Looks like first impressions are not always accurate, and need to be followed up on. Thanks Geo. It's always good to hear from you.
Never did get on the air today. I wanted to get some other things taken care of since I'll be spending two hours on the air this evening in our NAQCC sprint - probably struggling to make QSOs if evening conditions are like they have been recently. Probably 80 meters will be the band of choice this evening. I'm pretty sure 20 will be dead with 40 not much better. But then, I could be totally wrong since as I said, I haven't been on the air yet today at all.
Since I probably won't get my DX QSO this evening, I will have to check the bands tomorrow morning and/or afternoon to keep the DX streak alive. Now I'm off to get some more preparation done for the sprint and the log checking afterwards. -30-
Monday, December 09, 2013 8:04 PM - When I got my laptop a couple weeks ago now, I planned to only be using it as a speedier computer for my shack plus for taking on our parkpeditions to facilitate logging. Well, I have now fallen in love with Windows 8, and I'm using the laptop as much as, if not more than, my main Windows 7 computer. I find a lot of things are much easier to do and more intuitive to do with Windows 8 than with any previous version of Windows. Keep in mind that's coming from someone (me) who viewed 8 as a Microsoft disaster when I first got wind of it. Even the first couple brief times I used it on someone else's computer, I didn't think all that much of it. I think it is because of the radical change from earlier Windows versions that it is necessary to actually use it (thoroughly) for a couple days or so to come to truly appreciate it. I certainly have.
As for ham radio now, the bands were good to EU in the 1500Z hour again today, and I crept closer to finishing the NAQCC European challenge, and now need only a 3, 0, and S to finish up after working IK3VUT and G3HGE on 17 meters today. This evening I finally worked Nigel on 30 meters (PJ7/G3TXF) for day # 285 in the DX streak.
Each week I check to see if my on-line log matches my computer log, and in so doing I call up a Microsoft Access Query that lists all my QRP QSOs by band and year. In looking at that query today I see that this has been a good year for ham radio on the high bands - the best in most cases since the early 2000s. Here are some stats for the different bands:
10M - 237 DX QSOs best since 767 in 2002
12M - 33 DX QSOs best since 61 in 2004
15M - 592 DX QSOs best since 667 in 2002
17M - 130 DX QSOs best ever, topping previous best 75 in 2000
20M - 740 DX QSOs best ever, topping previous best 690 in 1999
30M - 112 DX QSOs best ever, topping previous best 92 in 1994
40M - 163 DX QSOs best ever, topping previous best 113 in 1994
80M - 25 DX QSOs ties best ever in 2004
Those are DX QSOs. Now for curiousity I'm going to check total QSOs by band:
10M - 238 best since 264 in 2011
12M - 33 best since 35 in 2011
15M - 660 best since 938 in 2002
17M - 138 best ever (103 in 1995)
20M - 1101 best since 1466 in 1999
30M and lower - no records to mention
Take one thing into consideration - I probably have put in a lot fewer hours this year than I used to do before the NAQCC and other obligations took up a lot of my time. Also of course this year is not over yet and there are some good contests coming up like the 10M contest, RAC Winter contest, etc. which should add to the 2013 totals. I think that shows just how good conditions have been in 2013 - OR - is it maybe the KX3 which with the panadapter helps make more efficient use of what time I do have to operate? Hmmmm. -30-
Sunday, December 08, 2013 8:39 PM - I had a good time on the bands today in the 1500Z hour. I first easily got my DX QSO working EI13CLAN on 15 meters. I got a few letters and numbers from that call for the NAQCC European challenge, then decided to try to get some more toward the challenge, so I looked around for a while and found IQ2CJ and EA7AJR who helped get me closer to the finish line. But the real catch wasn't from EU, but AF. I worked 7X3WPL easily, and now I hope getting the QSL is as easy. That's one of the few countries I've worked, but don't have verified. I worked 7X4AN on three different bands, but he never answered any of my QSL requests despite all QSOs being solid ones. So hopefully I'll fare better with 7X3WPL.
This evening it was the same old story. Not much activity on the bands, and almost nil as far as strong DX stations. About the strongest was PJ7/G3TXF on 30 meters, but unlike the fairly easy QSO on 12 a couple days ago with Nigel, I couldn't break the pileup on 30 this evening. So again tomorrow morning or afternoon, I'll be chasing DX for the DX streak. I did have a nice rag chew with Bill W9VC for the regular streak QSO. -30-
Saturday, December 07, 2013 8:55 PM - Well, I got on the bands around noon today expecting much more than what I got. I figured Europe would be all over the high bands, but it wasn't so. In fact I could have counted on the fingers of one hand the number of EU stations I did hear, and none of them were strong. In fact, I heard Caribbean stations working EU, and I couldn't hear the EU stations at all. I did manage a DX QSO though to keep the streak alive at 282 days when I worked PJ7/G3TXF on 12 meters which turned out to be a new band-country for toppers.
Although 17 meters was open after 0000Z this evening, the DX signals were too weak to even try except for Nigel again, but he was calling JA only so I didn't bother him. I'll have to get my DX QSO in the morning or afternoon again. I did work TJ K9TJL (a regular diary reader) on 40 meters, the first time we've worked now in over a year. I didn't even listen to the 160 meters contest. Perhaps I might check it before I go to bed. Probably not. -30-
Friday, December 06, 2013 9:07 PM - No DX tonight, but that's good because it will give me an incentive to get on the bands in the morning or afternoon to preserve the DX streak and work on the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. I just fooled around all day today with the laptop, some shopping, visiting next door, and the like.
I got in the 160M contest for a couple minutes this evening and made about a half dozen or so QSOs. Conditions seemed pretty good, but I just wasn't in the mood for a more serious effort. I'm looking forward to the 10M contest next weekend. I hope conditions will be good for that one. -30-
Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:08 PM - Again this evening I managed to get my DX streak QSO when I worked YV8AD on 30M after chasing PJ7/G3TXF unsuccessfully for quite a while. I guess PJ7 is still a relatively pretty much in demand country as Nigel was working one station after another constantly, and I wasn't one of the stations.
I was mostly playing with the new laptop today. I'm getting to really like Windows 8 more and more every time I use it. I remember when I first saw it several months ago, I thought it was rather a dumb scheme, but now I've flipped 180 degrees and just love it. Great job, Microsoft! Now I'm looking forward to upgrading to 8.1 before I get two many new apps on the laptop. It should be a few hours project to do that, but I do want to get all the new features that 8.1 has over 8.
As a result of that, I never did get on the bands till this evening, and I probably missed some real good conditions as the SF was up to 150 today. Well, maybe tomorrow. It's supposed to be a rain/sleet/s^*w couple of days coming up. Good days to stay inside away from that stuff. At least Saturday features the earliest sunset of the season and we start gaining a little daylight each day in the evening from then through the summer. Oh, and 85 days left of meteorological winter after today. Five down, and..... -30-
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 7:58 PM - Two fun things today. First working DX on the high bands and getting a lot of progress on the NAQCC European Challenge from stations like EM110RAEM and S506SLG plus a few other not so letter/number loaded stations. Now I've got 32 of the 47 letters/numbers needed. I also worked a new band country in FJ/DK7LX on 17 meters. Maybe a couple other new prefixes besides the ones mentioned above. Maybe tomorrow I can take another big step toward completion of the challenge.
