Thursday, October 30, 2014 09:11 PM - I don't know how much longer my DX streak is going to last. It seems to be getting rougher to work DX each evening now. Perhaps it is better in the day. I'll find out tomorrow because I'll have to get on in the morning or afternoon to keep the streak alive. I heard and could have worked PJ7/K5WE and W1AW/KP2 on 30 meters, but as you know I don't like to 'hog' DX stations and work them on the same band within a few days. Now I could have worked W1AW/KP2 on 20, but he was just not hearing me at all. So I settled on keeping the big streak alive and called CQ on 40 where I was answered by Randy N1SP. Oh, last night it was PV8ADI on 40 meters a couple hours after I wrote the diary entry. -30-
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 08:56 PM - Unless I get some DX later tonight, my streak will have to wait till morning or afternoon to be added to. Only a couple DX stations heard this evening, and I couldn't break either big pileup. I did work W3MWR to at least keep the big streak going. -30-
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 08:22 PM - The solar flux is dropping like an elevator with a broken cable. From 217 a couple days ago to 167 today - a 50 point drop. Conditions in the evening remain about the same though. Not much high latitude DX heard. A strong ZD8 on 30M about the best signal besides the DX I worked. For the fourth night in a row, the Caribbean Sea provided my DX Streak QSO. Tonight it was W1AW/KP2 on 30 meters at 0012Z after working W1AW/7 in WY at 0000Z on 20 and then at 0004Z on 17. I haven't really been paying much attention to the W1AW tour since getting my last state a month or so ago. I didn't even know W1AW was in the Virgin Islands this week. I just happened across them. But then that's how I get 99.99% of my DX. I only recall a couple times I had pre-knowledge of who I was going to work. It's more fun not knowing. Just like fishing. I don't think I'd like fishing in a well stocked small pond with a lot of starving fish.
Speaking of fishing, I didn't go today. It was just too windy. I was outside quite a bit though enjoying perhaps the last 80 degree day of the year. Yes, it nudged 80 degrees today and in fact it is still 71 right now and it was 75 several minutes ago before some light rain blew in. Now just like the solar flux, the temperature is going to take a plunge and be in the upper 20s by the weekend.
Still having fun playing with Windows 10. Honestly except for being slow which may be a hardware problem on my part, I haven't found anything yet that didn't work well or that I didn't like. There are some features that aren't working yet, but that's to be expected from a very-pre beta release of software. -30-
Monday, October 27, 2014 08:54 PM - The ionosphere continues disturbed for another day. Thank goodness for the PJ#/ stations which have provided my easy DX QSOs the past three evenings now to keep the DX streak going. This evening it was PJ2/DL8OBQ in an easy QSO on 30 meters. Otherwise there hasn't been a lot of DX to be found here. I did hear HC5AI and YV5EN on 20 meters. I got a K? from HC5AI, but no further. I'd really like to work him too because his dad, the original holder of the call was one of (if not THE) first Ecuador stations I worked many years ago. Let me pause my typing to check on that. Well, the first 5 watt QRP Ecuador anyway in September 1994. I did work HC1GC with 50 watts or so back in 1968. I worked the original HC5AI six times, the last in 1999.
Not a lot more to talk about. I did go fishing for a little while today, but didn't get any bites. I may try again tomorrow at a different place. Other than that, some walking and playing with Windows 10 occupied most of my time. -30-
Sunday, October 26, 2014 10:05 PM - Another quick DX QSO this evening with the same station on a different band - PJ7/K5WE tonight on 40 meters. Other than that I didn't get on the bands today. I don't think they were very good anyway from the propagation reports.
At least the weather reports are good, and I'm taking advantage of that - over 15 miles walking yesterday and almost 9 today (so far). I'm thinking of going fishing the next couple days as my friend Tom WB3FAE can't make it for a parkpedition.
Still learning things about my virtual machine and Windows 10 on my laptop. I found out how to speed things up a bit, and that helps. It seems to run quite well with the things I've been trying, mostly Internet Explorer so far. -30-
Saturday, October 25, 2014 08:23 PM - Even though I now have over 200 JA QSOs, it's still a thrill working Japan, along with other Asian countries I've talked about before. Perhaps because it took so very long to work my very first Asian station. That was way back on July 5, 1994, over thirty-one years after I became a ham. The station? 4Z4DX on 30 meters at 0208Z. What a thrill that was to finally complete my WAC. My first Asiatic Russian and second overall Asian station came 1 year and 25 days later on July 30, 1995 when I worked RW0A on 20 meters in the (I believe) IOTA contest. I got four more Asian QSOs with Asiatic Russia in the next year or so for a total of just 6 Asian QSOs up to November 24, 1996 when I finally worked my first Japanese - JA3ZOH on 20 meters in the CQWW DX contest. That too was quite a thrill. My second JA came about an hour later when I worked JH0ZHQ. By the time 1997 came to an end I still had only 16 Asian QSOs logged.
Then with the sunspot cycle approaching its peak in 1998, Asians became much easier to work and my total Asians are as follows:
1998 - 47
1999 - 77
2000 - 97
2001 - 37
2002 - 65
2003 through 2010 - 28 (sunspot minimum + other factors)
2011 - 28
2012 - 40
2013 - 58
2014 - 36 (so far)
That's a total of 532 Asian QSOs, of course all QRP/CW/simple antennas. Not an awful lot compared to NA and EU, but about the same as AF and more than OC as shown here:
NA - 48,164
EU - 13,380
SA - 1,505
AF - 570
AS - 532
OC - 260
That's only counting QSOs since I became active again in 1993 as 100% QRP/CW/simple antennas. So that kind of explains why AS (and AF/OC) are still somewhat of a thrill to work.
All of that as a preamble (pre-ramble?) to saying my DX QSO last evening was with Shin JA1NUT on 15 meters. That's our second QSO and Shin both times showed a great interest in my QRP work as he visits my web site from time to time.
Tonight it was a proverbial piece of cake getting my DX QSO. I could have worked XE1RK easily but I've worked him a lot and passed on him for the time being. Then I found PJ7/K5WE whom I haven't worked very often and not at all recently and got him on the first call at 0003Z. So that's 605 days for the DX streak now.
Otherwise today in addition to almost 14 miles of walking in great weather, I became a Technical Previewer of the next edition of Windows - Windows 10 when I installed the TP version in a VMware Player virtual machine on my laptop. I haven't played with it much, but I do like to look of the start page which you could say is a cross between Windows 7 and Windows 8. I like both of those versions, so 10 being a hybrid of both should be even better than both 7 and 8. There's still a long way to go though before the final release version is ready for market, and I hope that maybe I can find some little feature that I think can be improved on and submit it to Microsoft to consider. Right now, it runs rather slowly, but I think that's mainly due to the hardware on my laptop which isn't all that robust since I only bought it as a second computer to the main Windows 7 machine. Maybe someday when I get more familiar with virtual machines and Windows 10, I'll try it on the Windows 7 machine, but not yet as I don't completely trust my limited knowledge so far. BTW I could not get it to work at all with Oracle's VirtualBox software, but the VMware Player installation went very smoothly if slowly. -30-
Friday, October 24, 2014 07:15 PM - My DX came easy this morning. I worked CO2CCA and S59N on 15, then grabbed UZ5DX on 10 for a new prefix. Conditions were really good in the 1300Z hour. I hadn't listened much at all in that hour for some time now. However with the big reduction in NAQCC work since my retirement, I've had more time to explore the bands at different hours of the day. Previously I would devote the 1300-1500 time frame to NAQCC work and then brunch, so there are very few recent QSOs in my log from that 2 hour period.
Today was a very nice day - more like late September than late October. I took advantage and spent quite a bit of time outside. I almost went fishing, but it was a bit breezy so I decided I'd pass it up for today since there are several more nice days in a row coming. In fact if Tom WB3FAE can get a day off work Monday or Tuesday, we are going to put on one of our parkpeditions. Stay tuned for updates.
