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Sunday, July 05, 2015 9:06 PM - I had my easiest European QSO in a while tonight. A single call to Feri HA3FTA on 17 led to a solid copy QSO, no repeats needed. I made QSOs on 4 bands in the 0000Z hour - K2J on 20, HA3FTA on 17, NG9D on 30, N8RVE on 40, and KB6NU on 30. Nice to have the bands in better shape again. That helped me with a lot of letters for the NAQCC challenges.

Other than that, not much else to talk about today. I did help Ange with some computer work this evening before getting on the air. Earlier in the day it was mostly walking and computer work/games. -30-

Saturday, July 04, 2015 9:09 PM - I hope you all had a great Fourth and honored our country in some way. As usual I flew my flag here - the one that draped my dad's coffin 51 years ago. I also got that last minute invite to a cookout at my neighbor's - the Bowsers. That was an enjoyable 2 hours, especially chatting with Eric KB3BFQ as well as the others there.

Conditions seemed pretty good this evening, although there wasn't as much activity in the YV contest as I expected. I thought I'd get my DX QSO quickly in that. It didn't work out that way though. First I worked a couple of the colonies stations in GA and SC. In between I was trying to break the pileup working FS/W6IZT for my DX QSO. I couldn't do it then though, but I did go back later and after waiting through a few stations I got my QSO to continue the streak another day.

Right now I'm sitting here in what seems like a battlefield with all the fireworks going off. Kittanning doesn't have an official show, but there sure are enough bootleg fireworks going off. -30-

Friday, July 03, 2015 8:53 PM - Conditions were better this evening for working Europe. I worked UA1CE and SM3KMB, and also EA8BLV from Africa. The QSOs were not too easy to make, but after some repeats, they are in the log and I have a lot more letters for the July NAQCC challenges.

I finished cleaning up around my bush today and also helped Nancy do some clean up in her yard. Still no rain this month, but we are supposed to get some later tonight.

Nothing special planned for the Fourth tomorrow. At least not that I know of yet. HI Maybe one of the neighbors has something in mind and I'll be invited in the morning. But whether or not, that's fine with me. -30-

Thursday, July 02, 2015 8:37 PM - The second rain-free day in a row today so I got in some good walking. Too bad the river is too high for fishing, as this would have been a good day for it. The big project though was trimming the big bush in my front yard. When I got home from one walk, I thought I'd get a start on it by trimming just the one side next to the railing on my steps. Well, one thing led to another and I wound up trimming the whole thing. I still need to clean up the weeds underneath it, and I hope to do that tomorrow which might be our third rain-free day in a row.

The bands, as usual of late, weren't all that good this evening, although I was hearing some DX, mostly weak. I did try calling F5NZY, but he wasn't hearing me at all. I thought I'd forget DX for the time being and get my regular streak QSO. That turned out to be a nice chat with Jim VE3KQN, fellow NAQCC member. After that it was back to DX, and almost immediately I noticed a big peak on 30 on the panadapter, tuned it in, found it was PJ5A, and logged him on one call and one repeat. I'm still confused somewhat about the PJ entity situation since the change on 10-10-10, and I'll have to see if that is a new band-entity. Anyway it extends the DX streak to 855 days which is more important to me right now as I shoot for the 1,000 day mark. -30-

Wednesday, July 01, 2015 9:23 PM - I never did get in the RAC contest today. After all the fun I had in FD, doing a contest alone just didn't seem exciting enough to get me involved.

My DX streak QSO this evening was a nice short rag chew with Milan OK1KW. He's also a FISTS member and we exchanged FISTS numbers, both regular and CC numbers. That also got me started on the July NAQCC challenges.

Earlier in the day, I did my banking and some shopping. It was a pretty nice day. Well, any day without rain around here anymore is a nice day. We had rain on 19 of the 30 days in June totalling about 8 1/2 inches, not far from the record for June around here. Strangely enough, we set a record for the highest average low temperature for the month. All those cloudy nights didn't allow the temperature to drop all that much during the night which explains that.

I picked my first ripe tomato today:

pix_diary_20150701 (20K)

A couple days ago, my first daylilly flower appeared:

pix_diary_20150701_002 (69K)

Remember the sun spot chart back in mid-winter? Well, here's where that spot fell on the first day of astronomical summer on the 21st:

pix_diary_20150701_003 (17K)

That's quite a difference caused by the 46 or so degree sun altitude difference between Dec and Jun 21st. -30-

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 8:39 PM - A busy day today that resulted in getting almost all of my end of the month / first of the month chores done. I think all I have left to do are to get my June weather data in the computer and make a trip to the bank in the morning.

While I was doing some of the things today, I was also installing the latest build (10158) of Windows 10 on my laptop. Once again, as with each new build, it operates more smoothly with some great new features suggested by me and others who have been participating in the Insider Program the past several months. Only one month now till the final version will be released FREE to everyone. Then I'll install it as my main laptop operating system instead of running it under Windows 8.1 in a virtual machine (Oracle Virtual Box). That should allow it to run even faster than it does now in Virtual Box.