Not a much luck with the regular NAQCC challenge of making 20 minute 'rag chews'. I don't have a single one so far, and probably won't complete the challenge, but I will get at least one to keep my streak of getting a participation point alive.
Earlier in the day I put the lights on the Christmas tree, then early this evening finished up with the ornaments (or ormanents as Ed King of Party Line called them many many years ago to distinguish them from ordinary every day ornaments). Here's a picture of the finished tree and the manger scene underneath.
After finishing the tree, it was time to tend to my streak(s). For a change I got a DX QSO right away this evening working H70ORO on 40M with a single call. It's been a while now since I've heard that station after hearing it all the time earlier in the year. Anyway I'm all set with both streaks now, but I still will probably chase DX in the morning and/or afternoon for those challenge letters and any possible new band countries. -30-
Tuesday, December 03, 2013 8:34 PM - Like so many evenings of late, except for a pileup here and there chasing some rare DX, there has been very little activity on the bands. That's borne out by the Panadapter which shows virtually nothing but the noise floor, even on 40 and 80. The few stations that are there are at a good level so conditions are good. There's just very little activity. With the winter weather and dark early evenings, I would think activity would pick up because of the lessening of outdoor activities, but I guess not.
So once again, I got my regular QSO after about a half hour of calling CQ on 40, 60, and 80. Joe WU0E in Iowa finally answered me. Earlier in the day around 1530Z, I easily worked M0TIX. I heard him come on with a brief tune followed by his call. I sent my call once, and he said something like, 'that was quick, you have good ears', and we had a solid, if somewhat short QSO. It could have been longer, but Bruce had called earlier and said he and Nancy wanted to take me out to lunch at Ponderosa and it was getting time to get ready to go. Rob gave me a 599 and copied everything solidly even me telling him about the lunch.
As usual it was a great buffet at Ponderosa, maybe even a little better than usual because some 'head honchos' from Ponderosa were visiting the restaurant for whatever reason. After that when we got home, I played with Roscoe a bit, then came over home and did some computer work, and a little more Christmas decorating. I got the tree up today, but not trimmed yet, and straightened out the lights around the window. That pretty much covers the day. -30-
Monday, December 02, 2013 9:16 PM - A busy day today kept me off the bands again till this evening. Started the day with my laundry and my first of the month financial work. Then I visited next door for a while. Some other chores took care of the rest of the afternoon.
The bands were very poor this evening. It was hard getting a regular QSO, let alone a DX QSO. That will have to wait till tomorrow, but after about 45 minutes of hunting and calling CQ, Bob N9UUI finally answered my CQ on 80 meters. So at least the big streak is still going strong. After I got my QSO, I trimmed my front window with the traditional nativity scene shown here looking from across the room as I sit at the computer.
Sunday, December 01, 2013 8:29 PM - This was just a super great day today encompassing two events. Let me write a little about both. I could write a LOT about both but I'll try to keep it short.
First was our last minute Requin operation I mentioned in last night's diary entry. Tom WY3H picked me up around 8:30AM and we and his two sons headed off to Pittsburgh. After a little bit of a rough time with the GPS, we got it working and although we knew the route pretty well, it's always tricky driving through Pittsburgh or any big city, but it guided us perfectly to the sub.
Art WA3BKD showed up just a couple minutes after we arrived, and we boarded the sub. As I mentioned this was a trip mainly for a newspaper story, and ham radio was a little side activity. Kind of like those 'dxpeditions' which are listed as actually vacations with a little ham radio on the side. I started off just after 10AM and had a minor pileup and clearing the stations out took about 25 minutes. Then after the break, Tom wanted to let his sons try to make some QSOs, but they are not too proficient with CW, so they tried SSB for quite a while without any luck while I kind of wandered around the sub doing this and that. Finally they gave up and I worked about 25 minutes more making QSOs that totalled altogether in the two periods 13. Not a great rate, but the QRN was horrible on the sub and I could have easily missed other stations calling. Plus the QRM inside the sub with visitors talking, etc. - not to mention having pictures taken while operating - didn't help. So I apologize to anyone I missed. After my session, Art made one QSO on CW, then helped Tom's son Ethan make one SSB QSO. Then all too soon it was time to leave for home.
I killed a couple hours at home then headed over to the Bowsers next door for a really great four hours or so of good food and fellowship in a delayed Thanksgiving dinner. As we did last year, we had a drawing for a Christmas exchange of gifts. The three youngest were having a ball making out gift lists. The youngest Jocelyn (about 4 I think) was going around helping everyone make their lists, and she spent a lot of time with me sitting on my lap first making out my list, then having me help her make out her list. She listed about 44 things, each and everyone started with 'pretty' like pretty shoes, pretty hair ribbon. When I'd suggest an item that she particularly liked, she'd say 'good one'. I really enjoyed that little session with her.
It is just so great to have wonderful neighbors when you live alone and I really appreciate them very much.
Shifting gears now, DX came quickly tonight when I worked C6AKQ on 30 meters with a single call. There was not much activity on the bands at all - typical of late in the evenings. Tomorrow is another busy day with my laundry, some left over last of the month, first of the month things plus a few other chores. I would like to get in some EU DX to get started on the NAQCC European Chapter December challenge, but I don't know if I will. It's also supposed to be a good week weatherwise with temperatures climbing into the mid 50s by mid-week so I'll have to get caught up on my outside walking. Oh, and also tomorrow I hope to decorate my window and put up my Christmas tree - almost forgot about that. Whew! -30-
Saturday, November 30, 2013 10:12 PM - Today I had a great visit from one of our newer NAQCC members who lives about 15-20 miles from here. Tom WB3FAE came over just after noon and we spent about 3 1/2 hours together mostly playing with the KX3 as he is thinking of getting one, and I think after the hands-on experience with mine today, he is now definitely going for one. Tom's a real good op who like so many hams get away from ham radio for several years and then get back into it later in life. When he was last active, 12 and 17 meters were fairly new, and today he made his first ever 12M QSO with my KX3. We'll be getting together again and we definitely want to go parkpeditioning when the good weather returns next spring.
On somewhat of a last-minute decision, I'll be operating from the USS Requin in Pittsburgh tomorrow. Tom WY3H is doing an article for the local paper on the Requin and we will also be doing some operating around 7040 and 14060 with the Requin's equipment. All we know about the time right now is that the Requin opens at 10 AM (1500Z). No definite operating times will be known until we get there tomorrow.
After we get home, then I have an invitation to another Thanksgiving dinner at the Bowsers who all had to work over Thanksgiving itself, thus the delay until tomorrow.
