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.
Thursday, September 29, 2016 5:08 PM - Mike and I didn't have all that much time together last night because he had to get up early today to work some extra time at the PO. Still, as always, it was a good time. We started with, of course, a pizza with mushrooms, tomatoes, and green peppers. Then it was up to the shack to see what was on the bands. Also we wanted to figure out something about the KX3 memories. While we were doing that, we wound up on 60 meters and heard a loud KD3KO. Since I hadn't made a 60 meters QSO in at least a couple years, I worked him for my streak QSO. Finding no DX at all, we then went to my computer where Mike played a Mahjong game. All too soon then he had to head home.
Mike arrived just about exactly at 0000Z and a strange thought crossed my mind. I wondered if an eyeball QSO would count for a streak QSO. I asked Mike and he wouldn't commit one way or other. I was mostly just kidding but it was intriguing. I guess since light is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, possibly it should count. But then since it would have to be CW and QRP, would we have to whisper in dits and dahs? Hmmmm.
For an hour and 3 minutes this afternoon, I wasn't sure I had my DX streak QSO or not. I 'worked?' AN400N, or did I? He had my call as K3WUW? at first. Then I thought he sent WWP TU or something like that but I wasn't sure because QSB and QRN struck just as he sent that. So was it a QSO or not. That was on 30 meters, by the way. It was loaded with the AN400 stations. None of them all that strong - maybe S5 at best, but mostly S3 or S4. I tried to get an insurance QSO, but couldn't work any other DX stations as even the non-AN400s weren't that strong.
Move ahead a little under an hour now, and I'm back on the air still looking for an insurance QSO. There was a KP4 station on 20, but his signals were very up and down here, and he never heard me at all. So I went back to 30 meters which was still loaded with the AN400 stations. I found the strongest one around S5 operating split and went after him. I lost out to a few other stations, but finally I got a K3??P from him, sent my call twice again and got my nervously awaited K3WWP 599. And the streak goes on for certain. I'd hate to have had only that questionable QSO with AN400N as the only DX QSO today.
I don't know if they have on line logs or not for the AN400 stations. If so I could check the AN400N one. BTW, 7X3WPL whom I worked a couple evenings ago does have an on line log, and I was there within a few minutes of the QSO. Normally I don't check such things, and I was sure of that QSO, but I happened to see the log when I was checking for QSL info.
OK, about 2 1/2 hours till the DX ordeal starts all over anew. Hope it's a quickie this evening. -30-
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 5:22 PM - Mike is stopping by this evening for our regular 4th Wednesday evening pizza and visit. So I thought I'd write this early today.
I got on the bands in the 1900Z hour and they seem to have recovered somewhat from the blahs of the past few days. I worked 7X3WPL with just two calls on 20 meters. That's one country I've worked but never got verified either with a card or via LoTW. I did work 7X3WPL before a few years ago, but I don't see any record of having sent a QSL card then. Besides these two QSOs with 7X3WPL, I've also worked 7X4AN a number or times. Let's see how many. Eight times, and I think I've sent at least 2 or 3 cards with SAE and return postage, but never got a QSL card. So I guess I'll try again with this latest 7X3WPL QSO. They say on QRZ they answer all cards received if return postage is included. However I don't see just how much postage, if they accept GS or what. -30-
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 9:07 PM - Seems it's one extreme or the other as the saying goes. I'm talking about my DX streak of late. The QSO for the 27th was a struggle, but I did manage to work another of the Cervantes stations AN400G at 1617Z on 20 meters. He was only about S5 here which was the strongest DX I was hearing at the time. It took a few repeats to make the QSO, but he stuck with me for which I am grateful.
Then this evening's DX for the 28th came at 0001Z with only one repeat needed when I worked XE1ZW Bill in Mexico City on 20 meters.
Jody K3JZD of the NAQCC and the Skyview Radio Society emailed me this today:
"Hi John, We are still working on the idea of a Skyview 'Affiliated Club Membership' (or something like that) for the NAQCC Western PA Chapter. Stay tuned - the wheels turn slowly.
The Skyview October Newsletter is now available. You and your Skyview Swap N Shop team are highlighted in this issue. We do not mail it out - you have to go and get it.
But, that is very easy to do.
Just go to http://skyviewradio.net and:
1 - Click on "Newsletter" in the Menu at left side of this main page.
2 - Click on the box that says: 'Q5-er The official Newsletter for the Skyview Radio Society'
You can read it on-line, or you can download the PDF file.
I welcome your comments.
Jody - K3JZD"
My 22 year streak is also mentioned in their newsletter. I personally appreciate that and our NAQCC WPA Chapter members also appreciate the S&S article. -30-
Monday, September 26, 2016 9:06 PM - Speaking of WB3FAE as I was last night in the diary, Tom and I had a QSO this afternoon. He is up in Portland, Maine today. His wife Debbie took a video of Tom as he was working me. I have it here now via email. It's quite large and won't fit on my Windstream site, but it will work on k3wwp.com. So I'm going to put it there via this link. If you want to watch it, you should be able to just close the video window to get back here. Yes, that worked fine on my computer here. It is always good to hear how my signal sounds in various locations. It sounded pretty good up there in Maine.
If nothing else (and some nights there is nothing), my DX streak is teaching me a lot about propagation at various points in a sunspot cycle. It has been interesting to see how propagation outside the USA really declines as the sunspots decline. That isn't really all that apparent as I keep my regular streak going since it is virtually always possible to get an easy USA/VE QSO no matter the stage of the cycle.
No DX this evening, but I worked John ON4UN this afternoon to get the streak to 1,306 days now. Looks like it will be till tomorrow afternoon till I get another shot at some DX now.
Some quite strange conditions on 30 this evening. It was totally dead when I checked between 0000 and 0015Z. Then I tried 40 and 80 for a while with no luck. When I went back to 30, it was hopping with activity. I saw at least 6 or 8 good peaks on the PX3. One was K4HPP whom I worked. Strangely though, after about 10 minutes his signals peaked to 10 over, but then dropped very suddenly to my S4-5 noise level and never came back again. The other signals on 30 did the same thing. So something caused about 15-20 minutes or so of great propagation, then the something left, whatever it was. Strange!
Tomorrow Roscoe goes to the groomer for a trim. That's always an interesting experience and I'm sure it will be tomorrow also.
This could be a very long entry because I did a lot today and I have some things I talked about here that I promised a follow-up on. However I'm going to cut it short because it's about time for Roscoe's last walk of the day. -30-
Sunday, September 25, 2016 7:26 PM - Mike and I had a good stargazing session last night. We were sorry that K3RLL and WB3FAE couldn't accept our invitation to join us. We observed 28 Messier objects plus Mars, Saturn, and double star Mizar. Even though we've seen them all before, they still can elicit a "WOW" from us when seeing them anew. My loudest "WOW" came from M2 in Aquarius. I had forgotten just how bright it is.
While we were there, Mike asked me again about how I compare goto scopes with the ones you have to align on objects yourself with no help from a computer chip. I still think that using a manual scope helps you to get to know the sky much better and everyone should start with such a scope. However I must admit, and did to Mike, that as I get older and less flexible, thus making adjusting a scope harder, that the goto scopes definitely have a place for us old folks. Speaking of old folks, here's a picture of one looking into the scope last night. No, it's not Mike.
Note the heavy jacket and hat. It was chilly standing out there for a couple hours. Also note the dew zapper (orange band) around the end of the scope. It sure helped keep the corrector lens free of dew. It certainly was dewy with everything except the lens getting somewhat damp as the temperature fell toward the dewpoint.
Mike attempted to use his smart phone to take some pictures at the eyepiece. One of the better ones was this one of Saturn. You can tell it's Saturn by the oval shape. We need a lot more practice taking pictures like that though.
It's rolling toward streak time. After (if) I get my streak QSO(s), I'll be closing out our sprint results running my cross-checking program. I hope to finish that tonight. If not, then tomorrow for sure. -30-
Saturday, September 24, 2016 8:07 PM - I'm sitting here awaiting the arrival of Mike KC2EGL. We're going to do some stargazing.
As for the DX, I figured I wouldn't have time for it this evening. However now and then it's a piece of cake. I turned on the KX3/PX3 at 0000Z saw a couple nice peaks on 30, and checked them out. One was I1ULJ/8. I called him, but he didn't hear me and called CQ again. I answered again and we had a nice brief chat for a few minutes. The QSO started at 0001Z. They don't get much quicker than that. Now I have 24 hours off, more or less. At least no worry about the DX streak. HI. -30-
Friday, September 23, 2016 7:29 PM - I came very close to blowing it today. I mean the DX streak. I was sitting here around 2310Z eating a sandwich and all of a sudden it dawned on me that I hadn't gotten my DX QSO for the 23rd yet. So I finished the sandwich and dashed (as fast as a 71 year old can dash) to my shack and listened on 30 and 20 for some DX. I only heard HC5AI and unlike his father who had the same call and copied me well, the son has never heard me at all and that was true again today. Finally I went to 40 in desperation and thanks to Miguel de Cervantes, I worked AN400E, however he initially had me as K2WWP and I wasn't sure he ever corrected it, so I heard AN400A a few kHz lower and got an insurance QSO from him. He did have my call correct after a couple repeats. Whew! So day 1303 of the streak will be memorable if the streak goes on much longer. Without those Cervantes stations, it might be over right now.