With everything virtually done, maybe I can play in the Canada Day contest tomorrow. I used it to get my DX streak QSO this evening when I worked G3ORY on 20 meters. -30-

Monday, June 29, 2015 8:47 PM - I wrote up a story about our FD operation, but I'm going to save it for our NAQCC newsletter which comes out in a few days rather than publishing it here. When the newsletter is posted, I'll provide a link to the story here in the diary.

I (and Mike as well) want to thank Tom WB3FAE for being a great host of, and participant in the operation. He certainly made things easy and pleasant for us.

My DX streak continued through the operation, and this evening it reached 852 days when I worked EU6AF pretty easily on 20, although I had to send my call several times before he got it right. After I worked him, it dawned on me that it was a 6 in his call which I needed to finish the NAQCC European chapter challenge. I didn't think I was going to master it this month, but now I have. I've already sent my report across the pond in an email just before working on the diary.

Other than that, it was kind of a wind-down day from the great weekend. Looking back on it now, I'll always remember it as a very enjoyable event. I kind of wish I was back in that tent still pounding out the QSOs. I thought by volunteering for 80, 15 and 10 meters, I could take it easy during the day and then have a couple busy hours during the evening. It didn't turn out that way though, as 15 was great both days, and 10 opened nicely on Sunday. All in all, I wound up with 127 QSOs on 15, 46 on 10, 79 on 80, and 1 on 160 for a total of 253. I missed 10 states - AK DE ID ME MT OR SC VT WV WY. I worked 59 of the 83 ARRL sections. Oh, that reminds me, I have to send my report in for the NAQCC FD challenge, so I'll close now and do that after I get my weather readings. -30-

Sunday, June 28, 2015 5:54 PM - Just back home from a FD weekend in Chicora, PA. Hence no diary entry for the 27th. However, either later tonight or in tomorrow's entry, I'll have a report on our FD activities with pictures. We made 562 QSOs in all states but KL7 and DE. -30-

Friday, June 26, 2015 4:15 PM - I thought I'd write this a bit early today. My DX streak lives another day although it was a struggle. I called a good many weak DX stations with no sign they were hearing me at all except for one K3? and that didn't go any further. However finally on 17 meters, I heard JA7BXS around s4 to s5, and after calling him many times he came back with K3WWP and gave me a 449. Thanks Takar.

Of course earlier in the day we were busy setting up for FD. I even called some DX from there with no luck. We got our tent set up along with the antennas and did some testing to see if we had any interference among the three of us. We didn't notice any. I was hearing Tom on 17 meters but that doesn't matter for FD. I made 3 1/2 QSOs, and Tom made one. I say 1/2 because I got an answer from a VE4 station, but we never completed the first round. So now all we have to worry about is the weather. A LOT of rain predicted for the weekend. I looks like (we hope) the heaviest of it will be over by the time FD starts tomorrow though. -30-

Thursday, June 25, 2015 9:17 PM - Once again I have to ask myself the question, "Is today the day the DX streak ends?" Very poor conditions again this evening. I tried calling a couple weak DX stations, but without any signs they were hearing me at all. The low SF of 102 and high A index of 33 is really wreaking havoc on the bands. Perhaps I'll luck out again later this evening as I did last night when I fairly easily worked Luc I1YRL on 20 meters at 0407Z. If not then, it is going to be rough since a good part of tomorrow will be devoted to setting up for FD. Of course, maybe I can work some DX from the FD setup. If need be, I certainly will try. I'm getting more and more determined to make it to 1,000 days sometime this November. However as I get more determined, propagation conditions get worse and worse.

I did keep the big streak going easily. That one is going to be harder to end. It will take something really major to end it. I worked Don W3RDF on 40 meters. We hadn't worked in many years. Let's see just how long it was. Assuming it was Don way back then, our first QSO was June 28, 1964 - just a couple days short of 51 years ago. Our last QSO before tonight was January 8, 2003. I was right when I said to Don I bet it was over 10 years ago. I don't have my computer log in the shack, so I can't tell right away during a QSO.

Along with propagation, the weather continues poor this summer so far. chilly an wet. Looks like the worst is coming just in time for FD too. The NWS is predicting as much as 3 1/4 inches of rain mainly on Saturday starting just about the same time FD starts. That's still a couple days off though, so things could get better, or (OH NO) worse. We'll see. -30-

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 9:19 PM - I just finished 'posting' my little QSO note by the computer here to remind me that I need to get a DX QSO tomorrow to keep the streak going. I just couldn't find any DX that was workable this evening except EA6UN on 20 whom I just worked last night and didn't want to work again so soon. Also a DJ4WY who was very strong, but he was S&P other DX stations and never called CQ himself. The bands do seem a tad better than last night though, so hopefully sometime before 0000Z tomorrow evening I'll be able to get a DX QSO for day 847. -30-

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 8:52 PM - Every time I go to my shack, I am confident of making a QSO, and over the past couple years now, of making a DX QSO. I think that positive thinking is very helpful. I know there are folks out there who can copy just about anything that is sent their way. It's my job of finding them if I want to keep the streak going. Generally that means finding someone whose signal is at least S8 if possible. Then if there is no competition I will most of the time work them. Now what I've just said applies all but a very few times. For those few times it can be a struggle finding a strong DX station, let alone working one. Tonight was one of those times.