Still about 35 minutes now before my 0000Z band check. I wonder what I'll find. I didn't get on later this afternoon as I had been doing. However if this morning is any indication, the bands may be good this evening. We'll see. -30-
Thursday, October 23, 2014 05:51 PM - As you see from the time stamp, it's 5:51 PM and I've just been reminded of another disadvantage (besides ham radio) of living in a valley. The partial solar eclipse was scheduled to start at 5:46 PM. I had my pinhole projector all ready and was easily seeing the large sunspot group on the projected image with no magnification. However then Solar System Geometry or whatever you want to call it stepped in. Almost precisely at 5:46 PM, the sun set. So I missed it. There wasn't enough time to walk to another part of town where the sun might still be above the horizon. Mis-planning on my part. I kept looking for a chart of eclipse times on the Internet and found some conflicting and erroneous times which were saying the eclipse started earlier than 5:46 PM, but that was at other locations. I never did find an accurate chart of the times until it was too late. The next time, whenever that is, I will do some more advance planning. You can count on that. Now I will go stand in the corner for a while and pout.
At least seeing the large sunspot made it a little worthwhile. So that's what messed up conditions the past couple days. Or in some cases enhanced them, depending..... Oh, I got my DX QSO later last evening when I worked YV5IUA on 30 meters in the 0200Z hour. He was booming in, and it was an easy QSO. I wonder what this evening will bring now. -30-
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 09:40 PM - You would think with a SF of 216 and an A index of 14 that conditions would be very good, but they certainly weren't today, at least during the 3 or 4 times I checked. Sometimes the ionosphere just gets too energized and you wind up with radio blackouts or at least very stormy conditions.
The best I could do today was easily work W1AW/7 in NV on 20M and W1AW/8 in WV on 40M. I didn't really need them as I got the 50 states the first time around with W1AW as you know. I just thought since there wasn't much else around, I'd work them. I didn't even hear any DX except for a strong PJ2. I didn't work him this afternoon though, hoping I could find him tonight for my DX streak QSO. I didn't. So tomorrow it will be do or die for the streak. At least I don't have much scheduled for tomorrow, so I'll have a lot of time to search. -30-
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 07:26 PM - I wanted to get my DX QSO quickly last evening, and I did, but it was a bit embarrassing. I found this station on 20 meters who made 4 or 5 QSOs in a row without any ID. I thought I'd better not wait and work him first if I could, then find out who it was. I called, and got something like K3?, then WWP? after I called again. Then he put it together for K3WWP 599. I sent TU 599, and then waited to see who I worked. Turned out it was JT1AA/5 again in a repeat QSO on the same band just two evenings before. And almost as easy as then when it took but a single call. I hate doing repeat QSOs like that, but I didn't want him to get away in case it was someone rare that I needed. In those cases, I call first, then find out who it was I worked. That was a memorable day in the DX streak too - day # 600 in a row I've worked some DX. Yes, QRP/CW/simple antennas does work!
I got on for a little while this afternoon, but DX was pretty non-existant at the time. So I called CQ FISTS on 20 for a while and worked N1CUU and KG0YR. Nice to see FISTS activity increasing again.
One other thing I just did today was to get my Silver certificate for those seven Spanish Football special event stations I worked last month. Here it is:
Now a mid-evening snack, then to the shack at 0000Z to see what I can find. -30-
Monday, October 20, 2014 07:45 PM - I thought for sure my DX streak might end today. There was just no DX to be found and the WWV report showed ionospheric disturbances most of the day. You could sure tell that by the lack of good European signals. Even OH6NVC whom I worked a few days ago with his KW and big beam and S9++ signal was only about S5 at best today. He and an even weaker French station were the only Europeans I heard in a couple different sessions. Yes, the high latitude path to Europe was pretty much shot when I listened.
However, then dear Lady Luck stepped in. I tuned all the bands and wound up on 10 meters. Ooops, there's a big peak on the panadapter. Probably a USA station as there were a lot of very strong USA signals on all the high bands. I'll check anyway. Hey, it's ZD8X and that's a good low latitude path. He faded a bit after I first heard him, but when I called, he stuck with me till he got my call right after several repeats. So the DX streak is alive and we..... OK, maybe alive and pretty good if conditions remain like this the next few days.
Luck is another important ingredient in doing something like a DX streak. Sometimes after skill, knowlegde, propagation, activity, and other such ingredients are exhausted, luck is needed badly. That happened today. Now in a couple minutes its another day and another search for a DX QSO. Maybe it will be a quick one tonight. That would be nice. -30-
Sunday, October 19, 2014 11:43 PM - Closing in on midnight (and my retirement as NAQCC VP so bye bye to the counter that was above). I've been busy finishing the cross-checking of our sprint logs, then over to Nancy's for Roscoe's last walk of the day. So this will be short. I got an ILQP QSO for the streak. The DX will have to come in the morning or afternoon. Conditions have been good with the SF in the 170s, so that shouldn't be hard. Hope I didn't jinx things by saying that. HI. -30-
Saturday, October 18, 2014 08:21 PM - Whenever Mike and I get together for a DX session on the bands, we always make fun of those people who say that QRP doesn't work - something like this. After working JA1NUT, VK6HQ, ZS4TX and the like we say, "It's a shame that QRP doesn't work." Well, Mike wasn't here this evening, but I echoed that statement anyway. I worked JT1AA/5 with but a single call on 20 meters although he was only about an S5 or maybe S6 at best here with somewhat of a flutter. I think that was my easiest Mongolian QSO among the half dozen or so that I have. Geez, I wonder what I could catch if QRP DID work? The moon, Venus, Jupiter? It just annoys me so much to hear folks put QRP down. They've probably never even tried it themselves.
I usually say this when I've worked Mongolia, so you regular diary readers can skip down a bit. I've always been fascinated working that part of the world - Asiatic Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and especially Mongolia. I don't know what the ham population there is, but it has to be pretty low and thus harder to work than other countries in that area. Of course Japan is not in that exact area, but close and it has the most licensed hams in the world. Thus it is easy to work, and I've done it over 200 times (yes, with QRP, you doubters). Also Asiatic Russia is very easy to work with its rather high ham population. So rarity is one reason I enjoy working it. Also though, I've been fascinated with the country itself since I watched the movie Destination Gobi with Richard Widmark. If you've never seen the movie, in addition to Mongolia, it deals with weather stations and of course that's another interest of mine.
Other than the Mongolian QSO and one in the NYQP, I didn't make any other QSOs all day. I thought about the WAG contest, but never seemed to get in the mood for a contest. My neighbor (at about 15 miles) Tom WB3FAE said the bands, especially 12 meters were good this morning. So maybe I'll check them in the morning.
I helped Ange this morning to start getting his garden cleaned up for the winter. We picked just about all the peppers except for a couple little ones which we left to see if they would develop any more (unlikely). As you know if you are a regular reader here, he hurt his elbow and then foot early in the year, so he didn't plant much beyond the peppers and a few cucumber and zucchini plants. Of course the fig trees are still around. -30-
Friday, October 17, 2014 09:05 PM - Another DXless evening. CN8KD was pretty strong on 30 as was RK0UT on 20, but KD wasn't hearing me and UT was too busy. Anyway I feel pretty safe with the WAG contest up later today and Sunday. If I can't get a DX QSO in that contest, I deserve to have the DX streak end.
I did work one of our NAQCC special event stations this evening for my regular streak QSO - N4A/KU4GW. So that streak is safe.
Not a lot more to talk about tonight. It was a quiet day with some walking to the tune of 10.1 miles and a little ham radio this afternoon. I worked IQ1CN who was booming in on 20 meters in the 2100Z hour. Had a nice chat with him. -30-
Thursday, October 16, 2014 08:44 PM - I think the bands tried to make things up to me today for the lousy conditions they gave me for our NAQCC sprint a couple evenings ago. I had a great time both this afternoon and evening.
This afternoon I finished the NAQCC European challenge when I got the 6 from DR60INN which may also have been a new prefix. Then I had 2 QSOs with Japan on 10 meters. One with JQ2IQW was a bit rough, but I had a short chat type QSO with Suke JM7OLW who was an honest 599 here with none of the flutter associated with signals from JA most times.
