Don't forget to cast your vote in the monthly poll here after reading the diary. A new poll posted the 15th of each month.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 9:05 PM - I got quite a few little things accomplished today like cutting my hair, cleaning the powder room, a little shopping, and so forth. BTW, I haven't been in a barber shop since back in 1972. I've cut my own hair ever since then. Wonder how much money I've saved that way in all those years. Let's see, that's approximately 12 x 44 = 528 months times oh let's say 6 dollars per cut average = $3,168 dollars. Not bad.
Well I was confused (that happens more and more often as I age) about the Halloween Parade. It wasn't this evening, but tomorrow evening. Tonight was trick or treat night. At least I have Mike's visiting day straight. That's tomorrow. I just emailed and asked him what time he planned to arrive. We'll get the day going around 10:30AM. No specific plans that I know of. We'll just wing it if he doesn't have anything specific in mind.
One thing we'll have to do is hit the bands since I didn't get my DX streak QSO this evening. So hopefully 17 or 20 (maybe 15) will provide something in late morning or early afternoon.
We had our first 32 degree day of the season when it hit that figure early this morning. It only got up to 50 today. However there are a couple of warm (relatively speaking) days coming up in the next several days. I see a couple predictions in the mid to upper 60s. -30-
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 9:05 PM - A pretty nice day today. The high was in the upper 50s, but dropped fast this evening to 43 right now. A low of 28 is predicted for tonight. I don't have to worry though as I cleaned out the last of my garden today. I picked my speckled butter beans. They blend in so well with the leaves, I didn't realize just how many were left on the plants. I stopped counting around 100 and I went pretty far beyond that. I'd guess between 150 and 200. It took quite a while to shell them.
The bands were pretty good this evening despite (because of?) G3 level geomagnetic storms and an A index of 60. I got my DX from HI3TEJ pretty easily on 30. I could hear a couple other stations calling as I was calling, but I won out that time.
I also found another good use for my panadapter. I was calling CQ on 40, and just about to give up, I tuned down the band a bit to check out a peak there. While I was looking, I saw a strong peak start up just where I was calling CQ. Lo and behold it was a somewhat delayed answer to my CQ.
I also narrowed down the NAQCC October challenge to the point where I need a single U to finish it off. Perhaps I'll try for that during the day tomorrow since I don't have to go hunting DX.
Tomorrow evening is our annual Halloween parade here in Kittanning. I've enjoyed checking it out the past several years now. Just something different to do for a change.
Normally Mike would be visiting tomorrow evening for our fourth Wednesday get together, but he has a cycling event to go to. So we'll be getting together on Thursday for lunch. I'm not sure just what hours are planned. I'm just about to email him and ask. -30-
Monday, October 24, 2016 7:08 PM - Just a typical Monday here with not much out of the ordinary to report. Laundry this morning, walking Roscoe, helping Ange in his garden, and so forth.
About the only thing out of the ordinary is getting up and finding my Oakland Raiders are tied for the second most victories so far this NFL season. Only the Patriots have more wins. Also I don't have to worry about anyone tying my 1972 Dolphins perfect season. The Vikings lost and now everyone has at least one loss. With the Raiders good start, I've gotten a little more interested in football this year. After they had the best overall record in the NFL for a good number of years around the 1980s, the past few years have been pretty dismal.
Continuing with some sports comments, I was glad to see the New York Red Bulls clinch the Eastern Division championship in the MSL. Now if only they can conquer their woes they always seem to get in the playoffs, there might even be more to rejoice about this year.
Something else out of the ordinary was working a YL for my DX streak QSO today. NP3YL was booming in on 15 meters after about an hour of not finding any other workable DX. I got her with just a single call. Then I checked QRZ to make sure she actually was in Puerto Rico which she was. So the streak struggles on another day. It's really more rewarding working DX under these poorer conditions although the downside is that it takes considerably longer to do so. Also it shows even more clearly that you can work DX with a simple setup like mine. At the sunspot maximums it is almost too easy to work DX no matter how simple and minimal a station one uses. Now it is more of a challenge to do so. I even hear some stations I know are running QRO with big antennas and good locations having some trouble now working DX. -30-
Sunday, October 23, 2016 9:05 PM - Bruce took me out for breakfast today. He really does too much for me for taking care of Roscoe. I'd be happy to help with Roscoe for nothing, but....
After we got home, I decided I would de-garden my back yard so I picked all the remaining peppers and tomatoes, then removed the pepper and tomato plants. I did leave my speckled butter beans since they have a lot of beans that need to ripen a little more, and I think that may happen. It was a nice day today for late October with the temperature in the low 60s. Great weather for cleaning up the garden. I hate waiting too long and having to do it when the temperature is in the 40s or even worse 30s. Ange is one who waits, and if he waits too long and it gets too cold, I'm going to just say no to helping him clean up his garden.
Next I thought about my DX streak and headed to the shack. It was a pleasure to hear 15 meters open to Europe. It wasn't a great opening and I had to repeat my call at least a dozen times before IQ4BQ could get it correct for his log. But I did work him and got my streak QSO on 15 for the first time in quite a while.
I may have to do the same tomorrow since I didn't get any DX tonight. I did hear a few stations but either they had a big pileup (TA3D), or I just worked them (J6/WB2YQH), or they just weren't hearing me (KP4CPC). I even had a little trouble getting a regular streak QSO, but finally did on 80 meters when N1WSD answered my CQ. -30-
Saturday, October 22, 2016 7:55 PM - This should have been in yesterday's entry, but I didn't think of it. Yesterday, October 21 was the fourth anniversary of using my KX3. My first QSO was at 0134Z 10/21/2012 with Mike KC2EGL. That was an in house QSO - dummy load to dummy load. At 0139Z I worked WK2T in NY. Then at 0202Z my first KX3 DX with DL1A in the WAG contest. All in all I made 30 QSOs on that memorable day.
10,701 QSOs have been made with my KX3. That's not completely accurate because I've also made a good many more with the KX3 operated portable from various places. The 10,701 are the ones in my main Access K3WWP (at home) log. Right now I'm going to the shack to shoot for # 10,702 to keep the streak going. Hopefully it will be DX. Nope, not a single DX station heard. I did get a pretty quick answer to my 80 meters CQ from WZ8J in Ohio though. So the big streak keeps rolling along while the DX streak gets put on hold till tomorrow morning/afternoon. 17 and 20 are continuing to be good for DX a couple hours around noon local time here (1600Z). Today it was an easy QSO with S50R on 17 meters.