I searched the bands from 30 through 15 for DX and didn't hear any. All the panadapter peaks turned out to be W/VE stations, and there weren't very many of them. I did see/hear CO3ET just barely peeking out of the noise on 30, and called him, but only got a ? if that was even for me. OK, looks like I'm not going to get any DX tonight, so I better solidify the big streak, and I tried many unanswered CQs on 40. Well, I better look for some W/VE station calling CQ. I found AD4YB sending several QRL?s, and wondered if he were going to ever call CQ. Finally he did, and I called and got an answer and a QSO from him. Not the best QSO as the band went away after a somewhat brief first round, but it was a QSO for the streak.

OK, now comes the part that intrigues and impresses me about QRP. I found Jurek EA6UN on 20 meters peeking out of the S4 noise there just like CO3ET on 30. Should I call him or not? Might was well. He worked a couple other stations before he answered me with K3?. Several repeats later and I got a K3WKP? and a 559 report from him. A few more repeats and he logged me correctly. Now how in the world can he copy me when I can barely copy him. Had I not known him and his call, I would probably have had to ask him for several repeats if the situation were reversed. I think it is impressive just how many great ops there are around the world, and how many of them will take the time to pull out the weak signals. I'm sure that living on the Balearic Islands must help Jurek in addition to him being a great op. I would imagine the noise level would be very low there and with a big antenna the S/N ratio would be ideal for copying anything. Actually it must be similar to operating from the Kittanning park on our parkpeditions. I can copy signals there that would be completely lost here at home. Solid copy from someone who doesn't even budge the S meter off it's resting mark.

OK, that was a pretty rambling entry from my just thinking out loud or typing out loud - whatever. There wasn't much else to talk about today anyway. Oh, Bruce next door made his famous chili and invited me for some. I guess that was about the highlight of the day. It did get nice out after being showery most of the day till mid-late afternoon. Then I got in a couple nice walks. Now it's (past) time to get my weather readings, so I'll stop the rambling. -30-

Monday, June 22, 2015 8:48 PM - A quick DX QSO at 0002Z from ZP9SC on 30 meters this evening. Looking at the propagation numbers just before I got on the air worried me. I didn't think I'd get any DX, but then you can't always correlate the numbers with what you hear.

Last night after I wrote the diary entry, I checked the bands again and found HA9PP booming in over S9 on 20 meters and thought I'd try to work him with 800 mW, and I did easily. Wish I'd have set the power lower now.

Not much else to talk about today. I'm still working on reposting a lot of my QSL pictures to OneDrive, and I'm getting down near the end now. I guess about 20 more I want to update. I think I may just work on that now after I get my weather readings. -30-

Sunday, June 21, 2015 9:10 PM - More six meter fun today. A check around 2100Z showed some peaks on the panadapter and I wound up working Ric WO4O in FL (EL98) and K4NO in AL (EM64) - new state (#18). Then later on Dan K1TO in FL (EL87). I now have somewhere around 25-30 grid squares, I think. I also heard some West Coast stations again, but they were in and out so fast, I didn't get a chance to try to work them. That was also true of several other stations here and there. It's tricky making QSOs on six with all the competition plus the rapid QSB, but that's what makes it fun. I wish I had the room to get up a better six meter antenna. What I have now (dipole in the attic) is only good for the stronger openings, and I miss a lot.

The DX streak rolled on tonight to 844 days when I worked 9A7R on 15 meters. I think without the assistance of the panadapter, I might still be listening to find some DX. It sure is great for a quick band scan. -30-

Saturday, June 20, 2015 8:51 PM - Starting yesterday, I'm into another project I've been wanting to do for some time now. I'm updating the QSL card pictures on my Microsoft One Drive storage space. When I first posted the pictures in other places, I never had the space to do a decent job with the cards. Many had beautiful pictures of the country on them, but I only posted the back side with the QSO info on it. Now I'm rescanning them a few at a time and posting both sides of those that are two-sided cards. I think they look much better that way. Take a look via the OneDrive link at the top of this page. Only about a fifth or so have been updated yet, but I hope to get them all done in the next couple weeks or so.

A fairly easy DX QSO this evening from EA8BLV on 17 meters even though he was only about s5-6 here. He copied me well after a couple repeats of my call. The bands were good, but most DX that I heard on 20 were in the AA contest, and of course, not being in Asia myself, I couldn't work them. I only heard one Asian which is a surprise. That was an A6 station who didn't hear me at all.

