Who …?

While I was dressing for work this morning about 5:15AM (EDT), I turned on the rig, just to see what might be on. There was a station on 40 meter CW that was a good 599. He was answering stations with their callsign, a 599, and then “UP.” He was going back to  primarily JA’s and Europeans. Ya’ know … I listened for at least ten minutes and never heard him identify his station.  I guess everybody else knew who he was. Never did find out, myself …

73 de Dick N4BC

This Digital Stuff

The bands have been a bit sparse the past few days, but you can just about always find signals on FT8 frequencies when nothing else can be heard. Last night was a bit lean, but I did work nine North American stations on FT8 … all on forty meters.

There were a few CW stations participating in a CWT Contest, but I have my paddles disassembled at the moment, so I’ll make it a priority to reassemble them and get them back in action. There weren’t a lot of stations there, but several were quite strong. Nothing exciting, though, unless you were actually participating in the contest.

We dodged the bullet on this last Nor’easter … we only had a mix, with no accumulation, mostly rain, and above freezing temperatures. Further north, they got the brunt of the storm. This coming Saturday, we’re looking at some sleet and rain overnight, but the temperatures are supposed be be in the upper forties. I’m ready for Spring!

73 de Dick N4BC


I was all fired up to work the Virginia QSO Party last weekend. I got comfy at the operating position, tuned to 40 meters, and … didn’t hear a single Virginia station calling! Scratching my head, I wondered if propagation could be THAT bad.

Oops … turns out that the QSO party is this coming weekend, not last weekend. I managed to transition to Daylight Savings Time correctly, but managed to be a weekend off for the VQP. Oh well, I’m too old to be embarrassed!

Got on last night and worked a bunch of FT8 stations … some DX but mostly USA … 80 through 18 meters. I even heard some FT8 signals on 15 meters, but couldn’t make the QSO.  Kept trying to get Easter Island, but never could connect. I tried. Most of the stations he worked were tailending, and I’m not quite sure how that works on FT8. I’ll Google the answer later to see if I was doing it right.

It snowed again here last night. Wasn’t supposed to be any accumulation, but we got 2 or 3 inches at my house. Meteorology is obviously not an exact science!

73 de Dick N4BC


I got on the bands last night to see what was happening on FT8, and 40 meters was really busy. I tried replying to several station, but either they couldn’t hear me or were ignoring me. I ended up working one station in California that was a repeat contact. Eighty meters had a few stations, but no luck there either. Just a bummer of an evening.

I fired up the DMR rig and hotspot and talked to a couple of guys … one in Yorkshire, England, and another in Malta, and had a pleasant chat with them. That’s a great medium for ragchewing. Crystal clear most of the time … world-wide.

Well, that should hold me for this morning. I’ve got a radio club meeting tonight … not sure what the program is. I should be able to hit the local DMR repeater from our meeting location (which I can’t do from home, thus the reliance on a hotspot). Maybe I can demo some DMR to a bunch of D-Star folks!

73 de Dick N4BC

IC-7300 Firmware Update

I see that Icom has released a Firmware upgrade today for the IC-7300 … ver. 1.21. According to the description, the upgrade is for production process improvement and makes no changes in user operations. There were also no changes to the manuals. Very cryptic. It evidently affects the operation of the Main CPU. The upgrade can be found at the Icom website.

73 de Dick N4BC