A New Tool

This afternoon, I downloaded the new version of WSJT-X ver. 2.1.0, and gave the new FT4 mode a try. What can I say? Fast!! Here’s an excerpt of my log …

First FT4 Contacts

Some will say, “That’s not REAL ham radio … It’s computers talkin’ to each other.” And you know, that’s partially right. BUT … it’s another tool that’s available to use where needed. And we all know you can NEVER have too many tools, right?

To each his own. It’s there … it’s available … if you like it, use it … if you don’t like it, don’t use it. I see it primarily useful as a contest or Field Day mode (and there are those that would argue with me about that). So be it!

73 de Dick N4BC

More Parks

I worked seven more parks yesterday afternoon, and I can safely say that it was not “a walk in the park” (Get it? Hah!!). The higher noise levels, combined with the weak signals made for difficult copy. The QSB was ferocious as well … signals disappeared into the noise and then reappeared. Very tiring on the ears! I really admire the activators venturing out into the conditions we’ve been experiencing lately.

The weather has been oppressive. Heat indices have been over 100 too many days, and the pattern will probably continue at least into August. That, coupled with high humidity (over 80% some days), makes for miserable days. This morning when I left for work at 5:30 am, the temperature was 81 degrees Fahrenheit and nearly 60% humidity.

I’m certainly ready for the new sunspot cycle. It’s reported that the first numbered sunspot of the new cycle has appeared (and persisted), so change is on the way. The bummer is that it’s going to take a few years until things are significantly better. Oh, well … it is what it is.

73 de Dick N4BC

Parks on the Air

I was just checking my stats in the POTA program. I have had 139 145 confirmations with activators in various parks, 125 of them with unique parks. Some have been worked more than once for various reasons … the activators benefit from the contact to reach their qualifying number, different bands, different modes … all contribute to the “points” total for awards , if you will. None have been to the Western reaches of our country, due to propagation patterns … all were to the Eastern states or to the Midwest. Some have been to our Northern neighbors in the Canadian provinces, which are also included in the program. Some never seem to get confirmed … maybe busted calls or for some reason the activator never submits the logs? Maybe a bear ate the logs … or the activator 😏.

I guess I’m what you’d call a casual participant … I get on when I can … I check the spots or tune around the usual frequencies. I catch ’em as I can. Lots of the activations happen when I’m at work, so I miss out on them. Evenings and weekends though … then I’m on the hunt!

73 and Good Hunting de Dick N4BC!


I sat down this evening and calculated my percentage of QSOs confirmed in LOTW. It’s surprisingly high … 70.28 percent! That’s a pretty good return on investment 🙂 .

I think a lot of that can be attributed to digital confirmations. The software used for the digital modes will usually interface with logging programs to automatically upload QSOs to LOTW. I use the combo of WSJTX, JTAlert, and DxLab/DXKeeper. All seamless.

I just got in from Choir Practice, and had to drive home through a thunderstorm. So much for getting in some operating before bedtime 🙁 .

73 de Dick N4BC

So True …

Saw a great quote today that I’m sorry to say really applies to me!

Speaking about antennas …” The one that works best is installed, in the air, and connected — always better than the one in the carton in the garage.

I’ve had an MFJ Cobweb antenna for several years now … still in the box. I always have an excuse for not getting it assembled and in the air … too hot … too cold … too busy … etc. I promise to get it up “real soon now”, but later, OK? It’s too hot right now 😀 .

73 de Dick N4BC