Six meters seems to be back to its dead ways again, at least to my little attic dipole. I haven't heard a thing there since the last opening I mentioned a few days ago. I will keep checking though. -30-

Friday, June 19, 2015 8:22 PM - An easy DX QSO this evening in contrast to a few of the recent evenings. It was Alex RW5MQ on 17 meters. He wasn't all that strong at S6-S7 with QSB, but he got me with just one repeat of my call. Those Russian ops are among the best in the world and most of them will stick with you until a solid QSO results.

Otherwise today I took care of a couple of things that I had been procrastinating on doing. First I renewed my domain name k3wwp.com for another year. I've been happy with using it along with the increased storage on the server of Cahaba Internet donated by my friend, the owner, Bill WA4FAT.

Then I finally applied for my W1AW Centennial WAS award. Actually I applied for the plaque instead of the certificate. It cost quite a bit more, but I figure it's a once in a lifetime thing so I don't mind spending the extra money. It was nice while filling in the award application (I don't use credit cards at all here, so I couldn't apply on line) to reflect back on the fun it was chasing the W1AW stations and then waiting to be sure I was in their log via the LoTW.

I also did some more grass pulling from the bricks today and now am pretty much finished with that. Then I cut the grass in the back yard.

To reward myself for a job well done, I treated myself to a foot long tuna sub from Subway. Was that good! -30-

Thursday, June 18, 2015 8:43 PM - Strange conditions this evening. Several strong European signals on 20 from S7 to S9+, but I couldn't get as much as a ? out of them when I called. That happens sometimes, not often, and it makes me wonder if there isn't such a thing as one way skip at times. Finally I settled on working YN7SU for the DX streak, but then I was determined to work at least one of the Europeans and at last I did get special event station AO10EURAO with a bit of difficulty. Then I tried 30 and S50O was strong there, but wasn't hearing me although I finally did work him although I'm not sure he got my call correct in the end.

Six was open again last night so I pretty much forsook our NAQCC mW sprint after only 4 QSOs to chase some stations on six. It wasn't as good as the evening before, but I did work three stations and a new state in MO which makes 17 on six now. I didn't hear a thing tonight on six.

I did some more cleaning of grass from the brick sidewalks today. I'm getting close to finishing up now. I also went shopping to a local flea market less than a block from here. I had bought some nice things there in the past, but the lady hadn't been opening up much last year. She has started again this year now every Thursday. Today Nancy went over with me. I bought a dremel clone. I always have wanted one, but didn't feel like paying 50 dollars or more. I got one today for 15 bucks. Also a container of wood screws and a pair of flush cutting pliers to replace an old pair that never worked too well. Everything came to $18. -30-

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 8:04 PM - Same station, same time, different band. Last night it was 17, tonight 30 for VP2MKV at 0000Z.

I checked six meters a few times today, but didn't find any openings. At least for my attic dipole. I suppose those folks with big six meter beams on high towers had openings today (and most days probably). I'll never have that, so I have to take what comes. As I said last night, I probably do miss a lot of openings from just not checking six often enough.

Tonight is our NAQCC mW sprint. I'm not really in a sprinting mood so I may just get in long enough to get a QSO or two so I can continue my record of never having missed a single NAQCC sprint. Or if conditions are really good which they didn't seem to be when I was hunting my DX QSO, I may stick around a while longer. -30-

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 9:26 PM - A lot happening today. It sure was looking like my DX streak was going to end today. Ever since I got up, I checked the bands every 90 minutes or so and each time found them devoid of any DX at all. However, at 1921Z, I finally found and worked 6Y5WJ on 17 meters and the DX streak still exists.

This evening it was extended another day almost immediately. I turned on the rig at 0000Z and the first peak I saw on the panadapter turned out to be VP2MKV on 17 meters. A call and a couple repeats got me another day in the DX streak before the day had a chance to really even get going. What a difference a day makes.

It make a big difference in the weather too. After some rain during the night and some clouds and a shower early today, the skies became only partly cloudy with a lot of sunshine, lower humidity, and NO rain. The extension arm from TS Bill that had been feeding Gulf moisture up here the past few days slipped to the south pretty much below PA.

After I got my DX QSO, the real fun began. I have been trying to remember to check six meters lately because June is the best month for openings on that band. Well, this evening I ran across one. I made 4 QSOs with 4 watts to my attic six meter rotatable dipole. I don't even remember which direction it is aimed right now. Anyway I worked AE5VB EM31, K5WE EM25, N2NL EL97, K7XC EM12. I also heard VP9/WA4PGM but he faded (or QRT) before I even had a chance to call. All four grid squares were new, I believe. I'll have to check later to be sure, but anyway I didn't have them colored in on my grid square map yet. Grid square EM31 looks like it spans LA and TX. If AE4VB is in LA, that would be a new 6 meter state. Let's see what QRZ says. Yes, Boyce, LA so that is 16 states on 6 now. Not all that good, but I'm sure it could be better if I'd check the band more often which I hope to do from now on. -30-

