Pi-Star Update/Upgrade On My Hotspot

I discovered something about Pi-Star upgrading. The documentation was good … I just didn’t pay attention to it!

After I did an upgrade, I noticed I was not at the latest revision. Huh? I just did an upgrade, didn’t I? So what did I do wrong? I ran it again … the revision number incremented by one. Click again on Update and it ratcheted up one more. All in all, I clicked 4 or 5 times until it told me I was at the latest revision.

So … the upgrades are not cumulative. You have to go through them all, one by one, until you reach the latest. It DOES say in the documentation that you may have to press update more than once. Moral of this story … read the instructions! I thought I was current but …

73 de Dick N4BC


If nothing else, I’m methodical. If I’m going to buy something … pretty much anything … I’ll spend some time researching and reading reviews. It just makes sense … I want the best I can get for what I have to spend … value for money. This applies to appliances as well as radio equipment.

Recently, I’ve been trying to decide whether to buy a new washer or repair the old one. I think I’ve just about convinced myself to spring for the new one. The dryer is another story … it’s over 25 years old and still going strong. All I’ve ever done to it is replace a fuse about ten years back. Good investment!

I just got notification last night that the Icom ID-51 Plus 2 DStar radio that I won has shipped. It should be here next Wednesday. I’ve spent way too many hours researching DStar programming and operation, but I want to hit the ground running when it does show up. Same principle as above …try to know what you’re doing before you act.

Let me tell you, there’s a LOT of information out there on the WWW. Most is helpful, some is downright UNhelpful, and some is just … I don’t know … wrong is the best way to describe it. You really have to sort through everything to mine the nuggets of information that are useful. I DO think I’ve gained a lot  more understanding of DStar than I started with, which was pretty much zilch! I now feel like I can get on the air without making a fool of myself … that’s the goal, isn’t it.

73 de Dick N4BC

A Bit of Nostalgia

Good Morning, everyone!

I was just looking at my QSO confirmation rates … not too bad, actually. With the advent of electronic QSLing, the percentages are really pretty high, I think.

I track QSLing on two sites, primarily … Logbook Of TheWorld and QRZ. I also upload to EQsl and ClubLog, but seldom visit. I do that mostly for others. On LOTW my confirmation rate is a bit over 66% and on QRZ.com, it’s a whopping 76%.

Obviously, for the “biggie” awards (ARRL and CQ), the LOTW logbook is the major one, but just look at those percentages. I don’t have any numbers, but I guarantee you that I never approached that before electronic QSLing … maybe when I was rare DX, but not as a lowly US ham. 

Looking back on it, as a DX station with US managers, I was pretty isolated from the confirmation part of the hobby. I really didn’t care about that aspect of hamming. I just had a blast operating. Without the burden of LOTS of cards arriving in my mailbox, I was continually on the air when I was free. That being said, I still got a LOT of QSLs sent directly to my overseas mailbox … mostly foreign hams and HUGE stacks of bureau cards. I remember getting an entire mailbag of VQ9 (Seychelles) cards one time from the Russian Bureau at Box 99, Moscow (I was the VQ9 bureau). They got answered, but it took time.

Nowadays, it’s a lot cheaper. Essentially free. Back in the “good ole days”, all QSLs went either via the bureau or direct. With the cost of postage now, it’s just not a viable method for most hams.

Times change and we just have to change to keep up. I think LOTW was a great idea, and I’ve never had any problem, either setting up an account or using it, but I DO miss all the paper QSLs. Sigh … times change for sure.

73 de Dick N4BC


I was able to spend a few hours in the North American CW QSO Party on Saturday. The band gods were smiling on us. Eighty, forty, and twenty were smokin’! I did all ‘search and pounce’, and logged 130 QSOs. Lots of fun! I’ve already uploaded the log to the NCJ website, and updated MY log and LOTW as well. Done! Finished! 

N1MM+ performed flawlessly, and having the large bandscope was nice. You could visually pick the BIG signals and work them, and then go back an fill in with the weaker ones. It’s not as high-resolution as the smaller one on the IC-7300, but it’s adequate. This free software is well worth exploring if you want to participate in contests.

I did attend a birthday party for an old friend’s 90th earlier in the afternoon. This afternoon we’ve got an awards banquet for the granddaughter. She had four first-place finishes in the All-City Swimming Competition! So proud!

We had a beautiful day yesterday … really too nice a day to spend inside hunched over the rig, contesting. Sigh … the sacrifices we have to make for the hobby! HA!!

Have a great day TODAY!

73 de Dick N4BC

Amazingly Quick

I just worked Ghana last night, and this morning when I updated my log, it was already confirmed in LOTW. I’ve been a DX station before … VQ9D, VQ9RB, VQ9D/D, S79D … and it was a lot different back in the “good old days.” I remember sending my logs to my manager back in the US by snail mail, which sometimes took weeks, depending on the vagaries of the various postal systems involved. It was even slower in the early days before I had a manager, with direct mail to me and back, not to mention more expensive. Eventually, with the arrival of email, it got much easier and faster to get my logs to my QSL manager. Now, with LOTW, it’s darn near instantaneous in some cases. I just love technology, don’t you?

On the air this morning, there were lots of Asian stations on FT8. I worked a JA, and tried to land some others to no avail … Hong Kong, Australia … there was even a Russian Antarctic station that was pretty strong. Other North American stations were working them, but I had no luck. I did work a couple of stations on JT65 though … first in a long time … one on 40 meters and one on 20 meters. One was in Florida and the other was Canadian, in Ontario. There’s stuff out there guys and gals … just go get it!

Later today I’m going to dive into the NAQP CW contest. I’ll be a late starter due to family commitments, but hopefully fate will smile on me and let me do my thing!

73 de Dick N4BC