Wed Mar 29 2017 8:44PM - The bands were pretty dismal DX-wise this evening. I actually heard only one DX station - YV5DNR on 40 who wasn't hearing me. He was engaging in slow speed rag chews and I just didn't feel like waiting to keep trying him. The one time I did call, there was no competition and he still didn't hear me so that pretty much told the tale. So I'm getting out my little pink slip with "QSO" on it and putting it in front of the computer to remind me to try to get my DX in the morning or if not then, the afternoon.
I received my Jackite antenna 28 foot mast today for our portable operations this year. Now I'm going to design a mount for it. I have a couple ideas in mind which I'll try out some time. One I really like came to mind when I was thinking. It would permit me to extend the mast, connect the antenna, then with a hinged mount firmly anchored in the ground, I could simply walk the mast up to vertical and fasten it to the mount. Pictures will follow when I get around to putting my idea into action which may be a while now.
Not much else out of the ordinary happening today. I did get in a couple walks and now have 7.36 miles on the pedometer. We had a high of 64 and some sunny skies. -30-
Tue Mar 28 2017 8:43PM - With apologies to Agatha Christie, and then there were ten. Yes, ten days now till the DX streak reaches 1,500 days, if it does. Tonight I thought I was going to have to wait till morning to even get my regular streak QSO as I just couldn't raise anyone. Then after jumping around from 80 through 20, my last stop on 30 yielded W0FK/4 on IOTA NA034 followed a couple minutes later by HH2AA. So tomorrow is free now until the evening.
I had a minor pipe leak in the basement today and spent some time waiting for the plumber. Actually he came just a few minutes past the window he gave me, so really no complaints there. Otherwise I worked on a propagation article for the April NAQCC newsletter. Also the monthly NAQCC WPA Chapter news and my K3WWP news.
It was a rather dreary chilly day today, but still a lot better than those true winter days. Actually its great when you can call a 60 degree day a bit chilly. HI. Still I didn't get in any good walks mainly because of the plumber visit. I did my usual inside walking thought and got up to let's see.... gee, 8 miles. I didn't realize I walked that much.
Another NAQCC thing I did today was to reserve the club call N3AQC and N3A for our parkpeditions, subpeditions, etc. this year. I'm looking forward to some portable operating again now that we made it through winter. The last portable operation was way back in November on the Requin. I envy our Florida Chapter members who can operate portable the whole year although I guess some of them do mind the heat and humidity of summer down there. HI -30-
Mon Mar 27 2017 8:03PM - Gee, when I write an entry early in the morning, then not till the next evening, it seems like an eternity in between. HI
A very quick DX QSO this evening. You know (to go into athlete sentence starting mode), it must be wonderful to live in an area where the local noise level is right at S0 or at the very most S1. Actually that is close to what we get in our parkpeditions to Kittanning Community Park. The noise is so low there you can actually hear distant thunderstorm lightning static. That's something I could never do in this house where about the best the noise ever gets is down to from S6 on 80M to S2-3 on 10M. I diverged from the point I was shooting at. That is that David XE1XR must be one of those blessed with a quiet location. Although I could barely hear him through my S4-5 noise on 30 meters, all it took was a single call to log him at 0001Z. I know he runs high power and not QRP so if he was S4 here, I couldn't have been much above S1-2 there in Mexico. Anyway thanks to David for getting me to the point in the DX streak where I only need 11 more days to reach 1,500.
Another nice spring day today. A bit on the cloudy side but the high approached 70 again. It shows 68 on my AcuRite remote unit and it's still 61 out there. So some more good walks today. Almost 9 miles on the pedometer.
While not out walking, I did some more fooling around with my WPX prefix stats. I found a couple more errors along the way and fixed them up. I also counted the number of prefixes provided by each country worked which was easy to do with my Microsoft Access log and a little help from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
Of course by far the USA provided the most prefixes with 778. No, Canada was not second even though they do use a lot of special prefixes for various reasons. Second is Germany with 105, then Canada with 97.
Here's a list of the next 15 top totals:
The country abbreviations are the ones I use in my log and are obvious with maybe a couple exceptions. EUR is European Russia, ASR Asiatic Russia, YUG (a hangon from Yugoslavia) is Serbia, and BLG is Belgium. Maybe someday I'll explain how I arrived at my set of country abbreviations.
Most of those have different letter groups to choose from. Of course the USA has AA-AL, K-KZ, N-NZ, W-WZ with a few exceptions like AL7,KL7,NL7,WL7 for Alaska (a separate DX entity for DXCC purposes) and those for Hawaii, Virgin Islands, etc. Germany has a large portion of the D block of calls. Canada parts of the C, V, and Z blocks. ITA has the whole I block except for IS for Sardinia. You get the idea. Maybe a note for Bulgaria - they just use a lot of different numbers with their LZ block for their saints stations and so forth. -30-
Sun Mar 26 2017 9:26AM - I'm glad now I didn't get those two DX stations early last evening. I went back later and looked around. I even checked 80 and there was S01WS peeking out of my noise level. After a few calls, he came back with K3WWP 599 and I had my streak extended another day along with a new entity (#59) and prefix on 80. I'm going to have to include 80 on my evening DX searches as with the declining sunspots and in turn declining absorption on the lower bands, I might be able to work more DX there. It would be very nice to make it to 100 countries on 80, but that's not going to be easy with my attic random wire. It will take a lot of patience. That's something I seem to have less of lately. HI
Just about time to go walk Roscoe for the first time today. Then I don't really have any other plans for the rest of the day. I'll probably do something outside. Maybe do some more yard cleanup like removing the mulch of leaves around my roses and daylillies. I'll see what happens as the day goes on. -30-
Sat Mar 25 2017 8:43PM - Looks like I'll be chasing DX in the morning. Just couldn't work any this evening. I came close with OE1WMA on 40 and HI3/N3SY on 80. They both were hearing me, but I never heard them send my call correctly before they gave up. I sure hope I can get someone in the morning. I'd hate to see the streak end with two such close calls.
A beautiful day again today. For the second day in a row, we reached the mid 70s after a low of 16 the day before that. A 59 degree temperature range in less than 36 hours has to be close to a record. I'll have to check that sometime. I know the record range for one day is 53 degrees. It sure felt good to get out with no jacket and a thin shortsleeve shirt for two nice walks.
Early this morning we took Roscoe for his postponed grooming. He looks like a different dog now with all his curls gone till they grow back in a couple months. The timing was pretty good as the long hair kept him warm while it was cold, and now he'll be cool with the warm weather pretty much here to stay.
Well, the first of the final four teams has just been decided a little while ago. Gonzaga remains alive in the run for its first title. They are one of the better teams the past few years who haven't won a championship. This is their 19th tournament appearance in a row and the first time to the final four. Their previous best was the Elite Eight which they reached twice.
Just about time to get my weather info, so I'll close here. -30-
Fri Mar 24 2017 3:17PM - Just sitting here with not a lot to do right now. So I thought I'd write the diary entry and then go out for a walk in the 73!!!! degree weather. I was out before, but it was about 10 degrees cooler then.
Then in about 2-3 hours Mike is coming and we're going to a fish dinner at a local fire hall. When we get home we'll probably head to the shack for some DXing and a couple other little projects.
