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Monday, September 15, 2014 8:46 PM - A bit of a busy day here today. First I had some mid-month bills to pay. When I got home it was laundry time. Then my brunch, after which I went fishing for a while, but got nary a single bite. My nightcrawler escaped unscathed all the time he was in the water. I did see either one or two big carp. It was (they were) chasing something floating on top of the water. I think I may go back tomorrow with some peanut butter bread and see if they are still around. They sure didn't want my nightcrawler.

When I got home from fishing, it was time to eat again. Then I thought I'd check the bands and see if perhaps I could find some more EG stations. I did find one, but once again I'm not positive he had my call right. Some noise wiped out the last two letters when he sent my call. I sent it twice again, and he said CFM, so I hope he did have it right.

I heard a couple more EG stations, but they were ones I already worked. So I kept looking around. The bands were very good in the aftermath of the solar flares over the weekend, perhaps because of the flares. I was hearing stations all the way up to 10 meters. Sigs on 12 and 10 weren't very strong except for CO8LY on 12. Not long after the EG station (EG8HRA), I worked another Spanish special call station, AN07DX. Then more tuning around turned up HB0/DL2SBY. Since I don't work Liechtenstein much (20 QSOs), I worked him and it was an easy QSO. That was followed by another seldom worked country, Algeria (7 QSOs) and 7X4AN whom I have worked before but can never get a QSL card from him. Maybe I'll try again for one this time.

Another thing I did today was to download and install the PX3 Utility program. Then I downloaded the latest firmware so all I need now is for my PX3 to arrive. I think they are shipping orders up to 4/14/14 as of now. My order was sent 4/28/14 so hopefully it won't be too long now.

The bands were good again this evening and I think everyone knew it because it seemed any DX I heard had a pileup. I finally did find one station not too busy - TF3JB and worked him for my DX day #565 in a row. -30-

Sunday, September 14, 2014 6:43 PM - As I said a couple entries ago, sometimes a solar flare will be beneficial to the ionosphere and improve band conditions instead of making them unusable. That seems to be what happened this time. I got on in the 2100Z hour today and found good activity all the way up through 10 meters. In fact I didn't mention it, but yesterday I even heard some activity on six meters.

I was mostly looking for EG stations today as I needed one more to qualify for the silver diploma. Well, I did work one, but I'm not sure he logged me correctly. He sent K3WWW 599. I sent just my call twice without an RST and he said tnx 73. So did he correct my call or not. Fortunately I can check the EG on-line logs and find out. If not, I'll just work him again or work another different one. I think it may be more difficult than I first thought to get 10 EG stations for the gold diploma. There just hasn't been much activity, and what there is seems to be only from those 4 (5?) I already worked.

Otherwise today I chased a V5 station with no success. Had it been an overall new country, I would have tried harder, but it only would have been a new band country since I have Namibia on other bands.

I did work a country I haven't worked all that much though when I worked TK5MH on 17 meters. When I first found him, he was working simplex and it was hard to hear him or beat those whom he was working. Then he went split UP 1 and that frequency was occupied (or nearly so) by another station. So I gave up on him, but came back later and called. I got a K3?, sent my call two times, and had my QSO. Never give up.

I also got a nice new(?) prefix in TM36CDXC. Well, let me check and see if it is indeed new. Yes, I have TM 100, 28, 29, 34, 35, 50, 77, and now 36 as France has a lot of special event TM calls.

When I went to kitchen one time today a glance out the window showed a great cloud formation, so I went and got my camera and took this picture:

pix_diary_20140914_001 (40K)


Saturday, September 13, 2014 11:56 AM - Whew! The DX streak lives - barely - thanks to a great op in Belarus - Mik EW8O. Generally if I can hear Mik, I can work him even if he is weak as he was today - about S5 or so. I've worked him in the past using mW power here. I wish I had as good a location as he apparently has over there. It must be something like conditions at Community park here - very quiet with good reception. Even wihout good reception, signals almost at S0 can be copied fairly easily there. That's a noise level some 6 to 7 S units lower than here at home.

The solar flare didn't produce the dramatic effect on the ham bands that some said it would, and conditions haven't really been all that bad the past 24 hours or so. So unless another stronger flare develops, things should get back to normal by tomorrow or Monday.

Now that I've gotten my diary entry written and my DX QSO in the log, I can goof off the rest of the day. It's a good walking day, so maybe I'll take a couple long walks. Maybe go fishing. I don't know yet. -30-

Friday, September 12, 2014 9:12 PM - Conditions weren't all that bad from the solar flares this afternoon. Signals from Europe were decent although not a lot of them. I did get one more Spanish football station when I worked EG7SFC on 20 meters. This evening though the only strong DX station I heard was AO8BWC on 20 whom I just worked there last evening. I debated with myself if I should work him just to keep the DX streak safe especially since most all his CQs were going unanswered, but I didn't. I'll take a chance that I'll find some DX tomorrow morning or afternoon.

I did work W1AW/5 in TX on a new band - 30 meters for my regular streak QSO, so that streak is safe.

Here's a picture of the power distribution system I mentioned yesterday in the diary. Nothing fancy, special, or innovative, but it didn't cost me one red cent as everything came from my junk box. Right now the KX3 and the K2 are hooked up, and there are spare places for the PX3 when it comes and a couple extras after that.
pix_diary_20140912_001 (56K)

It looks like next week, Don K3RLL and I will be doing a parkpedition probably either Tuesday or Thursday. I'll promo it here in the diary and on our NAQCC email list when details are final. It will be good to get out to the park again. We haven't done a regular parkpedition yet this year, just the Skeeter Hunt back in August. -30-

Thursday, September 11, 2014 9:21 PM - Remember how I said the band was full of EG stations a couple days ago, and I said I was going for the nice award for working so many of them. I thought it would be easy. However, they have disappeared the last two days now. Maybe they are on those other modes, you know phoney, digitalis, etc. If so, they better get back to true ham radio - CW.

The bands weren't too good this afternoon. I wasn't going to get on since I finished the NAQCC European Chapter challenge, but I thought I'd look for the aforementioned EG stations. All I wound up working was LX/PA1AW on 17 meters.

I got an email from the Sky and Telescope email list saying to watch for auroras tonight, so I thought I'd better be sure to get my DX streak QSO this evening before the solar flare which they say is directed straight at the earth messes up the bands. I didn't think I was going to make it. The only two strong stations I heard - AO8BWC and LX/PA3EWP - were not hearing me at all. However a little later I did get AO8BWC as conditions must have improved. So the streak is safe from the solar flare. If it does really mess up the bands at least I'll have until late Saturday afternoon or early evening to work some DX to keep the streak going. The bands should clear up enough by then. Anyway that's all speculation. Sometimes solar flares actually improve propagation on certain bands. We'll see.

Folks are starting to receive their PX3s according to the Elecraft mail list, so it may not be much longer now before I get mine. In anticipation I have the minimal tool kit needed to assemble it ready to go. I've also added a mini power distribution system to my shack to make the 13.8 volts from my power supply more ready available for additional pieces of gear, namely the PX3 when it arrives.