OK, I'm looking into my log when I operate N3AQC or N3A right now. I have 1,934 more QSOs probably with my KX3 for a total of 12,636. Now a few, but not many at all came when I used Mike's KX3 on the Requin or perhaps some other place. Anyway my KX3 has provided me with well over 12,000 QSOs in the 4 years and 1 day I've had it now. I wonder how many DX entities it has given me. Well, you regular diary readers know when I say something like that, I've got to go figure it out. So in ham parlance, QRX a couple minutes. OK, that took all of 2 minutes with Access and Excel. I must say WOW!, I'm surprised at the total of 164 different DX entities. I didn't think there were that many. I would have guessed around 130 or so. I wonder if I have a KX3 Worked All States. QRX 2. Nope, I see 48. Now who's missing? Oh, none. I filtered on USA, but I have AK and HI listed as separate entities. Yep, my KX3 has provided me with enough states for a WAS award. In fact my poor memory now reminds me that I think I did apply for and receive the Elecraft WAS award. I'll have to look into that. Boy, getting old really wreaks havoc on the brain. HI
I did get the Elecraft WAS and DX Chasers awards, but that was with the K2. I don't think I ever applied for them for the KX3. I'll have to look further and if I didn't, I may just do so.
OK, enough for tonight. -30-
Friday, October 21, 2016 8:22 PM - Same old story this evening (well last night was an exception) - no DX QSO. I did try a few stations, but aside from a tentative ? from HC2AO, no sign at all I was being heard. I even had to go to 80 for my regular streak QSO with K1SWL in the "BOO" sprint.
A lot of rain overnight and during the day today. There was 1.5 inches in my rain gauge this morning. If we got a little over 0.5 inches the rest of the day, that will be a record for any day in October in my records going back to 1959. Currently the record is 2.04 inches back on October 3, 1986. October is normally the driest of the twelve months here except for the short month of February. Normal precipitation is 2.73 inches for October and 2.58 inches for February. In case anyone wonders, June is the wettest with 4.52 inches.
I have been getting a lot of spam in my guestbook lately. Of course since I screen everything before posting any entries, it never sees the light of day. It is annoying though, and I've discontinued my guestbook for the time being. I'm exploring a .php guestbook that does extensive spam filtering and I may switch over to that after I do some more studying of it. In the meantime if you want to make any comments, use the Email Me link in the above menu.
Oh, our NAQCC Anniversary prize drawing went very well last night. Paul N8XMS did an excellent job with the "almost live" Internet drawings. And we set a record in getting the prizes in the mail. I mailed the 5 books/CDs for which I was responsible in the 1600Z hour today, just about 14 1/2 hours after the drawing was over. The winners should get their prizes Wednesday via the PO's Media Mail. -30-
Thursday, October 20, 2016 8:42 PM - I'll have to hurry this as I need to get my temperature a little before 9, then watch our NAQCC Anniversary prize drawings on the Internet.
First here are the top ten + ties stations who were my DX streak continuing QSOs. I mentioned I'd do that, and I did late last night. With Access/Excel again it was a piece of cake. There's just so much that can be done with an Access database log that can't be done in other logging programs. Enough said. Here's the list.
Probably anyone who spends a lot of time on the bands is not surprised at CO8LY being at the top. He seems to always be on the bands somewhere. Kind of the DX equivalent of Paul KW7D here in the USA. Actually I don't think there are any real surprises on the list. Some could have even higher totals but I try to refrain from working the same stations over and over again unless time is limited or conditions rough.
Oh, my DX came quickly this evening. I couldn't get him at all last evening, but it only took two tries this evening to get J6/WB2YQH on 40 meters. So now I have the day off until tomorrow evening. HI
OK, now out in the rain to get my weather readings then off to watch the prize drawing. -30-
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 9:00 PM - I think the probability of my DX streak coming to an end in the not too distant future is quite high. So today I analyzed the streak, and I'll get to that in a moment.
Even getting my regular streak QSO was rough this evening. Finally, as he did a couple days ago, Mark W1AAF again answered my CQ on 80 meters to keep that streak going. As for DX, it was DL5YM at 1523Z on 17 meters to make it day 1,329 in a row with a DX QSO. There was a strong J6 station on 40 this evening, but almost 10-15 minutes of trying yielded nothing. A big pile up and the J6 was complaining of QRM. However a couple times I seemed to be in the clear calling and he still wasn't hearing me.
Now let's look at those 1,329 days in a few different ways. First with my Microsoft Access database log and a little help from Microsoft Excel, it was easy to cull out the first DX QSO for each of the 1,329 days, and just as easy to put together the following stats. We'll start with a by band listing, then by continent, by hour of day, by CQ zone, and finally list the top 10 of the 130 different countries worked.
I was surprised by a couple of things. I didn't realize Cuba would be the most helpful country in keeping the streak going. I figured Mexico and Puerto Rico would be up there. A little surprised that Italy beat out Germany. Finally a little surprised that Nicagagua and Brazil (especially) made the top 10. Nicaragua made it because of the many QSOs with the HT stations. I'm not sure how Brazil made it up there. Spain had a lot of special event stations that helped.
The zones went as expected with the Caribbean zone 8 on top, followed by the two main European zones, 14 and 15. Northwest African zone 33 did quite well since I often have a pipeline to that area.
The hour of day stats reflect my operating habits more than anything else. Of course I always get on in the 0000Z hour every day to try to get the streaks taken care of quickly. If not then, the morning hours of 1400 and 1500Z come into play.
As far as the bands, naturally 20 is on top. I'm surprised 30 has so many. I knew there would be a lot, but still it is higher than I would have guessed. Despite the great high band openings the first part of the streak, 10 and 12 are quite low mainly because they were pretty much out of the picture in the big 0000Z hour.
Continents line up as expected. I think all 9 OC days came from KH6 stations.
All in all, I found it interesting to do the analysis. Perhaps some time I'll divide the streak into two or three time frames to see how the sunspot cycle affected things. I might wait to do that till the streak comes to an end though.
I just thought of something else I wanted to do. I wanted to see which stations helped out the most, but I forgot that today. Maybe tomorrow or later tonight. -30-
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:43 PM - Yet another great weather day. Although the clouds increased with the coming rain expected the next few days, it got into the 80s again. 83 might be near a record for the day. Think I'll take a quick look. No, my record for October 18 came back in that interesting October of 1963 when it was 85 which was 1 of 8 daily records set and still standing in that month. The whole month saw only .29 inches of rain, the driest in all the time I've been keeping precipitation records since 1962. That came on two days of .16 and .13 inches. The average low that month was 40.6 and the high 76.5, a range of 35.9 degrees each day. The great range attributed to the extreme dryness of the air all month. A very interesting month indeed.
Once again I had to drop to 80 to get my streak QSO. I'm glad I did because I ran into Gary N2ESE for a nice long rag chew, the first we've had in quite some time now. Gary also has a streak going. He makes 2 QSOs a day, but with QRO around 75 watts most days. He started back on November 17, 2006 so his streak will be at 10 years about a month from today.
As for DX, none this evening. I did work ON4UN this morning though to keep the DX streak going at 1,328 days now. It will hopefully be the same tomorrow - find someone during the day. If not, well it's been a long fun run. -30-
Monday, October 17, 2016 8:23 PM - Bands without DX are like days without sunshine. Today it was very overcast. Even 40 didn't have much to offer this evening in the way of a domestic QSO. I had to go down to 80 to work W1AAF to keep the big streak going another day.