We just had a change in one of our plans for this year. We were going on a subpedition on April 9, but I just had a call from the sub caretaker Art who said the sub was going to undergo some maintenance from April 8 through the 22 (and maybe beyond). So we'll have to postpone the subpedition probably till sometime in May. -30-
Thu Mar 23 2017 9:15AM - A short visit but a good time last night. Mike arrived with a pizza just as I was finishing my regular streak QSO with NV3N around 0010Z. I saw him pull up in his car. I had the door unlocked so I knew he would come in. While he was taking his bike off the rack and putting it on my porch, I thought I'd try for a quick DX QSO. I found HC2AO on 40 not all that strong, but since he is a great op, I knew if he heard me at all, he would stick with me to get the QSO. After a couple of WW? and K3?, he got my call, thanked me by name and the DX streak was still intact, thanks to Alex.
Now off to more important (?) business - devouring the pizza with Mike. Following that, we discussed a list of projects upcoming this year. Things like the hamfests we'd be attending, where we were going to do Field Day, finishing our little Tuna Tin rigs which have been in abeyance for some time now, our subpeditions, and so on. Sounds like a fun busy year.
Then we went up to my shack to see if Mike could work some DX. I let him sit in the pilot's chair since I already had my DX QSO. There wasn't a lot to be found, but Mike did find and work the almost omnipresent PV8ADI on 40 meters. We also heard Josh 6Y5WJ whom I hadn't heard in some time now, but he was having long QSOs, and we didn't wait long for him. Mike did call a couple times with no luck. With not much on 40, just for fun, we listened on 80. No DX heard there, so while I wasn't paying attention, Mike went to 160. He saw a busy spot on the PX3, and after we listened a bit, to my surprise we were hearing an OZ7 station from Denmark. I forget the suffix now, but he was pretty good copy. I just can't work DX on 160 and seldom even can hear it with my local noise and low antenna. Maybe I should be listening more on that band. Perhaps I will as with the sunspot minimum coming and lower ionospheric absorption, 160 (and 80) should be in good shape. During the last couple minimums, I found it much easier to make QSOs in the 160 meters contests than during recent maximums.
I'm definitely not a news junkie. Watching TV or Internet news is just too disgusting since they go for the sensational BAD news instead of presenting the GOOD things going on in the World. I often have no idea of so called major news things that are going on until some days later if at all unless it affects me directly somehow. Anyway, I do follow the weather supposedly very closely. However I found this morning when I was watching some AccuWeather videos that I missed something big there also that goes back years ago now. For many years the world record windspeed was the well known 231MPH on Mount Washington in NH back in 1934. However that was broken some years ago with a verified 253MPH reading in Australia.
OK, time for Roscoe's first walk of the day. Oh, his grooming was postponed again till Saturday which may be good since it's only 25 degrees now after a low of 17. We missed the latest in season record by a good margin. -30-
Wed Mar 22 2017 7:18PN - Mike should be coming soon, so I'll make this diary entry now. Then if time permits, I (or Mike) will add something to it later.
We slipped back into winter hopefully for the very last time. It just barely got into the 40s today with strong winds that made it feel much colder. I even saw a few ugly white specks floating around in the sky. The low tonight is predicted to be 11. If we make it there, that will be very close to the lowest temperature so late in the season. Right now the record is 11 on 3/25/74 and 11 on 3/28/82. Actually the second is the record, but I thought I'd mention the other one also. Brrr! I always enjoy seeing records broken for their own sake, but not for the weather that is involved if you know what I mean. -30-
Tue Mar 21 2017 8:52PM - Similar pattern to last night. Rag chew on 40 (vs. 80), then pretty quick DX on 20 (vs. 40). Had to try a few DX stns though before I hooked up with CE3KHZ. I heard Asia on 40, but futile trying to work 5B4AJC as he wasn't all that strong and a lot of folks chasing him. My rag chew was with NM1I and the letter I in his call finished the NAQCC challenge for this month. That didn't dawn on me till we began the QSO as I wasn't thinking about letters but just getting my main streak QSO in the log. Conditions weren't all that good.
Other than that not much going on again today. Nice weather = nice walk. Some shopping on the walk at the PO and supermarket. Roscoe was supposed to go to the groomer this evening, but the groomer wasn't feeling well, so that was postponed until tomorrow or Thursday. I'll find out which when I go to take him out in a half hour or so.
Now it's time to get my 9PM weather readings. I see a high of 61 on my AcuRite remoter weather station. That should be close to what will show on my main thermometer.
I also talked to my friend and NAQCC co-founder Tom WY3H a while ago. I miss him since he moved to Georgia, but nice to keep in touch via telephone now and then. -30-
Mon Mar 20 2017 8:38PM - Kind of a quiet day compared to yesterday. The weather was nice with a high at 50 degrees and all the s#$w gone so I went for a walk and did some shopping. Also took some little longer walks with Roscoe. Roscoe has a new hobby now, so to speak. The sofa which he claims is his is now closer to the window where he can look out and see what is going on out there. He seems to really be enjoying that to the fullest. It should have been set up that way a long time ago.
After a rag chew with W2XU up in Maine on 80 meters, my DX came quickly. When we finished at 0031Z, I went to 40, found J3/OE2SNL, called and after one repeat, the DX streak was extended to 1,482 days. Only 18 more days to 1,500 and if I make it, I'll have to come up with another goal.
I'm looking forward to seeing Mike KC2EGL again. It's been about a month now. He's coming down for our usual 4th Wednesday evening get together for some pizza and some ham radio.
Oh and for those who celebrate the coming of astronomical spring instead of meteorological spring, Happy First Day of Spring. Either way, ain't it grand!
One final thing. I got my certificate from the ARRL today for First Place Western Pennsylvania and Atlantic Division QRP SOAB in the 2016 ARRL DX Contest. Picture on my main CONTESTING page. -30-
Sun Mar 19 2017 9:05PM - A busy day and a good day. The two always go together. I love keeping active and busy. I still have things to finish here, so just a condensed diary entry.
A quick DX QSO from ZP6CW on 30 meters at 0008Z. Some spring cleaning. Following March Madness. Working on log cross checking from our NAQCC sprint. Cooking up some sloppy joes with Bruce. Plus all the usual daily things like walking Roscoe, walking myself, and so forth. That's it. Back to work now. -30-
Sat Mar 18 2017 8:37PM - Kind of frustrating but interesting this evening. I heard P33W on 80 meters. I'd have to do some deep thinking to remember when or if I've heard Asia on 80 before. I probably have heard it, maybe a 4X4 or something like that, but I've never worked it before for sure. I didn't work it this evening either. I called several times before I convinced myself he was not hearing me at all. Never got so much as a question mark. So I decided to head to 40 and see if perhaps he might be multi-band on there also. If so, I'd have a better chance to work him there. But I never even heard him. I will try again later though to work some Asian on 40 in the Russian DX test which is bringing a lot of activity to the bands including the aforementioned P33W.
I got my DX quickly at 0002Z in NP2P also in the test. That's why with the DX cinched, I was just listening around to see if I could find something new. I heard DQ2C which might have been a new prefix, but couldn't get him.
After a pretty predictable first round with only 6 upsets, there were a couple of rather big upsets so far today. Last year's champ Villanova went down to #8 seed Wisconsin and #11 Xavier got its second upset so far beating Florida State. Gonzaga lived up to its #1 seeding defeating a tenacious Northwestern who stayed close the whole game.