I forgot to mention yesterday I went fishing and got a nice 18 inch catfish who put up a nice battle, almost like a carp at times. I thought at first maybe it was a small carp, but soon realized it wasn't from the way he fought. So that's five fish for the year now. Better than a shutout, and still possibly a couple more months of good fishing weather. With my resigning as NAQCC VP and FISTS QRP columnist, I'll have time to take advantage of more fishing opportunities before winter arrives. Then look out fish next year. I hope to make up for this year. -30-

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 9:12 PM - Now that was simple. I got home from the computer club about 0050Z and figured I had little chance of getting my DX streak QSO this evening, and I might even have a little trouble getting my regular streak QSO. But as I am a lot, I was wrong. My regular streak QSO came quickly at 0052Z from one of the Rte. 66 stations, W6B. Then the search was on for some DX. I found an SX7 station fairly strong, but he wasn't hearing me at all. So a bit more searching led me to F6FZG whom I worked easily at 0100Z. Hey, notice the call is a European station and it has a 6 in it. Those of you who have followed the diary the past few days know what that means. Right - that finished the NAQCC European Chapter challenge for September and now all three September challenges are finished. So now I'm off to submit my report to Matt and Ton. -30-

Tuesday, September 09, 2014 7:35 PM - Well, my W1AW WAS is official. I see my ME QSO in the LotW now. That means all 50 states are not only worked, but verified in the LotW.

I had a good time chasing DX on the bands today. Conditions were good and activity plentiful. I only worked 6 stations, but could have worked more. I was mainly looking for my 6 and U to finish the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. I found and worked the U from UR7GO, but just couldn't find a workable 6. I found a very weak IZ6 who only said sri too weak, an F6 who QRT just as I found him, and an EI6 chasing an OD5 station. Maybe tomorrow will be better. I did find a bunch of EG stations and worked them. Then I looked on QRZ to see what that was all about. It's a special event that started today. The calls represent Spanish football teams and there are awards for working so many. I'm going to go for the Gold Diploma for working 10 of them. I got three today and have until September 29 to get seven more.

Well, time now for an evening snack, then time for my streak QSO after that.

Just one final thing, I've decided to retire from my job as Keynote QRP Columnist. Two retirements in one year. How about that. More about that as the days go by. -30-

Monday, September 08, 2014 9:09 PM - Another beautiful late summer day, so I took advantage and went fishing. It was deja vu of my last trip a week or so ago. I again caught two suckers just about the same size also - 14 and 13 inches.

I also helped Ange water his garden and watered mine after that. Of course the first thing today was laundry which is every Monday morning here. A couple of walks and ham radio filled out the day along with the every day little things that need doing but are not worth talking about.

I got on the bands in my latest favorite time slot of 2000-2200Z looking for that 6 and U from some European stations to finish the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. No luck with that, but I did add two new prefixes to my total by working AM01XT and EG5SDC, both on 20 meters. I did hear OZ4NU which would have given me the U, but I couldn't get him. He was very weak here and kept answering other stations. I have worked him before and even chatted with him a bit if I recall correctly, but conditions just weren't favorable for Denmark today. Then this evening DX streak day 558 went into the books easily when I worked XE2I on 17 after looking around a few minutes unsuccessfully for European stations. I followed that up with a nice visit with KD8CVS on 40 meters.

To close out this entry, here's a picture from the Butler (Unionville) hamfest yesterday.

pix_diary_20140908_001 (60K)

L-R: Bruce AA3LX, Tom WB3FAE, Me, Mike KC2EGL. The picture was taken by Bob WC3O. All 5 NAQCC members. -30-

Sunday, September 07, 2014 9:19 PM - It may sound like a broken record when I say this, but it's true every time Mike and I get together. We had a great day today from early beginning to sad ending.

Mike arrived just at 8AM, and as soon as I finished taking care of a couple of things on my computer, we headed to Ponderosa for their great Sunday breakfast/brunch. After stuffing ourselves as usual, we headed to the Unionville Fire Hall for the BCARA swap meet. We weren't really interested in swapping anything, but merely to fellowship with fellow NAQCC members as well as other hams. It's always a small friendly event, and it was no exception this year. Tom WB3FAE showed up and hung out with us as we roamed around. We never did run into our other club member whom we hoped to meet there. We did visit with members of the local FAWA club who are always there every year, as well as with Bob WC3O and other Skyview members. It's always special fun visiting with Bob as his enthusiasm for CW equals ours in every way. After a couple hours of visiting, we decided to head home for a couple other projects.

Back home we took care of some NAQCC prize business which didn't take long because there wasn't much to do. Then we thought we'd try out one of the prizes for our October sprint drawing. I won't say what it was as the prizes for that drawing are being kept a secret until the drawing, but I will say it is good that we did try it out as it didn't seem to be working properly. Now our club manager Paul N8XMS will have time to find out about the problem and get a replacement if necessary.

Way back in March we ordered two Lil Squall tuna tin type transceivers from QRPme. With a delay in shipping and then Mike's work overload, today was the first time we had a chance to build them. However, the first step in building is checking the parts as usual, and that put the brakes on building. There were several wrong/missing parts in the kits, so we put the parts away again, and contacted QRPme about the problem. So that's where that project stands now.

Next it was a little work on the computer, then off to Vocelli's for two meatball subs. We brought them home, ate them, then headed to my shack. We had checked the bands earlier and found them wanting, but now it was that good 2000-2200Z period I've been talking about, and they were indeed good now. I only worked a couple DX stations that had letters/numbers I needed for our NAQCC challenges, but Mike worked (I guess) around a half dozen or so DX stations. After working the stations and exchanging our usual quips about it being a shame that QRP doesn't work, it was back to the computer.

As I think you know from the diary, Mike and I are both kind of hooked on the hidden object type of computer games, so Mike played one that I had previously finished. It was about a Time Machine. He made it all the way through it in a couple hours or so. After that we talked some football about the 98 point Texas A&M Commerce performance yesterday in which they ran up 986 yards of offense, and had three runners go over 100 yards and three receivers go over 100 yards. As things do, that led to talking about the Georgia Tech 222-0 game over Cumberland back in 1916 and other 100+ point games. We also remisnisced about the Miami Dolphins undefeated season in 1972 and their narrow escape against not so good that year Buffalo Bills whom they beat only by 24-23 en route to the perfect season. Also the playoff game against Pittsburgh in which they needed a fake punt by Larry Seiple to keep the victory streak going. I think you get the jist of the football conversation without me giving more such examples. All too soon, 8PM came and Mike had to head home as he has to get up at 5AM for work.