I did get my daily DX in the 1400Z hour when I worked Rey CO6RD on 17 meters. I may have to depend on that band or 20 meters in the morning or afternoon to keep the DX streak alive. Conditions are really slipping away rapidly as we head to the sunspot minimum. The solar flux which was over 100 just a few days ago is now at 76 today and dropping fast.
The actual weather today was nice again with lots of sun and a high of 81. So like yesterday, I was outside quite a bit walking, shopping, gardening, etc. I took out my bush bean plants today as they had stopped producing. Also it's much better cleaning up the garden when the weather is still bearable rather than freezing which it will be before too long. -30-
Sunday, October 16, 2016 8:45 PM - A nice mid-September day in mid-October. Partly cloudy skies and a high of 81 shows on my remote temperature unit. So I was outside quite a bit walking, shopping, and walking Roscoe. Got to take advantage of these nice days as they will be winding down just like my garden (and Ange's) are winding down. I haven't seen a green tomato turn red for a few days now. My speckled butter beans are not ripening. I haven't seen any new bush beans for several days. About the only thing carrying on like it is still summer are my peppers which are turning red every couple days still.
I did another stint as N3A on 40 meters today and made 8 QSOs in an hour. That's at total of 56 for our NAQCC anniversary week. That's down from my peak of 400+ several years ago. I think that was the year I put N3A in the PA QSO Party and maybe another contest as well. Here are my total N3A QSOs over the years since we started our anniversary celebrations in 2006 for our 2nd anniversary.
It will be interesting to see the total QSOs this year for all of our 60 N#A operators. That's the most ops we have had for any celebration. Paul N8XMS will be compiling those totals.
Right now I'm just sitting here waiting for the final sprint scores to be posted by Andy N2CN so I can continue and hopefully complete the log cross checking and score correcting tonight. I tweaked my cross-checking system a bit by creating an Excel program to assist in the score altering. I'm anxious to see how much quicker that will make things. -30-
Saturday, October 15, 2016 4:27 PM - I received my FISTS Perpetual Prefix certificate and endorsement stickers today. Here's a scan of it after I affixed the stickers.
Very attractive, isn't it - just like all the FISTS award certificates. What a great club! I'm honored to be a member. If you like CW and aren't a member of FISTS.... Well, you should be, that's all I'll say. FISTS and NAQCC, what a great combo for those who like and use CW on the ham bands.
Hopefully with the WAG contest this weekend, my Sunday DX QSO should be easy. Oh oh, hope I didn't jinx myself now. Last night it was an easy QSO with HI3TEJ on 30. Then right after I worked him, I heard him working my friend Tom WB3FAE, about 20 miles from here. Too close to hear Tom. -30-
Friday, October 14, 2016 7:43 PM - I did a little operating today with our NAQCC Anniversary special event call of N3A. I only made 5 QSOs, but it was fun anyway. In between the QSOs I checked for DX, and there just wasn't any at all on 20 through 12. Yesterday Mike KC2EGL said 10 and 12 were open, but not today unless I was too late in the afternoon (1930-2100Z).
I just finished posting a new poll for Oct 15 through Nov 14. I'm curious to know how interest stacks up in IOTA, SOTA, and USACA these days. There seems to be a lot of interest in SOTA although I'm not one of the interested ones. I do work IOTAs when I hear them. My interest in USACA has really declined over the years since it was my number 1 interest in ham radio many years ago.
I also posted the results for the latest poll about Elecraft rigs. I was impressed by and pleased with the results. No, I have no connection with the company other than as a VERY satisfied customer. -30-
Thursday, October 13, 2016 5:51 PM - I lost a good ham friend recently and would like to honor his memory here:
The NAQCC recently lost one of its "charter" members when Stan K4UK passed away at age 85. Stan joined during our first surge of membership applications back in October 2004. He participated in 36 of our sprints over the years and earned our 30-30 Magnum, USA Alphabet Prefix (#0002) awards, and USA Alphabet Prefix Honor Roll listing (#5). Stan was also very active in FISTS as their QSL buro manager. He earned just about every one of the FISTS awards. I'll remember Stan not for those achievements as much as the many QSOs we had. I see 82 of them in my Access database log. One QSO stands out prominently in my memory. We were talking about the NAQCC, and I asked him if he had any suggestions as to any additional activities or awards we could offer. After thinking very briefly, he suggested, based on my QSO-a-Day streak which was about 10 years old at that time, that the NAQCC offer an award for making QRP CW QSOs every day for various periods of time. Thus was born the NAQCC's QSO-a-Day award. Stan will be sorely missed by me, the NAQCC and FISTS members as well as hamdom as a whole. Rest in peace, my friend." -30-
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 9:08 PM - I thought I was going to start this entry by saying this may be the first time in I don't know how long I've gone to bed without getting my main streak QSO. Almost one solid hour of trying with CQs or calling other stations yielded nothing. VA3YG did get my call right after several tries but then said 73 without even trying to copy anything else so I just plain did not log him.
I tried S53A on 40 meters several times during the hour but always got beat out by someone else. Finally though at 0057Z it was my turn to log Niko. He was the seventh S5 station I worked when I returned to the air in the early 90s. Tonight was the 23rd time we've worked each other. While I'm looking in my log, that's the 851st QSO with Slovenia. Only Germany, Italy, and England have I more QSOs with (outside W/VE).
Just thinking back to those early 90s days, I remember Slovenia was hard for me to work until I finally caught S50A on 40 meters May 28, 1994. I don't know how many times before that I tried to get an S5 station in my log. Then wouldn't you know it, 5 minutes later I worked S57AL for my second S5. Funny how that happens. It has happened other times also. I don't remember the details now, but it developed into a saying something like, "Work 'em once, and then they keep coming."
Earlier in the day it was 9A2AJ Tom on 17 for my DX QSO. Our first 17M QSO and our 17th QSO over all. 17s are wild. HI
Tonight it was supposed to be our computer club meeting, but only I and two others showed up at the library, so we decided to just go back home after about a half hour of chatting about computers. I think our club is in its last days as most months this year we've not had a half dozen members attending. -30-
Tuesday, October 11, 2016 10:39 AM - OK, I promised a report on our parkpedition yesterday, so here goes.
Every year on Columbus Day which "happens" to fall during our NAQCC anniversary week, Mike and I (accompanied the past couple years by Tom WB3FAE) go to the Kittanning Community Park to give out QSOs with our NAQCC special event call N3A.
Mike arrived here about 9:45AM just about the time I was taking that last bite from my breakfast. We chatted for a while, then headed for the park a few minutes past 10AM. On the way up there a black cat crossed our path, and I kiddingly (not being superstitious) suggested that our day was now ruined. We arrived at the park just about exactly at the same time as Tom. We carried our equipment over to the pavillion where we would be operating and started setting up our antennas and rigs.