I checked out the farce they call the Women's tournament a little while ago. Farce? Only because it's pretty much already been decided even before the tournament began that Connecticut will walk away with the championship. But I guess they do have to play the games to make it official. Personally I'd love to see Baylor win again because I've always been a fan of their coach Kim Mulkey whom I think is still the best point guard I've ever seen, man or woman, when she played for Louisiana Tech way back when. She's also the only basketball person who has won a championship as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. Not bad, and she also had a perfect academic score of 4.0 as well. Quite a person, indeed. So go Baylor Bears. -30-
Fri Mar 17 2017 6:56PM - It looks like the year of the #11 seed. So far three #11 seeds have played and three #11 seeds have won - Xavier, Rhode Island, USC. Cincinnati beware this evening - they play #11 Kansas St. I wonder offhand if any of the 9-13 seeds have swept all 4 first round games before. I have the data here to check so let's see. In 1999 all 4 #10 seeds did it - Miami Ohio, Purdue, Gonzaga, Creighton. In 2001 all #9 seeds - St Josephs, Charlotte, Fresno St, Missouri. In 1999 all 4 #9 seeds - Oklahoma St, New Mexico, Tulsa, Mississippi. In 1994 all #9 seeds - Georgetown, Wisconsin, Alabama, Boston Coll. So if Kansas St pulls it off, it will be the first time for a higher than #10 seed to do it.
I just love March Madness. It gives so many opportunities for statistical work which I love doing. Speaking of that, I'm still awaiting more responses to my March Madness trivia questions from a few entries ago. Only one response so far from Bob N2SU.
Back to ham radio. I got an immediate DX streak QSO this morning. As soon as I turned on the rig, I found PJ4/K2NG calling CQ on 20, and even though I worked him two days ago, I got him with my very first call again. I'm getting a little less strict about making repeat QSOs with stations now as sunspots slip away carrying with them any good propagation.
I spent a lot of time today doing the preliminary work of cross-checking our NAQCC sprint logs from the Wednesday evening sprint. Once again we crossed the 100 logs mark standing at 101 now with still 2 days left to submit logs. In the last 84 sprints since April 2010, we've only missed getting 100 or more 6 times. I think that makes us just about the most popular of all mid-week 2 hour CW sprints. Congrats to our NAQCC members. -30-
Thu Mar 16 2017 10:42AM - I got to thinking about my new poll about the number of keys owned. I chose the answer 11-15 without actually counting. Then I got curious to know if that was accurate so I gathered up all the keys I could find. I took two group pictures as shown here with a brief description of each key.
These are my regular keys among which I switch from time to time. Lower left-upper right are:
ARRL Centennial Paddle
Begali Magnetic Classic Paddle
Above three given to me by the NAQCC
Vibroplex Lightning Bug given to me by Larry W2LJ
In front of those four is my homebrew popsicle straight key
These are the rest of my key collection. I'm not really a collector as such. These have just come along as the years went by. As you see, most are homebrew with a couple exceptions.
In the middle of the top row, the Bencher paddle was given to me by Mike KC2EGL. It's what I use for my portable operations.
In the upper right an old straight key my late uncle used on the railroad many many years ago.
Second from left in the lower row is one of two that Mike and I got to go with our little Tuna Tin style rigs.
Second from right in that row is a Morse Express Christmas straight key given to me by Geo N1EAV.
As I sit here looking at the picture, I notice a paddle I made from two straight keys is missing. It's either in a different drawer somewhere or I may have loaned it to someone. Also many years ago back in the 60s or 70s, I had a bug inside a clear case. I know I loaned that to someone and never did get it back. I also had a homebrew bug that never worked very well. I took that apart for parts. There was also a homebrew sideswiper that suffered the same fate as the homebrew bug. I think I also had a couple very cheap straight keys that never worked too well either. Maybe a couple more I can't remember now.
Counting just the ones in the pictures, that makes 15 so my early guess was right on.
A couple other items now before I close. Last night's sprint was a good one again. I came up with 42 QSOs vs. 50 in February when I finished first overall. This month my good February conditions were widespread while they were poorer here. So several folks had 50+ QSOs this month. Some more had in the mid-upper 40s, so I may be lucky to make the top 10 overall. However, I don't really get into our sprints for high scores. Rather just to give out QSOs to other members and help train them in contest operating. Also to have fun. I love to just call CQ and see who is going to answer me. I much prefer that to S&P where I know who I'm going to, or trying to work. If I did more S&P I could probably add a dozen or more QSOs to my totals.
When someone jumped on "my" frequency where I was calling CQ, I dropped out of the sprint for a few minutes to look for my DX streak QSO. I found and worked PJ2ND on 40 meters.
OK, I think I'll process some more sprint logs now to get them ready for cross-checking. -30-
Wed Mar 15 2017 10:50PM - Didja ever have one of those days when everything seemed to get a little ahead of you and you never seemed to catch up to anything? Probably so. I had one today so I'm going to make this a very short diary entry and see if I can finally get caught up on some of those things. I'll talk about the sprint tonight and my DX QSO, etc. tomorrow. -30-
Tue Mar 14 2017 10:00AM - I've got a correction to my trivia question from yesterday and another item I completely forgot about. I'll use as an excuse the storm.
Actually so far (and that's important) it hasn't been much of a storm here in western PA. I don't want to jinx things by saying this, but I'll say it anyway. So far we have less than a inch and studying all the maps, projections, etc., it looks to me like we won't be getting more than perhaps 4 inches at most. It depends on a lot of things like how much will be lake effect snow, how far west the storm will pump in Atlantic moisture, and so forth. It looked to me like the midwest storm transferred most of its energy to the coastal storm as they approached each other during the night and early morning. Good for us in the west, but not for those in the east except for those crazy folks who actually like s#$w. From NE PA through CT or so they may get from 2-3 feet of it. Let's get to something better now.
I asked which four teams made it to March Madness for the very first time. N2SU named four, but he had one I didn't have. So actually there are five schools making their debut. Bob needs one more now since he missed one that I have.
I completely forgot to mention that I got an email from the ARRL about my upcoming QST article. Not the best of news, but good nevertheless. Sound confusing? Here's a portion of the email:
"Just a note confirming the receipt of your release form for: Streak
We have many articles in the queue to be printed and we want you to know that it may be several months -- possibly 12 -- before your article appears in QST.
One of our QST handling editors will contact you when work begins on your article, and you will be sent proof copies to inspect prior to publication.
Thanks for your patience."
I guess that explains the good/bad reference. It will be in QST, but maybe not for several months or even a full year. I had been hoping I could keep the DX streak going until it was published, but it may not be easy with the sunspots declining. However even with the solar flux at 70, only about 6 or 7 points higher than minimum, it hasn't really been all that hard to keep going.
For example about an hour ago before it was time to take Roscoe out, I found quite a few DX stations on 20 and 17. I tried a UA4 on 20 but he never heard me. Other stations in EU were chasing other things. On 17 though, I found LZ139LO and called him. At first he wasn't hearing me, but I knew the special event LZ stations all have really good ops, so I kept trying and finally got a WP?, but another station with no WP in his call jumped in. The LZ station worked him, then tried for me again. After a few tries, he put my call together. Not only did that keep the streak going, but gave me some more letters for our NAQCC challenge. I only need 3 Is and 1 O now to finish up.
It's the 14th of the month which means I need to come up with a new poll question. Actually I have one about the number of keys/paddles/bugs a person owns. I think I'll get the question set up now before breakfast (brunch?) time. -30-
Mon Mar 13 2017 4:33PM - Just sitting here wondering how much of the ugly stuff we'll get tonight and tomorrow. At least it is 40 right now and melting some of what we got last week, so that will help a little bit.
I got my Excel spreadsheet set up for March Madness last night. I made up a few trivia questions from my stats including all tournaments going back to 1939. Let's see, that's 78 tournaments now.
