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Monday, April 20, 2015 9:37 PM - A rough night for getting a QSO. This must be International Work DX Night. Every time I heard a DX station, he was immediately piled on by several very strong stations and I couldn't get through at all. Also a lot of times when I heard a CQ DX, it was from a stateside station. So I gave up for a while and called CQ on 40M with no results for 10-15 minutes or so. It was now a little past 9PM (0100Z), so I took a break to get my temperature readings and do a couple other things before going back to the radio. Things were still pretty much the same, but finally I worked HI3/N3SY on 20 meters. He was pretty weak in QSB and I wasn't sure he got the last letter of my call right, and if he didn't, he never corrected it after I sent it a couple more times. So for insurance, I tuned around and found CO8LY on 17 meters for a second DX QSO to keep the streak going.

I knew I better get something this evening because I have a couple things to do tomorrow that may take some time.

Today was a rainy day, but finally cleared up early in the evening, and a little while ago the thin crescent moon and Venus made a nice pairing in the western sky. -30-



Sunday, April 19, 2015 7:38 PM - It's nice to have a day off from writing. Thanks Mike.

Kind of a non-descript day today except for a couple things. Roscoe and Nancy came over for a visit. Of course Roscoe had to examine everything in my house - at least the first floor. Then later in the day Bruce and Nancy took me out for dinner at Ponderosa. That was the third big meal in about 30 hours. I guess I'll have to fast for a few days now.

Mike was talking about the lamp we fixed yesterday. Just to clear up one thing. It is in the shape of a bowling trophy, but it has nothing to do with my bowling prowess - I don't have any. As far as I can recall, my aunt gave me the lamp many years ago, possibly provided by her boss at the time who did delve into making various trophies. You've probably seen it on the pictures of my shack in the station pictures section of the website, but here's a more close-up view of it after our repairs yesterday.

pix_diary_20150419_001 (45K)

The Gorilla Glue of Mike's that we used seems to have really made it solid. Hopefully it won't fall again and will remain in good shape for a long time to come.

It's getting close to 0000Z and streak time now. As soon as I get my DX QSO (hopefully quickly), I'll do the finishing stages of cross-checking logs from our NAQCC sprint. Hopefully (again) I'll be able to get that finished tonight. I've got a lot of preliminary work done already, and about all that remains is the actual cross-checking and subsequent adjusting of scores. -30-



Saturday, April 18, 2015 11:18 PM - John is taking the night off from his diary and asked me to fill in again. Our day started when I arrived at John's QTH around 9AM EDT. First order of busisness was to perform 'surgery' on a figurine on Johns lamp in his shack. A while back Johns lamp (which is a bowling trophy) fell off the shelf. The bowling figure broke off at the left leg and right hand where it was attached to a ball. I brought along a container of 'Gorilla Glue' to see if we could mend the ailing bowler. At this moment we think the 'surgery' may have been a success.

We followed up by working some dx in the MM contest. We worked six stations each. After logging some dx we took off for lunch at Ponderosa preceeded by a visit to Radio Shack to purchase an adaptor so we could update the data base in my telescope later on.

After lunch we drove over to Tom WB3FAE's QTH to begin our Field Day Planning. Tom has a very nice location that will give us plenty of space to set up at least three antenna's. We then returned to John's QTH to begin the updating process of my telescopoe. A Clestron 9.25" Schmidt Cass Scope. After two plus hours of trying to get both John's and my laptop to work with the updating process we gave up. John found out that not all USB to Serial adaptors are compatible with all laptop's. We found out that this particular adaptor did not want to play with our HP computers. We took a little walk of roughly two and a half miles before we returned to Radio Shack.

By this time it was time for dinner so we headed over to Clarks Landing for dinner. We should have tried this place before. The food was excellent and the portions were HUGE!!! Then it was back to John's for a episode of 'Are You Being Served?'. One of the funniest British comedies of all time.

Since Mother Nature did not allow us to go stargazing we took it easy the rest of the evening. We did some computer stargazing via Starry Night and Voyager. Two excellet programs to explore the universe with out the need for clear skies.

That pretty much sums up the day. I am about to get ready to load the car and head North. Until next time. See you on the radio (as Charles Osgood used to say as he closed his Sunday morning TV show.).

de Mike KC2EGL, 73 es -30-



Friday, April 17, 2015 8:46 PM - I heard a couple R120 stations today at various times, but they weren't hearing me. I think I know the best time now to try though seems to be late afternoon on 20 meters. I also heard a fairly strong 4X station on 40 meters, but he also did not hear me. I may try again later on 40 for one of the 4X stations in the Holyland contest as that would give me Asia on 40 to complete WAC there.

I did work SP2GWH this afternoon to get a more solid DX QSO for day 778. Then I did extend the DX streak to 779 days this evening when I worked LZ883PI on 30 meters. So I won't have that in the back of my mind tomorrow to bug me while Mike and I are having fun.