This year we planned to operate 40, 30, and 20 meters since those bands probably would be the only ones available as sunspots decline. We didn't decide till almost the last minute who would take which band. I wanted Tom and Mike to decide and leave me the leftover band. As we were setting up our antennas, Mike finally picked 40, but then Tom wanted me to choose between 30 and 20. I had thought of taking 30 since I felt lazy and thought it would be the least active of the three bands. Tom was helping me set up my antenna so we set the jumpers for 30 meters. I gave it a brief check to see if it was working as one time in the past I had trouble on 30, but I think that was due to a bad connection in a coax connector. This time it went right to 1:1 as I pressed the ATU button on the KX3. Tom then set up his antenna for 20 meters.
The weather was beautiful as you can see from this picture looking out over one of the ball fields in the park.
With our rigs and antennas set up, we started operating. Both 40 and 30 turned out to be in great shape, while 20 was not as good. I started off with several unanswered CQs, then a small pileup broke out and I logged 3 QSOs in a couple minutes. After that another batch of no answers for about 10 minutes.
A pause in the commentary now for some pictures of we three operators.
L-R that's Mike, Tom, and me. Note Tom multitasking eating and operating.
From that point on, activity was slow but steady for Mike and me. Unfortunately 20 was not being that kind to Tom, so he went hunting for and working some DX in addition to calling CQ.
At one point, for some reason, I developed a rather large pileup that lasted about 10 minutes. I was logging on paper and had a little trouble keeping up with the activity. I did put 7 QSOs from the pile in my log in 10 minutes. I might have had more had I been logging via computer.
I always get questions about our antennas when we do a parkpedition. This time with the bright sun shining just right in the perfectly clear blue skies, Mike was able to get some quite good antenna pictures.
Mike's jumper inverted vee on his orange pole is at left. I'm not sure exactly what to call Tom's antenna - perhaps an inverted L or ef random wire - is in the center. My jumper inverted vee is at right.
We managed to stay the full 5 hours that we had scheduled. It turned out to be our best parkpedition ever (not counting Field Days) with 104 QSOs from at least 30 SPCs. I don't have Tom's totals here at the moment. The 104 QSOs is right, but he may have worked a couple SPCs that Mike and I didn't. I'm sure he worked some DX. When I get a report from him, I'll finalize the SPC total.
It was a great day as usual when we get together. It went by pretty fast, and when 4PM came, we shut down, packed away our gear, and took down the antennas. Tom had to go home to take care of his dog, but Mike and I headed to the Butler Ponderosa and enjoyed as usual, their great buffet dinner. We wanted Tom to join us, but he couldn't.
When Mike and I got home here, I put my station back together again. We tried to find some DX to work, but didn't succeed. We did work N9A, another NAQCC SE station. Then Mike worked him again using N3A for a N#A to N#A QSO.
After that, Mike headed north for home, and another great day drew to a close. -30-
Monday, October 10, 2016 9:27 PM - I have a lot of pictures and a lot of comments about our N3A day in the park today, but I'm too tired to work on them this evening. I asked Mike if he wanted to write a diary entry and he said about the same thing plus he also operated almost full bore for the PA QSO Party Saturday and Sunday. So tune in tomorrow for the goodies. -30-
Sunday, October 09, 2016 8:42 PM - That worked out good. At first it looked like it might be a rough day for the DX streak, but then things turned for the better. I figured being busy with our N3A parkpedition most of the day tomorrow would make it hard to get my DX. Well, I could probably work some DX from the park, but I prefer to do it from here at home. Also I don't like to take time away from giving out N3A QSOs. None of that comes into play though. There was really only one strong DX station from Mexico coming through and he was engaged in a long rag chew. Finally I did find a weak WP3A on 30 meters and after a few calls, he wound up in the log for day # 1320 of DX.
It looks like a real chilly day in the park tomorrow. At least if it is like today with a high of just 62 and strong winds most all day making it feel nowhere near that warm. It was really chilly helping Ange in his garden this morning. Fortunately, although sadly, the gardening season is rapidly coming to an end. The plants really know it also as production has slowed pretty much to a standstill except for the peppers which seem not to mind the chilly temps and shorter amount of sunlight. They are still growing quite well.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow, and I hope the cold doesn't shorten our operating time as it did a few years ago when Mike and I got so cold we had trouble manipulating our keys/paddles and had to shut down early. We'll see what tomorrow brings. The high is supposed to be about the same as today, but sunny vs. mostly cloudy today and diminished winds. Give a listen for us (N3A) around 7041, 10117, 14061 from 1500-2000 weather permitting.
Oh, I did easily update my Alphabet Prefix total today. I found 13 new ones for a total of 620 now. They're getting hard to come by after working most of the common ones. -30-
Saturday, October 08, 2016 8:37 PM - I worked on updating another award today - actually an Honor Roll listing for our NAQCC Suffix Words Award. That's for working stations whose call sign suffix spells out a word like W7CAT K2DOG VE3ARM and so on. The arbiter for just what is a word is the Official Scrabble Player's Dictionary (OSPD). It lists 1,004 three letter words and 101 two letter words. The award is limited to two and three letter words, so something like II2POPE could not be used since the suffix is four letters and only a complete two or three letter suffix can be used.
With my love of statistics, it was a lot of fun using Microsoft Access and Excel to quickly find 684 such calls and send off the list to our NAQCC awards manager John KK1X. My current listing on the Honor Roll has only 387 calls listed. That was back on 10/16/2012, nearly four years ago.
I think next I'll work on updating our Alphabet Prefix Award. Similar to the CQ WPX, but we only count the first two characters of a callsign, be they letter-number, number-letter, or letter-letter. If there are any number-number calls, they don't count since they are very rare. So K3WWP would be K3, same as the CQ definition. However WA3WWP would be just WA, E77AW would be E7, and so on. A station like DJ9IO/HP3 can be used for either DJ or HP, etc. That will be even easier than working with the suffixes since I would just need to split off the first two characters of all calls and organize them. The portables would take a bit more work, but there aren't all that many.
Incidentally the award comes in two basic flavors - USA and Worldwide including USA. The USA award can be completed with 120 such prefixes as follows:
AA-AL - 12
K0-K9, KA-KZ - 36
N0-N9, NA-NZ - 36
W0-W9, WA-WZ - 36
Total - 120
Worldwide possible totals:
Letter Number - 26x10 = 260
Letter Letter - 26x26 = 676
Number Letter - 10x26 - 260
Total - 1196
Unlike the USA though where all 120 are possible (and I've got all 120 worked), there are some combinations that don't exist in the Worldwide prefixes. We have no idea how many of the 1,196 are possible. We're pretty sure any starting with a Q don't exist although that could be wrong. If right, it would eliminate 36 of them. I have 607 worked prior to the updating I am going to do. That's as of 7/22/2014 so I should be able to add maybe a dozen or two although I already do have most of the common ones.