So with all that going on tomorrow, I wanted to be sure to get my DX QSO this evening for day # 276 and PJ2/VE7ACN obliged. It just took a couple calls on 30M to get him in the log. So I'm all set for another day. When Tom was here I was showing him my Microsoft Access logging system and at random I picked a couple SQL queries to show him. One was on how many days I worked DX so far in 2013. Turned out it was 300 exactly, so I now have 301 DX days this year. I think that may be a record for me. I'm not going to make a thorough check right now, but I am going to check a few years around the last sunspot maximum. Interesting to see that in 2000 for the whole year I had the same as what I have now in 2013 to date - 301 DX days. So the next DX day will be a record for me. I think that should encourage everyone and show them that now is the time to be chasing DX if that is their wont. -30-
Friday, November 29, 2013 6:13 PM - I wrote my CQWW DX contest story today and it is now posted, so that will stand as my diary entry for today since nothing else at all noteworthy happened today. Go to the CONTESTING section of my site, then the Contest Stories page for an index of all my contest stories including this latest one. -30-
Thursday, November 28, 2013 9:04 PM - I hope you all had as good a Thanksgiving day as I did. I had a great dinner and visit with Nancy, her two sons, two of her grandchildren, and of course, Roscoe. I could list all the goodies we had to eat, but that would use up too much of my web site bandwidth. Suffice it to say, there were a lot of different things to eat, and I had my share of each and every one, as did everyone else. Well, there were some things Roscoe couldn't eat, but he made up for it with those things he could eat. HI.
After that I played around with my new laptop, and found it does work very well with the KX3 and HDSDR after Mike helped me get it set up yesterday. Then I modified my shack a bit by altering the shelf where my equipment sits to make room for the laptop on the desk. Here's what that looks like:
My DX came quickly on mostly deserted bands. I worked J88HL on 30 meters even though I did only work him there 10 days ago. There just wasn't much else to be had in the way of DX or anything else for that matter. I guess the holiday added to the empty evening bands even more tonight. -30-
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:36 PM - And now, here's Mike!! (Read that aloud like Ed McMahon) Today John and I worked on setting up his new laptop for use with his KX3. John downloaded the two software programs that run the HDSDR Panadapter. After adjusting the settings to the panadapter we tested the setup to see which sound card compatible with the panadapter and KX3. We found to our surprise, amazement, and relief that John did not need the use of an external sound card like I do with my set up. I brought my sound card along just in case it was needed. The funny thing about the testing is that my sound card for some unknown reason is not compatible with Johns set up. Don't ask us why. We almost hurt our brains trying to figure it out. That could prove to be very dangerous in my case. Hi-Hi!!!!! After the test session we went out for lunch and then for a ride to take a peek at a house I wanted to look at in Butler County. We also ordered NAQCC WPA Chapter hats. Later this evening I have a local ARES/RACES club meeting. After that John and I will have a late dinner and hunt a bit of DX for a bit before I head back home.
We would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah.
Mike KC2EGL NAQCC # 1236
John K3WWP NAQCC # 2 -30-
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:22 PM - A really nasty day today although not as bad as it could have been, I guess. We had rain mixed with s$%w all day. A couple inches of the ugly stuff that turned to slush in the rain. It will be bad if it freezes tonight which it may or may not do. The temperature has been 34 or 35 all day which really helped things out.
Anyway it was a good day to play with my new laptop. I got the recovery media made today which took a couple hours or more. Then I did the first series of updates which took an hour or so. Now there is a second series of updated being done as I type here. I've learned a lot about Windows 8 and am getting to like it more and more as I get used to the big differences from Windows 7. Still a lot more to learn yet, but it shouldn't take all that long till I'm pretty much familiar with it.
I didn't get on the bands till around 0045Z tonight as I was busy with the laptop. However the DX came quickly and in a bunch. I worked V25A, J88HL, and PV8ADI all on 40 meters withing a few minutes. Also tried J87GU but couldn't get him and didn't feel like waiting too long since it was nothing new and the streak was already secured at 272 days. -30-
Monday, November 25, 2013 7:48 PM - Kind of a busy day getting caught up on some things after my marathon CQWW DX contest. Although it will be mentioned in the contest report when I get time to write it, I neglected to say in the diary entry last night that all 421 QSOs were DX. Although I could have, I didn't work any W/VE stations since I was only having fun working DX and not going for a score. So I lost several band country and band zone multipliers as a result.
Two big chores today top the list and the only two I'm going to talk about. First of all, I managed to finish up the NAQCC sprint cross-checking of logs. It wasn't too time-consuming this month. I guess each month I learn a couple new tricks to make it simpler and quicker - even after doing 109 of them now.
Secondly I bought a laptop computer today. It will replace my old(!) shack computer and also just be handy to take on our parkpeditions next year as well as just being a backup computer. It's not a top of the line state of the art laptop, but good enough for what I plan to use it. I'll probably be saying more about it as time goes by. I've barely had time to play with it today so far. I only got it around 11:30AM when Bruce ran me up to WalMart. Then I wanted to get the cross-checking done before I even opened the box. Yes, I guess I do have some willpower left in my old age. HI.
I also had to take a bit of time to get my DX QSO since it seems like everyone who is DX shut down at 0000Z last evening. My QSO came easily this morning at 1422Z when I had a short chat with Leif SM3DBU on 15 meters. Then this evening there also was not much DX around except for someone on 80M whom I couldn't hear at all here. I only heard his massive pileup. I did find J88HL on 30M and was about to work him even though I had worked him just a couple weeks ago on 30. However another peak came on the panadapter and I checked it and found FS/K9EL so I worked him for day # 271 in the DX streak. -30-
Sunday, November 24, 2013 8:16 PM - I am fairly beat right now after putting in way too many hours having a ball in the CQWW DX contest. Great conditions this weekend, although Sunday seemed down a bit from Saturday. Still I wound up with 421 QSOs from a rough count of 80 countries from all continents. I'm writing a report for my contest reports page so I won't say more here now. I will let you know in the diary when the report is finished and posted.
Nothing else going on today. Just about all my time taken up in the contest. I did get my streak QSO after the contest this evening, but I still have to get my DX streak QSO which will probably be tomorrow morning or afternoon. -30-
Saturday, November 23, 2013 8:38 PM - With 281 QSOs in my CQWW DX Contest log, I am curious to see the last time I hit 400, 500, and 600 in a contest. I should be able to reach 400 in this one with a very outside chance at 500 if conditions are as good tomorrow as today. OK, let's see now. I reached 600 QSOs once in an ARRL DX Contest back in 2002 when I got 633, my all time best.
I reached 500 QSOs seven times including the above. The last time in the January 2003 NAQP.
I reached 400 QSOs 14 times including the above. The first was an ARRL CD Contest back in 1968 and wasn't really QRP by today's standards of five watts output as I ran about 50 watts out then which was QRP by the standards of that era. The last time I hit 400 was the January 2004 NAQP.
In a pure DX contest (ARRL DX and CQWW DX) I reached 400 only 5 times. The others were NAQP and SS plus one 10 meters contest.
So if I reach 400, it won't be all that common for me.
I'll probably write one of my contest reports for this one, so I won't say much more about it here in the diary now. I'll just say that the bands were definitely reminiscent of the DX contests at the previous sunspot maximum. Ten meters had activity almost up to 28200 and 15 was well into the 21100s. 20 meters was almost up to 14100 with perhaps a couple stations above that.
