We had our monthly radio club meeting last night and it was reported that the 2023 Frostfest in Richmond was cancelled again. That’s the largest hamfest in Virginia, and has been cancelled for the past couple of years due to Covid.

The reason for this cancellation has nothing to do with disease, however. It’s alleged that there is some disagreement and strife in the sponsoring organization … RATS (Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society). I tried accessing their website for more info, but I can’t connect to it.

Otherwise, I’ve been working a bunch of FT8 and FT4, along with some CW, during these past few weeks of sky-high A- and K-index numbers. My Parks on the Air numbers now total 705 unique parks hunted. I continue to concentrate on CW and digital for my POTA contacts … SSB just doesn’t float my boat anymore.

The weather has moderated here recently. We have days in the low to mid-80s (rather than the upper 90s with heat indices of 100+), but the evenings and early mornings are considerably cooler than last month, and I notice it’s darker when I leave for work in the mornings … I actually have to turn the headlights on 🙂 . Fall is just around the corner 😀 .

73 de Dick N4BC

Boys & Girls Club Smart Smiles 5K Race

Saturday, August 13th, I was up bright and early to help support the Boys & Girls Club Smart Smiles 5K race at the Mariners Museum Park in Newport News, VA. I reported to the Coordinator and then went to my assigned position. I was on a shaded road, enjoying the 70-some degree weather and gentle breeze, which was so welcome after too many “feels like 100+” days!


Our purpose was to provide safety coverage for any runners that experienced difficulties, and also to keep the race coordinator informed about race progress.

Luckily, there were no incidents, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was a pretty laid-back “race”. There were families with children, old folks, young folks, serious runners, walkers … just about any demographic you could imagine.

The Team!

For the most part, our primary repeater worked well, but I had occasional problems with the Net Control station dropping into the noise. The backup repeater was much more solid, so I had my backup portable tuned to that.

All in all, it was a beautiful day for a race, and a great way to spend a morning in the park!

73 de Dick N4BC

Miscelleney …

The repeater antenna has been repositioned and braced against excessive sway, and all repeater operations are back to normal. If you recall, high winds had blown the antenna into the tower and one of the elements had hung on the tower structure.

Six meters FT4 and FT8 were busy this afternoon. Seems like Cycle 25 is heating up

I picked up a new “Pocket Portable” iambic key from CWMORSE this week. It’s 3D printed and is really nice quality. I’m looking forward to getting out into the field with it soon.

Field day is coming up soon. Our club, in concert with several others, is mounting a combined operation, as we have in past years. Hopefully, it’ll be a great event.

73 de Dick N4BC

Update …

A further update on the repeater antenna … The wind whipped it into the tower, a U-bolt got latched under one of the diagonal tower braces, and it’s stuck there. We’ve switched over to the backup antenna (just a few feet below this one), and will tend to the stuck antenna during the next tower inspection, unless Mother Nature pops it loose before then.

Our plans are to add a pvc standoff to hold the mast away from the tower. The backup antenna (a dual band fiberglass stick) already has one. Hey, hindsight is 20/20, right?

73 de Dick N4BC

Oops …

Not good …

Somehow, out main repeater antenna has flexed a bit too much! From the picture, it looks like the top may have flexed into the tower structure and gotten caught. We’ll be going to the site on Saturday morning to further evaluate the problem. I haven’t seen the actual antenna yet … just this photo that was sent to me. We’ve still got the backup antenna if needed.

73 de Dick N4BC