We had varied weather today. Rather gloomy, damp, and a little chilly this morning, then the sun came out for late afternoon and it warmed up to 71 degrees. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70s and sunny all day. Possibly it will be clear tomorrow night and Mike and I can get in some star-gazing. Other than naked eye and binocular viewing, I don't think either of us has done anything more than that for at least several months. -30-



Thursday, April 16, 2015 8:49 PM - Another rough DX day today. I listened a couple times during the day to see if I could find that last R120 station I need to get the award, but not only did I not hear any of them, but I didn't hear much DX at all except for an HP and a P4 station. This evening was pretty much the same, but I did hear and work S57V on 30 meters. He was weak, a bit sloppy in sending, and I had trouble copying his name. I think it was Milan. With his sending, the QSB, and QRN, I'm not positive he got my call right, but he did get my name and confirmed the (generous) 579 I sent him. So it was me he was working for sure, but I think I'll still try to get a more solid DX QSO in the morning or afternoon.

Mike is going to spend the day on Saturday. We're going to do some astronomy projects, and check out a FD site among other things.

It was a rainy day today, so not much outside stuff except taking Roscoe for his walks. Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty much the same, then Saturday is to be nice and sunny with a high in the 70s. -30-



Wednesday, April 15, 2015 8:30 PM - Happy Tax Day! Hope you're all having fun if you've procrastinated this long. I was fairly late this year, but got them done a couple weeks or so back.

Another fine spring day today so I took in several good walks and did some more lawn clean up. Won't be long now till time to break out the mower. Yesterday I planted some bean seeds, my first outdoor planting so far. I'm thinking of putting out one of the bigger tomato plants in a day or so just to see what happpens. With just one plant, it will be easy to cover and protect it from any possible frost.

The bands were good for last night's sprint. It took 65 minutes to get my 20 QSOs, not quite as fast as last month, but perhaps the second fastest in the months I've been doing the 20 QSOs bit. That is getting to 20, then quitting. We're already well over 100 logs not yet 22 hours after the sprint ended.

The bands seemed down a bit for DX this evening compared to the last couple nights, but still I got my DX quickly in the form of HA8DM on 20 meters at 0004Z even though he was only about a real S5 here. Then I had a nice rag chew with a fairly new ham - Dan W8DWP in MI. -30-



Tuesday, April 14, 2015 6:50 PM - I haven't had many pictures in the diary of late, and you always say you enjoy them. So while I'm awaiting the starting time of our NAQCC sprint in 90 minutes or so, I thought I'd post some pictures.

First my refurbished maximum minimum thermometer in the shelter. Much easier to read now. The old plastic cover had really deteriorated over the years and was more translucent than transparent. Now you can easily see the high of 74, present of 66, and low of 50, even on the small scale picture.

pix_diary_20150414_005 (39K)


Next my tulip plants in their bed in the back yard. 17 of 18 look pretty good. The one is a bulb I found in another area in the back yard and used it to replace one that didn't show up at all this year. I don't know if it is going to make it or not. Also if you look closely you can see a couple of them have doubled this year.

pix_diary_20150414_004 (205K)


The next two pictures show my Siberian Tomato plants with one pot of pepper plants that sprouted early.

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Finally here are those pepper plants I mentioned that sprouted all at once a few days ago. It's interesting that the plants that sprouted are from two year old seeds while the two empty pots contain year old seeds that are doing nothing.

pix_diary_20150414_001 (118K)


-30-



Monday, April 13, 2015 8:32 PM - I worked my 5th R120 station tonight - R120RC. I think that qualifies me for a certificate now. Let me check to be sure. No, I need one more yet. Oh well, I should be able to get it. Conditions have definitely returned from the big dip over the weekend. A lot of good signals this evening after 0000Z on 20 through 15 meters.

Our warmest day of the year today with a high of 82 degrees. I opened up the house, getting the screens in the storm windows and got the inside up to 74 degrees, the warmest it has been since probably November or maybe December. Felt great.

After doing nothing for several weeks, many of my pepper seeds have decided to sprout over the past 2 or 3 days and now I must have 15 to 20 of them. Strange.

Well, time to take Roscoe for a walk, so I'll close now. -30-



Sunday, April 12, 2015 11:58 AM - That was easier today, thanks to the Yuri Gagarin contest. Conditions gradually improved from when I first checked around 1330Z until I easily worked S53EO during another check at 1520Z. So now I can take the rest of the day off and enjoy another great weather day. I just returned from a walk, and probably will take a couple more before the day is over. -30-



Saturday, April 11, 2015 4:35 PM - WheW!! Did you hear a big sigh of relief emanating from Kittanning at 2033Z today? Wonder no more - it was me as I worked FS5PL on 21025. Today, day #772 of my DX streak is finally taken care of. I thought for a good part of the day, the streak was at an end at day #771. The bands sounded every time I checked as if we were in the depths of a sunspot minimum. There was just nothing on 17 through 10 AT ALL here. My noise level was way down at s3 so it wasn't the noise masking anything. The only DX I heard all day until I worked FS5PL was a very weak JH4UYB early this morning in the JIDX contest. He was barely an s2 to s3 here and I didn't even try to work him although perhaps I should have as he does have great ears and I have worked him many times before. I figured I'd find someone stronger sometime. Well, I really didn't. Although I gave him a 579, FS5PL was really more like an honest 449, but he heard me after I repeated my call to his 3W? a couple times. He gave me a 559. So today will be a day to remember in the streak no matter how long it continues. Tomorrow may be easier with the Yuri Gagarin contest to help out. I hope so anyway. I don't need another stressful day like today.