Buoyed up by that I decided to take a N3A stint from 2300-2400Z, and it was quite successful with 10 QSOs, almost as good a rate as Mike and I had from the park back on Monday.
Then it was an easy DX QSO at 0010 with Joska HA9RT on 30 meters to keep the DX streak going at 596 days. I'd hate to lose it now with 600 so close at hand. I've pretty much decided to just keep going after 600 and like the big streak, just wait till something beyond my control brings it to an end. -30-
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 09:29 PM - Wouldn't you know it. Today my noise was back down to the level it has been the past few weeks now. Not complaining, but why wasn't it that way last night for the sprint.
I worked 4 DX stations this morning/afternoon including a nice prefix (new?) in LZ1000TS (LZ one thousand TS). Then this evening another nice Bulgarian prefix from LZ1375IKA. Funny thing - I called IKA several times on one frequency without him sending even a ?, then he changed frequency and I got him fairly easily with a few repeats. I also got W1AW/4 before that to satisfy the big streak in case I had to wait for the DX.
The DX stations today got me down to needing only a 6 to finish the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. I'll have to look for that tomorrow.
I did a little more work on my PX3 stand today. I put a back support on it so I don't have to hold it now when I push buttons. I'll try to get a picture for tomorrow's entry.
Right now I've got a batch of new NAQCC member applications to take care of, plus a couple more sprint logs. -30-
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 11:48 PM - It's late, so just a brief entry. My noise returned with a vengeance today. So it was rough getting my goal of 20 QSOs in the NAQCC sprint this evening. Took almost the full two hours and I got 22 because I wasn't sure of two of the QSOs. No DX this evening. That will have to be taken care of in the morning or afternoon.
OK, time to get ready for bed and do a couple little chores first. -30-
Monday, October 13, 2014 07:48 PM - Well, the weather cooperated to a certain extent today and we (Mike and I) were able to set up at Community Park for our N3A parkpedition. It was a grey day for the most part although the sun did come out at times. Generally this is what we saw in the sky though:
We took our antennas, laptops, KX3s, and paddles up to the park and got set up shortly after our scheduled 1400Z start time. The action commenced immediately. My first CQ on 20 netted a response from K4ARQ followed by a mini-pileup of 5 other stations which was cleared quickly. Then the action slowed down a bit but remained steady for the next 3 1/2 hours. We chatted a bit with the stations we worked rather than just giving out TU 599 type QSOs or we might have made even more QSOs than we did. How many? I made 39 on 20 meters and Mike made 37 on 40 meters. It was nice to have a steady stream of action for both of us for a change. Usually one band or the other will be stubborn and produce few QSOs. Not today.
Here are a couple pictures of the ops at work followed by a picture of my setup and a picture of the "CW Crow sitting on a streetlight post". I could swear the crow was cawing in Morse code. I know I picked out several letters he was making with the pattern of his cawing, although it wasn't completely scary as he (she?) didn't send any recognizible words. HI.
It did rain a bit, and I had to move from one table to another to avoid the blown-in moisture, but it didn't bother us at all besides that.
All too soon our laptops gave us the signal that they were running low on battery power, and since activity also had slowed, we decided to just tear down around 1730Z and call it a day (and go get something to eat, of course).
After we got home from eating, we did some computer work, chased a bit of DX while showing Mike my PX3, and worked on some NAQCC prizes. Following that, back to the shack for my DX streak QSO provided by P40JR on 30 meters with a single call. I had heard him on 17 earlier, but didn't want to work him there since we had a QSO on that band just a couple days ago. 30 meters was a new band for us though. Then Mike had to head home for another work day coming up tomorrow following the Columbus Day holiday today. -30-
Sunday, October 12, 2014 09:15 PM - A lot of walking today. I am surprised to see 12.11 miles on the pedometer at the moment. I knew I walked a lot, but I didn't think it was that much. The weather was great - sunny and a high of 70.
Tomorrow Mike will be visiting and we hope to put N3A on the air from the Community Park for the NAQCC 10th Anniversary celebration. The weather may throw a monkey wrench into the works though. It is supposed to rain in the morning and early afternoon which is basically when we wanted to operate (1400-1900Z). If the rain does interfere, we plan to operate from my home here. We won't have the additional altitude at the park and it will be much noisier here than at the park, but we'll give it a shot if that's the only choice we have.
Because of our activities tomorrow, I wanted to be sure to get my DX QSO this evening for the streak. I did, working XE2FNC on 21025 at 0004Z. Then since that was out of the way. I thought I'd try some CQs. I called CQ on 17 meters and surprisingly got an answer from W7LXN out in AZ. we chatted about 12 minutes till the path deteriorated and we lost each other. Then I went and checked out 40 meters and found and worked two of our NAQCC special event calls - N9A and N2A. -30-
Saturday, October 11, 2014 09:23 PM - Today was a complete contrast to yesterday. It was very un-busy today. I did pass the time, but not in any unusual ways worth writing about. I did get out for a couple good walks as the weather was fair with a high in the mid 60s and no rain. On the first walk I took a few fall foliage pictures, but most everything is still green with an exception here and there. I haven't really looked at the pictures yet beyond glancing at them. Let's see if there is at least one to show you what I mean.
That's one tree within our block here that always goes through a nice cycle of color changes. You'll notice all the surrounding trees are still green, even the ones on the distant hill in the background. I don't know if the long winter, wet spring and early summer, followed by a very dry late August, September, and early October have had or will have an effect on the colors. I guess we'll know within a couple weeks.
It didn't take long this morning to get my DX QSO and it was a very nice one. I worked 2SZ - yes that's correct. That's the special commemorative call in Great Britain to honor and remember the first Great Britain to New Zealand QSO 90 years ago between then 2SZ in Great Britain and 4AA in New Zealand. I felt kind of a thrill working a station with a call in the format that most if not all early amateur radio stations used way back when. Those must have been really exciting days in radio. If you've never read the ARRL book "Two Hundred Meters and Down", you should make it a point to do so. It's a great chronicle of those early days. If you find that interesting and want to then delve into the early days of broadcast radio, there is an excellent book about the history of WLW in Cincinnati. While trying to remember the title through a Bing search, I came across this web site that has a lot of the content of the book right here. Imagine a 500 kW transmitter that required circualtion from a 75 foot square pond of water to keep it running cool. That was WLW in the early days of broadcasting. If that whets your appetite for more, read the book or the web page. Being in broadcasting, I found it fascinating. -30-
Friday, October 10, 2014 10:02 PM - This could be a very long entry as I did a lot of things today, but don't worry, I'll condense it.
Last night Nancy told me she and Bruce were going shopping up to the malls in the morning if I wanted to go along. I did need some things up there so I said yes.
Then this morning while waiting for them, I did some updating on the NAQCC web site preparing for my retirement. I made a lot of changes especially on the sprint pages mentioning my cutting back on sprint work after my retirement, and making it easier for those helpers who do the sprint pages, and will continue to do so when I retire.
Then it was time to head for the hills. We made stops at WalMart where I got some new shoes, a WWVB clock, and some Turkey spam, then at Dollar General and Family Dollar. Nancy got some things at those stores, but I didn't need anything there.
When we got home after a couple hours, I had a late brunch then played with my clock a bit. I don't know if I can get a strong enough noise-free signal from WWVB to set it or not. So far it hasn't happened, but the signal should be stronger after midnight, so I'll see what happened overnight when I get up tomorrow. Then it was off for a walk with the new shoes. I really like Dr. Scholl's shoes. I can transition from an old pair to a new pair without any initial discomfort at all which I notice in other brands of shoes.
Home again from the walk, I thought since it was a very comfortable day - not too warm nor too cold - I'd clean up my garden. I took down my bean plants which had stopped producing - both the climbing and bush varieties. I pulled all but two tomato plants since they still had some tomatoes on them that looked like they could ripen. If they don't then I'll pick them and let them ripen inside as I do with the late ones every year. I left 3 or 4 pepper plants that still had some nice size peppers on them. Then I cut back my daylillies. Actually just one of the four since I had done the other three earlier. So the back yard looks a little bare now. Sure will be nice when spring rolls around again and I can be planting once more. But that's a long way off.