1. Who are the four teams in this year's tournament that have never been there before?
2. Which two teams have 30 prior appearances, but didn't make the field this year?
3. Nine teams won the tournament in their first appearance including Oregon who won the very first tournament in 1939. How many of the other 8 can you name? The latest one was in 1963. One team won both of its first two appearances.
4. Which two schools made 11 appearances before 1979, but haven't made an appearance since?
5. Which two schools have the most appearances since 1978 (20), but none before that year?
OK, that's enough to keep anyone busy for a while who is interested in such things. Email me your answers. If I get 5 or more emails, I'll reveal the answers later during the tournament. Less than 5, and you'll have to figure out the answers some other way. -30-
Sun Mar 12 2017 8:29PM (EDT) - Yep, we're back on Daylight Shifting Time again. Another sign that better weather can't be too far away now. We still have to get through at least one more March s#$w though. That will be Monday night and Tuesday. It's still uncertain just how much s#$w there will be. It depends on how two low pressure systems move and interact. One coming up the east coast, another from the midwest. We'll just have to wait, pray, and see.
I've pretty much finished adjusting my prefixes now, and posted the updated totals in the AWARDS section on the WPX page. As I surmised, not a big change, but a change nonetheless. I'm not going into any detail here.
Things didn't look too good for DX this evening. YS1YS was strong, but with a pileup at first, then he was calling EU only after that. So I went to 30 and my PX3 immediately showed a S9+ peak. I tuned to it, and it was TI5/N3KS. I had to call three times, but the third time was the charm for streak day # 1,474. So I can get some things done tomorrow morning and afternoon without the DX distraction. Of course it's laundry day, and put out the trash day. I also have to make a trip to the PO to mail a couple of bills and a NAQCC prize.
Another thing I might do is check on some prices for a grooming session for Roscoe at a couple new places in town. His regular groomer hasn't answered Bruce's phone calls for over a month now. She might be sick, he figures.
Oh, I wanted to mention that it was nice to work PJ2/PA0VDV last evening. When I became active again in the early 1990's, Joeke was among the earlier DX stations I worked. That's over 22 years ago now. Where does the time go? -30-
Sat Mar 11 2017 11:57AM - I think of all the days recently when I thought the DX streak was at an end. Of them, today was the day I really thought so. One reason dates all the way back to 1776. If we hadn't declared our independence and were still a part of the British Empire, DX today would have been a piece of cake. However just about every DX station I heard (and there were a lot) was in the BERU contest for British Empire countries only. Many were booming in, and finding a DX station in the mix was like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. There were only a couple of needles actually. One was YS1YS working a big pileup and fading in and out badly. On the 17M WARC band, there was virtually nothing to be heard except for a very weak 5J0NA. Very much weaker than when I worked him yesterday. Finally there was a station who gave me hope. A strong S7-8 station from Hungary on 20M of course not in the BERU contest. However, several calls to him went unanswered. I would give up and then come back to him later hoping he was still there and conditions were better for him to hear me. At last at 1642Z, he did hear me. It took a few tries for him to get my call right, but he stuck with me (thanks John). Who was it? Oh, HA8GZ whom I thought I had worked a few times before, but I was wrong. This was our first QSO. End of story - the streak lives. Now back to working on my prefixes as I mentioned yesterday. -30-
Fri Mar 10 2017 7:50PM - Another Brooklyn Dodgers evening - "Wait till next year" - or in my case "Wait till tomorrow morning" for my DX. The only DX heard this evening had huge pileups. One was a 5U5 station - if I would have needed Niger, I might have tried to break the pile, but I have it worked and verified. Another station with a pileup was 5J0NA. By coincidence I worked him this morning on 17 meters for my streak QSO for March 10. It was an easy QSO then as there was no pileup. In fact as I was logging him, I was listening and he QRT after a half dozen or so unanswered CQs after working me.
I spent some time today cleaning up the prefixes in my log. I found some errors here and there like logging the prefix for K3WWP/OA2 as K3 instead of OA2. I think I might wind up losing a few prefixes when I'm done, but possibly gaining them back along the way also. No drastic changes. Just the perfectionist in me.
This was a depressing January in March day here with about 3 inches of s#@w. Fortunately a lot melted now that the altitude of the sun is much higher now. Looks like another bout on Monday evening and Tuesday though. Oh well, it won't be long now till we have only good weather. -30-
Thu Mar 09 2017 8:04PM - Kinda looks like winter is taking a curtain call for the next week or so with a couple of s#$w events and temperatures from the teens to the 30s at best. But hey, it's March and spring, so that's not nearly as scary as it would be in December or January, even February. S#$w then tends to stick around much too long.
Couldn't get any DX this evening (so far anyway). I heard a couple stations OA1F and CE2LML, but they weren't hearing me. Also two stations on 40 with huge pileups. One was 9G5X and I couldn't ID the other. Some lid kept throwing a carrier on the station whenever he was strong enough to ID, then when the carrier was off, the DX was down in my noise. Either the carrier thrower was deliberately QRMing the DX or had no idea what was going on. At any rate, he was good at zero beating because he was exactly on the DX station frequency. I guess it must have been deliberate. Also there were the others who don't know what UP means and were calling on top of the DX. Sigh!
I was just looking at my streak table, and I see on only one of the last 10 days did I fail to get my DX in the evening. I had been doing quite well in that respect - not having to wait long for the DX. -30-
Wed Mar 08 2017 4:45PM - I just finished doing something I've wanted to do for some time now. Figure out my percentage of entities worked per continent. Here are the figures. The Del/Wkd are entities I've worked, but are now deleted countries. Pct/Wkd ignores the Del/Wkd column.
Con Ent Wkd Del/Wkd Pct/Wkd
AF 76 35 0 46.1%
AS 55 20 0 36.4%
AN 2 1 0 50.0%
EU 67 63 1 94.0%
NA 50 50 1 100.0%
OC 59 27 1 45.8%
SA 30 25 1 83.3%
Total 339 221 4 65.2%
Pretty close to what I would have estimated. I knew I only needed a few in EU and SA, and had them all in NA. The one part of the world I have trouble working is southeast Asia, and there are a lot of small (and bigger) entities there hence the low percentage for Asia. I'm surprised how close AF and OC are. Also they are a little higher than expected.
Since there are only a few needs in EU and SA, here's a list of the ones I need there:
EU - 1A, C3, OJ0, SV1/A
SA - HK0 (Malpelo), PY0P (St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks), VP8 (Falklands), VP8 (So Georgia), VP8 (So Shetlands)
By far the biggest entity I need in Oceania is Indonesia. Most all the rest are small islands or island groups.
In Asia, the biggest are India and China. I've actually only heard those countries a couple times each, and never strong.
And now with all of that, I will close the entry and rest my brain a bit. HI -30-
Tue Mar 07 2017 7:35PM - Often when I'm sitting at my rig, I think of things I want to mention in the diary, then promptly forget them when I get here to the computer. Hopefully no longer. I finally thought (remembered) to add a small notepad next to my log to jot down those thoughts. Then the only problem will be to read my scribbling when I get to the computer. HI.