My DX this evening was another of those 0000Z QSOs. The rig came on to 30 meters and there was one big peak on the PX3 which turned out to be AN400M. A couple calls to him and the streak goes on. -30-
Friday, October 07, 2016 7:15 PM - Once again the 1400Z hour came through for me. PA1CC entered my log to keep the DX streak going. There was actually a lot of DX around then on both 20 and 17 meters. Once I worked PA1CC though, I quit and moved on to other things. I took a couple walks, did some shopping, walked Roscoe and sat on the porch swing with him for a while. Then I cooked some collard greens mashed potatoes for my afternoon meal. Right now I'm awaiting 0000Z to see what it will bring on the bands tonight. Also listening to iHeart radio on the Internet. They seem to have a great algorithm for determining what I (or anybody else)
likes in the way of music. After they learn your likes for a while, just about all the music they play for me is something I like. My taste is mainly for oldies from the late 50s, 60s, and early 70s. Right now, it's the Rolling Stones with Satisfaction. -30-
Thursday, October 06, 2016 8:32 PM - I am rapidly approaching the point (or may have already reached it) of giving up looking for DX in the evening, and instead using the afternoons for the search. Of late, the times between about 1400Z and 2200Z have been pretty good for DX, while the 0000-0200Z time frame has been pretty much devoid of any DX stronger than S3 or S4 at best. I'll go for my regular streak QSO in the evenings though as it is still easy to work a W/VE station so far.
I did manage another AN400 station in the 1400Z hour today. I hate to see the Cervantes special event come to an end on the 10th. That will make it one notch harder to work DX.
Not much else to talk about for today. Just an ordinary day with some walking, watering my garden, picking some beans and chestnuts, and of course walking Roscoe. Also the past few days since it's cooled off somewhat, Roscoe and I take time to sit on the porch swing after his midday walk. That's a nice relaxing time. -30-
Wednesday, October 05, 2016 7:35 PM - Once again it was an old faithful to the rescue of the DX streak. I worked John ON4UN easily on 20 meters around noon today.
Eric KB3BFQ emailed and said he wouldn't be able to join our parkpedition on Monday. He will try to work us though. The weather outlook continues to look good although a bit on the chilly side with a high in the low 60s at best. For a brief period, the outlook had Matthew coming far enough inland that we might get some showers or at least cloud cover on Monday, but now the outlook has Matthew veering out into the ocean once it grazes FL, GA, SC, and maybe NC. One reason is the approach of a cold front to this area which may give us some showers on Saturday as well as somewhat of a push to Matthew.
I applied for my FISTS Perpetual Prefixes award today. Haven't heard anything back yet. I'm thinking of next working on the FISTS NANFA award if it is still available, and I think it is. Just a matter of checking the FISTS web site.
Well, in 18 minutes as I write this sentence, I'll head to the shack and see what the bands have to offer this evening. It would be nice to get a quick DX QSO, but unless conditions are vastly better than last night, that won't be happening. -30-
Tuesday, October 04, 2016 8:38 PM - Cervantes to the rescue again today. I got AN400M in the log at 1427Z on 20 meters to keep the DX streak going. Might have to call on Miguel again tomorrow as there weren't any DX stations heard this evening.
I finished work on the records for my FISTS Perpetual Prefixes award today. Now I need to give it a final proofread and get it off to the FISTS award manager. I easily exceeded the 400 QSOs with different prefixes for the Basic award, 50 endorsement, 100 endorsement, and 150 endorsement which seems to be as far as it goes. Now I'll find another FISTS award to work on.
Ange's chestnut tree is having a good year. I picked up 191 chestnuts yesterday and added 83 more today. He took the 191 and I took the 83 which are still way too many for me. My neighbors don't like them so I can't even give any away.
It was a nice walking day today and I came close to the 10 mile mark - something I haven't done for a while now although I'm still maintaining my 7+ miles daily average.
A nice clear evening and I spotted Venus low in the SW sky for my first sighting of its current evening apparition. I'm looking forward to spotting it (with the naked eye) in daytime now, something I've always gotten a thrill from since I was a kid back in prehistoric times. -30-
Monday, October 03, 2016 8:36 PM - It seems like it goes from one extreme to the other every other day or so. Either it's an easy quick DX QSO or none at all in the evenings now. Tonight it was the second choice so I guess day # 1,314 in the DX streak will have to wait till morning or afternoon. At least the main streak QSOs remain easy. Hope I don't jinx things now by saying that.
I've been neglecting FISTS activities lately, so today I decided to look into the FISTS awards program and maybe get caught up on some of their awards. The first one that caught my eye, since I'm interested in working prefixes, was the Perpetual Prefix award. The basic requirement is working 25 different prefixes from each number in a call. That is 25 like K1 DL1 CT1 and so on - 25 like LU2 N2 VE2 right on up to 25 with a zero in the call. It shouldn't take long to do with my Microsoft Access/Excel logging system. Then I'll see what else I need to get caught up on. I'd like to earn all the other FISTS awards that I don't already have. I think FISTS is making a comeback now after the troubles of the past few years like the headquarters fire, the passing of Nancy Kott WZ8C, finding a replacement for her marvelous leadership, and some other things. As far as I'm concerned the NAQCC and FISTS are my two CW clubs. I don't have any interest in any others. Joining too many clubs just makes things confusing. For one example, it seems like every one of our NAQCC sprints has one entrant who sends another club's number instead of his/her NAQCC number. No problems like that here since I only have to remember my FISTS # 2002 and my NAQCC # 0002. Couldn't be simpler with the similarity in the numbers. HI.
I'm looking forward to our NAQCC 12th anniversary week next week. Of course it will start for me when Mike and I do our annual Columbus Day activity with special event call N3A. This year Tom WB3FAE and hopefully Eric KB3BFQ will be joining us at the Kittanning Community Park. It will really be nice to be working with Eric again. We haven't really done any ham activities together since the 1990s. -30-
Sunday, October 02, 2016 8:54 PM - The DX is taken care of. I worked HK1ANP pretty easily on 40 meters. We've worked a few times before. I think that's important in my streak as well as in contesting. Recognition, I mean. It is easier to copy and work someone with whom we are familiar rather than someone who has never been worked before. So it's good to get in as many contests as you can if you want to become a really good contester. Or if you embark on a DX streak, work as much DX as you can.
OK, this will be short because my neighbor and I are going to have a pizza in a few minutes and before then I also have to get my 9 PM weather readings. -30-
Saturday, October 01, 2016 8:43 PM - Yet another evening of poor conditions and no coincidentally finding an easy DX QSO as I did last night. So during the day tomorrow I'll be looking for some DX, I guess. I did snag K6Z in the CAQP for my regular streak QSO though.
Today was a busy day that started early for me. I had to get up around 7:30AM vs. my usual 8:45AM or so. That was because Roscoe had an early appointment at the groomers. After that was over it was my first of the month banking. Following that it was some shopping and some other chores.