Otherwise besides visiting the shack every hour or so, I did some more cleaning up in the backyard, pulling some weeds that have already developed in the warm rainy weather of late and pruning back my rose bushes. It wasn't all that warm with temps in the 50s and a good breeze, but it was nice in sun where I was working.

I also went to a church rummage sale with Nancy. I didn't buy anything, but she treated me to one of their delicious hot dogs and a piece of vegetable pizza for walking over with her.

That pretty much covers today other than some computer work and computer games. Now I can take it easy till 0000Z after I take Roscoe out for a walk in a little while. -30-



Friday, April 10, 2015 9:44 PM - Very poor conditions this evening. I thought not only was I not going to get my DX QSO, but not any QSO at all. Finally after 45 minutes of trying, W8MYU answered my 40M CQ. I still need a DX QSO though, and that will have to wait till morning or afternoon.

Nothing out of the ordinary to talk about today. It was another nice spring day after we shut off the rain this morning. We've had close to a couple inches of rain the past four days now. It was windy after the rain and it didn't feel as warm as the temperature in the 60s would suggest. It was actually hard walking a couple of times with the wind. -30-



Thursday, April 09, 2015 6:26 PM - And then there were none. None, er.. no more letters/numbers to gather in for the April NAQCC challenges, that is. EA5HPX gave me the final E and OZ8X the final 8 to complete the European Chapter challenge today following completion of the NAQCC "American" challenge yesterday. The bands were not all that good, but not so bad either today. My noise was at the unusually low level of S3 to S4 on all the high bands and that let me hear a lot of DX signals that were only s5 or s6. Surprisingly I could work some of the weaker ones also, although others weren't hearing me at all. I tried a few with 8s in their call without any success before finally catching OZ8X.

The weather has been off and on today with periods of rain (heavy rain right now with thunder) and dry periods in between. Think I'll close this now and maybe shut down the computer till the storm passes. -30-



Wednesday, April 08, 2015 2:49 PM - Computer club meeting this evening, so I'll get this written now.

I just finished the NAQCC "American" challenge a little while ago. I did it with all DX stations as follows:
Continent - Number of letters/numbers
Asia           7
Africa         6
Europe        71
North America  2
Now I need to get two 7s, one 8, and one E to finish the European Chapter challenge.

I worked another R120 station today - R120RA. I need one more now to qualify for the minimum award certificate. I really owe a lot of gratitude to the many countries who add interest to DXing with all the special calls they make available. Too bad the United States doesn't use more imagination in their special event call system which provides NO new prefixes at all. Other than the W100AW call last year and the special Bicentennial calls, all I can recall are the bland 1x1 SE calls. I really don't get any excitement from working them like I do with (for example) a R120, HG90, AM590, DM45, etc. prefix call from the respective countries. -30-



Tuesday, April 07, 2015 8:46 PM - The bands were good both this morning/afternoon and evening. I didn't work a lot of DX as I was mainly looking for letters/numbers for the NAQCC challenges or new prefixes. I did work EH90IARU/8 for a new prefix this afternoon and another R120 station this evening. I now have R120 with the following suffixes RB, RL, and RW. I also cleared out all the needed Ns in the challenges when I worked YU1NNN this afternoon. For our "American" challenge I need the following: two Es, two Hs, and one 6. For the European challenge, it's one 4, two 7s, one 8, and five Es. All 127 letters/numbers worked so far in both challenges have come from DX stations. In fact, I've only worked two non-DX stations all month so far.

Another beautiful spring day today with a high of let's see, just 63, but that felt mighty good even with no jacket or sweater. Ain't spring great! Nice to say good riddance to winter every year around this time, give or take a few weeks.

Congrats to Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski (never could reconcile the spelling and pronunciation of his last name) on winning their fifth NCAA championship. With the win, Coach K breaks a tie with the legendary Adolph Rupp and now has second place all to himself behind another legend, John Wooden and his ten championships including seven in a row from 1967-1973. Duke ties North Carolina and Indiana with five championships and third place behind UCLA's 11 and Kentucky's 8. Oh and Coach K is far out in front with tournament game wins at 88 to second place Dean Smith and Roy Williams at 65 each. -30-



Monday, April 06, 2015 9:02 PM - I forgot all about my 52nd anniversary of getting my first ham (Novice - KN3WWP) ticket last Friday, April 3rd. It just dawned on me in a QSO this evening when I started to say "...been a ham for". That was the first I had thought about it. I guess I must be getting older and more forgetful. HI

Another nice day today although a few lite showers in late afternoon and evening. Still good for walking and running around without a jacket or sweater - even this late in the evening.

A quick DX QSO, actually two, this evening. TF3JB at 0002Z and R120RL at 0006Z. Then the aforementioned rag chew with N9LGP, my first USA rag chew this month, and only my second overall USA QSO. All the rest of the 20 or so QSOs this month have been DX.

I also picked up a few more NAQCC challenge letters to stand at 70 of 86 and 43 of 55 for the "American" and European versions.

Of course tonight it's the NCAA championship game between Wisconsin and Duke. Should Wisconsin win, it would be their first title since 1941 when the tournament (in just its 3rd year) fielded only 8 teams.

It's always said a #16 seed has never beaten a #1 seed in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Actually that's not really true. It did happen once in 1998 when Harvard beat Stanford - really, it's not a belated April fools joke. The only thing is that it happened in the Women't version of the tournament. Stanford lost two of its top players to injury just days before, and couldn't overcome a determined Harvard team without them, losing by 71-67.