Of course, it's now March 8 by UTC and that shoots my thoughts back to March 8, 1960. That's when I was newly interested in meteorology. I kept my temperature records then from a regular thermometer outside my bedroom window. That morning I saw my first ever below zero temperature. Up until then in a few months of records in 1959 and January and February 1960, the lowest I had seen was 6 above a couple of times and then 3 above on March 7. When I saw -2 that was quite exciting to this new meteorologist. I can't remember a lot of specific temperature and dates among my 58 or so years of records, but I'll never forget that one. The very next day then we bottomed out right at zero. I've written about March 1960 before as the whole month was memorable because it was colder on average than either January or February. That -2 stood as my all-time low temperature for the Month of March until, let's see...... 1986 when the low was -3 on ironically March 8 wiping out my March 8, 1960 record. A few years later in 1993 after the great blizzard, we hit -6 on March 15. That remains my March record although it was tied on March 6, 2015 when we again hit -6.
When I worked CO2YT on 20 meters at 0003Z that not only extended the streak, but also gave me 6 letters toward the completion of the March NAQCC Challenge. When I filled in the letters on my challenge paper, I noticed the remaining letters to get were I LOST. Hope that's not an omen. HI.
I put the last coat of polyurethane on my sundial early today then put it outside later in the day. I treasure that sundial because it was made with the help of a good friend who is now in a personal care home in poor health.
One other thing I did today was to give my computer corner a good cleaning. Then I opened up the computer itself and blew out quite a bit of dust it had collected over the winter months. Everything actually worked immediately after I put it all back together also. That was a relief. I always feel uneasy taking it apart for cleaning. -30-
Mon Mar 06 2017 7:31PM - Tonight it was 2 DX QSOs. One for the streak from HP3SS on 30, then a few minutes later RN5M/6Y5 on 30 for some letters for the March NAQCC Challenge, and maybe a new prefix in RN5. Let me check and see. Yes, that's new.
After a couple cooler days, we approached 60 again today. I see a high of 59 on my AcuRite remote unit. Some lite rain with it, but that's OK. Better than that other solid precipitation.
Not much else going on today. Well, I did finish my taxes for the year. That's the earliest I've gotten them done in a few years now.
I also put a couple more coats of polyurethane on my sundial and it should be ready to go outdoors soon. Probably the next day it isn't raining. -30-
Sun Mar 05 2017 7:43PM - I posted my Portable Operating page in the QRP section today. Not long after I did, I remembered a couple things I left out. Isn't that always the way it goes? So I'll be modifying it a bit in the next couple days as time permits.
While I wasn't as anxious to get my DX as I was last night, it again was nice to secure the streak for another day in the 0000Z hour. I worked XE1XR on 20 meters. Yes, 20 meters. As the hours of daylight grow longer, I've noticed some stations on 20 after the 0000Z hour. That should be improving more and more somewhat countering the results of the declining sunspot cycle. Of course it won't be like the evenings when the sun was really spotted, but every little bit helps.
I have been meaning to mention this, but I don't think I've done it yet. One, and maybe two of my pepper seeds finally sprouted. I say maybe two, because something sprouted right at the edge of the soil in the pot, and I didn't plant any seeds that close to the edge. Possibly it's an intruder of sorts or a pepper seed got washed out there when I was watering. I'll be able to tell better when it gets bigger. The tomatoes are growing, albeit slowly. Only lost one of the 8 seedlings that I planted, although one other one doesn't look all that strong.
I got the compressed air and polyurethane today. I mentioned that a couple diary entries back. I've got a couple coats of poly on the sundial already. I think I'll add one, maybe two more. Then sometime this week I'll open the computer and clean it. -30-
Sat Mar 04 2017 7:48PM - Just like last Saturday evening, I really wanted to get my DX QSO this evening. Last Sunday was the hamfest. This Sunday my neighbor and I are going up to the mall to pick up some things we both need. That will be during what seems to be the prime DX time in the mornings from 1300-1600Z or so. Anyway I worked, after some effort and a patient operator at the other end, another of the Spanish (Canary Islands) URT special event stations on 40 meters, so the streak is secured for another day.
You know (starting off like an athlete interview), many years ago I had a fairly cheap crystal controlled watch that had one great feature. You could minutely adjust the crystal frequency with I suppose a tiny variable capacitor to get it to keep perfect time. What reminded me of that was the little MFJ crystal controlled clock I won at the hamfest last Sunday. So far it doesn't keep perfect time although it is close gaining only about a second in a couple days now. There is no adjustment like that old watch. I will keep track of the time though and see if it continues to gain or levels out. I bought a clock at the Ol' Station Marketplace last year that tracks perfectly with WWV ever since I got it. It makes a great station clock except for one thing. Although it does have a 24 hour setting, it only covers the USA time zones with no provision for UTC. Well, one can't have everything, I guess. HI.
I've just about finished my page on portable operation and hope to post it here on the site within a couple days now. I think it may be interesting with discussions of my past portable operations along with a lot of helpful (I hope) suggestions for those who are just starting to do portable work. I'll be interested to have your comments via the guestbook or email when I do get it finished and posted. -30-
Fri Mar 03 2017 1:50PM - March s#$ws are not that bad. We had around an inch overnight and this morning and a lot of it has already melted even though the temperature is just at or below freezing. That's the wonderful heating power of the sun which is now some 20 degrees higher in the sky than back on December 22. In fact where it is shining on the streets and walks, they are drying out already. Wonderful. The only better thing would be to have no s#$w at all.
I'm working on adding a page to the web site, probably in the QRP section, about operating portable. In preparing for that, I'm trying to list all the times I've operated portable. So far I've found 55 instances distributed as follows:
Butler, PA - 3
Chicora, PA - 3
Kittanning Community Park - 29
Garretts Run (WY3H property) - 4
Manor Twp, PA (late cousin's property) - 1
Moraine Park - 1
My front porch/yard - 1
Skyview - 4
USS Requin - 9
I don't think that's complete, but it's close. I may find a couple other instances.
I'll stop here and leave the rest of the info for the new page. I hope to have it up within a month or so. I'd like to have it done before my QST article gets published. I still don't know when that will be, but it is being worked on at ARRL headquarters. -30-
Thu Mar 02 2017 7:48PM - For the first time in a while now, I may have to wait till morning or afternoon to get my DX streak QSO. The bands had little to offer this evening and what they did have to offer was in great demand. I didn't realize how much PZ was in demand, but PZ5K was booming in here with a pileup a couple kHz wide. I haven't checked the bands in the morning for a while now. I think the last time was on Presidents Day when Mike was here. They were pretty good then. I hope they will be tomorrow if I don't get someone later this evening.
Actually this was a day when little went well for me. I wanted to open up my computer as I do every few months to blow the dust out and clean the insides, but then I found my can of compressed air was just about empty and the store downtown where I could get some just went out of business. So that gets postponed till I can get a ride to Walmart. Then I was going to put a coat or two of polyurethane on my sundial before putting it outside after winter ended yesterday. However my can of poly was almost empty and dried out. So that will wait for the Walmart trip also since after walking to Jordan's Paints store downtown, I found out they no longer carry it there.
A few other little things went that way also, but I won't go into them here.
At least my regular streak QSO came quickly after just a few CQs on 80 meters when good friend John K4BAI answered me for a short chat before he had a net sked to go to. That's our QSO # 223 dating back to May 10, 1964. 188 of them in contest QSOs. He's way out in front on my contest QSOs Honor Roll. See the HR in my CONTESTING section. -30-
Wed Mar 01 2017 9:48AM - The record setting month of February 2017.