Following that, Nancy's other son Jeff came over and asked if Nancy and I were going out to eat. She had mentioned that to Jeff and me yesterday, but didn't say anything about it today, so I said yes, I could go if she still wanted to go. So the three of us went out to Ponderosa where I, as usual, stuffed myself beyond belief. This was their weekly Friday fish buffet, and I love seafood. So I filled up on fish, clams, shrimp, and the like. They also have had hushpuppies the last couple Fridays I've been there, and I just love them. It's now some 5 hours later, and I haven't even had the very slightest hunger pang. That gives you an idea of how much I ate.
Last night I had an idea of an alternate mounting for my PX3, and after the huge meal I threw together a little stand that places it right above the KX3. A picture is worth a thousand words and is a lot easier on the fingers, so here are 2,000 words about the stand.
It really is nice to have both the PX3 and KX3 displays right together like that. That's my new WWVB clock at left in the pictures.
No DX tonight, but I did work K7DCG for the regular streak. Hopefully some DX in the morning or afternoon will continue the DX streak. -30-
Thursday, October 09, 2014 09:12 PM - A very quick DX QSO this evening extended the streak(s) - P40JR on 17 meters at 0002Z. Then I worked W1AW/4 on 40 meters followed by a couple rag chews with Paul N8XMS (our new NAQCC President) and Rick KC4KNN. Contrasted to that, the bands were rather poor again this afternoon. I think it may be rough finishing the NAQCC European Chapter challenge this month unless I find a time when conditions are better to Europe. Perhaps around 1500-1700Z. If I get a chance, I'll see what that time frame offers tomorrow.
Outside of that not a lot going on today. I'm still taking care of NAQCC things getting ready for my retirement in (see above countdown). I'm also doing some little updating of things on my web site here as more time is becoming available to do so. -30-
Wednesday, October 08, 2014 06:09 PM - I'm sitting here waiting to head to the Library for our computer club meeting and thought I might as well write the diary entry.
I hope everyone got a chance to see the lunar eclipse early this morning. There were a lot of clouds here but I at least got a glimpse just before mid-eclipse. Supposedly it was a fairly vivid reddish eclipse from what I've heard, but I didn't notice that here. It looked pretty gray to me with the southern part darker than the northern part. That difference in brightness was due to the moon passing near the north edge of the umbra. The lack of color could have been due to the clouds here plus it was not far from setting when I saw it. That kind of reminds me when I was a kid, I made observations of a couple eclipses that were published in Sky and Telescope. My, that was a long long time ago. HI. I remember my mom and I staying up till the wee hours of the morning for one of them. I'd kind of like to look up those S&T reports, but I've got almost a 60 year collection of S&T magazines here and it would take forever. Maybe after my NAQCC retirement I can do it.
The bands didn't sound very good this afternoon. OH6NVC who was over S9 a couple days ago when I worked him was only about S3 or maybe S4 at best today. Other than that, I can't recall hearing any other European stations. Oh wait, I think there was one weak PA station. Just to work someone since I was in the shack, I got W1AW/4 in VA easily on 30 meters.
Tonight may be especially rough since with the computer meeting, I probably won't get on until after 0100Z so my streak(s) QSO might have to wait till the morning or afternoon.
Well, time to get going now. -30-
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 08:46 PM - It was a very frustrating afternoon on the ham bands. I don't know how many European stations I heard that contained letters/numbers for the NAQCC European challenge, but I just could not work a single one of them. The closest I came was getting K3 P? from ES1TU. He never could finish my call though, and I gave up. The other stations either didn't hear me at all, or they had answered someone else's CQ so I couldn't even try tailending them since the CQer had the frequency. I don't know just where in Russia the UE16M- stations are, but it is somewhere that blocks my signals. I don't know how many times I've tried working them (I think there are at least 2 of them - MM and MT), without so much as getting a ? or QRZ? from them. Today UE16MT was fairly strong, but with the same results. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Oh, and the Europeans without the needed letters/numbers were quite strong and workable, but I didn't try working them.
I had some fun this evening that made up for the afternoon a little. I worked W1AW/KL7 on a single call and was the very next to last station he worked for his weeklong stint at 2359Z. Then I got W1AW/4 in VA on my very first call on 80 meters at 0007Z. I also got an easy and quick DX streak QSO when I worked CO2CCA on 20 meters at 0011Z. I was just thinking as I was noting the number of days in the DX streak that I'll hit 600 days (assuming....) on October 21, the day after I officially retire as NAQCC VP. So that will be a couple big days in a row.
Speaking of retiring, the transition of all my work over to our new NAQCC President/Manager Paul N8XMS is going wonderfully. A lot of the work is now transferred and it looks like I'll be totally free by the end of the year if not sooner. Well except for the couple things I'm keeping like log cross-checking for our sprints and being the head (if there is one) of the NAQCC WPA Chapter. I can't wait. Then I'll be able to pursue other activities that have kind of taken a back seat to the NAQCC work. -30-
Monday, October 06, 2014 08:31 PM - It was a nice day today after a couple cold days, so I went fishing. The fish didn't show up though. I tried two different spots and got nary a single bite. Still it was nice to be out in the fresh fairly mild air for a while.
The bands were pretty good this afternoon compared to last evening. I had a nice chat with Mika OH6NVC who is a county hunter and needs Armstrong Co. He is going to send me a QSL with a SASE. Not often I get that from a DX station. Incidentally he was running a KW into a 6 over 6 stacked array and certainly sounded like it. He was just about the only signal on 15 at the time and he was well over S9. Gave me a 579. I guess that array really boosted my RF when it got to Finland. Normally it's usually the not so honest 599 that everyone gets. Or a 559 which means I can barely hear you, but I'll give you an S5 anyway. I figure when I get 589, 579, or 569, those are pretty honest reports.
After that I heard KH7Y and thought I'd see how my Hawaii pipeline was working. One station beat me out, but on the second try I got him with one repeat of my call. So the pipeline was working. I really can't figure that one out. I can generally work Hawaii even though I can barely hear the station. KH7Y today was pretty strong though.
This evening, the DX came quickly at 0009Z when I worked S50R on 30 meters. It wasn't the easiest QSO, but he stuck with me for a half dozen or so repeats and got it right at the end. That also gave me the S and R I needed for the NAQCC European challenge, leaving me with 10 letters/numbers now to complete it. -30-
Sunday, October 05, 2014 09:23 PM - Wow, that was rough tonight. Took a solid hour plus 5 minutes to finally get a QSO of any kind. Many unanswered CQs. Many called stations not hearing me. Other stations strong, but just worked within the past few days on the same bands. However, finally I made it, and it was DX to boot. I got a very weak HH2/PY3SB on 17 meters on my first call. Actually I had to listen to him several times after we worked to be sure of his call.
Things were much better during the day. I worked GB2NZ, a special call commemorating the first Great Britain to New Zealand (hence the call sign) QSO 90 years ago in October 1924. A lot of interesting historical info on the Internet. If you're interested start at the QRZ.com entry for GB2NZ and go from there. I also worked SJ2014ECC to get some more letters/numbers for the NAQCC European chapter challenge. Then it was Rey CO6RD for the R to finish the NAQCC NA challenge. That's the fastest finish for a challenge in a few months now, I believe.
This was our first really cold day of the season today. The high was just 54, and inside the house, the temperature got down in the low 60s. So I decided it was time to start running up the gas bill against my will and start the furnace. I cleaned out the registers, set the thermostat gradually up from its summer setting of 60 to 64 to 70 and warmed up the house pretty quickly, then backed it down to 66 or 67 where I'll leave it for a while now.
I only went out once today to go and pick up a loaf of bread and some cans of soup on sale at the grocery store. It wasn't all that bad, but it was breezy which added (subtracted?) to the wind chill.
Finally I promised a couple days ago a better picture of the PX3 display, so here goes. You'll see a rather empty 20 meters and get an idea of my local noise level always present here, right then averaging about S5 on 20, but its higher on the lower bands and a little bit lower on the higher bands.