Monday, June 15, 2015 9:19 PM - April 29 is the last day I didn't get a DX station for my DX streak in the 00 or 01Z hours - until tonight. I just couldn't get any of the several DX stations I was hearing to hear me. None were very strong themselves. So it looks more and more like I may have to find a better time of day to work DX or the streak will expire. I have noticed a very slow but steady decline in DX conditions in the 0000-0200Z time period, especially on 20 meters. I'll just have to see what happens. I don't think the big streak is any danger, but the DX streak might be. Even if it ends today though, 837 straight days of working DX with my set up here is not too shabby. Most importantly it shows just how effective CW and QRP can be, even if you live in a situation like mine. So take it from me - YOU CAN work DX pretty much no matter what situation you are in - IF you use CW and even if you are limited to QRP power levels.

I hope that first paragraph is not an obituary for the streak. I will try again later tonight probably, and tomorrow morning/afternoon for sure to have it continue.

Another rainy day today with some dry spells during which I did some more cleaning of grass between the bricks. I didn't get in any walks though, other than around here inside the house.

We've had well over two inches of rain the past few days with more expected overnight tonight. I'm sure glad I had my gutters cleaned out before this rainy period started. -30-

Sunday, June 14, 2015 10:05 PM - We're in the middle of a heavy thunderstorm right now, so I'm going to make this short.

I just finished our sprint log cross-checking a few minutes ago. I was so busy with that, I almost forgot about updating my own web site here and making this diary entry.

My DX QSO came quickly within a couple minutes of going to shack a little past 0000Z. I worked S57V on 17 meters. -30-

Saturday, June 13, 2015 8:53 PM - Fishing, walking, gardening, and of course ham radio today. I caught a turtle and a catfish at the river, and my 6 fish so far equals my best start in the past five years now, so maybe this will be a better year with more time to fish because of not being tied down as much with NAQCC activity. I mean on the 'business' end of the club, not the activity end. I'll always continue to be active in the on air activities of the club.

I got in a couple of nice long walks in addition to the walk to the river for fishing. It wasn't as hot as yesterday, but was still humid enough to work up a sweat even at a normal pace walk.

Checked out my garden and did some weeding. My peas have some nice flowers on them now. Many Siberian tomatoes on the plants although none ripe yet. All the pepper plants are growing fast, but no flowers yet. The beans remain very slow but I did notice some new growth starting today. I planted the remaining bean seeds yesterday. I hope I get enough seeds this year to keep the beans going next year. I really like the Speckled Butter Beans Ron K5DUZ sent me a few years ago and don't want to lose them.

The bands were decent this evening. That's about the best I can say for them. Even with the CQWWSA contest, there wasn't a lot of activity. The contest did give me two DX QSOs for the streak though - LU8YE and RK9QWM. -30-

Friday, June 12, 2015 8:35 PM - Conditions seemed much better tonight, or maybe the Europeans were just staying up later on a Friday night. HI At any rate I got a quick QSO on 17 with EW8W at just one minute past 0000Z. Then I looked around for some 6s or an N to get closer to finishing the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. I heard several Europeans with good signals, but none had a 6 or an N in their calls till I found and worked SP5INQ, leaving me needing to work two stations with a 6 in their call to complete the challenge.

Not much else happenning out of the ordinary today. It was hot with a high of 93, but I did get in one good walk around noon. No fishing though as the only easy places to get to have no shade. Later in the day we had what seemed to be another gust front, although I didn't notice anything on the radar this time. The winds weren't quite as strong as yesterday, but other than that, it acted just about the same right at the start of some heavy but brief rain. -30-

Thursday, June 11, 2015 9:14 PM - This was an interesting day. Well, actually they are all interesting in a different way. The interesting part this particular day was a severe windstorm we had late in the afternoon. I talked about this I guess a couple years ago in the diary. At that time and today, I saw a gust front preceding a severe thunderstorm on the radar, and thought to myself we are going to get blasted by some strong winds shortly. I think I'll postpone my trip to the post office to put some bill payments in the mail. Good choice because the winds were even stronger than I thought they would be. They sailed my plastic recycling bins in between houses into the neighbor's back yard. Then a few minutes later I looked out the back window to see if they had gone any further and noticed a couple of shingles in my back yard right next to my peas. Another foot and they would have wiped out the peas. When the wind let up, I gathered up the bins, and looked to see where the shingles came from. I couldn't see any missing on my roof, and the neighbor in the other half of my house didn't see any missing on his roof. I also didn't see any missing on Nancy's roof on the other side of me. Finally Bruce came along and spied the missing shingles from the roof on the other side of his (Nancy's) house. The wind carried them from the front of that house over the peak of the roof and deposited them some 50 feet away in my back yard.

Later when I did go to make the bill payments and just see if there was any serious damage around town, I ran into the Flag Day ceremony at the Elks. I didn't realize it was going to be 3 days before the actual Flag Day, so I lucked out there as I like to attend every year to honor our country and our flag. So I stayed there for the full hour and got home right at 8 o'clock.