Many records were set during February including but not limited to the following:
Highest average daily maximum temperature: 51.3
Highest average daily mean temperature: 40.2
Second highest daily minimum temperature: 29.1 (record 29.3 in 1998)
Lowest Heating Degree Days: 686
Highest daily maximum temperature: 80 (24th)
Highest daily mean temperature: 64 (24th)
Highest daily minimum temperature: 50 (23rd)
Fewest days with a minimum temperature of 32 or lower: 18
Fewest days with a minimum temperature of 0 or lower: 0 (ties many other Februarys)
Many individual daily records were set as follows:
Daily maximum temperature: 60 - 7th, 70 - 18th (tied 2011), 70 - 22nd, 80 - 24th
Highest minimum temperature: 39 - 12th, 46 - 22nd, 50 - 23rd, 47 - 17th
Highest mean temperature: 47 - 7th, 46 - 8th, 52 - 19th, 58 - 22nd, 60 - 23rd, 64 - 24th
Least daily temperature range: 6 - 16th
Mean temperature departure from normal: +18 - 7th, +22 - 19th, +27 - 22nd, +29 - 23rd, +32 - 24th (all time record for Feb and only bettered by +33 on March 6, 1961 and January 8, 2008)
Earliest in the year to hit each of the following - February 24th: 80, 79, 78, 77, 76, 75, 74, 73 (it was 72 on February 21, 1997)
Number of days with a high of 70 or more: 3 on the 18th - 70, 22nd - 70, 24th - 80 (ties 2000 with 3 also)
Number of days with a high of 60 or more: 9 including the above + 60 - 7th, 66 - 19th, 63 - 20th, 66 - 21st, 69 - 23rd, 62 - 28th
Consecutive days with a high of 60 or more: 7 from the 18th through the 24th
Greatest range of maximum to minimum record temperatures: 96 on February 24 (80 in 2017, -16 in 2015) - also a record range for a whole month breaking a record of 94 set in March with a low of -6 on March 15, 1993 and a high of 88 on March 23, 2012.
Quite impressive. As a contrast, let's look back two years now when I wrote this in the diary:
Sunday, March 01, 2015 8:36 PM - We wound up setting a lot of records in February this year. Remember I've been keeping weather records since starting in 1959, so there is a lot of data for February to be broken, and quite a lot was as follows:
Average low temperature: 7.6.
Average mean temperature: 19.7.
Absolute lowest temperature: -16 (20th, 24th).
Coldest so late in season:
-16 Feb 24
-15 Feb 24
-14 Feb 24
-13 Feb 24
-12 Feb 24
-11 Feb 24
-9 Feb 28
Daily mean: 0 (16th)
Number of days 0 or below: 10 (for all months including Jan)
Mean daily temperature range: 24.2
Heating Degree Days: 1262
Daily low: -13 (16th), -2 (19th), -16 (20th), -16 (24th), -9 (28th)
A total of 17 other daily records among the following categories:
Lowest daily maximum: 12 (15th), 13 (16th), 12 (19th)
Lowest daily mean: 5 (15t), 0 (16th), 5 (19th), 2 (20th), 13 (23rd), 8 (24th)
Greatest daily range: 48 (24th), 43 (28th)
Negative departure from normal: -24 (15th), -30, (16th), -25 (19th), -28 (20th), -18 (23rd), -24 (24th)
Brrrr! Let's move back to more pleasant things.
Just a couple record setting stats for the winter of 2016-2017:
Highest mean daily temperature: 36.1 breaking 2015-2016 when it was 35.6
Missed these by that much:
Highest daily minimum: 27.7 (record 28.0 in 1997-1998)
Highest daily maximum: 44.4 (shy of 44.9 in 2015-2016 and 44.8 in 2011-2012)
Lowest Heating degree days from July 2016 through February 2017: 3,409
For those not familiar with weather stats, Heating Degree Days are figured like this: Take the daily mean temperature and if it is less than 65, the difference between the mean and 65 is the HDD figure for that day. If the mean is greater than or equal to 65, the HDD figure is 0. That is a contrived stat that assumes with a mean lower than 65, some heating must be applied to one's house to keep it comfortable. The higher the HDD, the more heating is needed. Cooling Degree Days are just the opposite assuming cooling is needed when the mean is above 65. Supposedly those are important stats to the HVAC industry.
I think that's plenty to absorb for one day, so 73 till the next entry. -30-
Tue Feb 28 2017 7:16PM - The fifth year got off to a real jackrabbit start. A single call to PJ2/OE3GEA at 0004Z started things rolling. Wonder if I'll make it all the way through a fifth year?
This was a very busy day with a lot of end of the month business to take care of. Also I updated the DX streak story to include stats from the full four years now. I think I'll let that story be most of my diary entry for today. Just go to the QRP section - Streaks page and pick the story of the latest DX streak.
Otherwise, just a couple hours to go now till spring. The weather looks like it will be in sync also with a high of 68 tomorrow and maybe even some spring-like thunderstorms.
OK that's it for now. The next entry or two I'll deal with some stats about our record-setting mild winter. Oh, we had one more last 60 degree day for February today. -30-
Mon Feb 27 2017 7:06PM -
Yes, four years of working at least one DX (non-W/VE) station each day for 1,461 consecutive days is in the books as of working PJ7AA on 30 meters at 0001Z on February 28, 2017. The last day I didn't work any DX was February 28, 2013. I think that proves to any doubters that may be left that you CAN work DX each and every day even with a simple station of QRP, largely indoors antennas, a poor location in a river valley. One of the major keys (pun intended) in so doing is using the wonderful efficient mode of CW.
Do I intend to quit at four years? Nope, I'll go on just as long as I can find and work a DX station. I kind of expect the streak will end as we get closer and closer to the upcoming sunspot minimum, but who knows. I never tried anything like this before during a sunspot minimum. It hasn't been all that hard with the solar flux down in the 70s, and in a minimum it doesn't go lower than the 60s. It will be very interesting to find out. Of course it was a lot easier in the early part of the streak to work DX since we were then just starting to wind down from a sunspot maximum.
Another good thing comes to pass on February 28. That's the last day of meteorological winter. Of course March can still produce some winter-like weather. Most of us who lived in the Eastern USA remember the blizzard of 1993 called the storm of the century and many less complimentary names. However being in March all the 2 feet plus of s#$w was gone within just a few days. On March 15 in the wake of the storm we set an all time low temperature for March of 6 below. However the next day it hit a high of 55 degrees. That took care of a good deal of the s#$w.
There have been other extreme swings of temperature in March even exceeding our February swing last week from 80 to 27 in less than 48 hours. In March of 1995 we went from 74 on the 7th to 7 on the 10th, then back to 70 on the 12th. In March of 1986 it was -3 on the 8th and 75 on the 10th, a swing of 78 degrees in less than 60 hours. It's an interesting month for weather buffs. The key for winter haters though is bad weather doesn't last long once March is here. Well, maybe except for 1960. But that's a story I've told before.
With one full day left in February, it's virtually certain the winter of 2016-2017 will be the warmest of the 58 winters in my weather records going back to 1959. We might even have another 60 degree day to add to the others this month as the high for tomorrow is predicted to be right at 60 degrees. We were in the low 50s today. -30-
Sun Feb 26 2017 7:38PM - Only one more day now till my DX streak reaches 4 years. I worked 8P9AL a few minutes ago after trying to get him unsuccessfully the past couple of evenings. That was on 30 meters.
More interesting than that though was the rest of the day earlier. Of course all days are interesting and fun when Mike and I get together, and even more interesting when the getting together involves a hamfest and meeting other local hams who are members of our NAQCC Western PA Chapter. There will be a more complete story of the hamfest in the NAQCC March newsletter which will be out in about a week, so I'll just kind of gloss over that here. I would like to mention those who we ran into and show their pictures here.