Saturday, October 04, 2014 08:51 PM - Reason # (ooops, I lost count) to like the PX3 - I now have more room to write on the desk without the laptop panadapter sitting there.
The bands were pretty good this afternoon. I could have worked a lot more stations than I did, but I was mainly trying to finish the NAQCC NA challenge and was selective in working stations. I did get things down to now needing only 2 Rs to finish up. I also passed the halfway mark on the way to finishing the NAQCC European challenge with a couple of European stations I worked.
This evening the bands continued good, but everyone was involved in contesting, chasing DX, or chasing W1AW so it was hard to make any QSOs. I finally worked N2UU in the NJQP to keep the big streak going. Then I spent a half hour looking for a workable DX station. I was hearing many JAs, but all chasing something else. Finally I ran across 4A1LM on 17 meters all by himself calling CQ. He wasn't strong, but I got him after a couple repeats of my call. So the DX streak rolls on at 584 days now.
Tomorrow I hope to chase down those final Rs and get along further with the European challenge as well. Too cold to do much outdoors with temps in the 50s after a low in the 30s overnight tonight. So a good day to be on the bands if conditions are good. And it won't take long to tell if they are good with the PX3. -30-
Friday, October 03, 2014 05:55 PM - I'm waiting for some rain to stop so I can go to the store so I thought I'd write my diary entry while I'm waiting. Looks like according to the radar, it's almost stopped.
I went fishing before the rain today. I tried a different spot and it turned out not so good. A couple nibbles, but no fish. Should have stuck with the regular spot, I guess. This is our last warm day in the great past two weeks of wonderful fall weather, so I don't know how much more fishing there will be this year, but I'm sure there will be some as I see on the long range outlook several days in the 60s and a few even in the low 70s, but no upper 70s/low 80s like the past couple weeks.
I did some NAQCC work today. We're getting well along with my retirement and transitioning the bulk of the work over to Paul N8XMS. He's now doing some HTML editing and uploading pages to the NAQCC web site. That's really about the final hurdle in the transition.
After I got home from fishing, I did a few odds and ends, then got on the air to play with my new toy, the PX3. I'm growing to learn more about it and to like it even more. The biggest thing I learned today is that a lot of the settings are band-specific. So I can customize each band differently if so needed. The noise blanker and display averaging really help to clean up the jumping in the display - something I couldn't do with HDSDR.
I also made a few QSOs along the way. I narrowed our main NAQCC challenge down to needing just 2 Is and 4 Rs to complete it. The European challenge is going a bit more slowly as conditions to Europe are somewhat up and down lately. However I did get a new European band-country today when I worked MW0EDX on 17 meters. That means I now have all the British Isles entities - G GD GI GJ GM GU GW - worked on all bands from 30 through 10. On 40 I still need GJ and GU. On 80 I need GD GJ and GU.
One other nice thing about the PX3 is the freedom to get on the bands at any time with a panadapter. If I wake up in the middle of the night and want to check the bands I can do so quickly with the PX3. No need to set up the laptop anymore. -30-
Thursday, October 02, 2014 07:38 PM - It was an absolutely GREAT day today on the parkpedition with Don. I'm only sorry we couldn't have done more of them this year. I went into that in earlier diary entries and won't repeat it here.
First of all the day was absolutely beautiful:
The first order of business of course was setting up antennas and rigs. Don and I commented that antenna pictures never seem to show up well against a tree (or pretty much any other) background, and these pictures prove it. First my K3RLL jumper dipole. Give yourself the title "Eagle Eye" if you can see the two halves of the dipole, the cord used to raise it, and especially the coax feedline:
And the same with Don's antenna shown here:
My rig setup here with Laptop/GenLog logging program (nice to log with a computer), Bencher paddle, headphones, KX3, 7aH battery. The paper is there for nothing more than to cover up some foul language some previous occupants wrote on the table:
And Don's setup with headphones, battery, PFR3, logbook, and mini-paddle:
Then of course it is down to the purpose of being there - making QSOs as Don and I are doing in the following pictures:
It was a pretty busy day. Things started right off the bat for Don on 40 meters. It was slow at first for me on 20 meters with a lot of activity (chasing DX?) around the frequency of 14061 that we intended to operate. It quieted down finally and then I wound up as busy as Don the rest of our session. I made 16 QSOs on 20 and Don made 19 (all on 40, I think). Just for fun I chased a bit of DX also and worked 9A2N on 15 meters after we were pretty much done with our main operation.
We've both send out email picture QSLs to all those we worked for whom we could find a good email address. I think that covered all but about 5 QSOs
I only hope that circumstances give us more opportunities to do parkpeditions next year among me, Don, Mike, and Tom. I really enjoy them. Don was showing me a LiPo battery today that is much lighter than a gel cell and is just as powerful while being a lot lighter. If I can compile a lighter portable operation kit, perhaps I can hike to the park by myself if no one else with a car is available. We'll see what comes of that.
After we came back here, I showed Don the PX3 panadapter. He seemed very impressed with it. I know for sure I am. Even if it didn't perform well (which it certainly does), just not having to lug the laptop around and set up HDSDR each operating session makes the PX3 worth having. However it is much better than the HDSDR. I thought the only disadvantage of the PX3 might be the smaller display vs. the HDSDR computer display, but I think if anything the smaller (and brighter) PX3 display is easier on the eyes. Just to mention a couple other things I've particularly liked so far - the fact that the display can show a 'cursor' for both the transmit and receive frequencies when operating split or using the RIT. Because of that, I easily worked W1AW/KL7 again today by placing the one cursor (receive) on W1AW and the other one (transmit) on the station he was working. If the station being worked is strong enough to show up on the panadapter, that's easier than listening with the split phones. I also like the averaging of the display scan which cuts down on the display jumping with noise. That was a little annoying on HDSDR, but it's much better with the PX3. Also the PX3 has a noise blanker that helps cut down on display noise independent of the noise blanker in the KX3. The bottom line is that I'm sure now that the KX3/PX3 combo makes for the best possible QRP station in the world. And probably a darn good QRO setup also if one likes QRO and uses the amp for the KX3.
Just came down from the shack after getting my DX QSO and a couple other QSOs for the NAQCC challenges, and now it's time to get my temperature. So I'll close here. -30-
Wednesday, October 01, 2014 06:10 PM - I figured if I got involved in a project, my PX3 would come in the middle of it. So I tried that. I went fishing (2 suckers and 1 drum) figuring it might come while I was at the river. Nope, that didn't work, but I had a good time fishing in the great weather.
When I got home I thought I'd trim the bush in my front yard. I didn't do it in the spring thinking I'd wait till fall to do it this year. Well, that worked, when the mailman (lady) came I heard her set something like a box on the porch, then she said there was a package there for me. I looked and that was it. I finished the bush, then set the box on my card table as seen here:
It was so light, I wondered if there was anything in it. There was, but not much as seen here:
That's my homebrew wrist grounding strap in the upper left corner and my extremely useful multi-tool at center right.
I was going to document in pictures the assembly, but the batteries in my camera gave out and I didn't have any charged replacements so....
After finishing it, and buying some new batteries, we move now to a picture of it in my shack, followed by some comments on the assembly. I'll try to get a better picture of the neat screen display and post it later.
For a kit with so few parts, it did have its difficult moments. The tiny parts especially the bolts, washers, and spacers were more suited to a young person than an old man like me. After a struggle I did get the 4 spacers mounted and things went smoothly until time to install the power supply pc board. It took almost a Herculean effort to get the 40 pin plug and socket to mate properly. I had to use so much force I was afraid of breaking something. Finally it gave in and seated properly. Everything else was straightforward with those two exceptions. I guess it took about an hour to very carefully assemble it.
Then it was up to the shack to plug it in. I held my breath when I pushed the PWR button for fear I did damage something, but it came right on and worked perfectly. Now all I need to do is to thoroughly study all its bells and whistles and learn how to update its firmware. So far I like it very much and made a few QSOs while testing it out. -30-
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 08:47 PM - Ain't life (and ham radio) funny, good, and interesting at times. Today was one of those times.
