Virginia QSO Party

This weekend is the 2019 Virginia QSO Party, and I plan to participate. I usually get into it pretty well, but the past couple of years propagation has been so bad I didn’t even bother. Hopefully the propagation gods will smile on 40 and 80 meters this weekend.

I never get into it well enough to win a BIG prize, like a plaque, but EVERYBODY gets a certificate if they send in a log. So, everybody is a winner!

Sample 2019 VQP Certificate

On another note, I just qualified for my first Parks on the Air certificate. This is the lowest level for Hunters. It requires contact with 10 POTA entities.

POTA Bronze Certificate

Hey … I’m turning into a REAL certificate hunter! I’m not doing it for the glory, though. 😀 I’m doing it for the challenge. Pulling some of these guys out of the QRM and QRN IS a real challenge. Band conditions are up and down from minute to minute. FUN, FUN, FUN!!

It’s a beautiful day here today … temperature is around 70 F … sunny … just a great springlike day. Too bad I’m stuck at work. Supposed to get cooler and rain tomorrow. BUT … I guess we’re lucky compared to the Midwest, which is getting nasty weather again.

Oh well … can’t do anything about death, taxes and the weather! Take care guys … have a nice weekend!

73 de Dick N4BC

Something new ?

You’ve probably seen more and more SSB contacts popping up in my log in my QRZ bio lately. This IS unusual, because I usually don’t operate that mode unless it’s a BIG contest, or a rare entity.

Well, I’ve sort of been bitten by a bug … the Parks on the Air (POTA) bug. I’ve been chasing activators in the various parks … even going so far as to check for spots. I can’t explain it, other than to say it’s fun and it’s different. AND … most of the activations are SSB.

The most prolific activator I’ve come across on the bands is Dave, K4CAE. Man, this guy is really into activating parks. I’ve worked him several times. Not far behind him is Jim, KC4JNW. Both are good operators, and I’m looking forward to more contacts with both and with others.

I’m going to try activating a few, too. Lots of eligible parks near me. It would not be any trouble to activate from my truck … just a stop on the way home from work. Next week, maybe.

Try something new! When you find your interest lagging, do something different. There are so many ways to enjoy ham radio, that you will never run out of things to try!

73 de Dick N4BC

Zzzzzzzzz …

Been lazy the past week or so … just couldn’t get up the energy to work the contest this past weekend. As usual, I hear there was some interesting propagation … openings on 10 and 15 meters. Isn’t it interesting how that only happens on contest weekends? 😀

I got on a while after work this evening (2030Z – 2100Z) and there was some decent propagation on 17 meters. I worked a bunch of stations in the western USA primarily … that’s all I had any luck hearing, anyway.

17 Meter FT8

I caught up on some cable-making this past weekend. I made up some new coax sections, and also made up a few power cables with powerpoles on them. I’m just sort of getting things collected in anticipation of some warmer weather in the not too distant future (fingers crossed!!). I want to get out and do some Parks on the Air activations. I literally live a few blocks from part of K-4567, Captain john Smith Chesapeake National Historical Trail, and within twenty or thirty minutes of several other parks.

73 de Dick N4BC

Low Bands

Last night was a good night on the lower bands … 80, 60, 40 meters. I had 22 QSOs, mostly on 80 meters, and mostly FT8. There were two CW QSOs mixed in there. I worked VP9/AA1AC in Bermuda on 40 meters and VP2MKG in Montserrat on 80 meters. Both had moderate pileups going, working split, and I got them on the first call. The VP2 was a new country for me with my N4BC callsign. I think I’m up to 95 confirmed with that newer callsign.

80 meters stations that heard me
40 meters stations that heard me

The low bands seem to be the place to be during the solar minimum. I was decoding stations all over the world … Asia, the Americas, Europe … they’re out there! I don’t have a superstation, either. I’m running 100 watts to a 31-foot homebrew vertical. Not a model of efficiency. My tuner is working overtime! But it works!!

I guess the moral of this story is … put a signal out there. Get some wire in the sky. You won’t catch any fish unless you get a line in the water. Good fishing!!!!

73 de Dick N4BC

Stuff, continued …

I just worked a dozen or so FT8 contacts on 40 and 30. Primarily Europe and some USA. I couldn’t hear any signals above 20 meters, and things were pretty spotty below 30. It was a pleasant interlude 🙂 .

We’ve got another Winter Weather Advisory from the National Weather Service this evening. The worst of it is supposed to be to the West of us, but who knows … we will probably get some nasty stuff. I heard maybe an inch or so of snow here before it changes over to rain. It’s going to be cold and nasty, but not enough to miss work 🙁 .

Spring is less than a month away now … officially … but I’ve seen snow in April before, so it will be what it will be. I find I’m less tolerant of the cold and wet weather than when I was younger … warm feels good. Hopefully we’ll have a Spring this year, without the weather quickly ramping up into the 90’s.

73 de Dick N4BC