L-R Bob KC3DOF Tom WB3FAE John K3WWP Mike KC2EGL Bob WC3O Jody K3JZD Drew W3FFZ.
Kevin KC3RN was also there but he seemed to have left before we got around to taking the picture(s). Jon AB3RU had to work and he couldn't make it.
Just one more thing about the hamfest. I actually won a drawing for a door prize grab bag. In it were a MFJ 24 hour clock, a MFJ catalog, a Yaesu mouse pad, a WASH organizer with a lot of good useful info included in it, and a Vectronics aircraft receiver kit that covers 118-136 MHz. The clock will be great to take on our parkpeditions. That's the first time I've ever won a door prize drawing of any kind anywhere. Also one of perhaps only a half dozen things I've won without earning them in my almost 72 years on the planet.
After the hamfest, Mike and I stopped at Chili's where I had a huge turkey club sandwich with onion rings and Mike had their endless soup and salad. Then we stopped at Walmart to check out some canopies for our NAQCC parkpeditions and other activities. Following that, Mike played a computer hidden object game. Then we watched a couple of NASCAR videos, specifically the horrendous wrecks of Michael Waltrip at Bristol, Bobby Allison at Talladega, and Cale Yarborough at Daytona. I can't comment on today's Daytona 500 in case Mike reads this because he is taping it to watch later in the week and doen't want to know how it turned out until he watches it on tape.
Well a lot yet to do today, although since it's been a long day, I might just postpone them until tomorrow. HI -30-
Sat Feb 25 2017 7:21PM - I'm all set for the WASH Hamfest tomorrow. No worries about my DX QSO since I worked EG8URT on 30 meters a few minutes ago. I had to repeat my call quite a few times, but I was determined to land him just like landing a big carp no matter how much he fights. Once I got him hooked, that was it. Thanks must go out to him though for sticking with me and not giving up right away like some DX stations do. Now just two days to go to complete 4 years or 1,461 days of the DX streak.
As of right now, it is 43 (ooops, 44 as I prepare to upload this diary page) degrees colder than it was about 28 hours ago. We might have hit 60 during last night though to add another 60 degree day to our February record. My AcuRite and Computemp units show a high of 59 somewhere around 2 or 3AM. I'll see what my shelter thermometer says when I get the 9PM reading. Actually when I was in my shack a few minutes ago, I saw a few s#$w flakes in the light from the streetlight across the street. So from summer back into winter, but maybe not for long. There are hints of a return to the 60s the middle of next week. It's also very windy right now so adding in the wind chill it might feel 60 degrees colder than yesterday.
Mike and I plan to head to the hamfest around 8AM. It should take about an hour to get there so we hope to arrive around 9AM if we don't get lost on the way which we often manage to do somehow. We'll probably stay as long as there is activity, then off to Chili's in the Pittsburgh Mills for a meal before heading back here perhaps to work some DX before Mike has to head north again. Maybe I can con him into ghost writing the diary entry tomorrow before he leaves. -30-
Fri Feb 24 2017 7:52PM - These are exciting times for sure. We SHATTERED our previous February high temperature today when my shelter thermometer nudged 80 degrees breaking the previous record of 74 set back in 2000. I guess that wasn't April in February, but June in February today. I'm not going to list all the potential records being set or having a chance to be set until February ends, then a day or two later I'll have a report here. Incidentally I appreciate those of you who express an interest in my divergent writing about things other than ham radio like the weather, sports, etc.
I did something today I haven't done for some time. I went out to my thermometer shelter several times to check on the progress of the rising temperature. Actually it pretty much matched my remote AcuRite readings, but I wanted to make sure.
There is one possible negative to this February heat wave. A lot of plants around town are sprouting. I hope we don't now have a below average March with some hard freezes to destroy them. Most, if not all, my 18 tulip plants have sprouted. Some bulbs have sent up multiple shoots. I'm trying to figure out now if I should let them out in the open or perhaps cover them with some mulch. I'll study that on the Internet.
I also took advantage of the warm weather to fix the railing on my back steps. It was becoming a bit shaky. It's solid now though. I also took a couple long walks. Of course I took Roscoe out, and even gave him a bonus walk to enjoy the weather. Then we sat on the porch swing for quite a while. I also sat on my porch rocking chair for a while. Just an absolutely superb day today.
I got my DX streak QSO out of the way this evening. I called several stations who were around S5 to S6 who didn't hear me at all until I called OM2VL on 40. He was also around S6 or so and I expected the same non-response, but he got my call on the first or second try surprising me. Another sign of approaching spring was hearing a Japanese station on 20 meters. He was only about S4 to S5, but still nice to hear him. If I remember right it was JH1GEX. -30-
Thu Feb 23 2017 7:40PM - Just missed 70 degrees by a hair today. I checked my main thermometer earlier in the day just to see if we got our 3rd 70 degree day this month to tie a record. The high today will go down as 69 degrees. Tomorrow is predicted to be 75 which if it happens will be the all time high for February in my 58 years of recording such things here. I said a few entries ago that this could be our warmest winter (Dec-Feb) of record if Feb averaged around 38.4 degrees. Including today so far it's 39.0. So unless that cold blast coming through on Sunday is really cold, we probably will have just had our warmest winter come Tuesday. Interesting times.
Mike stopped by late this morning to bring the kielbasa and pierogies. We visited about an hour making plans for the hamfest on Sunday. We also had fun looking back through my diary archives remembering some things we've done in the past such as our tag-team DXing and contesting. Also the weekend in April 2013 we entered 8 different contests and made QSOs in all but one of them - the Israeli contest. We've had a lot of good times since we met when he delivered a QSL card to me back in the early 2000s. Hopefully a lot more are still to come.
It's nail-biting time for my DX streak. Only 4 more days to reach the 4 year mark, and I'd really like to get that and then move on to 1,500 days in 43 more days. It may be rough on Sunday unless I get a quick QSO in the 0000 or 0100Z hours since I'll be away at the hamfest a good part of Sunday morning and afternoon. That's the weekend of the UBA CW contest so hopefully I can catch a Belgian station on 40 meters in the 0000Z hour. I think that's only the world working Belgium, so I can't work other countries. Let me make sure of that right now. No, I'm wrong, it's everyone working everyone, so that makes it a little easier, hopefully. -30-
Wed Feb 22 2017 5:01PM - April in February continues. 67 right now with a high of 70 on my AcuRite unit sometime earlier today. This lovely non-winter weather really buoys up my spirits as well as my body. I feel much more like taking longer walks when it is like this. Plus I have more energy for many other things I just don't feel like doing when the weather is like winter, even though those things don't involve going outside in the nasty weather.
I was doing a litte research on past Februarys to see how they compare to this one. There were several other of them that had such periods of warm weather in my 58 years of records here. Let me list some records and how they compare to this year.
1. There have been 9 Februarys with at least one day in the 70s including this one.
2. There have been 36 Februarys with at least one day of 60 degrees or higher including this one.
3. The most 70 degree days happened in 2000 with 3, then 1976 with 2. So far this year, we have two if my official thermometer matched the AcuRite reading and I'm pretty sure it will.
4. The most 70 degree days in a row was 3 in 2000. Only one in a row (twice) this year.
5. The most 60/70 degree days happened in 1976 with 8. So far this year it is 6 including today with two more expected tomorrow and Friday which would tie 1976.