If there is a reason (excuse) why I more or less forgot about the streak, it's because I was very busy with processing our sprint logs and finalizing my 1000 MPW QSOs records along with other things.
Now in 25 minutes as I type, it starts all over again for day # 1304. Hope it's not as hectic. -30-
Thursday, September 22, 2016 7:38 PM - I spent most of the morning and early afternoon working on my 1000 MPW QSOs. I've now checked all 87,910 QSOs I've made over 53+ years. I found 2,057 that qualified as 1000 MPW QSOs, 85,626 that were not (including all the QSOs I've made using more than 5 watts output back before 1990), and 227 that I'm not sure of (stations operating /M, /P, etc. for which I have no definite QTH to go by).
There are many ways to determine distances. Perhaps the best and most accurate is User Supplied QTH info in QRZ.com. I find that to be over 99.9% accurate and it even gives the distance from here to there based on my exact location.
Then there is using a modified globe with my QTH at the pivot point and distances marked off in 1,000 mile increments. I wrote an article about making such a globe in an NAQCC newsletter a few years ago. Let me pause here and see if I can find it. Yes, it's here. It's the very last article at the end of the newsletter. Of course, anything over 5,000 miles on the globe at 5 watts or less is definitely a 1000 MPW QSO (all my 241 Japan QSOs for example). Or over 1,000 miles at 1 watt or less, etc. I allow a margin of error though. If a QTH is almost exactly on the 5,000 mile distance, I won't count it without checking another source.
There is also an excellent site that shows distances between cities, but again I allow a margin of error there since some cities sprawl out quite a bit. I'm pretty certain if the distance is 5,200 miles or more, then no matter where the ham lives in that city, it should be over 5,000 miles. The site? Check here.
Similarly you can use the excellent Bing maps to find a city and get its latitude and longitude. Then plug yours and his lat/lon into a distance calculator like the one from N9SSA here.
I have more on this topic, but it's time to head to the shack now, so I'll continue in the next diary entry. -30-
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 8:06 PM - I worked AN400A again today on yet another band - 20 meters. Wish I could find some of the other letters. I've heard a couple, but "A" has been the strongest every time I listen with the others just about at my noise level.
Things worked out nicely tonight. I got my DX within two minutes, working NP2J on 30 meters. Now I can concentrate on our NAQCC sprint coming up in a few minutes without having to think about DX. I do have a couple other things to get done before the sprint starts, so I'll cut this short. -30-
Tuesday, September 20, 2016 8:53 PM - Exactly 23 hours and 59 minutes after working AN400A on 40 meters, I worked him again on 30 meters. Those AN400 stations are to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, great Spanish writer. Of course best known for writing Don Quixote. You can work enough different suffix letters to spell out his name and get a nice award for it. Look up AN400A on QRZ for links to more info if that interests you.
Whoever is operating AN400A is a really great op. Both nights he was at best S5 here, but copied me after just a few repeats once the pile diminished.
Another beautiful weather day. The kind you wish you could bottle and use whenever you're tired of any nasty weather that comes your way. Wow, I just looked at my remote and it says the high was 90. I didn't think it was that warm. Looks like the humidity was down in the 30s so that made the difference. Anyway it was nice with beautiful clear skies. While I was sitting on the porch with Roscoe, there was just one very tiny little cumulus cloud slowly drifting by.
When I wasn't outside, I was in here continuing to work on my 1000 MPW QSOs. I did make it over 2,000 of them now. With some more tweaking to do, I'm somewhere around 2,040. I had skipped some countries in my totals along the way like West Kiribati to name just one. Since the whole country is over 5,000 miles, any QSO with it at 5 watts or less is definitely a 1000 MPW QSO.
Time now to get my temperature, then take Roscoe out for his last walk, send out a promo for our NAQCC sprint tomorrow evening, and then maybe do some more checking on the 1000 MPW QSOs. -30-
Monday, September 19, 2016 7:16 PM - A busy day today which are the kind of days I like. I often say in the diary I hate being a couch potato sitting around doing nothing. Even if I do sit around I'm always doing something to at least exercise my brain.
My physical exercise today consisted of some walking, trimming my neighbor's front yard bush, and cutting my back yard grass. Of course walking Roscoe also which is an everyday 3 or 4 time thing we both enjoy.
The brain exercise was updating my 1000 MPW QSOs for our NAQCC KMPW Honor Roll. With still some checking left, I've found 1,949 such QSOs. I was hoping to be closer to 2,000, but I don't think I'll make it now. The rough countries are those that are split by a 5,000 mile distance circle. If an entire country is more than 5,000 miles distant, ALL my 5 watt or less QSOs qualify as 1000 MPW QSOs. If an entire country is less than 5,000 miles distant, none of my 5 watt QSOs qualify, although some less than 5 watts may qualify. That involves some figuring for those QSOs. However ALL QSOs from the 5,000 mile split country must be individually checked and that takes time. It's easy when someone supplies their exact latitude and longitude to QRZ. Then the exact distance from here to there is given IF the source is marked USER SUPPLIED. Otherwise QRZ just estimates the distance. For example if a station does not give lat and lon, QRZ simply bases the distance on the geographical center of a country. Or sometimes on grid square. Close but not completely accurate. There are also other Internet sources that list distances from city to city. I count those only if the distance is at least 5100 miles or so. There are also other ways to figure distance that I'm not going to go into here. The bottom line is, as in everything I do, I strive to be as close to 100% accurate as possible.
Another thing that crossed my mind while I was figuring was wondering with how many different countries I have had 1000 MPW QSOs. Turns out to be 154. I think perhaps something like that would make an interesting addition to 1000 MPW QSO awards.
It wasn't a 1000 MPW QSO, but my DX today came in the 1400Z hour as I was doing my laundry when I worked UA2FF easily from Kaliningrad. That was on 17 meters which many days has good DX during local morning and afternoon here. -30-
Sunday, September 18, 2016 7:56 PM - I'm just off to the shack, then I'll return to finish writing this entry.
It was kind of a gloomy day today with rain all around us, but again our shields were up and we only got maybe a tenth of an inch. No storms, just rain showers. Looks like one last line of showers is on the way before we pretty much say goodbye to rain the whole coming week if the outlook is correct.
I hoped to be back with a report of the DX I worked, but I didn't work any. I did have a long rag chew with WA4LJJ in KY until all of a sudden he dropped from a steady 589 down into my noise at S3 or S4 within about 10 seconds and never did come back up. Yes, the bands are acting strangely lately.
I did hear 3 workable DX stations, but two I just worked a couple days ago and another was calling for club members from a club to which I don't belong. Otherwise DX was similar to this picture:
Just taking a peek over my noise level, then disappearing. -30-
Saturday, September 17, 2016 8:57 PM - If there were any doubts remaining in my mind about us slipping into poorer band conditions as we move toward a sunspot minimum, they were dispelled this evening. I can normally work Scandinavian stations any time I hear them, especially on 20 meters. Not so this evening. I called a few in the SAC Contest with nary a hint they were hearing me. Even OH8L and SJ2W who are especially good at hearing me gave not even a question mark. So sunspot minimum, here we come.
I did get my DX though thanks to 4A2L on 20 meters. 2 days to go now for the DX streak to hit 1300 days if I can make it. Before that I secured the big streak with a NJQP QSO with AB2N on 40.
A big weekend for contests with at least the SAC, NJQP, WASR, and some Brazilian contest. I hope someday I can get back into a contesting mood and get into contests like these seriously instead of only our NAQCC sprints and the CQWW DX, CQWPX, and ARRL DX contests.
Just a couple other notes before I go out and get my temperature. Our rain shields were up again today and we only got at most a couple hundredths of an inch (so far anyway). The bulk of the rain went to our north and south. In fact there was apparently a confirmed tornado near Slippery Rock, PA which is in the neighborhood of only 40 or so miles to the NW of here.
