Last night, I worked Guadeloupe on 80M. That was a new one on that band for me. I even found a couple of stations on 15M, too … Clint, NW5P in Texas, and WP4AZT, Jose, in Puerto Rico. All in all, a nice evening, playing on the radio. I’m going to try and get a 40M inverted vee up this weekend, and see if that works any better than my non-resonant vertical.
This past weekend was terrible for signals, but things seem to have picked up somewhat. Here’s a snapshot of last night:
I even had some action on 15 meters and 60 meters. Almost all of my contacts were with North American stations.
The weather has become more springlike lately. The birds are singing, the pollen is falling, and the weeds are sprouting. I think it’s time for some antenna attention. It’s raining today, but later this week I need to get out into the back yard and check antenna connections, coax, and matching networks to make sure everything survived the winter OK. I’m thinking of putting up another 40M inverted vee, since 40 is looking to be a workhorse during this part of the sunspot cycle. The inverted vees have always performed well for me.
I also want to get out and do some portable parks work, too. I’m at the age when sitting in the cold, sleety outdoors with a thirty mile per hour wind whistling around my ears is not fun, so the warmer, more hospitable climate is very welcome.
Ah, yes … I remember being in school and sweating bullets trying to understand and use Smith Charts. Plotting and drawing lines … HATED IT!
Last night, at our monthly club meeting, we were introduced to an elegant solution to my aversion … SimSmith by Ward Harriman AE6TY. It’s a Smith Chart software tool that is really impressive … and FREE!
I won’t go into more explanation here, other than to say his website also refers you to numerous videos and writings that explain its uses and and its operation. Check it out (using the link above) if you have any curiosity or any need for Smith Charts.
Oh, I forgot to mention it, but I won a drawing for a Wolf River Coils Silver Bullet Mini. Bob Plank, KK4DIV, had a drawing to celebrate reaching 1000 YouTube subscribers. My name came out of the hat (literally!). Gonna have to do something mobile with it. Check out Bob’s channel … he’s got some interesting stuff.
This morning when I went out to the truck to leave for work at about 0530, it was in the low 30’s and I had a nice coating of ice on the windows. We didn’t even have a chance to do frost first … directly to ice! My trusty spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and water did the job, though. Take that, ice!!
I did a bit of FT8 yesterday evening. I managed one contact on 80M and three on 15M. The other bands were sounding good, but I just couldn’t seem to connect. Not a real dense map either … nothing showing anywhere except North America, and one reception report in Venezuela.
I did have an equipment problem surface, though. My USB hub kept dropping out or resetting. Wiggling the USB-A connector at the laptop duplicated the problem. Over time, with connecting and disconnecting, the plug has gotten worn and is loose. At least, I hope it’s the plug and not the laptop socket that’s worn. I looked for a replacement cord, but the hub end is a USB-B connector … like you find on most printers … sort of a square plug, rather than a rectangular one. Ah well, Amazon Basics … should be here Friday. Love Amazon Prime! The old one is still usable … I just have to make sure I don’t wiggle the cord, though.
I’m looking forward to the loooong Thanksgiving holiday. Hopefully, conditions will improve a bit. I’ve been reading a bit about Olivia and want to give that a try. Maybe I’ll also have a chance to do some antenna experimenting, too. We’ll see.
Right now, I need to find a plumber. The kitchen sink decided to plug up on Thanksgiving eve, when the kitchen is a beehive of activity. Figures …