Don't forget to cast your vote in the monthly poll here after reading the diary. A new poll posted the 15th of each month.
2017-03-01 00:00:00 GMT-05:00TILL SPRING ARRIVES
Saturday, December 10, 2016 7:43 PM - Some time ago in the diary I mentioned an old card file index I had of my ham radio contacts. Back then in pre-computer days it was a quick way of finding out if you worked someone before. I couldn't find any samples of the cards then, but I came across some I saved when I was going through and throwing out some old ham radio info. They looked like this:
The file was divided into 26 sections, one for each letter of the alphabet. The key letter was the first letter of the call suffix. K3WWP went in the W section, WN3JAI in the J section, and so forth. Each section contained a card for the second letter of the suffix up to 26 cards per section. Some letter combinations were so common that they required an extra card or two, even after filling up the front and back of the main card. As you see, calls with 'JA' starting the suffix went on the A card in the J section, 'FQ' on the Q card in the F section, and so forth for all other first/second letter combinations in a suffix.
Using the system, it was very quick to check a call. Not as fast as doing it with a computer in 2016, but almost as fast with the cards in 1963. When I transferred all my QSOs to my Microsoft Access database, I got rid of most of the cards, but did keep a dozen or so just as a memory.
I got my wish this evening for a quick DX QSO. Well, the QSO wasn't that quick as I had to repeat my call several times, but it came at 0003Z. Thanks to DL5CF for sticking with me for a couple minutes to get my call from K3WP to K3WWP at last. he was portable in FM land. I've worked him before from Germany and he is a good op.
Early today at 1400Z for my DX streak QSO for the 10th I worked NP3YL (a YL) on 15 meters. I checked 10M to see if there were any contesters I could hear, but the band was dead. A little while ago I worked K4WOP here in PA and he said 10 did open up a bit in the afternoon, but I never did get a chance to check again.
Incidentally I also worked K4WOP last evening when he answered my 160 meters CQ. I haven't had a QSO on that band in ages now. Let me see. That was my first 160M QSO this year, and I only had one in 2015. I just have too much local noise on that band to use it much.
Why was I wishing for a quick DX QSO this evening? Tomorrow Mike is coming and we're going to the trolley museum again for their longer Christmas season ride. They may have to get out their reindeer to pull the trolley as that ugly white s#$w is predicted for tomorrow through Monday. Ughh! -30-
Friday, December 09, 2016 9:18 AM - I forgot to mention a couple of things in yesterday's entry, so I'm writing today's entry early in the day.
First though, I just got my DX streak QSO from GI4DOH on 20 meters at exactly 1400Z. That makes the total now for the streak, 1,380 days. There were several other Europeans on 20 at the time. I called one other with no luck before getting GI4DOH after a couple calls. With the poor evening conditions for DX, I may have to rely on the 1300-1600Z or so period to keep the streak going through the winter.
Speaking of winter, the very first sign of the end of at least one aspect of winter came on the 7th. That's the day of the earliest sunset. It varies a day or two each year and a few seconds also. This year sunset on the 6th was 4:50:13 PM EST, on the 7th 4:50:11, and the 8th 4:50:12. By the 15th, it's 4:51:21, over a full minute later. It's not all that much encouragement, but every little bit helps when dealing with the deadliest season of all. That data is strictly for my QTH. It varies, mainly with latitude, but the date is pretty consistent for all locations along the 40N parallel.
The other thing I wanted to mention was a very nice email I received from KD8RNF. He said how much he enjoys reading my diary. He thinks it is nice that I add all the personal touches to it. Thank you Erik.
I know that other web diaries (or as they are called, blogs - I hate that name) by hams deal strictly with ham radio topics, and that's fine. I think getting to know more about the person behind the call is very important and interesting as well. That's why I deal with other topics as well as ham radio. -30-
Thursday, December 08, 2016 6:47 PM - I thought I'd start the diary entry early, and then finish it a little later. I'm awaiting either 0000Z to head to the shack or a call from next door for a chili dinner, whichever comes first. They'll probably come at the same time, then I'll have to postpone the shack visit.
Winter weather took some practice today with very cold wind chills - probably in the teens and some s#$w flurries. Fortunately so far the s#$w is not sticking save for a few cold spots here and there. More on the way though the next few days.
I'm continuing to throw away a lot of papers. Today I went through some old TV-FM DX info. That was a lot of fun when I had an outdoor TV/FM antenna. I didn't throw away any logging info, just a lot of technical articles like a description of sporadic E skip and the like which can now be found on the Internet if I need it. I also ran into some pictures I took of some TV station ID slides and test patterns on our very old console TV set (B/W) which is no longer around. A lot of good memories. Back in those days I was a member of WTFDA for TV/FM and the NRC and IRCA for AM BCB. Ooops, there's my chili call, I think.
OK, I'm back after 3 bowls of chili and my streak QSO. No DX QSO though. About the only workable DX I heard was VP2VGG and a lot of folks still need the BVI on 40 I guess. I couldn't get through his pileup.
I wonder how strongly, if at all, the 10 meters contest will open up the band this weekend. Probably just to the point where the KX/Beam guys can work each other, but not for us minimal QRP stations. That's pretty much what the story was last year. I see one 10 meters contact last year around this time in December. Yes, that was in the 10 meters contest. So not much hope for this year. Maybe at least I can get a Caribbean QSO or two for my DX streak. -30-
Wednesday, December 07, 2016 8:02 PM - Today was about as nice as it gets in December here. A lot of sunshine, no s#$w to be seen anywhere, and temperatures in the mid-upper 40s. Consequently that really buoyed my spirits and I got a lot done.
Before I talk about what I did, I'd like to pause and remember Joe who passed away 5 years ago today. Regular diary readers know who Joe was. For those who don't, he was my neighbor's dog with whom I became very good friends and helped quite a bit in taking care of him. Here's what he looked like:
Then it was 4 years and 4 months ago today that Roscoe came to live next door. After Joe, I didn't think I could ever get close to another dog, but it didn't take Roscoe long to win me over. Now we are very good friends also. He's different from Joe, but nonetheless, just as loving. I don't really have as good a picture of Roscoe as that of Joe, but let me see if I can find one so at least you'll know what he looks like.
That's him several months after he arrived. I'll have to get a more current better picture of him. He's somewhat bigger now, and more brown in color.
Now let's see if I can remember all that I did today. I raked the leaves in my back yard and between the houses. I don't have any trees (no decidious ones anyway - I do have the small pine tree), but I sure get plenty of leaves. I also took in my lawn decorations from the back yard. Some of the leaves I used to mulch my roses and the area where I plant my vegetables.
I also did some shopping downtown since the weather was very nice for walking. Of course also walked Roscoe three times so far today.
I fixed up a power strip for my Christmas lights to replace a couple of extension cords. Oh, and I did some sewing of a pillowcase.
I want to thank Paul N8XMS who read my yesterday's diary entry about Christmas music, and suggested I try Pandora instead of iHeart. I had used Pandora in the past, but didn't really like it. However I tried it again today, and they have a much better setup now. I quickly found a couple Christmas stations that DO play true Christmas music, and have been enjoying that a lot today in between (or while) doing other things.
Same old story on DX this evening as it's been the last several nights now. Things look very dismal, but then I manage to find and work some DX somewhere sooner or later. Tonight I really earned the QSO. I worked CP4BT on 30 meters, but I had to send my call perhaps 15 times before he got it right. I really appreciate him sticking with me. Some DX stations won't do that. Later I heard a strong C5 station on 40 meters whom I could have worked without the big pileup he attracted. I had a brief instance of wondering whether C5 was Andorra or The Gambia, but quickly realized it was The Gambia which I don't need. Had it indeed been C3 Andorra, I'd probably still be at the key now trying to work it since that's the last main country I need in Europe. I still need a couple minor entities like Monk Apollo and SMOM, but I'd love to at least get Andorra. I did hear it when we were at Skyview in August, but couldn't even work it with their big antenna farm in the short time he was there before he QRT. -30-
Tuesday, December 06, 2016 7:27 PM - How about that! 20 meters was open in the 00Z hour this evening. I worked VP5/W5CW at 0001Z and heard a few other stations including CE2AWW. I also heard the German RTTY station on 10100 fairly strong. I haven't heard them in ages. I just checked the propagation numbers and I see there was some geomagnetic storming going on. So that is not always a bad thing. When the sunspots get low a little storminess can activate the higher bands somewhat.
It was a gloomy December day today with no sign of the sun and periods of rain. Of course that's much better than a bright day with that ugly white stuff on the ground.
I've been listening to some Christmas music the past few days on iHeart radio on the Internet along with a couple other streaming stations. It's sad and a shame to hear very few of the traditional Christ oriented songs like Silent Night, O Holy Night, What Child Is This, We Three Kings, and the like. It seems Santa Claus and other secular figures dominate the music now. Well, I have my own collections of Christmas music, and I'll just dig that out and listen to that instead. After all it's CHRISTmas, not SANTAmas. End of soapbox comments. -30-
Monday, December 05, 2016 8:09 PM - You know me and stats. I was just curious to know how my DX streak QSOs were distributed throughout the day this year. That is, in which hour did I get that DX. Well, there are 340 days so far this year. The first DX QSO on each day was distributed as follows (UTC hour):
So there were 73 days (21.5%) where I couldn't get the DX in the evening and had to wait till morning or afternoon. I'm not going to do it now, but I will later. That is, see how this year compares with 2013-2015. I'm guessing with the higher sunspot numbers and the bands consequently being open later in the evenings then, that the percentage of evening QSOs will be higher.
So far, unless I connect later this evening, this will be another day without an evening DX QSO. I chased J6/KI8R and a PJ2 without any luck. I did work AA7G for the big streak though, so that one is secure. -30-
Sunday, December 04, 2016 8:27 PM - Here are the final(?) Christmas pictures for this year. First my window from outside followed by the new (to me) wreath I bought a few days ago. The bell and bow are salvaged from my traditional wreath that finally pretty much gave up the ghost after many years of faithful service.