I went up to the shack to get my DX streak QSO which came at 0011Z from P43E. By coincidence, the P and E finished off our main NAQCC challenge, leaving me only the European Chapter challenge to finish this month. I need a 6 and a U to polish that one off. I'll try to do that tomorrow. -30-

Saturday, September 06, 2014 4:09 PM - To paraphrase my most idolized statesman of all time Winston Churchill (who said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"), almost never in ham radio was so much owed to one ham for one QSO. Let's see... when I worked ZG2FK on 17 meters this afternoon, that gave me the final letters 'G' and number '2' for our NAQCC challenges, it was a new prefix toward the WPX award (ZG2), a new prefix toward our NAQCC Alpha Prefix award (ZG), and to top it all off a new band country (Gibraltar on 17 meters). That's quite a bit from one QSO. The call threw me at first, but the Z_2FK immediately reminded me of ZB2FK whom I've worked a couple times before. I figured maybe Gibraltar had obtained a new prefix. Well, it turns out the ZG prefix is in use as follows: "The Special Prefix ZG2 / ZG3 is only authorised by the GRA (Gibraltar Regulatory Authority) once a year in September. You will only be able to work ZG2FK during National Day week. From the 4th TO 11th Sept. Nat. Day being 10th September." So I lucked out with that one since as I often say, I don't pay attention to spots or announcements of special operations, but simply tune the bands looking for (more or less) unusual things. Only after I actually work something unusual will I check the Internet to find out just what it was I worked. I think that's how the Internet and ham radio should work together. The Internet shouldn't be a crutch for those who for whatever reason don't like tuning the dial of their rig. End of soapbox.

I also worked an old friend WA8KOQ today. I haven't worked Wink in some time now. Unfortunately conditions cut our contact short. It did give me the final Qs for the challenges though. Next it was ZG2FK followed by OZ1SDB/P whose S finished the Nancy challenge for me. Next HA0NAR who gave me a couple Rs and a 12 meters QSO with K7HP. Nice to work a USA station on 12 meters. I mostly only work DX on that band. It also added a couple Ps to the challenges.

So my challenge totals are now 166 gotten and 11 needed. I need 4 for the European challenge and 7 for the main challenge. Can you tell that I really love our NAQCC challenges? HI What a great way to spend time on the ham bands adding to the amount of CW activity while looking for those letters and numbers.

Tomorrow Mike and I are off to the Butler (actually Unionville fire hall) swap meet. We'll meet Tom WB3FAE there and hopefully meet another WPA NAQCC member Dick K3VYY as well. As usual, if you are in the area and want to stop by and say hello, you are hereby invited to do so. No formal NAQCC setup - we're just going there to have fun, meet folks, and maybe pick up a bargain. Mike and I plan to get there sometime between 10 and 10:30 wearing our NAQCC WPA Chapter blue hats. This is usually a small but well organized friendly event. -30-

Friday, September 05, 2014 6:39 PM - Great conditions this late afternoon/early evening and finally people are realizing it. Activity much higher today than previous days. I got on just after 2015Z and the bands weren't all that good just then, but they came alive like someone turned on a switch not long after that. First I worked W1AW/7 easily on 20 meters while passing time waiting to see if DX would show up or not. Then when the switch was turned on, I had a ball working S59N, S58MU, TK5MH, LZ32MP, DF9ZV, G3ZRJ (nice rag chew), IZ4ZZB, and LU7HF. That covered all bands from 20 through 12 meters - 12 was LU7HF.

That's the most DX I've worked in one session (outside of contests) in a good long while now as far as I can remember. In the process I got a multitude of letters/numbers for the NAQCC challenges. Let's see in yesterday's entry I had gotten 122 and needed 55. Today the totals are 159 and 18 so I'm not far from completion. I only need a Q and S to finish the Nancy challenge and 2 6 E(2) U to finish the European Chapter challenge. Eleven to finish the main challenge. Maybe another good session tomorrow will finish up at least one or two of them, if not all. However as you get down to the last few letters it becomes harder to find the remaining ones.

Other than the ham activity, I did some more outside work cleaning up a bit in the garden and taking some grass out from between the bricks. It was a hot day with a high of 90, but there was a nice breeze blowing between the houses where I was working.

Elecraft says the PX3s are now shipping, so it may not be long before mine will come. I updated the KX3 firmware today in preparation, but there is one more update needed to make something better when working with the PX3. It's in beta right now, I believe, but I will definitely get it before hooking up the PX3 when it comes. Shouldn't take but an hour or two to assemble it from looking at the manual on line.

Oh, I updated the picture on the main page of the web site with my picture from 2014 (taken during the Skeeter Hunt August 10) in anticipation of the 18th anniversary of starting the web site on September 8, 1996. Wow, has it been that long I've been doing this? Won't be long till the 20th anniversary like my streak. Of course the 19th year will start next Tuesday, and I'll have to update the banner at the top of my pages to reflect that. -30-

Thursday, September 04, 2014 9:22 PM - I feel so good on days when I do a lot of physical labor. I would make a horrible couch potato. Today, even though it was hot, I cut my grass and edged the lawn among other things I'll mention after I get up on the soapbox here, then get back down.

If man can go to the moon and do many other such marvelous things, why can't he come up with a weed eater that works 100% right. Hey, I'd settle for 75% even. My weed eater, and others I've owned previously, fails to automatically feed out the line after maybe the first month or so of use. Then I have to stop, pull the line out manually if I'm lucky enough to have enough sticking out to pull - otherwise, I have to take the line cover off and dig into the reel to find the line, pull it out, reinstall the cover and wonder how long it will be before I have to do it all over again. Today was particularly frustrating. I don't think I got more than two minutes of trimming in between fixes. SIGH!!!!.

After the cutting was finally done, Denny and I replaced some rogue grass in my front yard. Ange called it African grass. It grows many times faster than any other grass variety and that one spot made my lawn look something like a Mohawk haircut. I think the new grass we planted today will be more in the mainstream of grasses.

I also did some work in the garden tying up some tomato plants. Tomatoes seemed strange this year. My Siberian ones produced once and then died off. The early girls also gave one decent crop, but now there are hardly any small tomatoes nor all that many flowers for continuing production. The beans are producing wonderfully as are the peppers and the peas pretty good. Ange's meager garden this year is also not doing all that well as far as his zucchinis and cucumbers. His peppers are slow but coming along well.

Later in the day, I helped Denny work on his weed eaters. His stopped running and he got a old second one like it which wouldn't start. We thought we could combine the two into one good one, but didn't have any luck as it seemed both actually had terminal problems.

With all that, I'm just trying to remember if I got in any good walks today. I have 4 miles on the pedometer but a lot of that came from my first walk of each day which I do inside the house for about 1 1/3 miles just after I get up. The rest came from just walking around a little here and there while working.

Amongst all that, I got on the bands and had a good time again in the 2000-2100Z hours. I did get a DX QSO last night when I worked 9A4A so no pressure there, but I did want to work on the three NAQCC challenges going on this month. I started with a nice rag chew on 17 meters (which was the hot band today) with Georg DK7LX. Then I worked AO8BWC and OM5RM, both also on 17. Those stations plus N9ZXL this evening gave me a bunch of letters/numbers for the challenges so I now have 122 letters/numbers and need 55 to complete all three. Oh, and I worked AO8BWC on a different band (20) this evening for my DX streak QSO for day 554. -30-

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 7:34 PM - I'm kind of glad I didn't get my DX streak QSO last evening. That "made" me get on the air this afternoon and have a lot of fun. First I took care of the streak as my top priority by working CO2IR on 17 meters. Not much else going on at that time though (1700Z) so I QRT, but came back later on at 2100Z and had a lot of fun chasing letters and numbers for our three NAQCC challenges this month. I went over the 50% mark in two of the three. Here are the totals (worked/needed) - regular challenge 44/42 - Nancy WZ8C challenge 32/18 - European challenge 15/26.