We had another well above normal monthly temperature in September. It average over 6 degrees above normal. That may make for a record warm summer here. I haven't checked that yet. There weren't any really hot days above 94 or 95, but the temperatures were just consistently above normal with very few cool days thrown in here and there as usually happens. -30-
Friday, September 30, 2016 8:03 PM - It can't get too much quicker. My DX QSO for October 1 came at 0000:15Z, just 15 seconds into the new day, new month. One big signal on 30 meters turned out to be ZF2EZ. I almost called too early before 0000Z. Fortunately I had to move my key and that delayed it enough to make it legit for October 1. So now I have a free Saturday unless I want to work on the NAQCC October challenge. I don't even know what it is. Let's see. It's our annual Halloween alphabet challenge. So I'll have to get my worksheet ready after I do this diary entry and a couple other things. Are there any Z F E Z in it? Shucks, only an E is all I can get from ZF2EZ, or actually 2 Es. Oh well.
Today and tomorrow it's the usual end of month / first of month things plus a trip to the groomer for Roscoe in early morning. So it's probably good I got such a quick DX QSO. Although I'm just about finished with most things except a trip to the bank, turning the page on a couple calendars, and entering my September weather readings into the computer.
When Mike was here, I happened to be listening to iHeart radio on my laptop, and our conversation wound up on the subject of listening to music. I asked Mike if when he was young, he ever thought that some day we'd be listening to music on a computer. He said never and he even remembered in his army training or somewhere using big mainframe computers. Wherever it was, they also had some relatively small personal computers, but everyone thought they were just a passing fad. Wrong!!!
I do remember listening to radio shows and music on our huge console radio when I was young. Sure wish I still had that radio now. I also remember my first transistor radio which was about the size of, oh I don't know what to compare it to, but it was big compared to the tiny ones these days. Probably about a foot wide, 8 inches high and 4 inches deep. I still have it, but the leather case saw better days, and I remounted it in a wooden box. Still works, and works well.
Thinking back some more, I remember all the great DJs from that era (1950s thru 1970s or so) and what a joy it was listening to such amazing talent. Remember Cousin Brucie, Art Roberts, Dick Biondi, Jack Armstrong, to name a couple. And before them, Clark Race, Art Pallan, Bob Tracey(?) from local powerhouse station KDKA. Wow, those were the days.
The current iHeart radio has one advantage over those days though. You can create your own 'station' and tell it in general what kind of music you would like on your 'station' - 60s oldies, pop music, and a whole collection of types. Then as you listen to it, and tell it if you like or dislike a song, it tailors the music even more to your likes. I listened for almost two hours earlier this evening, and there was nary a song played that wasn't one of my favorites. I guess I'm really getting old. I've seen a lot of changes in many things over the years. -30-
Thursday, September 29, 2016 5:08 PM - Mike and I didn't have all that much time together last night because he had to get up early today to work some extra time at the PO. Still, as always, it was a good time. We started with, of course, a pizza with mushrooms, tomatoes, and green peppers. Then it was up to the shack to see what was on the bands. Also we wanted to figure out something about the KX3 memories. While we were doing that, we wound up on 60 meters and heard a loud KD3KO. Since I hadn't made a 60 meters QSO in at least a couple years, I worked him for my streak QSO. Finding no DX at all, we then went to my computer where Mike played a Mahjong game. All too soon then he had to head home.
Mike arrived just about exactly at 0000Z and a strange thought crossed my mind. I wondered if an eyeball QSO would count for a streak QSO. I asked Mike and he wouldn't commit one way or other. I was mostly just kidding but it was intriguing. I guess since light is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, possibly it should count. But then since it would have to be CW and QRP, would we have to whisper in dits and dahs? Hmmmm.
For an hour and 3 minutes this afternoon, I wasn't sure I had my DX streak QSO or not. I 'worked?' AN400N, or did I? He had my call as K3WUW? at first. Then I thought he sent WWP TU or something like that but I wasn't sure because QSB and QRN struck just as he sent that. So was it a QSO or not. That was on 30 meters, by the way. It was loaded with the AN400 stations. None of them all that strong - maybe S5 at best, but mostly S3 or S4. I tried to get an insurance QSO, but couldn't work any other DX stations as even the non-AN400s weren't that strong.
Move ahead a little under an hour now, and I'm back on the air still looking for an insurance QSO. There was a KP4 station on 20, but his signals were very up and down here, and he never heard me at all. So I went back to 30 meters which was still loaded with the AN400 stations. I found the strongest one around S5 operating split and went after him. I lost out to a few other stations, but finally I got a K3??P from him, sent my call twice again and got my nervously awaited K3WWP 599. And the streak goes on for certain. I'd hate to have had only that questionable QSO with AN400N as the only DX QSO today.
I don't know if they have on line logs or not for the AN400 stations. If so I could check the AN400N one. BTW, 7X3WPL whom I worked a couple evenings ago does have an on line log, and I was there within a few minutes of the QSO. Normally I don't check such things, and I was sure of that QSO, but I happened to see the log when I was checking for QSL info.
OK, about 2 1/2 hours till the DX ordeal starts all over anew. Hope it's a quickie this evening. -30-
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 5:22 PM - Mike is stopping by this evening for our regular 4th Wednesday evening pizza and visit. So I thought I'd write this early today.
I got on the bands in the 1900Z hour and they seem to have recovered somewhat from the blahs of the past few days. I worked 7X3WPL with just two calls on 20 meters. That's one country I've worked but never got verified either with a card or via LoTW. I did work 7X3WPL before a few years ago, but I don't see any record of having sent a QSL card then. Besides these two QSOs with 7X3WPL, I've also worked 7X4AN a number or times. Let's see how many. Eight times, and I think I've sent at least 2 or 3 cards with SAE and return postage, but never got a QSL card. So I guess I'll try again with this latest 7X3WPL QSO. They say on QRZ they answer all cards received if return postage is included. However I don't see just how much postage, if they accept GS or what. -30-
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 9:07 PM - Seems it's one extreme or the other as the saying goes. I'm talking about my DX streak of late. The QSO for the 27th was a struggle, but I did manage to work another of the Cervantes stations AN400G at 1617Z on 20 meters. He was only about S5 here which was the strongest DX I was hearing at the time. It took a few repeats to make the QSO, but he stuck with me for which I am grateful.
Then this evening's DX for the 28th came at 0001Z with only one repeat needed when I worked XE1ZW Bill in Mexico City on 20 meters.
Jody K3JZD of the NAQCC and the Skyview Radio Society emailed me this today:
"Hi John, We are still working on the idea of a Skyview 'Affiliated Club Membership' (or something like that) for the NAQCC Western PA Chapter. Stay tuned - the wheels turn slowly.
The Skyview October Newsletter is now available. You and your Skyview Swap N Shop team are highlighted in this issue. We do not mail it out - you have to go and get it.
But, that is very easy to do.
Just go to http://skyviewradio.net and:
1 - Click on "Newsletter" in the Menu at left side of this main page.
2 - Click on the box that says: 'Q5-er The official Newsletter for the Skyview Radio Society'
You can read it on-line, or you can download the PDF file.
I welcome your comments.
