Almost Field Day …

Tomorrow, Field Day gets under way. I had hoped to participate with the club, but it’s not looking too likely. Got lots  going on this weekend … family, church, etc. I’ll try to make an appearance at the site, but probably won’t operate there.

I’ve been fighting a killer summer cold this week, so I’ve gotten behind on a lot of stuff. It was the whole array of symptoms too … cough, runny nose, achy body and headache.  I was off work for two days. My wife called a couple of hours ago, and it sounds like she and my daughter are coming down with it now.

Even if I can’t operate any significant time with the club station, I’ll try and get some operating time in from home. I just can’t totally miss operating during field day. Maybe there’ll be some nice six meter openings!

73 and enjoy Field Day if you’re participating de Dick N4BC

Mixed Blessings …

I flipped on the radio when I got home from work yesterday afternoon, and had to check and see if the antenna  was connected (as a matter of fact, it wasn’t … I had disconnected it the night before during some violent thunderstorms). So, I reconnected it … didn’t make a lot of difference … reception still sucked! Switch to OFF!

Later in the evening, I returned to the rig and was pleasantly surprised to hear something besides QRN. Eighty through 12 meters were showing SOME signs of life … especially on FT8. I worked about a half dozen contacts on most of those bands (primarily eighty meters). There was quite a bit of CW activity on 40, and I would have liked to sample that, but alas, I was needed elsewhere.

Charlie, WB4PVT, posted a video on the local email group about how “TUBS” are made. Every week, he posts a video of interest to hams. A couple of weeks before, he had posted one on how vacuum tubes are made, but had made a typo in the title … TUBS instead of TUBES. I kidded him about it the next time I saw him. He got me back by posting one last week about how tubs … BATHTUBS … are made. Got me!

Field day is fast approaching. Hopefully I’ll have time to participate with the club. Actually, we have several clubs combining for the event, as we do every year. The club I’m a member of just cant’t muster enough bodies to put together a team, so we make it a group effort and have a great time!

It was a good evening, after all.

73 de Dick N4BC
(from the bottom of the cycle … which ain’t so bad anyway!)

Club Stuff

Club meeting last night! After a dutch-treat dinner, where I had a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of Brunswick stew, we all met in the Community Room at police headquarters for our monthly meeting.

This was one of the better ones. We had a couple of prospective members attend (Bill and Phil) , and lots of interesting discussion about lots of different things.

Lots of discussion on our repeater woes. We’re still looking for a site since we lost our previous site, and several new leads were proposed. We also talked about this year’s upcoming Field Day, digital radio systems, public service, 60 meter operation, and several other subjects of interest. Lots of information shared made for a great, fun meeting.

Pffffft!

I got on the bands last night to see what was happening on FT8, and 40 meters was really busy. I tried replying to several station, but either they couldn’t hear me or were ignoring me. I ended up working one station in California that was a repeat contact. Eighty meters had a few stations, but no luck there either. Just a bummer of an evening.

I fired up the DMR rig and hotspot and talked to a couple of guys … one in Yorkshire, England, and another in Malta, and had a pleasant chat with them. That’s a great medium for ragchewing. Crystal clear most of the time … world-wide.

Well, that should hold me for this morning. I’ve got a radio club meeting tonight … not sure what the program is. I should be able to hit the local DMR repeater from our meeting location (which I can’t do from home, thus the reliance on a hotspot). Maybe I can demo some DMR to a bunch of D-Star folks!

73 de Dick N4BC

FrostFest 2018

FrostFest was last Saturday, so I made my annual trek to Richmond to attend. It was clear, but cold, and waiting in the line outdoors to enter was not pleasant for me. I was bundled up in a heavy coat, and I was amazed at the people standing with me in just a T-shirt and seemingly comfortable!

The first thing I noticed was that the layout in the exhibition hall was different this year. All of the empty space was moved to the center aisle, making it a wide expanse and much easier to navigate than prior years. I was told the real reason was to allow less chaos with vendor vehicles coming in to offload equipment … evidently in prior years, navigating the narrower aisles was not pleasant.

One consequence of the wide open center of the hall was that it gave the impression of a smaller crowd this year. I read that the organizers have unofficially said that this year’s crowd was the largest yet. We’ll have to wait for the final count, I guess.

The only significant manufacturer there was Elecraft, but there were lot of second-tier vendors there, and LOTS of “tail-gate” individuals with tables. There was much nostalgic equipment there, and I did see quite a few “boat anchors” being carried out to waiting vehicles.

I spent most of the day attending the forums … DMR, Puerto Rico recap, ARRL, SkyWarn, and I did wander the sales floor several times, too. I actually didn’t buy anything this trip … my big purchase for the winter was a new IC-7300 on  Black Friday last year. I was looking for a shielded USB A-B cable, but didn’t see any, so I ordered one from Amazon when I got home.

It was a pleasant day, and worth the trip. I did take some things away from the forums, and I reconnected with several friends and acquaintances that I only see here every year at FrostFest. My congratulations to RATS (Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society), the club that puts all this together and coordinates this. Well done!!

73 de Dick N4BC