I played a lot with the Windows AU edition today on my laptop. It sure is very slick. It's nice they added extensions to the Edge browser in this edition. I got a great ad blocker which hopefully will block all those obnoxious intrusive google ads that seem to be everywhere. So far it's doing the job, especially with the few You Tube videos I checked out. -30-
Friday, September 16, 2016 8:53 PM - It took 3 tries to get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, but it's now up and running on my laptop. I'm convinced I have some hardware problems with that laptop. I get a lot of hardware errors that have nothing to do with Windows or any of my software. They are very intermittent and hard to trace. I suspect it has something to do with my RAM as I can't recall them happening until I added a second RAM stick. Someday I may just get two new RAM sticks and try that. Since it's only a secondary "play with" computer, I don't really worry about it all that much. This Windows 7 unit I'm using right now to type this is my main computer.
A rough DX night tonight. I got tired of trying to get PY22MC to get my call correct, and I don't really know if he ever did. I didn't log him, but instead gave up and worked Ben HT7AAA again to keep the streak going.
It was another nice day today and among a couple of walks and taking care of Roscoe, I picked some figs for Ange. He'll be home from Florida Sunday evening. I was glad I only had to water his garden once during the week he was gone. -30-
Thursday, September 15, 2016 8:47 PM - Midway through September and as usual most every year, September is one of the most beautiful months (along with May). Temperatures still quite warm during the day and not all that cold at night. Very little rain to speak of, although October is usually drier. Today was pretty much a typical September day in this part of the country with a low of 54 and a high of 77. Great walking weather and I took a couple of good walks today enjoying those temperatures. I also watered Ange's garden. He's away for the week. That plus the Roscoe walks and picking some vegetables from my garden kept me outside quite a bit.
Just as I was about to go to my shack for my streak QSOs this evening, my neighbor called me over to share a taco salad. So although I was about 20 minutes late getting to the shack, it still took only about a minute to find and work CP4BT on 30 to cover both streaks. Then a CQ on 40 brought a short rag chew with 88 year old K4BBE down in GA.
There is also something going on in the background the past 3 hours or so now. My laptop is finally getting the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to be my turn, but it's happening right now as I type. Just went and looked and it's 37 percent complete now. They said it would take a few hours and that was right. Our computer club computer got its upgrade last month so I've been able to see the AU upgrade in action for a little bit and it is even slicker than the original Windows 10. So I guess either later tonight or tomorrow, I know what I'll be playing with. I want to get familiar with all the new features. -30-
Wednesday, September 14, 2016 6:15 PM - I'm just getting ready to head off to my computer club meeting so I thought I'd throw in a quick diary entry before I go.
I just posted a new poll dealing with Elecraft rigs. Hope you'll cast a vote.
I also posted the results from the panadapter poll along with my comments on the outcome. I won't repeat them here as you can access them via the past polls page.
I never did get on the bands today as I've done the past few afternoons. I've been busy with other things like updating both my computers and our computer club computer as well.
Hopefully I can get a quick DX QSO when I get home from the club meeting. If not, I'll have to use the DX spray mentioned in yesterday's diary entry. HI -30-
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 9:11 PM - That's the way I like it - now what song is that from. Oh yeah that's the title of a song by KC and the Sunshine Band from way back when. Late 1975, I guess.
What do I like? Getting my DX Streak QSO in the first couple minutes of a new day. That happened tonight as I worked PJ4/PA3BWK easily on 20 meters at 0002Z. That gave me an hour to play around on the bands and get some rag chewing in. I still love using my Popsicle stick key and use it exclusively in rag chew mode. For chasing DX at higher speeds though, the paddle and keyer makes it easier. I had three rag chews this evening with KD0DK in Iowa, W1AAF in Maine, and N7GBH in New Jersey. Always nice to chat with folks after after a wham bang quick DX QSO.
Oh, last night it was an old 'friend' and great op HC2AO who gave me my DX streak QSO in the 0400Z hour. Generally Alex always copies me when I call. -30-
Oh oh, my secret is out:
Yep, that's what I've been using to keep the DX streak going.
Well actually my friend Bob K9OSC sent me that picture along with these comments:
"Hi John: I know from your diary that your daily DX streak has been challenging as of late. I just received information about this exceptionally good station accessory ... thought you might find it handy in the shack! Seriously, it is amazing how well you do with your DX streak. Best of luck. Take care. Bob"
Monday, September 12, 2016 9:07 PM - Those of you familiar with the NAQCC, and I hope that includes everyone who reads my diary, know that we give away some nice prizes in conjunction with our monthly sprints and challenges. Mostly they are small wooden objects made by one of our members, Gregg WB8LZG, who is a master woodworker. They consist of knob covers for K2 and K1 rigs, paddle handles for various types of paddles and/or bugs, poker chip finger pieces for straight keys, and earrings for the YLs. Anyway, I received a pack of new prizes from Gregg today and cataloged and photographed them. One of my last remaining active duties with the club is mailing out the prizes each month, a very simple task that takes very little time. With the PO only about 2-3 blocks from here, I decided it would be a logical idea for me to continue mailing the items. So that and log cross-checking for our sprints is all I have left to do for the NAQCC now after 10 very busy years as VP until I retired 2 years ago next month.
I think you can get a better idea of the prizes here instead of trying to imagine them from my descriptions. Paul N8XMS will be posting the pictures of the new prizes that arrived today probably sometime tomorrow.
This evening DX was pretty much a no-show. The only DX at all that I heard were some stations in a pileup on 30 meters calling I don't know who because I couldn't hear who it was they were calling. Last night I got PV8ADI in the 0200Z hour so I didn't have to get on today for my streak QSO. However I did listen around a bit in the afternoon, and there was DX to be found, mainly on 20 meters with a bit on 17 as well. So perhaps tomorrow afternoon will be DX streak time for me if I don't find someone later tonight. Although it's a lot of work and a lot of time now, it certainly is becoming more of a rewarding challenge to keep the streak going contrasted to last year and the couple years before when it was possible to work DX just about any time I got on the bands. The times, they are a'changing. -30-
Sunday, September 11, 2016 9:01 PM - I hoped to be writing about my day at the BCARA hamfest, but if you read the update to yesterday's diary entry, you know why I'm not.
I got one of my quickest ever streak QSOs tonight. Just as my accurate to the split second atomic clock I got at the Ol' Station Marketplace a few weeks ago hit 0000:00 I called the Rte. 66 SE station W6H and got him. The DX was another story though. I haven't gotten anyone yet. I could have gotten HT7AAA or NP4R on 30 meters easily, but I worked both on that same band just a couple days ago, so I passed them up. Also on 30 there was a TZ4AM and a TO5 station both working split with big pileups I couldn't break. On 20 RA0TU was pretty strong, but I kept losing to some stronger USA station. Then NP4R showed up on 20, but calling CQ Asia, so couldn't call him. That's pretty much how it went with a few other stations as well.
Now contrast that to this afternoon when I worked somewhat rare Albania easily on 20 meters with but a single call. It was ZA/OH1MA who with a few other hams are activating ZA for a while. Included in the group is OH2BH whom anyone familiar with DX knows. Although I have ZA on 4 bands with about a half dozen QSOs, it's one of those countries I get a kick out of working like Mongolia, Pitcairn Island, and a few others. There's a different reason for ZA though. Bob W9KNI, famous DXer, wrote a great book called The Complete DXer. In it he describes his struggle to work Albania which was the last entity he needed to "work 'em all". Of course when he was doing it, the political climate was much different than it is today. While still somewhat rare, ZA is not by any means almost non-existent in ham radio as it was then. Still I get my kicks from working it. -30-
Saturday, September 10, 2016 10:11 AM - Updated at 9:10 PM. It looks like I won't be going to the BCARA hamfest tomorrow after all as I mentioned below in this entry. Mike had an encounter with a deer (doe) on his way home from work and it did some pretty good damage to his Subaru. So we'll both have to miss this one. Mike is perfectly OK though, and that's the good bottom line.
Wow, it's amazing how much capability a human has for forgetting things, especially as the human grows older. I make that general statement from my own personal experience.
I've been going over my old web site pages on the Internet Archive site. I've totally forgotten some things I found there. Like having a mirror site on QSL.net at one time, just to mention one thing. There are many others. The archive site seems to have some slow servers, and it is going to take some time to do my exploring, so I'll put that on hold for a while till I get more time to do it.
Tomorrow, Mike, Tom, and I (and others from our little group?) will be attending the BCARA hamfest in Unionville, PA. See http://w3udx.org/swapfest.htm for more info. If you're in the area, drop by and look for the folks wearing the NAQCC hats and say hello. This is strictly a fun visit. No setup for the NAQCC nor any QRP/CW demo.