As I said yesterday, the KX3 continues to awe and impress me. I can see 3 or 4 very closely spaced (within a few hundred Hz) stations on the panadapter and can only hear one of them at a time as I tune. I don't recall ever doing that with any previous rig, although I didn't have a panadapter then to see just how closely spaced the stations were. -30-
Friday, November 22, 2013 9:01 PM - Anyone who claims CW is dead should listen to the bands this weekend in the CQWW DX contest. 40 meters especially this evening where it is wall to wall signals a couple hundred Hz apart. Awesome, and yet another testimonial to the wonderful receiver in the KX3. Very easy to separate two S9+++ signals a couple hundred Hz apart without even knowing the other one is there. Or even better a weaker signal from the S9+++ station.
Working stations is very rough for my minimal QRP this evening against all the competition from the KW/big antenna stations. I've only made 12 QSOs in the first 90 minutes. Eight on 20 and 4 on 40. Four continents so far - EU NA SA AF. Areas and stations usually easy to work are just not clicking yet. D4C usually easy here, but not tonight. KL7 stations not hearing me. And so on. I think things will be better tomorrow. Hopefully 15 and 10 will be in great shape and yield some much better QSO rates for me. We shall see what we shall see, as the saying goes.
It was light up night here in Kittanning, and I didn't realize they were having a fireworks display until I heard the noise. It was pretty awesome, and I actually saw a couple new displays. One looked like Saturn with a globe and the ring. Another for lack of a better description was like a bowtie with two fan shapes coming out of the center globe. I've watched many fireworks displays and never before saw anything like those two.
Well time (a bit past) to get my weather readings, then maybe back to the contest - or maybe not. I might just wait till tomorrow morning. -30-
Thursday, November 21, 2013 8:46 PM - A good part of the day spent in processing sprint logs getting ready for the cross-checking when all are in. I'm getting better at keeping up with them as they come in and not letting them get ahead of me. With 3 logs just ringing in as I type here, we have 89 in so far. Looks pretty good for making it to 100 again, but I don't think we'll approach last month's 156. Conditions were not all that good this month and there weren't any extra prizes this month as an extra incentive.
Actually saying conditions were not all that good is being kind. They were just plain downright awful here, and from the soapbox comments, other places as well. I had to really struggle to get 43 QSOs into my log, but in the long run it was rewarding to have done so. Still I wish just once I could have the quiet local noise level here that we experience at the Community Park. Maybe next summer when it stays light late, I'll operate a sprint from up there. I plan to be getting a laptop computer for my shack computer soon, and I'll be able to take that to the park to log with GenLog. Stay tuned for further developments next spring and summer. I'm certainly not going up there in the cold and dark this time of year.
There was quite a bit of DX around this evening - mostly stations getting in some last testing before the big CQWW DX Contest this weekend. I didn't have a lot of luck working any of it as they were mostly occupied by the big KW stations also getting ready for the weekend. I heard the 3DA station again and tried for a while till I knew it was hopeless. He just wasn't all that strong as propagation wasn't overly favoring our path. However I did work YN2CC easily on 30M, then HK1/PY2ZXU just as easy on 20 to continue the DX streak to 267 days now. It should very easily be 269 after this weekend, barring complete disaster of some kind. -30-
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 7:29 PM - Another busy day today. Just a lot of mundane things not really worth talking about. It was pretty nice and I did get in a couple walks/shopping trips between other things.
Now I'm getting ready for our NAQCC sprint in about an hour now. Not really in a sprint/contest mood, but I haven't missed one of our sprints yet, and tonight won't be the first.
I didn't get a chance again today to explore the bands till this evening. There were a lot of stations getting ready for the CQ WW DX contest. I tried to work a PJ2/.... station, but he never did get my call right so I didn't log him. Then on 40M, I got J75KG easily to get my DX streak QSO out of the way for the 21st. 99 more days now and I'll have a full year of DX. Still wondering if I can make it.
OK, now off to get a snack and then get my weather readings before the sprint starts. -30-
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 8:27 PM - I was busy with other things today and didn't get on the bands much till this evening. I've got a lot of little things to do tomorrow also including getting ready for our NAQCC sprint tomorrow evening so I may not get on much tomorrow either.
I don't think I've ever seen so many pileups on the bands as I have the past several days. I think the key word is 'seen'. Perhaps they have been there before, but they don't show up as well to the ear as they do with the eye. I'm talking about the KX3 and the HDSDR Panadapter. With that setup, the pileups stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. None of the stations with the pileups today were strong except a couple I had already worked. I did break a 40M pileup this evening for my DX streak QSO though when I worked PJ7/N7QT. It was easy to follow his pile and call exactly where he was listening since I could hear everyone he was working pretty well. That doesn't happen all the time on the higher bands because a good many of the pileup stations are in my skip zone and thus unheard here. -30-
Monday, November 18, 2013 8:55 PM - This is the kind of day when I appreciate having for the most part, indoor antennas. Very windy with gusts up probably near 40 MPH. Not as bad as what was predicted and as what they got in some areas though. I guess there were tornadoes in a few states to the west of here and there were predictions of winds up to 70 MPH here, but that never materialized, and I think I know why. It's because I brought in my flowers, chairs, and wind chimes from the front porch. Probably if I'd left them out, we would have gotten the bad winds. HI.
I didn't do as well today breaking pile-ups. Although I did easily work D44AC on 20 and 10, I just couldn't break the 5S, 3D, and W8 piles. None of the three stations were all that strong here, so propagation wasn't in my favor. The 3D was the best, but he seemed to have transmitter problems. He drifted, and then I finally lost him altogether. All three would have been overall new entities also. Oh well....
This evening it took a while longer than the past couple nights to get my DX QSO, but at 0059Z I worked J88HL on 30M pretty easily. There are so many pile-ups around the past few days, a lot of them are not as huge as they normally would be since the stations are spread out. -30-
Sunday, November 17, 2013 8:04 PM - Another quick DX QSO this evening at 0005Z in the form of J79WI on 40 meters. Took just a couple calls as he answered a couple other stations to get him. It's almost too easy working split with the KX3.
I also bagged a couple other split operations this afternoon. XR0ZR on 10 for a new band country (entity) in Juan Fernandez (Robinson Crusoe) Island. Then J88HL on 17. Neither took more than a few calls. And just so you don't think I automatically bag these stations all the time, I could not get JW8HGA operating split on 20 meters this evening. Anyway the DX streak is at 263 days now. -30-
Saturday, November 16, 2013 8:38 PM - I went up to the shack around 9:30AM this morning to get my DX QSO for the day. That came easily when I worked IQ6CC/2 on 12M. Then I tuned around some more and found a contest going on. It turned out to be the LZ DX contest. I was in the mood for some contesting. I usually am for a good DX contest. So in a couple sessions in the morning and afternoon interrupted by some leaf raking with Ange, I wound up with 43 DX contest QSOs, then added a couple more on 40M this evening for my best ever LZ DX Contest with 45 QSOs, beating my previous record of 26 back in 1998. And I'm not done yet. I might try later for some more on 40M, or maybe even 80. I've got SN7Q on 40,20,15, and 10 so far. It would be nice to get him on 5 bands. I have worked him before on 80, so there is a chance. I don't have a lot of 5 band QSOs in contests. I guess the best one is D4B in the 2004 ARRL DX contest. Speaking of DX contests, next weekend is one of the biggies - the CQWW DX Contest. I'm looking forward to that one. I hope these current conditions hold up till then. That will really be fun.