A quick DX QSO (J3/VE7ACN 30M) gave me time for some rag chewing and letter gathering (for the NAQCC December challenge). I spent about 45 minutes after getting the DX at 0003Z in three rag chews on 80 meters. I've now passed the halfway mark to mastering the NAQCC challenge this month. -30-
Saturday, December 03, 2016 7:56 PM - I haven't gotten much diary feedback lately. I suppose one reason is I had to dismantle my guestbook, and haven't gotten around to installing another one yet. So little time and so much to do. Anyway I did get two nice emails today which I'll talk about briefly after I present a couple more Christmas pictures.
First here's my tree after I trimmed it today. I cut back a little on the number of ormanents this year. I concentrated on just the bigger ones and the homemade ones from my cub scouting days many years ago. It still looks pretty crowded, so I'm happy with it this way.
One of the very few things I dislike about Christmas is when a string of lights doesn't work. That happened today and after trying a few unsuccessful shortcuts to find the culprit, I had to go back to the old way of just pull, check, reinsert or replace one by one till the guilty party was found. Of course no matter which end you start at, the bad bulb will be near the opposite end. At least in the process, I got some more order to my spare bulb collection which will make the next time easier.
As always every year, we (I) put a manger scene under the tree which is pretty much the same each year. Here's a picture of that.
Now to the emails. Paul N0NBD emailed saying he enjoyed seeing the pictures in the previous entry. He also told me a little about the trimming his wife did there which spilled over into his shack. HI.
Then I just heard a few minutes ago from Jack KO2I who said he enjoyed the KX1 building Mike KC2EGL and I had in the NAQCC newsletter a few years ago which was also here in the diary. I'm not sure which version he was referring to. He said it was helpful when he built another Elecraft rig, a K2/100. He also included a draft of an article he wrote about the K2 build for his club's newsletter (Spring Hill ARC). I have yet to read it, but I will a little later.
The bands were their usual bad boys this evening as far as DX goes. I did get K8NY on 80 for the big streak. Then I gave up and went next door to fix a chair for my neighbor. When I came back here, I thought I'd just check the bands again. I'm glad I did. I found KP4JRS just starting up. He sent a couple QRZ?s, then called CQ and he answered my very first call. I was looking him up in QRZ to be sure he was in Puerto Rico (he is), and noticed his sister is NP3YL whom I worked about a month ago. His father is KP4JFR. I think I worked him also. Let me see. Yes, I worked him 3 times. Wonder if there's an award for working the whole family? HI.
So with the DX streak secured, I'll have tomorrow free for whatever comes along. -30-
Friday, December 02, 2016 7:28 PM - Tonight in the diary something I haven't done for a while. Present some pictures for you to peruse. "Peruse" takes me back to my WPIT days. One of my fellow co-workers loved to use that word as in "time to peruse the news" just for one example. I was just thinking about the staff members who were there when I started in 1969. I'm pretty sure most all of them are gone now since they were (except for one) quite a bit older than I was. And I'm no spring chicken myself now. Those were good days. But I'm sidetracking myself.
I was trying to decide if I was going to decorate for Christmas or not this year. I think getting the wreath at the Ol' Station Marketplace yesterday swayed me toward decorating. So today I got things underway after I took care of some one-day delayed first of the month things this morning.
As is so every year, the first thing on the agenda is decorating the window with spray s#$w and stencils. The stencils are from some Glass Wax stencils from too many years ago to count. They are a little beaten up now, but they still work. As you'll see in this picture, there are five stencils - The Christmas star, a harp-playing angel rejoicing at the birth of Christ, "Merry Christmas", the manger scene, and the Magi or wise men. I don't know why there is an extra Magi in the stencil, but...
Next it was dragging the ornaments and tree down from the attic. Every year now, dragging becomes more and more an apt description as I age. First thing out of the box was the string of lights that you see around the window. Then the tree was set up, but I kind of stopped there for a while and the corner still looks like this as I type.
The little tree on the entertainment center is the one that my neighbor Nancy gave to me a few Christmases ago. Sadly she is not around for this Christmas, having passed away on November 11 at age 85. The ornament box is under the table. Or ormanent box. Does that use of ormanent remind you of anything? Do you remember "Party Line" with Ed and Wendy King on KDKA many years ago? To kind of differentiate Christmas decorations from other decorations, Ed called them "ormanents".
Wow, this is reminiscent night, I guess. Back to the task at hand. The only other things I took care of tonight were the garland (I guess that's what it's called) strung above the room divider (shown here) and the wreath which I hung outside on the door. I'll get a picture of that some other time.
The rest of the decorating I hope to do tomorrow or Sunday. Meanwhile here's another item for some reminiscing on my part.
That desk is one that goes back to my days at WPIT, perhaps even before that to my days at Gateway Tech. It belonged to Mrs. Hay from whom I rented a room starting back in, oh I guess around 1965 or 66. I probably have records of just when it was somewhere here since I virtually never throw anything out. HI. At any rate, she was an elderly lady and eventually went into a nursing home. I stayed on and kind of minded the house until it was time to sell it perhaps a year or so later. I had the choice of buying any of the furniture I wanted to use in my new apartment a couple blocks away. I took some chairs, a bed, the desk, and a few other items. Then when I retired from WPIT in 1993, I brought the furniture here to Kittanning. The desk just stayed in the basement as a storage place for some wire and other equipment.
Now move ahead some 13 years. I got to thinking the desk would make a nice place for my laptop computer. It required some work though after all those years in the basement. The laminate on the fold down desktop had come free over about half of the surface so I had to glue that back on. It needed a good cleaning and waxing along with a few other minor repairs here and there. A few days ago, my neighbor helped me bring it up from the basement and I set it up as you see in the picture. I probably should have done that long ago as it makes for a very nice setup for the laptop instead of an old card table. Actually the table you see in the second picture above.
OK, let me check the above, then I'll talk briefly about the DX streak.
First in looking at the desk picture, I notice a strange pattern on the mirror. It took a minute for me to realize that it was a reflection on the wall of the flash caused by the slightly beveled glass around the mirror edge.
Once again with a busy day tomorrow, thankfully my DX came quickly this evening. I've been chasing J3/VE7ACN a few days now. I don't really need him for anything but the DX streak QSO since I have J3, etc. It kind of became a minor obsession though since he was easily strong enough to work, but just wasn't hearing me. So I kept after him, and it was the same tonight on 30 meters. However when I couldn't work him and couldn't find anyone else workable on 30, I went to 40. I checked a couple of the bigger peaks on the PX3, and one was, yes, that's right - J3/VE7ACN. Stronger now than any other of the times I heard him. I listened to see if he was simplex or split. It was simplex, so I dropped my call on his frequency and after a "WW? and "K3?", he put it all together for a K3WWP 599. Finally! -30-
Thursday, December 01, 2016 7:12:58 PM - Winter kind of came in like the proverbial March lion today. It was in the 30s most of the day after the cold front came through last night. I'm not sure what the high was during the day today since the high registered as 48 at midnight. Then there were strong winds that made it feel even colder. Probably although I don't compute it, I would guess the wind chills were at least down around 20 or maybe lower.
I had to kind of hang around the house today waiting for a man to come and clean my gutters. He finally came around 3:00 or so. Then I went over to the Ol' Station Marketplace and picked up a nice wreath to replace the time-worn one I put on the front door each year. Also a couple other items.
I also went and paid a couple bills as part of my first of the month routines. I still have to finish the routines tomorrow.
Also tomorrow I hope to get my Christmas decorations up. I cleaned out the corner for the tree a little while ago, but that's only the beginning.
Fortunately I got a quick DX QSO this evening. After trying several times to get J3/VE7ACN, I gave up, went down the band a bit and got VP5/W5CW easily with a couple calls. Earlier in the day I worked John K4BAI down in Bonaire. John and I go back to the early 1960s. Even though he was running stations, he took time to wish me Happy Holidays. I always appreciate little things like that. John is a ham that I really admire, and although he is QRO (mainly) and I'm QRP I do my best to emulate his style.
With those two QSOs, the DX streak is now at 1,373 days and counting. I'm looking now at making it to March 1 when spring arrives and my DX streak will reach 4 straight years. -30-
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 7:32 PM - Well, it's December (UTC) - time to play the Merle Haggard song, "If We Make It Through December" everything's going to be all right I know. Well, not really because we've then got to get through two even worse months before we reach spring. 90 days to go. Whew! Wonder if I will make it?.
I did go back to the shack later last night and got not only my regular streak QSO, but it was DX as well - VP5/AA4NC on 30 meters and it was easy after just a call or two. So I had today free to do my end of the month things without worrying about that.
Tonight I got my regular streak QSO, but it wasn't DX - K8PRG on 80 meters. So the DX will have to come later tonight or tomorrow.
I'm getting back into another of my interests again - Sprint Cup racing - It will be interesting to see if Jimmie can pull off an eighth championship to move ahead of Earnhardt (good) and Petty (bad). I wasn't happy when Earnhardt tied Petty, but I'm glad Jimmie tied Earnhardt even thought it also meant tying Petty. Follow that? It's also nice that Tony Stewart has now retired. Never cared for him.
I am sorry that Jeff Gordon didn't quite make it to 100 wins. Maybe Jimmie will do so. Time will tell. He says he thinks he'll be able to drive another 3-5 years now. So that means he'll have to average 4-7 wins per year. Not out of the question.
Actually I think Jimmie's seven championships are more meaningful that Petty/Earnhardt. First competition is much more level now with any number of teams able to win any given race. Also the stupid "playoff" system makes it much harder to win a championship now. One simple blown tire in the playoff races can spell the end of a championship run. I notice that the web site Racing Reference computes the championship for each of the recent "playoff" years according to the old points system. I haven't had time to digest that yet, but I will. I did notice one of Jimmie's championship years, he also would have won using the old points system. That's the only year I've had time to look at yet. -30-
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 8:40 PM - To borrow lyrics from the Bing Crosby song of the same name - It's been a long long time. Since what, you ask. Since I went to the shack at 0000Z and came out an hour and 15 minutes later without a single QSO, DX or otherwise. Conditions are really bad here tonight. Many unanswered CQs and many unanswered calls to other stations' CQs. So I'll have to try later tonight or wait till morning or afternoon.
