Well, Dorian has come and gone, with not a lot of effect here at my QTH. There was some tidal flooding and a bit of wind and rain, but frankly, we had thunderstorms a couple of weeks ago that were worse. I think the highest gusts we had from the tropical storm were forty-some miles per hour. It could have been a LOT worse … a few miles East or West makes a lot of difference in severity.
The Virginia beach Hamfest was the day after Dorian. It’s been shrinking for years now (as have most hamfests), but lots of people evidently cancelled out due to the storm. Pretty sparse vendor-wise when I got there, but the attendees I saw were spending … our club was doing a good business moving donated items from various hams estates. I only stayed about 45 minutes, and I saw everything there was to see.
I did receive my nanoVNA in the mail, but I haven’t had a chance to fiddle with it yet. More on that later …
Band conditions, especially on forty meters, have been pretty good lately. The band is still pretty noisy, though. Hopefully it’ll quiet down a bit as Fall and Winter approach. It’ll make it easier to hear some of the weaker Parks on the Air operations.
More and more POTA operators seem to be running higher power. Back when the bands were much better, QRP was the norm. Now, many seem to be running 50 to 100 watts … some even more! My observation is that the CW QRP stations are still pretty easy to pull out of the hash. Not a lot of power, but it’s all packed into that narrower bandwidth. I just wish that more ops would opt for CW … lots more efficient!
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!
Well, I’ve had mixed luck programming up my HTs for the upcoming foot race. The score is two successful and one bricked! The Kenwood TH-F6A and the Icom IC-51A Plus 2 portables both programmed ok, but the Baofeng bit the dust. 🙁
I don’t know what the issue was with the UV-5. Maybe a corrupted codeplug or a glitch when writing to the radio? In any case, it is now non-functional and I can’t connect to it via the programming cable or the front panel. I tried resetting it, but all that did was clear all of the programming. I’m pretty sure the firmware got corrupted.
So, the score is two to one. I’m not too worried. I think I only paid twenty-some odd dollars for the Baofeng, and I’ve had it for quite a few years. I can handle the loss!
More later … 😀
Note … For those of you that are challenged by French, “Deuxieme Partie” translates to “Part 2”!
I tuned in to Tom, W5KUB’s videocast last night. One of the guests was Bill, WB8ELK, who is quite an authority on balloons, telemetry, tracking … well, all things “balloon”.
He’s been on the roundtable before, but I usually catch the broadcast after the fact, on YouTube, and then I just skim through the “good parts” (strictly subjective). This was the first time in a long time that I have watched it live, start to finish, and really paid attention to everything.
“Fascinating“, is the first word that springs to mind. I was rapt. I never really knew much about this balloon sub-genre of ham radio. This is really neat stuff. If I were a bit younger and had more free time, I would definitely be into this part of the hobby. Unfortunately, it’s all I can do to keep up with my present interests.
The other parts of the broadcast were interesting, too. It’s well worth the time to check it out … either live or on YouTube later. You can find details at w5kub.com, or on their social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter …) accounts.
I took off early from work today to tackle a task that I’ve been wanting to get started on … and also dreading … rearranging the equipment in the shack. I would look under the table at the rat’s nest of wiring and just shudder! And the dust bunnies … sound like a regular zoo under there, doesn’t it?
So, every thing disconnected and placed out of the way … all of the old cabinetry removed and discarded … then everything placed on the new shelving. Here’s the result:
The shelving is a “shoe rack” that I purchased from Amazon. It’s perfect for what I wanted to do.
Mind you, it’s still a work in progress. It’ll never be this neat and clean again. As a matter of fact, it’s a lot more cluttered now, just a few hours after this photo was taken. I already made a couple of POTA contacts from the new configuration.