I got a little surprise last night after I worked NP4R very easily for My DX streak QSO a couple minutes past 0000Z. I then switched to calling CQ and glanced at my power meter on the KX3. I was still down at 900 mW from earlier in the day, so I made another mW DX QSO unknowingly. -30-
Friday, September 09, 2016 7:24 PM - I'm going to take a day off (already) from my web site history report and instead talk about a couple interesting QSOs I've had since we last got together here in the diary. Last night it didn't take long to work YV5OK for my DX streak QSO. When that happens, I like to fill out the 0000Z hour with some CQs to see whom I can work. I still think it is more exciting calling CQ than answering someone else's CQ because then there is the element of surprise in who you will be working.
I called for a bit on 20 and 30 with no luck so it was off to 40. There I got an answer from this little wisp of a signal. I had to ask for several repeats before I even got a partial call of VE9B??. I then gave my info and turned it over to him. Now it sounded like VE9BIL, but I still wasn't sure and needed a few more repeats to finally get it right. I guess it was kind of a role reversal when some DX station has to get several repeats from me to get my call right. Anyway it turned out to be VE9BEL. About all I could copy was my RST, his province of NB and part (erna) of his name until near the end of the QSO when I'm sure he said he was running only 10 mW, yes that's .01 watts. Since he is about 750 miles away, that's around 75,000 MPW. He is a NAQCC member and with that one QSO, if he was trying for it, he mastered our NAQCC September challenge which is to get enough QRPp QSOs where the MPW totals 5,000 or more. Oh, his name is Bernard.
The other QSO I want to mention is on the same theme. I thought for sure this month's challenge of making QSOs with QRPp power would be rough with the poor conditions on the downslide of the sunspot cycle. I was wrong. I first worked W1IDL and HT7AAA a few days ago for a total around 2,500 MPW. Each day since then I tried to find and work one station that would complete my total of 5,000. Today there were a couple fairly strong Germans on 20 meters. The first one (DJ0LI/P if memory serves) did not even send a question mark in response to my call so I figured it was hopeless and looked around some more. I found DL1REM who was a bit stronger. My first call to him (using 900 mW) garnered a 3? after which I sent my call two more times and got a K3WWP 559. I gave him a 579 and the QSO was complete as was my September challenge. That added about 4,400 MPW to the earlier 2,500 for around 6,900 MPW, well over the required 5,000. I guess conditions aren't as bad as folks make them out to be.
One brief closing statement about my web site history. If you go to http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.alltel.net/~johnshan/ - or - http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://home.alltel.net/johnshan/, you can see how the site used to look. Not all the links on the pages there work, and some (most?, all?) pictures don't show up, but at least there is a good representation of how the site used to look going all the way back to 1998 which seems to be the earliest pages they've saved on the Web Archive site. I haven't really looked it over lately, but I plan to do so. That will refresh my memory on some of the points in the history of the site I'm not sure about now. In fact the next paragraph here covers one point.
In copying those URLs I see I forgot to mention there was one other change in my URL over the years. Alltel went from www.alltel...... to home.alltel...... and eliminated the tilde (~) before johnshan. -30-
Thursday, September 08, 2016 6:43 PM - Exactly 20 years ago to the day, My web site was born. Over the next couple of diary entries, I'll dwell a little on the history of the site starting right now.
Those of you who are familiar with my diary and especially my streak know that it was Eric KB3BFQ who helped me come up with the idea of the streak. What you may not know is that he was also instrumental in getting my web site started. In the mid-90s the Internet was just starting to hit its stride among us 'common' folks. Eric and I thought it would be nice to experiment with setting up our own web sites. He pretty much right away knew his site was going to be about hockey which was his favorite sport at the time. I couldn't decide between my favorite sport at the time - Winston Cup Auto Racing - and ham radio. Well, after some thought, ham radio won out. We helped each other out with getting out sites up and running. At first my site was mostly devoted to the history of the CW County Hunters Net which WA8EOH and I started up in May of 1966. The two intial main pages besides an opening 'index' page were the CHN history page and the CH Contest history page. Both pages are still here pretty much just as they were those 20 years ago. I haven't done much with county hunting or the net since that time as for the past 20 years, my favorite activities have been DXing and contesting. While those pages have stayed the same, the rest of the site rapidly evolved and expanded as time went by.
Not long after it started, its main emphasis has been promoting the use of QRP, CW, and simple wire antennas. The primary way of doing this has been and continues to be by showing just what a ham can do using a very simple station like mine. It has worked well that way as I still regularly get communications from other hams saying my site encouraged them to go ahead and get on the air even though they were very restricted in power, antennas, and locations. When they did, they found out that my site was not misrepresenting anything that could be done with QRP, CW, simple antennas, and a valley location to boot. They found out they could do the same things with their setups.
Content aside, my site also evolved in format as well. Basically there have been four versions over the years along with a couple different hosts. It started as a 'plain vanilla' site with simple links to the various pages of which there were not very many then. After that I experimented with 'frames'. Remember them? They are not much used nowadays as other methods of doing what frames could do are doing it better now. Major version three used a 'table' format. Links to various sections and pages were displayed in a narrow table at the left of each page similar to what the NAQCC web site looks like now (since I designed it in the image of my own site). I eventually got to disliking that table taking away some territory of each of my pages and went to version four with the small navigation bar at the top of each of the main pages. I like it this way very much and I think that will be the last of the major versions.
One more thing in this opening chapter of the web site history. I started out with my web site on GeoCities who offered free web site space to anyone who wanted it. On there i had a non-frames version of the site up until around mid 1998 joined by a frames site from early to mid 1998. Then my Internet provider Alltel started offering free web site space to its customers and it looks like from notes here, I set up my web site on there in early 1998 with both a frames and non-frames version till I gave up on frames in mid 2000. Then I had my one main version of the site on Alltel up until early 2009. At that time Alltel in the breakup of the big phone companies became Windstream who became my new ISP and web site host. Although everything stayed the same except the URL change from ....alltel.... to .....windstream....., I suffered a drastic drop in daily visitors and it took a long time to recover from that. Then a couple years ago WA4FAT offered me free web site space on his server and also suggested I should get the k3wwp.com address for the site which I did, but also kept the Windstream server as a backup or mirror.
I'll have more history over the next few diary entries including some links to the Internet Archive where you can see how the site looked at various times during the past 20 years. -30-
Wednesday, September 07, 2016 9:08 PM - As I often try to do in the diary, tonight I'm going to have a little fun, although actually what's contained herein is very truthful and useful. Huh?
K3WWP's recipe for a DX streak:
1. Lots of patience
2. One panadapter
3. A good crisp clean signal
4. Good keying
5. Strict use of correct procedure
6. Knowing who is a good op at the other end
7. Knowledge of propagation
8. Knowing when to call and when to listen.
9. Enough time to get on the bands each and every day
10. Knowing when to persist calling a station and when to give up and move on to someone else
11. Picking a station to call who is using good procedure with a good clean signal (Those who
take care of such things are likely to be good ops who will dig out a weak QRP signal).
12. Most obvious - CW
Things you don't need:
1. More than 5 watts output power
2. A big high gain antenna
3. A hilltop QTH
4. Sloppy sending
5. Poor use of procedure
6. Calling when you should be listening
7. Having to manually tune a band and listening to hear who is there
8. Anything besides CW
Mix the ingredients above thoroughly and persistently every day and you too can have a long
streak of daily DX QSOs. Of course with a KW, beam, and hilltop QTH you can do it so easily
there is no satisfaction in it. Do it the QRP/simple antennas/poor or average QTH way and the
self-satisfaction will be tremendous.
Tonight for my DX QSO I worked S01WS. Let's see how each ingredient applied.
1. S0 is still somewhat rare and I probably would have to wait in line to work him.
2. Of course I saw a peak on the panadapter, listened and it was S01WS.
3. The KX3 always has this.
4. I strive for this every time I get on the air.
5. Ditto the above.
6. I know every time I hear S01WS, there is a good op at the key even though it is a club station.
7. I work that part of the world pretty easily most of the time.
8. Same as my comments to #4.
9. Something I fortunately do have and need more of as conditions slip away to the sunspot minimum.
10. Having worked S01WS before a couple times, I'm pretty sure I can stick with him till I work him, especially since he is working other stations from my part of the world.
11. S01WS definitely qualifies.
My QSO earlier today with DL2DX would get the same comments as above. He was only 559 here, and gave me a 539 but a solid QSO as was the S01WS one this evening.
I hope all the above at least gives you some food for thought when it comes to trying to work DX. I think working DX is my most favorite aspect of our wonderful hobby. Others may disagree, and that's fine.
Tomorrow September 8 is the 20th anniversary of my starting this web site. I'll take a look back over the years during the next few diary entries. -30-
Tuesday, September 06, 2016 9:02 PM - I looked today to try to find my ham age stats from a couple years ago, but had no luck. Maybe I'm just dreaming I did a summary back then similar to what I did here in the diary yesterday. HI I'll keep looking.