Jody - K3JZD"
My 22 year streak is also mentioned in their newsletter. I personally appreciate that and our NAQCC WPA Chapter members also appreciate the S&S article. -30-
Monday, September 26, 2016 9:06 PM - Speaking of WB3FAE as I was last night in the diary, Tom and I had a QSO this afternoon. He is up in Portland, Maine today. His wife Debbie took a video of Tom as he was working me. I have it here now via email. It's quite large and won't fit on my Windstream site, but it will work on k3wwp.com. So I'm going to put it there via this link. If you want to watch it, you should be able to just close the video window to get back here. Yes, that worked fine on my computer here. It is always good to hear how my signal sounds in various locations. It sounded pretty good up there in Maine.
If nothing else (and some nights there is nothing), my DX streak is teaching me a lot about propagation at various points in a sunspot cycle. It has been interesting to see how propagation outside the USA really declines as the sunspots decline. That isn't really all that apparent as I keep my regular streak going since it is virtually always possible to get an easy USA/VE QSO no matter the stage of the cycle.
No DX this evening, but I worked John ON4UN this afternoon to get the streak to 1,306 days now. Looks like it will be till tomorrow afternoon till I get another shot at some DX now.
Some quite strange conditions on 30 this evening. It was totally dead when I checked between 0000 and 0015Z. Then I tried 40 and 80 for a while with no luck. When I went back to 30, it was hopping with activity. I saw at least 6 or 8 good peaks on the PX3. One was K4HPP whom I worked. Strangely though, after about 10 minutes his signals peaked to 10 over, but then dropped very suddenly to my S4-5 noise level and never came back again. The other signals on 30 did the same thing. So something caused about 15-20 minutes or so of great propagation, then the something left, whatever it was. Strange!
Tomorrow Roscoe goes to the groomer for a trim. That's always an interesting experience and I'm sure it will be tomorrow also.
This could be a very long entry because I did a lot today and I have some things I talked about here that I promised a follow-up on. However I'm going to cut it short because it's about time for Roscoe's last walk of the day. -30-
Sunday, September 25, 2016 7:26 PM - Mike and I had a good stargazing session last night. We were sorry that K3RLL and WB3FAE couldn't accept our invitation to join us. We observed 28 Messier objects plus Mars, Saturn, and double star Mizar. Even though we've seen them all before, they still can elicit a "WOW" from us when seeing them anew. My loudest "WOW" came from M2 in Aquarius. I had forgotten just how bright it is.
While we were there, Mike asked me again about how I compare goto scopes with the ones you have to align on objects yourself with no help from a computer chip. I still think that using a manual scope helps you to get to know the sky much better and everyone should start with such a scope. However I must admit, and did to Mike, that as I get older and less flexible, thus making adjusting a scope harder, that the goto scopes definitely have a place for us old folks. Speaking of old folks, here's a picture of one looking into the scope last night. No, it's not Mike.
Note the heavy jacket and hat. It was chilly standing out there for a couple hours. Also note the dew zapper (orange band) around the end of the scope. It sure helped keep the corrector lens free of dew. It certainly was dewy with everything except the lens getting somewhat damp as the temperature fell toward the dewpoint.
Mike attempted to use his smart phone to take some pictures at the eyepiece. One of the better ones was this one of Saturn. You can tell it's Saturn by the oval shape. We need a lot more practice taking pictures like that though.
It's rolling toward streak time. After (if) I get my streak QSO(s), I'll be closing out our sprint results running my cross-checking program. I hope to finish that tonight. If not, then tomorrow for sure. -30-
Saturday, September 24, 2016 8:07 PM - I'm sitting here awaiting the arrival of Mike KC2EGL. We're going to do some stargazing.
As for the DX, I figured I wouldn't have time for it this evening. However now and then it's a piece of cake. I turned on the KX3/PX3 at 0000Z saw a couple nice peaks on 30, and checked them out. One was I1ULJ/8. I called him, but he didn't hear me and called CQ again. I answered again and we had a nice brief chat for a few minutes. The QSO started at 0001Z. They don't get much quicker than that. Now I have 24 hours off, more or less. At least no worry about the DX streak. HI. -30-
Friday, September 23, 2016 7:29 PM - I came very close to blowing it today. I mean the DX streak. I was sitting here around 2310Z eating a sandwich and all of a sudden it dawned on me that I hadn't gotten my DX QSO for the 23rd yet. So I finished the sandwich and dashed (as fast as a 71 year old can dash) to my shack and listened on 30 and 20 for some DX. I only heard HC5AI and unlike his father who had the same call and copied me well, the son has never heard me at all and that was true again today. Finally I went to 40 in desperation and thanks to Miguel de Cervantes, I worked AN400E, however he initially had me as K2WWP and I wasn't sure he ever corrected it, so I heard AN400A a few kHz lower and got an insurance QSO from him. He did have my call correct after a couple repeats. Whew! So day 1303 of the streak will be memorable if the streak goes on much longer. Without those Cervantes stations, it might be over right now.
If there is a reason (excuse) why I more or less forgot about the streak, it's because I was very busy with processing our sprint logs and finalizing my 1000 MPW QSOs records along with other things.
Now in 25 minutes as I type, it starts all over again for day # 1304. Hope it's not as hectic. -30-
Thursday, September 22, 2016 7:38 PM - I spent most of the morning and early afternoon working on my 1000 MPW QSOs. I've now checked all 87,910 QSOs I've made over 53+ years. I found 2,057 that qualified as 1000 MPW QSOs, 85,626 that were not (including all the QSOs I've made using more than 5 watts output back before 1990), and 227 that I'm not sure of (stations operating /M, /P, etc. for which I have no definite QTH to go by).
There are many ways to determine distances. Perhaps the best and most accurate is User Supplied QTH info in QRZ.com. I find that to be over 99.9% accurate and it even gives the distance from here to there based on my exact location.
Then there is using a modified globe with my QTH at the pivot point and distances marked off in 1,000 mile increments. I wrote an article about making such a globe in an NAQCC newsletter a few years ago. Let me pause here and see if I can find it. Yes, it's here. It's the very last article at the end of the newsletter. Of course, anything over 5,000 miles on the globe at 5 watts or less is definitely a 1000 MPW QSO (all my 241 Japan QSOs for example). Or over 1,000 miles at 1 watt or less, etc. I allow a margin of error though. If a QTH is almost exactly on the 5,000 mile distance, I won't count it without checking another source.
There is also an excellent site that shows distances between cities, but again I allow a margin of error there since some cities sprawl out quite a bit. I'm pretty certain if the distance is 5,200 miles or more, then no matter where the ham lives in that city, it should be over 5,000 miles. The site? Check here.
Similarly you can use the excellent Bing maps to find a city and get its latitude and longitude. Then plug yours and his lat/lon into a distance calculator like the one from N9SSA here.
I have more on this topic, but it's time to head to the shack now, so I'll continue in the next diary entry. -30-
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 8:06 PM - I worked AN400A again today on yet another band - 20 meters. Wish I could find some of the other letters. I've heard a couple, but "A" has been the strongest every time I listen with the others just about at my noise level.