Before I got the two 40M LZ Contest QSOs this evening, I got Feri HA3FTA with a single call on 30M at 0007Z for my DX streak contact. That's the quickest I've gotten the DX QSO in several days now. So, although I probably will get on and look for some DX in the morning or afternoon, the DX streak QSO is in the log for day #262. Gee only 103 more days and I'll have a full year. Wonder if I can make it.
And now for something different (sort of). I received a very interesting email a few days ago. It goes as follows:
I hope I'm not bothering you, but I wanted to take the time to introduce myself. I'm Amy...I'm a volunteer tutor for a local homeschool group. :)
The kids and I wanted to take the time to tell you that we think your page, http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/links_ss_cwin.html, has some great resources! I had the kids go on an online mission to find some resources that the group can take a look at and use. :) I like to incorporate a little online technology to get the kids more interactive!
Anyway, the kids thought of the brilliant idea to email you in the first place, because they wanted to share a resource they found: http://www.techwholesale.com/morse-code-radios-kids.html . They thought it'd be a great fit for your page and that maybe other visitors would find it fantastic as well! :)
I thought that maybe if their resource gets added, I'll reward them with some of my "clean" bakery treats...cupcakes sounds good! :)
If you like the resource they suggested and think you'll add it to your page, let me know! They'd love to see it up! :)
In addition to mentioning it here, I certainly am going to add that link to my links. In fact I'm going to do it right now before finishing this diary entry. OK, it's been added in the Miscellaneous section of my CW Information links page. Wouldn't it be wonderful if some new hams emerge from Amy's group?
Things like that make my efforts in maintaining this web site very worthwhile and rewarding.
Just a final note. The raking of leaves and also a walk today were done in shirt sleeves with temperatures in the 60s. Not bad for mid-November. Sure would be nice to have this all winter, but.... -30-
Friday, November 15, 2013 12:27 PM - One ham seemed confused by this month's poll. KL7, as in common ham parlance when referring to countries, means the state (entity) of Alaska. It does not mean a ham with a prefix of KL7 living somewhere outside Alaska. Just like W refers to the USA, NOT to say, W9IOP/C6A operating from the Bahamas. Hmmm, I wonder if I should have included C6, CM, KP4, KP2, etc. to the choices. I didn't know the poll was going to open the proverbial can of worms or Pandora's Box.
Oh, and the poll question clearly states Which....ENTITIES...., not Which....PREFIXES.... also. Hope that clears up any confusion.
Anyway DX was great again this morning. I worked 7 or so stations in a half hour or so including a couple nice prefixes in GM100 and DR20. My log is upstairs, so I don't have the calls in front of me, but I also worked LY, I, SM, LZ, Z3 as best as I can recall from my aging memory. Oh, and that list refers to countries, not prefixes. HI.
I see it's 56 degrees on my remote weather station next to me here, so I'm going out for a walk now. -30-
Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:05 PM - It didn't take long to get my DX QSO this morning. I turned on the rig, found a peak on the panadapter isolated from all the pile-ups chasing this and that, tuned in the peak to find it was OH4MDY calling CQ. I sent my call once in response and got my QSO for day 259.
Tonight it was business as usual. No DX to be found other than a couple big pile-ups I knew I wasn't going to waste time trying to break and CO0SS on 30 whom I just worked there a few days ago. So I called CQ on 40 and my friend Skip N2EI answered. So once again it's tomorrow morning or afternoon for the DX QSO.
I posted my new poll today. It's a bit strange, but based on a couple emails I got from diary readers wanting to know if I considered VE and/or XE as DX. I added a couple others and made a poll question for USA hams only this time around. Sorry my VE and DX friends and diary readers. I think it does pose some interesting items that could lead to further discussion about what is DX and what is not. Of course the DXCC award has strict criteria as to what constitutes a country or entity, and every one, even your own counts towards the DXCC award. But is working VE from the USA really DX or not? How about XE, 4U1UN, CY0, CY9? Depending on where you live in the USA, some of those entities are like working your next door neighbor. Further, KH6 and KL7 are USA states, yet separate DX entities by DXCC standards. How do YOU consider them. Please take a moment and vote in the poll. Incidentally I was interrupted by a phone call in the middle of creating and uploading the poll, so if you notice anything strange in its performance, let me know. I think I got it all right, but... I'll let you know how I consider those entities after the poll is over. -30-
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 10:03 PM - The solar flux today was 171. Let's see if I can quickly find when it last was that high. Well, I'm surprised. I didn't remember it reaching that level this cycle, but it was 172 on Jan 11 this year and 174 the day before. And it was as much as 190 in Sep 2011. Anyway it's great to see the figure that high with the resulting good conditions. I didn't get on much today though, but I did have a nice chat with Frank OV1CDX on 10 meters.
Tonight I had a computer club meeting and didn't get on till after 0200Z. No DX, but I did work W4SCV and then was tail-ended by Tom WY3H for my regular streak QSO. Right now I'm talking to Tom on the phone as I type. So I think I'll end this entry for now. -30-
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 7:18 PM - A solar flux of 168 and a K index of 2 should have produced better conditions today, I would think. Oh, they were good, but still not as good as I would have expected. I did manage to work DL0RUS and RU3EG to the Rs to finish off the NAQCC November European Chapter challengs. I also did one of those 'work them, then find out who you worked' things. I heard a station running stations on 15 meters so I figured it was DX, but he either didn't ID between QSOs or faded into the noise when he did ID. So I set the KX3 for split and worked him after one or two other stations, then waited to see who he was. Turned out to be PJ6/W4VAB. No new country or even band country, but as always, fun to conquer a pile-up.
This evening, there was not a DX station to be heard anywhere. A lot of strong W/VE stations, but no one from elsewhere. So I'll try again later tonight to extend the DX streak, and if not then, I'll do it in the morning or afternoon, I'm sure. I did work Dave NF0R for the big streak though, so that's taken care of.
We had our first s^*wfall of the season overnight. Only about a half inch though, and despite a cold day, most of it melted nicely. Right not it's only 31 degrees. I just hope the outlook for later this week is correct when it is supposed to be back in the upper 50s again. It's too early for anything colder. -30-
Monday, November 11, 2013 11:06 PM - Well, my ghost writer is back in Brookville, so I'm back at the keyboard to sum up our day. Mike got back here around 9:30 this morning and after a few minutes, we headed to the Pittsburgh Mills. First it was a visit to Dick's Sporting Goods where Mike had to get some new shoes - postmen go through them quickly. It seemed there wasn't a salesperson in sight to help out, and after a while Mike called the store from his cell phone and told them he needed help in the shoe department. A few minutes later a saleslady finally showed up and Mike got his shoes and a pair of gloves as well.