It's really reminiscent of the depth of the last sunspot minimum. In fact that's probably how far back I'd have to go to find the last time I didn't get a QSO in the evening after 0000Z. And here we are not even at the next sunspot minimum yet.
To make it worse, as I get older, I don't have as much patience to have to try so hard and long to get a QSO. So we'll see what becomes of the streaks from now till the minimum passes, if I make it that far. It's a bit discouraging, but not hopeless by any means. -30-
Monday, November 28, 2016 8:07 PM - Once again the bands seemed pretty down this evening just like they did over the weekend. However I did manage to easily work VE3DZ/KP4 on 40 meters at 0013Z. After he took care of some other callers, I got through easily with a quick K3WWP 599, no repeats needed. Very early (for me) in the day I worked VP2ESM with just a single call on 30M at 1346Z. That reminds me that even earlier Sunday morning in the 0900Z hour I made a few contacts in the CQWW contest. Those have to be among a very few QSOs I ever got in that hour. I was hoping for an Asian on 40M, but no such luck. Also no KL7 on 80M. So those goals will have to wait once again. -30-
Sunday, November 27, 2016 6:20 PM - My poorest showing in a major DX contest in quite some time now. I listed some of the reasons in the previous diary entry. There is one more to add to the list. I lost a lot of time today right when there was a good European opening on 20 meters when I went next door for a Thanksgiving dinner around Noon or so local time here. That was about the only good opening to Europe here the whole contest.
I'm not going to even bother writing a story about this one. Instead I'll just present some stats here.
QSOs - 76 (all DX, I don't work W/VE in the CQWW although that is permitted)
Countries - 42
Continents - all but Asia
QSOs by band and continent
40M - 13
20M - 36
15M - 25
10M - 2
AF - 5
EU - 23
NA - 31
OC - 3
SA - 14
Best hour - 1900Z Sunday - 12
Saturday - 32
Sunday - 44
Number of unanswered calls - A LOT!
I think maybe one more reason for the poor showing. I wonder if many folks thought this was going to be the last good DX contest for a while as we slip toward the sunspot minimum, and they wanted to get in on the action before conditions really go away. It sure seemed like there was an awful lot of activity this year and hence more competition. There were even big pileups in the final hour which is a little unusual.
This and yesterday's entry sum up the contest. If I think of any more comments, I'll add them in a future entry. -30-
Saturday, November 26, 2016 7:17 PM - I'm glad I wasn't really fired up for a big effort in the CQWW DX contest. Had I been, I sure would have been very disappointed by now. Conditions are some of the worst since the last sunspot minimum.
Let's analyze things a bit.
1. Obviously with the solar flux down in the 70s heading for the upcoming (downgoing?) sunspot minimum, the ionosphere is just not propagating signals as well as it did as recently as last year. That especially hurts minimal QRP signals such as mine.
2. With the higher bands out of the picture most of the time except for a few hours around mid-day, that forces a lot of stations down to 20 during a good portion of the day and then to 40 when 20 closes early. The resultant crowding makes breaking through the packs with QRP much harder.
3. I suspect that with poorer conditions, many stations are running higher power than they usually do. Hence stronger QRM on QRP signals.
4. Since this is an everyone work everyone contest, DX with beams don't keep them aimed at the USA as they do for the ARRL DX contest in February. So often the QRP station must try to work the DX off the side of the DX's beam thus losing the receive gain of the DX station.
5. With fewer and weaker openings to EU, AF, AS, OC from the USA, the Caribbean and SA stations bear the brunt of the USA stations calling them, making their pileups larger and harder to break.
Considering all the above, I'm not surprised, nor even disappointed in my results so far. I am disappointed that we are quite far down in the sunspot cycle and have to put up with these things.
Normally (i.e. at higher points in the sunspot cycle), the majority of my QSOs are from Europe in big DX contests. Also the Caribbean/Central American stations are a piece of cake to work along with the northern half of South America. Northwest Africa is very easy to work. I have a pipeline to Hawaii.
This year my QSOs (all 33 so far) are distributed as follows:
Europe - 8 (actually some quite easy). I did not even hear all that many European stations this year.
Caribbean/Central America - 19, and many took some work to log them.
South America - 3, fairly easy, although there were many I couldn't work at all.
Hawaii - 1, easy.
Africa - 2, but many others not hearing me at all.
Of course, that means I have 5/6 of my usual contest WAC. But Asia may not be workable this year. I haven't even heard an Asian yet, although I hear other stations working Asia easily.
Well, there's still tomorrow. Perhaps conditions will flip-flop and be good then, but I'm not holding my breath. -30-
Friday, November 25, 2016 5:43 PM - I'm sitting here trying to decide what I want to do in the CQWW DX Contest. I don't think I'll put in a full all-out effort. I might consider that if it were near the peak of a sunspot cycle, but not falling toward a sunspot minimum as we are doing now. I feel like doing a little more than just using it to get my DX streak QSOs. Maybe look for some new band countries, especially on 80 and 40. 80 should be pretty good at this point of the sunspot cycle. How about trying to finally work Asia on 40 meters to complete WAC on that band. Or try for KL7 on 80 to complete WAS there. There are a lot of different ways to approach these big DX contests which is yet another reason they are at the top of my list of favorite contests. I'll probably wind up doing a MOR (middle of the road) effort getting on when I'm not doing something else at the time. Or maybe set a goal of 100, 200, whatever QSOs and shoot for that. -30-
Thursday, November 24, 2016 7:42 PM - OK, several things to take care of, so let's get to them. First of all, thanks to Geo N1EAV for keeping tabs on me and letting me know early this morning that I didn't have a diary entry for yesterday. Well, I did, but got distracted and forgot to upload it.
I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I did. My neighbor Bruce's brother Jeff invited him and me for dinner. It was just the three of us enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, noodles, and cranberry sauce. That's the way I like things - plain and simple. No fancy foods that no one will eat anyway as Bruce put it.
I mentioned pictures from the subpedition. Let me get them from Mike's email and fix them for inclusion here. Back in a couple minutes.
OK, here we go. First the Requin sitting quietly at rest on the Ohio River near the Science Center on the North shore across from downtown Pittsburgh.
Here is a wide angle view of the small radio room on the sub. Some of the equipment was in use when the sub was active while some was added later when the ham radio station NY3EC was installed.
A closer view of our setup using Mike's KX3 and paddle. I added the appropriate circle and line to that Mickey phoney thing.
And Mike (top) and me (bottom) wearing our NAQCC WPA Chapter hats busy making contacts.
Back to Thanksgiving evening now. Once again thanks to the folks setting up for the CQWW DX contest, my DX streak QSO came quickly, thanks to TI5/KL9A again (on 20 this evening). Then I went searching for someone with an R in their call to complete the November NAQCC Thanksgiving challenge. I found TK/S53RM on 40 meters, and worked him after 3 or 4 calls. I only have maybe one or two other Corsica QSOs on 40 meters. Then I got off my report on the challenge to our challenge manager Hap K7HAP, and then wrote this entry. So that was my day. A very good one. -30-
Wednesday, November 23, 2016 7:27 PM - Thank goodness, another quick DX QSO this evening at 0018Z from TI5/KL9A on 30 meters. Now I can enjoy Thanksgiving Day without that hanging over me.
Mike and I had a good day today as always when we get together. We left for the Requin a little after 9 AM and arrived there a little after 10 AM only to find out from Art that the sub was closed. However that didn't really matter since Art said we could operate anyway. So we went to the radio room and proceeded to set up. However we had some trouble with the sub's antenna tuner. It was just refusing to work. We puttered around with it for quite a while without any luck. We finally figured we'd take a chance that the tuner was just in bypass mode and tried it on that assumption using the built-in KX3 tuner. Well that worked fine, so apparently the sub's tuner is bypassed or shorted out or something. So we proceeded to operate starting around 10:40AM or so. We continued until 2:00PM and along the way we made 27 QSOs from 15 SPCs. It was strange having the whole sub to ourselves, especially when Art left to go for some kind of meeting. I kidded Mike that we should commandeer the sub and take it for a joyride up the river.
The sub finally did open for visitors around Noon or so when those in charge (not Art) decided that it was warm enough to do so. I won't go into that any further except to say it really wasn't all that cold to begin with. After that we enjoyed chatting with the visitors as we operated. This time a large percentage seemed really interested in what we were doing and asked a lot of good questions which we did our best to answer.
When we left the sub, we headed to the Pittsburgh Mills and in particular Dick's Sporting Goods where I got a pair of new shoes and Mike got some gloves. Then it was off to Best Buy where we got frustrated because we couldn't find anyone to wait on us. I've observed over the years that when you go into any store just to look around, you'll be descended upon by several salespersons. However when you go in search of something which you need help to find, there won't be a salesperson within 20 yards of you, and you are never approached. Ours was the second case, and after waiting a while and even requesting one of the store workers to find someone to help us (that didn't work), we just left. Then it was off to Lowe's to find an item which they didn't have. So that was two strikes, and the next pitch was from Applebees. Well, we got a hit there with a couple of great dinners. I had a shrimp platter and Mike had some kind of steak platter.
Next up, it was off to here where Mike did some work on the foam insert for his carrying case he uses for the KX3, PX3, etc. That being done, it was time for Mike to head home and me to head to the shack. We took some pictures on the sub which Mike will email to me. I'll try to have them in tomorrow's diary entry. -30-
Tuesday, November 22, 2016 8:00 PM - That worked out good. I was hoping for a quick DX streak QSO this evening so I wouldn't be worried about it all morning and afternoon while operating from the Requin and otherwise engaged in projects with Mike KC2EGL. At 0003Z, I called 6Y9X whom if you remember I tried forever to get last evening. Tonight it took but two calls to get him in the log on 30 meters. He may have just been starting a shift since he was simplex and not yet getting many answers to his CQs. Whatever, I got him and am ready for tomorrow now. In fact I probably could have gotten 3 or 4 other DX QSOs as folks are getting tuned up for the CQ WW. But I'll save them for Thursday and Friday. HI.
