New Toy!

The weather yesterday was terrible! Monday the temperature was near 80 deg Fahrenheit, and Tuesday it dropped into the 30s and hit us with sleet and snow (no accumulation, thankfully!). Last night it was in the 20s and the doors on my truck froze shut and needed some serious muscle power this morning at 0530 am. So I was depressed and when I get depressed, I want to buy something 😀 !

RSP1A SDR

Anyway, HRO had a Social Media Special on the RSP1A Software Defined Radio … $89.95 + free shipping for the first 100 orders ($30 off regular price). Looked neat and I had always wanted to dabble, so I sprang for one. Should be here before the weekend, so I’ll have something to play with. Maybe I’ll integrate it with my IC-7300 as a higher resolution panadapter? Who knows?

73 de Dick N4BC

Problems

I had an issue last night. I fired up everything to work some FT8/FT4, and the rig was intermittently shutting down. I would get error messages about loss of communication with the port from Win4Icom, and oddly enough, a message from Windows Defender about how it had saved me from myself! Certainly some mixed messages!

The prime problem was the radio turning off, though. At first, I thought maybe the software was shutting it down remotely, but eliminated that. My next suspicion was that RF was getting into the laptop. That wasn’t it either!

Next, I wiggled the positive wire from the power supply to the rig … no change. Then I wiggled the black ground wire … the rig powered off! Further tugging and wiggling pulled the wire out of the terminal on the rear of the Samlex power supply. Aha!!

Evidently, the setscrew holding the wire in the terminal had loosened over time and finally, there was enough resistance to cause the voltage to drop below the minimum required to run the radio.

The moral of the story is that a simple problem can mimic a host of other problems. If your radio is shutting down, check the voltage first!

73 de Dick N4BC

Finally! Two Hundred Parks!

It took a while. I finally got 200 unique parks confirmed and have the paper to prove it 😀 .

Enrubio is an endangered plant

Actually, I had a bonus one as well … 201 confirmed. I started chasing parks on the 18th of February 2019. I don’t do it seriously, and only intermittently, but they add up. This is a pretty popular program with lots of participants.

The most prolific activator is KB3WAV, Kerri. She has activated 402 parks, 240 of them unique, and made 16,086 contacts as of this date.

On the hunters side, W8ZST, Mike, is the leader. He has worked 2,615 unique parks and has 5,849 contacts so far.

Lots of commitment there, folks. You can see that some people really get into POTA (https://parksontheair.com/). It’s fun … it’s challenging … try it!

73 de Dick N4BC

Parks, Islands, and Old Timers

Tomorrow is one of two QCWA chapter meetings that I normally attend during the year. Chapter 119 meets in Virginia Beach most months on Friday, when I am at work. Twice a year, they hold it on the Peninsula where I live, and it’s on Saturday … April and October. Those I can make!

Stu, WA4JUO and his team will treat us to an interesting presentation on the QCWA Expedition to Tangier Island.

Tangier Island

I’m still chugging along with my Parks on the Air (POTA) contacts. I have 198 unique parks confirmed now. the first 100 or so seemed to add up fast … the second 100 have been considerably slower. Some of that is attributable to band conditions. I have heard lots that were just too far down in the mud to copy.

I’ve actually worked more than 200, but the requirement is 200 confirmed! Everything depends on the activator turning in his log and the administrator for that call area getting the data into the database. Some are fast … some are slower. Hey, it’s a hobby … I haven’t seen a paycheck yet. Us hunters just work ’em and wait!

73 de Dick N4BC

Running!

Not me, folks! All I did was help with communications. The race was a Marathon/Relay/50K.

It was held on the Noland Trail, which is part of the Mariner’s Museum here in Newport News, VA. The trail is a loop around Lake Maury, and is a total distance of 4.8 miles. The race was obviously several loops. There were 300 runners, and they were started in waves of the different skill levels. The event was part of the museum’s ARRRtober Festival ( with family-oriented pirate-themed events).

I managed to do some reading, because I was nowhere near the action or runners. As a matter if fact, I never saw the participants. I was guarding an entrance to the trail to keep non-participants off the track during the event … basically letting them know why the gate was locked. It was a beautiful day … mildly chilly, even, in the early morning with a slight breeze. The high during the day was in the low 70s. I was onsite at 5:30 am for the 7 am start, and worked until noon, when my shift ended. I believe that the finish line was no longer manned after 3:15 pm. I don’t know how many of the 300 finished the race.

All in all, it was a great day, and I really enjoyed the chance to get out of the house and into the fresh air. The Mariner’s Museum also is K-4567 in the Panks on the Air database. It’s part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Just down the street is the Virginia Living Museum, which is also part of the trail. Of course, as long as I’m within 100 feet of the water around here, it’s on the trail. Gonna have to activate this one soon!

73 de Dick N4BC