and OX3XR today adding to K5G whom I worked last evening. All were with 900 milliwatts here. All were over 1,000 miles distant so all were 1000MPW QSOs to run my total such QSOs to around 1,980 now. I guess QRP (and QRPp) really does (do) work.

I really should do more QRPp work. I've been stuck at 90 QRPp countries for some time now. I thought maybe Greenland was a new one when I worked Peter, but it wasn't - not even a new QRPp band country as I previously have worked OX3OA on 17 meters. Oh well, there are a lot more I haven't worked. All I need to do is get down to it. -30-

Tuesday, September 01, 2015 8:57 PM - I haven't gotten off to a very quick start in the September NAQCC challenges. I've only made one QRPp QSO for the "American" QRPp challenge when I worked K5G with 900 mW, still leaving 9 more to go. At least with the one QSO, I will get my participation point to keep my streak alive of never missing a challenge. I would like to fully master it though, and will give it a try. After all, still 29 days to go. Nil in the European challenge so far. You've got to work letters to make the word "SKY" before moving on to two other words the next of which must then be finished before going on to the third one. I did hear a couple stations with a Y and or S in their calls, and almost worked YO8OU on 30M, but he sent my call as K3WP and never did correct it, so I didn't log him since I wasn't sure he eventually got it right or not.

We're getting a late summer surge of heat and humidity here which was pretty much absent in July and August except for a few days. It was 92 today and right now it's 76 with 74% humidity. At least the house hasn't caught up yet and it's still pretty nice inside. Actually it really didn't feel that bad outside today. I took a couple walks to pay some bills and do some shopping, and also worked in my back yard for a while without sweating much at all. -30-