I also worked a couple overall new prefixes along the way - AM01CBX and 5E7R. Conditions were quite good at that time of day as they have been for the past few weeks now. I may have to just give up trying for my DX streak QSO in the evening and go for it in that hour instead. However if that hour turns out to be no good, then I only have a couple more hours to get the DX or it's so long DX streak. So I better continue to try in the evening and save the 2100Z hour as a backup.

Oh, I also worked MW0EDX on 30 meters at 2131Z. I can't recall working Europe that early on 30 too many times, but of course my curiousity is now aroused, and I'm going to delve into my MS Access log and find out. It won't take but a minute or two with such a versatile log database..... OK, I simply filtered the band on 30, the continent on Europe and sorted the results on time. The results? My earliest Europe was at 1952Z on 2/6/2013 PA4VHF. The only 1900Z hour QSO. One in the 2000Z hour - YO9HP at 2048Z on 3/9/2010. Nine came in the 2100Z hour or ten counting today's QSO. That's out of 312 European QSOs on 30 meters.

Hmmmm... now I wonder about 40. All I need do is change the band filter from 30 to 40..... That yields 647 European QSOs on 40 meters. Latest came at 1124Z when I worked 8S2F on 11/30/2003. Earliest was TF3WW at 2021Z on 4/21/1995. Continental Europe was OK5W at 2145Z on 11/28/2009. Well, I found that interesting. I hope maybe you did too.

What? 80 meters. OK - 46 European QSOs between 0048Z (YO3APJ) and 0718Z (GM4YXI). That's it for now. Now about time to go see if I can get that DX QSO this evening or not. -30-

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 11:59 PM - OK, despite the (faked) time stamp it is now well after midnight. I got caught up with the NAQCC/FISTS Honoring Nancy sprint and a couple other things and am just now getting to updating my web site for Tuesday evening. Very briefly, the sprint was quite a success despite very poor conditions. I worked W1AW/4 in TN for my regular streak QSO plus the sprint QSOs, of course. My DX streak will have to wait till later today. That's it for now. More in Wednesday's entry. -30-

Monday, September 01, 2014 8:53 PM - Remember Yogi Berra's famous line, "deja vu all over again"? Well, I kind of felt like that tonight. Last night I worked W1AW/1 in ME on 30 - tonight I worked W1AW/1 in ME on 20. Last night I worked YW5D on 20 - tonight I worked YW5D on 30. So although I was very glad they kept my streaks going another day, I can't use any letters or numbers from their calls for our NAQCC challenges. Actually I'm really very glad to keep the DX streak going. It was a struggle until I finally worked YW5D at 0047Z. Before that, I tried several times to work AO8BWC without being able to beat his pileup. I also tried HC5AI. I've been hearing him a few times the past few days, and I wonder if it is the same HC5AI who was my first QRP Ecuador QSO back in 1994. Oh, I see now. I just looked on QRZ, and Alfo HC5AI from 1994 was the father of the current holder of HC5AI. That makes me want to work him even more now. I also heard V44KAI on 30, and could have worked him, but I just worked him a couple days ago on 30, and I don't repeat DX QSOs that close together if I can help it. Now had it been a new band like YW5D was, that's another story.

Tomorrow evening is our joint FISTS/NAQCC sprint honoring the late FISTS leader Nancy WZ8C. I hope there will be a big turnout for that. I'll certainly be there to honor my late friend. See the NAQCC web site for more details and join in.

It was kind of a humid showery day here today so I didn't get out much except for a pretty good walk this evening after it cooled off a bit. Now it's time to go get my weather readings. Incidentally August turned out to be just about normal as far as temperatures go, but we had about an inch and half more precipitation than normal. If you believe AccuWeather, September looks to be about the same - normal temps and above normal precip. -30-

Sunday, August 31, 2014 9:08 PM - Kind of a nondescript day today with really nothing out of the ordinary to talk about. In anticipation of the arrival of the PX3 late this week or early next week, I did gather up the few tools needed to assemble it, and I will set up a ground wrist strap before it arrives since the two boards in the unit are subject to ESD, and after waiting this long, I don't want to have to wait still longer for a replacement board or two.

The DX streak got off to an easy start for its 19th month tonight when I easily worked YW5D on 20 meters. Then I got an insurance W1AW/1 QSO for ME just in case. Then a QSO with W3JAR closed out my activity this evening. Those 3 QSOs got me off to a start on the NAQCC Nancy Kott special challenge and our regular challenge also. Nothing for the European Chapter challenge yet though. Maybe tomorrow afternoon I can get started on that one. -30-

Saturday, August 30, 2014 5:39 PM - After my harping about not using spotting, advance info, etc., today I came across something via the Elecraft reflector I will be following. I won't use spotting, but I will follow the announcements about the upcoming Navassa Island activation within the next 18 months. That's the only entity on the NA continent that I have not yet worked. For more information check this out.

More good news via the Elecraft reflector yesterday also. They will start shipping the PX3 panadapter late this week (guess that meant Aug 29/30) and continue next week (Sep 2-5). I'll be keeping a corner of my eye on the front window watching for a UPS truck. I've thoroughly gone through the assembly manual and it looks like maybe a two hour project at the very most, perhaps even just a one hour project although I will be very careful and deliberate in the assembly as I was with the KX3. That's for sure.

I haven't been on the bands yet today so I don't know what they are like. I just hope they will be good when 0000Z comes so I can get the streak(s) taken care of. -30-

Friday, August 29, 2014 8:49 PM - The past two evenings now I've gotten my DX QSO quickly as the bands seem to be picking up a little bit, especially this evening. There were a lot of strong signals on all bands up through 17 meters. Last evening it was AM08BLV and tonight V44KAI. Conditions are still not all that good to Europe except in that 2000-2100Z time slot, and they are not all that good even then. It may be rough mastering the NAQCC European Chapter challenge in September, but I'll certainly try.

It was another beautiful day today, perhaps a bit warmer than yesterday. Still nice to be outside. I got involved in a couple projects here and didn't go fishing, but I did get in some nice walks, and worked in the garden a while. This morning I watered Ange's garden as he is away this weekend. Then I finally got around to painting a plant stand which I had been putting off for some time now. It sure looks a lot better now.

Now it's just about time for my weather readings, so I'll cut this short. -30-

Thursday, August 28, 2014 4:27 PM - This turned out to be a more interesting day than usual. First of all I thought it might be the first day since February 28, 2013 on which I failed to work a DX station. Conditions last night were abominable, and that's being kind. First of all I was late getting to the rig because I was enjoying a front porch visit with my neighbor Denny. Remember when such visits used to be almost a nightly thing before all the electronic media took over? Nowadays it's a rare thing as everyone lives their virtual lives on TV, computer, smart phone, etc. Anyway the visit lasted until 0030Z or so, and when I got to the rig I could tell conditions were not up to par. There was no DX to be heard, and not many other signals either. About the only strong signals were from the W1AW operations. It took me just over an hour to make any QSO at all. Finally I found N9ODY on 80 meters calling CQ and worked him for about 20 minutes to keep the main streak rolling. However conditions had continued to worsen, and I never did work any DX. I gave up for the night.

