Woops!

I was all fired up to work the Virginia QSO Party last weekend. I got comfy at the operating position, tuned to 40 meters, and … didn’t hear a single Virginia station calling! Scratching my head, I wondered if propagation could be THAT bad.

Oops … turns out that the QSO party is this coming weekend, not last weekend. I managed to transition to Daylight Savings Time correctly, but managed to be a weekend off for the VQP. Oh well, I’m too old to be embarrassed!

Got on last night and worked a bunch of FT8 stations … some DX but mostly USA … 80 through 18 meters. I even heard some FT8 signals on 15 meters, but couldn’t make the QSO.  Kept trying to get Easter Island, but never could connect. I tried. Most of the stations he worked were tailending, and I’m not quite sure how that works on FT8. I’ll Google the answer later to see if I was doing it right.

It snowed again here last night. Wasn’t supposed to be any accumulation, but we got 2 or 3 inches at my house. Meteorology is obviously not an exact science!

73 de Dick N4BC

ARRL Ten Meter Contest

Well, I hope you had better luck than I did! Just before bedtime on Friday night, I listened a bit on 10-meter CW and I heard a beacon and two stations within 20 miles of me … nothing else, and I went on to bed. Saturday and Sunday, I tuned around several times during the day and evening, and … nothing. Just a couple of unreadable maybe signals down in the mud on CW.

So, it looks like it was not to be for me. I think ten meters had a dagger through its heart this past weekend. But, I’ll see you on the lower bands!

73 de Dick N4BC

Propagation blues

You know times are bad when 20 Meters doesn’t have a single CW signal  audible during a major contest weekend. I just tuned up there and couldn’t hear ANYTHING! NADA! Forty and eighty are really active … lots of contest activity.

I haven’t done any contesting this weekend. I just worked about 15 stations on FT8 with the new rig, and I did make a couple of QSOs to check out how it handles on CW. As far as SSB, I haven’t even taken the mic out of the box yet!

The IC-7300 is a SWEET rig to operate, but I’m still stumbling a bit with the  controls. It’ll get better with familiarity.

73 de Dick N4BC

IARU HF Contest

Wow … first time I’ve participated in a major contest in a long time. Not a truly serious competition … only about 150 QSOs over the 24-hour period. Enough for me, though. All S&P (search and pounce, if  you’re not familiar with the term), and all CW.

Had contacts on all of the bands except for 80. Eighty was really noisy … I could hear some weak signals, but they obviously couldn’t hear me. Forty was good and twenty was also good. Fifteen and ten were workable, but not a lot of signals that I could hear. There were some strong ones though!

I’ve already got my LOTW logs uploaded, QRZ, ClubLog, and eQSL uploaded, and imported the N1MM .adi file into my logbook. Contest —> DONE!

The Yaesu 450D performed well. The DSP was a blessing to use. I really could bring a lot of the signals out of the mud and to a comfortable listening level.

All in all, it was fun … no regrets. Lots of stations, and I didn’t see any poor behavior … everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. That’s the way it should be.

‘Til next time, 73!
de Dick N4BC

NAQP – SSB

I got a bit of SSB operating in during this weekend. The bands were not very good from my location. Noise levels were just high enough to be irritating, and I never did manage to work any stations other than 20 and  40 meters. Forty was the most prolific band, and I did manage to find quite a few stations among the squeals and heterodynes of  the AM broadcast stations.

Sunday, I worked 20 and 40 again … but JT65 this time. There was a good mix of stations on, but primarily up and down the east coast and midwest. I worked them until the band petered out and then switched off the rig.

All in all, it was a good weekend, and I had a lot of fun. I was glad to have an “indoor” hobby, since the weekend was damp and dreary. Hey, it was better than the foot of snow we had a couple of weeks ago! Ah, well … spring is just around the corner.

73 de Dick N4BC