QSL Percentages (Redux)

I just did a quick calculation of QSLs received versus total QSOs and the answer is an almost unbelievable 71.6% in LOTW and 80.4% in QRZ. This is based on QSOs since 2013. Even when I was a rare DX operator, I never approached this. LOTW has done a lot to increase QSL returns, as has computer logging that automatically uploads to the various QSL sites. I really don’t chase awards any more, but it’s nice to see how things are going, even if I’m not really using the data.

73 de Dick N4BC

Boot Drive Swap

I swapped out the boot drive in my laptop today. The old drive was a 1 terabyte Western Digital Blue mechanical drive (HDD) and the new drive was a Western Digital 1 terabyte Blue Solid State Drive (SSD).

What a difference! Running a benchmark speed program on both drives, the SSD is over five times faster on both read and write. That’s an impressive number and it’s even more impressive watching how fast things happen. I’m a believer!

Using Macrium Reflect, the drive took 2 hours to clone. Removal of the old drive and installation of the new drive took about fifteen minutes. The hardest part of the job was opening the pop-apart bottom of the Dell Inspiron 5588. I’ve got some special tools that made it easier, though.

The only disadvantage so far, is that my wife wants me to update her laptop now. That’ll be a bit more complicated since she’s still running Windows 8 and I’ll want to upgrade that to Windows 10 for her.

73 de Dick N4BC

Digital Stuff

Let’s try this again … I was just putting the finishing touches on this and I don’t know what I did, but everything vanished … and I couldn’t find any of the drafts. So it’s back to the beginning …

I was looking back through my logbook and noticed that the last time I worked PSK-31 was six years ago! I’ve been cranking out FT, JT, SSB, CW, and even some contest RTTY, and neglecting bunches of those other modes.

So I decided to remedy this oversight. I spent the day updating software (FLDIGI), going through the menus and updating entries, rewriting macros, reading the new documentation, and watching YouTube videos. I must say, FLDIGI has had some nice updates in the past few years, but basically, it’s pretty much the same to operate. I saw Olivia, Throb, PSK, Domino, and several other modes I couldn’t ID. I wish everyone would use Reed-Solomon ID on their signals.

I spent a while this evening “reading the mail”… just observing how other operators are doing things nowadays. Pretty much the same … one old guy was cataloging his aches and pains and medical issues, but there were some interesting conversations, too. It’s going to take some getting used to … actually conversing with people again! LOL!

I’ve also ordered a new solid-state drive (SSD) to upgrade my laptop. It’s not as fast as it used to be, but I figure that a SSD will boost the speed considerably … especially on boot and on disk-intensive programs. Hey, it’s cheaper than a new laptop. I picked up a 1 TB WD Blue SSD for $120. Amazon is a bit slower shipping nowadays with the COVID-19 issues, but everything is supposed to be here by May 3rd. Then I’ll clone the HDD and swap the SSD with it.

We had some pretty scary thunderstorms come through earlier in the evening. Thunder, lightning, wind, and rain.

That’s all from the quarantine hut for this evening. Catch you later!

73 de Dick N4BC

D’oooh!

I fired up WSJT-X to work some FT-x yesterday … calling CQ … several replies, but the software wasn’t responding. Couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then I saw it … the Call 1st button was not selected! I never uncheck that button … it unchecked itself! WSJT-X will never automatically reply to a call if that’s not checked.

Remember, boys and girls … if something isn’t working right, check your settings! Sometimes the application or Windows just changes things to test you 🙂 ! Be vigilant!!

73 de Dick N4BC

Public Service

I volunteered to help with communications for the annual Boys & Girls Club Smart Smiles 5K race this coming Saturday. I got the email for assignments, frequencies, duties, etc. yesterday. This’ll be the first time I’ve done one of these public service events in years … maybe even decades! Looking forward to it!

However (there’s always a however, you know) … that means I’ve got to program a couple of radios to contain the repeater and simplex frequencies we’ll be using. It’s probably been over a year since I programmed any radios. It’s a shame that every radio has its own proprietary software and unique programming cable as well. First, I have to find the cables and then, try to remember how to manipulate the software. None of it is very intuitive!

One radio uses Chirp for programming, so that’s not too bad … I can handle that. The other is a D-Star radio, and I remember how much sweat and tears I shed the first time I tackled programming that 🙁 . Hopefully, it’ll come back to me! Everything I have to enter is analog, so maybe it’ll be easier.

I’ve also got to add some repeaters to my hamshack base radio. I don’t have some of the SkyWarn backup repeaters programmed, and I need to get that done with hurricane season approaching.

Anyhow, wish me luck. I’ll report back and let you know how I did.

73 de Dick N4BC