Today conditions weren't any better. There was hardly a signal to be heard on any band the first time I checked. I figured I'd try later in the day in that 2000-2200Z period which seems to be the best time these days to find and work DX.

Meanwhile, I had other things in mind. It was the most gorgeous day of many such days this summer, AND the river was down and pretty clear so.... Yes, you're right, I decided to go fishing. First I went for a walk to check out the fishing spots, then bought some nightcrawlers on the way home. I packed up my gear and headed back to the river. For quite a while, other than seeing what I think was a bass and carp swimming around a weed bed, nothing happened. I noticed some bubbles rising to the surface and reeled in and re-cast toward that spot. Still nothing, so after a while I decided to reel in again. When I picked up the pole it felt like I had a snag, but no, it was a fish who hooked himself and gave no indication he was there. I figured it must be a carpsucker as they often do that. When I saw it though, it was a sucker who measured 14 inches when I landed him. My first fish of 2014 finally. Then about 10 minutes later a cyclist stopped to ask how I was doing. I said I had caught a sucker. Just then my pole bounced and I hooked a second sucker just a tad shorter than the first one. So for the first time since May 8 I went fishing and caught my first two fish of the year. That also re-instilled the desire to get in some more fishing now. I'll probably wind up going tomorrow again.

Oh, back to DX. Almost forgot. I did get on in the 2000Z hour and it did not look at all promising again. I kept cycling between 20 and 17 meters looking for something - anything. N4BP on 20 was about the only strong signal I heard. Then I did see a weak signal on 17 on the panadapter and when I tuned it in, it was 9Y4/AI5P. That encouraged me, because he is a great op, and I figured even if he was weak (actually about a 449) and I was weak there also, he might just pull me through. After he worked a couple other stations, I called and he came back with K3WWP 559. I gave him a generous 569 and the DX streak has gone on for another day. I hope it is easier this evening for day #547 so I'll have the whole day free tomorrow for fishing, etc. as it looks like another beauty coming up. -30-

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 9:26 AM - This must be one of my earliest (in the day) diary entries, but I want to assess my assessment from yesterday's entry.

I was definitely correct in stating the pileups for ME would be awesome. Perhaps the 0000Z hour had some of the biggest pileups I've heard (seen) for any state operation so far. I guess a lot of folks wanted to say they were one of the first to complete the W1AW WAS. The pileups started just about immediately when the first CQ went out, then increased to "HUGE" in just a couple minutes and stayed that way for at least an hour when I shut down.

I said my only chance to get ME last night would be if I caught them immediately before they were found and spotted. However there wasn't enough time for that. And it was the same on 40 through 17 at least. So I noticed another strong peak on the panadapter and checked it out. It was W1AW/7 in AZ. A single call got me a QSO with them at 0001Z. I was maybe the first to work them. They were still simplex when I found and worked them anyway and I didn't hear any other stations calling. It took a while for their pileups to develop, but they did and they were big although nowhere near those for ME.

So far my assessment was right on. However I screwed it up this morning. I said I was pretty sure I wouldn't get ME until the second or third day. Wrong! I got it fairly easily this morning at 1305Z on 40M shortly after I got out of bed. The op even said nice QRP signal so it was someone who knows me or my reputation since as you know, I NEVER sign /QRP.

So now I'm elated that I got my W1AW WAS. However there is also a bit of a let down since the quest is over now. I'll have to find some other goal to work toward. Oh, I will get an insurance ME QSO even though this QSO was perfectly solid. The op could have a computer crash or something else freaky could happen.

In looking back over the 50 states, KL7 was definitely the hardest for me. It didn't come until day 6. I'm surprised to see NY took until day 5. I don't remember why now. The first two came late also since I wasn't really aware of nor prepared for what was going on. As you know my ham radio operating consists of getting on the air and seeing what is there. I don't get any advance info of special operations, DX spots, or anything like that. I just found the W1AW operations by 'accident' when tuning around the bands. THEN I checked to see what was going on, and the rest is now history. Those first week stations came on day 4 (NC) and day 7 (WV). After that with a few exceptions most states came on day one, many in the first hour as well. By days as follows:
Day Number
1 - 32 hour 1 (SC DE TX FL MI KY TN VT IA MA ND NJ NH CT CO AL AR MT IL MD) later in the day (OK GA WI ID AZ OH NM OR VA MS RI ME)
3 - 3 (UT NE WA)
4 - 1 (NC)
5 - 1 (NY)
6 - 1 (AK)
7 - 1 (WV)

It sure was a lot of fun. It would be nice to have something similar to do next year. Of course we have our monthly NAQCC challenges which are equally enjoyable. And the everyday chase of new DX entities, new prefixes, new band states, and so on. Speaking of band states, I'll have to see if I can get some second time around W1AW states that I need on 17 and 12 meters to help completing WAS on those bands. Maybe even get KL7 on 80 meters to finish 80 or MD and DE to finish 10 meters. Maybe even some of the 8 I need on 160.

Before I close a bit of diary feedback from Gust ON6KE who emailed in part, "....In yesterdays article you wrote "Many use spotting which I NEVER use for W1AW nor anything else."
I think that elaborating on this will be of interest to many. Your DXCC and WAZ (same for the milliwatt stuff) scores are impressive. I think it would be great especially for the newer hams to learn that there IS an alternative to keeping an eye on a DX cluster all day then after an interesting spot each and every time having to enter a dogfight.
There's plenty a DX around that doesn't get spotted (immediately), it can only improve their DX scores and the pleasure in having worked some sometimes elusive DX!...."

I think that's an excellent suggestion, and when time permits, I'm going to do it. -30-

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 7:43 PM - In 17 minutes as I type I will join a HUGE horde of hams trying to work W1AW/1 in ME to complete their 2014 W1AW WAS. I'd like to honestly assess my chances of getting ME this evening. Basically I'd rate my chances as slim and none, and as a friend from my WPIT days used to add - and Slim just left town.

It takes two things to get through a pileup - skill and luck. However skill can be offset by some factors. I know I have the skill to break what will be a huge pileup, BUT a lot of other hams do also and they have some things I don't have. Many (most?) have a much stronger signal than my minimal QRP. Many use spotting which I NEVER use for W1AW nor anything else.

So my only chance is a slim one (if he didn't leave already). I need to find W1AW immediately at 0000Z and work them as I did with VT earlier in the year when I may have been the very first to work them at all or at least in the top 3 or so depending on the other bands. Once that opportunity is missed and W1AW gets spotted, forget it.