Things worked out nicely tonight. I got my DX within two minutes, working NP2J on 30 meters. Now I can concentrate on our NAQCC sprint coming up in a few minutes without having to think about DX. I do have a couple other things to get done before the sprint starts, so I'll cut this short. -30-
Tuesday, September 20, 2016 8:53 PM - Exactly 23 hours and 59 minutes after working AN400A on 40 meters, I worked him again on 30 meters. Those AN400 stations are to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, great Spanish writer. Of course best known for writing Don Quixote. You can work enough different suffix letters to spell out his name and get a nice award for it. Look up AN400A on QRZ for links to more info if that interests you.
Whoever is operating AN400A is a really great op. Both nights he was at best S5 here, but copied me after just a few repeats once the pile diminished.
Another beautiful weather day. The kind you wish you could bottle and use whenever you're tired of any nasty weather that comes your way. Wow, I just looked at my remote and it says the high was 90. I didn't think it was that warm. Looks like the humidity was down in the 30s so that made the difference. Anyway it was nice with beautiful clear skies. While I was sitting on the porch with Roscoe, there was just one very tiny little cumulus cloud slowly drifting by.
When I wasn't outside, I was in here continuing to work on my 1000 MPW QSOs. I did make it over 2,000 of them now. With some more tweaking to do, I'm somewhere around 2,040. I had skipped some countries in my totals along the way like West Kiribati to name just one. Since the whole country is over 5,000 miles, any QSO with it at 5 watts or less is definitely a 1000 MPW QSO.
Time now to get my temperature, then take Roscoe out for his last walk, send out a promo for our NAQCC sprint tomorrow evening, and then maybe do some more checking on the 1000 MPW QSOs. -30-
Monday, September 19, 2016 7:16 PM - A busy day today which are the kind of days I like. I often say in the diary I hate being a couch potato sitting around doing nothing. Even if I do sit around I'm always doing something to at least exercise my brain.
My physical exercise today consisted of some walking, trimming my neighbor's front yard bush, and cutting my back yard grass. Of course walking Roscoe also which is an everyday 3 or 4 time thing we both enjoy.
The brain exercise was updating my 1000 MPW QSOs for our NAQCC KMPW Honor Roll. With still some checking left, I've found 1,949 such QSOs. I was hoping to be closer to 2,000, but I don't think I'll make it now. The rough countries are those that are split by a 5,000 mile distance circle. If an entire country is more than 5,000 miles distant, ALL my 5 watt or less QSOs qualify as 1000 MPW QSOs. If an entire country is less than 5,000 miles distant, none of my 5 watt QSOs qualify, although some less than 5 watts may qualify. That involves some figuring for those QSOs. However ALL QSOs from the 5,000 mile split country must be individually checked and that takes time. It's easy when someone supplies their exact latitude and longitude to QRZ. Then the exact distance from here to there is given IF the source is marked USER SUPPLIED. Otherwise QRZ just estimates the distance. For example if a station does not give lat and lon, QRZ simply bases the distance on the geographical center of a country. Or sometimes on grid square. Close but not completely accurate. There are also other Internet sources that list distances from city to city. I count those only if the distance is at least 5100 miles or so. There are also other ways to figure distance that I'm not going to go into here. The bottom line is, as in everything I do, I strive to be as close to 100% accurate as possible.
Another thing that crossed my mind while I was figuring was wondering with how many different countries I have had 1000 MPW QSOs. Turns out to be 154. I think perhaps something like that would make an interesting addition to 1000 MPW QSO awards.
It wasn't a 1000 MPW QSO, but my DX today came in the 1400Z hour as I was doing my laundry when I worked UA2FF easily from Kaliningrad. That was on 17 meters which many days has good DX during local morning and afternoon here. -30-
Sunday, September 18, 2016 7:56 PM - I'm just off to the shack, then I'll return to finish writing this entry.
It was kind of a gloomy day today with rain all around us, but again our shields were up and we only got maybe a tenth of an inch. No storms, just rain showers. Looks like one last line of showers is on the way before we pretty much say goodbye to rain the whole coming week if the outlook is correct.
I hoped to be back with a report of the DX I worked, but I didn't work any. I did have a long rag chew with WA4LJJ in KY until all of a sudden he dropped from a steady 589 down into my noise at S3 or S4 within about 10 seconds and never did come back up. Yes, the bands are acting strangely lately.
I did hear 3 workable DX stations, but two I just worked a couple days ago and another was calling for club members from a club to which I don't belong. Otherwise DX was similar to this picture:
Just taking a peek over my noise level, then disappearing. -30-
Saturday, September 17, 2016 8:57 PM - If there were any doubts remaining in my mind about us slipping into poorer band conditions as we move toward a sunspot minimum, they were dispelled this evening. I can normally work Scandinavian stations any time I hear them, especially on 20 meters. Not so this evening. I called a few in the SAC Contest with nary a hint they were hearing me. Even OH8L and SJ2W who are especially good at hearing me gave not even a question mark. So sunspot minimum, here we come.
I did get my DX though thanks to 4A2L on 20 meters. 2 days to go now for the DX streak to hit 1300 days if I can make it. Before that I secured the big streak with a NJQP QSO with AB2N on 40.
A big weekend for contests with at least the SAC, NJQP, WASR, and some Brazilian contest. I hope someday I can get back into a contesting mood and get into contests like these seriously instead of only our NAQCC sprints and the CQWW DX, CQWPX, and ARRL DX contests.
Just a couple other notes before I go out and get my temperature. Our rain shields were up again today and we only got at most a couple hundredths of an inch (so far anyway). The bulk of the rain went to our north and south. In fact there was apparently a confirmed tornado near Slippery Rock, PA which is in the neighborhood of only 40 or so miles to the NW of here.
I played a lot with the Windows AU edition today on my laptop. It sure is very slick. It's nice they added extensions to the Edge browser in this edition. I got a great ad blocker which hopefully will block all those obnoxious intrusive google ads that seem to be everywhere. So far it's doing the job, especially with the few You Tube videos I checked out. -30-
Friday, September 16, 2016 8:53 PM - It took 3 tries to get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, but it's now up and running on my laptop. I'm convinced I have some hardware problems with that laptop. I get a lot of hardware errors that have nothing to do with Windows or any of my software. They are very intermittent and hard to trace. I suspect it has something to do with my RAM as I can't recall them happening until I added a second RAM stick. Someday I may just get two new RAM sticks and try that. Since it's only a secondary "play with" computer, I don't really worry about it all that much. This Windows 7 unit I'm using right now to type this is my main computer.
A rough DX night tonight. I got tired of trying to get PY22MC to get my call correct, and I don't really know if he ever did. I didn't log him, but instead gave up and worked Ben HT7AAA again to keep the streak going.
It was another nice day today and among a couple of walks and taking care of Roscoe, I picked some figs for Ange. He'll be home from Florida Sunday evening. I was glad I only had to water his garden once during the week he was gone. -30-