I think about the surest indication of how conditions are slipping away toward the upcoming sunspot minimum is a comparison of working the same DX stations a year or two ago vs. working (or trying to work) them today. That was certainly true of S01WS tonight. He was quite strong on 30 meters and even with no competition I couldn't get him to hear me. When I worked him last year or the year before, it was an easy QSO. I even worked him pretty easily on 40 meters then. That's just one instance for an example. I could cite many other examples.
So tonight (so far) is DXless and I'll have to spend some time tomorrow in between other things trying to keep the DX streak going. As for the regular streak, it took a little longer than usual (0026Z) to keep that one going. It was a very good QSO though with KB4GYT whom I haven't worked in ages. Let's see what ages translates to actually. Well, almost 17 years as our last QSO was on Nov 7, 1999. Both of us have been very active since then. It's just that our RF never crossed. Paul is also an Elecraft fan with a KX3 and a few other Elecraft rigs. -30-
Monday, September 05, 2016 9:06 PM - I guess a couple years ago now, I decided to figure out the average age of the hams I worked. I don't feel like digging back into that now, but I will. I want to compare it to the figures from this year so far from Jan 1 to present.
This year I also noted how many years the ham was licensed if he gave me that info. I have ages for 87 different hams I worked in 2016 and of those, 55 told me how long they have been licensed.
The average age of the 87 is 67.2 years. The oldest is 93 and the youngest is 36. By decades:
OK, that's enough to digest for tonight. I'll have more in future diary entries.
When Mike and I get together to work some DX, when we work something rare or something very easily, we sarcastically say, "It's a real shame QRP doesn't work." Unfortunately that is not sarcasm to some who sincerely do believe you must run QRO to work DX. I say that because tonight I worked HT7AAA on 30 with a single call and I was using only 900 mW. I guess QRPp doesn't work. HI I did it because of our NAQCC mW challenge this month and also because I worked HT7AAA just a week ago at 5 watts and wanted to make it different this evening.
Well about time to walk Roscoe so I've got to wrap up here now. -30-
Sunday, September 04, 2016 9:22 PM - I thought I was going to have to spend tomorrow, Labor Day laboring to get a DX QSO as the bands were in their usual dead state for DX this evening with one exception. KP4VP was on 30 meters, but for the most part quite weak and having trouble copying other stations calling him. I kept coming back to him after getting N4ZZ in the TN QSO Party for my regular streak QSO and tuning around some more for other DX. Finally (well it wasn't all that long) at 0014Z, KP4VP came up in strength and after struggling with my call through a few repeats, I got my K3WWP TU 599 and another day of DX was in the books.
Since it was still early I thought I'd try some CQs before I QRT for the evening. On the very first one, I got an answer from KV4WC down in Blairsville, GA. I didn't know they had one down there, a Blairsville, I mean. I thought we had the only one here in PA. So today was worthwhile - I learned something.
I also learned that my Popsicle key was giving me a couple skipped dots. Took a while to figure out the nuts on the terminals connecting it to the rig had come loose somehow. After tightening them up, it's fine again.
It was a nice day today so I got my grass cut and also helped Ange water his garden. Other than that though, I really wasn't outside all that much except for the usual Roscoe walks. Speaking of that, it's about time for the last one of the day, so I better get going. -30-
Saturday, September 03, 2016 5:09 PM - I was certain that this was the day the DX streak would end. Was I right? Well, last night I heard no DX and was even struggling to get a regular QSO until Gene N5GW answered my CQ on 30 meters. We've had several QSOs before and Gene is a NAQCC member and top notch op always doing well in our NAQCC sprints. That was my only QSO last night.
After taking care of some chores, I hit the bands again around 1530Z and found them pretty much the same as last night except for activity in the CWO contest. I did hear a workable KP4 station on 17 meters, but he QRT before I had a chance to give him a call. Then a very weak PY station on 15 meters was all the activity on that band. So I thought I'd just call CQ down in the Extra portion of 20 meters away from the CWO contest. I got an answer from Angel WA4ZIQ who is 93 years old and a ham for 85 of those years. We had a nice chat. Still no DX though.
Next up I thought I'd at least try to get a mW QSO for our NAQCC September challenge. A few unsuccessful CQs were followed by answering W1IDL's CQ. I was running 900 mW and we had a nice solid copy rag chew. Vin was very interested in my QRPp setup. So I at least will get a participation point in the September challenge for that should I not master the full challenge. Still no DX though, and not much chance of getting any then. So I did some other things.
I returned to the bands again later and they were still the same in the 1900Z hour. I did hear one KP4 station but not only was he not copying anyone well, he didn't sound like he was all that good a CW operator. A PA (Netherlands) station operating from PJ4 was about S5 on 30 meters with a lot of QSB. He was also complaining about QSB at his end. He never heard my calls at all. So once again I quit without a DX streak QSO.
Now we move ahead to 2105Z and I return to the shack figuring maybe sometime in the next three hours, I'll have some luck as early evening type conditions come into play. I turned on the rig and immediately saw a fairly good sized peak on the panadapter around 14015. I tuned there expecting it to be just a USA station from the strength. I was wrong. It was F5MXQ at a solid 579. A couple calls got me a QSO. He had me as W3WWP at first, but corrected it after the first round. Whew! The DX streak goes on.
Otherwise it was a beautiful weather day today. No long walks yet, but I may take one this evening now that the streak is secured. I did walk Roscoe a couple times, and it's just about time for another walk. I also harvested some vegetables from my garden. Here's a picture of my basket.
Tomatoes, bush beans, speckled butter beans, peppers, and peas make up the harvest. Sure looks good. I'll be enjoying them in the coming days. Although things started slow in the garden, they've come along nicely now and are providing just enough of a harvest to feed me without having too big a harvest to have to find someone to give the surplus to. That's the way I like it. Not too many folks around here who don't have access to their own vegetables and I don't force things on people who can't use them. -30-
Friday, September 02, 2016 9:52 AM - First I thought I had it, then I wasn't sure, then I was positivie I did have it. I'm speaking of my DX QSO for today. Last evening I heard WP3DX calling CQ on 40. He was quite strong. Maybe a bit too strong for a KP4 station? Anyway I called and got him right away. He gave me my RST and his name, Norbert. He didn't give a QTH, so after I gave my info, I added QTH? He came back and said his QTH was PR, but then he said something about a remote station in Tampa, FL. There was some QSB and QRN at the time he was saying this. I guessed he was in PR, but the station was in FL which would make sense according to the strength and how solid he was copying me. OK, so no DX QSO then since the transmitter location determines the QTH, not the operator location. But wait, there's more. After hanging around the bands some more and having a rag chew with K1LKP and looking for a 'real' DX station without finding one, I brought my paper log to the computer to transcribe my QSO info to my Microsoft Access log. I decided to just check on WP3DX on QRZ.com to see if I could further clarify the situation.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the transmitter for WP3DX was indeed in or near Ponce, PR. It was the operator, Norbert who was in Tampa, FL. So it was indeed a DX QSO after all and I have the day off today, at least until 0000Z. HI
There is some interesting info and some pictures of the WP3DX station on QRZ.com if you want more info about the situation. Also I'm there in the on-line log on the page.
Maybe one of the more interesting DX QSOs in my DX streak and beyond. -30-
Thursday, September 01, 2016 10:58 AM - I'm just sitting here at the computer after taking care of my first of the month financial stuff. I had a couple guestbook entries to take care of. Also a suggestion of a QRP rig to add to my page of QRP rigs which I took care of. Then I got to thinking that I haven't really done much about the 50th anniversary QSO with Ken WA8REI. To start on that, here are pictures of how Ken and I looked back in 1966. Me on the left and Ken on the right.
I'm trying to figure out exactly what the equipment is that I have there. My left hand is on my receiver which looks like my Knight Kit R-100 if memory serves. On top of the rx is my power/swr meter. Back of that is a speaker box. To the right of the rx is my old Lafayette VFO. On top of it looks like my W9TO keyer. To the right of the VFO is my homebrew 75W ARRL Handbook transmitter. On the mantle is my clock and to the right of it looks like my grid dip meter. Under the shelf in front of me is my TVI filter. I'm not sure what the chassis on top of the gray cabinet is. It looks similar to the chassis of my homebrew xmtr. Maybe from a previous version of the xmtr??? The gray cabinets themselves are file drawers in which I stored my QSL cards. They are sitting on top of an old (even then) bench. On top of the brown cabinet is an old VOM. My right hand is on my homebrew paddle made from two straight keys which the hand covers up in this picture. I'm wearing a now long gone pair of some kind of headphones.