In the men's tournament, the best a #16 seed has done remains taking a #1 seed to overtime before losing. That happened in 1990 when #16 Murray State took #1 Michigan State to overtime before losing by just 4 points, 75-71. The year before (1989), two of the #16 seeds lost by just one point, the only two times a 16-1 match has finished that close. Only 14 times of a possible 124 has the 16-1 margin been in single digits. The two one-pointers? Georgetown 50 Providence 49 and Oklahoma 72 East Tennessee State 71. -30-



Sunday, April 05, 2015 8:25 PM - An easy DX QSO both this morning and this evening to take care of DX streak day #s 766 and 767. Jindra OK2LA on 15 this morning at 1523Z and Karel OK1CF on 30 this evening at 0011Z.

A beautiful day today - really the first day that really felt like spring. Not all that warm at just 65 degrees and a bit breezy, but with the beautiful typical partly cloudy skies of spring, the feel was definitely there. It was nice enough to go for a couple good walks without a jacket, in fact.

My tulips didn't make it fully up for Easter this year, but Easter was a bit early and the long cold winter weather that lasted into spring didn't help. I figure to see flowers in about a week though. I finished cleaning up the leaves around my rose bushes today. In about a week when more growth buds show up, I'll prune them back. My tomato plants are coming along although somewhat slow this year. No luck with the peppers. Of a couple dozen seeds planted, only 3 have sprouted and all in the same container. Strange!

Time to go walk Roscoe now. -30-



Saturday, April 04, 2015 8:25 PM - And then there were three - Duke easily disposed of Michagan St. by 20 points to face the winner of the Kentucky-Wisconsin game (coming up in a few minutes) in the Monday night final for the championship.

The bands were fairly poor for DX this evening. I didn't even hear any strong SP stations on 40 meters in the SP contest. Nothing at all in the way of DX on 20 and above. So I settled on working NA5NN in the MS QSO Party to at least keep the big streak going. Then I'll have to try for my DX in the morning or afternoon if not later tonight.

I never did get to check the bands during the day today with some other things to get done including a nice Easter dinner at the Bowser's next door.

Kind of a brisk day today with temperatures mostly in the 40s with rather strong winds making it feel colder than that despite a bright sun most of the day. -30-



Friday, April 03, 2015 12:17 PM - About the only good thing about the weather today is that it is rain and not s@#w. Very gloomy, rainy, foggy, fairly mild at 55, and a good day to be indoors. I'm just waiting for a pause in the rain to see if Roscoe needs to go out.

I finished my income taxes this morning, then after brunch I headed to the shack for a profitable session. I worked DL2VWR and HG90IARU on 15 and AM590FL on 12. That brought my NAQCC challenge totals to 42 of 55 and 62 of 86.

Now I have to figure out something to pass the time this afternoon. The higher bands are dying out now, and 20 hasn't opened for DX yet. I'm sure I'll find something to do. -30-



Thursday, April 02, 2015 8:53 PM - A quick DX QSO (and a good one) at 0002Z this evening. I had been chasing the special R120 stations the past day or so, and worked R120RB easily this evening. I wasn't aware what they were commemorating since as you know I only use the Internet to find out info about stations after I work them, NOT preparatory to trying to work them. When I looked up R120RB on QRZ.net, I found an interesting story there which I won't take time to repeat here. If you are interested, just look at the R120RB entry on QRZ.

That station and OK1IEC/TI7 gave me quite a few numbers/letters for the NAQCC April challenge. Neither were in Europe though so my European total remains at 31 of 55, but the 'American' total is now 49 of 86. Oh, the R120 station is in Asia. I figured it was either Antarctica or Asia from the flutter on the signal.

Other than that, today consisted of the usual things - shopping, walking Roscoe, helping Nancy with a couple things, and of course eating. HI. Speaking of eating, Mike will be visiting on April 18, and weather permitting we hope to do some stargazing, something neither of us has done for a while, except naked eye and binoculars. I checked Nova Sagittarii this morning and found it to be pretty near its maximum again after dipping down about a magnitude and a half since its first peak. I've checked it five different days now and it is interesting to watch the change in brightness. -30-



Wednesday, April 01, 2015 8:33 PM - I misspoke in yesterday's entry. I meant to say I worked the ARRL CEO portable from Puerto Rico, not the President. It dawned on me later, but I didn't feel like taking time to correct it since it was such a busy day.

At any rate, I am caught up with all the EOM/FOM stuff now, and spent some time today working on the NAQCC April challenges. In our 'American' challenge I have 35 of the 86 letters/numbers, and in the 'European' challenge, even better with 31 of 55 letters/numbers.

For the first time this year, 20 meters was open solidly to Europe in the 0000Z hour - at least for the first 20 minutes or so. I worked 3 European stations easily - OM5XX, OK1AY, and S57S. If that continues, It shouldn't take too long to finish the challenges.

A pretty warm early April day today with a high in the upper 50s. Tomorrow to be even warmer, but with some rain to somewhat spoil things. -30-



Tuesday, March 31, 2015 8:36 PM - I seem to be in one of those situations where 'the hurrier I go, the behinder I get'. So I'm not going to write a long entry tonight so I can get back to my end of the month/beginning of the month processing.

