I worked two new countries this evening, both on FT8 … Oman on 40 meters and the Falkland Islands on 30 meters. Yes, Virginia, there is life left in the ham bands.
I also went ahead and updated the firmware on my IC-7300 with no problems noted. I don’t know why so many people have difficulties with this … if you follow the manual step-by-step, it’s hard to mess it up. DO remember, however, to save your configuration before upgrading, unless you want to go menu diving and setting up your whole operating environment again.
I downloaded MMTTY and integrated it with N1MM+ in preparation for the RTTY contest tomorrow. I haven’t tested it live on the air yet, but it should work fine. Tomorrow will tell!
Wow … three posts today! Maybe I should have saved up and dribbled it out more slowly. Oh well, I hadn’t posted for a while so I guess this makes up for it.
There was a nice opening on 10 meters yesterday evening, and I was lucky enough to work a new one … Saint Pierre et Miquelon – FP. I worked FP/KV1J, Eric, on FT8 at 1920Z. He popped up calling CQ and I pounced! He’ll be on Miquelon Island through the 17th of this month and will be on for the IARU HF Contest this coming weekend. He’s operating SSB/RTTY/FT8 and satellite also. You can check him out on his web page here. Always exciting to catch a new one when you’re not expecting it.
Actually, I worked a dozen stations on 10/12/15 meters, all domestic except for Eric. All up and down the East Coast, with a few odd ones in the midwest. Ten meters has shown some interesting and exciting propagation lately. FT8 certainly seems to be the mode for making contacts, even on dead-appearing bands.
The cool weather continues here in coastal Virginia. The past couple of mornings, I’ve actually used the heat rather than the A/C on the way to work at 5:30 in the morning.
It was a good evening on the bands. I had FT-8 contacts on 80 through 10 meters … even picked up two new countries. Sixty meters was busy, and I had a Jamaican CW QSO on 40 meters.
In my guise as a public safety radio professional, I spent the day listening to a sales/technical representative from JPS Interoperability Solutions tell us all about their products. They offer ways to tie together disparate communications equipment (UHF, VHF, landline, cellular, , HF, trunked, analog, digital, video …). You name it, they can make it talk together. I’ve used their equipment over the years, and they build good stuff! I even have a JPS NRF-7 here in the shack, which was an early product for the Amateur market. It’s an audio dsp unit, and still holds its own, even after many years.
I bought a copy of Stu, KB1HQS’s new book, Portable Operating for Amateur Radio, and hope to get a chance to read it this weekend. I’ve followed his blog online for a while, and enjoy reading what he has to share. It’s $9.95 for the Kindle edition on Amazon ($19.95 for the softcover). I prefer the Kindle editions. Not only do you get them pretty much instantly, but they’re a considerable savings over the physical book. You don’t need a Kindle to read them. You can download a free app for your computer or phone.
Last night, I worked Guadeloupe on 80M. That was a new one on that band for me. I even found a couple of stations on 15M, too … Clint, NW5P in Texas, and WP4AZT, Jose, in Puerto Rico. All in all, a nice evening, playing on the radio. I’m going to try and get a 40M inverted vee up this weekend, and see if that works any better than my non-resonant vertical.
Scored a new country on digital last evening … South Africa. Ten watts to a vertical on JT-9 mode. He copied me at -15 DBm on 20 meters, and he was much stronger. I’ve seen him on several times before, but had no luck connecting with him. Now just waiting for a LOTW confirmation.
The bands were not especially hot last night … as a matter of fact, there was not much happening other than stateside and European stations. But there he was … and relatively strong, too. That’s what’s so exciting about ham radio. “The thrill of the hunt,” if you like.
I’ve tried listening in the early morning to see what might be happening, but no luck so far. For instance, this morning at 4am I tuned the bands and heard ZILCH! Not so much as a stray CW signal that was readable. I’ll keep on trying, though. One of these days …