I would guess after some thought that I probably won't get ME until the second or more likely third day of operation when things slow down. We'll have to wait and see how close my assessment turns out to be. If I'm wrong and I do get them tonight, I certainly will be back here to rejoice with a diary update. Of course if I do get them, I also have to get my DX QSO for that streak afterwards. -30-

Monday, August 25, 2014 6:04 PM - I said yesterday I was curious about QSOs via CQ over the years. It took me but a few minutes with my MS Access log to come up with the totals below. They are not completely accurate because I sometimes forget to note in my paper log whether or not a QSO came from my CQ or not. Also the same in contests. I know most of my contacts in contests (with the exception of some contests like our NAQCC Sprints where I call CQ most of the time, the PA QSO Party where I CQ a lot, etc.) virtually all my contacts are from S&P operating, but I also neglect to mark many contest QSOs one way or the other. So with that info in mind here we go:

160      96        0          58               38
80     3308        0        1786             1522
60        8        0         N/A                8
40     4436       13        1949             2487
30     1157       41         N/A             1157
20      408        8         229              179
17       68        5         N/A               68
15      132       23          58               74
12       20        9         N/A               20
10       78       46          23               55
6         4        0           0                4
Total  9715      145        4103             5612

I must admit I don't know really what it means other than to give some information about my personal operating style on the various bands. In looking at it now, I think I should have included my total QSOs on each band. That would have given an idea of the percentage of QSOs per band that came from CQs. Maybe I'll refine that later, but not right now.

Of course those are all QRP/CW/simple wire antenna QSOs as are virtually all QSOs mentioned on my web site. There might be a couple mentioned here and there from back in the 60s when I did run more than 5 watts output up to perhaps 50 or 60 watts.

A couple things surprised me. First about the high totals on 80 and 40 for CQ CONTEST QSOs. The vast majority of those are from our 118 NAQCC Sprints. Next I didn't realize I had that many 17M QSOs from CQs. I'm surprised my second best band for DX QSOs via CQs is 30 meters, and it is only a few behind #1 10 meters. I would never have guessed that. I would say that is simply because of propagation on 30 and the fact I call CQ there a lot. Sort of the law of averages. HI. I hope at least a couple of you found it interesting.

I worked TM50JEM this afternoon. Again the bands were good for DX in that 2100Z hour. Hope the DX continues good past 0000Z this evening so I can get the streak QSO early. Maybe, just maybe, I can go fishing tomorrow then without a DX QSO to worry about. Oh, and tomorrow evening begins the chase for ME - state #50 from W1AW. I figure unless I catch them just starting up, I will have to wait a day or two for my turn as there should be tremendous pileups from many stations trying to finish up their WAS as I am. I hope there is a big turnout of operators from ME to spread the activity out among the bands and thin the pileups a bit. Propagation to ME for me should be good on all bands from 80 through 17 with a shot at 15 also. Of course depending on the time of day/night. -30-

Sunday, August 24, 2014 9:18 PM - I know that some of you mentioned to me that you were anxious to see how "The Great Antenna Experiment" turned out today so...,.

We arrived at Skyview just about the exact minute we said we would. We were walking up to the radio room at 8:59AM, and by 9:20 we had become familiar with the setup and got our KX3s attached to the antenna farm shown here (the radio room is in the building at bottom center of the picture):

pix_diary_20140824_001 (45K)

I'm going to condense this somewhat from the version that will be in the September NAQCC newsletter. First here is a picture of our operating team (L-R) Mike KC2EGL, Tom WB3FAE, ME, Don K3RLL.

pix_diary_20140824_002 (45K)

I hooked my KX3 up to the 80/40 trap dipole at 50 feet knowing that the KX3 would match the antenna on any band with its built-in tuner. I wanted to check several bands without having to switch antennas so I let the other antennas to the other three. More about their exploits in the newsletter article. I'll stick to my story here.

The very first CQ I made was answered by Gary K1YAN up in MA. That was on 30 meters. I was impressed by the signal strength and clarity produced in the KX3 by the Skyview antennas. Almost no background noise and the signals just popped out of nowhere as the bands were tuned. It almost seemed like the antenna/rig were not working until a signal reached the passband - then look out ears. HI. I stayed on 30 for a bit and made one other QSO with Alan W4MQC/0 in CO. Somewhat long distance for 30 at that time of day but that high dipole and low noise made it good copy. Well, except for the QRM in the room with a couple conversations going on behind me. It was great having so many visitors in the room being exposed to QRP/CW and the NAQCC. There was a lot of interest expressed in not only that but especially in the KX3s. Those who had them sang their praises just as we do. Those who didn't, expressed interest in getting one.

I next moved on to 40 meters and worked WA8ULB in WV who said we were 20DB over down there. That was followed by AC8AP and KF8R in OH. Then I took a little break with Mike while Tom and Don took over our rigs. When I returned, I again went band exploring. I wanted to see how the dipole worked on 15 meters. The band was pretty busy compared to what I usually hear here at home at the same time of day. I heard my friend Chris F8DGY calling CQ, and answered him. He heard me immediately. Maybe too immediately because all I got out was K as I started to send K3WWP, not N3AQC which is the call we were using. I realized my mistake and also that I hadn't hit the ATU button on the KX3 to match the antenna and the SWR was high. But still he came back with K? after which I started to send N3A.... but still hadn't tuned the antenna. Again I got a N3? from Chris. Finally I got to tap the ATU button and sent N3AQC. He replied and we had a nice very solid chat for about 10 minutes or so. I could tell from his replies to my comments that he was getting solid copy. I think that QSO more than any others drilled home just how much superior those big high antennas were to my little antenna victory garden at home. AND I wasn't even using the big gain antennas, but just the high dipole. Hopefully the next time we visit I can use the quad and the 5 element beam antennas they have. This time the quad had just been installed and the rotator wasn't working, but Mike and Don did make several QSOs using it. We never did figure out just how to hook up the beam antenna, but that's another story.

After my venture on 15 meters I came back to 40 because we were now in the hour we promised NAQCC members we would hang out around the QRP frequencies and listen for them. One of the QSOs in that time period was with W8FB Bob (NAQCC 2832) who was using a flex radio and was kind enough to email me a screen dump of the panadapter showing N3AQC to be the strongest signal on the band at the time. Take a look:

pix_diary_20140824_003 (36K)

That was another thing that impressed me about just how well the Skyview antennas worked compared to mine. When I ran out of member QSOs on 40, I decided to try some DX on 17 which also tuned 1:1 on the dipole with the KX3 tuner. There I worked RU3ZL and UX1HW, took a break for some of the great food Skyview serves at their gatherings, then returned to find Tom had gotten some DX on 17 also. Neither of us could break the tremendous pileup generated by HB0/HB9LCW though. When I took over again I added QSOs with OK1FTC and V44KAI.

That pretty much closed out our operating time and we packed up and got ready to head home, but not after a long chat with our Skyview friend Bob WC3O who was the one who first invited us to operate at Skyview. He told us we were welcome to visit Skyview any Tuesday evening when they hold their club meetings and also for the 2015 August hamfest/swap shop. Although we probably will not be able to make those Tuesday evenings, we do think by next August we will be more familiar with with the Skyview setup and will be even more versatile in our operating and able to do even more antenna experimenting. We sincerely thank Bob, Tom W3TLN who emailed info on the antennas to familiarize us with what we would be using, and all the many Skyview members who helped us out with this and that along the way.