Of course it was right to the shack where I found the same poor conditions as the past few evenings. With no workable DX to be found, I answered K4GRD for my regular streak QSO, then after that spent the next almost 40 minutes trying to find and work DX. It was driven home to me again that when conditions are poor, location is important. My friend Dick K1IEE was working Europe easily while the same stations he worked didn't even hear me. Until that is, finally after he worked 9A4A, I worked Zlat also, but my QSO was much tougher than was Dick's. Must be nice to live in Maine when you want to work Europe under poor conditions. Anyway the DX streak continues at 834 days now. -30-

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 9:09 PM - Just got home a little while ago after stuffing myself at our computer club annual picnic. I found the bands in pretty poor shape and had to struggle to extend my DX streak, but I finally worked Sal I1ULJ/8 on 30 meters in a fairly easy QSO. I had to call a couple times, but then it was solid copy. Last evening I finished up the NAQCC 'USA' Challenge when I worked UY2VM to get the last V and M from his call.

My fishing trip today yielded nothing - yesterday was much better with a 27.5 inch carp. I always love catching carp. They can really put up a good fight. Although we are way behind the Europeans in giving carp the respect they deserve, I think we are catching on somewhat, albeit slowly. -30-

Tuesday, June 09, 2015 10:43 AM - I thought I'd write this early since tonight is our NAQCC sprint, and I'll be busy before it trying to get my DX QSO and afterwards working on processing logs from the sprint. Also because I just received via email the picture from the hamfest I mentioned taken by Bob WC3O and sent by Tom W3TLN. Here it is:
pix_diary_20150609_001 (105K)

That's Tom WB3FAE at left talking about the club with one of our visitors, me and then Mike tending to priorities - eating our snacks. I'm just about to open my big sub.

Now I'm off to...yes, get something to eat, then check the weather and the river level on the Internet and if they both look good, I might go fishing. If not, I'll find something else to do to pass the time. -30-

Monday, June 08, 2015 8:52 PM - One more thought about the hamfest yesterday. I was surprised and humbled by the number of visitors to our NAQCC table who asked me about my streak(s). I didn't know there was so much interest in them. That is encouraging when things get a bit rough which they once in a while do. Fortunately that doesn't happen often. I'm not going to look back through my log now, but I know it's been a good while since I missed getting my streak QSO in the 0000Z hour, both regular and DX if they weren't one and the same. Or at least between 0100 and 0300Z on the occasional evening when I'm out late such as at our computer club meeting.

I'm a bit disappointed in 20 meters the past couple nights. After being simply fabulous last Friday evening with 8 easy DX QSOs, most from Europe, 20 hasn't had much to offer since then in the evening. I don't know why as the propagation numbers look about the same. Perhaps it's just a lack of activity. Anyway the DX streak still continues with YN5SU last night and PT7WM this evening. SU on 17M and WM on 30M. As it gets closer to the 1,000 day mark for the DX streak, I am getting a bit more determined to make it that far, and then I may think about voluntarily ending it if it becomes too hard. Actually it's not all that close - I still need 169 more days, and the Sun is declining in activity. We'll have to see what happens.

Oh, after getting a LoTW confirmation from K1N a couple days ago, I got my regular QSL in the mail today which means I now have all 50 currently active North American DXCC entities worked with 5 watts or less and verified via QSL card. I also have deleted entities KZ5 (Canal Zone - greater than 5 watts from the 1960s) and PJ5 (Sint Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius - with 5 watts before the Netherlands Antilles breakup) confirmed. Here's a scan of the milestone card:

pix_diary_20150608_001 (107K) pix_diary_20150608_002 (132K)

It's actually a four sided card, but to save bandwidth, I only scanned sides 1 and 4. -30-

Sunday, June 07, 2015 6:38 PM - The entry today is about our experience at the Breezeshooters Hamfest in Butler. We got up between 5:30 and 6:00 AM (YAWN!!) so we could get something to eat and get there early to set up our table and trasmitting equipment which consisted of Mike's KX3, PX3, and jumper dipole along with John's laptop for logging. The antenna was mounted on a field mast provided by the third member of our team, Tom WB3FAE.

Once we were set up, we started operating. 17 meter was really hot and we quickly worked CO8LY, YN5SU, and HI8V. We heard many JA stations, but they were mostly answering CQs from other DX stations. A couple did call CQ, but weren't hearing our answers.

There was a lot of background noise from vendors, LOUDspeaker announcements, and other general noise which made operating a little hectic.

Along the way we signed up four new members, AB3I, W3YJ, KA3JOU, and KB3YIS. All of them were very enthusiastic about CW. We also had many current members drop by our table to visit. They were all very happy to see us as we were to see them. Not all signed our visitors sheet, but those who did are: W3WH, W3IU, AB3RU, K3VYY, KD8RUQ, N8XEE, AA3TG. We also saw W3BBO, WC3O, KQ3Z, AA3LX.