I'll start with this evening and work backward. Remember how I sweated getting W1AW/KL7 earlier in the year? I sure do. Well tonight I went to the shack at 0000Z as usual with the purpose of getting 1 - my regular streak QSO and 2 - my DX streak QSO. Of course a lot of times 1 and 2 come together if the first QSO is DX. I knew, this being Tuesday evening that W1AW would be active from two different states - which ones I didn't know because I don't worry about it now that I have my W1AW WAS in the bag with all 50 states worked. Anyway I found W1AW/6 in CA, and thought I'd grab a quick QSO before a pileup developed. Nope, too late and I figured hey, I'm here mainly to get my DX QSO while the bands are still awake for the evening. I decided to see just how many bands were still open, and it turned out when I got to 12 meters, there was W1AW/KL7 fairly strong. I quickly set up the KX3 for split, called once and got him with no repeats at 0006Z. If I recall without looking, the first time around for KL7 it took me 5 days to find and work him and it was a good (but questionable in my mind at the time) QSO. This time around the first call and a solid QSO. While logging him, I was listening to him and he was working station after station so I must have beaten a pileup although I couldn't hear any pile.
Of course KL7 counts as a different entity from the mainland USA, and I count it that way as a DX QSO. So both streaks were fulfilled for the day. However there are two new NAQCC alphabet challenges now underway for October so I filled in the letters from W1AW/KL7 and went looking for some European stations so I could use the letters/numbers for both the challenges. I found 3Z50AYP on 30 meters. Hmmm, not only DX, European, full of letters/numbers, but a nice new prefix as well. It took a while to get him and I did have to repeat my call a couple times before he got it right, but I landed him. Then it was my French friend F8DGY calling CQ on 30. I had a few minutes chat with Chris. While chatting, I looked up our past QSOs, and Chris just might be the European station I've worked on the most different bands. We've worked on 40, now 30, 20, 17, 15, and 10. Missing only 80 and 12 of the likely bands we might work on. I don't count 160 as I've never worked Europe there. I guess we could make it on 60 if Chris works that band.
Oh, and then I found W1AW/6 again on 20 meters, and bingo - got him with a single call just like KL7 earlier. So a lot of fun on the bands this evening.
Before I continue working back through today, I'll pause here to say the parkpedition is definitely on for Thursday, Oct. 2. Don K3RLL will head down here around 10 AM (1400Z) and we'll try to get set up as soon after 1430Z as possible. We'll be using 7041, 10117, and 14061 with our NAQCC club call N3AQC. I'll have any final details in the diary tomorrow night and I'll be sending an announcement on our NAQCC email list sometime tomorrow.
Another pause now to get my temperature readings, then I'll be back to continue the story of today.
OK, back now. Late this morning I went fishing, continuing to enjoy this fabulous streak of weather we have been having. I had bought a new dozen nightcrawlers yesterday and made some fresh peanut butter bread this morning to try to appease the appetite of the fish. It worked pretty good, although mostly they liked the nightcrawlers. I caught my first bluegill of the year, a bass, and a sucker in a little over an hour. It rained a bit while I was there, but not even enough to dampen down the dust. After I was done, I started up the river bank, slipped on some loose gravel, put my right hand down to steady myself, and bent my right thumb backwards pretty good. I immediately though about sending CW with a bum thumb. However, there wasn't any serious damage and it works perfectly normally although it is a bit sore around the base joint.
Of course it being the last of the month, besides the above, I wanted to get as much of the EOM/FOM stuff done as possible today in case the PX3 should happen to arrive tomorrow. I wish they had sent me a tracking number so I could track the progress from CA to here, but they didn't. I only know it is Priority mail which is pretty fast. -30-
Monday, September 29, 2014 08:18 PM - Not much to talk about today except for one very exciting thing. My PX3 has been shipped to me from Elecraft via Priority mail, so I expect to get it maybe Wednesday or Thursday. Can't wait.
Other than that it was pretty much a normal day. Laundry and helping Ange water his garden, some walking and shopping, and that was about it. I did take time in the midst of that to get my DX QSO from Niko S53A on 15 meters. The high bands were all good today, but I didn't explore them much after I found and worked Niko.
This evening it only took a minute to get my DX streak QSO. I worked Josh 6Y5WJ on a new band - 15 meters. That was good because I want to get started on my end of month work the rest of the evening. Things like uploading my September QSOs to LotW and eQSL, making out some checks for some bills, etc. -30-
Sunday, September 28, 2014 07:18 PM - Today was a good day that more than made up for the bad day a couple days ago. I'll just highlight a few things rather that compiling a long list of the good things.
I got my DX QSO easily when I worked another of the EG stations. Then I added W1AW/5 on yet another band. That was all in the 1500Z hour. After that I helped next door neighbor Bruce solve a couple of computer problems. I always enjoy helping folks out with anything and it is even more enjoyable when things work out as they did with those problems.
Then I picked 120+ chestnuts to divide equally with Ange. Other fruits/vegetables didn't do so well this year, but the chestnut tree really produced.
Next up on the agenda was going fishing on yet another beautiful weather day. The fish apparently liked it too, and had a good appetite. Just a couple minutes after wetting my lines, I got a 13 inch bass. Not long after that it was a 9 inch perch. I think perch are a very pretty fish. This one was especially brightly colored. Those were the first bass and first perch this year. But the big prize was yet to come. About 5 minutes after the perch while I was re-baiting my one pole, the other pole was almost taken in the river. I grabbed it and immediately knew I had my first carp of the year on the line. Now to land him. It took about a good five minute struggle, but I won. So my carp streak continues. I've caught at least one every year since I started fishing again in 1992. If I get one more this year, it will be at least two each year.
I had a good all fresh vegetables salad for my meal after I got home from fishing. Tomato, zucchini, cucumber, beans, and pepper. Boy was that good.
One other good thing to mention. The Steelers lost today. I have never been a Steeler fan for several reasons dating way back to my childhood. Confession coming up. I always resented my dad listening to the Steelers on Sunday afternoon instead of spending time with me. Then I resented the NFL mixing the Steelers in with my AFL teams (I loved the AFL in those days, especially the Oilers, then the Dolphins and Raiders) to form the AFC. I didn't mind the Browns and Colts since they came originally from other leagues like the AAFC, but putting the Steelers, a long time NFL team in the AFC just didn't seem right. Of course then there was the Inaccurate Deception as Mike calls it that allowed (illegally, I still believe) the Steelers (or as Mike and I call them, the Squealers) to defeat my Raiders in the playoffs. So I enjoy a Steeler loss as much as a Raider win. Good thing too because there may be more Steeler losses this year than Raider wins. -30-
Saturday, September 27, 2014 07:52 PM - Remember I was moaning about the difficulty of working new band-states? Well, I actually worked one today. My first ID on 12 meters thanks to W1AW/7. I wish 12 had been open more this year then maybe I could have gotten some more new states from W1AW. Of course there are still 3 more months to go and several 12 meters states I need will be among those activated by W1AW. It only needs for conditions and timing for me to get some more new 12 meters states.
Other than that, I did get my DX today although it took a lot of patience. I searched and searched for someone strong enough to work. I almost made it with OK1TN, but he couldn't quite get my call completed. The final P kept throwing him, and finally he said SRI, maybe later. Then not too long after that, I found SP8HZZ booming in, and got him on the first try. If you just have patience, I think eventually DX can be found pretty much no matter what the conditions are. I also worked W1AW/5 in NM on 12 and 10 meters. All of that was around the 1600Z hour this afternoon.
Now it's time to get my streak QSO(s) for the 28th. With the TX QP going on, the regular streak QSO will be a piece of cake if I choose to use the TXQP for it. I don't know about the DX QSO, but I'll find out shortly because I'm off to the shack right now. -30-
Friday, September 26, 2014 09:11 PM - This excerpt from an email sums up today very well:
Dear Elecraft Customer,
Your PX3-K order will be available to ship in the next 5-7 business days.
Attached is a copy of your order.
Finally! It looks like I'll have my PX3 up and running before too long now. I can't wait.
And with that good news that arrived just before starting to write this diary entry, I've almost forgotten what I was going to write about in the excitement. HI.