When we got home, Mike and I started our report for the NAQCC Newsletter, then decided we needed to do something completely different from ham radio for a while and did another of our favorite things - no, not eating, you're getting ahead of the story as we were still full from the great Skyview food which incidentally Bob is also in charge of - we played a hidden object game on the computer until it was time for Mike to head north for another long busy work week.

After he left, I did grab a sandwich and took a walk in the nice cool evening weather. Then up to the shack at 0000Z for my streak QSOs. The bands were actually good this evening also and my QSOs came almost as easily as they did at Skyview. At 0001 I got HF2014VB easily to immediately extend the streaks another day. Then I heard KH6LC in the HI QSO party on 15 and decide to check my Hawaii pipeline which didn't seem to be working the previous evening. It was back and I worked him easily. Then I thought I'd try some 17 meter CQs since the band sounded good but somewhat empty. Surprisingly I got an answer rather quickly from XE2AAW. Maybe tomorrow out of curiousity I'm going to check how successful my CQs are on each band or at least how many QSOs on each band have come from my CQs. I can easily do that with my MS Access log, but I'm a bit tired to do it tonight and anyway I want to get the pictures inserted in the entry above here before I forget. Oh, after that I had a great QSO with W3TOP who was (and is) also in the broadcasting industry. He's from around DC and guess what station he worked for? I did. -30-

Saturday, August 23, 2014 8:33 PM - Just sitting here waiting for Mike to arrive, so I'll get my diary entry done now instead of waiting for him to guest (ghost?) write it.

Of course tomorrow is the big (antenna) day at the Skyview hamfest. We'll be getting up early to head down there. Both Earth and Space weather look good. Sunny and 82 - Quiet and 132/5.

Took 11 minutes to get my DX QSO this evening when I worked LY2J after waiting and waiting for a couple other stations to finish their rag chews or pileups. Then a bit after that I worked AI5P again, this time as 9Y4/AI5P. I don't work Trinidad too often so I thought I'd get another one in the log. A bit about AI5P in a moment, but first I want to see just how many Trinidad QSOs I do have. Oh, I've got 49. I didn't think I had nearly that many. Maybe it's just been a while since I worked one. Let's see. No, I had two in both 2012 and 2013, but all of the rest were in 2007 and earlier, so they have been scarce the past 7 years or so.

Now about AI5P. I noticed this the other night when I logged him from Grenada as J3/AI5P. Now this is my seventh QSO with him, from seven DIFFERENT countries - Anguilla, England, St. Paul Is., St. Pierre et Miquelon, Guadeloupe, Grenada, and now Trinidad. I don't know if I've worked anyone else from that many or more countries. That will take a bit longer to figure out and I don't have the time right now. I'm running through my mind just how to do it though, and it may not be all that hard with Access and Excel to help.

Almost time now to get my weather. It's a bit cooler this evening than the past few evenings. My house heated up pretty good the past few days, so I've got the windows open now to cool it back down. I think only a couple times this summer has the house really warmed up since it's been such a cool summer. -30-

Friday, August 22, 2014 8:23 PM - The best 0000Z hour DX in several days now. Just took a few seconds past 0000Z to bag my DX QSO in the form of Zoran YT9M who was booming in at a real 599. Then a little later I worked what may be a new prefix in SJ2014ECC. I know I worked SC2014ECC several days ago. Well, let's just see if the SJ is new. Just take a second with my Microsoft Access logbook. Nope, I have it worked and veried in eQSL and LotW. Oh well. Speaking of prefixes I did some cross checking of them today and found 8 that I had in my log, but not in my prefix list. All special calls with more than one number in the call. I have everything from 0A0 through ZZ9 in my prefix list and just need to check them off when I work them, then verie them. However it would be impossible to put all the possible prefixes with more than one digit in a file that way (the file would be too big for any hard drive since the possibilities are definitely infinite) so I just add them to the file when I work them. I also found I had put one full call in the prefix field in my databse instead of just the prefix, so I lost one there.

Another thing I cross-check from time to time is band and frequency. I once in a great while put the wrong band in the band field after logging the frequency. Of course I could add some sort of error checking when I enter the data, but that would just make things more complicated. It's much easier to just do a query of the database now and then since that only takes a few seconds. Anyway I found 3 errors in the bands today.

Since I was working in the database, I thought I'd see just what percentage of my QSOs this year have been DX. Of 1,724 QSOs, 1,136 have been DX for a percentage of 65.9, just under 2 out every 3 QSOs. That tops my previous best year, 2013 with 61.0 percent. I guess that pretty much shows what my interest in ham radio is these days. HI.

It was a bit warm and humid today, but still nice enough for a good walk and a lot of yard work in between a couple of little showers. I was going to go for another walk just now, but the radar shows another little shower heading toward us. Maybe even a TS as I thought I heard a weak rumble of thunder just a couple minutes ago. -30-

Thursday, August 21, 2014 5:09 PM - 'Tis said, "Everything comes to those who wait." I sure had to wait a long time to get my DX QSO today. It was interesting watching the changing propagation patterns on the bands while waiting. I knew propagation to Europe had been picking up in the 2000Z hour, so after an unsuccessful check of the bands earlier in the day - around 1800Z or so if I recall correctly - I waited till 2000Z to try again. At first there was nothing there but for some USA stations. Then as propagation changed, I heard F5MUX coming in weakly, then he picked up a bit to S6 or so. I tried calling with no luck. Then he faded out again. S57AW was pretty strong, but he was chasing something else (W1AW maybe), so I couldn't even try him. Likewise with an IK1 station. It was getting more and more frustrating. OK, there's an SP7 station about S6 calling CQ. I tried him a few times but he always answered someone else. Of course I was watching the panadapter and tuning to the peaks when a new one appeared. I was also having some noise peaks about every 15 kHz. Does someone still use an outdated TV around here? Suddenly exactly on one of the noise peaks came a big peak just above the noise. I tuned him in and it was an OE station, but the noise at first wiped out the rest of his call. Finally he cleared the noise. It was OE3XMA. I called and got him with but that single call. Whew! And the DX streak goes on yet another day. Too many more days like this though, and I'll just voluntarily end it.

Now I'm gathering up some things I'll be taking to Skyview on Sunday. I'm getting more and more anxious to get there as the time draws closer. I hope that those of you readers who work me on the air more or less regularly will try to work me on Sunday and if you can, let me know the difference in signal strength with their antennas as described in the diary yesterday versus my minimal antenna victory garden here at home. I'll probably be using the NAQCC club call of N3AQC and will be operating around the QRP frequencies some of the time. But I'll also probably be chasing DX some of the time too. It will basically just be one big experiment, and time will be shared with Mike, Don, and Tom. At least Mike. I haven't heard definitely from Don or Tom that they are going, although they were interested. -30-

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 5:40 PM - I'm getting some company this evening so I thought I'd get the diary entry written early today.