One thing I just finished was updating my WPX totals. EU and NA have a real battle going. I have 1207 prefixes worked from EU, and 1131 from NA. However the verified totals are just about a dead heat. Counting card/LoTW/eQSL, I have 982 different prefixes from EU confirmed and 983 from NA.

My DX to start off April was the ARRL president visiting in Puerto Rico.

OK, back to work now. -30-



Monday, March 30, 2015 8:41 PM - Another quick DX QSO this evening. PJ2/VE7ACN went in the log at 0003Z for DX streak day #761. A little later I tried working SU9VB, but there was a lot of QSB and I don't think he ever did get my call right so I just didn't log him. I have Egypt worked anyway so I'm not going to worry any more about it.

It was kind of a busy day today. A trip to the vet for Roscoe with Bruce took most of the morning. Just a yearly checkup - no problems. Then it was laundry time when I got home. A little shopping, some cleanup in the basement, a few other odds and ends, and presto, the day was gone and it was time to get my QSO and write this report.

No time to do any further analysis of my March Madness stats. Maybe tomorrow. Although I think I may get my Federal and State taxes done tomorrow if I feel like it. This poor boy doesn't have anything complex to tax so it's always simple when I get the urge to do it. HI. -30-



Sunday, March 29, 2015 8:24 PM - The final four looks interesting this year. The big question is whether or not Kentucky goes undefeated. Notre Dame gave them a good battle, losing by only two points. I didn't get to see any but the closing few seconds of Duke's victory today. Kentucky-Wisconsin and Duke-Michigan St. coming up next weekend now. A lot of folks are rooting for a Kentucky-Duke matchup in the final to see which of these perennial March Madness powers would come out on top. I'd like to see that. 7 championships between them since the tournament went to 64 teams in 1985. Wisconsin-Michigan St. on the other hand have only one championship between them, so the underdog rooters will be on their side.

I finished my data processing of seeding vs. finish today, but I have to double check it all and analyze it before I can draw any conclusions, if there are any to be drawn. One thing I note is that only 8 times has a #9 through #16 seed made it to the final four advancing 4 rounds beyond their seeding. Of course conversely never has a #1 seed lost in the round of 64. More to follow in a few days.

I've got to finalize our NAQCC sprint results now, but first just a note that my DX QSO was pretty easy when I worked CT9/UA9CDC on 40 meters. Had to send my call four times, but that produced a solid QSO. -30-



Saturday, March 28, 2015 8:28 PM - To follow up on yesterday's entry, I did go to the shack after posting it, and I did work 3 stations that gave me the letters/numbers I needed to finish my third go-around of the NAQCC European Chapter March challenge. Thanks go to OK1MBZ for two of the three 1s, to EA6UN for the two Ns, and S51WO for the final 1.

So with no real reason to get on the bands today since I don't feel like putting in the effort to go for a fourth go-around, I did some thinking about the NCAA tournament. Specifically what I said about Gonzaga and their seeding vs. results. That led me to wondering if there are some teams who consistently play above or below their seeding position. Since I have the seeding position and the finishing position for all teams for all the years since the NCAA Tournament inception in 1939, all I need to do is put it all together. Actually there really wasn't any formal seeding for many years. Formal seeding numbers started in 1979, but the field didn't expand to 64 teams until 1985, so I decided to start with that year to make the figures more uniform.

I decided to do it like this. First of all the seed numbers are supposed to work like this:
Seeds #9 through #16 are supposed to lose in the round of 64
#5 through #8 lose in the round of 32
#3 and #4 lose in the round of 16
#2 lose in the round of 8
The remaining #1 seeds make it to the Final Four

I didn't break it down any further among the #1 seeds because although the NCAA does rank those 4 as 1,2,3,4, it is not really publicized very openly.

Now let's say a team is seeded 14th and they lose in the round of 64 as they should, they get a zero for that effort. If that 14th seed doesn't lose until the round of 32, they get a +1 since they went one round further than they should have.

Following up on that, let's say a team is seeded 6th and should lose in the round of 32. However they are upset and lose in the round of 64, and thus get a -1 since they exited a round earlier than they should.

What if a team is seeded #1, but lose in the round of 32? They get a -3 since they should have been in the Final Four, but exited three rounds earlier instead.

Once all the games are rated that way, the plus and minus figures are totalled and divided by the number of years the team made the tournament. A high average means the team consistently plays above their seeding, and vice versa. I also total the number of minus numbers, zeroes, and plus numbers which when combined with the average gives a little better idea of the team's performance.

I haven't yet done all the 289 teams who have participated over the years, but here's an example of one team's (Florida St.) stats selected at random:

Year  Seed  Lost in Round  Rating
1988   12        64           0
1989    4        64          -2
1991    7        32           0
1992    3        16           0
1993    3         8           1
1998   12        32           1
2009    5        64          -1
2010    9        64           0
2011   10        16           2
2012    3        32          -1

Total Rating   0
Average Rating 0
Minus Numbers  3
Zeroes         4
Plus Numbers   3
So it turns out that Florida St.'s average performance was just as it should be. Three years they bowed out early, four years finished as seeded, and three years exceeded expectations.

The actual info is in an Excel spreadsheet to allow for easy comparison among teams, not in the format I adopted above. It will be interesting to see if any teams do have a tendency one way or another. So far Illinois looks like an underachiever with 10 games in the minus numbers and only 2 in the plus numbers along with 10 zeroes. That makes their average rating -0.409.