After that it was over to Best Buy mainly just for a shopping trip, but I wound up buying a 32GB flash drive and some printer ink. We also got to marvel at some of the latest technology including some 2TB, yes TB, external hard drives. That's almost incomprehensible to compare that to the time I started in home computing back in 1979. My first computer had (I think) 16kB, yes kB, of RAM and no storage device at all. When you wanted to run a program, you TYPED it into RAM each time you wanted to use it. Then came the cassette recorder where you could save what you had typed in so you could load it from the cassette the next time you wanted to use. You had to save it three or four times though as it was a very unreliable system. Then came the 5 1/4 inch floppy drive which didn't store a lot more than cassette, but it was more reliable. Well, you get the picture. I'm not going to go into the entire history of my personal computing because I want to get back to today.
From Best Buy, we went to OfficeMax where Mike needed a cartridge for his label maker. There we saw an even larger 4TB external hard drive. Next over to Applebees for our lunch - Mike had a steak, I had chicken tenders. Filled up, we then headed through East Liberty into Shadyside to an Apple store where Mike bought a power supply for his phone. On the way we passed by the home and apartment house I lived in while working at WPIT in Pittsburgh. Ahh, memories.
After that it was back to Kittanning where we worked on solving the problem Don K3RLL was having with HDSDR and we finally recreated his problem, and solved it. Later we emailed Don with the solution. We also tried chasing some DX, although it was late in the afternoon and the higher bands had slowed down by then. We watched a Champions episode from the 1960s on the Internet. Next up to Ponderosa for their dinner buffet. Back home for some more DXing. I worked NP2KW for my DX streak QSO, after which Mike worked him. Some more reminiscing about AM BCB DXing, and all too soon it came time for Mike to head home.
I could have written much more, but it's getting late here now. Maybe I'll bring up a couple more things in tomorrow's entry. -30-
Sunday, November 10, 2013 8:08 PM - Good evening everyone. Tonight John has his ghost writer filling in.
The day started around 10:30AM EST when I arrived at Johns place. We jumped right into some DX hunting. John and I logged a station from Scotland. I followed up by logging Ireland, Cayman Islands, and Columbia. After our early stint on the airwaves we took off for Ponderosa and enjoyed their Sunday brunch. After our meal we began working to resolve a issue for Don K3RLL. He is having trouble with his HDSDR panadaptor showing a mirror image when tuning with his KX3 connected to his laptop. Don figured that since I use a laptop connected to my KX3 I would be able to help him. John and I are about half way through that project. Tomorrow we will try some fine tweaking to see if I can remove a USB hub from the equation. The battery on my laptop was about to call it quits. Right now I have two USB hubs in use. We also learned that you have to 'remind' the HDSDR program of which COM port it needs to connect to. Both of us had mini heart attacks when we could not get things to operate properly on both of our setup's. It took about 15 minutes to figure things out.
After our 'tech support' project we went for a brisk walk. It felt good to stretch the legs. We followed that up with some more DX hunting. Both John and I logged a special event station from Cuba and I logged San Andres (special event and a new country for me). We followed that up with watching part two of a Jeopardy special where two human contestants went up against IBMs super computer 'Watson'. The computer ran away with it.
So that brings me to where I am now. Filling in for John. Tomorrow will be a busy day for us. We need to head to the Pittsburgh Mills Mall. I need new work shoes and a printing tape for my label maker and John wants to take a look at the selectoin of laptops at Best Buy. And of course we are going to enjoy a meal at Applebee's. Applebee's is offering anyone who is active, retired, or prior service military a free meal. So I am going to take them up on the offer. They and a few other eating establishments have been offering this deal on Memorial Day and Veteran's day for years. This will be the first time I take the offer.
So until next time, 73 and hopefully I will CU on the radio.
Mike KC2EGL -30-
Saturday, November 09, 2013 8:30 PM - The first part of the day was taken up by a hassle getting our NAQCC GoDaddy account transfer to Paul N8XMS finalized. And now that is taken care of as another step toward Tom's and my retirement from the NAQCC. You don't know about that? Well he and I are turning over the reins to some younger blood as our blood gets older. We'll officially retire as President and VP when the club reaches 10 years of age in October 2014. We'll only be retiring the officer positions though and will continue to be very active otherwise in the club. As it is right now, a lot of the workload has already been lifted from my back, and I'm finding a lot more time to get caught up on things that I've been putting off for lack of time. Like deep cleaning this house for example. All it's really gotten for some time now is just superficial cleanings. Also more time for getting on the air other than just getting on to get my streak QSOs.
Speaking of the streak QSOs, the DX streak hit 255 days when I worked OK1KUW in the OK/OM contest on 40M. That was a quick easy one. Then it was nice to work Gary N2ESE again. Except for a few NAQCC sprint QSOs, we haven't worked much lately mainly because I've been hanging out on the higher bands chasing DX most of the time. Now with the high bands dying out after the earlier sunsets of the season, I wind up down on 40 and even 80 meters more often and will continue to do so during W&*$er.
I may have a guest writer for tomorrow night's diary entry as Mike is coming to visit tomorrow and staying over through Monday. I wonder what all we'll wind up getting into this time. HI -30-
Friday, November 08, 2013 8:01 PM - My shack floor is getting littered with broken pile-ups. I added another one tonight in the shape of PJ6/N7QT on 30M. After fumbling around a bit with the split phones setting, I found where he was listening and got him after a couple tries. I got a K3W? and once again the pile behaved well and paused while I sent K3WWP again and got my QSO. What's with all this good behavior lately by the DXers?
The bands were good again around Noon as I went searching for letters to complete the NAQCC challenges. I'm still looking for the Rs to finish the European Chapter challenge, but I finished the main challenge by working DL1NKS for the N, OK1AM for the M, and CO2OQ for the Q. That made all DX QSOs for the challenge.
I sure hate these dark early evenings. If I get my streak QSOs out of the way quickly, then the rest of the evening drags on forever it seems. If Europe was still good on the bands in the evenings, I could search for those remaining Rs for the EU challenge, but EU sigs are virtually nil after 7PM or so here.
What else happened today? Oh, Ange and I buried the two biggest remaining fig trees this afternoon. They are nowhere near as big as the monsters he got rid of last year so it wasn't all that hard a task. He'll finish up the smaller ones himself on Monday.
Mike is coming down for the weekend (Sun and Mon), so we'll have some good times on the ham bands among other things. I think the 10th is the last day for the San Andres DXpedition, so hopefully he can catch them. I think he still needs San Andres for an overall new one. Anyway I'm sure we'll catch some needed DX somewhere on the bands. Hopefully 10 will continue its good conditions through the weekend. -30-
Thursday, November 07, 2013 8:08 PM - A fourth band for 5J0R this evening. Another easy QSO as there wasn't a pileup. Maybe I caught him just starting a 20M stint? Anyway I set the KX3 for split, sent my call once and got no response. Another CQ and I tried again and got 3WW? Sent K3WWP twice and I had my QSO. It's unusual for me to get a "rare" DXpedition on four bands. I usually struggle to get them on one band. Of course propagation to San Andres is better than to some of the other "rare" locations.