I finally finished the NAQCC European Chapter challenge today. Europe seems to be good now in the 2000Z hour so I made it a point to get on today in the hour and it worked. First I worked UW7LL for the 7, then went searching for that final letter - R. After some time and several stations without an R, I found OE/DJ7PR and waited while he worked a couple other mini-rag chew type QSOs, then it was my turn to work Leo and finish the challenge. Since the European Chapter challenges started in June 2012, I've mastered every one save for the Dec 2012/Jan 2013 Guglielmo Marconi one (some challenges lasted two months back then). I don't really know why I missed that one. I guess I was just too busy with other things around Christmas and New Years, etc.

I received this from Skyview member Tom W3TLN with detailed info on the Skyview antenna farm we'll be using on Sunday:

pix_diary_20140820_001 (110K)

Pretty impressive, isn't it. Wonder how my KX3 will like it? I'll probably have to switch out the preamp and switch in the attenuator while it's hooked to that collection of wire and tubing. We've pretty much decided we'll be using the NAQCC club call of N3AQC while we're on the air there.

Otherwise my garden is continuing to produce. I had another garden salad today, and have some bush beans, pole beans, and peas which I may use for a snack this evening. -30-

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 9:22 PM - I got on the bands at four different times today. The first two times showed very little activity on any band. The third time in the 2000Z hour was much better. There were even European stations coming through. So of course I looked for the 7, N, and R needed to finish the NAQCC European challenge. I found and worked F5NTV and now only need 7 and R to master the challenge. Not finding any more Europeans having what I needed, I decided to check my Hawaii Pipeline when I heard KH7Y. The pipeline is not clogged. It took only a single call to log him. It always amazes me somewhat how easy it is to work Hawaii here. I've said this often times before, but even if I can barely hear the Hawaii station, I generally work him very easily, a lot of times with a single call. The only exception is if he has a huge pileup in some contest. Even then, I sometimes break the pileup if it's not too big.

The fourth time I got on was for my streak QSO(s) in the 0000Z hour. The QSO came easily from 6Y5WJ on 20 meters. That was at 0003Z. Not finding any European stations at all, I then thought I'd have fun trying to work the new (actually second time around) states from W1AW. ND was a piece of cake. I got him I think it was on my second or third call on 20 meters. OH was a bit harder, but I got him on 80 meters after a dozen or so calls. I enjoy the challenge of working those W1AW stations. They are almost like working rare DX with their big pileups and they make good practice breaking those pileups.

Another great summer day today. I got in my usual walking and also helped Ange in his garden for a little while. Then late in the afternoon or early evening, I thoroughly weeded about two thirds of my garden. I'll finish that maybe tomorrow if it doesn't rain.

Looking forward to and making final arrangements for the Skyview hamfest Sunday. That's going to be fun, not only hopefully meeting some of our NAQCC members, but hooking my KX3 up to the Skyview antenna farm. -30-

Monday, August 18, 2014 8:58 PM - Another quick DX QSO this evening from Zlatko 9A2EU at 0003Z on 20 meters. He was about the only European strong enough to work. I did try a UR8 station earlier with no luck. I got a P? from him, but no further. I could have used that R too - for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. Even with only needing 7, N, and R it might be tough finishing off that challenge this month.

Another nice day today. I got in three good walks along with cutting my back yard grass. I also picked some vegetables - tomatoes (both Siberian and Early Girl), bush beans, climbing beans, a pepper, and some peas. The garden has been slow this year, but is picking up a bit now.

I was watching Penn State weather on the Internet last night (Weather World) and Fred Gadomski pointed out something interesting. The period from mid-July to mid-August this year was the third coldest since they started keeping weather records at Penn State. I forget the year now, but I think it was in the mid-1880s. It certainly has been chilly. I'd have to look to be sure, but I don't think we had any 90 degree days in that period here and quite a few nights with lows in the 50s and even some 40s. I'm sure that has contributed to the slowness of the garden, especially the tomatoes who love those warm nights in the 70s. On the other hand, my peas are really thriving. The vegetation looks like climbing beans as they are up about 3 feet or so. I've never seen peas that tall before. Just about an average amount of peas though. -30-

Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:24 PM - One week from today I get to see what QRP/CW is like when feeding a huge antenna farm. That will be at the Skyview hamfest/swap meet near New Kensington, PA. I'll probably find it is just too easy working stations and will be glad to get back to my simple wire antennas (victory garden) here. But it will have been nice to have had the experience. I'll understand more when other QRP stations beat me to some DX or score better in a contest. I'll find that antennas have a lot to do with QRP success. However I'm not complaining at all as I think I do pretty well here with my situation.

Anyway enough of that. This evening I found a few DX stations, but they weren't all that strong. Well a couple were but they were engaged in rag chewing and I didn't feel like waiting them out for a QSO. That was mainly on 20 and 17. So finally I thought I'd try 30 and see what was there. After a bit of looking, I found S50O and called when he finished with whoever he was working. I thought it may have been my friend and fellow NAQCC member Dick K1IEE but I'm not sure. Nevertheless it took but a couple calls to log S50O and put DX day #536 in the log. Earlier in the day I went looking for those last letters/number for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. I heard HA9RT which would have given me the R, but I've worked Joska so many times, I just didn't want to work him again. I know a lot of stations love working DX and I hate to possibly deprive them of a station just because I worked him for the umpteenth time. Now had it maybe have been HA7NR and I had worked him many times, then I would have gone for him because his call contained the 7, N, and R I need to finish the challenge.

I have pretty much finished transferring my diary archive files to my new k3wwp.com address. I'm still lacking a couple of pictures from the early days of the diary because they weren't on the other server either. I may have them somewhere in the archives here on my computer. I'll look when I get time. I kind of like the idea now of having my own personalized domain name. I never really thought much about it when I didn't have it, nor cared too much about getting one, but now, well.... I'm kind of looking forward to getting my whole web site on there and yet still keeping my site here on Windstream as a mirror site. I definitely won't just up and change completely because a few years ago when Windstream became the new name for Alltel and they changed all their URLs, I lost a lot of visitors among those who had Alltel firmly lodged in their brains, favorites, links, etc. I'm sure it's the same way with the current Windstream address so I definitely will keep it also even if (when) I put the site on k3wwp.com. -30-

Saturday, August 16, 2014 9:06 PM - A Russian District Contest gave my my DX fix this evening when I worked UA5C whom I often work in contests. There were also several Asiatic Russian stations around, but not too strong and I didn't bother trying to work them after my DX streak was secure. Earlier in the day I looked for some European stations for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge, but didn't hear a single station at that time.

In addition to the new server space I mentioned last entry, I now have a new domain name to play with - k3wwp.com. Right now I'm only using it for my Diary Archives which you can check out via the link above. I may eventually set up my site on the new server using that domain name and keep this Windstream site as a mirror site. Both the server space and domain name are courtesy of Bill WA4FAT. Regular diary readers may remember the write-up here about the 50th anniversary QSO we had on May 30 this year. Or you can check that out via the Diary Archive link above also. -30-