A lot of those folks, members and non-members both, showed great interest in the KX3 and PX3 combination. Many of them were younger in their late 20s and early 30s which is a good sign for the future of CW. Several also inquired about our antenna, and were impressed with it when we showed it to them.

As far as some general info about the hamfest, we all noticed many more tailgate vendors this year than in previous years. It was nice to visit with Bob WC3O and other Skyview Radio Society members as we do every year at the hamfest. Bob took a picture of the three of us at our table. Hopefully he will email a copy and we can present it here in the diary as well as later in the NAQCC Newsletter. Only Tom of our group found anything that he needed from the vendors. He bought some Power Pole connectors, and when Mike and I left for home, he said he was going to look for some wire and other things before he left.

We announced an operating session for our NAQCC members to try to work us between 1500 and 1600Z. It was a bit rough because of the aforementioned noise in the building. Also there was a lot of QSB on the bands. In addition there was a steady carrier right on our announced frequency of 7041 which Tom and I thought might be coming from some equipment somewhere on the hamfest grounds. Despite all of that we did manage to make four QSOs with our members.

After that we went back to chasing some DX, and Tom managed to work OE3DXA on 17 meters. We heard many other countries, but it seems they were not hearing us.

As soon as activity at the hamfest slowed down, we decided to pack up and head for home after an enjoyable day.

Of course in addition to some great food we had at the hamfest, after it was over Mike and I stopped at one of our new-found favorite places - Clark's Landing - for a great meal. -30-

Saturday, June 06, 2015 8:21 PM - Another somewhat busy day today. Bruce and Nancy took me shopping up to the mall where I got some new shoes, a supply of Turkey Spam, three tomato plants, and a new wallet. Then after that, I mowed the grass in the back yard after planting the three tomatoes. It was a second day in a row without a good long walk. Tomorrow will probably be the same since most of the day will be taken up with the Butler hamfest.

Right now after getting my streak QSO from G6YB/P, I'm waiting for Mike to arrive with a pizza. Then we'll fine tune our plans for tomorrow, and who knows what else we'll get into before it's time for bed. The bands are pretty good, but not as good as last night. There's not a lot of activity in the European FD. But we still might try to work some DX. I heard a Guernsey station, but didn't try to work him. I don't know if Mike needs Guernsey or not. -30-

Friday, June 05, 2015 9:19 PM - My, this was a busy day. I can't even remember all I did. HI. I did paint my thermometer shelter and rain gauge support as they were starting to show some wear, paint-wise. I also did a lot of cleaning in the house. Mixed in amongst all else, Mike, Tom, and I exchanged a lot of emails about our plans for the hamfest at Butler on Sunday. I never even had time to go for a walk. I think my back yard was about as far as I got from the house. HI.

I know there were some other things. Oh, I enjoyed watching my gutters perform well after their cleaning the other day. We had a brief heavy downpour of around a half inch in 10 minutes or so, and the water was just pouring out the downspouts as it should do, but hadn't for a while now. It also washed out some of the remaining light residue as well.

The bands were superb this evening, especially 20 and 17. I worked 7 DX stations, 6 from Europe and one from South America. Along the way I knocked off a bunch of letters in the NAQCC June challenges. I now need just 6 to complete the "USA" challenge and 7 for the European Chapter challenge. It should be easy to finish. Hope those aren't 'famous last words' - HI The roughest will be getting four 6s for the EC challenge. Hopefully I'll run into a EA6 and an F6, maybe a DL6 as those are about the most common ways to get those 6s. -30-

Thursday, June 04, 2015 9:03 PM - Another nice day today to be outside. I finished painting my back steps, did a little work in the garden, and took a couple of good walks. Now I just finished taking some nice sunset pictures. I'll see how they turned out and maybe post one. Here's one that turned out pretty good and is representative of the display which lasted 10 minutes or so.

pix_diary_20150604_001 (49K)

Just before the sunset started I got on the air to get my streak QSOs. I worked 2 DX stations, both TU 599 type QSOs from YU4DX on 20 and PY2XAT on 15.

This Sunday is the Breezeshooters Hamfest in Butler, PA. As we do each year Mike KC2EGL and I set up a NAQCC table to introduce folks to the club and sign up some new members. I say Mike and I because we are the fixtures for the past several years now. We've also had Tom WY3H, Don K3RLL, Tom's two sons Ethan W3IRS and Arial KC3AHO, Scotty KG3W, and a couple others help to man the table. Again this year we'll be putting N3AQC on the air from the hamfest. Oh, and the most recent member of our little NAQCC WPA Chapter - Tom WB3FAE - will be helping with the table as well as with our N3AQC Field Day effort later this month.