A quick DX QSO this evening with 7X4AN. I've worked him a few times before plus another 7X station and am still awaiting my first Algerian QSL. I guess I'll try again for this QSO. -30-



Friday, March 27, 2015 4:18 PM - Very interesting! I received my Sky & Telescope weekly email today and I learned that my estimate of Nova Sagittarii dimming from one day to the next as I observed it really did happen. If you look at this graph of its light curve and note the magnitudes around 0900Z on the 22nd and 23rd, it looks like it was almost a full magnitude dimmer on the 23rd. That matches well with what I observed.

If you missed it, the graph also clearly shows that it is brightening again, almost up to its peak level around the 22nd. Exciting times. Perhaps we have a dimmer version of Delta Scorpii on our hands. It will be interesting to follow this nova.

I heard enough stations (actually two of them) to complete my NAQCC European Chapter challenge for the third time this month. The trouble is that neither of them heard me calling. Admittedly they were not at all strong, hovering just above my s3-4 noise level. Conditions just seem very slow to recover from the St. Patrick's Day CME. I did notice yesterday that 20 meters was pretty good to Europe in late afternoon, so maybe I'll head off to the shack after I finish and post this entry.

I think Kentucky is serious about winning March Madness this year. They totally wiped out West Virginia last night, exactly doubling their score 78-39. Next up is Notre Dame on Saturday. Notre Dame has had 3 close games so far, winning by just 4, 3, 11 points while Kentucky's margins have been 23, 13, 39. However this is March Madness and anything can happen. Some good games coming up this evening. I think the most interesting one is UCLA vs. Gonzaga. Many folks say UCLA shouldn't even be in the tournament, and that is giving UCLA an incentive to prove them wrong. Then Gonzaga always seems to have a good team the past several years, but stumble along the way despite their high seeding each year. In fact in looking at my spreadsheet, I'm surprised to see they have never made it past the Sweet Sixteen round at least since 1999 when they lost in the Elite Eight. When both schools have something to prove, it usually makes for a good game, but.... -30-



Thursday, March 26, 2015 6:00 PM - A dreary chilly rainy day today. A good day to stay inside. Now I'm not complaining because rain is 1,000+% better than any other form of precipitation especially s#$w. Still a sunny day is even better with temps in the 60s instead of the mid 40s as it was today.

I got my "cover" QSO a little while ago when I worked Andy EA8CN on 20 meters. Even though as I said, KL7 is still considered DX by the ARRL, other organizations, and probably most hams, I feel better about having a QSO that is "more" DX in my streak log which incidentally is now at 756 days.

I had an interesting experience today - helping Nancy give Roscoe a bath getting ready for a vet appointment on Monday for some annual shots, etc. Actually he was quite co-operative and it wasn't as much a task as I thought it would be. I remember a few years ago in a similar situation, Joe ran upstairs and hid when he knew a bath was coming. As I remember now, we never did get his bath that day and had to wait for a couple more days and a better plan. -30-



Wednesday, March 25, 2015 8:39 PM - As I did a couple weeks ago when Mike was here, I worked an Alaskan for my DX this evening - KL7SB in Anchorage. While the ARRL considers KL7 a DX entity, a couple weeks ago I added a 'real' DX QSO that next morning, and probably will do the same tomorrow morning or at least try to.

The bands were definitely not good this evening and other than a couple weak SA stations, the KL7 on 17 meters was the only DX I heard. It's looking more and more like I'm not going to get those last 5 letters/numbers to finish my third go-around of the NAQCC European Chapter March challenge. I listened today for a while and did hear a PA1 station and could have used the '1', but I couldn't get him. Nothing else heard from Europe. -30-



Tuesday, March 24, 2015 8:29 PM - My DX QSO this evening came from a somewhat unusual (for me anyway) call - D44TBO. That's the first 2x3 call I've worked among my 41 Cape Verde QSOs. In fact as far as I can recall, it's the first I've ever heard. Earlier in the day, I listened a bit, and the bands continued very poor following the several days ago now CME and the subsequent low SF numbers since then. Hopefully this is not the first sign of a long slow deep descent into the propagation doldrums of the upcoming solar minimum. I have really grown accustomed to working DX easily and often the past few years now, and would dearly miss it. Let's see a couple stats here.

In 2013 I had 3,622 QSOs, of which 2,209 or 61.0% were DX.

In 2014 it was 2,833, 1,910 67.4% DX.

So far in 2015 it is 742, 641 86.4% DX

Overall in my big streak it's 64,350, 20,715 32.2%

So you can see I've really been enjoying chasing DX of late, and that proves that you too can work DX even if you have a simple setup like my CW/QRP/simple wire antennas one. Still not a believer that you can do it? What more can I say or do. It's up to you to give it a try and prove yourself and your negative beliefs wrong.