6. The most 60/70 degrees days in a row was 6 in 1976 and 2000. This year 5 so far which we should break on Friday.
Whew, we're having quite a fantastically great near record February this year. And it's not even over yet.
Another thing that this nice weather fired me up for was our NAQCC sprint last. I was really into it with full vigor. That plus low noise on 80 got me 27 SPCs breaking my old record of 25. I came up short of a QSOs record though with 52 vs. my record of 56. That was really a lot of fun. Although I don't really get in the sprints to win, so far with 80+ logs in, no one else has a QSO total in the 50s. What is really important and pleasing to me is the great participation we get in our sprints. Since we first broke the 100 log mark in April 2010, we've only missed reaching 100+ logs in 6 months out of 80. That's pretty impressive, and hopefully we'll get 17 more logs this year before the Sunday deadline to make it one more month.
I forget if I mentioned it here in the diary or not, but my laptop battery was subject to a recall. Today I received the free replacement from HP after less than a week.
Mike and I will be getting together again twice in the next couple days. Tomorrow he's bringing me some kielbasa from the place in eastern PA he visits a couple times a year - Kowalonek's Kielbasa Shop in Shenandoah, PA. Then on Sunday we'll be attending our first hamfest of the year in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Hopefully we'll be meeting some NAQCC members there. -30-
Tue Feb 21 2017 11:15AM - I just finished my ARRL DX Contest story so that will stand as my diary entry for today. It's in the CONTESTING section Stories page - first link in the table there. I'd like to hear your comments if any. Thanks. -30-
Mon Feb 20 2017 6:25PM - A great day all around today. Great weather, a great visit with Mike, some work done on my contest report, etc.
Mike arrived a little past 9 this morning. We talked about various things, then I had to take Roscoe out for a walk. Some more talk and planning our trip to the hamfest near Pittsburgh on Sunday along with some other NAQCC WPA Chapter activities for this year. Then up to my shack to check on the bands. They turned out to be pretty good. We both worked EI11WAW on a single call, then Mike got C6AKQ on a single call. We heard some other DX, but didn't work anyone else.
Next it was off to Applebee's in the Pittsburgh Mills for a fish and chips, or in my case a fish and rings lunch. After that, it was over to Best Buy to look around, and wound up buying some things. We both got a new USB keyboard, Mike got a new mouse, and I got ink for my new printer and a 128 GB flash drive. Then we walked through the main mall just looking around. We headed back home and when we got here I installed my new keyboard, and right now I'm getting used to it. It has a different feel from the one I used for several years. The key caps are more square topped than the old one. Also for some reason I'm having positioning problems with the right shift key. My little finger just doesn't seem to hit it exactly as it should, but I'll adjust to that.
Next up, Mike played a hidden object on the computer before heading home to be up early in the morning.
I still have a long way to go on my story of my experience in the ARRL DX contest. I hope to get that done in a few days and get it posted here on the web site.
Also I have to send out the promo for our NAQCC sprint tomorrow evening which I'll do a little later tonight after I get on the bands for my streak QSOs.
Almost forget to post this picture:
Although it isn't the clearest picture since it was snapped in a hurry before he moved and with a screen window in the way, I'm sure you can tell it's a robin. The first one I've seen this year. And Mike and I were just talking about the robins showing up soon, and lo and behold this one must have heard us.
So I'll close for now. -30-
Sun Feb 19 2017 7:22PM - Lots of fun in the ARRL DX test. I spent a lot more time than I thought I would because I was enjoying myself. Conditions were spotty but overall not bad for a Solar Flux in the 70s. I'm going to write a contest story so I won't say much more about it here. I wound up with 214 QSOs from 120 multipliers. I'm pleased with that.
Right now I'm going to do my laundry since Mike is visiting tomorrow and I want to get that out of the way tonight.
No DX this evening after 0000Z. The bands suffered a sudden death as soon as the contest ended. But man were they busy, especially 40 meters the last hour. Well, I said no more about the contest, so that's it. -30-
Sat Feb 18 2017 7:40PM - I'm a little brain weary now even though I didn't put in all that much time in the ARRL DX test. Only 119 QSOs so far which actually beat my first goal of 100. Now I think I'll shoot for 200. I'm finding my endurance is not as great as it was when I was younger. I guess a lot of things fade with age. HI
I did try for (or at least look for) Asia on 40 and KL7 on 80 to complete 40M WAC and 80M WAS, but no luck so far. I did hear 4X4NJ fairly strong on 40 last evening, but couldn't break the pileup.
We hit 70 degrees on my AcuRite remote unit today. I enjoyed that via a pretty long walk during one of my several breaks from the DX test. Sure felt good to walk in just a short sleeve T shirt on February 18. If my main thermometer in the shelter also shows 70, that will be one of only a few 70(+) degrees days in my February records going back to 1959. I think I'll check on that and report in a couple days. -30-
Fri Feb 17 2017 10:34AM - One thing I've always tried to do with my web site is to keep all the URLs constant so that if anyone adds a page to their favorites, the link will always work despite the page content being changed (often quite a bit). The only real major change other than adding completely new pages came March 17, 2009 when Alltel became Windstream and every page URL changed. That change resulted in a big dropoff in site visitors as folks who didn't vist the site regularly weren't aware of the change despite my publicizing it well in advance and often.
Even when I added a second hosting service in k3wwp.com, I kept all the individual page URLs the same so that the only change to the URLs was from home.windstream.net to k3wwp.com. Even that wasn't really a change, since I also kept my Windstream site as pretty much an exact mirror site of k3wwp.com.
I mention that mainly because I just checked all the links on my QRP Rigs page and there were many changes in URLs there, and it wasn't all that long ago I checked things. Lesson to be learned - if you have a web site, try your best to keep all URLs constant.
I probably shouldn't say this, but it looks like Spring may be starting 12 days early this year. After today in the mid to upper 40s, the highs for at least the next 7 days will be in the 50s. It will be interesting to see how this winter compares to past mild winters after all my February stats are in after the 28th. Right now, the 2015-2016 winter is the mildest with a Dec-Jan mean of 35.6 or 6.3 above normal. The maximum was 44.9 or 7.1 above normal. The minimum was 26.4 or 5.5 above normal. So far this winter the Dec mean was 2.2 above normal. January 8.3 above. Roughly figuring, to make this the mildest winter February would have to be 8.5 above. Or going by actual average instead of departures, February would need a mean of 38.4. According to my AcuRite average which is my backup to my actual mercury in glass maximum - minimum thermometer, so far February's mean is only 34.0 so we will need those days in the 50s to have a chance for this to be our mildest winter. Time will tell. -30-
Thu Feb 16 2017 7:42PM - A quick DX fix these evening with a lot of stations doing prep work for the ARRL DX test coming up Saturday and Sunday. In fact two quick fixes. First I worked NP2/K4XU on 40, then heard CT9/DL5LYM and thinking I haven't had an African for my DX QSO for a while, I'd work him also and got a bit of a surprise when I got him with a single call. That was also on 40. So I would say barring something entirely unsuspected, the streak is secure for at least two more days with the DX test.
I'm continuing to tweak different things on the web site. There are some pages I haven't done anything with for a few years now. They don't really need any major changing, just as I say, tweaking here and there. I'm listing the tweaks in the What's New section on the main page. If there are only one or two minor tweaks, I don't list them. Anything more significant than that, I'll list.
After a cold night tonight with a low around 20, we've got about 7-8 days in a row with highs in the 50s. That is just so great, I can hardly stand it. HI. I wish every winter could be like this one from now on. -30-