Mike will be coming down Saturday evening to stay here so we can get an early start (YAWN!!) Sunday morning. So we'll have the evening to see what we can get into. -30-

Wednesday, June 03, 2015 10:28 AM - I checked today and was surprised at the number of new prefixes I worked in the WPX contest. I knew a few were new, but I didn't think there were so many - CU4 EN0 IR3 IY3 J42 OR3 R4 SW9 SZ6 UR2 HG30 9A73 AO90 HB90. And a couple days after the contest DK65.

I think I am going to see which countries have given me the most prefixes. It should be easy to do with my Microsoft Access log and perhaps a bit of help from MS Excel. I would guess Germany would be right up there along with perhaps Italy, Slovenia, Poland, etc. Maybe Bulgaria with all their saints stations prefixes. Of course the USA will top them all, but... I'm really interested in the DX countries.

OK, that didn't take all that long although I did have to review crosstab queries a bit before I succeeded.

Here are the top ten including some surprises (to me anyway):
Country         Total
USA             1391
Canada           135
Germany          111
European Russia   98
Ukraine           87
Italy             84
Spain             60
Japan             58
Brazil            56
Poland            55
I should have thought, but I didn't, that European Russia would have been up there. I'm surprised at Ukraine. I never realized I had that many prefixes from there. The others are pretty logical. The ones I guessed would be there, but weren't are Bulgaria with 45, Slovenia with 37.

There is a slight discrepancy in the figures where S5/UN4L would be counted as the UN4 prefix in Slovenia, but I guess that still does make sense since UN4 is another prefix I worked from Slovenia. Anyway there aren't that many of them and however you figure it, the totals give a good general overall picture of prefixes vs. country.

As you see, I wrote this early in the day since I got involved in working with prefixes from the WPX contest. So that's it for today's entry, except to say thanks to all of you who, for whatever reason, check the diary daily. I appreciate your interest in my doings. -30-

Tuesday, June 02, 2015 8:57 PM - This was a quiet day compared to yesterday. Still pretty much like October in June again and the wind was a little stronger today making it feel even more chilly.

I can't even think of much of anything out of the ordinary that happened today. Just the usual things that happen every day.

I did reserve my free Windows 10 upgrade from Microsoft. It is supposed to be released on July 29, but I suspect that may be delayed a bit as there are still some bugs in the beta version to be worked out. Still as I said, this latest insider preview build is pretty sound.

I guess no one else is going to get the answer to my trivia question besides NAQCC member Bill K4WLW. He knew that the numbers 1,352, 16,821, and 13 had in common that they are part of the lyrics in the song Nashville Cats by the Lovin' Spoonful. Nice work Bill, and he just knew the answer without looking it up. As I said, it would be hard to look up anyway.

The DX streak was extended yet another day when I worked R5WW, Igor on 20 meters. Too bad he didn't have a P at the end of that call. W2WWP remains the only other WWP I've worked over the years and he is now a silent key.

Some folks think that QRP stations only work certain DX stations over and over again. That ain't so. Of the 151 QSOs I made in the CQWPX contest, 29 were worked for the first time. That's about 1 in 5. -30-

Monday, June 01, 2015 9:19 PM - A busy day today starting from the get-go. As soon as I got up, I put my laundry in the washer. Then someone came to clean out my gutters. I found a really great efficient company for doing that after struggling to get someone for quite some time now. They sure got a lot of gunk out of those gutters. Now I can't wait for some rain to see how they work. The trapped water came out in a torrent today. Here in Kittanning we don't have much of a storm sewer system and must drain our gutters into the yard as best we can, so we can really tell when they aren't working right.

After finishing the laundry it was time for a visit to the bank which I do the first of every month to set myself up financially for the coming month. Next I wrote the NAQCC WPA Chapter and my personal news for the June NAQCC newsletter. Then did the final processing of the May sprint statistics and sent them off for the newsletter.

It was kind of like October in June today. The high during the day never got out of the 50s under gray overcast skies. Right now it's 57 which is about the best it has been all day. I did manage to get in a couple walks. I went by the river and it came up a few feet after the rain last evening which was quite heavy and longer lasting upstream.

I got the latest build of the Windows 10 Insider Edition today. It's been interesting to watch the development of the system over the past 8 months now from a very buggy slow debut to today's slick close to release version. I also got a note inviting me to reserve my free copy of Windows 10 when it is released sometime this summer. I think I'll install it on my laptop and just leave Windows 7 on my main computer for now. Then maybe later I'll switch over if the free copy can be installed on more than one computer. I'm glad I joined the insider program - it's been a lot of fun as well as interesting.

Now all that brings us to 0000Z and my effort to continue the streaks. It took 9 minutes to find and work the special event station DK65DARC operated by DJ9MH whom I've worked before. That also gave me a bunch of letters/numbers for the two NAQCC challenges. In fact a total of 19. Along with K1ESE, OM5OA, and SM3NXS whom I worked also this evening, I now have 39 of 85 for the 'Midway' challenge and 29 of 58 for the European Chapter challenge. Not bad for 1 day and a couple hours, but then the letters always come fast the first few QSOs of a month so it will slow down now. -30-