It apparently will be only Mike and me on the sub as the other folks we invited all had other plans for the day. We'll try to arrive just as the sub opens for business at 10 AM (1500Z), get set up as quickly as possible and put NY3EC on the air. Look for us on or near 7041, 10117, or 14061. We can only operate one of the frequencies at a time so just keep checking back and forth if you'd like to work us. We'll stay until 1900Z or longer if activity warrants.
The trip to the vet for toenail trimming went well with Roscoe. He's always excited and anxious on the way to the vet, then mostly calm and quiet on the way home. Just like he's two different dogs. On the way home he got an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen which he devoured. He used to be hesitant about eating the cone part, but now he goes right through the whole thing. -30-
Monday, November 21, 2016 7:52 PM - Yet another DXless evening. 6Y9X was booming in working the world on 30 meters. I just couldn't get my signal in edgewise in the pile of stations calling him. I don't know how many JAs he worked while I was listening, but it was a lot. Oh well, maybe tomorrow morning or afternoon.
A cold day today. Never got out of the low-mid 30s all day, and the wind made it seem even worse. So except to take Roscoe out and put out the garbage, it was an indoor day for me. Tomorrow I have to go out though as we will take Roscoe to the vet for a toenail trimming. Other than that, except for a short walk downtown to get some vitamins, I think I'll hibernate again. -30-
Sunday, November 20, 2016 8:07 PM - A really depressing weather day today. A coating of that ugly white s#$w made such an ugly scene when I looked out the window this morning. I felt like getting back in bed and sleeping the day away, but..... At least we didn't have it as worse as many places did. Thank goodness, it was bad enough as is. And it's only just past mid-November, too. As I said to the mailman yesterday, maybe if it starts early, it will end early. That would be great.
Enough about that. I want to get this entry done and get started on the log cross-checking from our NAQCC sprint. I want to get that done tonight if I can because I have a busy week coming up. At least I got my DX streak QSO out of the way this evening, thanks to PJ2/K2PLF hearing me on 30 meters. -30-
Saturday, November 19, 2016 7:19 PM - More and more to my amazement, the DX streak keeps on going. Still I think its days are numbered. It was hard getting a QSO in the LZ DX Contest both earlier in the day and this evening. Even the stations I usually work easily weren't hearing me. Finally though at 1510Z I managed to work DL6FBL easily in the contest on 20 meters. Then this evening after trying at least a half dozen stations to no avail in the contest on 40, I went to 30, found a very strong PZ5RA, but he always answered someone else, so I gave up on him and went searching again. Hmmm, there's S57V pretty strong around 10.121. I'll give him a call after his CQ. Bingo, a single call got him easily. Sometimes (maybe most of the time) you just have to be in the right place at the right time to work DX as the sunspot cycle continues to decline.
It's much colder today than yesterday. 73 then, just reversed now - 37. And we had a few s@#w flurries in the early afternoon, but that was it, fortunately just flurries. Still predicting some accumulation tonight and tomorrow though. Brrrr! and Bah Humbug!!! -30-
Friday, November 18, 2016 12:10 PM - After agonizing all morning while looking for DX and not finding any except for those who were chasing other DX, too weak to even bother trying, or engaged in endless rag chews, I gave up for the time being. When I came back just before noon, a single call to Bruno F5NTV netted me my DX streak QSO.
It's almost 70 degrees today, so I think with the DX streak secured, I might go out for a walk now and enjoy what looks like the last nice day for a long time, perhaps until spring. A cold front sweeps in tonight and brings that ugly white s#$w back to Kittanning. Perhaps even a couple inches of the crud. -30-
Thursday, November 17, 2016 12:14 PM - In processing logs from last night's NAQCC sprint, I noticed that I was the first or second QSOs in several logs, so I decided to see just how many. Nine folks had me as their first QSO, and four more as their second. I have no idea what that means, I just found it unusual.
Overall conditions were pretty poor for the sprint. However here in WPA we seemed to have a "white hole" as not only me with 41 QSOs, but Jon AB3RU and Mike KC2EGL posted good scores. So far N5GW down in MS is the only one of some 60 reporting to have more than my 41 QSOs. He had 43.
I hit the track running with 7 QSOs the first 7 minutes, but then gradually slowed down as 80 slowly changed to longer skip. My totals by half hour were 15, 11, 9, 6. All on 80 meters except W4OEP in FL on 40 near the end of the sprint.
A lot of fun. These NAQCC sprints rank up there with the big DX contests as my absolute favorites. If you haven't tried a NAQCC sprint yet, please do so. You don't have to be a member to join in the fun. You really don't have to run QRP, but QRO stations do somewhat create havoc among the QRP signals. -30-
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 7:19 PM - To quote some sportscaster(s) somewhere sometime, "How about that, sports fans?" S53A on 80 meters was my DX streak QSO this evening at 0015Z. I'm not even sure if I have Slovenia on 80 meters before this or not. Let me check. No I don't so I got my first new band country in a long while now. Let me check that. Well, it's almost 5 months ago that I worked D2B on 30 meters for my last new band country. I'm going to have to try for 80 meters DX more often with the sunspots decreasing. I only have 57 (now 58) countries worked on 80 meters with my attic random wire and of course QRP/CW. It would be nice to reach 100 on 80, but I doubt that will happen barring a lot of luck and some good band conditions along with a lot of time invested as well.
Well, just over an hour now till our NAQCC sprint. I've got GenLog all set up on my laptop for logging. I hope conditions are good. I'll probably just go with 80 most of the two hours with perhaps a couple checks on 40 meters. -30-
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 8:16 PM - Tomorrow evening is our monthly NAQCC Sprint. I hope conditions are better than they are this evening. It took a long time to find and work someone. At least it was an old reliable DX station so I don't have to worry about going on the scavenger hunt during the day tomorrow. Today the 1400Z hour came through again when I worked XE1IM. I only worked him once before and that was a few years ago. By contrast tonight's QSO was PV8ADI whom I've worked many times simply because he often is the only strong DX station I am hearing. ZF9CW was strong also, but after not breaking his pileup after 10 minutes I realized it was futile to try any longer.
I just looked at my new poll results and it looks like I may get more votes this time around. Last time I had a 12 meters poll, I only got 19 votes. So far this round I have 7 votes after just one day. I voted for 20-29 states, 3 folks voted for 1-9 states, and 3 said they don't use 12 meters.
Looks like we hit 62 degrees today under mostly sunny skies. I helped Ange with a bit more garden clean up work, burying another fig tree for the winter. Still three left to go. I also raked up some leaves around my house, but there are still more to come down. It's terrible when you don't have any deciduous trees but still have to rake the neighbor's leaves. At least if I have to rake leaves, it would be nice to have a tree on which to mount an antenna. Or maybe not. -30-
Monday, November 14, 2016 6:27 PM - The weather continues very nice for mid-November. As I said yesterday, cold mornings (24 today) and nice afternoons (59). A little less walking today as I was busy with other things like my laundry, getting ready for Wednesday's sprint, and more paper shredding, among the regular daily chores. Still, I'm just under 7 miles and will get at least one more mile here in the house.
My DX streak is becoming more like a scavenger hunt figuring out where and when to look for someone whom I am able to work. The 1400Z hour seems to be a good when, and 20 and 17 a good where. However I called several stations in that frame today with nary a ? from any of them. Finally I did easily hook up with Kurt DF4XX on 20 meters for a solid QSO. He was 579 and gave me a 559.
The next scavenger hunt starts in about 25 minutes when I see what is available on 30 or 40. 20 will probably be dead by then.
I said I was going to start repeating some of my polls that I haven't posted in a while now to see if there is any major change in the responses from the last posting. The first one starts today with how many states you've worked on 12 meters. We've gone through a sunspot peak since the poll was first posted so at least the band was open for a few years in that time. However it still remains mostly a W/VE working DX band and not much W/VE to W/VE work. Anyway it will be interesting to see what the change is, if any. -30-
Sunday, November 13, 2016 7:42 PM - Very poor DX conditions this evening unlike the last few nights. So, no DX QSO yet for the 14th. I did work VA3YG on 80 for the big streak though, so that's secure.
I talked with Art WA3BKD from the sub USS Requin and it looks like we will be activating the sub's radio room the day before Thanksgiving. More details as the time gets closer. That's always a lot of fun, and this day before Thanksgiving is an annual thing now for the past few years.
Not much else going on. I did a lot more shredding today. Amazing how much paperwork can be accumulated over the years if you don't keep up with it and I haven't.
The weather was nice today. Let's see. My remote unit shows a high of 59 which felt just about right the couple times I was out for a walk this afternoon. It looks like the next few days will be nice also. Cold mornings but in the 50s and maybe 60 for highs. I'll take that for November for sure.
I was just looking to see the exact time of the full moon tonight. Didn't find that yet, but there is disagreement over how long it has been since a full moon so close to Earth. I see 3 different figures - 60, 68, and 70 years. OK, Space.com seems to have the most definitive info. Full moon occurs tomorrow morning at 6:15AM EST, and it will be the closest (hence the largest) full moon since 1948. This time around perigee (moon closest to Earth) occurs just 2 hours and 37 minutes before the exact full moon. In January 1912 and January 1930 perigee and full moon were even closer together, hence those full moons were slightly larger than this one. I'm surprised there wasn't more false info about this moon like happened in August of 2003 over the close approach of Mars. Remember how a lot of people thought Mars would look as big as the moon if not even bigger back then. I got a big kick out of that. -30-
Saturday, November 12, 2016 8:22 PM - Not too much going on today. Early this morning, I helped Ange bury a couple of his fig trees. As I do every day, I took Roscoe out for his walks. Then I spent quite a bit of time trying out my new paper shredder and wound up shredding a lot of old personal papers. Now I've got a few bags of confetti lying around here. HI.