Spring continues to gradually establish itself. Most of my tulip plants have breached the surface now and the tallest ones are approaching two inches in height now. This afternoon I cleaned up most of the leaves I left during the winter as a blanket or mulch in my garden beds. In so doing, I found one more tulip that I missed transferring a couple years ago, and under the leaves it was 4-5 inches high (long). My daylilies had started to sprout under the leaves and there are a lot of little green tips sticking up now ready to enjoy the warm sunshine. The leaves and ground were quite warm today when I was working even though the air temperature was only around 50 at best. The heat from the sun is really increasing as the northern hemisphere is tipping more and more toward it. Ain't it great! -30-



Monday, March 23, 2015 8:43 PM - Another kind of ho-hum day today. A couple of nice walks although it is still a bit below normal temperature-wise in the low 40s instead of around 50. Some "spring cleaning" also. A check of the bands around 1630Z showed them to be not so good although I did work LY2PK for my first European in a while now. That call gave me 2 2s and 1 P for my third go-around of the NAQCC European challenge. It doesn't look now like I'll make it through four go-arounds now unless across the pond conditions pick up again in the next few days.

I also got another look at Nova Sagittarii early this morning. It didn't seem quite as bright as yesterday morning, but that may have been due to the atmosphere conditions or because it was earlier today and it was nearer the horizon.

I kind of missed March Madness today, but I'll just have to wait till Thursday now. The first couple rounds went pretty much to average. By that I mean if you total the seed numbers of the remaining 16 teams, you come up with 70 compared to the average of 71.3 for the years 1985-2015. The extremes were 89 in upset-minded 1986 and 49 in 2009. If all seeds went according to play, the total for a sweet sixteen would be 40 so 2009 came fairly close to being perfect. The highest (lowest?) seed still alive is #11 UCLA, a team many said shouldn't have even been invited to the tournament. Only one #1 seed eliminated so far - Villanova who lost to #8 NC State - go Wolfpack.

I had to call a lot of DX stations tonight before I got my DX QSOs from XE1/VE7BDI (a somewhat questionable one) and VP2MPA (good solid QSO). I also wasted about 20 minutes and a hundred calls or so trying to get 9Q0HQ which would have been a new overall one here. I usually don't spend that much time chasing anyone, but he was fairly strong, and I could have gotten him had I been lucky and hit a break in the big pileup which I didn't. -30-



Sunday, March 22, 2015 10:56 AM - I just a little bit ago got off an email to Mike KC2EGL, and I thought the content would make an interesting diary entry and keep me from re-inventing the wheel. HI.

Here goes, "Have you seen the nova in Sagittarius? I caught it around 5:30 this morning. Probably would be naked-eye in a dark area, but had to use binoculars in this light polluted area plus there were some thin clouds also which added to the need for binoculars.

Here's the S&T page with a chart: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/6th-mag-nova-in-sagittarius-still-brightening/?et_mid=735082&rid=246419306

I think that's the first nova I've ever seen as far as I can remember. Unless you count Delta Scorpii which although it brightened considerably a couple years ago, wasn't a true nova since it has stayed bright. I haven't checked lately to see if it has been explained. I would guess maybe it threw off a shell of darker material, but that's only a guess. Maybe I'll look into it today to get the latest in between March Madness.

Favorite games so far Utah over Georgetown (don't like them). Also the NC State victory over Villanova. Been a fan of theirs since the very improbable tournament wins in 1974 (5' 7'' Monty Towe and 6' 4" David Thompson, creators of the alley-oop play, and coach Norm Sloan) and 1983 (Jim Valvano era and the "buzzer beater" Dereck Whittenburg "pass" to Lorenzo Charles [that downed overwhelming favorite Houston]). Great memories. Also the challenge of even following the games back then. At times, I had to go to the Armed Forces radio on shortwave to hear some games. I think that's where I heard the famous Danny Ainge 'coast to coast' dribble and score to win a game [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXyhmnVwhKY].

Think I'll incorporate the above into my diary entry today. HI" -30-



Saturday, March 21, 2015 9:07 PM - Not a lot to write about this evening. It was a pretty quiet day. A couple walks and March Madness were about it for my activities today.

A contest this evening made for a quick DX QSO with PW2D to keep the streak going another day.

It looks like we might possibly lose a number 1 seed as Villanova is trailing NC State by 9 points with 5 minutes left. I'll have to watch that one after I finish my web site updates. -30-



Friday, March 20, 2015 10:06 PM - I didn't have a lot of time to watch March Madness except for a couple of close finishes including the Louisville game. There seemed, from looking at the scores, to be a lot more nail-biters this year so far. So maybe it was good I didn't get to watch much of it. I get too tense at times especially if one of my favorites is involved in a potential buzzer-beater game. Let's see my Excel spreadsheet brackets. I see seven games so far that were decided by 1 or 2 points. Only a couple blow-outs - Kentucky (of course), Kansas, Arizona, Villanova, Duke, Iowa, all won by 20 or more points. 2 14 seeds and one 11 seed scored upsets so far. I've got a couple more scores to add to my spreadsheet after I finish this diary entry.

It wasn't easy getting my DX this morning, but I managed to snag ZF2UL on 10 meters for day 750 - three quarters of the way to 1,000. This evening things were easier as I worked LU1FAM on 20 and LZ386SKI on 30 meters.

We slipped back into winter again on this alternate first day of spring (astronomical) with a bit of s#$w overnight, but like all good well-behaved March s#$ws it was gone by early afternoon. Wish they were all like that the other winter months.

I spent a good part of today working on our NAQCC sprint logs. Well, actually not all that much time as I've got the cross-checking system down to where it is very efficient now. We have 117 logs so far with almost two days left to submit.