Still there to this day 50 years later are the chair, desk, shelf, brown cabinet, and in the upper right corner on the mantle is the 'famous' lamp I've talked about often here in the diary. The bench is around somewhere up in my attic as are the VFO, xmtr, grid dip meter, TVI filter, power/SWR meter. Gone are the rx, speaker. I don't remember what happened to the QSL file drawers. Hmmm. Nor that extra chassis.
That was a very enjoyable trip back in time a half century as I studied the old photograph.
Maybe not today, but now I've got to get up some sort of certificate/QSL to send to Ken commemorating our QSO to go along with the one from our 40th anniversary QSO back in 2006.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016 8:43 PM - As I was sitting at the rig tonight looking at the panadapter, I was wondering if I ever mentioned this great feature of it. On a crowded band when you feel like calling CQ, the panadapter makes it very easy to find an empty spot for your CQ. Kind of like a 180 degree reversal from examining an 'empty' band for a signal, I guess. The PX3 and the HDSDR before that have really made operating ham radio a whole lot easier. While I hate using spotting and never do use it except to check on a sloppily sent call sign a couple times a year and I would never use the 'Skimmer', I don't have any qualms about using a panadapter since it is only a time saving way to check a band for activity. It doesn't assist me in any other way than being a visual aid to help aurally tuning a band. Kind of like have many pairs of ears to listen to different parts of a band for another way of putting it.
It sure helped me tonight in getting my DX streak QSO quickly so I could move on to other things. I flipped the band switch to 17 meters after not finding any workable DX on 30 or 20. I immediately saw a big peak near 18071 and tuned there to find, guess who? Good guess. It was CO8LY whom I haven't heard or worked for a while now. I called but lost out to a NA5 station, but the next call got me the QSO for day 1,281 of the DX streak. That's my 51st QSO with CO8LY. In all those QSOs I don't think we've ever exchanged more than RSTs. He is just not a talker. I don't recall him sending much more than that to anyone he works. Nothing wrong with that.
Time now to get my temperature. It was a cool day today not even reaching 80, so that may have killed our chances of having the high temperature average for August 90 or higher. I'll find out later tonight when I put the August data in my weather Excel spreadsheet. My remote unit which I don't count as official shows an average high of 89.1 right now.
Oh, I uploaded my August QSOs to LoTW today, and in doing so, I crossed the 20,000 match mark. That's a percentage of around 20/87 or about 23 percent of my QSOs matched in the LoTW. -30-
Tuesday, August 30, 2016 1:02 PM - On Sunday at Skyview one of the DX hams I worked was Clive GM3POI. I worked Clive many times in the 1990s and early 2000s and thought at the time it had been over 10 years since we worked. In checking later, I see we did work one other time in the past 11 years - in 2012. Clive always used to have a very strong signal from his QTH in the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland. Anyway after only one previous QSO in the past 11 years, I worked him again this morning on 17 meters for 2 QSOs within 48 hours.
Incidentally also on Sunday at Skyview, I finally heard a station from Andorra although I was unable to work him even with the big Skyview antenna farm. That's the only 'mainline' country in Europe that I've never worked nor even heard till Sunday. Of the 69 current DXCC entities in Europe, besides Andorra I also need 1A, OJ0, SV1/A. I've never heard SV1/A Mt. Athos. I have heard, but not worked 1A SMO Malta and OJ0 Market Reef. It would be nice to get those 4 entities to complete Europe so it could become my second completed continent after North America. Maybe someday lightning will strike. -30-
Monday, August 29, 2016 9:09 PM - For the 17th day this month our high temperature reached 90. Strangely though, most of those highs were either 90 or 91. Nothing near 100. I think the highest was 95 a couple days. The average high of my AcuRite remote unit is 89.4 so far. That may be close to a record for August. I'll know more in a couple days. Actually the next couple days are supposed to be a bit cooler so that average may drop a few tenths of a degree if so.
Another rough non-DX evening so far. I came close with DL1NKS on 30 meters, but he never got beyond K3W? Actually he seemed to not really try that hard and after a couple tries, he just seemingly QRT as I didn't hear him any more. Hope that's not the way the DX streak will end. I noticed today DX was good in late afternoon on 20 and 17 so perhaps at that time tomorrow I can get some DX. -30-
Sunday, August 28, 2016 8:23 PM - Instead of 're-inventing the wheel', most of my entry here will be what I am going to submit for publication in the NAQCC September newsletter. Then some added comments and info at the end.
"On Sunday August 28, it was off to the Skyview Swap and Shop. Mike arrived around 7:15 AM and we started for Skyview around 7:30 AM. The trip there was uneventful by which I mean we didn't get lost anywhere. As soon as we arrived we set up our stations only to find that unlike last year, we were interfering with each other. The other members of our group, WB3FAE, N3CU, K3RLL, and AB3RU arrived in turn and the interference got worse and more confusing. We tried one group of filters from Skyview and that didn't help matters any. Then our saviour Jody K3JZD arrived at the radio room and got us straightened out by hooking in another set of filters and all was well from then on. It was only then that we remembered those were the filters we used last year when we didn't have any trouble.
As with most of our similar activities, it started out pretty busy, and then we got fewer and fewer answers to our CQs. So eventually we wound up looking for and working DX. 17 and 15 were both open in good shape to Europe. Among the six of us we made around 30 QSOs. Some of the states worked were MS NY IL NC MD FL CO NM TX OH NJ KS WA. One VE province - ON. DX was 9A DL G GM UA1 I. One of the German stations and I engaged in a 12 minute rag chew - solid copy both ways. There is a difference in signals when using bigger and higher antennas. In use were a 2 element quad at 60', a multi-band beam near 60', and a 40 meter dipole at probably the same height. We all used our own rigs or switched among them - 2 KX3s, a KX2, and an FT817.
It was a lot of fun after we got the inteference problem taken care of. It was a bit hectic with all the visitors who showed up in the radio room along the way, but very enjoyable chatting with them about CW, QRP, etc. Our session wound down around 2 PM and after chatting with Bob WC3O, Jody K3JZD, and other Skyview members for a whille, we packed up and headed home."
Here's a picture of our group:
L-R that's me, Mike KC2EGL, Ken N3CU, Jon AB3RU, an unID Skyview member, and Tom WB3FAE. Don K3RLL left before the picture was taken. Thanks to Bob WC3O for being the photographer.
When we got home, Mike and I spent some 5 more hours together. We analyzed our results today for the above report. Mike ordered an insert for the case in which he carries his KX3, PX3, etc. for portable ops. We watched some Three Stooges videos and listened to a Bickersons episode. Then up to the shack for over a couple hours chasing DX. Mike worked perhaps some 5 or 6 DX stations. Since I already had my DX for the day, I passed on working any until 0000Z came along. I did work K9AJ/VY0 since I wasn't sure if I had VY0 on 20 meters or not. Just checking now, I see I did have it. Then Mike yielded the operating chair and I quickly worked TI5/N3KS on 30 at 0003Z to secure day # 1,278 in the DX streak. Mike worked him a couple minutes later, then it was time for him to head north, as we say. Tomorrow starts another work week for him.
A couple more thoughts on the event. I got a chance to see a KX2 rig (Jon's) in person for the first time. The little brother of the KX3 looks very nice and works very nicely. It's no KX3 by any means, not having several of the KX3 features, but nice nonetheless. I was showing off my Popsicle stick key to several members who visited us in the radio room. They all got a kick out of it, especially Bob WC3O who had to take a picture of it before we left. -30-
Saturday, August 27, 2016 8:22 PM - A strange DX QSO this evening. Being I will be at Skyview tomorrow where I could probably work a DX QSO for sure, I wasn't happy with that thought and wanted to be sure to get someone tonight to cover the streak. I thought perhaps someone in the YO DX contest, but 20 had no activity after 0000Z despite a lot earlier in the day. Only a couple of very weak DX contest stations on 40 meters. So it was off to 30 meters after working SE station K5H on 20 meters for the main streak. Oh, I found CY9C strong on both 20 and 30, but just worked them on those bands the last two evenings. Anyway on 30 I found S57V calling CQ. I tried to make a QSO with him, but despite him saying QSL to my call and report I don't think he had my call right then even after several repeats. I wasn't copying him all that well either. So I looked around 40, 30, and 20 some more with no luck. Winding up back on 30, I again heard S57V a little stronger now. It took but a single call this time to get a K3WWP 599. Earlier I got only a 339. What a difference 10 minutes can make. So the DX streak is OK now and I can just have fun at Skyview tomorrow. As a bonus, the 'S' in S57V finished up the NAQCC August challenge as well.