For the fourth evening in a row now I've gotten my DX streak QSO in the 00Z or 01Z (computer club meeting evening) hours. Last night I had a short chat with Niko S53A on 40 meters. It's not too often I get to have a chat with DX stations on that band. Niko said they had 40 CM of s#$w over in the Slovenian mountains. I said I don't like snow at all. He said it was stressful on his antennas. I imagine with the 589 solid signal he was putting in here, he must have quite the antenna farm. It's been over 20 years now since we had our first QSO.
Tonight it was another Slovenian at 0012Z on 10.120 - Milan S57V - whom I've also worked several times, most on 30 if I recall correctly without looking which I will do after I close this entry and put the QSO into my computer log. -30-
Friday, November 11, 2016 6:14 PM - I hope you flew your flag, attended a parade, or otherwise showed your support for our servicemen who have served and/or are serving the greatest country in the World, the good old USA as we move ahead now and become still greater.
Mike and I spent the day together having an even more enjoyable time than usual, if that is possible, after the elections. We started out by watching a couple of films about the German WWII code machine Enigma. We both have computer simulations of the Enigma and may just try sending coded email messages to each other some day.
There was one sad part of the day. My neighbor and friend Nancy whom I've talked about here in the diary passed away early this morning after spending about the last 11 months in a personal care home. Mike and I went over to express our sympathies to her sons.
Before we went, we did a bit of research to find out how to disable the touch pad on Mike's laptop. It wasn't completely obvious, but we did figure it out, and he'll take care of it when he gets home.
Next it was off to Applebee's for one of their delicious Veterans Day meals. Mmmmm.
We stopped off at Best Buy after that, and both of us bought a paper shredder. My first one as I need to think about getting rid of a lot of old papers now that I'm getting old(er). Mike had one before which gave up the ghost, and he needed a replacement.
On the way home here, we stopped at the local Belmont Complex (skating, etc.) to get Mike's ice skates sharpened.
Back home again, it was up to the shack for some DX hunting. Since I already had my DX for the day and didn't hear any exotic new DX to work, I let Mike sit at the controls the whole time. He worked Honduras AC8J/HR9 and Bonaire PJ4/N5JR. He also chased the USS Hornet station (NB6GC) in Alameda, CA, but never could get through the pileup.
We also did some planning for our proposed trip to the USS Requin the day before Thanksgiving as well as a trip to the PA Trolley Museum in December for their extended trolley ride.
That closed out our day, and he headed up north again to get to bed and up again for a 7:30AM start of a busy day (mail delivery is always busy following a holiday).
Now I'm just waiting around for 0000Z to come so I can get my streak QSO(s). -30-
Thursday, November 10, 2016 7:35 PM - It took a while to get it, but the DX QSO came easily this evening from old faithful Alex HC2AO on 40 meters when I found him at 0026Z. Took just one repeat for the QSO and Alex said he hoped we could work in the CQWW. I hope so also.
I'm glad I got the QSO this evening, because is visiting tomorrow for Veterans Day. So now I won't have getting the DX QSO in the back of my mind.
Not much else to talk about today. I did finish adding the VE stations to my list of stations whom I've worked on 5 to 8 bands. Now the totals are as follows:
A lot of the 5-band stations are contest stations I've worked on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10. Or perhaps 160 in addition to 4 of those 5. -30-
Wednesday, November 09, 2016 8:47 PM - An absolutely great day today. Everything went right, ham radio and otherwise.
In ham radio, I got my DX QSO pretty easily once I found a workable DX station. One call netted me ZF9CW on 20 meters in the 1400Z hour again. That hour is getting to be pretty productive for DX. Then this evening it was PV8ADI on 40 meters. Seemed like he was having trouble with his computer sending, as he kept sending out of context things, but he did get my call right so the QSO was made. So tomorrow I can take it easy as far as trying for DX. I may get on to try to get some more letters for the NAQCC November challenge though. -30-
Tuesday, November 08, 2016 6:32 PM - I'll write my diary entry now while I'm awaiting the coming of 0000Z.
Another unusual happening with my DX QSO today. I was wondering if I was jinxed. I got on the bands early in the 1400Z hour and found 20 and 17 in pretty good shape, but again I wasn't being heard until finally G3HGE heard my call and came back to me. However just then my furnace kicked on and buried Tom in its noise. So I ran (yes ran - I don't do that much any more at 71 years of age) downstairs and turned it off and ran back upstairs only to find Tom calling CQ again. So I answered him once again and this time with no furnace noise, we copied each other solidly for a few minutes. When I said I was running QRP (he was running 400W to a hex beam on a high tower), he said I was really chancing it at that power level with the bands being so flat. I was going to go on and explain about the streak, but I left well enough alone and settled on having a DX QSO in the log for day # 1,349 in a row.
So the streak is becoming more and more of a challenge as the sunspots continue to decline. Just about every day now I wonder if I will make it for one more day or not. Perhaps with the CQWW DX contest coming up in a couple weeks or so, there will be some stations setting up for that and getting on to check their setups. We'll see as time goes by.
Before I close and get ready to head for the shack, I did what I said I was going to do and checked my USA QSOs to see who I've worked on the most different bands. I didn't do VE yet, but for the USA there are the following number of stations:
Unlike the DX stations, some of these have 6 meters figured into the total. I may recompute and eliminate that band later and keep it to just HF like the DX stations. I know WY3H, K4NO, and WO4O have 6 in their totals. The W1AWs, W4HG, and KB4GID don't. I was surprised by the W1AW portable operations. Of course they are not all from the same location, just the same call area. WY3H is Tom who lived in nearby Garretts Run till he moved down south a couple years ago. I'm surprised my former neighbor Eric KB3BFQ is not at least on 5 bands, but it just dawned on me he has a Novice license so is limited to what bands he can use. W1AW/3 and W1AW/9 are among the 58 6-banders. So that's six call areas for them with 6-8 bands worked.
Maybe later tonight or tomorrow I'll do Canada. It's so easy with Microsoft Access and Excel as my ham radio loggers. It only took maybe 10 minutes to do the USA a little bit ago. -30-
Monday, November 07, 2016 8:59 PM - We had a temperature range today of 39 degrees. It went from 32 in the morning to 71 this afternoon. Swings that large are unusual for November. We have had swings up to 45 degrees (Nov 13, 2010), but swings above 40 are not all that common. Only about half (16) the November days have GDR (Greatest Daily Range) records of 40 or more.
I checked out my QSOs with USA possessions and found that 5 bands were the most I've worked any of them on. So the records mentioned in last night's diary entry stand with the addition of around a dozen more stations in the 5 band category.
I guess next I'll do the figuring for W/VE stations. I know of one 8 band station already. Back on June 12, 1996 W4HG and I worked each other on 10 through 80 meters in just 31 minutes from 0111Z through 0142Z. I wish we could have made it on 160 also, but it was so rough on 80 that Wayne didn't think we could have a chance on 160, so we didn't try. Actually we chewed the rag on 10 meters for a while and then I suggested we try 12 meters. I needed NC on 12 at that time, I believe. We didn't QSY to 12 till 0124, and then we just went down the bands for a quick exchange of reports on each one. So actually we were on 8 bands in about 18-19 minutes.
I guess I'm really glad my search for a streak QSO starts an hour earlier local time now. It took 1 hour and 2 minutes this evening to even get a regular QSO with N9KKY. I never did get a DX one. That will be in the morning or afternoon, I guess. However I said that last night also, but I got lucky. I went back to the shack and almost immediately found KP2M in the SS at 0139, and worked him with just a single call, no repeats even in the SS exchange.
I did almost make my DX this evening. J68GD on 40 meters got as far as K3?WP, but just couldn't pull me through the pileup QRM despite doing his best for at least a couple minutes. The lids in the pileup just would not shut up long enough for him to get me. I commend him for trying so hard though. I just hope the streak doesn't end on that note. That would be a harder loss than the Indians in the WS. -30-
Sunday, November 06, 2016 7:18 PM - Hope you all remembered to turn your clocks back last night (well unless you live in an area that doesn't observe Daylight Shifting Time) so you didn't have a strange time-challenged day today.
Notice I said Shifting, not Savings. No daylight is ever saved, only shifted by one hour. That's a pet peeve of my 'always try to be precise' mind. One hour of daylight is shifted from early morning to late evening, no more, no less, no savings.
One effect is that I can now get my streak QSO one hour earlier (local time) in the evenings, then have the rest of the time until midnight free for other things. I'm not sure if that is good or bad. Maybe a little of both.
I did get my regular streak QSO 4 minutes past 7 PM EST or 0004Z this evening. It was another SS QSO with N7NG. Probably actually rarer than a DX QSO since he is in my least worked state, Wyoming. As of the time when my streak reached 22 years back on August 4 of this year, I had 61 QSOs with Wyoming in the streak. Far ahead of (behind) North Dakota with 73, Nebraska 85, Idaho 92, and Nevada with 97. I'm pretty sure that's the first Wyoming since then as well, so it still leads (trails) by a big margin.
My DX streak QSO earlier in the day came from the SS also when I worked NP3A on 15 meters. That made my SS total this year 3 QSOs in 3 SPCs.
Actually 17 meters seemed pretty good in the 1400Z hour today, but I just couldn't get anyone to hear me calling them. There was a lot of QSB on the band with signals going from S7 down into my S4-5 local noise level. Hopefully tomorrow morning (afternoon) will be better so I can continue the DX streak.