I got on this afternoon from about 1630 to 1730Z and had fun. I tried to close out the NAQCC challenges and did close out the main challenge. However I'm going to try to make it an all DX challenge and replace three letters I got from USA/VE stations before I submit my results. As for the European Chapter challenge, I'm down to needing 3 Rs to finish it up. Where are all the Russian stations when you need them? HI.
The preliminary results are posted for the Worked All Germany contest. If the scores stand, it looks like I came in fourth in the Mixed QRP category. Mixed???? Yes, they don't seem to have a CW QRP category so I had to go against those who also use phone with my CW only operation. Oh well, I don't really care about results anyway. I just got in the contest to have fun and thought I'd better send in my score anyway since I made more than 100 QSOs (106).
It started off as a rainy day, then we had mostly overcast skies with falling temperatures during the day. So I spent most of my time indoors doing some more Fall housecleaning. Amazing how much dirt accumulates over time. At least now with lessened NAQCC duties, I have more time to keep after the dirt. -30-
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 8:03 PM - Two more broken pile-ups today for a couple different reasons. First of all it was 5J0R on 17, then 12 meters. The 12M QSO was a new band-country or entity, and now I have San Andres on all bands from 40 through 10. The QSO on 17 came because a ton of stations were in a pile-up for another (more popular) station and I got 5J0R on my very first call. I often criticize the behavior of stations chasing DX either simplex or in a pile-up. However this time I must commend those in the moderately large pile-up for 5J0R on 12M. As usual, I set up the KX3 for split and immediately found where 5J0R was listening. I sent my call a few times waiting for 5J0R to answer someone, but he was silent. Finally he sent K3? and to my amazement I watched on the panadapter as the pile-up went from a 2-3 kHz wide collection of peaks to almost nothing as I sent K3WWP and got my QSO. Apparently everyone who wasn't a K3 something actually paused for a K3 station. Amazing and worthy of a "Job Well Done" pat on the back to all in the pile-up at that time.
This evening I found Tibor OM3SEM whom I haven't worked for a while on 30, and worked him for another day in the DX streak - 252 now. Oh, and I also got two Es for the NAQCC European Challenge from the QSO, leaving 5 Rs, 1 U, and 2 8s (if I remember right) to finish the challenge. I still need N and U to finish the main NAQCC challenge.
A beautiful day today at 74 degrees, so I went walking and fishing, but the fish didn't seem to think much of the day as I didn't get a single bite and gave up after about 45 minutes. I came home and cleaned some of my windows. Tonight the rain is coming followed by colder weather tomorrow, but not all that bad - only in the 40s which is still pretty good for November. And if the outlook for the rest of the month is accurate, I see a lot of days in the 50s coming up. -30-
Tuesday, November 05, 2013 9:04 PM - Once again, breaking a pile-up turned out to be easy. There were two good reasons tonight. The KX3 and favorable propagation. That combination broke the 8P0P pile-up on 30 with but a single call. Even after over a year, I learn to appreciate just how great a rig the KX3 is. It makes operating split second nature. Two taps of a button to store all paramaters of VFO A into VFO B. A push of a button to set up split. A push of a button to split the headphones. Tune to find where the DX is listening with VFO B. Wait, call and you have your QSO. Of course sometimes you have to call more than once, but still it is so easy at times. Best of all, though I haven't really done it yet, is that setting up split can be programmed into a macro so it takes but one button push to do the above steps.
I also did some DXing this afternoon, mainly looking for letters/numbers to complete the NAQCC November challenges. I'm down to needing an N and U for the main challenge and 10 letters/numbers for the European Chapter challenge. Ten meters is still great for DX and looking at pictures of the Sun on my propagation pages here on the web site, it looks like another big batch of sunspots is just now rotating into view. So as I keep saying, if you love to DX as I do, now is the time to do it. It's never that hard, but right now it is extremely easy to work the world.
Other than hamming, it was a shopping day. Nancy said she was going to the mall and asked if I wanted to go along. I did need some thing at the mall I can't get here in downtown, so I went along and we spent I guess around 2 1/2 to 3 hours up there. Roscoe stayed home to mind the house, and we got a great welcome home from him when we got back. He's a people dog and hates to be alone. -30-
Monday, November 04, 2013 7:52 PM - Yes, it is possible to break a big pile-up with QRP and simple wire antennas. You need at least three, maybe four things to do it. 1. Some operating skill in working DX. 2. A great rig. 3. Some incentive. 4. A little luck.
Let's look at the four things in a little detail.
1. Being a ham radio operator for 50 years, the last 20 or so spent as a serious DXer gives one a lot of knowledge about how to work a DX station, when propagation is favorable, and innumerable little nuances of how to go about it. Those who operate the DX station will also say that a near perfect fist and a near perfect clean signal are much easier to copy in a pileup than someone who runs letters together or makes many other errors in sending or who has a chirpy, clicky, unstable signal. I guess that last sentence leads us to...
2. A great rig like a KX3 which does produce a near perfect signal - clean, crisp, steady, easy to copy. Also its bells and whistles like the automatic antenna tuner, roofing filters, and especially the split frequency headphones. When you can hear the DX station in your left ear, and whom he is working in the right ear, you have an advantage. You can call him exactly where he is listening.
3. I think I qualify for both steps 1 and 2. Certainly for #2 since I have a KX3. Still tonight I needed a little further incentive to get 5J0R finally. Usually I'd try for a few minutes and then my patience gave out since I was doing everything right but still not working him. I figured either the KWs were murdering my QRP or I wasn't in the best location propagation-wise. My incentive tonight came when I was listening to him running stations on 30 searching for the spot he was listening to in his wide pileup. Hey, that's Larry working him - W2LJ, my good QRP friend from NJ who checks this diary regularly. OK, I can't let you get one up on me Larry. HI HI. So instead of quitting tonight, I kept going and after he worked maybe 10 or so more stations, K3WWP 599 came back at me from San Andres Island and I met Larry's "challenge".
4. Since I don't use spotting in any way, shape, or form, sometimes I have luck going with me. While it wasn't so tonight, it was with me recently for a couple stations. I found ZD8O just as he started his operation on the band, and got him simplex even before he went split. I happened across 9L1BTB just as he had a pause in what earlier was a pretty good sized pileup and got him easily.
I really don't understand why San Andres Island is so in demand now. I've got 15 QSOs with the island on 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, and 10 meters. However a lot of those (7) were with HK0ER and HJ0VGJ back in the late 1990s. Perhaps those two are no longer active. I haven't heard either of them recently. Until tonight, my last QSO with San Andres was with 5J0A back in 2007. So perhaps a lot of newer hams or a lot of those who have come back to CW lately do need the country (entity).
Speaking of Larry W2LJ, a good friend of his and mine, Bob W3BBO emailed me with a statement about DX. He pointed out that a couple nights ago I did work VA3ZB in Canada which is DX. That made me wonder about things a bit. Now the USA also counts towards DXCC for another ham in the USA, so are all my USA QSOs also DX? What about Canada? Should I count it as DX? I never have and it seems to be a consensus among hams that when USA/Canadian hams talk about working DX, they mean other than USA/Canada. Bob wonders if Mexico should be considered in the same vein as Canada since the proximity to the USA is very similar for both countries. I'm just curious to know what other diary readers think. However it won't change my definition of DX here. I mean any NON-USA/Canada country is DX, USA/Canada are not.
