I was working POTA stations in the upper reaches of 40 meters, and you wouldn’t believe how rough the copy was … or actually, maybe you would. Summertime is here … terrible deadly thunderstorms in the Midwest … the general elevated noise levels in our normal environment … all combine to raise the noise floor on the lower bands to the point where many signals are on the cusp of being unreadable. Quite a few of the stations are using low power and compromise antennas. That, coupled with the heterodynes from AM broadcast stations, drive you to distraction. The QSB tantalizes you by raising the signals above the noise and then just when you’re ready to copy something critical, dashing them down into the mud. Life is hard 😀 !
But … help is available! Today’s SDRs really have the capability of pulling some of them out of the hash (I have an IC-7300). Yesterday, I resorted to using all of the bells and whistles I could … auto notch, noise reduction, twin passband tuning, RF gain, tone controls … even the outboard audio filters in my speaker enclosure. All helped to give me just enough of an edge to copy some of those “unreadable” stations. DSP RULES!
So, what’s the moral of this story? Use all the tools that you have available! Yes, many of the older radios have beautiful sounding audio and great sensitivity, but today’s modern radios offer many tools that were not even dreamed of when those radios were designed and built. We truly live in amazing times!!
If you’re an HF aficionado, you have certainly noticed that band conditions are not optimal this week …
The K-index is very high, and the lower bands are very noisy. Solar storms will wreak havoc with HF communications. There are still QSOs to be made … just not as good as usual.
But, when one door closes, another usually opens. Although I wasn’t able to be part of the group, I read in the forums that 6 and 10 meters had some GREAT openings. Remember, we’re getting into the season for sporadic openings on the higher bands. Check up there now and then.
I snagged a new country on 30m FT8 last night … Turkey … TA3AHJ! He answered my CQ. I had called him several times earlier, but he never came back to me. That brings my DXCC total with my newer vanity call up to 99 … one more ’til the magic 100!
I watched a YouTube video by Steve Ellington yesterday afternoon titled IC-7300 Enhanced CW using PBT and Notch —N4LQ. Hey, his suggestions really work! Thanks, Steve! He’s got quite a collection of “how-to” videos that are worth watching. Check him out!
I was looking back at my log today … this POTA park chasing is really increasing my SSB numbers 😀 . Most of the operators (not all, though), are using phone. I AM up to over sixty parks worked now.
I did a bit of FT8 last night … nothing spectacular. I was being heard all over the world, but working mostly stateside and Europe. All contacts are good though … even if I don’t need them, maybe they need me for my state … or grid … or something 🙂 .
The weather has been beautiful the past couple of days. Why are the weekdays beautiful, and every weekend rainy and stormy? At least, that seems to be the case. On that same note … it’s really nice to drive to work at a quarter to six in the morning, and the sky is already getting light. I don’t miss the pitch-black drive at all.
I just built a Porta-Paddle II Kit from American Morse Equipment, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. The instructions were clear and it went together with a minimum of @#$%!&*. I got the heavy base, and it doesn’t go anywhere when I send … it’s solid! I paid $94 for the kit.
OK, that’s about all that’s new … catch you later!
We had some good news last night at the club meeting from Charlie, WB4PVT. T-Mobile is putting up a new tower and they seem agreeable to hosting our 2-meter and 70-centimeter repeaters on it. Both repeaters have been homeless for a couple of years after losing our previous site. Quite a bit of the meeting was taken up with discussion of this topic. We don’t have a lot of details yet.
We’re also seeing a positive turn in membership after several silent keys in our membership over the past few months. Unfortunately, with the aging of the ham population, it seems to be an inevitable trend.