I delved into some more statistics today. I've been curious to know which DX stations I've worked on the most different bands. The stats are incomplete as I didn't cull out the USA overseas possessions from the log. I'll do that some day. As of now I have 121 stations I've worked on at least 5 different bands. Although it's been a while since I've worked this station now, HC8N is alone at 8 different bands (80 through 10). There are 4 7-band stations, CO8LY, EA6NB, HA9RT, (all 3 on 40-10), and G4BUE (80-10 except 30). There are 25 6-band stations whom I won't list here, and 91 5-band stations. I'll be interested to see how (if) things change when I factor in KP4, KP2, KH6, KL7 and so on. -30-
Saturday, November 05, 2016 8:42 PM - I kind of figured the SS would get in the way of my DX streak this evening. I was right. 17 was dead. 30 had VP2EGR who QRT before I could decide if I wanted to work him again on 30 or not. There was a weak J68 on 30 who didn't hear me the couple times I tried to call him. So it looks like 17 meters tomorrow morning or afternoon some time. Meanwhile for the big streak I made one SS contact with N4OX on 40 meters.
A couple days ago someone pointed out a couple links in my links pages that weren't working. That prompted me to download Xenu Link Sleuth and check all my links. Surprisingly there weren't all that many bad ones - maybe 15 or so. That Xenu program is really neat if you have a lot of links to check. It can check, oh I would say about 100 links in just a few seconds, and then spit out a complete report on all of them. So gradually I'm getting some changes and updates done on my web site. I've been putting them off for too long now. -30-
Friday, November 04, 2016 8:23 PM - Did you figure out or guess the following correct answers to my trivia question I posed last night?
NFL - 1947 - Detroit Lions
MLB - 1948 - Cleveland Indians
NBA - 1951 - Sacramento Kings (formerly Rochester Royals, Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City (Omaha) Kings
NHL - 1967 - Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues (formed in 1967)
It's hard to believe the NBA winner (loser?) since the Kings have had some great players over the years including Oscar Robertson, Jack Twyman, and Jerry Lucas. Also some great coaches including Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and Cotton Fitzsimmons. And basketball is one sport where one top notch player is pretty much all that is needed to make a good team.
Also the Toronto Maple Leafs was a shock to me with their history. I think overall they have won the Stanley Cup 13 times, second only to the Canadiens who have 24.
Anway I need to pause in my typing to get my weather records. Then I'll wind this entry up after that.
OK, back now. Just like last night, I got a quick DX QSO. Tonight from AD8J/HR9 on 30 meters. I've worked AD8J a lot and I think that helped me get him as I could hear other stations calling along with me, but I won out this time. That was at 0004Z so I thought I'd try to gather some letters for the NAQCC challenge, but you know I could not get any answers at all to my CQs for about a half hour and gave up. Anyway I don't have to fight the SS tomorrow to get my DX, although I probably could have gotten someone on 17. I may have to do that on Sunday if I can't get someone on 30 tomorrow evening. I'm not a great fan of the sweepstakes any more so I won't be getting in it this year. Back in the 1990s I had a couple SS where I did quite well. In 1999 I made 537 QSOs from 74 sections. I think there were 79 sections at that time, so I missed a sweep by 5. I think there was one other year I missed a sweep by just one section, but I can't find the info right now, and don't have time to dig further. Anyway I did finish first in the Atlantic Division QRP for 1999. -30-
Thursday, November 03, 2016 6:50 PM - Congratulations to the Cubs and their fans. It's hard to imagine having a major sports team that hadn't won a championship in 108 years. It just boggles the mind. And what a way to win it. Extra innings in the last game after coming back from a 3-1 games deficit. Awesone. It's fitting it went to extra innings as the two teams were so closely matched. I didn't total it myself, but I read somewhere that both teams scored a total of 27 runs. Let me check that. Yes, that's exactly right. Then there was that rain delay just at the end of 9 innings in game 7. Almost like some higher power wanted folks to pause and perhaps think there should be co-champions this year. That game seven will be a classic for the ages. What an up and down game for David Ross playing his last game before retiring. Allowing two runs to score on a wild pitch, then homering the very next inning. Dexter Fowler being the first player ever to homer as the first batter in a game 7. Just a whole lot of memories after that 108 year wait. Just think, no one alive today was alive then. Oh, maybe a couple folks somewhere in the world, but not very many, for sure.
OK, now this will be a popular trivia question in the coming days. Of the four major sports, MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, which franchise now holds the record held by the Cubs until last night of the longest time since winning a championship. As far as I can tell from Wikipedia, it's the XXXXXXX XXXXXXX of XXX (sport) who last won in 19XX. Can you fill in the X's. My neighbor Bruce did it without doing any research. He first figured the right league, then shortly got the team on one try, but not the year. I actually didn't really give him time to guess the year or he may have gotten that also. How about you? I know it would take just a couple seconds to find it on the Internet, but without doing any research, do you know or care to guess? The Internet has certainly ruined trivia games since it came into being. You can find it easily there or I'll give the answer tomorrow here in the diary. Want to extend the question a bit? Name the team from each of the four sports with the longest championship drought.
I worked HI3TEJ on a new band today for my Nov 3 DX streak QSO. We never worked on 17 meters before. So that way I didn't feel so bad about working him yet again. I'll find out what tonight will bring in about an hour now. The bands weren't really that great this afternoon, but I found TEJ rather quickly, so didn't check too thoroughly. -30-
Wednesday, November 02, 2016 8:40 PM - Well, my string of 0000Z hour DX QSOs ended at three this evening. I could have worked S01WS and VP2EGR on 40 probably, but S01WS doesn't like repeat QSOs so as to give everyone an equal chance at working his somewhat rare country, and I honor that since I have worked him. Also I just worked VP2EGR on 40 a couple days ago - too soon for a repeat QSO especially since I imagine he is just a visitor to Anguilla and it's somewhat rare also. Apparently the Europeans really need it since when I listen, he is working one European after another. So the morning or afternoon will determine the fate of the DX streak once again.
We may have had another 80 degree November day today. When I was outside earlier today I checked my thermometer and it showed 79. I don't think it got any warmer later, but it could have. It was great being outside today, and I cleaned out Ange's bean and tomato plants for him. I didn't want to wait on him and do it in 30 degree weather which seemingly is what usually happens. I also went for a couple, actually three walks/shopping trips today. I'm just shy of 10 miles on the pedometer.
I did a little more work on making my poll results uniform today. They are pretty good right now. The next step is to arrange them to see which ones could be ready to repeat. I know there are some that I would like to see how the results might change from the last time they were used. I think by the time for a new poll in mid-November, I'll have that done and will start re-using some of them the next few months. I'd still like to hear if you have any ideas for a new poll though. The only requirement is that it has something to do with CW and/or QRP and/or simple antennas.
I haven't had a "Why is it that...." in the diary for ages. One popped into my mind as I was on the air this evening. Why is it that we seem to always say something like, "I've got to QRT now, so I'LL SAY 73..."? I'm guilty too. Why not just say, "I've got to go now, so 73.....". It's not necessary to say that you are going to say it, just say it. There are a lot more similar mis-uses of words also. Probaby a book could be written. Oh well, I just have to express my feelings about such things from time to time. -30-
Tuesday, November 01, 2016 8:39 PM - It seems like there is a temperature anomaly many years on the first few days of November. It was 74 today, well above normal. We've also gotten into the 80s a few times during the first few days of a November. Last year we hit 82 on the fifth with 79 and 78 the two days preceding. Nov 2, 2004 it was 80. Nov 4, 2003 81. There are several other examples. I won't list them all, but I do want to mention one in particular. Back in 1961 not long after I started keeping weather records, our high school's colors day (red and white in Kittanning's case) came on November 3 when everyone wore red and white. It was a good day for that since you could wear summer red and white clothes. The temperature peaked at 83 degrees which is still a November all time high in my 57 or so years of record keeping. Just for comparison, temperatures in the 80s this time of year are 19-24 degrees above normal.
Back to ham radio now. For the third evening in a row now my DX has come quickly in the 0000Z hour which has been a relief. Tonight it was PJ4/K2NG on 40 meters (barely - 7.001 - HI). I caught the end of his CQ unprepared here and while I was setting the split, I didn't hear him nor anyone answering him. I thought maybe he went QRT. I called anyway several seconds later. No response. I thought I'd try once more before I moved on. This time I got K3WWP 599 from him, and another day was secured in the streak. I guess he must have just been setting up a session and I got him before he was spotted. It's always nice when that happens. -30-
Monday, October 31, 2016 8:40 PM - I did something unique in my DX streak this evening. For the third day in a row now, my DX QSO has been with VP2EGR, first on 17, then 40, and tonight on 30. Maybe 20 for tomorrow now? HI. Oh, this QSO was the easiest of the three. First call after I set split correctly, I got K3?, sent my call again, and made the QSO. I guess the angry horde hadn't found him yet. HI. There was another angry horde after PZ5K on 40 earlier. Didn't try but a couple times to break it and didn't.
Before getting VP2EGR I had a nice long chat with fellow NAQCC WPA Chapter member Ken N3CU on 40. Speaking of 40, it seemed in great shape this evening. I haven't seen so many S9 peaks on 40 on the PX3, some going to 10 and 20 over, in quite a few days now. In fact, 17 meters had a couple signals on it in the 0000Z hour. -30-
Sunday, October 30, 2016 8:36 PM - Well, my little pink note that I place in front of my computer screen to remind me I need a (DX) streak QSO can take a rest tomorrow. I worked VP2EGR at 0004Z this evening for day # 1,341 to close out the 44th consecutive month of the DX streak. Oddly enough, or maybe not. I also worked VP2EGR at 1554Z earlier today for day # 1,340. That was on 17 meters and was much harder than this evening's QSO on 40. It took over a half hour of on-off trying then. Tonight I only had to wait through 10 or so other QSOs for a couple minutes.
I'm still working on my poll results pages. I have three more to upgrade, then some fine tuning and that will be done. I'm noticing a couple things as I go through past results. First a lot of the earlier polls were suggested by you, my diary readers. It's been so long I forgot about them, to be honest. So I'll ask you here if you have any ideas for one of my upcoming polls? Let me know via the email link in the above menu.