Anyway, I did easily get my DX for the 4th this morning when I worked DL3XO, PA5WT, DL8PG, and F5JU on 10 meters which continues to act just about like it did the last sunspot maximum. It's great. I think my favorite aspect of ham radio has to be working DX. Although I have over 17,000 DX QSOs, it is still exciting to work someone outside the USA/Canada, especially from some of the rarer countries like San Andres, Ascension Island, Sierra Leone to mention some I've worked recently. Hey, even working Germany after 1,500 QSOs with that country is still a thrill. -30-
Sunday, November 03, 2013 8:26 PM EST - Yep, back to the totally dark evenings of Standard time again. SIGH! Remember though that it's only slightly over a month till the earliest sunset (Dec 7). Then the Sun slowly sets later and later each day after that although the first few weeks it's not very noticeable.
Wouldn't it be nice if all clocks set themselves at these time changeovers in spring and fall like computers do? The fall is definitely the worst of the two as some clocks only go forward in their setting and you have to go through 23 hours to fix them while in spring it's only one hour.
Well, enough about time. Of course the bands were filled with the SS today except for the WARC bands. I didn't even bother getting into the shack till it was time (an hour earlier) this evening to go and get my streak QSOs. There was no DX to be heard anywhere except 8P9NX on 30 and I just worked him there a few days ago. So I called CQ on 30 meters and it wasn't long before Bruce VA3ZB answered and we had a nice rag chew till the band abruptly dropped out on us. I've got my little note here in front of the computer again to remind me to get that DX QSO either later tonight or tomorrow morning or afternoon. Only two more days till the DX streak reaches 250 days. -30-
Saturday, November 02, 2013 9:00 PM - Anyone who thinks CW is dead should listen to the bands today. First it was the Ukrainian DX Contest and the various DXpeditions loading up the bands, then promptly at 2100Z all that was pretty much replaced by the Sweepstakes contest. Whew. I wish all these folks would get on the bands at other times besided the contests.
In spite of all the activity, the bands seemed a little uneven today. I mean they'd be good for a while, then slip away a bit, then come back again and so on. I played in the Ukrainian contest for a while around Noon here and also chased some other DX for the NAQCC challenges. I'm well on the way in both NAQCC November challenges now thanks to stations like LZ1520YYD, EI2CN, HB9TNW and a few others. If the contest QSOs I made in the UDX contest would count, I think I might have both challenges finished now, but they don't.
I had another of those "work 'em, then find out who you worked" last evening on 20M. I found a station with the usual MO of split, and set up the KX3 to work him. I heard exactly where he was listening thanks to the split ears of the KX3, plunked down my call and he came right back the first time with "K3WWP 599". After I sent my info not knowing yet who I worked, I got a bit of a thrill when he sent 9L1BTB. That was a new band-country and the first time I've worked Sierra Leone since 1997. All three previous 9L QSOs were on 30 meters.
I have two SS QSOs so far. I worked NP3A to continue my DX streak, then worked VY1EI simply because I haven't worked a VY1 in ages now. I got both on the first call. That was on 20M. Somehow I haven't gotten interested in the SS for many years now. It's probably been since the 90s that I put in a serious SS effort. I'm really looking forward to the CQWW DX contest later this month and hoping these great DX conditions last through the contest and also hang around for the 10M contest in December. Those are two contests I really enjoy.
Now I've got to get the regular QSOs, UDX QSOs and SS QSOs in order and into my computer Access log. -30-
Friday, November 01, 2013 6:43 PM - I received an email today with some questions regarding my streaks. The person stated in the email that it was a personal question, but I'll repeat my answer here without identifying the person.
The person asked two questions. First, "When you make your contacts for the record of one a day both domestic and DX, how often do you work the same person?
I answered with the following stats and comments:
It's hard to get stats just for the first QSO every day, so instead I'll give you some stats from the whole month of October 2013 which is typical of most months here.
Via CQ: 78
First QSO with a station: 81
Second QSO with a station: 45
Third QSO with a station: 21
Fourth QSO with a station: 12
Fifth QSO with a station: 11
Total of first through fifth: 170
Sixth or greater QSO with a station: 94
So you see about 31 percent (81 of 264) of my QSOs are with stations I've never worked before and about 48 percent (126 of 264) are with stations I've worked once or never before. It's not by any means working the same stations over and over again. In fact I will pass up a DX station most of the time if I've worked him recently unless it would happen to be a new overall band-country for me.
Delving a bit further into stats which I love to do. Of the 78 QSOs that resulted from my CQ, excluding our NAQCC sprint where virtually everyone was someone I worked before (leaving 27), 8 were 'new' stations.
Of the 94 QSOs with stations I've worked more than 5 times before, 64 of those came in contests which makes sense since contesters generally get into a lot of contests.
Of the 30 non-contest stations I've worked more than 5 times before, F5IN and CO8LY are the most often worked with 35 times each. F5IN because most are actually in contests, and CO8LY simply because he seems to be on the bands 24/7 and if he seems to be going without answers to his CQs, I'll give him a buzz.
Stations that I worked more than once in October include several (27) from the Worked All Germany Contest that I worked on more than one band plus the following:
CO0SS, HB9CVQ, K0JVX, KA2KGP, N5GW, NF8M, NW2K, OF40R, V31RL, WA3YLQ, Z320E
I hope the stats give you somewhat of the answer you were looking for because I can't honestly accurately answer the following (second question):
"So I am really curious how you manage to make a contact a day on both domestic and DX."
I don't know, I just get on the air, look over the bands, pick out someone to try to work, or if I can't find someone, I call CQ. Usually within a half hour, I will be successful.
I can tell you what I don't do to make the contacts. That's easy.
1. I never check into nets of any kind.
2. I don't use any type of spotting info on the Internet.
3. I don't make any kind of skeds with anyone (unless someone wants a sked with me for my county, state, grid square, etc., but then I always get an additional QSO that day on my own).
4. I never call overly long CQs without pausing for an answer and I don't wait a long time between those short CQs. (CQ CQ CQ de K3WWP K3WWP K - wait 4-5 seconds for an answer, if none, repeat)
Sorry I can't give a better answer. Perhaps conditions are different there in [his location]. I've never operated from anywhere outside a radius of 50 or 60 miles from Kittanning. Your noise level sounds very similar to mine(S5 to S8).
If you have any further specific questions, I'll be glad to try to answer them. Hopefully better than I answered this one.
Moving on now. I got on the bands today hoping to find a bunch of European stations to work on the NAQCC European Challenge, but that didn't happen. I worked LY2IJ and another I can't remember right now, and my log is upstairs. That was it.
Anytime you can walk in shirtsleeves in November is a great weather day, and today was great. It was windy, but even with somewhat of a windchill, it was still comfortable out there.
About an hour now till my attempt to add a day to my streaks, so I'll maybe grab a snack and play some computer games. -30-