Looks like we are going to have 6 NAQCC WPA Chapter members at Skyview tomorrow - me, KC2EGL, WB3FAE, K3RLL, AB3RU, N3CU. It would be nice to have 6 bands open but not likely. We'll probably have to share 4 bands - 40 through 17. However it turns out it will be fun for sure playing our QRP on their big antenna farm. The first four listed above have done it before, but I think it will be the first time for AB3RU and N3CU. -30-
Friday, August 26, 2016 9:01 PM - Another quick CY9C QSO was my DX this evening. This time on 20 meters at 0006Z, just about 3 minutes after I got to the shack and turned on the rig.
I was looking back in my diary to August 2006 today to get some info about the 40th anniversary QSO with WA8REI. Wow, hard to believe the diary is over 10 years old now with a new entry every day with only at most a couple of days missed. Anyway here's what I found there:
"WA8REI and I had our 40th anniversary QSO just a little while ago. We couldn't get it done on 40M, but 80M worked out just fine despite high noise levels at both ends. We gabbed for about an hour about the old days, between then and now, and the current times.
It was really wonderful and a bit mind boggling to think about that 1966 QSO so long ago. Neither of us had even the slightest inkling then that we would be having another QSO in the next century.
It was interesting talking about the rigs we used back then. I used a homebrew 75 watt (input) xmtr. QRP was considered 100 or less watts input then, so technically I was QRP even then. Ken used a T-150A transmitter at 130 watts.
For receivers, it was a Knight-Kit R100 for me and an HR-10 for Ken. He used a vertical antenna, and I used a dipole.
Our QSO then was on 7.020 at 1631Z. I gave Ken a 589 report and got a 579 from him. By contrast we both were 599 tonight on 80M although the noise level was 10-20 over S9 at both our locations."
I guess both of us are getting old. HI. And now as of yesterday we made it to 50 years from first to latest QSO. Wonder if we'll make it to 60. I don't even want to say how old I'll be then. Seriously I am gradually starting to feel older and older with all the associated things that come with age.
Anyway here are pictures of the QSLs we exchanged back in 1966:
We are going to exchange some special QSLs for this latest QSO as time permits over the next few days. Also Ken is thinking about writing a short article for QST and/or CQ about the QSO. All of that will unfold as time goes by. -30-
Thursday, August 25, 2016 9:07 PM - Several interesting QSOs today. I'll save the best till last. I was calling CQ on 30 late this afternoon and got answered by HK1MW. Not the first time he answered my CQ. He did it a few years ago as well. It's always nice to get a DX station to answer my CQ. Then it was nice to work a personal friend Jon AB3RU. We've gone to hamfests together, operated from the Requin together, but tonight may have been our first on-air rag chew type QSO although we've worked in our NAQCC sprints several times. Let me be sure about that. Yes, our first rag chew QSO as skip was short on 40 tonight. Jon lives near Pittsburgh as did Curt W3QE, my QSO right before Jon's.
Last night when Mike was here, we both worked ZW8I on 40 meters. Then he worked CY9C on 30 while I was out walking Roscoe. I didn't try CY9C since I already had my DX streak QSO and have a few CY9 QSOs on 4 different bands already worked back in the 1990s. However tonight I did need a DX QSO so I worked CY9C after just a couple minutes of trying on 30 meters.
Although those were all interesting QSOs as actually are all my QSOs in one way or another, the best came today at 1631Z. That time is significant. Back on August 25, 1966 WA8REI and I had our first QSO at 1631Z. We wanted to duplicate that as close as possible 50 years later and we came close. The only difference (besides us being 50 years older) was the frequency. Back then 7020 was available to all hams with a General or higher license. That was where we worked in 1966 before incentive licensing came along in 1968 and took 7000-7025 away from General Class hams. Well, Ken never bothered to upgrade and is still a General so we had to settle on 7030 now instead of 7020. However that didn't diminish the excitement and thrill of a 50th anniversary QSO one iota. We talked for over a half hour. A lot about how things have changed in a half century. I'll have more to say about the QSO including some pictures from then and now in an upcoming diary entry. -30-
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 5:32 PM - WINDOW. That's the key word as my DX streak will either continue or come to an end. Just about all the time from March 1, 2013 through the latter part of 2015, the WINDOW was wide open although perhaps the best view through the WINDOW shifted from 40 meters to 15 meters to 30 meters, and so on to the other bands. There was DX available to work just about any time of day. All you had to do was be there, look through the WINDOW and see some DX and work it easily.
However since the latter part of 2015, the WINDOW was not open quite as wide nor was it open as often. The openings gradually got smaller and less frequent from then on also. On many days of late, the WINDOW was open just a crack and only for very little time each day. If you were not at the WINDOW at the right time and place, there was no DX available to work. Of course it was easy to change the view out the window with the band switch. That was not the hard part. It was being there at the right time that was difficult. Some days it took many trips to that WINDOW before arriving at the opportune time. Those trips became more time consuming and started taking away from other activities. It became very discouraging.
Today the WINDOW was just about completely closed for a good part of day starting at 0000Z last evening. CY9C and his associated huge unbreakable (for me) pileup was the only thing being heard here. Well, there was some DX being heard working him, but of course no way for me to get at them. Checks every couple hours or so showed the same closed WINDOW, and I started thinking about ways to write about the end of the DX streak in the diary and in a report on the streak in the QRP section of the web site.
However the WINDOW opened just a crack in the 2000Z hour and some DX, albeit weak, was starting to be heard on 20 meters. The crack was not wide enough for my signals to get out though, and calls to a few stations from F5, TA, and a couple other countries who were S5 or less went totally ignored. Finally the WINDOW opened up just a bit wider around 2030Z and signals got a bit stronger, especially one of the Bulgarian saints stations, LZ1043PMU who was peaking at times to S7. My first call to him went unanswered as did the second one, but then I got a question mark from him. That increased to something like 3WP, and after sending K3WWP 4 or 5 more times, I got that K3WWP 599 599 (yeah, sure I was 599). I sent TU 599 599 and the QSO was in the log and the streak extended one more day.
I keep saying this, and some day I will mean it. It's just taking too much time away from other things now to keep the streak going looking for that little WINDOW opening, and I hope in the back of my mind it will come to an end. I think today was the roughest day yet, but still I made it. There is a lot of fascination in seeing just how deep into the soon to be here sunspot minimum the streak will continue. That may keep my interest strong enough to endure the extra time it takes now and the even more time it will take as the sunspots decline and the solar flux dips into the 60s. -30-
Tuesday, August 23, 2016 8:41 PM - Kind of an interesting day on the bands today. Not really expecting to find any DX, I got on the bands anyway in the 1600Z hour and lo and behold, I got a very easy DX QSO from DL2DX on 17 meters. Just took a single call and we even chatted a bit about the weather after exchanging reports. 17 meters may be the salvation for my DX streak. It seems to open up to Europe around that time of day. Or at least it has the few times I've checked in the past month or so. We'll see. That QSO also finished off all but four letters 'S' in the NAQCC August Challenge. Oh, it gave me the final 'L'.
The next QSO with K3SAV not only gave me two of the four letters 'S' but was quite interesting otherwise. Let me explain about the challenge letters first though. You can use a letter from a call twice, so had I needed them I could have gotten 2 each of K, S, A, and V from K3SAV. K3SAV is a call for the Nuclear Ship Savannah in Baltimore, MD. Since I operate a few times from the USS Requin submarine in Pittsburgh each year, I enjoyed working another ship station. Like NY3EC for the Requin whose maritime call was NYEC, K3SAV represents KSAV, the maritime call for the Savannah. There is a lot more interesting info about the Savannah in their QRZ listing, so you can check there if it interests you.
A little later then I worked AC9DN who told me he had been trying to find and work me for some time after reading the info on my web site a few years ago. Then to close out the day (so far), I worked Dave K2JVB with whom I had an interesting discussion comparing our antenna systems. His a pair of fan dipoles for 40 through 10 and mine of course the mostly indoor 160 through 6 set up described here on the web site.
Once again no DX this evening so maybe tomorrow on 17 in that 1600Z hour if not later on tonight. -30-
Monday, August 22, 2016 9:06 PM - A busy day today with laundry, grass cutting, closing out our August NAQCC Sprint, getting our Skeeter Hunt report ready to submit, and preparing a jumper cable for our trip to Skyview on Sunday. Plus all the other normal everyday things also.
No DX again tonight, so the usual story - try later or in the morning or afternoon. I mentioned to Mike yesterday I kind of wished the DX streak would end, but we both agreed that I probably won't end it voluntarily. It will just have to come to an end naturally. It does consume a lot of time some days, and that's rough on a beautiful day like today when the high is 80 with sunny skies and low humidity. That's when the outdoors beckons. -30-
Sunday, August 21, 2016 9:21 PM - I say this every time Mike and I (and Tom) get together - it was a really great day today. We activated the NAQCC club call of N3AQC in the Skeeter Hunt. It was also a NPOTA activation. Let me explain. The NJ QRP Club offered bonus points to any stations that activated a National Park in the Skeeter Hunt. So we (mostly Tom WB3FAE) did some research and found that the North Country Trail ran through Moraine State Park a little west of Butler PA. The Park is NOT a National Park, but the Trail is considered one. So to activate it Tom found out that we could set up in the park and as long as we were within 100 feet of the trail it would count as NPOTA TR04. He scouted the park and found a spot for us that would qualify.