Also I see I've re-run some polls a couple times, but some of those re-runs took place quite a while ago. I see some that I would like to re-run again to see how the results may change now. Activity in my polls has died down somewhat in recent months. Actually the number of site visitors is down as well. I know a lot of that is due to the great proliferation of ham radio sites on the Internet. After all, there is only so much time to surf the Internet, and that limited time is divided among more and more sites. So an oveall decline in visitors to all such sites is to be expected except for the major sites like QRZ, ARRL, HamCall, and so forth. -30-
Saturday, October 29, 2016 8:43 PM - Yet another helpful use for the panadapter. Back during the previous sunspot minimum, I had to tune the bands to see (hear) just how dead they were. Now a quick glance shows no activity on the higher bands so I don't have to waste time on them. It does pay to check though as there will still be some activity now and then from folks who know the bands never (almost never) are completely dead.
Tonite my QSO was a tale of two extremes. I and my QRP/attic antenna at this end and WA0CRI with a KW to a 3 element beam at 85 feet. I got a 599 from him on 40 and he was peaking at 20 db over S9. I bet he has no trouble working DX just about any time he wants to. That's making it too easy though. I personally would get bored with a setup like that before long. It would be fun for a very short period of time, but that's it.
It was a real struggle to get my DX today. I mean for Saturday as I didn't get any this evening yet for Sunday. I checked the bands about every hour starting in the 1300Z hour, and wasn't hearing anything workable. Finally though I did hear CO6RD on 17, but having worked him on 17 just two days ago, I didn't call him right away. I did give in though after a while and worked him again. He may pass CO8LY soon as the station giving me the most DX streak QSOs if this keeps up. -30-
Friday, October 28, 2016 8:42 PM - As is usual lately, no DX this evening. HK1ANP was pretty strong on 40, but not hearing me. He was the only DX station I heard. I did have an interesting QSO on 80 though. Jeff WR2E answered my CQ. He is one of our 'charter' members of the NAQCC (#91), but I hadn't worked or heard him in a long time now. We chatted about the NAQCC and FISTS. He said he had been QRT for about 10 years and just got back on again about a year ago. He's going to check the NAQCC web site and get his QRP gear back in working order again.
Earlier in the day I worked OQ4U on 15 meters for both my DX streak and for the last letter "U" for the NAQCC October challenge. I also wrapped up our NAQCC WPA Chapter October news for the November newsletter.
A bigger project today was working on my poll results pages here on the web site. They have been very non-uniform in format with several different varieties of table results, pre results, etc. Also they've been sorted in various ways. When I get finished it should be much easier to make sense of the results than it is now. There are also some other changes that need making on the site. While I was VP of the NAQCC some things just didn't get done like they should and finally after getting caught up on some other things in the two years of my 'retirement', I'm going to try to get to them. -30-
Thursday, October 27, 2016 9:00 PM - It goes without saying that when Mike and I get together, it's a good day. But then, I did say it, didn't I? Hmmm. Anyway to reiterate, it was a good day today because Mike and I did get together. He was a bit late this morning because of some business he had to take care of. But when he arrived about a half hour late, the good times began.
As is pretty much the first order of business with our visits, we got caught up on news about sports, ham radio, and so forth. We're both happy with our New York Red Bulls so far this season and hope they do better in the playoffs this year than in past years. We talked about them for quite a while. Then we got some stats from Mike's log for my report on our Columbus Day N3A outing that will be in the November NAQCC newsletter.
In a closely related matter, Paul N8XMS, NAQCC President sent me a report on all our N#A 12th anniversary special event stations. We set a record this year for most number of QSOs by all our 10 stations and some 50 or so ops. The N3A total was the highest of all the 10 stations thanks in part to our 104 QSOs on Columbus Day. All 50 states were worked along with 8 VE provinces and some 24 or so DX entities. A more complete and accurate report will be in the November NAQCC newsletter.
After our gab session ended, we headed out first to turn in some 'expired' SLA batteries that we had hanging around to the local Battery Warehouse. Then it was off to the Pittsburgh Mills and Best Buy. Mike had a couple things to get, and I wanted to see if I could get a new battery for my laptop as it is not holding a charge too long now. Mike got his things, but they didn't have my battery nor could they order one. They did kindly tell me a couple places where I could order one. No urgency, but I will order one sometime before next summer and parkpedition season so I can log on the laptop again.
Next it was over to Applebee's (I know you've been wondering when the food part of the story would come in) for a delicious lunch. Mike got steak, baked potato, broccoli, and french onion soup. I ordered fish and rings (onion rings substituted for chips) with coleslaw. However the waitress brought me chips instead, apologized and came back with onion rings, but said I could have the chips also as a free bonus. So I wound up with a bigger meal than Mike and he finished well before me. I had kidded him about being able to finish all he ordered before work tomorrow. Now he wondered if I was going to finish all I had on my plate. I did, and easily.
After a short stop at Lowe's for a couple things, it was back here again. We went up to the shack to work some DX. I think Mike worked 4 stations - CO6RD, EA8OM, PV8ADI, and PJ2/VE3CX if memory serves. We also heard TL0A on 30 meters, but with a huge pile and he was quite weak so we didn't even try. I have TL worked, but could have used them on 30. Oh well. I was also looking for a station with a "U" in the call to finish the NAQCC challenge. I heard a few of them, but they were among the pileup stations chasing DX so I didn't even have a chance to try them. When we finished in the shack around 5:30, Mike had to head home to get ready for work tomorrow.
I walked Roscoe just after he left, then went and watched the Halloween parade. Nothing really exciting or different this year, but it's nice to do something a little different now and then.
I went to the shack at the usual 0000Z to look for my streak QSO(s). I chased a VP2E for a while, but couldn't break his pileup. So I settled for a W and a VE QSO for the regular streak, postponing my search for DX till the morning or afternoon. Earlier today I got CO6RD on 17 meters before Mike arrived. -30-
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 9:05 PM - I got quite a few little things accomplished today like cutting my hair, cleaning the powder room, a little shopping, and so forth. BTW, I haven't been in a barber shop since back in 1972. I've cut my own hair ever since then. Wonder how much money I've saved that way in all those years. Let's see, that's approximately 12 x 44 = 528 months times oh let's say 6 dollars per cut average = $3,168 dollars. Not bad.
Well I was confused (that happens more and more often as I age) about the Halloween Parade. It wasn't this evening, but tomorrow evening. Tonight was trick or treat night. At least I have Mike's visiting day straight. That's tomorrow. I just emailed and asked him what time he planned to arrive. We'll get the day going around 10:30AM. No specific plans that I know of. We'll just wing it if he doesn't have anything specific in mind.
One thing we'll have to do is hit the bands since I didn't get my DX streak QSO this evening. So hopefully 17 or 20 (maybe 15) will provide something in late morning or early afternoon.
We had our first 32 degree day of the season when it hit that figure early this morning. It only got up to 50 today. However there are a couple of warm (relatively speaking) days coming up in the next several days. I see a couple predictions in the mid to upper 60s. -30-
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 9:05 PM - A pretty nice day today. The high was in the upper 50s, but dropped fast this evening to 43 right now. A low of 28 is predicted for tonight. I don't have to worry though as I cleaned out the last of my garden today. I picked my speckled butter beans. They blend in so well with the leaves, I didn't realize just how many were left on the plants. I stopped counting around 100 and I went pretty far beyond that. I'd guess between 150 and 200. It took quite a while to shell them.
The bands were pretty good this evening despite (because of?) G3 level geomagnetic storms and an A index of 60. I got my DX from HI3TEJ pretty easily on 30. I could hear a couple other stations calling as I was calling, but I won out that time.
I also found another good use for my panadapter. I was calling CQ on 40, and just about to give up, I tuned down the band a bit to check out a peak there. While I was looking, I saw a strong peak start up just where I was calling CQ. Lo and behold it was a somewhat delayed answer to my CQ.
I also narrowed down the NAQCC October challenge to the point where I need a single U to finish it off. Perhaps I'll try for that during the day tomorrow since I don't have to go hunting DX.
Tomorrow evening is our annual Halloween parade here in Kittanning. I've enjoyed checking it out the past several years now. Just something different to do for a change.
Normally Mike would be visiting tomorrow evening for our fourth Wednesday get together, but he has a cycling event to go to. So we'll be getting together on Thursday for lunch. I'm not sure just what hours are planned. I'm just about to email him and ask. -30-
Monday, October 24, 2016 7:08 PM - Just a typical Monday here with not much out of the ordinary to report. Laundry this morning, walking Roscoe, helping Ange in his garden, and so forth.
About the only thing out of the ordinary is getting up and finding my Oakland Raiders are tied for the second most victories so far this NFL season. Only the Patriots have more wins. Also I don't have to worry about anyone tying my 1972 Dolphins perfect season. The Vikings lost and now everyone has at least one loss. With the Raiders good start, I've gotten a little more interested in football this year. After they had the best overall record in the NFL for a good number of years around the 1980s, the past few years have been pretty dismal.
Continuing with some sports comments, I was glad to see the New York Red Bulls clinch the Eastern Division championship in the MSL. Now if only they can conquer their woes they always seem to get in the playoffs, there might even be more to rejoice about this year.
Something else out of the ordinary was working a YL for my DX streak QSO today. NP3YL was booming in on 15 meters after about an hour of not finding any other workable DX. I got her with just a single call. Then I checked QRZ to make sure she actually was in Puerto Rico which she was. So the streak struggles on another day. It's really more rewarding working DX under these poorer conditions although the downside is that it takes considerably longer to do so. Also it shows even more clearly that you can work DX with a simple setup like mine. At the sunspot maximums it is almost too easy to work DX no matter how simple and minimal a station one uses. Now it is more of a challenge to do so. I even hear some stations I know are running QRO with big antennas and good locations having some trouble now working DX. -30-
Sunday, October 23, 2016 9:05 PM - Bruce took me out for breakfast today. He really does too much for me for taking care of Roscoe. I'd be happy to help with Roscoe for nothing, but....
