This past weekend was Labor Day weekend, a three-day weekend. I decided to take an extra day … Tuesday. Hey maybe I could have a great ham radio weekend?
Not to be! We had a BIG geomagnetic storm and conditions were crap! Even today … Tuesday … they’re still not great. There were lots of spots for POTA activations, but I only managed to work one. Dave, K4CAE, was heard, but he obviously couldn’t hear ME! He was about a 3×2 with me.
Dorian continues its march towards the Virginia coast. The forecast is for high winds and lots of rain, but nothing like they experienced in the Bahamas, thank God! I expect the area will experience some tidal flooding (the lower areas always do). The last I saw, they’re talking about 50 knot winds, with all the associated problems … beach erosion, tidal flooding, trees and limbs down, power outages, stuff blown around, etc.
We’ll see. Things can change pretty quickly … for better or for worse. It’s forecast to be off the coast here Thursday night/Friday. Saturday is the Virginia Beach Hamfest … maybe. Tomorrow night is the radio club meeting, so maybe we’ll get some news then.
It’s been a week or two since I last posted. Life got a bit chaotic. A very dear friend was killed in a tragic industrial accident, and ham radio and blogging had to take a back seat.
There’s not actually much to report about. I’ve only been on the air a couple of times during this period, and those were mostly FT4/8 contacts. I don’t think the bands have been too stellar this past week.
I did spend a bit of money on radio things. I bought a yellow reflective vest for when I assist with public service events. I know … I know. Stereotypical self-important ham prepper, right? Actually, it does help with visibility if someone needs to locate you quickly during the event.
I also ordered a new toy. It’s supposed to be here around the 9th of September. I’ve read several blog posts and seen several YouTube videos about this low-cost vector network analyzer that piqued my interest. Less than fifty bucks on eBay.
It covers 50 KHz to 900 MHz … does Smith Chart and antenna analyzer functions … and more. It’s about the size of a credit card, but maybe 5/8-inch thick. I’m going to enjoy playing with it, I think.
I just signed up for my next public service event. It’s a marathon, a 50K, and a marathon/50K relay run simultaneously. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? It’ll be a bit cooler then … October 13th. The race is so long, we’ll be covering it in two shifts.
Well, that’s about all I have to report. Catch ya’ later!
I actually got to sit down in the shack and operate for HOURS this evening … without any interruptions (except a spaghetti dinner … YUM!). It was a real potpourri of contacts. I worked a little bit of everything … SSB, CW, FT4, FT8, POTA, WWFF … even a new country on 17 meters FT4 – Bahamas! Twenty-four contacts for the evening … Bang! Bang! Bang! … interspersed with a couple of more leisurely contacts. Not ragchews, by any means, but definitely real conversations. 😀
The days are getting shorter. I noticed this morning that the sun had not risen when I went out to drive to work. It was cool, too … about 69 F. Thankfully, the heat wave has been broken for at least a while.
On a more somber note … we buried one of our long-time Radio Club members this week … W. E. “Jimmy” Taylor, W1WE. He hadn’t been active for quite a while, since moving to a nursing home and then hospice care. He was 88 years old and a WW2 veteran. RIP, Jimmy.
I spent the morning on Saturday at our club Field Day site. I had a good time renewing friendships with folks I only see once a year at this event.
Pretty much everything had been set up on Friday evening, and groups were just putting the finishing touches on things. I sort of felt like a fifth wheel … sitting there schmoozing with the rest of the old timers. And what’s with all the yellow vests?
I knew I wasn’t going to get a chance to operate due to other commitments. I had to leave before actual operations got under way. I had my grandkid’s birthday party to be at that evening and then Sunday morning I had to see my Scout Troop off to summer camp for a week. Also, I don’t do 2am shifts anymore … I need my beauty sleep!
I guess Field Day has sort of lost its attraction for me. Everything is so organized and regimented … it just doesn’t seem as much FUN as it used to. Parks on the Air operations seem more like what Field Day used to be … set things up quickly in the middle of nowhere and get on the air.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If it’s YOUR thing, go right ahead. I realize that for some people, it’s the only chance they have to operate HF with decent rigs and antennas. Others really enjoy the competition. For them, it’s fun!
Anyway, to make a long story short, I had a great time at my granddaughter’s birthday party. Lots of excitement with all the kids running around and a good chance to catch up with less-often seen family members. Lots of action, since it was a pool party. A good time was had by all!
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.