Today Mike arrived around 9AM and after some chatter about various things, we headed off to Myrt's for breakfast. That was a bad start to the day. Myrt's was so busy there wasn't even a parking place left. Knowing we were on a schedule and don't like waiting anyway, we headed to another place - Kings in West Kittanning and had our breakfast there. Since neither Mike nor I knew exactly where the spot was that Tom picked out, we contacted him and he said to meet him at the Park office. Fine - we knew where that was. We met him and followed him to the spot. Of all our many parkpeditions, Mike thought, and I agreed, that this was just about our smoothest set up ever. There were absolutely no glitches.
When 1700Z arrived we got down to business. I asked Tom what band he wanted and he picked 20 leaving 40 for me. We already planned that Mike would do a non-Skeeter Hunt NPOTA activation on two of the WARC bands - 30 and 17.
Conditions were rough on all bands except for 40 meters. So I lucked out there in choice of (or actually assignment of, since I didn't choose) 40 meters. Although there were some gaps in activity of 10 minutes or more (longest being 17 minutes, I believe), there was pretty much a steady stream of answers to my CQ BZZ N3AQC calls. It was hard to believe I never moved off my chair for the full four hours. Not only that, harder to believe I held one frequency (7041.18) for the full four hours without any challenge at all. I wound up with 52 QSOs in (I believe) 25 SPCs. Unfortunately Tom and Mike did not have as much luck nor good conditions. Tom made 17 QSOs on 20 and Mike only 2 on 30 meters. I think because of that we are going to activate TR04 again in a strictly NPOTA event and publicize the heck out of it, as I put it.
Here's a picture Mike took from our backs showing Tom at left and me at right working our way through some QSOs. The North Country Trail is that gray ribbon in the upper left of the picture just some 50 or so feet in front of us.
I'll have more pictures in the NAQCC WPA Chapter report in the NAQCC September newsletter.
After we shut down at 2100Z, Mike and I stopped at Ponderosa in Butler on our way back here. Mike hung around a bit to see if I could get my DX streak QSO, but I didn't so that will have to come later tonight or in the morning or afternoon. We did both work NPOTA station N0AC/M in National Park TR14. -30-
Saturday, August 20, 2016 9:16 PM - Looking forward to activating a National Park in the Skeeter Hunt tomorrow. If you're chasing NPOTA QSOs, look for us at N3AQC in TR04 between 1700 and 2100Z on 40 and 20 meters around the standard QRP frequencies. Also we'll have a non-contest NPOTA activation same time on 30 and maybe 17 meters if its open. I'm eager to see how my new power supply will hold out. I think 4 hours will be just a little slow stroll for it, so to speak.
I had a little problem (well, that's too strong a word, but...) with the supply this morning. I plugged it in to give it a topping off charge for tomorrow, and nothing happened. Took some thought, but I got it figured out and remedied. When I removed the compressor from the unit when I first got it, there were three wires going to it. I didn't know why then and didn't research it at the time. To make the story short, there was a switch in the compressor to keep it from running while the battery was being charged. If the compressor switch was in the on position, the charger was disconnected from the battery. A bit of rewiring took care of that problem, and the battery is now fully charged, although actually it hadn't discharged much at all from its initial charge when I bought it a few days ago.
Did you hear a sigh of relief around 0020Z? That's when I worked T42R for my DX streak QSO. I figured I wouldn't have much time during the day tomorrow to get any DX so I better get it tonight, and I did for day # 1,270 now.
Not much else going on today to speak of. It was a pretty nice day although the humidity did creep up a bit from what it had been for a couple days. I guess that's from the rain coming tonight. I just hope it will get rained out before our parkpedition tomorrow. Oh, if you don't know, TR04 is the North Country Trail which passes through Moraine State Park just west of Butler PA. -30-
Friday, August 19, 2016 8:57 PM - I was on the air about two more hours today and my battery did drop one tenth of a volt down to 12.2, but along the way it fluctuated between 12.3 and 12.2 so I guess that was about 12.25 volts. HI The KX3 meter only reads tenths of a volt. I also cleaned up the front of the battery case and I think I'll put my call sign and perhaps a NAQCC logo on the now empty space where the battery info was.
My cleaning up of the tin snips went very well today. I wish I'd have taken a before picture so I could show off the improvement. There was another rusty pair at the Ol' Station Marketplace. Maybe I can take a picture of that as the before. HI
Otherwise today it was my second half of the month bill paying session. I also did some updating on our computer club computer. It was my turn this month.
DX conditions were not so hot this evening. I tried 5E3A, XE3/NP4G, and I think one other with no sign of being heard. Finally after several tries, I did get T46FY on 30 meters though. So that's most of the days this month I have gotten the DX in the 0000Z hour.
Temperature getting time now. The remote unit shows another 91 degree day today after a cool start of 62. -30-
Thursday, August 18, 2016 9:18 PM - I had forgotten about the menu setting on the KX3 that shows total up time for a session. That would enable me to keep track of just how long I can expect the battery pack to last. Tonight I was on for 52 minutes which probably makes a total around 4 hours that I've been using the battery. The voltage is still the same. It just sits there at 12.3 volts key up and 11.8-12.0 key down. So as I've said, it looks like I have a winner.
It was a very nice day today. The first day in about a week we haven't had some rain. That should give the gardens a chance to dry out a bit before another watering is needed. All my vegetables are producing nicely, not too slow and not too fast, but just right to satisfy one person. I had a bowl of speckled butter beans today and they were delicious. Long time diary readers may remember those are from seeds that Ron K5DUZ sent me a few years ago. Each year I save seeds from the beans for the next year. I haven't heard from Ron in quite some time now. I hope if you happpen to read this, you'll check in and let me know how you're doing. Or if anyone else has any info on Ron, let me know.
I bought an old pair of tin snips from the Ol' Station Marketplace today. Not so much that I needed them, but they were kind of rusty and I had been reading how vinegar is good for cleaning off rust from things and wanted to give it a try. So I took the snips apart and have them soaking in vinegar now. Tomorrow I'll take them out and see what happens. If they turn out good, I'll have a smaller set now to go along with my big tin snips that are really too big for some work. -30-
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 11:30 PM - I'm late in writing this as you see from the time stamp. So I'll just say it was an easy DX QSO tonight from old faithful Jurek EA6UN on 20 meters.
Earlier in the day I bought a new battery for my power supply I've been talking about. It works great so far. It comes on at 12.5 volts, drops to 12.4 briefly, then settles at 12.3 for as long as I played with it today which must be between 2 and 2 1/2 hours. When I transmit it drops to 11.9, but always comes back to 12.3 as soon as the KX3 goes back to receive. Sometimes it even goes to 12.4. So I'm very happy with it so far. The real test will come Sunday in the Skeeter Hunt. -30-
Tuesday, August 16, 2016 6:53 PM - Another hot and humid day today. However I found I didn't mind it. Just like my younger days. I got a lot done including a couple walks downtown for some shopping and mailing one of our NAQCC prizes to the winner. I also trimmed back my daylilies and weeded my garden.
I spent a lot of time checking my battery supply, and then working on it. As it had done previously, it discharged much too rapidly when I checked it with the KX3/PX3. So I tore into it. First I removed the compressor. I had been planning on doing that anyway. That was easy. It was just a separate unit attached to the back of the supply with six screws. There were three wires connecting it to the main part of the unit. I just cut them and taped them up for now. I'll probably get rid of them altogether eventually. Next it was taking apart the two halves of the main unit. Fortunately that went well also as everything was connected only to the front half. I totally removed the jumper cables (the ones meant to jump a car battery) since I wouldn't be needing them. Then I removed the battery itself. It's a big 'un weighing in at a measured 13 pounds on my bathroom scale. Right now I'm charging it with another charger wondering if it could be something wrong with the charging mechanism in the unit and not the battery itself. Little hope of that though.
I'll give it another check when I go back to the shack at 0000Z to get my streak QSOs and see what happens. If it still doesn't work, then it's shopping for a replacement battery. Again fortunately most all of the ones I have found on the Internet are extremely close to the physical size of the one I have so that won't be a problem at all. I'll just have to find the best price. There is a Battery Warehouse here in town so I may just try them first although I suspect their prices will be much higher. We'll see. -30-