It was also a good day otherwise for the most part. The weather again was beautiful. Generally mid-September to mid/late-October does provide some of the best weather of the year around here albeit a bit on the cool side. About the only thing that ruins it can be the visit from a tropical storm. Several years ago we had our 1st and 2nd (at that time) heaviest one day rainfalls from tropical storms Floyd and Ivan. Over 3 inches from Floyd and just under 6 inches from Ivan about two weeks later. Nothing like that this year though. I was just glancing at the rainfall numbers here and noticed we haven't even totalled .25 inches in the past two plus weeks. The next several days look to be dry and mild also.
So of course that meant fishing today again. I got two suckers (12 and 15.5 inches) to bring my 2014 total to 14 fish. I may make it to 20 yet or even 23 which would mean this wouldn't be my worst fishing year since I started again in 1992. Still no carp though. I saw a beauty swimming by ignoring my bait today. He looked to be about 28 inches.
No DX this evening, so some time tomorrow will be spent on the bands trying to keep the DX streak alive. It was even rough getting a regular streak QSO this evening, but I did catch W1AW/5 in NM on a different band to keep the big streak alive.
Other than that my neighbor took me for dinner at Ponderosa for helping him with some computer work. I really enjoyed the Friday fish buffet. -30-
Thursday, September 25, 2014 7:22 PM - It wasn't too hard getting my DX QSO today. Just took a few minutes to find Rey CO6RD and work him. And he was running QRP also. Having other things to do, I didn't really look around the bands much at all. I did hear a new EG station, but he wasn't hearing me. It's too late now to make it to 10 anyway, so I'll settle for the Silver Diploma for working 5 of the EG stations.
The weather was beautiful again today, so I went fishing once more. Only got one real good bite besides a lot of little nibbles, but that netted me a 12 inch sucker for fish #12 this year which incidentally is 101 less than my yearly average as of September 25.
I also got in a couple good walks, helped Ange water his garden, watered mine and picked a few vegetable. Now I'm just waiting for 0000Z to come so I can go and get my streak QSO and hopefully my DX streak QSO as well. Tomorrow will be another nice day as will the next several in fact, and I intend to take advantage of them all. -30-
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 9:19 PM - Did you ever have one of those days when nothing seems to go right? I'm sure you have. I had one of mine today.
I guess it started with an email from Don K3RLL saying he wouldn't be able to do our parkpedition tomorrow. So that has been postponed to some future date. I was really looking forward to it. If it wasn't for the long steep hill going up to the park, I could throw things in my backpack and hike up there. I'm getting too old for that though. I'm certainly not going to buy a car just to be able to get up there easily.
Then the flapper valve on my toilet broke, and I had to walk 1.3 miles to Ace Hardware to get a replacement. At least the weather was nice for the walk, and it was something I could easily fix myself without paying an arm and a leg to some repairman.
I almost decided not to go fishing, but the weather was so nice, I dismissed that thought, and headed to the river. As expected on a day like this, the place where I wanted to fish was occupied by a couple other fisherman, so I found an alternate spot. Again as expected, only a couple tiny nibbles the whole time I was there.
Then this evening, I found the bands in pretty poor shape except for 40. I did get my regular streak QSO there from VE3MG. The only DX I heard were HT5T whom I've already worked too many times, and UI8U who was booming in and I could have easily worked him, but I did just work him a few days ago on the same band, and you know my policy on that. So some time tomorrow I'll have to spend looking for some DX to keep the DX streak going another day.
At least it's nice to get all the bad luck taken care of on one day. Hopefully the next few days at least will be good luck ones. -30-
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:07 PM - Lot's available to talk about tonight. Wonder how much I'll remember. Old age plays havoc on one's memory. HI.
I'd like to start with a QSO from last evening - a rather strange one. After I got my DX QSO from Z37M, I tuned around some more just to see what was available. Of course TY1AA was there with his usual huge pileup. He's been strong enough for me to work several times, but I just get impatient after a few times trying to break the pileup and give up. Also there was JT1AA/5. He was quite weak, but as I've mentioned in the diary, I've always liked Mongolia ever since watching the Richard Widmark movie "Destination Gobi." It's a fascinating country in many respects. Anyway I do have a good path to that part of the world for whatever reason although I can't seem to go a bit further and work China. So I thought I'd try to work him. There wasn't much competition, and after a few calls I did get a K3?, but then the confusion started. He sent K3 with various combinations of letters, and I wasn't sure if it was me or not. When he didn't seem to get a response from any of the K3 combos, I'd send my call again and the same thing was repeated a couple more times. Finally I decided to give up, but just as I started to tune away, he sent out of the blue more or less, K3WWP TU and started calling CQ again. I guess he was maybe recording me on some sort of digital recorder and finally heard my call clear enough. So I now have my fifth Mongolian QSO from 3 different stations. I still have the Mongolian banknote that came with my QSL from the first QSO with JT1DA. What was it now? 10 Tugruks or something like that.
While tuning around and looking at the panadapter display this evening, an analogy came to mind. Walking down the street and seeing all the bugs around the streetlights is pretty much what the bands look like in a way. You see the DX or other desireable stations like W1AW/# as the streetlight and the stations in the pileups as the bugs around the light.
Did I mention panadapter? Yes. Well, Elecraft has started shipping the kits according to someone on the Elecraft reflector. He got his email shipping notice and tracking number, so hopefully I'll be getting mine in the next few days followed by the PX3 itself a couple days after that. Can't wait.
Back to this evening. It seems that at first W1AW/7 in ID was much more popular than W1AW/5 in NM. ID had a big pileup in the first minutes while I worked NM easily at 0004Z. However NM soon caught up and both had big pileups. I heard several NM stations, but I think only the one ID. I don't need either one, so it doesn't really matter. I just thought I'd grab NM for my regular streak QSO since it looked (and was) so easy.
My DX QSO was a bit different. About the only DX I heard besides TY1AA again was CO2CCA, and strangely enough he had somewhat of a pileup. So I looked around some more and finding nothing I went back to CO2CCA who was now sans pileup and much stronger. I worked him easily for DX day #573 in a row.
It was another beautiful late September day - a 'keeper' if we could. So I put in over 10 miles walking and enjoying the weather. I also went fishing and caught two 17 inch catfish - it's the Year of the Cat with apologies to Al Stewart as far as my fishing goes this year. There were also several carp swimming around totally ignoring my peanut butter bread that the catfish were loving. I'll probably try again tomorrow to get at least one carp for this year.
It still looks like Thursday for our parkpedition (Don K3RLL and me) as the weather is to be sunny and in the low 70s much like today with a slightly higher temperature. More late details in tomorrow's diary entry and on the NAQCC email list. -30-
Monday, September 22, 2014 7:52 PM - I was able to get on the bands a couple times today. Around 1600Z there wasn't much good to say about them. However later in the afternoon in the 2000Z hour, they were pretty good all the way up through 10 meters. I worked RK3ER easily on 12, then G4RRA on 10. After that I got a nice new prefix when I worked GH3IT on 17. That's the first ever GH prefix any number that I've worked. So those three DX stations kept the DX streak alive and well. Now in a few minutes, I'll be trying to extend the streak even further along with the big main streak.
I really love working new prefixes. After 1,083 band-countries worked, new ones come slowly as do band-states (418 worked) and band-zones with 233 worked. However there seems to always be some new prefix available for working. Plus it's fascinating keeping track of all the different combinations of which I have 2.697 worked overall and 7,821 band-prefixes. Also keeping track of our NAQCC alphabet challenges is also very appealing to me.
Well off to the shack now. Hope I get a quick DX QSO so I won't have to worry about it tomorrow and can enjoy this great late September weather we're having. It was a bit chilly today, and if it doesn't warm up as it is supposed to the next few days, our parkpedition on Thursday may be in jeopardy. Not only because it will be too cold for Don K3RLL who is spoiled now after spending most of his time in FL now, but because it will be too cold for PA born, raised, and lived here all his life - Me. -30-
Sunday, September 21, 2014 8:52 PM - This will be short since I want to try to finish the cross-checking of our NAQCC sprint logs this evening so I can get that out of the way and enjoy the nice weather week coming up.
