Workin’ for It

Afternoons and evenings, the noise on 40 meters has been terrible here at the ole’ homestead. Lots of hash and static crashes from weather-related phenomena. Of course, this is prime park-hunting time. It’s frustrating to hear stations working the activators and not hear those activators. You can tell they’re there … you can occasionally hear them rise above the noise for a moment … and then they dive back down into the noise. I could probably fake my way through a contest-style QSO … signal report, QTH, and 73 … but that’s almost like cheating if I’m not sure what they’re saying … if I have to guess.

CW’s a bit better. In the past couple of days, I’ve worked NK8O and WB8ERJ, and they had great, readable signals … hey, CW is like SSB with an amp! Digital and CW are certainly the way to go when conditions suck!

Even when you can copy with lots of difficulty … the old ears ain’t what they used to be … the noise and crashes are really fatiguing. You can’t keep it up for long. In the afternoons, after work, I like to listen and monitor the spots while working on other stuff at my desk … it gets irritating fast. It’s summertime!

Late evenings and nighttime are better, but unless they’re camping, most of the POTA guys have packed up and gone home. Parks being what they are, they close at sundown unless you’re registered and camping … nature of the beast.

73 de Dick N4BC

Memorial Day Weekend

What a wonderful weekend! The weather was nice, there was lots of activity on the bands (CQ WW WPX CW Contest), and Monday was my 25th wedding anniversary. I didn’t work the CW contest, though … I DID spend a considerable amount of time chasing POTA activations, though.

Saturday and Sunday I made a total of 30 contacts with parks, using different modes and different bands … SSB, CW, and even one FT8! Fourteen of those contacts were with Sean, KX9X … he was on a marathon run to activate as many Connecticut parks as possible. The man’s a machine, cranking out the QSOs. I have worked 83 unique parks so far, in 20 different states, and really enjoy the hunt!

Monday, I took the day off from radio. I thought about rearranging the shack, but decided to just laze around. The XYL cooked up a feast of BBQ chicken (with her secret vinegar-based BBQ sauce), green beans, fried squash, potato casserole, and pickled beets (all the veggies were fresh, from a local produce stand). I spent that afternoon reading and watching YouTube videos. Just a relaxing, laid back day. It needed to be, after a meal like that!

Unfortunately, today is back to work! Since I was off Friday through Monday, there was a bit waiting for me. It’s about 9 now (I come to work at 6), and I’ve just about got my head above water again 😀 !!

73 de Dick N4BC

Gotcha!

I snagged a new country on 30m FT8 last night … Turkey … TA3AHJ! He answered my CQ. I had called him several times earlier, but he never came back to me. That brings my DXCC total with my newer vanity call up to 99 … one more ’til the magic 100!

I watched a YouTube video by Steve Ellington yesterday afternoon titled IC-7300 Enhanced CW using PBT and Notch —N4LQ. Hey, his suggestions really work! Thanks, Steve! He’s got quite a collection of “how-to” videos that are worth watching. Check him out!

73 de Dick N4BC

Checking the Log …

I was looking back at my log today … this POTA park chasing is really increasing my SSB numbers 😀 . Most of the operators (not all, though), are using phone. I AM up to over sixty parks worked now.

I did a bit of FT8 last night … nothing spectacular. I was being heard all over the world, but working mostly stateside and Europe. All contacts are good though … even if I don’t need them, maybe they need me for my state … or grid … or something 🙂 .

The weather has been beautiful the past couple of days. Why are the weekdays beautiful, and every weekend rainy and stormy? At least, that seems to be the case. On that same note … it’s really nice to drive to work at a quarter to six in the morning, and the sky is already getting light. I don’t miss the pitch-black drive at all.

I just built a Porta-Paddle II Kit from American Morse Equipment, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. The instructions were clear and it went together with a minimum of @#$%!&*. I got the heavy base, and it doesn’t go anywhere when I send … it’s solid! I paid $94 for the kit.

OK, that’s about all that’s new … catch you later!

73 de Dick N4BC

Chasin’ Parks

Saturday I got up early and tried some 20 meter FT8 … man, I couldn’t BUY a QSO. There were lots of stations calling CQ, and some neat ones, too … Africans and Indonesians … and at decent signal strength, too. No dice! I gave up and read a book!

I’ve had a pretty good Sunday afternoon chasing Parks on the Air contacts … today I contacted eight ten parks, some CW and some SSB. Four of the parks were with Sean, KX9X, who was running around Connecticut and activating State Parks. Others were in Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Texas. Most were not easy contacts … the QSB and noise has been BRUTAL today, with signals dropping from 59 (599) down to unreadable … or should I say undetectable! BUT … it’s been fun and challenging!

I should have been outside today. It was a beautiful day here today, with temperatures in the high 60’s F, and sunny. I really need to get a head start on yard work this spring. Tomorrow it’s back to work … the GRIND … and no time to play radio during the day. It’s that time of year where the temperatures can be up in the 70’s one day and down in the 40’s the next. And POLLEN! I woke up this morning and couldn’t open my eyes. Hate allergies!

73 de Dick N4BC