I also finished up patching some floor tiles in my pantry. -30-



Thursday, March 19, 2015 9:13 PM - A busy day today with processing logs from last night's sprint, getting a new build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, following March Madness, taking a couple long walks, etc. Whew! I also checked the bands briefly a couple times. They didn't have much to offer. The same this evening. I tried calling a couple DX stations, but no luck. Hopefully I can get day 750 of the DX streak in the morning or afternoon. Now back to work on logs and watching March Madness. -30-



Wednesday, March 18, 2015 7:09 PM - How about that A index yesterday - 117 - the highest since November 10, 2004 when it was 181. No wonder signals all sounded so puny yesterday and last evening. I was lucky to get HK4CZE on 20 meters last evening to continue my streak. The preliminary A index for today is 45, so things should be better, but still rough for our NAQCC sprint this evening.

I did listen briefly one time today and there was virtually nothing to be heard from 20 meters up except a couple USA stations on 20.

It was a little cold again today with a high only in the mid-40s and a brisk breeze making it feel even colder. I did notice my tulip bulbs starting to sprout the past couple days, so that's a good sign. Looks like about 8 or so of the 19 or so have popped out of the soil so far. Also there are a good many robins who have ventured into town from the woods, so that's another good sign, not to mention it is hard to find any s#$w or ice now, although why anyone would want to find any at all, I don't know. It's wonderful to see bare lawns, sidewalks, streets, etc. Ahhhhh, lovely. -30-



Tuesday, March 17, 2015 2:29 PM - A couple days ago I said it was about time that I should be starting to get my DX QSO from Europe in the 0000Z hour. Well, last night I did with an easy QSO from E73AW even though he wasn't all that strong, and I think he was copying me easier than I was copying him. Although we never worked before (at least with that call), he commented that I had a good signal for QRP, and I hadn't told him I was running QRP.

It may have been a good thing I did get the QSO last night, because a check of the bands around 1700Z today didn't show much at all in the way of DX except S59AA. I didn't need any of his letters or numbers for the NAQCC European challenge, so I didn't work him. I'll save him for the fourth go-around of the challenge. HI.

The s#$w is pretty much all gone now after yesterday's high of 64 degrees. It still lingers where it was piled up from shoveling or plowing though. That should be gone before too much longer though. We won't lose a lot today because it is only around 40 degrees. Boy, that 40 would have felt hot last month.

When Mike was here Sunday, I noticed he had a Bing Translator program that came bundled with his new computer. I thought it was really neat especially since you could use voice to input text to be translated (hmmm.... wonder if it understands CW). I was amazed in fooling around with it after installing it on my computer by how well it understood what I was saying. I tried a lot of different words and phrases on it, and it scored 100 percent. It even got things like "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" and "Antidisestablishmentarianism". I didn't think to try "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" yet, but I will. Just now I checked this site in Wikipedia to see some more long words. When I was young, "Antidisestablishmentarianism" held the undisputed first place as the longest word. Or at least the longest word that was in somewhat common usage as described in the Wikipedia article.

The article also refers to long place-names (towns, cities, etc.) and personal names. That reminded me of the Monty Python Flying Circus skit about a long personal place name. I think it started with something like Gamblepuddy... if memory serves. Let's see if I can find it via a Bing search. I was close - it starts Gambolputty... See here. -30-



Monday, March 16, 2015 2:03 PM - Thanks to Mike for writing yesterday's entry and for a great visit. I'd like to add a bit more about the day. First, here's a picture of our computer setup. Kind of looks like a computer store or a computer workshop, doesn't it.

pix_diary_20150316_001 (112K)


In the foreground is Mike's new computer. To the right, my laptop. In the background Mike's two old laptops.

I feel it is an insult to my intelligence when I see these "Walk, Don't Walk" signs with symbols on them like the palm of a hand, etc. instead of simply the words WALK & WAIT or DON'T WALK. What happened to educating people to read in this country, or to learn English if they are immigrants. My grandparents were proud to learn English when they came to this country. That's true of a lot of older generation folks as well. Anyway Mike and I were making fun of this idiocy as we drove back from Ponderosa. There was an intersection sign for example that said (yes, in words) Butler Rd and Nixon St. I said wouldn't it be better to have a picture of a butler and a picture of President Nixon? We made up pictures for several signs just to show how ridiculous it would be if the country comes totally to that stage. We certainly have lowered our standards in many aspects of life in the USA. As Tom WY3H states referring to ham radio on my CW page on the web site: "Nothing worth doing is easy. The trend in just about everything today, not limited to amateur radio, seems to be 'You have to lower your standards for me because it's too much effort for me to meet them.' And so we go, lower, lower, and lower. Finally it's 'Hey thar, 10-4 gud buddy, watscher 20?" Unfortunately there is a great deal of truth in that statement that applies to much in this country today.

OK, enough of that. Talking about it is not going to change it and we may well sink back to the caveman days instead of going forward.

Although Alaska is considered DX by ARRL (and other ham organizations) even though it is a United States state, I still wanted to work another DX station today for my DX streak. So I found and worked YO3DDZ on 12 meters this morning.

A beautiful day today even though it is cloudy. I just got back from a nice walk through the park. I haven't been able to do that for a while now due to the s@#w. My remote thermometer shows 62 degrees now. -30-