After we got home, I decided I would de-garden my back yard so I picked all the remaining peppers and tomatoes, then removed the pepper and tomato plants. I did leave my speckled butter beans since they have a lot of beans that need to ripen a little more, and I think that may happen. It was a nice day today for late October with the temperature in the low 60s. Great weather for cleaning up the garden. I hate waiting too long and having to do it when the temperature is in the 40s or even worse 30s. Ange is one who waits, and if he waits too long and it gets too cold, I'm going to just say no to helping him clean up his garden.
Next I thought about my DX streak and headed to the shack. It was a pleasure to hear 15 meters open to Europe. It wasn't a great opening and I had to repeat my call at least a dozen times before IQ4BQ could get it correct for his log. But I did work him and got my streak QSO on 15 for the first time in quite a while.
I may have to do the same tomorrow since I didn't get any DX tonight. I did hear a few stations but either they had a big pileup (TA3D), or I just worked them (J6/WB2YQH), or they just weren't hearing me (KP4CPC). I even had a little trouble getting a regular streak QSO, but finally did on 80 meters when N1WSD answered my CQ. -30-
Saturday, October 22, 2016 7:55 PM - This should have been in yesterday's entry, but I didn't think of it. Yesterday, October 21 was the fourth anniversary of using my KX3. My first QSO was at 0134Z 10/21/2012 with Mike KC2EGL. That was an in house QSO - dummy load to dummy load. At 0139Z I worked WK2T in NY. Then at 0202Z my first KX3 DX with DL1A in the WAG contest. All in all I made 30 QSOs on that memorable day.
10,701 QSOs have been made with my KX3. That's not completely accurate because I've also made a good many more with the KX3 operated portable from various places. The 10,701 are the ones in my main Access K3WWP (at home) log. Right now I'm going to the shack to shoot for # 10,702 to keep the streak going. Hopefully it will be DX. Nope, not a single DX station heard. I did get a pretty quick answer to my 80 meters CQ from WZ8J in Ohio though. So the big streak keeps rolling along while the DX streak gets put on hold till tomorrow morning/afternoon. 17 and 20 are continuing to be good for DX a couple hours around noon local time here (1600Z). Today it was an easy QSO with S50R on 17 meters.
OK, I'm looking into my log when I operate N3AQC or N3A right now. I have 1,934 more QSOs probably with my KX3 for a total of 12,636. Now a few, but not many at all came when I used Mike's KX3 on the Requin or perhaps some other place. Anyway my KX3 has provided me with well over 12,000 QSOs in the 4 years and 1 day I've had it now. I wonder how many DX entities it has given me. Well, you regular diary readers know when I say something like that, I've got to go figure it out. So in ham parlance, QRX a couple minutes. OK, that took all of 2 minutes with Access and Excel. I must say WOW!, I'm surprised at the total of 164 different DX entities. I didn't think there were that many. I would have guessed around 130 or so. I wonder if I have a KX3 Worked All States. QRX 2. Nope, I see 48. Now who's missing? Oh, none. I filtered on USA, but I have AK and HI listed as separate entities. Yep, my KX3 has provided me with enough states for a WAS award. In fact my poor memory now reminds me that I think I did apply for and receive the Elecraft WAS award. I'll have to look into that. Boy, getting old really wreaks havoc on the brain. HI
I did get the Elecraft WAS and DX Chasers awards, but that was with the K2. I don't think I ever applied for them for the KX3. I'll have to look further and if I didn't, I may just do so.
OK, enough for tonight. -30-
Friday, October 21, 2016 8:22 PM - Same old story this evening (well last night was an exception) - no DX QSO. I did try a few stations, but aside from a tentative ? from HC2AO, no sign at all I was being heard. I even had to go to 80 for my regular streak QSO with K1SWL in the "BOO" sprint.
A lot of rain overnight and during the day today. There was 1.5 inches in my rain gauge this morning. If we got a little over 0.5 inches the rest of the day, that will be a record for any day in October in my records going back to 1959. Currently the record is 2.04 inches back on October 3, 1986. October is normally the driest of the twelve months here except for the short month of February. Normal precipitation is 2.73 inches for October and 2.58 inches for February. In case anyone wonders, June is the wettest with 4.52 inches.
I have been getting a lot of spam in my guestbook lately. Of course since I screen everything before posting any entries, it never sees the light of day. It is annoying though, and I've discontinued my guestbook for the time being. I'm exploring a .php guestbook that does extensive spam filtering and I may switch over to that after I do some more studying of it. In the meantime if you want to make any comments, use the Email Me link in the above menu.
Oh, our NAQCC Anniversary prize drawing went very well last night. Paul N8XMS did an excellent job with the "almost live" Internet drawings. And we set a record in getting the prizes in the mail. I mailed the 5 books/CDs for which I was responsible in the 1600Z hour today, just about 14 1/2 hours after the drawing was over. The winners should get their prizes Wednesday via the PO's Media Mail. -30-
Thursday, October 20, 2016 8:42 PM - I'll have to hurry this as I need to get my temperature a little before 9, then watch our NAQCC Anniversary prize drawings on the Internet.
First here are the top ten + ties stations who were my DX streak continuing QSOs. I mentioned I'd do that, and I did late last night. With Access/Excel again it was a piece of cake. There's just so much that can be done with an Access database log that can't be done in other logging programs. Enough said. Here's the list.
Probably anyone who spends a lot of time on the bands is not surprised at CO8LY being at the top. He seems to always be on the bands somewhere. Kind of the DX equivalent of Paul KW7D here in the USA. Actually I don't think there are any real surprises on the list. Some could have even higher totals but I try to refrain from working the same stations over and over again unless time is limited or conditions rough.
Oh, my DX came quickly this evening. I couldn't get him at all last evening, but it only took two tries this evening to get J6/WB2YQH on 40 meters. So now I have the day off until tomorrow evening. HI
OK, now out in the rain to get my weather readings then off to watch the prize drawing. -30-
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 9:00 PM - I think the probability of my DX streak coming to an end in the not too distant future is quite high. So today I analyzed the streak, and I'll get to that in a moment.
Even getting my regular streak QSO was rough this evening. Finally, as he did a couple days ago, Mark W1AAF again answered my CQ on 80 meters to keep that streak going. As for DX, it was DL5YM at 1523Z on 17 meters to make it day 1,329 in a row with a DX QSO. There was a strong J6 station on 40 this evening, but almost 10-15 minutes of trying yielded nothing. A big pile up and the J6 was complaining of QRM. However a couple times I seemed to be in the clear calling and he still wasn't hearing me.
Now let's look at those 1,329 days in a few different ways. First with my Microsoft Access database log and a little help from Microsoft Excel, it was easy to cull out the first DX QSO for each of the 1,329 days, and just as easy to put together the following stats. We'll start with a by band listing, then by continent, by hour of day, by CQ zone, and finally list the top 10 of the 130 different countries worked.
I was surprised by a couple of things. I didn't realize Cuba would be the most helpful country in keeping the streak going. I figured Mexico and Puerto Rico would be up there. A little surprised that Italy beat out Germany. Finally a little surprised that Nicagagua and Brazil (especially) made the top 10. Nicaragua made it because of the many QSOs with the HT stations. I'm not sure how Brazil made it up there. Spain had a lot of special event stations that helped.
The zones went as expected with the Caribbean zone 8 on top, followed by the two main European zones, 14 and 15. Northwest African zone 33 did quite well since I often have a pipeline to that area.
The hour of day stats reflect my operating habits more than anything else. Of course I always get on in the 0000Z hour every day to try to get the streaks taken care of quickly. If not then, the morning hours of 1400 and 1500Z come into play.
As far as the bands, naturally 20 is on top. I'm surprised 30 has so many. I knew there would be a lot, but still it is higher than I would have guessed. Despite the great high band openings the first part of the streak, 10 and 12 are quite low mainly because they were pretty much out of the picture in the big 0000Z hour.
Continents line up as expected. I think all 9 OC days came from KH6 stations.
All in all, I found it interesting to do the analysis. Perhaps some time I'll divide the streak into two or three time frames to see how the sunspot cycle affected things. I might wait to do that till the streak comes to an end though.
I just thought of something else I wanted to do. I wanted to see which stations helped out the most, but I forgot that today. Maybe tomorrow or later tonight. -30-
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:43 PM - Yet another great weather day. Although the clouds increased with the coming rain expected the next few days, it got into the 80s again. 83 might be near a record for the day. Think I'll take a quick look. No, my record for October 18 came back in that interesting October of 1963 when it was 85 which was 1 of 8 daily records set and still standing in that month. The whole month saw only .29 inches of rain, the driest in all the time I've been keeping precipitation records since 1962. That came on two days of .16 and .13 inches. The average low that month was 40.6 and the high 76.5, a range of 35.9 degrees each day. The great range attributed to the extreme dryness of the air all month. A very interesting month indeed.
Once again I had to drop to 80 to get my streak QSO. I'm glad I did because I ran into Gary N2ESE for a nice long rag chew, the first we've had in quite some time now. Gary also has a streak going. He makes 2 QSOs a day, but with QRO around 75 watts most days. He started back on November 17, 2006 so his streak will be at 10 years about a month from today.
As for DX, none this evening. I did work ON4UN this morning though to keep the DX streak going at 1,328 days now. It will hopefully be the same tomorrow - find someone during the day. If not, well it's been a long fun run. -30-
Monday, October 17, 2016 8:23 PM - Bands without DX are like days without sunshine. Today it was very overcast. Even 40 didn't have much to offer this evening in the way of a domestic QSO. I had to go down to 80 to work W1AAF to keep the big streak going another day.
I did get my daily DX in the 1400Z hour when I worked Rey CO6RD on 17 meters. I may have to depend on that band or 20 meters in the morning or afternoon to keep the DX streak alive. Conditions are really slipping away rapidly as we head to the sunspot minimum. The solar flux which was over 100 just a few days ago is now at 76 today and dropping fast.
The actual weather today was nice again with lots of sun and a high of 81. So like yesterday, I was outside quite a bit walking, shopping, gardening, etc. I took out my bush bean plants today as they had stopped producing. Also it's much better cleaning up the garden when the weather is still bearable rather than freezing which it will be before too long. -30-