Conditions were pretty good this afternoon, but not so good this evening. No workable DX this evening, so I'll have to put in some of my time tomorrow morning or afternoon in the shack. I did work DM50PCK this afternoon for a possible new prefix.
OK, now off to get my weather readings, then back to cross-checking. -30-
Saturday, September 20, 2014 8:53 PM - A busy day today. Computer/NAQCC work most of the morning, getting ready for our NAQCC 10th Anniversary celebration next month. Fishing this afternoon. I didn't catch anything, but it was nice sitting out in the warm (~80 degrees) weather. Also a young boy about 11-12 years old or so stopped by and visited for a while. He likes to fish also and we had a nice conversation. Nice to see there are still some good kids around in this day and age.
Some yard work occupied more time. After my usual early supper, I got on the bands. They were pretty good and filled with the Salmon Run and SAC contests. I went back and forth deciding whether to enter or not. Finally I was hearing some nice prefixes in the SAC contest that I thought might be new, so I got in that contest and made 26 QSOs. I haven't checked the prefixes yet. I'll do that right now. SG5W, SC0N (the one that really got me started in the test since I was certain it was new - had trouble working him and had to go back to him several times before we clicked), LJ6KC, SA8C, LI3C, and OU4O were all new.
After I kind of worked the band dry, or at least wasn't hearing any stations I hadn't already worked, I quit and made a late shopping run for some groceries. Back home again and time for my streak QSO(s). DX wasn't so good in the 0000Z hour so I got W4IX in the SC QSO party for my regular streak. I did hear a couple SAC stations on 20, but they were rather weak and a bit fluttery. After failing once with OH8X, I tried him again a little later and that time it was a pretty easy QSO to keep the DX streak going at 570 days.
Time now to end this and go get my weather readings. Oh, still no new news on the PX3. -30-
Friday, September 19, 2014 9:29 PM - After a cold snap which caused Don and I to cancel our parkpedition earlier this week, it has warmed up nicely again. We're shooting for next Thursday, the 25th for the parkpedition now. Anyway it was nice enough to again go fishing today, and I had my best day of the year so far which really isn't saying much since just about anything is better than the early part of this year. I got 2 catfish 20 and 18 inches and an 18 inch carpsucker. All three put up a pretty good fight, and for an instant each time I was thinking carp when they hit, but as soon as I played them for a few seconds, I knew better. I did see some carp again though. They seem to be around when I'm there, but so far I haven't caught one. If I don't get one this year, that will end a 22 year streak of catching at least three. That's a total of 400 carp in those 22 years. The last few years have been slim pickings though - 9 14 3 7 7 5. Best was 57 back in 2005. Man that was a fun year.
Before I go on, let's see if there is any update on my PX3. Nope, nothing since the posting on the 17th that says email shipping notices for the kits will start in 3-5 days. Maybe it's good I have to wait a bit, because the PX3s shipped so far have had a few bugs that needed correcting with a firmware update.
Nothing much on the bands when I checked this afternoon. I heard a couple EG stations on the same band on which I already worked them. At least I have the silver diploma pretty much in hand since I worked EG8COR in a solid QSO last night. I'll again pause to see if he has uploaded his log yet. YES! I'm in his log so that makes the silver diploma a sure thing. On October 15, they will be making them available on line. For those who don't know what all the fuss I'm making about EG stations is all about, check here.
It took a while to find my DX QSO this evening. First I had a phone call which got me started looking a little late, then I ran into a good ham friend I haven't worked in a couple years - Ernie VE3OU and we chatted for over a half hour. By then DX conditions had deteriorated even further that when I started. But finally, to keep the pressure off tomorrow morning/afternoon, I found and easily worked Jean FG8NY on 30 meters at 0115Z.
In case you may be wondering about our NAQCC sprint results, as of now with a couple days left to check in, we have 113 logs submitted, and we're approaching 2,000 QSOs for me to cross-check. Some really great conditions this month for a change really pepped things up for the sprint. -30-
Thursday, September 18, 2014 4:11 PM - Can you see I'm anxious to retire from the countdown above? I love the everyday work when it goes exactly as planned. I hate the little picky things that come up. I love cross-checking logs (and will continue to do that after I retire). I hate when logs arrive in some strange formats. I figure it takes about as long to process one log with formatting errors than it does to process ten logs with perfect formatting. I love interacting with our members most all of the time. It is annoying to get questions that already have clear answers on the NAQCC web site. I appreciate the many positive comments that come in about the NAQCC. I won't add to that one. In fact I'll just stop right here with this paragraph. There will be more about my retirement in the next couple months.
It was easy to get my DX QSO today around Noon or so when I worked DL1DGS, Serge easily on 15 meters. 15 was pretty hot and pretty active then. There was also activity on 12 and 10 as well, but mostly stations I've worked before. I would have liked to have gotten 4U20B for a new prefix. When I first heard him, he was just starting up, but it didn't take too long for the big pileup to develop after he was spotted, so I didn't get him. Also no EG stations heard either. That last EG station I worked was for some other special event, NOT the football one, so I still have only 4 toward the silver diploma.
More updating on the PX3 also. Now I notice on the shipping status page that Elecraft is apparently shipping the factory assembled PX3s first, then they will get to my and other folks kit versions. As of 9/17 they say email shipping notices will go out to kit purchasers in the next 3-5 days. SIGH. Somebody mentioned it as a Christmas present. Maybe it will turn out to be just that. At least I still have the HDSDR panadapter, but it is annoying to have to keep carrying my laptop to the shack every time I get on the air. -30-
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 11:58 PM - Busy evening and almost bedtime, but I'll at least put something here in the diary. I did my 'get to 20 QSOs, then QRT' routine in our NAQCC sprint again this evening. Took but 65 minutes to make it to 20 this evening. That's the best time in the three sprints in which I've done this now. No DX this evening, so the streak will have to wait till the morning or afternoon to get extended another day. That's it for now. -30-
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 9:10 PM - I had a nice rag chew, mostly about Elecraft, with N2BZD this evening, and while we were chatting, I was checking a couple things on the Internet on the laptop.
Before I get to that, just a note that my DX streak QSO came easily this evening at 0006Z with OM5XX, a good op whom I've worked before a couple times. I didn't get on in my favorite 2000-2200Z period today, but instead it was the 1800Z hour just to check and see what things are like in that hour these days. Conditions were good today with activity on all bands up through 10 meters. 15 was particularly good. I could have worked a lot of DX, but I was mainly looking for the EG stations and just generally observing the band conditions. I did work DO5DTC because I thought that might be a new prefix. In fact, let's see..... Yes, it is new. Now I have 4, 5, and 6 from the DO block of prefixes. I also worked DL3ASM just because he was on 12 meters and I haven't worked a lot of stations on that band lately. Back to this evening, I also worked W1AW/1 in CT with a single call on 30 meters, then noticed I was still on my 20 meters antenna. HI Well, I always say antennas ain't rocket science. I don't know what the SWR was but a glance showed it was 'pegging' the SWR meter on the KX3. Good thing I wasn't running a KW.
OK, on the Internet now. I checked the PX3 shipping status again, and noticed I was in error in my last check (wishful thinking, I guess). As of September 5, they were shipping orders from 4/4/14, NOT 4/14/14 as I think I said. Also shipping resumed today, not tomorrow after their inventory. I notified a couple friends about the PX3 and they had this to say. Mike KC2EGL said, "The excitement is just like the arrival of our KX3's respectively." Sure is, and I'm sure Mike will be ordering a PX3 soon also. Paul N8XMS had this to say, "You're like a kid waiting for Christmas - except you already know what your gift is!" Again right on the money.
Otherwise on the Internet I was checking the EG on-line logs, and I found that QSO I wasn't sure about a couple days ago was indeed logged correctly. So 4 of the 5 QSOs I have so far are definitely good. The 5th was with a station who hasn't uploaded his logs for checking yet, so I'll have to wait to see about that one. If it's good, then I have enough for the Silver Diploma, but I want Gold which requires 10 QSOs by September 29th so I'll be looking each day till then. -30-